The role of a Sober Living Home
Research highlighted in PsychCentral suggests that it can take up to 66 days to create just one new habit. Until all of your drug habits shift, you’re at risk for a relapse to addiction. How can you keep yourself safe during that time?
Assuming you’ve gone through Rehab/detox, you’ve probably been told that continuing your recovery through an IOP, PHP or sober living facility will significantly increase your chances for success. After all, if you’ve been wrapped up in addiction for years (or even decades), no reasonable person would expect a successful recovery after 60-90 days in Rehab.
Sober living homes may help. The role of a sober living home will help by not only surrounding you with people in a similar situation, it will help by teaching you a whole new way to deal with life’s daily challenges.
Addictions can change the way your brain cells work, and that damage can make it hard for you to keep your urge to use under control. That’s the consensus of researchers in Berlin. In their research, of 46 people who had been through detox and a group of healthy controls, they found that those who relapsed to use had a loss of tissue in the portion of the brain that regulates behavior and emotional control. With this damage, people couldn’t stop from using. When the substance was there, they found it hard to avoid the temptation.
That’s something people with addictions might know all too well. In one study, a person that participated in a piece of notable research was shown to exhibit a pattern: when he spent a day working in the yard, it triggered an almost uncontrollable urge to drink beer. This man didn’t want to drink, but he felt compelled to do so. This learned behavior is difficult to unlearn and cannot be unlearned without retraining the brain.
The role of a sober living home is to help residents to do just that.
Sober homes can help by simply removing the resident from an environment of temptation. Alcohol, illicit drugs, legal prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs are all banned from the premises, and the days are controlled to such a degree that there’s no opportunity to relapse. There’s no time, and there’s nothing to take. That could help a person to prevent a relapse, and provide time for damaged brain tissues can heal.
In addition, people who live in sober homes are surrounded by peers, and the entire group comes together for periodic housekeeping meetings and addiction support group meetings. In time, that group can look a lot like a family, with people understanding one another and supporting one another. Everyone in the home is trying to heal, so everyone in the home understands what it’s like to:
- Lose control
- Disappoint others
- Want to change
- Struggle with cravings
There’s always someone available to provide support or help, and there’s no need to provide a great deal of explanation for recovery feelings. Everyone has been there. Everyone understands.
Go Step by Step
Now that you know the role of a sober living home, where does it fit in your recvovery?
STEP 1: Rehab/detox. To start your recovery journey, you’ll want to start with getting clean and free from substances.
STEP 2: Before you leave rehab, do some research on intensive outpatient treatment. This may be a suitable transition to sober living. Of course, you’ll want to talk to your Case Manager to get his or her recommendations – and you should take this person’s advice very, very seriously.
STEP 3: Assuming you’re ready to move on from Rehab and you’ve decided not to go into an intensive outpatient program, you should start researching sober living homes. Find one that offers the location and services that you and your Case Manager agree are conducive to your recovery process. Financial considerations might play a role, so know what your finanical options are even before you start your research.
Planning for Success
There’s no set time that you’re allowed or required to stay in a sober home. As long as you follow the rules, you can stay as long as you’d like to do so, but typically, you should plan to stay for at least six months or even longer. That’s the best way to ensure that you get the full benefits these homes can provide.
If you’d like to know more about the sober living model, please call us. We can tell you more and help you find a facility that’s right for you.