A sober living home (sometimes called a halfway house) operates as a bridge between an inpatient facility and the “real world.”
Once leaving an inpatient facility and returning home, you may be struggling with adjusting back to daily life. Sober living homes offer an in-between recovery option that allows you to reinforce the lessons learned in rehab.
For a lot of people in recovery, moving into a sober living home after treatment makes the difference between going back to their old habits or continuing on the path of sobriety.
A sober living home is a great option to alleviate any concerns you may have about going from such a monitored environment right back into daily life. Tragically, for many newly in early recovery, sober living homes provide their only option for a safe, sober living scenario.
It doesn’t provide the same level of structure as an inpatient facility, but it does present an intermediate sober environment that encourages residents to develop healthy coping skills and habits for when they return home.
What to Expect in a Sober Living Home
In an inpatient treatment center, patients are totally immersed in their rehab programs and generally don’t have much dependence. In sober living homes, that is not the case.
Residents aren’t bound to the sober living home’s campus and can come and go as they please. This allows individuals in recovery to feel like they are easing back into normal life and can start going back to their daily tasks and responsibilities. Although sober living homes are less restrictive than inpatient facilities, they still have rules that residents must abide by, including curfews and group meeting attendance.
There are many benefits to staying in a sober-living home, including attending 12-step programs, creating structure, accountability, and creating a sober fellowship. A big part of staying in a sober living home is creating positive friendships that help to reinforce the desire to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
This support system allows residents to avoid the isolation that can sometimes come with returning home while in recovery. It further provides an environment to support recovery from substance abuse and addiction for those who are emerging from rehab. Sober living homes provide a combination of freedom and structure to help the person begin to readjust to life outside of rehab. They are set up specially to serve as transitional housing for people coming out of treatment.
Improve Your Chances of Staying Sober
A sober living home acts as a supplement to an individual’s recovery. It is an alternative to going from an immersive care environment straight to a totally unstructured environment at home. Because sober living homes replicate normal, everyday life situations while instilling healthy habits, they help to reduce the chance of relapse.
Sober living homes help residents do a number of things that will guide them throughout recovery:
Making amends with friends and family members affected by one’s substance abuse
Finding a job
Locating housing after treatment
Adjusting to sober living in an unstructured environment
Additionally, following a carefully designed aftercare plan, including a relapse prevention plan created in therapy, allows you to identify triggers that may entice you to use once you are living in the community again. It further provides healthy coping skills and emergency contact numbers in times of high-stress or high-cravings/urges to use. This way you will have a plan of action for what to do during these times and have healthy ways to manage triggers in your daily life.
What are the Different Sober Living Types?
Traditional Sober Living
Traditional sober living is a place to continue recovery from addiction. The environment is structured and provides recovery support services. This type of environment allows greater freedom than the high accountability version but still provides some structure and support on a daily basis.
Residents are expected to work or go to school and take part in the weekly meetings and house discussions. They are also subject to regular drug and alcohol tests to ensure that they are committed to long-term sobriety.
High Accountability Sober Living
High accountability sober living is a much stricter and often an important step after residential treatment. High accountability sober living provides a much higher level of structure, with a daily schedule and activities that are facilitated by staff.
A high accountability environment is often the best option for someone who has had numerous treatment episodes that were followed by relapse.
What is the difference between sober living and a halfway house?
Halfway houses generally require that residents either have already completed or are actively enrolled in some type of formal rehabilitation treatment program.
Sober living can be attended by people who have not gone through a formal rehabilitation program but simply wish to get hep to abstain from addictive impulses.
Halfway houses are usually funded by the government. Also there is a maximum stay limit which is currently 12 months.
You can stay in sober living for a longer period if required as long as you pay your way with rent and also help with house duties.
What is expected of someone who enters a sober living residence?
No drugs, alcohol, violence, or overnight guests
Active participation in recovery meetings
Random drug & alcohol tests
Involvement in either work, school, or an outpatient program
What are the expected results from living in a sober living home?
When linked with a 12-step program sober living shows much higher levels of sustained recovery. It is the accountability and support network that helps as it is much more difficult for an addict to stay sober on their own without any further support.
The best results are seen when an addict has transitioned from a formal drug or alcohol rehabilitation program and then goes straight to sober living. The addict then has a follow on support to ensure they can live in long-term sobriety.
Sober Living Study
A study conducted by the Journal of Substance Abuse Treament in 2010 showed that residents of SLHs made improvements in a variety of areas.
To describe outcomes of SLH residents they interviewed 245 individuals within one week of entering SLHs and at 6, 12 and 18-month follow up. Eighty-nine percent completed at least one follow-up interview. Outcomes included the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and measures of alcohol and drug use.
Regardless of referral source, improvements were noted on ASI scales (alcohol, drug, and employment), psychiatric severity on the BSI, arrests, and alcohol and drug use. Substance use in the social network predicted nearly all outcome measures. Involvement in 12-step groups predicted fewer arrests and lower alcohol and drug use.