A Guide to Sober Housing

Addiction recovery begins with treatment. It continues with regular therapy, social support, and resources such as sober housing. Every state has sober housing options.

Sober friendsMost large cities offer multiple options. Even smaller communities may have sober housing resources. You can find local sober housing or choose to continue your recovery in a new city or scenic location. Your rehab program can help you find sober housing options that match your individual interests and needs. This guide can help you make the right choice for your continued recovery and sobriety.

Should I Find Treatment First?

Sober housing is not addiction treatment. It is a resource for individuals who have found sobriety and want to keep it. Sober housing supports your recovery, but you need to begin recovery first.

Give yourself the advantage of treatment. Addiction1 explains, “Compared to individuals who obtained help, those who did not were less likely to achieve 3-year remission and subsequently were more likely to relapse.” Reach out to effective, evidence-based rehab programs. Start a drug-free life the right way. Continue it through aftercare resources such as sober housing.

Do I Need Sober Housing?

Not everyone needs sober housing. However choosing a transitional living option between treatment and “real life” supports your ongoing recovery. The first weeks, months, and even years in recovery are the most uncertain. They are when you need the most support, structure, and encouragement. The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health2 explains, “More than 60 percent of people treated for a substance use disorder experience relapse within the first year after they are discharged from treatment, and a person can remain at increased risk of relapse for many years.” You reduce this risk through continued treatment. You maintain your recovery by taking advantage of resources such as sober housing.

Why Does Sober Housing Help?

Sober housing gives you access to a stable home life immediately following treatment. The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs3 explains, “Lack of a stable, alcohol and drug free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence. Destructive living environments can derail recovery for even highly motivated individuals.” Environment contributed to your addiction development. The right living situation can contribute to your recovery. Sober housing comes with fewer temptations. It comes with connections to local recovery resources. It comes with accountability and social support.

The Journal shares a study that found, “Social support was associated with drinking outcome. Not surprising, the best outcomes were predicted by alcohol-specific social support that discouraged drinking…Clients who had social networks with a higher number of abstainers and recovering alcoholics had better outcome 3 years after treatment completion.”

If you are worried about finding social support and friends after treatment, sober housing can ease those worries. It gives you immediate access to a small community of recovering peers. It introduces you to people who share your goals and values and who will encourage you to stay on track.

What Does Sober Housing Involve?

Sober housing looks like many other housing options. You typically live in a room or apartment within a house. You pay rent. You go to work. You spend free time with friends or doing the hobbies you love. You work on your recovery by going to therapy sessions and support group meetings. Where sober living differs from regular living is in its rules and structure. No drugs or alcohol are allowed on the premises. You may even be asked to leave if you don’t have substances on you but are clearly drunk or high. Sober houses typically encourage or even require continued formal addiction treatment.

Members may go to local support group meetings together to provide accountability and encouragement. Houses may hold their own mandatory meetings to discuss house rules, living environment, or recovery itself. You may be asked to help with certain chores such as cleaning or yard work. Some sober houses have time limits on how long you can stay. Others let you stay as long as you like. Every house will have its own rules and structure. Ask about these before selecting your sober housing option. Find the program that offers the support you need.

How Do I Find the Right Sober House?

When researching sober housing, make sure you find a living arrangement that offers what it promises. Make sure rules are in place and that they are followed. Make sure you are choosing a healthy, supportive environment for your recovery. They best way to do this is to talk with your treatment team or to begin recovery through a program like Michael’s House.

Feel free to call and ask questions as simple as, “Do I need treatment?” Feel free to call and ask about problems as complex as a history of relapse with co-occurring addictions and mental health issues. We offer personalized, evidence-based, and effective care. We offer it from the very first conversation to long after your stay with us ends. When you leave our facility, you do not leave our care. We help you find resources such as sober housing, local therapy, and group support. We support and encourage you now and long after rehab ends.


Sources

1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1976118/. “Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders.” Addiction. 11 Sep 2007. Web. 9 May 2017.

2https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/surgeon-generals-report.pdf. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Surgeongeneral.gov. Nov 2016. Web. 9 May 2017.

3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057870/. “What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 15 Mar 2011. Web. 9 May 2017.

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