You successfully complete treatment and think to yourself, “Finally, I have my life back. Everything can go back to normal. I’m ready for this.” And while that is true for many, for some, the pressures of returning to real world settings – work, family obligations, school, and financial responsibilities – can be very challenging. Often, the drastic differences between life in the safe environment of a treatment center and the real world can prove to be too overwhelming. And because of this, most relapses occur in the first 30 to 90 days after completing treatment.
This does not mean addiction treatment doesn’t work – because it does if you truly commit to it. But as you know, recovery is a life long journey, and in the initial stages of this journey, you may need some extra guidance and support.
You may find that sober living homes, sometimes referred to as extended care or aftercare programs, are a good solution for you. According to a study by the Journal of Substance Abuse and Addiction, people who move into sober living houses after completing addiction treatment are significantly less likely to relapse. Another study shows that sober living doesn’t just help with sobriety but also in other aspects of life such employment, relationships, finances, and mental health.
Benefits of Sober Living Homes
Who and what you surround yourself with can have a tremendous impact on your sobriety. If the environment you are returning to is not the most conducive to your recovery, consider sober living. A sober living environment will allow you to practice the skills you learned in treatment and slowly reenter the real world, without the risk of triggers or negative influences.
Chances are that your addiction threw your life out of balance, and the idea of maintaining schedules and managing responsibilities might seem nearly impossible, but establishing healthy routines is an important part of early recovery. Sober homes have sets of rules and schedules that you are required to adhere to. This will not only hold you accountable but it will also help you gain greater self-sufficiency, become more responsible, and relearn how to live a healthy, productive life.
During treatment you had access to an array of addiction professionals to help you whenever you needed. Sober homes allow you to continue receiving that personalized guidance and support. In fact, some extended care programs also offer individual therapy, individualized relapse prevention plans, counseling, and psychiatric services.
Often getting sober means cutting ties with certain friends, and in some cases, family, who are not supportive of your recovery – and that is ok. But it also means that you need to form a strong support network. Making new sober friendships can be awkward for some who are accustomed to only socializing under the influence. Sober living houses make it easier to establish friendships, and because you will be living with others going through similar experiences, it will make the recovery process feel less isolating.
Fun and Leisure
If you’ve forgotten how to have fun while sober, know that you are not alone. Many who struggle with addiction have difficulty having fun or relaxing without drugs or alcohol, which is why sober homes often provide exciting trip and activities that encourage individuals to try new things and relearn how to have sober fun.
Remember, the first 30 to 90 days after completing treatment are the most critical for preventing relapse. Sober living can help you reacclimate to daily life by offering you the tools and support you need during this transitional period.