Too often, addicts with less than six months of sobriety are released from rehab and sent home, only to run in to old friends or family members who are eager to help them relapse.
Soon they find themselves back in the vicious cycle of abusing substances to avoid withdrawal, lying to loved ones, and feeling disappointed in themselves.
Fortunately, many return to a treatment program with the hopes that this time they will beat their addiction.
There are facilities who recognize addicts need more than just a few weeks to get sober. The brain needs time to heal. The longer a person can stay away from substances, the better chance they have in recovery.
To assist addicts in gaining more recovery time, sober living houses have been established. Sober living is designed to provide a safe environment, with structure and expectations, that aid addicts in transitioning from rehabilitation back into society.
Sober living homes allow you to be around your peers, which offers many benefits, including the ones listed below.
Each addict in sober living has a story, an individual story filled with hardships, rewards, and individual ups and downs. Despite their individuality, those in sober living also share experiences.
They share the experience of addiction, it’s destruction, it’s power, the losses it has caused, and the struggle to overcome it.
Build Meaningful Relationships
Addiction, no matter what substance, replaces real relationships. It comes before family and friends, even children. It takes up all his time and addicts feels like dying without it.
Sober living teaches how to build meaningful relationships without using drugs or alcohol. It’s a place where those can learn to trust again, as well as build empathy and compassion. These same life skills will help them after their transition home.
Relearn Important Life Skills
There are many more life skills than empathy, trust and compassion. And sober living environments help those in recovery learn them all. Other skills that are developed during rehab include:
- Critical and creative thinking
- Problem solving,
- Decision making,
The more life skills they can master, the better chance they will have at preventing relapse. They can also use these skills to become a role model for fellow sober living tenants.
Role modeling means your behaviors are teaching others how to behave.
In a sober living environment, recovering addicts can role model behaviors of sobriety. For instance, showing up for appointments and meetings, showing up on time, completing chores and working the program.
Every role model needs a role model. In sober living, it’s just as important to learn how to pick the right people to follow as it is to lead. Learning this skill will be even more beneficial after leaving sober living.
Become More Independent
Addicts learn to find people they can depend on. They know who to go to when they need cash, food, a ride, and drugs. An addict could not be an addict with a dependent of some kind.
Sober living teaches addicts how to become independent. They learn to take care of themselves and meet their own needs.
Loneliness is a trigger for relapse.
Why? Because drugs and alcohol work with the chemicals in a man’s brain, spiking serotonin and dopamine. This makes the addict feel like they’re not alone, that the substance is all that they need.
Living in a sober living environment also teaches addicts how to reduce loneliness without the need to use drugs or alcohol. From simple substitutions like listening to music or playing a game, to having meaningful conversations, they can learn how to replace loneliness the right way.
Responsibility is not something an addict cares too much about when they are using. Their brains won’t let them focus on much other than their drug of choice and avoiding withdrawal. But once they get sober, meeting responsibilities can help them rebuild.
Too many responsibilities at once can be overwhelming for someone just returning from rehab. This is where sober living can help. The residents share responsibilities, giving eachother opportunities to carry their own weight but without overwhelming them.
Recovering addicts need someone to answer to, some form of accountability. In sober living, addicts can check on each other to make sure goals are being met, they are sticking to the program, attending meetings, or if they have stumbled.
Sober living also helps recovering addicts make themselves accountable. Learn to seek support when you’re struggling, ask for help when needed, and be truthful about where you are in your daily journey.
Build a Support Network
Relapse prevention tools include building a support network. Addicts can start this process while in sober living. They can start making positive connections both in the transition home and in the place where they will go after sober living.
Support networks should include sponsors, counselors, sober friends and family. A support network cannot include anyone who is currently using drugs or alcohol. A recovering addict’s zsupport network should also include locations of community support groups they can attend every single day of the week.
Support Groups and Family Therapy
Sober living homes offer support groups and give tenants access to individual and group therapy opportunities. These are essential for recovery.
Peer feedback and support can offer individuals and their families hope for success. It also helps an addict see that their family is not the only one struggling or dysfunctional.
Support groups are places where you can receive tips and ideas from other families who have succeeded in helping their loved one transition home.
In conclusion, choosing sober living after rehab gives you more time to learn how to live a productive, sober life. One that is worth the battle. One that you deserve.