Without the slow and assisted transition from an inpatient treatment center into a halfway house, it is significantly more difficult for a newly sober individual to maintain sobriety. The rate of relapse amongst addicts and alcoholics who graduate from a residential program and return back to their initial environments (without extended stay at a sober living facility) is far higher than it is amongst those who complete a comprehensive aftercare program after completing treatment. Without a solid support system, which is essentially included when one moves into a sober living house, feelings of loneliness and isolation are likely to consume the addict and lead to eventual relapse. In many cases, sober living houses will provide transportation to and from outside meetings, which works to instill a daily routine conducive to recovery that many clients will continue with long after they transition out of halfway. In fact, many positive habits are instilled, such as cleanliness, living with and getting along with others, and maintaining a daily routine complete with responsibilities and commitments. Structure is a crucial component of sobriety.
Why Sober Living?
Sober living homes are intended to occupy the space between being released from inpatient treatment and returning home – a vital link back into the community as a fully functioning member of society. Standard sober living residences will require each client get a job within a given amount of time, attend 12-step meetings on a daily or near-daily basis, and acquire a sponsor sometime within the first two-weeks. This kind of accountability is essential in early sobriety, especially when the newfound freedom is a bit of a shock to the system after several months of inpatient. Aside from the obvious accountability and reduction of the risk of relapse, why would one choose to commit to an extended stay at a sober living facility?
- Overwhelming obligations at home.
Returning home after residential addiction treatment means returning to the hectic lifestyle you lived before – bills, work, maybe children to attend to. The stressors of everyday living are often too much for one in early sobriety. There is nothing wrong with prolonging your return home until you are you sure you are mentally prepared.
- Instant friends/sober supports.
The men or women you live with will inevitably become sources of strength for you on your journey into sobriety. Of course, you are not liable to become best friends with everyone you encounter – but sharing your space with people you don’t particularly favor will inevitably make you more tolerant.
- Extra “you” time.
It is important to remember that your well-being and your recovery are more important than anything else – your family, your career, your finances. Everything you put before your recovery you will lose.
- Continuation of therapy/support groups.
In many instances, a personal therapist will be paired with each individual client in an inpatient setting, and it is highly advised that therapy is continued after the client graduates from the residential treatment program. Committing to an extended stay in a sober living house allows each individual to continue with a comprehensive and effective aftercare program.