Why is it Important to Get Help Staying Sober?

Getting Help With Staying Sober

Sobriety is not a given. Getting sober is simple enough, but staying sober is a challenge that often lasts a lifetime. And while your sobriety is your responsibility, this journey of recovery isn’t one you have to walk alone.

Relying on others is hard, for a number of reasons. There’s the issue with trust. Then, some people might be prone to call you a leech, or even consider your achievements as not wholly earned. Even worse, there is the overwhelming stigma and fear of being a burden for others and a pain to sustain.

However, there is a considerable difference between accepting help and abusing good will. You are well within your right to ask for help when you’re struggling with sobriety, because the alternative – succumbing to addiction – is painful to more people than just yourself, and you deserve the chance to see yourself on the other end of this journey.

 

You’re Not in This Alone

One person’s addiction can be a family’s tragedy, a child’s pain, or a partner’s burden. The individual struggle to stay sober is immense, but let’s not forget that drugs do more than just plague a single individual.

When working against an addiction, it’s important to recognize that it’s a complex system of symptoms, ranging from psychological changes to physical problems and behavioral issues. People change over weeks and months and turn into someone else due to their addiction.

Addiction treatment doesn’t work to reverse that, it only works to change it. No technology is in the business of rewriting memory and altering our experiences. We take with us what we have, and that includes all the good and the bad. When treating an addiction, professionals are mindful to help an individual overcome their past and adapt to their present, in a way that allows them to be at peace with themselves and those around them. But naturally, that process doesn’t happen through a single person. To get better, a recovering addict must work with their friends and family, mending relationships that can be mended, and learning to let go when the pain is too great to be healed.

Treatment itself is about more than one person and their ability to exert their own will. Willpower has relatively little to do with addiction treatment, when addiction is a disease with chronic symptoms often characterized by an inability recover out of sheer will. Addiction recovery often requires the help of professional intervention, a drug-free environment, and the support of friends and loved ones.

 

Addiction Is A Disease

Addiction is a brain disease, superficially similar to diseases such as diabetes and asthma. This is because addiction is recurring and becomes progressively worse over time, from a bad habit into a destructive and life-threatening illness.

Addiction also visibly changes the brain, attacking grey matter and making individuals prone to risky decision-making, shortsighted choices, and general negative behavior, including irritability and a tendency to struggle with anxious thoughts and depressive thinking. The physical effects of addiction are undeniable and differ from drug to drug. Most addictive drugs attack the brain, but some deal liver and/kidney damage, while others ravage the stomach, cause respiratory failure, or raise the risk of stroke.

Because it’s a disease, it stands to reason that addiction should be treated as such. When we’re sick, we seek a professional opinion, get a treatment, and follow the instructions laid out by a medical professional. For intense procedures, we even go to the hospital and stay there for a period. An addiction is much the same as a chronic illness, in the sense that we need a long-term treatment plan that addresses the various challenges and symptoms an addict may face, as well as measures to take in case things get worse. Like other people who are sick, recovering addicts need help and treatments, and don’t do well in the face of derision and stigma.

 

What Relapse Rates Mean

Relapse rates suggest that not only is it common to struggle with maintaining sobriety, but the majority of individuals who seek professional help against addiction and go through a complete recovery program end up relapsing within the first year of post-program recovery.

What this suggests is that relapses are part of the recovery process, and not a sign of failure. It also implies that despite recovery programs and diligent abstinence, many people struggle to maintain their sobriety for an entire year.

However, the numbers also say that only a fraction of people continue to relapse after the five-year mark, meaning that as time goes on, it becomes easier to stay sober.

Thus, remaining sober for a significant period of time early on in recovery seems to be crucial to long-term success. Alongside working with recovery groups, sober meetings, and your own support group, there are other ways to seek help for sober living after concluding a recovery program.

 

Getting Help After Recovery

While recovery from drug addiction is a lifelong process, it often refers specifically to recovery programs designed to help with the troubles and challenges of early recovery. These can be numerous, from more intense and tempting cravings to mood swings and post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

But after early sobriety and the end of the first recovery program, many recovering addicts are up against a series of new and at times overwhelming challenges related to reintegrating into sober living, from the responsibilities of being sober to adjusting to new living arrangements, difficulties with maintaining employment, and avoiding temptation, as well as other issues.

It’s important to consider a post-rehab transitionary program, such as a sober living home, especially when worried about the possibility of a relapse. Not only can sober living help prevent potential relapses, but it can help recovering addicts overcome the effects of a recent relapse.

 

The Importance of Support in Long-Term Sobriety

Whether it’s through sober living, talk therapy, group meetings, the intervention and help of your loved ones, or all of the above, long-term sobriety requires long-term care. Recovery doesn’t end with rehab but requires a commitment towards staying sober and a series of concerted efforts towards maintaining that sobriety. Sober living programs may simply be temporary, but they can further help an individual adjust to the requirements of sober living and help them arm themselves with the tools and knowledge necessary to continue their sobriety.

 

Making the Switch to Sober Living

Sober Living Community

Addiction treatment is patient-centric, tackling each case individually to address every person’s individual circumstances and personal challenges. This means that there is no single most effective path – treatment methods might work for some and won’t work for others. While rehab is often a good first step for many people struggling with addiction, it might not be enough to ‘complete’ the recovery process, insofar as helping someone achieve lasting sobriety. Other programs exist to help people deal with the challenges of addiction, including sober living homes. These are ideal for many transitioning from rehab to regular life, or for those looking for a more long-form treatment process. Sober living is distinct from many other addiction treatment programs in a number of different ways.

 

What is Sober Living?

Sober living programs purportedly originated in California at a time when addiction treatment was booming, and the two major forms of treatment available to most were inpatient or residential programs (rehab) and outpatient programs. While outpatient programs adequately helped recovering addicts who needed to maintain their presence at home and in their career, or those who simply could not afford residential treatment, the need for an alternative soon increased as some found either lacking.

