Why Sober Living Houses?
Upon completion of an inpatient or residential treatment program for addiction to alcohol and drugs, many individuals are fearful of the possibility of relapsing due to not feeling totally confident in their new found sobriety. In fact, the return home can often be more intimidating than the initial treatment. Recovery is considered a lifelong journey with an individual’s real work begins when they’ve graduated from a treatment program and are taking steps to reintegrate into the community.
Sober living facilities—also commonly called recovery halfway houses or sober living houses—offer individuals the opportunity for a slower transition back to the real world, which is especially important for individuals who do not yet have stable accommodations to which they are able to return upon graduation from a treatment program. Being an intermediary between rehab and returning home, sober living facilities present the freshly recovered with an extended period of preparation in which they can learn additional tools essential for sustained recovery as well as time to make housing and employment preparations if necessary.
There have been many studies conducted to identify just how crucial sober living houses and halfway houses are to an individual’s recovery with the results indicating a positive correlation between living in a sober living facility or halfway house after completion of treatment and long-term sustained recovery.
The Sober Living Model
By definition, a sober living house—sometimes abbreviated at SLH—is a safe, alcohol and drug-free environment and group home in which addicts in varying stages of recovery live together, fostering a support network and sense of community while each recovered addict makes the necessary preparations for reintegration into the community. While seemingly a modern notion, sober living houses have existed as least as far back as the 1830s with the series of “dry hotels” opened by the Salvation Army that was intended to help alcoholics dry out and develop healthier behaviors.
There are a number strict rules that are common among most sober living and halfway houses including, perhaps obviously, abstaining from all alcohol and drug use and attending a specified number of 12-step meetings each week. Additionally, halfway houses prohibit any acts of violence among or between residents, require accountability for absences, prohibit sex on the premises, and require timely payments if no alternative arrangements have been made. Halfway houses typically have their own individual regulations regarding behavior by which the residents are rewarding for good behavior and can earn privileges. This typically includes submitting to random drug screens, abiding by a curfew or going to bed at a designated time, earning the privilege of having guests, and so on. Over time and by complying with facility rules, residents may eventually be allowed to leave for the weekend, have guests over for meals, or leave the facility for recreation such as going to the movies or shopping.
Halfway houses typically have their own individual regulations regarding behavior by which the residents are rewarding for good behavior and can earn privileges. This typically includes submitting to random drug screens, abiding by a curfew or going to bed at a designated time, earning the privilege of having guests, and so on. Over time and by complying with facility rules, residents may eventually be allowed to leave for the weekend, have guests over for meals, or leave the facility for recreation such as going to the movies or shopping.
What Do They Look Like?
Modern recovery halfway houses tend to look like a normal residence rather than a hotel or warehouse-style group dwelling with outsiders unable to tell the purpose of the facility from the outside. In terms of the operations, the residents of a halfway house or sober living facility will often participate in the upkeep of the facility such as chores and cleaning; in fact, most facilities have a phase system in which newer residents have the more unpleasant chores while those with seniority have preference or are the ones who assign household tasks.
Even though residents live at the facility, halfway houses should not be confused with inpatient treatment programs and differ in several specific ways. First, sober living and halfway houses do not typically offer medical supervision; in fact, residents must continue meeting with their doctors and counselors outside of the facilities for medications and treatments. What’s more, there’s no designated duration for treatment since residents are allowed to live at the facility for as long as they wish.
Sober living facilities also differ from inpatient treatment in that residents are guided and given instruction by peers rather than being told what to do and guided in treatment by medical professionals. Finally, since these aren’t facilities, sober living houses are typically more homelike and comfortable than inpatient facilities.
The Benefits of Recovery Halfway Houses
Returning home after treatment can be daunting for individuals who are still adjusting to fresh sobriety. Sober living houses offer an intermediate point between graduating from rehab and returning home, offering a homelike environment, but without the intensive medical care and counseling. This provides individuals with a sense of protection and peace of mind from the temptation they feel they’ll face when they return home, which will mean giving up the level of support and community that a sober living facility can offer.
It’s common for individuals to lose their jobs over the course of their addiction, which can often lead to losing their home. As such, there are many individuals who don’t have a home to which they can return after treatment. Staying at a halfway house offers a period during which individuals without a stable home have additional time after treatment during which they can make employment and housing arrangements or stabilize their family situation. Some individuals have betrayed the love and trust of family and friends over the course of their addiction, which can also be rectified while staying in a halfway facility as the recovered addict makes steps to establish a post-treatment support network.
Learning to Live Again
Depending on the age at which an individual begins his or her battle with addiction and how long the addiction lasts before finally entering treatment, it’s possible that individuals will have forgotten many crucial skills and responsibilities that are essential to everyday life, or maybe never learned them at all. While in inpatient treatment, individuals have very few responsibilities as they’re encouraged to focus on recovery; however, a halfway facilities offering individuals the chance to become acquainted with daily chores and other such responsibilities, providing a period during which a recovered addict and transition into a life of independence and self-sufficiency once again.
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction to alcohol or drugs, believe in the possibility of having a better life, then make that your reality. Call Drug Treatment Center Finder today so you can find the treatment program that you or your loved one deserves.