Should You Try a Sober Living House?
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Once a person decides to enter drug treatment, the harmful effects of addiction can persist for months, and even years into the recovery process. Addiction, in and of itself, takes on a life of its own in terms of the belief systems addicts develop while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
People who’ve spent any amount of time in recovery well know how everyday life can quickly weaken their resolve to maintain a drug-free existence. While some people may be able to overcome addiction through detox treatment alone, many others may require a more intensive treatment approach.
Sober living houses exist to provide a structured, live-in treatment environment for people who’ve had a difficult time in the recovery process. As addiction affects each person’s life in different ways, knowing whether a sober living house is the best choice for you has as much to do with your current situation as your past circumstances.
Understanding how sober living houses help addicts work through addiction’s challenges can go a long way towards helping you make the right decision. While a sober living house may not be the answer for everyone, these programs offer certain valuable benefits, especially for those with a long history of drug abuse problems.
Sober Living Programs
For many people, the damaging effects of addiction can persist long after a person leaves drug treatment. While drug treatment provides addicts with much needed coping skills, applying these skills outside the drug treatment environment can be difficult to say the least.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, sober living programs were first developed in the 1960s as a form of aftercare for people coming out of detox treatment. Most, if not all, sober living houses offer affordable treatment help on a long-term basis.
A sober living house program can run anywhere from three months to a year in duration. During this time, residents play an active role in maintaining the home as well as taking the necessary steps to maintain abstinence on a day-to-day basis.
Questions to Ask Yourself
How Severe is Your Addiction?
The type of drugs used and the length of time using have a considerable impact on addiction severity. Ultimately, the severity of your addiction becomes most noticeable within your everyday quality of life.
People coming off severe addiction problems not only experience declining health issues, but also lack for many of life’s daily living essentials, such as housing and employment. In effect, the more severe your addiction the harder it will be to manage drug cravings effects. Under these conditions, a sober living house can help keep you on the right track.
Have You Tried Drug Treatment in the Past?
It’s not uncommon for someone with a long history of drug abuse to have gone in and out of drug treatment programs with little to no success. Multiple failed attempts at recovery indicate a person may have to have long-term supports in place in order to maintain abstinence for any length of time. Sober living houses provide the types of ongoing supports and guidance needed to navigate the daily challenges and temptations recovering addicts face every day.
What’s Your Home Life Like?
After completing drug treatment, reentering daily life means having to tackle the inevitable stressors and pressures that come with day-to-day living on one’s own. Stress and pressure can take a considerable toll on a person’s attempts to stay clean and sober.
If you’re leaving drug treatment only to reenter a stressful home environment, the likelihood of relapse and continued drug use increases considerably. Sober living houses maintain a stable and structured living environment where residents can concentrate on the recover process.
When conflicts do arise within a sober living house, there are rules in place to ensure things don’t get out of hand, which can make a big difference in terms of one’s recovery progress.
What Are Your Daily Habits & Routines?
After living for months or years abusing drugs, certain habits and routines become an ingrained part of person’s daily lifestyle. These habits and routines can come back in full force once drug treatment ends and real life begins.
Rather than expect recovering addicts to jump right back into everyday life with no supports, sober living houses offer a type of “practice run” where a person can develop the types of habits and routines that promote ongoing abstinence, according to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. In effect, sober living houses act as a much needed bridge between the drug treatment setting and daily life on one’s own.
Have You Had Mental Health Problems?
Long-term drug and alcohol abuse has damaging and often long-term effects on brain function. For this reason, many people develop psychological problems during the course of an addiction.
Someone struggling with addiction and mental health issues has an even more difficult time maintaining abstinence due to the effects of mental illness. More oftentimes than not, long-term treatment supports are needed to help a person manage the symptoms associated with addiction and mental illness.
Sober living house programs can help a person monitor his or her medication treatments while ensuring all therapy and treatment related appointments are kept.
Do You Have Any Other Problems or Needs?
Sober living houses function as semi-independent living environments where recovering addicts take on certain responsibilities during their time in the program. As long-term addictions often leave a person with limited resources and money, sober homes offer training and assistance to help recovering addicts rebuild their lives while preparing them for life on their own.
The types of training and assistance provided may take the form of –
- Job search assistance
- Vocational training
- Housing assistance
- Help with accessing community-based resources, such as transportation
- Help in obtaining public assistance, such as food assistance and bus passes
- Childcare assistance
Anyone coming off a chronic addiction problem may want to seriously consider a sober living house program. While many people believe detox to be the hardest part of the recovery process, it’s addiction’s psychological aftereffects that make ongoing abstinence so hard to maintain.
Addiction alters the mind on a deep level, affecting a person’s thinking patterns, emotions, motivations and priorities. Ultimately, the more severe the addiction the more likely a person will benefit from a sober living house program.