Sober living homes very simply offer a drug-free environment to recovering addicts looking to continue pursuing career goals or going to school, who simply need a place to stay away from the temptations of drug use while not at work or in class. These homes are typically built on a number of set rules that differ from community to community. He general ruleset most obey include rules such as:

  • Daily curfews (to avoid late-night excursions)
  • Mandatory schooltime/job searching/employment
  • Mandatory or encouraged attendance at local recovery meetings or group therapy
  • Recommended or mandatory treatment sessions with on-site professionals or nearby doctors
  • Mandatory shared chores and set responsibilities
  • Monthly rent
  • Unlimited tenancy (residents are allowed to stay for as long as they need to)

Rules vary from sober living home to sober living home, but the general theme is one of self-discipline, helping recovering addicts get their bearings, helping them consistently maintain certain responsibilities, and helping them function outside of the sober living environment by giving them the tools and the space to work on their sobriety.

Sober living homes also live and breathe an air of recovery. Every day is meant to help you get more comfortable in sobriety than the last, and in a living environment with several other experienced recovering addicts, you gain valuable insights into the lives of others who have dealt with similar challenges, experienced life through entirely different perspectives, and have ended up in the same place as you, ultimately working to regain control and turn their life around for the better.

 

Why Switch to Sober Living?

Sober living homes are very different from other recovery programs in that there is no set program to begin with. They’re ideal for recovering addicts in all stages of recovery, especially those looking to transition into normal living, with no real idea on how to do so. The pressures of life can be very hard for someone fresh out of rehab – they include having to find ways to balance work and familial or social responsibilities, while maintaining a commitment to the spirit of recovery by attending meetings and therapy, making personal commitments, reaching goals, and spending time on hobbies. A life like that requires discipline and effective time management, which can be very challenging right out of the gate.

Sober living is a dry run of sorts, giving recovering addicts the tools and the experience they need to more smoothly transition into normal living.

 

Sober Living and Long-term Recovery

More than just a tool for early recovery, sober living can play an invaluable role in long-term recovery as a safe haven for recovering addicts who require a drug-free environment, either in times of stress, to reaffirm a commitment to recovery, or to help assuage or cut off fears of relapse by taking up tenancy in a community dedicated to helping people stay sober, and instilling hope in the recovery process.

Over the years, certain developments may lead to anxieties or worries over eventually using again, either due to external pressures or something unseen, like the development of a depressive episode. One-on-one therapy can help, but so can a group dynamic through sober living homes. The basic rules apply – despite long-term sobriety, sometimes you just need a place to stay where others are going through a similar struggle and seek refuge through a community without temptation.

 

Sober Living for Relapses

A relapse isn’t the end. Making mistakes and relapsing is arguably a part of addiction treatment, and the majority of recovering addicts relapse at least once within the first year after a recovery program. While a sober living home can help tremendously in preventing relapses, it can also help recovering addicts overcome relapses and ‘get back on the horse’. Recommitting to recovery can’t simply be done nonchalantly – it takes a dedicated show of commitment to convince yourself that you haven’t failed, and that you can still beat the addiction. Sober living homes provide an environment designed to inspire commitment to recovery. Through the ruleset, the staff, and the other residents, you’ll overcome the post-relapse slump and work your way back into long-term sobriety.

 

Taking the Lessons of Sober Living into Regular Life

Sober living can be an effective way for recovering addicts to successfully transition into normal living by providing the necessary rulesets to help someone adapt to life’s challenges and responsibilities without buckling under the pressure or losing the commitment to recovery and sobriety.

The conclusions you draw from your time at a sober living community are unique, and it’s hard to tell how it might translate into normal everyday living outside of helping you maintain a commitment to sobriety.

 

A Continuing Process

Recovery is, in some definitions, a lifelong process. No one really ‘masters’ life, and recovery is about finding a way to live a healthy and happy life in spite of your history with addiction. It will take time and a great deal of patience. But through sober living, you can help emphasize the part of recovery that truly matters living a good life while sober.

 

How Long Should I Stay in A Sober Living Home?

How Long Should You Spend In Sober Living

Some will say 90 days, others will give you a number closer to half a year. The truth is that there is no good answer. Any answer would be accurate for some, and wildly inaccurate for others – but understanding what sober living homes are for, and how they can help you in recovery, will likely give you a better idea of what kind of timeline you’re looking at.

Ultimately, sober living homes are homes and communities where recovering addicts go to live in a drug-free environment. Many of these sober living homes utilize mandatory drug testing to ensure that their residents are clean, while utilizing a simple ruleset for all to follow, including shared chores, mandatory school/job searching, and a curfew. Sober living homes enforce the basics, but the point is to help addicts become self-sustaining and work on their self-discipline. Coming off on an addiction and into sobriety can be a very harsh transition, and with it comes a long list of mandatory changes. Sober living helps people work their way through this list at their own pace.

 

When to Leave

When you’re ready, you leave. Unlike rehab facilities, sober living homes don’t have a time limit or a set program. There are no curriculums – every week is like the last in principle, in the name of consistency and routine. You may choose to seek therapy outside of the facility/home, join in group therapy, or find other group meetings as needed. Sober living homes are not halfway houses, and they’re not residential treatment.

One of the reasons people go and visit sober living homes is to find a place to stay drug-free after a major relapse. It takes some time to recover from a relapse, especially because the body is usually much more susceptible to drugs after a period of recovery than right in the middle of your addiction. Mentally as well as physically, relapses take a serious toll on you. They also eat into your morale, leaving you fearing another relapse. Some time spent in a sober living home can help remind you that relapses can be used as a learning experience, to improve your sobriety.

