Completing addiction treatment is a big accomplishment, but some of recovery’s toughest challenges occur after you leave the treatment facility. For many recovering people, a sober living facility can help them reintegrate into society and navigate the challenges and temptations of daily life.
What is a Sober Living Facility?
A sober living facility is a group home used by people recovering from addiction; these homes provide a safe place where recovering individuals can transition from rehab to their new, sober everyday life. The environment of a sober living home is less structured than that of a rehab center, but there are usually strict rules involving curfews, behavior and attendance at group meetings.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that individuals remain in a sober living facility for a period of 90 days, but most facilities encourage residents to stay as long as needed.
Understanding the Benefits
A sober living facility is more than just an alcohol and drug-free residence. This type of housing offers many benefits to residents, including:
- A smooth transition to post-rehab life: Staying sober after addiction treatment isn’t easy, and it’s not uncommon to suffer some slip-ups when you’re learning to deal with the challenges of daily life. A sober living facility can act as an intermediate stop on the road to recovery, bridging the gap between the treatment center and the real world.
- A sober social network and support: Many recovering people feel isolated when they leave rehab, especially if their family and old friends aren’t conducive to maintaining sobriety. Sober living facilities often have a positive social element, and they usually provide group meetings that help residents feel connected. Other residents and staff are never far away, and this type of social support can be a valuable resource during the first weeks and months of sober living.
- Well-defined rules: Adherence to the rules is essential at a sober living facility. Drugs and alcohol are forbidden; if you want to stay in the home, you must stay sober. Residents usually participate in the care and maintenance of a sober living home, which helps them feel a sense of purpose and responsibility.
Research has demonstrated the value of sober living homes for people recovering from addiction. A paper published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs pointed out that the sober social network and emphasis on 12-step meetings at sober living facilities contributed to their strong success rates.
One study examined the impact of sober living facilities on residents and found that residents of these homes experienced better outcomes in multiple areas. People who stayed at a sober living home were more likely to remain abstinent and be employed, and they were less likely to get arrested.
If you or someone you love is in recovery, a sober living facility may be a good fit for their needs. The high expectations and supportive atmosphere of a sober living home can help a recovering person make the transition back to daily life at a pace they feel comfortable with.