What Exactly is Sober Living?
According to Wikipedia:
“Sober living houses (SLHs) more commonly called sober homes and sober living homes and more rarely sober living environments, are facilities used by people recovering from substance abuse that serves as an interim environment between rehab and mainstream society. “
Sober living apartments are used to help people transition from active addiction and rehab to living back in mainstream society. The transition from a highly structured environment to independence can be challenging, so a sober living home can bridge the gap and provide some structure while allowing a person to regain independence.
What are the Different Sober Living Types?
Traditional Sober Living
Traditional sober living is a place to continue recovery from addiction. The environment is structured and provides recovery support services. This type of environment allows greater freedom than the high accountability version but still provides some structure and support on a daily basis.
Residents are expected to work or go to school and take part in the weekly meetings and house discussions. They are also subject to regular drug and alcohol tests to ensure that they are committed to long-term sobriety.
High Accountability Sober Living
High accountability sober living is a much stricter and often an important step after residential treatment. High accountability sober living provides a much higher level of structure, with a daily schedule and activities that are facilitated by staff.
A high accountability environment is often the best option for someone who has had numerous treatment episodes that were followed by relapse.
What is the difference between sober living and a halfway house?
Halfway houses generally require that residents either have already completed or are actively enrolled in some type of formal rehabilitation treatment program.
Sober living can be attended by people who have not gone through a formal rehabilitation program but simply wish to get help to abstain from addictive impulses.
Halfway houses are usually funded by the government. Also, there is a maximum stay limit which is currently 12 months.
You can stay in sober living for a longer period if required as long as you pay your way with rent and also help with house duties.
What is expected of someone who enters a sober living residence?
- No drugs, alcohol, violence, or overnight guests
- Active participation in recovery meetings
- Random drug & alcohol tests
- Involvement in either work, school, or an outpatient program
What are the expected results from living in a sober living home?
When linked with a 12-step program sober living shows much higher levels of sustained recovery. It is the accountability and support network that helps as it is much more difficult for an addict to stay sober on their own without any further support.
The best results are seen when an addict has transitioned from a formal drug or alcohol rehabilitation program and then goes straight to sober living. The addict then has a follow on support to ensure they can live in long-term sobriety.
Sober Living Study
A study conducted by the Journal of Substance Treatment in 2010 showed that residents of SLHs made improvements in a variety of areas.
To describe outcomes of SLH residents they interviewed 245 individuals within one week of entering SLHs and at 6, 12, and 18-month follow-up. Eighty-nine percent completed at least one follow-up interview. Outcomes included the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and measures of alcohol and drug use.
Regardless of referral source, improvements were noted on ASI scales (alcohol, drug, and employment), psychiatric severity on the BSI, arrests, and alcohol and drug use. Substance use in the social network predicted nearly all outcome measures. Involvement in 12-step groups predicted fewer arrests and lower alcohol and drug use.
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