Another way in which sober living homes can help you on the road to recovery is in the transition phase between rehab and going back to regular living. Sober living homes give you a community of recovering addicts to get to know and potentially befriend, making connections with others who have had similar challenges in life, and have overcome similar obstacles.

It’s up to you to decide when you’re ready to leave. However, staying longer is often better.

 

Longer Is Better

Generally speaking, relapses are very common. Over half of everyone who goes through a recovery program relapses within the first year, and there is no data on how many relapse whenever they try to go clean without help. Relapses are not a mark of shame or a sign of weakness, but a part of the disease. It just takes time to get past them, and some people make progress faster than others – healing is individual.

That being said, there are ways to reduce the risk and increase your chances of not relapsing. The most effective method? Stay far away from drugs. Living in a sober living community easily achieves this – but that’s only a part of the equation.

Sober living homes live and breathe recovery. They encourage residents to seek therapy and go to group sessions. They help residents communicate with one another, learn to be part of a group, belong to something bigger, and work on their own individual goals. They actively work to minimize and prevent relapses in the long-term, emphasizing peer support and cooperation.

The longer you say completely abstinent, the lower your chances of relapsing. Staying in a sober living home longer is one solution – but what makes it all work is the constant and consistent emphasis on recovery tools and continued progress towards drug recovery. By continuing to work on your recovery through therapy and group meetings long after rehab and sober living, you will have a much better chance at avoiding relapses, minimizing cravings, and leading a smoother, better sober life.

 

More Than Sober Living

Ultimately, recovery is more than sober living. Getting and staying sober is the backbone of drug addiction recovery, but the real point of recovery is to find ways to live with your history of addiction firmly in the past, and progress to becoming a part of society again.

Realistically, it’s important to mention that cravings are individual, and many continue to experience the urge to drink or use after many years. However, it’s a much weaker urge than before – and one you can consciously ignore and learn to live without. But, because the temptation is there, it’s also important to keep in mind that support is crucial. We’re not alone in this world – and if you’re going to be staying sober, having friends and family around to help you is important.

Your brain remembers what it was like to be high, and as dangerous as drug use is, it’s addictive because it produces pleasure like few other things in life. Recovery isn’t about finding a form of pleasure to surpass drug use. But it also isn’t about living the life of a monk. Sober living isn’t locking yourself in a small home with a dozen other addicts, waiting for the moment when things get better. It’s an opportunity to pursue things in life that bring you fulfillment – finding a career path you truly enjoy, providing for others, being an inspiration, making headway in your own personal goals and aspirations, and working past difficult challenges despite setbacks and stumbles along the way.

A sober living home can help put you on the right path towards a life you can be happy with. Not one you have to run away from. But no one can say how long that is going to take.

 

What to Expect from A Sober Living Home

What to expect from sober living

Sober living first began as an alternative for people who underwent the full treatment program offered at their local rehab facility, yet still felt the need for an intermittent step that would help them on the road to recovery, particularly in the transition from a dedicated residential treatment environment to living in the “real world”, with all its temptations and issues.

Set apart from other halfway homes or rehab facilities, sober living homes for the most part mimic normal residential communities, set within a home or apartment, with a few minute differences. Sober living homes each come with staff and rules, rules that have to be upheld to continue having tenant privileges.

Payments are scheduled once a month, much like rent, and every tenant is required to either have employment, be in school, or be on the active lookout for a paying job. Family and friends can financially support someone in a sober living home, but most sober living communities make it a point for a tenant to work hard on attaining and maintaining employment as a means of reintegrating into society and transitioning into a normal life after rehab. Furthermore, tenants have mandatory and randomly-scheduled drug tests, and strict curfews.

These rules represent what sober living homes try to achieve – instilling their tenants with a sense of responsibility and self-control. Rehab facilities are important to helping tenants better understand their addiction, take charge of their own recovery, and have at least a vague understanding of where their life is headed from now on. Sober living homes offer tenants an environment where they can be guided into taking life into their own hands, by being productive, helping others in the community, and remaining committed to total sobriety as part of their new drug-free life. It’s a delicate balance between providing tenants with the freedom to be their own adult, while still giving them the structure necessary for someone fresh off an addiction, looking for a sense of direction and purpose.

 

A Qualified and Welcoming Staff

While the rules change from sober living home to sober living home, they all generally share a 24/7 staff dedicated to helping tenants settle in, answering any and all questions, and helping them find various services and amenities.

The staff at a sober living home is usually experienced with addiction and mental health issues, and all sober living homes have psychiatrists and experienced therapists working at the home, although many also encourage their tenants to go seek further treatment outside of the sober living home, either by visiting another therapist, or by going to a local sober support group for addicts, including 12-step programs such as AA. This is also to help tenants seek help independently and rely on a variety of different sources for support.

The staff also works hard to organize events that help instill a sense of community into the home, by getting tenants to come together for teambuilding fun, sober parties, and group therapy. Most recovery programs emphasize that being active in the local community can help in making new friends, creating and fostering healthy relationships, which is integral to giving someone the sense that they belong to something greater.

 

Amenities Encouraging a Social and Active Lifestyle

Lifestyle changes are integral not only to sober living homes, but to sober living itself. A drug-free life has to be healthy – chances are that your drug habits left you somewhat malnourished and struggling both mentally and physically, and eating healthier as well as getting moving can help you be happier with yourself, make progress towards looking better, and improve your confidence and self-esteem, not to mention help your brain deal with the physical aftermath of prolonged drug use.

Having hobbies is also important. Drug use is often a way for someone to cope with a hard life, or deal with mental health problems. When drug use is taken out of the equation, many people are left wondering how to deal with their emotional troubles. Hobbies can fill that gap by acting as a form of stress management, while simultaneously helping someone actively tackle the problems that plague them to begin with.

