In early recovery, approximately the first two years, a person may be overwhelmed by the barrage of information, expectations and feelings associated with taking recovery “one day at a time!” Recovery and personal transformation is probably the most courageous project anyone could undertake and is such a powerful movement in their lives when engaged in a rigorous program.
When you complete the primary course of treatment phase (“The Rehab”) and have sufficiently opened some wounds, that which so far you’ve been protecting through your alcohol and drug use for years, you may still be at risk and require more work to put your new found recovery into practice. There are factors to consider when deciding whether to accept the recommendation to enter a sober living residence. Here are 5 major factors you may want to consider when thinking about sober living:
1. Isolation – we know that the disease of addiction thrives when you choose to be alone. During the first months and years of recovery, you are practicing new ways to cope with everyday stress, managing triggers and negotiating relationships without retreating or withdrawing. If your plan when leaving rehab is to return to an empty apartment, condo or house, you may want to consider sober living for a period of time. The community at sober living will support you with everyday recovery practices and challenge you when you are tempted to isolate from others.
2. Relapse prone – a person in early recovery could be caught up in a cycle of abstinence and addiction relapses. We often see an addict who can maintain sobriety for a few months, or even years, then return to a vicious return to the chaos and alcohol and drug use. The sober living community allows you to openly communicate with other alcoholics and addicts in your daily lives, sharing your triggers and warning signs of relapse. You learn from other residents how they cope with “close calls” and strategies to remain sober during difficult times.
3. Relations at home – one of the main triggers for a person in early recovery is the relationship with their significant others. Going home after primary treatment could be a disaster, especially if it was the scene of much chaos and collateral damage! While in rehab, your family members need to engage in a family support or therapy program. They need to be honest with you if they are ready for you to come home. If not, then it would be wise to consider sober living and receive the appropriate support from a professional to ease back into these important relationships. Often in sober living homes, residents can relate to issues with marriages, children and other family members, when it comes to alcohol and drug addiction.
4. Sustaining adherence to a program – we know the percentage of people who adhere to a recovery program (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous) achieve a high level of a sustained recovery. Living in a sober living house gives you the opportunity to be accountable to staff, your therapist and most importantly, to other sober living residents. Many people leave rehab and cannot sustain the consistency of attending regular meetings with groups and their sponsor. Accountability to other alcoholics and addicts in recovery is an excellent way to begin your path in recovery.
5. Skill Building – as with any new way of living, we need to develop new skills. Living without alcohol and drugs is a social skill that most people in early recovery find difficult. The best way to develop these skills is to be around others who are putting these new skills into practice. Some other skills that are crucial in early recovery are: telling the truth, accepting responsibility, considering the feelings of others and cultivating a sense of gratitude in your life. Choosing to reside in a sober living residence could be very helpful to practice such needed skills.
It’s not an easy decision to choose to enter a sober living residence, but if you take seriously the adage of “recovery above all else,” then you are walking the walk towards a path of a sustained and progressive recovery. Looking back on our lives, the more difficult decisions made successfully usually bears the most fruit…the product of being fully alive!
If you, or a loved one is interested in a quality sober living residence, please contact us at Providence Treatment, or visit us at: www.providencetreatment.com.