Sober living is transitional after care that is designed to ease a client back into regular life outside of inpatient treatment. Sober living normally consists of a house or apartment-style living and can vary in size. Most sober homes house 8-10 residents on average, although some sober living communities house up to 30 clients.
Sober living is very structured and accountability-focused but varies from inpatient treatment in that residents work full time, go to school, or do both. It is an opportunity to experience day-to-day life while remaining in a safe environment with support and accountability from their co-residents and house managers.
House managers perform random breathalyzers and drug tests on a weekly basis. They also facilitate house meetings, where all residents must attend for weekly recovery check-ins. These check-ins ensure residents are upholding their commitments including progressing in the 12-steps with a sponsor, attending mandatory 12-step meetings, and upholding all rules and requirements of the house.
What are the Benefits of Sober Living after Rehab?
There are many benefits to sober living, all of which aid in the road to recovery for the resident, including fellowship and accountability, structure, and time for family healing.
1. Fellowship & Accountability:
The most important benefit of sober living is the brotherhood/sisterhood fellowship that forms in the home. Being around others who are going through the same struggles in life is crucial when forming a foundation for recovery. Residents usually form friendships that will last a life time and give them extra support for when they transition back into life outside of sober living.
Addicts/alcoholics tend to isolate, trying to solve their problems on their own which can be detrimental to someone new in recovery. They need to learn how to lean on their new support system and ask for help. Without support and accountability, it is easy to put more attention on things other than recovery, like fixing broken relationships or putting too much effort in building careers.
In sober living, residents are immediately immersed into the recovery community by their fellow house mates, making it easier to make sobriety their priority. This also helps diminish the anxiety of new things like going to meetings and finding a sponsor. Housemates also have a responsibility to push each other and call out any toxic behavior they observe.
Peer motivated accountability is crucial to recovery communities such as sober living. All residents have a responsibility to the sober home and each other to keep it as healthy and safe as possible.
Long term sobriety is only achieved with an immense amount of structure on a daily basis. Residents learn how to create and maintain a healthy routine that is not only recovery-oriented but also supports general life skills. No matter the age of the resident or the perception of their own maturity, this is a vital aspect of a new sober lifestyle.
The structure that is built in sober living allows the individuals to hold themselves to a higher standard. This means upholding commitments, being organized, planning ahead, acknowledging one’s actions, and being more deliberate.
Sober living is all about application. Everything learned in treatment now has the opportunity to be implemented into daily life. It is imperative that these habits are formed during aftercare so that they may continue for a lifetime.
3. Family Healing:
Addiction and alcoholism take a huge toll on families. That is why allowing time to slowly transition back into the family dynamic rather than immediately heading home is highly recommended. While residents in aftercare are learning how to manage their new sober lives, families are also learning how to let go of the reins and allow their family members who are in sober living take responsibility for their lives.
Families also have the chance to set boundaries, work on codependency, and concentrate on their own emotional needs as learned in Stonegate Center’s Family Integration Program.
What Does an Average Day in Sober Living Look Like?
Most sober home residents are required to get up around 7:00 am and participate in morning prayer/meditation. Sometimes sober homes do this as a community or individually depending on the structure level. Then, residents perform assigned chores and get ready for the day before heading to work, school, or volunteer/service work.
On average, sober homes require about 30 hours of any combination of productive time. In the evening, residents are required to go to 12-Step or recovery-related meetings, spiritual wellness groups, or counseling. Sober homes all have similar but different schedules and rules. Therefore, it’s crucial to investigate as many options as possible to find the right fit for the individual.
What’s the Typical Length of Stay?
The average length of stay is about 3 months, similar the 90-day programs that have high success rates. However, 6-9 months is the most ideal. Statistics have shown the more time spent in after care, the higher the chance of long-term sobriety. Residents who stay in sober homes for a year have an 85% success rate. The longer they practice this new way of living and acclimate to a sober lifestyle, the better.
How Should the Family Approach their Loved One about Sober Living?
The first conversation about sober living a client has with their family is always the hardest. Most of the time, clients create their own post-treatment plans that usual do not include sober living. These plans almost always focus on external needs and wants rather than their internal need for further healing and personal development.
Allowing clients to self-will their discharge plans this early into sobriety is detrimental as it leads them into prioritizing things other than recovery. It’s like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.
Future residents of sober living must realize that they need to take the professional guidance given to them seriously, and families need to understand that they have the power to either make or break their loved one’s futures. When families partner with their loved one’s counselors, discharge coordinators, and sober home representatives, a community of support and guidance is formed.
This community of support allows families to more easily set strict, healthy boundaries. Examples of healthy boundaries include the following: not returning home immediately, limiting financial support and/or limiting contact with the client. Call it tough love, but when families take this approach there is the greatest chance for success.
Debunking the Myths:
I’ve heard everything under the sun when it comes to excuses for not choosing sober living. I myself used some these same excuses in my own journey to recovery. If you catch yourself or your loved one saying these things, here’s the truth:
Myth 1: “I can’t go to sober living because I’m married.” – All the more reason to go. You have to look at this as an investment for not only your future, but your family’s as well. A couple of months away may ensure your presence in your family’s lives for the long haul.
Myth 2: “I can’t afford sober living.” – On the contrary. You can’t afford NOT to go. So many people dismiss the option before even looking into it, and many are surprised at what just a little bit of willingness can reveal. There are so many funding options available to clients including scholarships, payment plans, and coverage with some insurance companies. There are also sober home options with lower costs of living. Before dismissing sober living as an option solely because of the fear of financial burdens, consider the cost of future expenses related to addiction (i.e. legal fees, treatment costs, etc.).
Myth 3: “I know what I need to do, so I will handle it myself.” – While this sounds convincing, clients haven’t actually tested their abilities to follow through with their goals. The idea of “trial and error” is not safe for a recently sober addict. Learning how to navigate their new life in recovery in a controlled, supportive environment is crucial for long-term sobriety. This myth also reflects the prideful attitude which may have contributed to their downfall in the first place.
What is the Success Rate of Sober Living?
There are many variables to success rates in sobriety, including drugs of choice, time spent in treatment and situational circumstances. However, a broad swath of data suggests there is a 30% success rate for those solely going through treatment and returning home and a 70% success rate of those attending aftercare following treatment.
Therefore, it should be apparent that the longer the continuum of care, the better the chance of attaining long-term sobriety.
Preparing for Aftercare at Stonegate Center
At Stonegate Center, we believe in the importance of aftercare following treatment. To ensure our clients have the best options at discharge, we provide counseling regarding aftercare, connect them with suitable sober homes in the area and guide families through the initiation process.
The staff at Stonegate Center recognize how daunting this process can seem and are here to help. We’re there for you and your family from start to finish and beyond. Additionally, we offer alumni services to our graduating clients in hopes of maintain relationships and ensuring our clients have the best chance for successful recovery.
If you are in active addiction or have a family member suffering in silence, we are here to help. Please call our Admissions Specialists at (817) 993-9733 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – and ask for Dylan. I’m more than happy to share my story of recovery and help you directly! So, pick up that phone and come join our recovery community today.
Dylan is a certified recovery specialist and is passionate about helping those suffering from the effects of addiction navigate through recovery. He believes that the continuum of care is a necessary and vital part of the recovery process. Dylan has over 7 years of lived experience with addiction and enjoys sharing his experience to help others overcome their disease.