 

A Flexible Yet Structured Daily Plan

All sober living homes have daily schedules and curfews, around which tenants can structure the rest of their day. Tenants are expected to be back in the facility at a certain time and are expected to help with chores and responsibilities at the home, ranging from helping clean up common areas to keeping their own living space clean and organized, as well as doing their own laundry.

Chores aren’t just for kids – time management can be difficult for recovering addicts, especially if they’re still getting used to healthy sleeping schedules and all the time they have on their hands without drug use, so giving them an idea of what a healthy schedule can look like and feel like is a good way to prime tenants for living a better life outside of their sober living home once they’re ready to move on.

 

What Sets Sober Living Apart from Rehab?

Sober living homes aren’t quite as structured or rigid as rehab programs, which only go on for a set number of days, going through a certain curriculum as per each client, based on their struggles and circumstances. Rehab is good for helping people detoxify, get past the withdrawal stage, and learning more about how they can continue to stay drug-free outside of rehab. Sober living is about helping people figure out how to live life without drugs, using a concrete plan they can follow and try out.

At the end of the day, tenants at a sober living home are free to leave at any given moment, and there is no limit to how long they can or should stay. Tenants are encouraged to stay for as long as they need to, in order to feel ready for what’s to come, and return if they fear they’ll relapse. By helping them find work, maintain a steady schedule, communicate and interact with others, be a responsible member of a greater community, make a handful of new and close friends, and take up a hobby or two, sober living homes prepare tenants for a drug-free life outside of rehab, filling the gap between a dedicated residential treatment plan and life out in the “real world”.

Sober Living is About Helping People Improve Their Lives

Sober Living Improves Lives

The concept of sober living is simple yet has been effective for several decades. While rehab business began to flourish in the 60s and 70s after researchers and medical professionals began to understand the importance of environment in treating addiction, there also came a need for an alternative, both in terms of cost as well as commitment and format.

Inpatient residential treatment programs were usually costly and involved staying in a single specialized treatment facility among other recovering addicts for up to 90 days, with an average stay of about 30 days. Meanwhile, outpatient programs offered an alternative to those who simply couldn’t up and leave their life, but knew they needed professional help, nonetheless. Halfway houses were another format but were also highly limited in terms of how long someone could stay at the house, and what they would be able to do for their recovery.

In came the format of the sober living home. Sober living homes are arranged in such a way that there is no set program, no specific curriculum, and nothing explicitly separating the sober living home from any other apartment or community – except for a set of simple and very strict rules that transform it from any other place in the neighborhood, into a drug-free environment that places a premium on accountability, maintaining responsibilities, and learning to reintegrate into a society centered around individual contributions to a greater whole.

In a way, among the aforementioned formats, sober living homes give a recovering addict the best environment for legitimate individual growth and improvement. Sober living homes recognize that sobriety, for recovering addicts, is more than just “not using” – it’s a shot at completely turning your life around for the better. People don’t get many life-changing events but deciding to get clean is one of them.

 

What Is Sober Living?

Sober living homes or communities are built on the basic premise that many who go through addiction treatment programs still require the need for help in staying abstinent and sober. Rather than impose a strict program with a set structure and schedule, sober living homes usually only rely on a handful of rules. The basic ones are:

  • Sober living homes are drug-free. Alcohol and drugs are strictly forbidden, and drug testing is mandatory in some homes.
  • There is no on-site formal treatment in most sober living homes, although it’s normal to have psychiatrists and therapists on staff. However, treatment outside of the sober living environment – either one-on-one or in a group setting – is highly encouraged.
  • There is a curfew, and tenants are not allowed to bring guests over past a certain timeslot.
  • Residents are responsible for keeping the place clean, chores are distributed evenly, each resident needs to pay rent (and can stay as long as they choose to, provided they do their part), and certain house meetings are mandatory.
  • Tenants/residents must look for work or have a job. If they’re too young to work, they must go to school.
  • Finally, sober living homes can and will throw someone out for refusing to comply with house rules, past a point.

The idea is simple – by giving recovering addicts minimal structure and a drug-free environment, they can continue to grow without the temptation of drug use and make headway in their recovery. This can be through work, a passion they have, a therapeutic breakthrough, or any number of factors that may help them move on past their addiction to the point that they feel ready to leave. And they can choose to leave whenever they please.

Sober living homes started in California, and most are still predominantly in the state. However, the concept has caught on and spread in other parts of the country as well.

 

More Than a Program

The biggest difference between sober living and other treatment forms is also the reason it’s the most transformative. Programs are a big and important part of helping someone in early recovery make it through some of the hardest portions of getting sober, but it’s ultimately the “safe” freedom offered by sober living homes that help someone in recovery figure out who they want to be now that they’re sober, and what they want to do now that they have the option to focus entirely on their work, their passions, and their future without drug use.

There is no program, not in the same sense as there would be in other settings. Patients don’t have to go through the motions or try to make as much progress as possible within a set time limit. They’re given the ability to progress and grow at their own pace, to make progress whenever they can, to stumble and fail and get right back onto the horse.

 

Moving Past Sober Living

There is a time to move past sober living homes as well. That time is when a tenant or resident feels they are ready to live on their own or with friends/family. When a person has managed to maintain a certain level of self-discipline and can continue to dedicate themselves to both their work and their personal lives without having to sacrifice either for an addiction or the thought of returning to old habits, they can move onto the next challenge.

But that doesn’t mean recovery is over. Not at all. Sober living is but just one more step in the journey through recovery, and that’s one that can last a lifetime. That’s not a bad thing. Because what is life, if not a journey from one adventure to the next? And what are adventures, if not a series of obstacles and challenges to be faced, and conquered?

 

Is Sober Living for You?

Sober living can be your first foray into committed sobriety, or it can be what you need after a relapse. It could be that you’re feeling tempted and just want a safe place to be. Or it could be that you’ve been struggling with recovery on and off, and just need a place to stay where you know you’re going to be away from drugs, not for a month, but for a year or longer if need be.

