Life after rehab is hard, and making the transition into so-called normal life leads many recovering addicts to relapse. To make the transition easier, some people choose sober living facilities for a period of time after rehab. Also sometimes called a halfway house, a sober living home (SLH) is a place where you can get back on your feet after rehab in a supportive and, most importantly, sober environment. SLHs are typically not licensed or regulated by states and they may or may not be connected to a rehab facility. If you have a supportive and sober family to return to after rehab, an SLH may not be necessary. However, many people face uncertain housing and varying levels of support when leaving rehab, and an SLH can be a better retreat. Here are four of the best reasons to think about living in an SLH for a short period of time.
- Sober living residents stay sober. Rehab is an important part of the path to recovery from addiction, but it should never be the final step. Treatment for addiction has to continue, and when you live in an SLH, it does. Although not treatment facilities, SLHs encourage ongoing treatment, which means that residents stay sober after rehab. Research has found that residents at SLHs are more likely to abstain for longer periods of time than people who go home after rehab.
- Sober living provides built-in social support. Research shows that social support is an important element in staying sober after addiction treatment. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a family to return to and a group of sober friends for a strong support network, but not everyone does. Even if you have this group, not everyone can understand your position like fellow addicts in recovery can. Living in an SLH means having a group of recovering addicts for mutual support. You can also help each other stay sober, which is a powerful tool in recovery. Living with others is a great way to prevent isolation, which can lead to the kinds of emotions, like depression and boredom, which may cause you to relapse.
- Sober living includes discipline. As strong as your intentions to stay sober may be, adhering to your goals when you are the only one holding yourself accountable isn’t easy. Sober living homes have strict policies and rules. Living there means being accountable to yourself, the staff and the other residents. This accountability and discipline can go a long way toward helping you stick to your goals. It also gives you a sense of responsibility and a purpose.
- Sober living provides a smooth transition. The transition from rehab to home life can be jarring. You go from a fully supportive treatment center to the home where you engaged in bad habits. You may need to go back to work or school and face old friends and family members you’ve hurt. It’s not easy to do this, and SLHs provide the opportunity for a smoother transition. They are somewhere between a treatment center and post-treatment life. You can go to work or school and come home to your supportive, sober environment and stay until you are ready to face the world fully.
Sober living isn’t for everyone, but for some, it is a life saver. If you’re nervous about life after rehab and worried about relapsing or transitioning, an SLH could be just what you need.