As people who are new in recovery, most experts highly recommend some sort of supportive aftercare to help you stay sober. For many of us, we’ve become so accustomed to our lives in active addiction that we may not remember, or perhaps never even learned healthy living skills. We don’t know what life is supposed to be like without drugs or alcohol.
It’s no secret that the relapse rate among alcoholics and drug addicts is very high. Having the right support for a period of time after treatment can help solidify the new skills and healthy patterns that often prevent relapses. If you are debating whether or not to go to sober living after you complete treatment, please consider these six reasons why sober living can help you achieve success in your long-term recovery.
1) In sober living, you are never isolated or alone.
One of the main reasons why sober living is beneficial for people who are new in recovery is that you are no longer alone in your struggle. In our addictions, we feel alone, isolated, and desolate. The world is an emotional desert, and our thoughts and emotions hold us captive. With others around, we not only have accountability to our sobriety, but we have people that will lend a listening ear through our struggles, offer advice and support, and who really understand what we’re going through. With so much support from others, we learn to let out our negative emotions and feelings and deal with them in a healthy manner, instead of running to a drink or a drug to numb the pain.
2) Sober living homes provide strong support for people in early recovery.
Aside from the accountability you’ll have and friendships you’ll develop, sober living homes are well prepared to handle the myriad of issues people face when newly clean or sober. Your sober living manager will know just what to do if you’re struggling with a craving or an emotional issue is causing you grief. Managers know how to amicably settle disputes between house members, or how to handle a roommate who has been drinking or using. Your house manager also has resources for you if you need a referral professional counselor or would like to register for an intensive outpatient program after treatment.
3) A sober living home will provide you with accountability and structure.
For most of us, we don’t like being told what to do. But when we’re in early recovery and we’re trying to figure out this thing called life, a little guidance can be quite the relief. A sober living home will help you learn that there are consequences to your actions. For example, a relapse may mean that you’ll be removed from the house for a period of time. You might need to enroll in IOP, or see a counselor on a weekly basis before you can be readmitted. On the other hand, positive behavior may be rewarded as well. After a period of sobriety or success in achieving your goals, you may be eligible for a manager position or a move into cheaper, “step-down” sober housing that provides more freedom.
4) A sober living home will help you learn to function in the real world.
In a treatment center, you live in a very protected bubble. You have little or no contact with the outside world, and your days are highly structured. You are told where to go and when, and your actions are monitored 24 hours a day. Sober living homes are different though. Their goal is to actually teach you how to live in, and interact with the real world. You’ll learn healthy coping skills for the difficult parts of life, but you’ll also learn what it’s like to have real relationships with others. You’ll learn the importance of going to school, or getting and keeping a job. You’ll learn to succeed with humility and you’ll learn to fall with grace. And when you fall, you’ll learn how to pick yourself back up and start over.
5) A sober living home offers you a fresh start.
Let’s face it, when you enter treatment you rarely come from a stable, supportive, healthy living environment. If there is one primary reason why people relapse in early recovery, it is because they come out of treatment and go straight back into the unhealthy environment from which they came. Old habits die hard. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas, and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.” (Ch. 5, p. 58) If you’re going to be successful in your recovery, you have to change everything about your life. If you’re coming from an unhealthy home environment, returning after treatment will almost guarantee your failure. Sober living provides a safe place to go to help you maintain your new-found sobriety.
6) A sober living home will help you learn self-sufficiency.
The ultimate goal in recovery is to learn to live life on your own, to support yourself, and to learn how to live a successful and productive life. We come into recovery with some very malformed ideas of how life and the world works, and learning, or relearning healthy living skills often needs to be guided. Yes, a sober living home costs more than renting a room or sometimes even an apartment. However, you’re not just paying for a place to sleep. You are paying for professional help as you learn to live and succeed in life. You’re paying to have 24 hour support and guidance as you strive to become the person you were meant to be. Don’t get discouraged, your efforts will pay off. You’re learning to become self-sufficient, something that will most certainly pay off much more generously than you think.
There are so many benefits to living in a sober living house in early recovery, and this article really only touches on the basics. You’ll make lifelong friends at your sober living home, find new fun things to do in sobriety, network with others and find new job opportunities, and much more! But perhaps the most important thing you’ll learn is who you are. You’ll learn to know yourself better and grow faster because of the support you receive. At Chateau Recovery, we value and cherish the time we had in sober living so much that our life’s passion became bringing that hope and strength to others in early recovery.
We’d love to talk to you more about your recovery journey. If you are looking for sober living, please consider giving us a call or filling out the contact form on this page. We love to make new friends and bring new family members into our home. Contact us today to learn more about Chateau Recovery.