Content reviewed by Nicholas G. Glines, Executive Director at New Hope Ranch
While an intimate treatment program is vital for helping one achieve sobriety, continuing treatment engagement is essential for an individual to sustain long-term sobriety. A treatment program that offers a high level of care, such as residential rehab, can help build a strong foundation for individuals seeking to recover from substance use problems. However, recovery is not finished once a treatment program ends. True recovery begins once an individual completes a treatment program and is ready to take on greater responsibility and independence for their sobriety.
To no one’s surprise, going from a residential treatment program to navigating reality outside the treatment setting can be quite a jump. Luckily, many treatment resources are available to help make this transition a bit easier. One of these resources includes sober living and sober living homes.
What are Sober Living Homes?
Sober living homes offer a safe living environment for individuals working on abstaining from alcohol and other drugs. These homes do not provide formal treatment services; however, they often encourage or mandate residents to participate in continuing treatment resources and mutual aid groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). To remain a resident, one must comply with house rules, including maintaining abstinence, covering rent and other living fees, participating in chores and attending all house meetings.
How One’s Living Environment Impacts Substance Use and Recovery
A person’s home environment is critical in facilitating substance use and sobriety. As a child, some environmental risk factors that increase an individual’s vulnerability to developing a substance use disorder include:
- Favorable parental attitudes toward substance use
- Exposure to substance use through parents and siblings
- Stressful or chaotic home environments
- Childhood trauma, including abuse and neglect
- Family history of substance use or mental health conditions
- Inadequate parenting or lack of parental monitoring
- Co-occurring mental health disorders
When one receives treatment from a highly-structured treatment program, they will learn how their life experiences facilitated their initial and repeated substance use. Once they complete their program, they have to face the reality of whether or not their living environment will be healthy to return to. As an adult, some environmental risk factors that can increase an individual’s risk of relapse after treatment include:
- Having roommates or a significant other that continue to engage in substance use
- The presence of alcohol and other drugs within the home environment
- Isolation and loneliness
- Unmanaged stress and a lack of knowledge regarding healthy coping mechanisms
- Lack of engagement in continuing treatment
- Lack of social support
As one can see, many factors within the home environment can increase one’s risk of relapse following treatment. Luckily, sober living homes can provide several protective factors that help individuals keep their sobriety at their highest priority.
Advantages of Sober Living Homes
Not all sober living homes are the same or offer the same services, although they are an excellent option for those needing extra assistance and social support to maintain sobriety. Here are several benefits of sober living homes:
Mitigating One’s Risk of Relapse
Sober living homes provide a supportive place for residents to heal away from the pressures of everyday reality. One of the most important benefits of these homes is that they help mitigate one’s risk of relapse by eliminating the presence of any alcohol and other drugs.
Society normalizes substance use. Alcohol, for example, is recognized as a social substance that one can purchase at nearly any restaurant or store. Other drug use is often recognized as a standard way to celebrate life. Living in sober living homes, whether it be for the short-term or long-term, provides an opportunity for individuals to navigate these triggers in daily life with ease. The separation provided by sober living homes helps individuals focus on themselves and their recovery without temptations or environmental stimuli.
Opportunity to Build Meaningful Relationships
Social support plays a crucial role in facilitating positive treatment outcomes. Another benefit of sober living homes is that they allow residents to build meaningful relationships with other sober residents. Residents will live alongside other individuals who are also in recovery and committed to lifelong sobriety. Through support groups or just living amongst one another, residents will feel empowered by one another to become the best version of themselves that they can be while prioritizing their sobriety.
As loneliness is a risk factor that increases an individual’s risk of relapse, sober living homes challenge isolation. These homes will help residents realize that they are never alone in what they are experiencing.
Fostering Independence Through Support
Responsibility and independence are essential for sustaining lifelong sobriety. Sober living homes help residents learn independence while offering guidance and support throughout the process. Residents have freedom of choice while living in these homes and can use the opportunity to make healthier decisions for themselves before living on their own. Similarly, residents will have access to 24/7 support through housing managers and peers, specifically when mental and emotional issues arise during recovery.
New Hope Ranch is a men’s only addiction treatment center that offers an ideal place for individuals to begin their healing journey. After completing treatment, we can help you locate a sober living home that will complement your treatment experience. We recognize that social support is essential in establishing long-term recovery, which is why we provide opportunities to build meaningful relationships during treatment and after. To learn more, please call (737) 600-8565.