Sober living and residential treatment may sound similar because both names refer to living arrangements, but the two often exist at opposite ends of the treatment journey. Residential treatment is typically at the beginning and middle of the recovery experience while sober living is often used as a form of aftercare service. Upon completion of residential treatment, the final phase may include a transition into sober living. Depending on where you are in your journey, you may find that you will need to start the recovery process from the beginning or you may be more in need of aftercare services to help you strengthen your sobriety.
What does Residential Treatment Entail?
Residential treatment is where someone goes to begin an intensive journey in recovery. Unlike other forms of treatment, residential requires clients to stay in treatment for a predetermined amount of time. This helps clients work towards achieving change they can maintain long-term. It is a 24-hour care environment that allows clients to focus exclusively on their needs in recovery. Free from distractions from the outside world, their time is dedicated to developing new skills and tools to support sobriety in the future.
The first two phases of treatment are experienced in residential care. Many begin their journey with a medically-supervised detox to help clients overcome initial withdrawal symptoms and cravings. From there, clients transition into residential care where they receive therapy and treatment for their addiction. Depending on individual needs, this care can shift over time to focus on different areas of interest or needs in the person’s life. Many will utilize care that includes:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Individual Counseling
- Group Therapy
- Family Counseling
- Life skill development
Residential programs offer comprehensive care for those in need of addiction treatment. By helping clients address their physical, mental, emotional, and psychological needs in these early phases of recovery, residential treatment introduces clients to the tools needed to support sobriety as they transition back into the real world.
Transitioning from Residential Treatm
After leaving residential care, it is suggest that most clients transition to an outpatient treatment program. In this phase of treatment, they may opt to live in a sober living while they continue to engage in aftercare services, support groups, and life skills training to continue strengthening their sobriety in a safe, supportive, and sober environment. After the structured environment in residential treatment many clients are not ready to be fully independent yet. Sober living when coupled with aftercare treatment enables continued growth while providing a safety net for those who need it.
What is Sober Living?
In residential treatment, clients are completely immersed in their recovery and it is their primary focus every day. Sober living, however, is different. Unlike a residential program, clients are not bound to a specific place in sober living. They can, in general, come and go as they please. Although many have rules and regulations that include curfews, there is much more freedom and independence in sober living facilities.
Sober living homes are generally intended for those who have completed a treatment program, but need help easing back into everyday life. Adjusting to life after treatment can be difficult, but sober living homes allow clients to begin taking on more chores and responsibilities over time. This helps clients readjust to independent living without becoming overwhelmed by it. Much like in residential programs, clients live alongside others who are in recovery as well. This helps residents stay closely connected with the sober community and continue building supportive relationships with others who can readily relate to their experiences.
Sober living homes serve as a step between the immersive nature of residential programs and the completely unstructured experience of living at home. Sober living emulates what normal life would be like, but it enforces rules that instill healthy behaviors, continued growth, and the development of independence. While each facility is different, they often provide help in numerous ways including:
- Helping clients find a job
- Assisting with transportation
- Continued therapy and treatment
- Development of life skills to support independence
- Better financial and budgeting skills
Sober living homes are able to help clients who may not yet feel comfortable or be fully ready to live sober on their own. They can also provide a safe place for clients to live if they feel the environment they are returning to would be harmful to their continued sobriety. They provide clients with the security of knowing they have a safe place to sleep every night that will be free of triggers, temptations, and enablers.
Taking Control of Your Recovery
Depending on where you are in your recovery journey, you may need to begin with residential treatment to ensure you are able to achieve sobriety and meet the expectations of a sober living home. In most cases, sober living homes require you to have an established amount of time sober to ensure you do not put the recovery of others in jeopardy. While the rules can sometimes seem harsh, they are in place to protect the residents.
Residential programs generally require clients to commit a great deal of time to their recovery. This ensures clients are given enough time and space to develop the skills needed to support sobriety long-term. The required stay can vary from person to person depending on individual circumstances, but in general, it typically does not exceed a year. Unlike residential treatment, sober living does not have an established end date. Clients are able to stay in the home as long as they need, but they must continue to abide by household rules and maintain their sobriety. This can be especially beneficial for those who do not feel as though they are confident in their sobriety and need more time to heal.
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.