Hollywood star Ben Affleck announced in March that he recently completed treatment for an alcohol use disorder. This is a positive step for the actor, who has previously participated in treatment for his illness. He recently engaged the services of a specialized coach to help support his sobriety.
Mr. Affleck has an illness that also afflicts many other Americans. In 2015, 1.3 million Americans attended specialized treatment facilities for an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.1 When well-known, successful people like Ben Affleck publicly acknowledge their personal struggle with alcohol use, it encourages others to take action to seek a sober life.
What Are Sober Living Communities?
The benefit from sober living houses or communities is the ongoing support following treatment. They are often used as a transitional step for people who have completed residential therapy but who do not feel ready to return to independent living. Most sober living communities will only accept people who have first attended addiction treatment.
The environment in sober living communities is structured, and all residents are obliged to stick to the rules. No drugs or alcohol are permitted, and most living communities insist on random or regular testing to ensure residents are staying sober.
How Do Sober Living Communities Help People Suffering from Addiction?
The discipline associated with sober living, combined with having a solid support network, helps people suffering from addiction to develop a healthy routine that will benefit them when they leave. When people are in the grip of active addiction, the way they live their lives is often dictated by the illness. Sober living helps them to re-establish a healthy lifestyle.
Sober living communities usually work on a set schedule. The day starts quite early, and residents often take part in morning meditation, followed by breakfast. Many communities expect their residents to take on various chores. These may include basic housekeeping and meal preparation.
Residents are usually required to engage in healthy activities during the day. They may go out to work, or they may attend classes or training sessions. On returning to the residence, they may attend group meetings, during which the progress of each resident is discussed. These meetings give residents the opportunity to offer help and support to fellow residents and to address any issues that may be bothering them. Residents will also be required or encouraged to attend self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.2
Who Can Benefit from Sober Living?
Anyone coming out of treatment for addiction can benefit from sober living. Those who live in environments where the use of alcohol or drugs is widespread can particularly benefit. Ben Affleck’s career exposes him to the excesses associated with Hollywood, and sober living can be especially useful for people in such environments. Since confidentiality is a key element in sober living communities, there is no way to know whether Ben Affleck has entered one. If not, it might be the best thing he could do at this stage of his recovery.