Returning to life after treatment can be a difficult transition. In residential treatment, you are able to focus solely on your recovery without the influence of enabling peers, stressors, and triggers. Although treatment focuses on helping you develop coping mechanisms and methods of avoiding the pitfalls of relapse, obstacles are inevitable. For many people, this dramatic shift in environment can be a threat to sobriety and a gradual transition back into everyday life is more successful with the help of a sober living home.
How Sober Living Homes Work
Many sober living homes work similarly to residential treatment in some ways. While they vary in cost and amenities, they provide clients with a safe, sober environment to live in as they re-acclimate to the realities of everyday life. Sober living homes are generally meant for people who have recently completed treatment but are not ready to live completely independent. They can also be helpful for those who are attending an outpatient treatment center if home life is not conducive to in early recovery. They provide structure and accountability while offering continued support through therapy and other treatment resources.
Sober living homes also work to help clients continue developing independence by contributing to the household. While this can vary from home to home, in many cases, they often require residents to contribute to the cost of rent, utilities, and groceries. Residents are also required to help maintain the household and perform chores for upkeep. In most cases, residents must also gain employment or enroll in school or vocational training while living in the home. All of these requirements help clients develop the confidence and independence to support a sober lifestyle on their own.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Sober Home
Much like rehab facilities, sober living homes can vary greatly. While many offer similar benefits, this does not mean that they will all be equally effective for you. Asking the right questions can help you determine what sober living home best meets your needs.
Some things to consider include:
- What are the living arrangements?
Sober living homes can be set up in different ways. Some homes have shared rooms while others offer private rooms. Sharing a room can reduce the cost of staying in the home. While the idea of sharing a room with another adult may not seem ideal, in many cases, this can help residents build strong relationships with others and strengthen the support system in place.Additionally, some homes are gender specific. Living in a gender-specific home can make it easier to feel more comfortable expressing yourself and your concerns. It can also help reduce distractions and temptations that can deter your recovery.
- Is the home run by a religious organization?
Sober living homes can be run by an individual, an organization, a rehab center, or even a church. Homes that are run by religious organizations usually include spirituality as part of the recovery process. If religion is important to you, these homes can provide an additional aspect of support. In some cases, sober living homes that are managed by churches will offer more affordable living if residents do volunteer work.
- What types of rules and policies are in place?
Sober living homes have rules and policies in place to protect the residents. While these homes serve to help you develop independence while managing your sobriety, it is important to be clear on what their expectations are before choosing.Some rules and policies to consider may include:
- Are staff on-site to supervise residents?
- Is random drug testing performed?
- Is there a curfew?
- Does the house have regular meetings or sessions with residents?
- Does the house provide access to one-on-one therapy or counseling?
- What are the financial expectations and responsibilities?
- How are residents expected to contribute to the household?
- Where is it located?
Location is important in choosing a sober living home. As you begin integrating with the world, considering access to public transportation and how far the home is from where you plan to work or attend school is important. If you will have to spend most of your time walking, making sure you live in a safe neighborhood is critical. You should also consider if the house is near locations or environments that could trigger relapse. The home should be in a safe place that further insulates you from triggers that can threaten your sobriety.
- How much does it cost?
In addition to making sure the sober home meets your needs, you must also consider what the financial expectations are. In general, many sober living homes expect residents to contribute to the cost of rent, utilities, groceries, and other needs. Assess your budget and whether or not you can fulfill the financial responsibilities of the home. Knowing what you can afford can help you narrow down your search as you try to find the home best suited for you.
Most sober living homes do not have a concrete timeline for how long you can stay there. As long as you maintain your sobriety and abide by the house rules, residents are able to stay as long as needed. For many people, a sober living will be their home for at least a few months making it important to invest the time upfront to find the right one. Reach out to your treatment providers and sober peers for input about various housing options. You can often find reviews and recommendations online to help you make your decision. Sober living homes offer a safe place to continue developing your sobriety as you transition back into the routines and responsibilities of everyday life. Finding the right home can make this period of time impactful, effective, and easier to manage.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 310.403.1032 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.