Sober living is for anyone who needs it, and its simplicity makes it very effective. But it could also not be what you need. It’s generally a better idea to start with a more rigorous, guided, and structured rehab program if you’re just looking for help. Sober living is more oriented towards people who know that they just need to keep moving forward, rather than being for those who have completely lost every sense of direction.

 

Where to Turn for Support During Recovery

Support In Recovery

It can be difficult to rely on others, but that’s one of the central themes in recovery – trusting others enough to let them be there for you in your more vulnerable times, especially when you can’t completely trust yourself.

For some, however, leaning on others for support might not seem like a feasible option at first glance. Or, you might simply not know how to ask for help. We’re taught to stand on our own two feet and pride ourselves on the things we get done by our own hands – but we need to realize that there are times when we truly need each other, when there’s no substitute for a good hug or a favor or an act of kindness.

Being open to others is hard when you’re fresh off an addiction, but you can start a step at a time. When it comes to looking for support, consider your options as layered, starting from the inside and spreading out.

 

From Within

It might sound ridiculous to look in yourself for support, but the message here is that addiction recovery is really a lifelong journey about learning how to live a sober life, with increasingly less assistance, while still knowing what it means to appreciate the help of those you love and care about.

This is more of a long-term goal, but it’s an important part of recovery nonetheless. Also known as “self-love”, learning to rely on yourself takes months, if not years of steady sobriety, and better living – the kind that involves having a new lease on life, perhaps a new purpose, or at least something to focus on while you go through your recovery. Some people find solace in a spiritual goal, while others pursue career goalposts, or just seek to better themselves as athletes, parents, or members of the community.

Whatever it might be, your new purpose will give you the ability to rely on yourself and your choices and be more confident in who you are. Recovery isn’t about giving yourself over to others, but it’s about getting the help you need to heal and be a healthier person, both emotionally and physically.

 

From the Partner

If you’re in a relationship with another person, depending on the strength and age of the bond you share, it’s likely that they’re going to be your first line of defense in the struggle against addiction, and in the fight for a better life – not just for you, but for both of you. Being accountable to another human being is a powerful motivator, especially when you realize how your addiction has affected your loved one.

But it can be difficult to sustain a young relationship, especially in the early stages of recovery. Many argue that it isn’t healthy to be with someone else while you’re in recovery, unless the relationship is stable enough that the long-term commitment has already been established. If you’re just dating someone and aren’t sure about your future together, it’s best to consider putting the relationship on hold until you’re a more secure and put-together person.

If your partner is your spouse or a person you deeply trust on the same level, then their support will be critical. Being in a committed relationship with someone means being there even when things are at their toughest. But it’s important to understand that personal boundaries exist. Try not to rely entirely on your spouse and give them room to breathe and do the things they need to do to keep themselves sane and ready to tackle anything.

 

From the Family

Not everyone has a family they can rely on, but if you do, then you are truly blessed. Parents, siblings, cousins and extended kin can all pitch in to help out when you need it, whether that means just talking for a bit, having a safe place to stay when you don’t want to be in your neighborhood, or just wanting some company to keep you sober when you’re in a particularly bad place.

It’s expected of most people to move out of their parents’ home when they reach adulthood and explore the world for themselves. But that doesn’t mean you should stop being their child. That means always having a place to return to in dire need, for words of comfort or wisdom, and critical emotional help.

Other people don’t have a family to return to, for one reason or another. But in many cases, people who don’t want to speak to their old family tend to build a new one – through friends.

 

From Friends

Friends are the people we choose to be with. Sometimes we make bad decisions – and those are the friends you don’t want to be with when you’re trying to stay sober – but if you have that one group or handful of friends who you know would stay with you through thick and thin, then asking them for help to keep you on the right track can be a good thing.

On the subject of friends, another thing to consider is the impact that toxic relationships might have on your support network. Having contact with people who still use, or drink can seriously endanger your sobriety, and tempt you when the cravings are already unbearable.

 

From the Community

Even when it seems like you can’t turn to your partner, your family, or your friends, there are still many ways to get help. Sober living homes are perfect for people looking for the kind of support you need when you desperately need something to keep you from making a bad mistake.

These are communities that function on a basic but strict ruleset to prevent any and all drugs from entering the community or being used there. At sober living homes, you get to live a normal life alongside other recovering addicts, learning more from them about the hardships and joys of staying sober, and growing stronger through it.

Basic rules include curfews and drug tests, but they are excellent havens for people who have just relapsed or are afraid they’re about to, as places to rededicate yourself to sobriety, figure out what it is you want to do, and find ways to cope with the stress of recovery without succumbing to temptations.

 

What Makes Houston An Awesome Place for Sober Living?

Houston is Great for Sober Living

Houston, with a population of 2.3 million, is the most populous area in the state of Texas and has traditionally been at the heart of a culture centered on oil, cattle, and Texan pride. Yet it boasts an even larger cultural heritage today, home not only to a long and storied history, but to various ethnicities, achievements, a historic space center, and the largest medical center in the world.

Following the decline of the Texas oil boom, Houston slowly reinvented itself as an urban metropolis, borne from the cooperation of Texan natives and late 20th and early 21st century immigrants. Today, it is home to people from cultures all over the world, while retaining its roots as one of Texas’ largest cities.

It’s a great place to live for many reasons – and if you’re on the journey toward permanent sobriety and need the right location for your sober life, Houston may be a great fit. With countless museums, parks, and culinary adventures, there’s little not to love.

 

Cultural Diversity and Amazing Eats

The biggest indicator of a diverse populace is the number of amazing local restaurants. With Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Mexican populations among many other communities, Houston boasts some of the best restaurants in the country and has frequently been named among the top ten food cities of the nation.

