Sober Living Homes: Getting Your Life Back

Addiction has far-reaching effects on lives, and quitting drugs or alcohol at a rehabilitation or recovery center is only the first step towards getting your life back on track. After-care and support are all part of recovery. Those looking for a supportive environment to prevent relapse, or who are concerned that re-entering their previous living conditions may trigger backsliding, often choose sober living homes to help them in the process of rebuilding their lives.

How do sober living houses work?

Recovering addicts live together in a special house where they have more freedoms than they did at in-patient facilities, but they still live in a structured, supportive environment with rules that must be followed. Sober living houses are more than just a place to live, they also provide extra help in the form of 12 step programs, counselling, and career advice.

What are the rules like at a sober living house?

Although the details of the rules may differ depending on the house you choose, one rule governs the inhabitants of all sober living houses: you must remain sober. You can go out to work or to attend classes, but you must be home by curfew, attend your 12 step meetings, and you’ll probably have several household chores assigned to you. Most homes will expect you to submit to regular drug testing – an additional motivation for staying on the straight and narrow.

If you haven’t got a job, you have to show that you’re taking positive action to get one. Many sober living homes will help you to get job interview opportunities, voluntary work that you can use to prove your reliability, or will help you to find training programs to prepare for a new career.

Do sober living houses really promote lasting recovery?

By providing a transitional phase between rehabilitation and independent, substance-abuse-free living, sober living houses help you to make the transition between rehab and a normal life. All too many addicts are faced with a situation in which they find themselves on their own, in the exact same situation that initially triggered their substance abuse and addiction problem, as soon as they’re out of rehab.

The pressures and temptations of this environment often result in relapse – but sober living homes turn that around by providing an opportunity to get all the support you need to get your life back – or start building a new one.

The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs published a 2010 study which found that sober living houses really did improve recovery outcomes, particularly when residents chose to enter a sober living house voluntarily.

How to make the most of the opportunity

Personal commitment: a real desire to get through recovery successfully, is the best way to get the most out of a stay at a sober living house. Staying motivated on your own can be really hard, and that’s where the sober living house can be a huge help on your journey towards permanent sobriety.

No matter how much you want to make a permanent recovery, trying to go it alone is extremely difficult, and could set you up for failure. Make full use of the support opportunities offered in sober living homes. Both the staff and your housemates will understand your situation much better than your friends, or even your family. Most residents find that a three month spell in a sober living home sets them up for lasting recovery, a brighter future and a better life.

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