What Is Sober Living? How Can It Help People in Recovery?
Recovery from addiction is a long-term process. While detox and rehab can help an individual to get sober, staying sober requires additional commitment, support, and care. While some people have loving, supportive families waiting for them after rehab, others would find it difficult to remain sober when they return home. Because of the people they would live with or the circumstances in which they would live, they would be at significant risk of relapse.
This is where sober living homes in California come in. These are transitional group homes for people in recovery who want to live mostly independently while in a structured environment. Sober living homes are designed for people who are in the early stages of recovery and they’re usually located in quiet, peaceful communities. There are several types of sober living arrangements with halfway houses being the most popular.
What Are Halfway Houses?
Halfway houses are often sponsored by the state or federal government and they usually act as a transitional facility for people who have recently completed substance abuse treatment. Some accept residents who are enrolled in outpatient treatment. Some halfway homes are also for individuals who underwent treatment while in prison and were mandated by the court to enter the facility.
In many cases, there is a limit on the time a person can stay in a halfway house. The amenities offered in these facilities are often limited to room and board with scheduled group meetings. There is limited therapeutic support.
Halfway houses are quite basic when compared to private sober living and transitional living homes. These tend to be more luxurious with a wider range of amenities and greater professional support.
What Happens in Sober Living
In rehab centers, people undergo intensive treatment and have some limits on their freedom. Sober living homes, in contrast, generally allow residents to come and go as they please although they need to follow certain rules. People who reside in sober living homes are expected to be largely responsible for themselves. This is an important part of the recovery process since people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often act irresponsibly and their peers or families often enable or even encourage them.
When you live in a recovery home, you have to buy your own food, pay your own rent, and do all the things you would do if you lived in a typical home. However, you also benefit from resources designed to reinforce the skills you learned during rehab.
Advantages of Sober Living Homes in California
Sober living offers several benefits to people starting out on their recovery journey.
Round-the Clock Peer and Professional Support
In a sober living home, you’ll live independently but you won’t be alone. You’ll be surrounded by people who are on the same journey as you are. They’ll support you and hold you accountable while you do the same for them. You’ll also have access to on-site managers who live at the facility and they can help you to maintain your sobriety. You can call on them if you’re dealing with any issues relating to your recovery such as finding a job or dealing with cravings. They’ll be there to listen or provide guidance when you need it.
On-site managers can also help to keep you accountable in your efforts to stay sober. Sober living facilities have rules designed to keep everyone sober and healthy. The managers will seek to ensure that everyone follows these rules. Drugs and alcohol will be banned from the home and residents may be subjected to regular drug tests.
An Opportunity to Build Healthy, Sober Relationships
Drug and alcohol addiction can be very isolating. You may have felt alone when you were using drugs or drinking because you rejected the sober people in your life. Your family members may also have become estranged. Furthermore, when you entered rehab it may have been difficult to maintain contact even with those people who remained in your life.
Maintaining sobriety often requires that people in recovery make new friends and leave their old peer groups behind. Going back to their former hangouts would likely increase their risk of relapse and even their home environment may be triggering. Forming new friend groups can be difficult and this can cause them to feel like there’s nowhere to turn.
That’s another reason why sober living homes are so important. They provide an opportunity to meet and live with people who have common struggles and common goals. Your housemates will know what it’s like to feel like you have no control over your drug use. They know the interpersonal, legal, and financial issues that addiction can cause and they have a desire to change and live a much healthier life.
Over time, you’ll build relationships with some of these people and those relationships can continue long after you transition back into your own home. You’ll be able to discuss both your challenges and your successes with people who understand what you’re going through. Together, you’ll discover new ways to have clean, sober fun.
A Lower Risk of Relapse
Substance use and addiction can change the brain in several ways, some of them permanent. The ability to display self-control or make rational decisions can be compromised. In the early stages of recovery, people who were addicted to substances can find it very difficult to fight temptation. In a sober living facility, there won’t be any alcohol, illegal drugs, or addictive prescription drugs to turn to. You’ll also have a schedule to stick to, leaving little room to find or use drugs.
Sober living is aimed at promoting recovery in a safe space that’s in some ways protected from outside living. Since you’ll be in a calm, healing environment, you’ll be able to focus on yourself without being tempted to use drugs or alcohol. While relapse is a normal part of recovery, sober living can reduce the risk of it occurring.