Also known as the most exciting food city in America, Houston’s culinary strengths stem from its wide selection. From eateries and food trucks to luxury dining experiences, Houston has it all.

Why does this matter? Because when you’re going sober, one of your many goals should be to discover a way to enjoy some of life’s simpler, healthier pleasures. For most people, one of the best ways to discover another array of joyous sensations is through the taste buds. Instead of going bar hopping with friends, consider visiting various restaurants, ordering just a dish or two to try out, and moving on to something else.

 

An Arts Scene Unlike Any Other

You may not be the kind of person to particularly enjoy photorealistic artworks, paintings of squares, or strange nonsensical sculptures, but there’s bound to be a form of art that captivates you in Houston.

Home to over 150 museums in the Greater Houston area, this is the city for celebrating cultural heritage and experiencing art on a whole new level. The Houston Museum District can guide you through any of the city’s various different art centers, with museums ranging from showcasing history to automobiles, planes, cowboys, cattle farming, big oil, local art, and more.

Being sober isn’t about being as touristy as possible, but early sobriety should be taken as an opportunity to do things you’ve never done before and see things you’ve never seen before. Life can be a little aimless in early recovery, and inspiration strikes at the strangest moments – by taking an afternoon when you’ve got nothing else on the docket to go check out a new art location, you might find yourself having the time of your life.

 

A Great Place to Find Work

Arguably one of the tougher tasks when tackling a sober lifestyle is finding a fulfilling line of work. As one of the larger cities least affected by the recent housing bubble and still sporting an incredibly robust economy with countless opportunities, Houston is an amazing place to seek out a well-paying job. With the right qualifications and a vision, you can place yourself in any of the city’s many upcoming startups or find work in its established local industries.

Work is important for sober life, and life in general. A steady schedule gives us something to build our week around, while a fulfilling job can help us provide for our family and ourselves, finance our pastimes, and add yet another reason to say no to cravings and keep holding onto sobriety.

 

More Green Than Meets the Eye

You’d be surprised what a stroll in the park can do for you – and thankfully, Houston has lots of parks.

It’s been previously researched and confirmed that any amount of activity out in nature, even for as short a time as five minutes, was enough to boost a person’s mood and self-esteem, with the greatest boost coming from waterside habitats.

As humans, we’ve generally spent most of our time as a species in the great outdoors, and as much as we’ve since migrated to living our lives within buildings and plazas, being among trees, plains, and rivers in places like the Buffalo Bayou can be a great plus for overall mental wellbeing, especially in recovery.

 

Affordable Living

Jobs in Houston generally offer larger wages compared to other cities in America, when adjusting for cost of living. Because the cost of living – including food, utilities, and rent – is comparatively cheaper than in other large cities across the US, you get more bang for your buck, and get to spare more of your paycheck for activities that might interest you outside of paying your dues and making ends meet.

That’s a good thing, too, because there’s a lot to see and do in Houston. And that’s ultimately what makes it a great place for a sober living journey – you won’t get bored, no matter how much of Houston you think you’ve already seen.

 

A Lot to See and Even More to Do

Between the culinary adventures, parks, museums, and countless places to go spend the day or just the afternoon, Houston is a city full of variety and filled to the brim with surprises. When you’re freshly sober, looking for ways to have fun without alcohol can be a challenge.

You have to practically rediscover what it means to enjoy yourself and discover hobbies that you might never have suspected you’d enjoy. Houston gives you plenty opportunities to do just that, and much more – all while offering a variety of the country’s best medical centers and clinics, and excellent recovery programs, rehab facilities, and sober living communities.

How Transitional Living Helps You Get Back on Your Feet

Transitional Living

It’s very hard to transition into normal society after addiction. Addiction melts rules and breaks inhibitions and can often force a person into a position wherein they act on their whims. As much as we dislike rules growing up, as adults we eventually realize that they are necessary for upholding order and civility, for remaining decent and for promoting decency in our fellow people.

Yet addiction often does away with all that, as the brain struggles to think beyond the short-term, and begins to prioritize the next high over other things. The first victim of addiction is rationality, and after that, it all goes downhill.

Bringing rules back into a former addict’s life is difficult. Especially so if an addict is thrust right back into their old life after a severe addiction. It takes time to adjust to rules, even if they seem quite simple. Someone in recovery doesn’t just have to deal with all the other things adults deal with, but they must adjust to ignoring temptations and cravings, remaining sober in the face of the smoking, and drinking around them, and staying strong despite the pressure imposed by high stress in a new environment. That is why transitional living homes and communities have enjoyed success as a place for recovering addicts to stay while they adjust to the rules of sober living, without a risk for relapsing.

 

What is Transitional Living?

Transitional living or sober living is a form of addiction treatment. All transitional living facilities follow a strict set of rules, while providing recovering addicts with an environment that is conducive toward their recovery: amenities for hobbies and stress relief, regular social events to encourage coming together as a group, and individual rooms to offer privacy and time for self-development.

While every transitional living facility has its own set of specific rules, there are a few individual rules that most facilities agree on:

  • Absolutely no drugs.
  • Absolutely no violence.
  • Strict curfews.
  • Timely payments.
  • Work and/or school is mandatory.
  • Keep your place clean.
  • Commit to shared chores.

 

Transitional Living is Still Treatment

One thing many people are confused on is whether transitional living still counts as treatment, or whether it is simply a complex housing arrangement. While transitional homes and communities are essentially residential areas for people with addiction troubles, they are a form of treatment.

It’s generally recommended that people go through an inpatient or outpatient drug recovery program before they enter a transitional facility, but it is possible to go from treating withdrawal at home to going straight into a transitional living community.

