Sober living is a housing option for addicts and alcoholics who have already completed an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab program, or who struggle with maintaining sobriety without a structured living environment. A Sober Living Environment (SLE) is typically a group home providing a drug-free environment within which addicts and alcoholics live together and support one another with a common goal of staying sober from drugs and alcohol. Sober living homes are widespread in the United States, are generally very reasonable in cost, and provide an invaluable transitional tool for addicts and alcoholics re-entering society following addiction treatment.
Sober living homes, also commonly referred to as halfway houses or three quarter way homes, are designed to be transitional living for recovering addicts and alcoholics coming out of rehab program, prior to complete reintegration to society. Because of the very nature of drug and alcohol addiction, addicts lose touch with healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms to everyday situations and stresses. The disease of addiction creates new, dangerous behavioral patterns that eventually become an everyday part of life and normal coping mechanisms for stress.
Drug and alcohol rehab programs begin the process of reprogramming the addicted individual to make the healthy lifestyle choices that enable sobriety and continued recovery. This process is one that continues throughout the rest of an addict’s life, and it takes effort every day to continue along the path of recovery. Most treatment programs last an average of 30 days, and that is rarely enough time to learn the skills necessary to re-enter society and cope with life’s stressors without the use of drugs and alcohol. In general, 30 days is enough time to dry out and begin the process of recovery, but in most cases that process needs more nurturing before complete reintegration to society is a safe move. It is for this reason, sober living homes are so important and serve as such an invaluable tool in recovery after treatment.
Sober living homes vary in structure and management style, and it is important to get the facts on any facility before committing. For the most part, sober living homes are apartment style or group home settings that house several recovering addicts and alcoholics trying to maintain their new sobriety after completing a treatment program. Many sober living homes require recovering addicts to complete a minimum of 30 days in treatment before they can be accepted to reside at a facility. There are several things about sober living homes that make them especially helpful for addicts and alcoholics in early recovery:
- Sober living homes are exclusively for recovering addicts and alcoholics all of whom have similar goals of maintaining sobriety. This will provide each resident with the support of like-minded people making recovery more of a group effort than an individual. Sober living homes often also have one or more staff members residing with the residents to provide extra support.
- In sober living homes, residents are generally required to submit to random drug testing and rooms are commonly checked for drugs, paraphernalia, and alcohol. These procedures are in line with residential treatment centers to make extra efforts to ensure substance abuse relapse does not occur among the residents, maintaining the safety of everyone in the home.
- Residents of sober living homes are required to obtain a job and/or return to school for continued education. This requirement ensures that all residents have constructive activities with which they can occupy their time. By working and/or attending classes to further education, recovering addicts and alcoholics can begin on the right path immediately to improve their lives and remain substance free.
- Most sober living homes have an evening curfew every weeknight(generally no later than 9 pm). Shortly after the curfew, there is a roll call to ensure that every resident is home and substance-free for the day.
- Most sober living homes require residents to attend several NA or AA meetings every week to continue the recovery process. Often residents will carpool to these meetings, providing each other with support and assistance.
- Depending on the home and each resident, the privilege of returning home for the weekend is extended to many residents on Friday evening, through Sunday morning. This allows eligible residents to return home to loved ones overnight Friday and all day Saturday. This privilege is not extended to all residents and a decision is made based on many different factors including the resident’s relapse history, the home situation and possible hazardous people and substances.
Not all sober living homes employ these practices, so it is important to know all the rules and expectation prior to committing. Most sober living homes charge a very cheap amount of money for rent in comparison to other residential apartments or accommodations in the area, making it more than affordable for most recovering addicts to continue their recovery in a sober living facility. With the combination of support from other recovering addicts, curfews, and other supervisory restrictions, and the encouragement of employment and education, sober living homes have most all the tools necessary to guide recovering addicts and alcoholics along the path to sobriety. Residents have an opportunity to experience real life and still maintain the safety of a sober living environment.
Through pressures and stress, each resident can return home to a supportive group of people who understand the difficulty of maintaining sobriety. The transition from a treatment facility to the real world can be jarring as recovering addicts leave a safe environment and go out to the same dangers that surrounded them prior to treatment while trying to hold onto their newly learned coping mechanisms and habits. Sober living homes provide a more seamless transition to the real world without any limits on the amount of time spent there. Recovering addicts can stay at a sober living home for years until they feel comfortable getting out on their own. As with any part of the recovery process, from detox facilities and drug rehab programs to sober living homes and aftercare, it is imperative to do the research and know the facts before making a commitment. Please feel free to explore our links and search the treatment directory for more details on various treatment options. We encourage all visitors to register with us and post questions and comments. Please call us for guidance finding a sober living home.