How A Sober Living Community Supports Your Recovery

Sober Living Community For Recovery

Many who struggle with addiction come to realize that the social environment that they have been operating in is far from ideal. While you may care about the people you interact with everyday, you can also become aware of the fact that they are simply too consumed with themselves – and with getting drunk or high – to offer you any real solutions. Their own addictions will be getting in the way of their offering you true friendship, and the addiction can become the only thing that you have in common.

For those who choose to leave the environment of drug and alcohol use, there is often nowhere to go, other than back to where the addiction started. Returning to the environment where your own addiction started can be difficult, as there are often many of the same factors present which existed before you became addicted. Family strife, financial stress, and your own physical cravings can all get in the way of your accomplishments toward living a life of sobriety.

This is where a sober living community comes in. A sober living community is a place where you can get away from the constant influence of others using –  and offering – substances, as well as take a break from the stresses that may exist back at home. The community provides you with a safe, peaceful, and empowering environment.


Knowledgeable Staff

A primary benefit of a solid sober living community is that of available expertise. Staff are specially trained and credentialed in matters of substance abuse and sobriety, and are able to provide you with empathy and insight into your unique situation. You will not be seeking answers on your own, as you will be assisted with the knowledge on how to most effectively develop your skills toward becoming the true, and best, version of yourself.

The staff at a sober living community will be able to customize and personalize your experience. They will be trained in the dynamics of effective curriculum and responses toward various scenarios. They will understand your struggles, and will be knowledgeable in how to best support you during the stages of your recovery. Their understanding will provide a catalyst for your expression of honest thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, which is often a first step to take as you work toward developing a more healthy approach toward solving life’s problems.


Encouragement of Peers

Substance abuse is an isolating condition. Even though you may have many people around you in your addiction, those people are not able to reach the inner core of your existence. They are not able to see the real you, and much less able to help to bring this part of you back to the surface. This lack of genuine, deep, friendship can leave the addicted person feeling even more alone than before the addiction started. Developing a network of genuine, sober, friends is a vital part of obtaining, and sustaining, recovery.

At a sober living community, you will be surrounded with others who have been on a similar journey, and who have made a similar decision to change their life course. Rather than struggling, alone, to climb the mountain of success, you will be carried along in a wave of positive vibes. You will be able to share your own knowledge and experience with others, and will benefit from their doing the same. You will be supported with tears for your hardships, and cheers for your successes. Motivation toward reaching your goals of sustained sobriety will be continually fostered by the camaraderie by your brothers or sisters in recovery.


Extended Family Support

Often times, the loved ones of someone who is in addiction do not know how to help. Their well-meant intentions can sometimes result in driving the addicted person further into despair, and can actually be contributing to the motivations behind continued addiction. Other times, family members will simply give up, and consider that the addicted person is a lost cause. It is not often the case that these relatives genuinely don’t care. It is most often the case that they simply do not understand the needs of the person in addiction, and are at a loss about what they can do to help.

Within a robust sober living community, family support will be embedded. With these programs, it is not only the former addict who is gaining knowledge, but his or her loved ones are, as well.  Together, family members will learn to communicate effectively, and to resolve conflicts in a way that results in stronger family ties. These relationship skills are vital in creating an environment for continued growth and success, as the recovered individual reenters his or her life outside of the sober living community.


Successful Transition Back Into Society

The environment within a sober living community provides you with the space to cleanse your mind and body; to reorder your thinking; and to experience the support of a healthy, social, network. This transformation is built to last. Utilizing the life skills, knowledge, and successes as a foundation, you will be prepared to take on life’s challenges as you reintegrate into regular society.

With dynamic sober living communities, this transition is gradual. You are not simply handed a completion certificate, and then sent on your way. In addition to your newly acquired – or reacquired – knowledge of how to communicate and problem solve, your success in transitioning is often supported with the development of viable skills. The community will assist you in your personal endeavors toward maintaining a productive lifestyle, such as through enrolling in school, or with gaining an internship as an employee.

Often times, the connections with others that you have made while a resident of the sober living community remain long afterward. Lifetime friendships of accountability, encouragement, and honesty can be formed. These connections can provide you with the ongoing support of a network of individuals who truly have your best interests at heart. With skills, knowledge, and healthy social support in hand, you will be ready to take on the world.

Can Relapse Happen After Living Sober for Years?

Relapse Years After Sober Living

The government’s current consensus on addiction, as per experts in the medical field, is that it is a chronic illness and a brain disease. Statistics and brain imaging technology reveal that even after prolonged sobriety and withdrawal symptoms, the brain continues to show signs of damage and change as a result of drug use, and relapses appear to be common even one year after recovery has begone. More than half of all people who enroll in a recovery program relapse at least once within the 12 months following their rehab.

