Addiction recovery is often a process that offers both challenges and rewards. While addiction is recognized as a chronic disease, there is still hope for individuals and families that are caught in its vicious cycle. Currently, extensive research is being conducted to assess the total impacts of specific substance use, as well as mental health disorders that can contribute to or exacerbate a substance misuse problem. With this information, health professionals and drug treatment centers are deploying methods to directly address addiction and its surrounding issues. Transitional housing programs, otherwise known as sober housing, can offer a bridge of support during the most difficult parts of the journey to recovery.
People who enroll in sober housing programs come from all walks of life. Whether they’ve recently completed a Colorado inpatient or outpatient treatment program or they recently relapsed after several months of sobriety, sober housing can be a critical factor in making adjustments. To understand the effectiveness of transitional sober housing, we should first look at the various ways in which it supports ongoing sobriety. Although sober living homes are an important part of the addiction treatment process like rehab, they serve a very different purpose.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that those who attend day treatment and live in sober housing or a drug-free living facility were 10 times more likely to avoid relapse.
Benefits & Purpose of Sober Housing
If you or a loved one is considering enrolling in a sober housing program, it’s understandable that there may be questions on how it works. More than that, families and loved ones may also question how effective sober living truly is. The short answer is that it has many benefits and serves a greater purpose for those struggling with mounting substance use issues. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, social networking within sober housing indicates significant benefits for help more people maintain sobriety for longer.
In addition, a few other benefits and goals of sober living homes (sometimes called halfway houses or 3/4 houses) include:
Provides a safe environment
All too frequently, substance addiction and alcohol abuse thrive in chaotic environments. If a home space is chaotic, unstable, or promotes ongoing substance use due to drug enabling, individuals may be much more likely to continue using or may feel the need to use given the lack of structure. By removing an individual from an unsafe or unsupportive environment, they have a better chance of gaining clarity and finding the strength to push past ongoing alcohol or drug use. Sober housing succeeds by offering accommodations for like-minded individuals that are seeking a life away from substances. In addition, the supportive structure of sober living homes or programs builds confidence and reduces high-risk situations that can act as triggers for relapse. Further, it gives individuals the time they need to practice living independently without addiction.
Helps residents maintain their sobriety
Addiction recovery is usually a new process for most. The sudden disruption in the cycle of abuse can immediately cause people to feel as if they’re losing control or they may also feel incredibly overwhelmed. It can be an extremely frightening experience if facing it alone. Sober housing can include residents at all stages of recovery. Having someone that can relate to the experience, offer advice, or provide support can make an incredible difference in the drug rehabilitation process. In addition, transitional housing eliminates access to drugs, making it nearly impossible for residents to fall back on previous ways. This direct supervision helps circumvent cravings, stress, and triggers.
Promotes life skills
Most sober housing works to redirect the energy that was previously spent on finding drugs and using drugs. Instead, residents are given daily tasks to complete and much of it mimics what daily life is like when substance use has not taken control. Examples can include:
- Cleaning personal areas
- Establishing a sleep schedule
- Planning and cooking meals
In addition, most well establish sober living centers provide training on skills that individuals will need to succeed in the “real world.” In order to be successful and maintain sobriety, developing new skills can make all the difference. Some skills building that is incorporated into these living areas can include:
- Budgeting finances
- Building healthy relationships
- Defining strengths/weaknesses
- Discussing emotions without triggers
- Planning for life outside of sober housing
- Setting personal goals
Success Rates for Sober Living Programs
Sober living homes are often the last transition before returning home. Multiple studies indicate that staying in a residence for a longer period of time may improve the foundation for long-term recovery. Here are some success rate statistics with regard to sober living programs:
- Nationwide, the average stay in sober housing is between 166 and 254 days.
- Residence in a sober living home led to fewer problems with alcohol and drugs, lower arrest rates, and higher employment rates.
- Patterns show that residents reduce or stop their substance use by their 6 months follow up and, also, maintained these improvements at 12 to 18 months after admission.
- Psychology Today found that individuals who are part of a sober living community for at least a year, show lower relapse rates than those who don’t.
Sober Housing and Extended Care at AspenRidge Recovery
AspenRidge Recovery is uniquely designed for Coloradans that are battling with ongoing substance abuse and mental health disorders. Our certified, licensed staff follows a continuum of a care treatment model that provides a step-down approach as individuals progress during recovery. Our sober housing is incorporated into some of our existing treatment options, particularly with our in house transitional programs (IHTP). We offer these accommodations for adults suffering from mental health, complex trauma, and substance use disorders. We take a phased approach to treatment, where our clients begin with a highly structured 30-hours of therapy a week program focused around mental health and trauma-based therapies and interventions.
While a client is living in our AspenRidge sober housing, they are provided with guides on handling their self-care. Within our 90-day treatment through the IHTP option, our qualified therapists use one-on-one counseling sessions to dive deeper into substance use and underlying causes and concerns.
Adjusting to a New Normal
Even when you want to quit, sometimes the urges to drink or use are simply too hard to overcome when the “relief” of a hit is at arm’s length. But that’s not real relief, it’s a step deeper into the never-ending cycle.
We provide a sober housing environment where that temptation is removed from your daily life entirely. At some point during rehab, you will likely think about using and even feel as though you’re about to give up. Addiction doesn’t release its hold easily. One of the best ways to prevent a relapse is to put yourself in an environment free of drugs and alcohol.
A study found that those that were involved in 12-step recovery programs, living in a sober environment, and had a supportive network of sober peers were much more likely to achieve sustained sobriety with few or no relapses. Sober living homes come in all shapes and sizes with varying levels of support and structure. Through AspenRidge, residents are expected to enroll in a 90-day program that offers supportive services through various means such as:
- Individual and group therapy per week
- Community meetings 5-6 days a week
- Access to a community of recovered persons
- In-house meetings 3 times per week
- Gym sessions 3-4 times a week
- Grocery shopping once a week