Effective drug and alcohol treatment is the first step toward rebuilding a sober and productive life. The weeks and months immediately after completing a treatment program is the most critical time for individuals who are trying to rebuild their lives after addiction. In many cases, people may not have a stable home environment that can support their efforts at recovery. A sober living community can be the answer for these patients, providing a safe environment among other people who are also working on rebuilding their lives.
What Is a Sober Living Community?
A sober living community is a residential facility that provides living quarters for individuals who have completed an addiction treatment program and who are actively working on skills that will rebuild a productive life. These communities may be single apartments or group homes.
One of the common features of these communities is the requirement of contributing to the financial and physical upkeep of the facility. In addition, residents generally meet to establish rules, define limits and hold each other accountable for activities that affect the group. Residents can generally stay as long as they like before moving on to a more independent living situation.
Supportive Practices in Sober Living Communities
A study cited by the National Institutes of Health states that residing in a sober living community can be a significant factor in helping individuals to remain abstinent.1 The social interaction with peers who understand the problems of recovery can be a primary aid in maintaining sobriety.
Residents of the facilities ensure that each person is taking required actions to stay sober, such as abstaining from substances, attending support group meetings and dealing with issues that may be triggers for drug or alcohol relapse. In addition, the facilities offer a system of democratic leadership that encourages residents to participate in making good decisions for the group and for themselves.
Benefits of a Sober Living Community for Recovery
Addiction experts have found that patients who stay in sober living facilities enjoy an increased rate of abstinence from alcohol or drugs, as well as a number of benefits in their efforts toward rebuilding their lives:
- Sober living facilities provide social support for recovery with other individuals who are working to rebuild their lives in sobriety. Feelings of isolation are reduced.
- Residents of the facility must live by a set of rules that help to structure their lives and contribute to the upkeep of the facility.
- Individuals are encouraged by other residents to attend 12-step meetings or receive counseling to help them maintain sobriety.2
- Others in the group help to keep individuals accountable for their actions and behavior.
- Other residents offer practical advice and experience on skills for rebuilding a productive life.
- Stable, long-term friendships are developed that can help to support sobriety throughout the individual’s life.
If an individual cannot rely on their home environment to provide support for their addiction recovery, a sober living community can offer an effective alternative to improve their life skills and their ability to maintain sobriety.