The National Institutes of Health found in a study of sober-living houses that drug addicts and alcoholics who cycle directly out of inpatient treatment and into their old lives and habits face a greatly elevated chance of relapse. Without sober-living homes or other ways to bridge the gaps from total-immersion residential care facilities to the unrestricted environments that they came from before entering care, compulsive substance abusers are far more likely to revert to their old patterns of use very soon after being discharged.
Longer stays at inpatient facilities are impractical for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the escalating cost of full-service treatment. Unfortunately, staying in residential care is often just too expensive and resource intensive to be practical for the vast majority of patients. There is also the undesirable outcome of a patient who undergoes an extended stay in a rehab clinic becoming acclimated to the intensive therapeutic environment and eventually facing the inevitable discharge without having acquired the necessary skills for long-term sobriety outside of the clinical environment.
A Supplement to Recovery
"Sober-living houses, also known as halfway homes or halfway houses, can be a vital link back to the community..."
Fortunately, there is an alternative to release straight back into the patient's usual environment. Sober-living homes occupy the space between inpatient care and returning home. They are intended as a supplement to the formal treatment and recovery process by creating an intermediate sober environment with generally less supervision than found in a clinic but with more structure and peer support than can be expected in the patient's home environment.
Sober-living houses, also known as halfway homes or halfway houses, can be a vital link back to the community by bringing together addicts from every walk of life who are at varying stages of addiction recovery to provide support and community for patients who have recently been discharged. Most sober-living houses are privately owned and will bill directly for services, though some do accept insurance payments or even Medicaid. If you need information on the options available to you or an overview of what to expect throughout the recovery process, please call 1-888-966-8334. Help and advice are available at this number 24 hours a day, every day.
What to Expect
Making the decision to seek help for an addiction can be frightening. The comfortable world of use, abuse and addiction doesn't let go easily, and it takes an act of courage to pick up the phone and reach out to a friendly voice. With inpatient treatment concluded, a new and potentially equally frightening vista opens up: that of facing the world again, but sober.
While many sober-living houses specialize in one specific form of addiction, a few gather together addicts of every stripe. While it's less common to find a sober house for behavioral addictions, such as gambling or sexual compulsion, some of the more common addictions that respond well to the sober environment of a halfway house are:
If you or a person you care about has a problem with any of these substances, help is available anytime by calling 1-888-966-8334.
A sober house is more than just a place to sit and wait passively. Spending time in a sober home can give a recovering addict the space to get a head start on a new sober lifestyle. Some of the things people in recovery can do from the support base of a sober-living home are:
- Organize a job search: Looking for employment will never be easier for a person in recovery than when a support system is in place and a schedule is provided that allows adequate time for the application process, including interviews and pre-employment drug screenings.
- Adjust to sobriety: While housed in a residential inpatient program, a patient often has very few liberties. Back at home, the sudden burden of making responsible decisions can be too much to handle. A sober house program will have rules to follow, but these rules always have an emphasis on the eventual transition back to independence.
- Arrange housing: Many residents come to their sober-living communities without any other homes to speak of. Others have homes but are afraid—rightly—that returning to their old stomping grounds will just lead to temptation. After all, it can be difficult to resist a craving when the recovering addict knows every place to get drugs within walking distance. Time spent in a halfway house can be put to an apartment search with lots of feedback from other residents and the staff regarding what to look out for.
- Mend fences: An important step in the recovery process is to make amends to those who have been affected by the addict's actions. This process can be liberating. The support one finds in the community of fellow addicts will help guide the resident through the process of rebuilding shattered relationships and putting back together some kind of outside support network.
Putting It All Together
In 2010, the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment published the results of an exhaustive study on the statistics for former residents of sober-living communities. The research found that at six-month intervals ranging up to 18 months post-treatment, recovering addicts who passed through some kind of structured halfway house environment were significantly less likely to face relapse, arrest and homelessness. One of the key findings of the study was that a major factor in the improved outcomes for the subjects was the large and mostly positive community of support that was established in the very early days of sober-living.
It's never easy to change a lifetime of addiction. The work is hard and sometimes the goal can seem very far off. To make the hard decision to go through the work of detoxing in an inpatient environment, only to relapse soon after completing the program is disheartening. A strong community of fellow addicts in recovery can make all the difference in the world. For information about starting your journey to recovery, please call 1-888-966-8334 to learn about how a sober-living house can become your sober-living home today.
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