But statistics also show that the brain recovers, and that relapses become rare with time. After five years, only about 15 percent of recovering addicts relapse. While the chance of relapsing never reaches zero, it’s important not to misconstrue the idea of addiction as a chronic illness with the idea that addiction is untreatable and cannot be managed. It is more accurate to say that addiction has no cure yet, but that as a disease, its symptoms can be managed through therapy and medication.


Relapses Can Always Happen

Relapses are common enough that they should be a crucial part of the recovery process rather than an outlier or sign of failure, even years after getting sober. Sometimes, relapses are signs of problems in a person’s recovery, whether it’s a matter of inadequate support, stress management issues, or something else. Sometimes, a relapse is a difficult yet unavoidable moment that a recovering addict must push through and overcome to continue living a healthy sober life for themselves and others.

While rationalizing a relapse can help a person come to terms with it and move on, it’s also important to recognize that relapses are harrowing experiences, and that isn’t something that can be mitigated, but must simply be survived. A relapse will often feel like a personal betrayal, and like a mark on your principles and values, and moving past it takes a lot of mental fortitude. One way to overcome a relapse after it happened is to recommit to sobriety through enrolling in outpatient programs, moving into sober living homes, or working through your issues with a counselor or therapist with expertise on addiction.


Why We Shouldn’t Fear Them

Relapses often produce fear and anxiety in the eyes of recovering addicts, because they represent a fail state wherein all the time and effort they’ve put into their sobriety appear to be for naught, and if realized, a relapse would essentially prove to them that they don’t have what it takes to overcome their demons and lead a fulfilling life despite their history with addiction.

But it is precisely these fears and anxieties that make relapses so dangerous to begin with. A relapse may sometimes be nothing more but another stepping stone in the path of recovery, but the wrong perspective can quickly turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Part of overcoming the dangers of relapses is to recognize that they hold no power over you, and that while they are a sign that something went awry, they do not mean that you have failed yourself, or are in any way incapable of eventually fully adapting to the challenges of sobriety.


Learning from a Relapse

We’ve discussed the importance of learning from our mistakes when a relapse occurs, but how does one go about doing so? Your first task after surviving a relapse should be to contact a professional. Whether you contact your therapist or a rehab clinic, get in touch with someone who can help you get back on the horse first, to keep matters from escalating past one relapse. This goes for “slips”, as well. Sometimes, we don’t go into a bender after successfully maintaining sobriety for years, but we do begin reincorporating some drugs semi-frequently, whether it’s the odd drink after dinner or a pill or two.

Rather than allowing the slippery slope to send you sliding downhill at terminal velocity, contact your sponsor, therapist, or clinic, and get help immediately. There is no evidence to suggest that responsible drinking or drug use is an option for most recovering addicts, unless their addiction stemmed purely from an emotional or psychological issue, rather than physical dependence.

Once you have established contact with a recovery resource, it’s time to address the past and reflect on the events before the relapse. What was your emotional state in the weeks preceding your slip up or bender? Can you identify the moment that drove you to decide you need to drink or use again? What did you feel before, during, and after your relapse?

By identifying how you felt and what you thought in the moments surrounding the relapse, you and a mental health professional can identify potential reasons and effective coping strategies to help prevent more relapses in the future and make major progress in your own recovery. Going sober for good is a long process, and it has its ups and downs.


How Do You Define Success?

Overcoming the portion of your recovery period dedicated to dealing with long-term sobriety and potential relapses means also defining what you think is a successful recovery. Yes, recovery is a life-long process, but most recovering addicts reach a point in their life where, despite being aware of the difficulties and challenges they still face, they have become comfortable with their sobriety and have accepted themselves, officially closing the chapter on their past addiction.

Where would you draw the line to differentiate yourself from who you were in the past? How do you define a successful transition into sober living? Is a successful recovery complete when your brain and body have completely recovered from addiction? Or is it more of a mental recovery to you? These are very personal questions that you can explore alone or with a therapist, but the answers can only lie within you.

Either way, accepting relapses and learning to turn them into opportunities for growth and reflection can help you move past the stage of fear and anxiety, and into a point of your life where you begin feeling confident in your sobriety, and content with your rate of progress.

Sticking to a Schedule Helps Improve Recovery

Schedule and Routine in recovery

Drug recovery often relies on time, and in helping a recovering addict remain sober for a very long length of it, the challenge of said sobriety greatly diminishes and sober life normalizes. But without the right help, that time can be cut short. Most individuals who get treatment for addiction relapse at least once, and many relapse more than once. Some never get better. Sticking to a schedule can greatly help prevent this from happening.