One major difference between most treatment facilities and transitional living is that there is no program end. A tenant can stay in a sober living community as long as they want to, provided they stick to the rules and continue to pay their monthly rent. In fact, many are encouraged to stay if they need to, rather than stick to an arbitrary time limit.

 

Transitional Living and Other Modalities

Transitional living pairs excellently with other treatment forms. In fact, many transitional living communities necessitate that their tenants attend at least one form of group meeting or step-based treatment outside of the community.

 

Transitional Living for Relapse Recovery

Relapses are terrifying, especially for someone on the heels of an addiction recovery program. Many addicts don’t realize this, but relapses are common in treatment, and don’t have much to do with an individual’s willpower. They happen far too often to be tied simply to individual differences and are more than likely simply part of the treatment process. Ideally, however, relapses become less and less common, until they eventually vanish completely. The key is to learn from each relapse and look back on it as a learning moment rather than a point of failure. Failure, in recovery, lies in giving up completely. A relapse, on the other hand, is just a clue that something has gone wrong, and you need to recommit.

Transitional living is perfect for recommitting to sobriety and recovery, and by spending some time in a transitional living community, you can get yourself back on track to be an accountable sober member of society.

 

Learning to Be Back in Society Through Transitional Living

Addiction can rob individuals of their ability to be trustworthy. While it is a misconception to believe that all addicts lie – in fact, many do their best to remain honest despite their behavior and the stigma attached to it – it remains a fact that it is incredibly difficult to uphold promises and responsibilities while living through the haze of addiction.

Many lose their jobs and families because of the severity of the problem, and often that is because they are no longer accountable. Transitional living helps remedy this by helping newly sober addicts get used to a more rigid and structured lifestyle. But beyond that, this new sense of responsibility and heightened accountability comes with the boon of allowing a person to form stronger bonds built on trust and clarity. With addiction out of the way, former addicts will be able to salvage old relationships and seek out new ones, creating healthy bonds that help them uphold their sobriety by striving to remain accountable. Transitional living communities also work hard to incentivize sociability and encourage tenants to communicate, work together, discuss personal interests and struggles, and forge bonds not just through group therapy but through codependent living. These communities rely on tenants to perform chores and work hard to keep their homes clean, drug-free, and safe – fostering such an environment together can build long-lasting friendship and bring about a sense of social responsibility that is often lost through addiction, and hard to regain upon reentering society.

Feeling like we truly belong is something every human strives for, regardless of what position we try to achieve among our peers. We want to be a part of something greater and work hard to keep it safe and wholly good. Transitional living is the perfect place to regain that sense of community and belonging after recovering from addiction and going from a sober living community back to your old family or a new neighborhood will help prepare you for reintegration and a new, accountable, and sober lifestyle. In other words: it’ll help you get back on your feet.

 

How To Stay Sober With Temptation All Around

Learning to Stay Sober

The cycle of addiction is a devious one. When you quit using, your body begins sending you constant reminders of just how great it is to use. Moreover, as if that was not enough, your mind starts to go haywire, struggling to find a good way to cope with your life without drugs. It, too, wants to go back to how things were just a little while ago.

For a time, you will be fighting against your mind and your body. What is a person, if not mind and body? Fighting against addiction is not quite as simple as just making a choice to be a better person, and stop using. It is as difficult as giving up water, or going without food for weeks. Cravings, like hunger and thirst, constantly work to remind you how much easier it is to use and be happy. At least, for a time.

It passes. Unlike hunger and thirst, which can kill you, your body and mind eventually get over their losses and go back to being somewhat normal. It takes drugs anywhere from a few hours to about a month to leave your body, varying from drug to drug. While the effects only last a few hours, your system can take weeks to process a drug completely. Meanwhile, it takes at least a few months for the brain to recover from drug use, and about year for it to recover as much as possible.

It is a long time, but the cravings do go away. After that, all that is left are memories that might tempt you and pull you back into old habits, but they are much easier to manage, and fight back.

The trouble, however, is fighting against these cravings early on while they are at their strongest, especially when you find yourself surrounded by temptation.

 

Find Things To Do

Boredom is the beginning of many regretful things – when you are not sure what you should be doing, your mind begins to wander and come to mischievous conclusions. If you find yourself finding time to think about addiction, try to block it out by doing as much as possible, especially early on. Go to meetings, visit places, meet up with sober friends, and exhaust yourself as much as possible day after day.

More than just finding ways to block out thoughts of addiction, taking it upon yourself to do new things can be a great way to help your recovery. By finding new hobbies and new ways to relieve stress and energy, you build the base you need for a healthy life long after the initial period of recovery.

So visit new places, try out new things, and generally figure out what you want to do with your life now that addiction is out of the picture. Filling that void that drugs left as soon as possible is a good way to fortify your sobriety, and bring the kind of value to your life that you need in order to hold onto it when it counts the most.

 

Make a Schedule, and Stick To It

Spontaneously looking for new experiences is great when you are not sure what to do with your time, but once you find a rhythm, it is important to stick to it. Consider making a strict schedule for yourself – from waking up to heading to bed – and stick to it day after day.

Schedules can help immensely early on, giving you the structure you need to rely on, especially in times when nothing else seems reliable. Having a solid timetable to stick to can give you comfort and security, and you will never have a moment left to wonder what it is you should be doing next.

 

Seek Support From Others

While recovery is a path you ultimately have to walk alone, that does not mean you are in this completely on your own. In fact, a big part of successfully recovering from addiction is learning to seek help from others, and finding the key to staying sober lies in working together with others to support your own sobriety, and theirs.

By going to group therapy, making sober friends, and seeking help from friends and family, you can ensure that even if you are surrounded by temptation and find yourself struggling to resist, you can always call for help and get the affirmation you need to stay clean and stay sober.

 

Get New Friends, Move to New Places

Memories are a big obstacle when avoiding a relapse. They can come at the most inopportune times, and ruin an otherwise great day. While cravings that come out of nowhere trigger many relapses, other relapses are caused by memories, often coming from familiar places, familiar faces, and familiar sounds.