The Development or Restoration of Life Skills
One of the key indicators of addiction is the neglect of home, familial, or work obligations. Everything takes a backseat to finding drugs or alcohol, using drugs or alcohol, and recovering from using drugs or alcohol. Eating balanced meals, exercising, taking care of the home, and looking after personal hygiene are not priorities. After getting sober, individuals need to get back into the habit of doing all these things. Some need to develop these skills for the first time.
Sober living provides the structure that individuals need to live a healthy, productive life. If necessary, you’ll learn or relearn simple things like how to do laundry or make the bed. You’ll also learn about how to apply for a job, manage your finances, deal with interpersonal challenges, and perform other practical tasks. This is all in preparation for fully independent living.
A Chance to Take Your Life Back Into Your Own Hands
One of the biggest advantages of residing in a sober living facility is that you can take charge of your life. When you’re sober and confident in your ability to maintain that sobriety you can further your education, seek employment, and put plans in place to succeed in whatever you do. You can cook your own meals, seek out new hobbies, and form positive bonds with other people. This independence feels good especially after lengthy periods of addiction and in-patient treatment.
Preparation for the Transition into Mainstream Life
Inpatient treatment is characterized by total immersion in a rehab program. Patients usually have to stick to strict schedules. This may be a necessary part of the recovery journey but it’s only temporary. Whether it lasts 30, 60 or 90 days, intensive addiction treatment eventually comes to an end. Since the transition can be difficult, sober living homes provide something of a middle ground.
Sober living makes it easier to return to everyday life. It provides a bridge between the treatment facility and everything that comes with the “real world”. You don’t have round-the-clock medical supervision but you have access to professional support. At the same time, you can work or participate in sports while returning to a safe home every night. In this way, you get a taste of living a sober life without the intensity and restrictions associated with rehab.
While sober living homes are open to people in all stages of recovery, they’re best for those in outpatient treatment or early recovery after inpatient rehab. Therefore, you’ll likely be getting some type of therapy or counseling. Sober living can help you to balance mainstream life with ongoing addiction treatment.
What to Expect in a Sober Living Home
Recovery homes in Orange County allow residents to resume some of their old responsibilities or assume new ones and ease into life as sober individuals. However, even though the restrictions are eased, there are rules in place. Generally, residents can come and go as they please but they may be required to adhere to a curfew and attend group meetings.
A typical day may involve:
- Daily chores such as making your bed and cleaning the bathroom
- Attending a house meeting or counseling session
- Carrying out community service, looking for work or going to work
- Having an alcohol-free evening meal with your housemates
- Reading, watching TV or catching up with your loved ones
As you can see, there’s a mix of freedom and structure. These routines are very simple but research shows they can be highly effective. There’s no intensive monitoring but you benefit from enough structure to keep you heading in the right direction. Your specific experience will vary depending on the facility you choose and how far along you are in your recovery journey.
Residing in a sober living facility can increase your chances of maintaining your sobriety. However, you’ll still need to actively participate in your recovery by following the rules, attending counseling sessions, and drawing on your housemates for support.
Deciding If a Sober Living Home Is Right for You
Some addiction treatment facilities such as Circle of Life offer transitional living programs. Many people opt to enter the sober living facility run by the place where they attended rehab based on the recommendation of their counselors. However, this isn’t always the case and sober living isn’t right for everyone.
Sober living homes are usually for people who have gone through detox and inpatient rehab but aren’t ready to return to their former homes. If you haven’t yet benefitted from intensive therapy or you’re still actively drinking or using drugs, you probably aren’t ready to start living independently.
However, if you’ve undergone detox and rehab but you want a little more structure before you return home, sober living could be the best option. It’s best to reach out to an addiction professional so you can get an expert assessment and opinion on the best course of action to take. Each person’s recovery journey is different so you’ll need a program that caters to your specific needs.
How to Choose a Sober Living Program
Not all sober living facilities and programs are the same. Therefore, you’ll need to assess the available options and choose the one that’s best for you. Some of the things you should consider include:
- The types of services offered such as medical care or complementary therapies
- The level of support provided such as 24-hour staffing by clinical staff
- Whether there is specialized help for your demographic (young adults, veterans, people living with disabilities)
- The number of people in the facility
- The location of the facility
- Whether support group attendance is mandatory
Get Help from Circle of Life
If you’re looking for sober living homes in California, you’ll want to consider Circle of Life. We’re a luxury treatment facility that offers a full continuum of care from detox through to transitional living. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer. Our highly-trained addiction professionals will answer your questions and assess your needs.