Schedules are important. Like rules, they serve to give us a sense of boundary, a tangible limit to consider when we think about how much time we’re allotting to a task on any given day. They give us a sense of tempo, urgency, and accomplishment as we make our way through the day, day by day. But if mishandled, a schedule can quickly go from being an important and useful tool to becoming a terrible monotony, and if anything is likely to drive someone towards using again, it is boredom and lack of stimulation. We are going to focus on explaining what it is that makes a routine critical, while talking about how to turn a routine into something that remains engaging over long periods of time.


Why a Routine Is Important

A routine is a set course of actions followed daily. Routines are different from schedules, and they don’t always refer to the entire day. For example, you can have a morning routine, an evening routine, or a mealtime routine. Or, of course, a daily routine. A schedule, on the other hand, is a timetable that must be followed as a way to maintain structure in the day. Together, both are important for creating order in a chaotic life and dealing with the common issues often present in early recovery.

As a recovering drug addict begins to go through the final days of withdrawal, their next challenge crystalizes – learning to maintain their sobriety day in and day out. The only way to characterize a successful treatment of drug addiction is complete abstinence for life, which is not at all easy to achieve. This requires a lot of resilience as well as a serious commitment to recovery – but it also requires living a sober life one can enjoy and stick to.

A daily routine gives many recovering addicts the structure they need to ensure that they get through each day doing the things they must do to keep themselves focused on being sober. It’s very easy to fall off the wagon, and many of the things that keep people on there – good sleep, a healthy diet, regular exercise, a fulfilling position at a workplace, and time spent on daily hobbies, as well as time spent with family and friends – are difficult to maintain. It takes a serious level of willpower and self-discipline to practice that level of self-care over the long-term, and anything that can help a person cement such a schedule and keep it in their lives will be a blessing.


The Benefits of Diet, Sleep, and Exercise

Many of the things that are key to recovery are matters of self-care. Self-help and self-care are two very different things – self-help refers to resources that essentially try to provide individuals with information to help themselves, while self-care is taking the proper measures to take care of one’s own health. Anything from taking a long and slow bath to preparing a nighttime ritual can be a form of effective self-care. But perhaps the three key elements of self-care that are most critical to recovery are food, sleep, and exercise.

Your diet affects so much more than you might realize, having a serious and significant impact on your mental health. The ingredients we cook with, their origins, their processing, and the way our bodies react to them are all vital to both gut health and mental health. And while a nutritious diet can uplift our spirits and make a serious difference in an individual’s recovery, a poor diet can make a similar impact in the other direction.

Sleep is crucial, and sleep hygiene problems are one of the most common signs of a mental health issue. We need our sleep, and we all need it in individual amounts. Some feel six hours does them justice, while others feel they need at least eight to function. Both genetics as well as habit determine what amount of time is best for you, but what all can agree with is that daily sleep is very important. Just as important is making sure that that sleep is regular and consistent. We should fall asleep and wake up at roughly the same times every single day. Don’t try to rob from one day to pay for the bad habits of another – keep your sleep clean.

Finally, exercise. Research has shown that exercise can be an effective way to help in recovery, and it is certainly one of the best ways to deal with stress management. Yet there is more to incorporating exercise into a daily routine than just getting a gym membership. Think about what kind of exercise you enjoy and think about how to incorporate it into your every week. It doesn’t have to be a sport or a conventional training method – it could be dancing, or yoga, or something else to keep you active and moving.


Routine and Sober Living

The best way to practice settling into a routine and sticking to the parameters of a schedule is through the rules of a sober living home. Sober living homes are drug-free environments dedicated towards recovery and self-improvement. They allow recovering addicts to live free from temptation, while engaging with fellow recovering addicts on a daily basis for meetings, group activities, and more. Yet while this all sounds very similar to rehab, it has one major difference that sets itself apart: the lack of a proper program or curriculum. Instead, tenants are given individual tasks and chores, and are encouraged to learn to manage their own time and find the way in which they can best do the things they need to do, and still have time for themselves. Sober living homes encourage self-reliance, accountability, and learning to take on life’s challenges one step at a time.

Through a sober living environment, an individual can quickly learn to better manage their own time without having to worry about relapsing, effectively making the transition between a life away from recovery programs, and recovery programs.

There is more to addiction treatment than having a good schedule, of course. A good support system, a good therapist, a good recovery program, and a home environment conducive towards recovery all help smoothen the process – but at the end of the day, the question of whether one will or won’t use again depends on the patient, and having an established routine is a helpful way to maintain that commitment to sobriety over a long period of time.

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.