By moving away from these places, people, and memories, you can essentially start over and try to build a new and better sober life.

Of course, moving away is not an option for everyone, especially if you and your family are already rooted and settled. There are alternatives.

 

Enter Rehab or a Sober Living Home

When all else fails, it is time to rely on more than friends and family. Professional help and addiction treatment begins by taking a patient out of an environment of temptation, and bringing them into a place where they can focus on getting used to their sobriety.

If you have already been to rehab, or have spent time at a sober living community, consider going back. It does not hurt to enter sober living a second time around if you feel like you need some respite. Ultimately, you cannot live in a temptation-free environment forever – it would be like a prison – but there are times when getting away from temptation is the quickest and safest way to deal with it.

Keep working on your discipline, build up your hobbies, goals and relationships, and make sure that even outside of clinics and sober homes you have access to people who can help you stay sober when you desperately need their help. In time, you will stop worrying about the temptations, and instead just live your life and live it well.

Overcoming Self-Doubt About Getting Sober

Overcoming Self Doubt

When we feel good enough, nothing can bring us down. Being sufficiently confident lets you brush off negative comments and superficial critiques and move on with your life without a bruised ego or deep conflicting emotions. But when you yourself become your own worst critic, and you can’t find a positive bone in your body, then every comment turns into an assault on your person, and the compliments fall on deaf ears.

Your self-worth is more than just an opinion, it’s an integral part of your mood, personality, and your path through life. A low self-worth will lead to a more negative outlook on life, a lack of confidence or passion, and general discontent and unhappiness.

And when you’re tackling an addiction and looking to get sober, then a low self-worth can make you doubt whether you will ever get better, flushing your chances of a recovery down the drain. Being confident in your future is a big part of having the energy and the will to see a treatment through to the end, while learning important lessons along the way. Yet with self-doubt in the picture, it can be difficult to learn anything at all, or make any progress on your addiction.

To overcome self-doubt about getting sober and staying sober, it’s important to see how doubt and addiction are entwined, to give you a better idea of what you’re fighting for mentally.

 

How Addiction and Doubt are Entwined

Addiction is not the root of all evil, but it can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-confidence. Blame, shame and denial are often integral to people’s experiences with addiction, fighting hard to retain a sense of control over themselves while the cravings grow too strong to resist.

This betrayal, the fight between a person’s will and their body and brain, leads to a loss of trust in themselves, and that is often accompanied by a lack of confidence in the future.

To properly overcome addiction, it is important to regain that confidence, that self-trust – that self-love. Self-love is often noted to be important in the fight against addiction because if you don’t value yourself, you won’t be able to give the treatment your all. It’s not about being selfish – it’s about caring for your wellbeing.

 

Believe in Others If Not Yourself

For many, trusting oneself is a big step that is not easily taken. An alternative first step to begin with is to find someone who trusts you and supports you despite your own doubts – it could be a family member, or a partner. Whoever they are, rely on their trust for you, and their confidence in your ability to get better, until your own confidence can stand on its own two feet.

 

Lean on Someone’s Shoulder

When just believing in other people’s words isn’t enough, you’ll need to make sure that even if your sense of self completely erodes, you have people out there to help catch you when you fall. Self-doubt eventually paves the way to a relapse, and to prevent that, having outside forces ready to keep you clean and out of trouble.

Sober living homes are perfect for this, as they let you enter a completely drug-free environment to focus solely on your recovery, while continuing to live a normal life filled with responsibilities, obligations, and goals. Find either a special companion, sponsor, or clinic to call and go to when the need arises.

 

Reconcile with Family

Being surrounded by loved ones can help you drown out the voices of self-doubt and bring some much-needed banter and laughs into your life. But to do so, you need to reconcile with your family. If you left on bad terms because of your own mistakes, then attempting to bury the hatchet and recommit to a better relationship can bring many meaningful connections back into your life.

If, however, you left due to harsh judgments and an unhealthy family environment, then it may be time to create a new family by pulling together a group of your best friends – or working instead on making new friends.

 

The Silver Lining

Overcoming addiction is by no means a pleasant experience, so it’s easy to see how it promotes negativity. Often, people who struggle with addiction find themselves trapped in a cycle between trying to get out, and falling back in. As the cycle progresses, the doubt grows, and hope fades.

Do not let it fade completely. Grasp onto any silver lining – any at all – and do not let go. When there’s nothing left to grasp onto, then it’s time to call for help, until you begin to see that there’s more ahead than just the struggle.

Yes, many people fight their addiction for years. But they make progress along the way, making new friends, discovering new hobbies, maybe even getting a better job and exploring new fun places. Sobriety is about opening your life up to countless positive possibilities – it’s not about doom and gloom. Do not succumb to the idea that the path towards a happy sober life is suffering and atoning for your addiction – treatment is meant to be a positive experience, giving new insight into who you are, and letting you put the bad memories behind you.

By holding onto the positive things in life, you will make better progress in your recovery. There is a science to it – psychiatrists have discovered that thoughts, feelings and actions are inexplicably linked, and if you can direct your thoughts and actions towards positivity, your mood will invariably become better. This is the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves working with a trained and professional therapist to teach your mind to be more positive, and thus be a little happier as well.

Start by trying to consciously catch yourself when you begin to think something negative. Whenever you feel a negative thought encroaching, try and think of something positive as well. While you may be physically and mentally struggling with cravings, consider the fact that you’re sober, and your future is bright as long as you hold on for a while longer.

With negative thinking comes blame and shame, and with that, a growing sense of doubt in yourself and tomorrow. Try not to let the negativity of addiction pull you down with it – stay above it, and turn towards your friends and family when you start to feel yourself slipping.