What are Sober Living Environments Really Like?
A sober living environment is designed to accommodate those who want to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Addicts in recovery who might otherwise experience serious difficulty in maintaining abstinence find that being in a stable, drug-free environment following treatment is better for them.
Sober living environments were originally introduced as a safe and supportive place for recovering addicts to live during their return to sobriety. Typically, addicts go to rehab or detox first, then transition to transitional living or a sober living environment once they’ve completed rehab.
The individualized recovery plans provide an environment that allows residents to work on their unique recovery program with the goal of becoming self-supportive. Sober living relies heavily on the philosophy of peer support and involvement for recovery.
Newer models of transitional living are sustained by residents who support themselves, pay their own rent, and purchase their own food. They are encouraged to work or actively seek work if they are not employed. Many residents qualify for some type of government assistance that can be used to pay for fees associated with sober living communities.
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Advantages of a Sober Living Environment
There are some key advantages to a sober living environment.
Change of Environment
For starters, transitional living homes are typically not anywhere near the addict’s hometown. This is a good thing. Removing the addict from the environment that helped fuel his addiction is considered a very good idea. We can all relate. Hanging around in the same circles, at the same locations with the same people is a recipe for relapse. To break the cycle, one must break that routines and habits that feed it.
We hear this often in recovery. Addicts often tell us that they will not be going back to their hometowns after they’ve finished transitioning from our sober living environment. It’s not just the allure of southern California (where many of our sober living communities are located), it’s the fact that they recognize that returning to their previous environment puts them at risk for relapse. Even while in recovery, addicts often recognize that going back to their old environment is simply too great a risk.
Remove Daily Stresses
A sober living environment has another great advantage: it reduces the daily stresses that can trigger a relapse. Living in a sober living environment includes maintaining structure, developing personal responsibility and following a routine. It gives them the basic life skills they need to function when living independently.
Residents in transitional living often work or attend school. All residents have chores they must do and they are held accountable. All residents must attend meetings and support groups, not just to support their own recovery, but to help influence the recovery of others.
All of this is far less stressful than returning to their home environment where old stresses (and triggers) await them. This period of transition helps to prepare those in recovery to handle more of life’s daily stresses later on.
At home, recovering addicts might be exposed to all the same friends and all the same places that trigger the temptation for relapse. Recovering addicts cannot be in this environment until they’re fully recovered.
A sober living environment is the best way to reduce this risk.
All sober living communities are different, but at The District Recovery Community, we’ve seen peer support that is difficult to match. Perhaps it’s the weather of beautiful southern California or perhaps it’s the culture we follow here.
Our residents aren’t just cohabitants in our sober living environment, many of them have established bonds that continue well after recovery. Residents in recovery are sharing their experiences daily with one another. New residents look to established residents for strength, guidance and support. It’s available 24/7 and it can make all the difference when it comes to an addict’s recovery.
Transitional living is where addicts slowly transition from dependence on substances to dependence upon their support system and their inner strength. They often don’t recognize that it’s happening, it just becomes part of their learned behavior through new programming.
Bonded not only by the shared experience, residents interact with one another through activities. We offer adventure therapy which includes everything from deep sea fishing excursions to snowboarding and biking trips. In these relaxed situations, addicts start to see the fulfillment sober life can provide. The spirit of participation and inclusion is a powerful motivator toward sobriety. It is an integral part of what we practice.
Why a Sober Living Environment?
The evidence is clear that a sober living environment significantly increases the success rate of recovery treatment. By removing the addict from his previous environment, daily stresses are reduced and his old routine is broken up. This helps remove stress and temptation from his daily routine.
Through the support of his peers in recovery, the addict is fed positive reinforcement as he develops a healthy foundation for conflict resolution and managing challenges. These basic life skills are essential to thwart relapse and to help recovering addicts return to society better prepared.
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