How Sober Living Impacts Your Early Sobriety
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Staying in a sober living home at the beginning of your recovery can impact your life in ways you haven’t imagined. According to the NCBI, “A major challenge facing many individuals attempting to abstain from substances is finding a stable living environment that supports sustained recovery.” Choosing sober living as this environment can affect the early stages of your sobriety, as well as your overall recovery, in many positive ways.
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A Safe Environment
Calling the facility itself “a clean and sober place to live,” a study from the NCBI describes sober living houses as “alcohol and drug free living environments for individuals attempting to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs.” These facilities are sustained financially through rent paid by residents, and the owners of these homes allow these residents to come and go as they please, as long as they follow the rules.
These facilities are not like inpatient centers where patients are kept in a 24-hour, controlled environment. Instead, they allow individuals to come back to a safe place where it is guaranteed that drugs and alcohol will not be present. Especially in the early stages of recovery, this can help a person protect their sobriety by taking away temptation where it is often most rampant: in the home.
Residents are allowed to stay as long as they like and continue to work, see friends and family, and generally do what they please. This option allows recovering individuals to stay in a safe environment while still being able to live their lives.
Treatment and Sober Living
Most sober living homes encourage residents to attend a support group regularly. Others may have stricter rules that mandate all residents attend meetings a certain number of times a week, obtain sponsors, and attend individualized drug counseling. Whatever the requirements that a specific sober living home has, staying in one helps motivate individuals to attend some sort of treatment or support group which is extremely beneficial.
Many individuals decide to stay at a sober living home in lieu of inpatient treatment. This may be because they do not require the strictness of the latter treatment type but still need to live somewhere drugs and alcohol will not be available. Still, these individuals will need to attend some sort of therapy or treatment, and staying in a sober house will often motivate them to do so, either to follow the house rules or from the encouragement of their fellow residents.
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According to the NCBI, “The Oxford House model offers a ‘social model’ recovery philosophy that emphasizes peer support for sobriety and shared, democratic leadership in managing house operations” (NCBI 1). This type of resocialization helps residents in many ways by
- Readjusting their feelings about drugs and alcohol
- Placing them in constant communication with others who understand how they feel
- Allowing them to govern themselves safely and effectively within the home
- Giving them positive support when they may be struggling most with their quest for sobriety
When someone decides to live in a sober house early in their recovery, they surround themselves with other sober individuals at the time where abstaining is the most difficult. Through the encouragement of others, this can help them remain sober and continue to for a long time.