Are Support Groups Required in Sober Living?

Nearly all types of sober living homes “mandate or strongly encourage attendance at 12-step groups (NCBI). This is a type of support group method used by organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and others. While the rules of each sober living home are often specific to that facility, most will likely require involvement an organization such as these. However, residents may be able to negotiate with individuals who run the house and possibly follow different requirements, depending on their situation.

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Why Do They Require Support Group Attendance?

sober house rules

Some sober houses will require residents to attend support group meetings.

According to the NCBI, “Many sober living homes are members of the SLH coalitions or associations that monitor health, safety, quality, and adherence to a social model philosophy of recovery that emphasizes 12-step group involvement and peer support.” This is because the 12-step program has been used over many years with members showing positive results. In addition, 12-step groups require social interaction and group therapy which fits into the model of the sober house. Resocialization is an important factor of sober living, and patients are encouraged to seek treatment that encourages them to socialize with, support, and be supported by others who have experienced similar issues associated with addiction.

Most sober houses do not require formal treatment, although a handful encourage residents to attend outpatient treatment. Support groups are also more flexible which is necessary for residents of these facilities who have jobs, go to school, and live their lives while going through recovery.

Other Options

While many facilities ask residents to attend 12-step groups, some of the concepts taught in these programs can be uncomfortable for certain individuals. 12-step groups can be difficult for those who do not believe in a higher power or committing their recovery to one. Certain other aspects may make it difficult too for residents to attend these programs, but in all other ways, sober living may be perfect for their recovery needs. Therefore, there may be other options depending on the sober living house, its rules, and its management.

Some facilities may ask that you attend a support group of some kind. Organizations like SMART Recovery, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, and LifeRing Secular Recovery do not use the 12-step method but still allow individuals to come together and receive support through group interactions. If you are uncomfortable with the 12-step program, this may be a possible alternative, assuming it is approved by those running the sober house of your choice.

Other individuals may be able to attend individualized drug counseling which, while it does not allow patients to receive the same benefits of support group membership, entails frequent meetings with a licensed drug counselor. In many ways, this can be a suitable alternative as well.

Most sober living homes require support group attendance, specifically in a 12-step program. However, there may be alternatives that you could present to those running the sober home of your choice as a better option for your personal recovery. Every facility it different, so it is important to ask about any alternatives to support groups that you may be considering before you decide to become a resident of any particular sober house. Call 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?) toll free anytime for help finding treatment.

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