How Long Do You Need to Stay in a Sober Living Facility?
The answer to this question, of course, is highly individual. While there is no exact formula that can tell you how long you might want to stay in sober living homes, experts agree that longer stays offer more lasting results. There are mental health, lifestyle, and biochemical changes involved with addiction treatment and recovery, all of which take time to accomplish.
Let’s look into the research which supports longer stays in treatment, the physical and psychological healing that needs to take place, and the sobriety-supporting benefits of sober housing, after-care, and long-term involvement in therapy.
Why Staying in Sober Living Longer Improves Outcomes
Addiction is now recognized as a debilitating, chronic medical disorder, which is often linked to trauma, depression, and other co-occurring conditions. Treatment programs around the country are reflecting this understanding with more comprehensive treatment plans that focus on long-term management strategies which have been successful with managing diseases like diabetes, asthma, or hypertension.
Recognizing your condition and seeking help is the most meaningful step someone struggling with addiction can take. Attending any addiction rehab program increases your chances of success. Many 30- or 60-day programs are helpful and may be appealing for practical or financial reasons as a first step or for less severe addictions.
However, research shows improved success rates with programs of 90 days or longer, especially when these include clean and sober housing arrangements. Just how much difference can staying longer make?
The Research Behind Choosing to Stay in Treatment
Because every individual’s path into and out of addiction is unique, your therapists and treatment professionals will guide you in creating a treatment plan that is specific to the type of substance used and how long the addiction has been established. That plan may include medically supervised detox in a rehabilitation facility and a stay in sober housing.
Engaging and following through on your long-term treatment plan is shown to:
- Reduce relapse rates. Studies show that those who stay in residential treatment longer than 90 days had a steadily declining risk of relapse.1 Those leaving earlier than 90 days relapsed as often as those who had only a few days of treatment.
- Make a return to treatment less likely. Staying in treatment helped individuals to stay sober, while leaving early made them more likely to require a return to residential treatment.1
- Provide long-term results. Studies of cocaine addiction demonstrated that of those who stayed in rehab for 90 days or longer, only 17% relapsed in the following year, compared to 35% relapse rates for those who stayed fewer than 90 days.2
- Improve results for a variety of substances. Studies have also shown that staying in residential treatment longer than 90 days improves abstinence rates for alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs, as compared to stays of 21 days.1
The Sobriety-Supporting Benefits of Long-Term Treatment
Developing the tools needed to sustain yourself in sobriety is an essential part of recovery. Learning self-care and making lifestyle changes are parts of the treatment for all chronic diseases. This journey will empower you to remain sober and recognize when you need additional or different treatment options to move forward with confidence.
Staying in treatment for 90 days or longer allows you to take full advantage of these life-changing benefits:
- Continuous care and coaching
- Removal of negative influences and triggers
- Safe and sober housing with onsite supervision and support
- Training and therapy to improve mental health and relationship skills
- Group and family counseling sessions to build support systems
- Learning life skills to pursue your goals of education, career, or family
- A sponsor or mentor to lean on in times of stress or cravings
- Medical care and medications as needed to ease withdrawal and prevent relapse
- Ongoing aftercare in the form of meetings or outpatient follow-up
- A smooth transition back to home, school, or work
- The ability to stay in structured sober housing for as long as needed
Why Does Addiction Treatment Often Last 90 Days or More?
One of the reasons longer treatment times are more successful is that drug and alcohol abuse changes the way the brain functions. As an individual becomes dependent on a substance, the parts of the brain which control behavior, learning, memory, and perceived risk/reward actually change.
These effects can be reversed with long-term sobriety, but this process takes time, and it benefits from expert guidance as the body and brain return to normal function. Staying in a supervised treatment program provides the window of opportunity and protection from relapse that most people need to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Allowing enough time for physical, psychological, and spiritual healing provides the solid footing you need to step out confidently. Treatment provides focused care for the early, middle, and late stages of recovery, including:
- An assessment to determine the severity of your addiction, which guides treatment options and the recommended length of stay.
- Detox, if needed, which typically takes 3-14 days under medical supervision.
- Medication management of withdrawal symptoms, which may continue for weeks longer, depending on the substance.
- One-on-one behavioral therapy to change established patterns and build resistance to triggers, which may take weeks or months.
- Simultaneous treatment of associated mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, guilt, or trauma associated with past experiences.
- Support, follow-up, and monitoring during transitions or times of life crisis.
How Sober Living Homes Support Long-Term Recovery
Sober living homes offer a home-like environment following detox, from early recovery through extended therapy. By providing safe and sober housing with social support and camaraderie, sober houses provide benefits beyond shelter and supervision.
Living in an environment which is committed to sobriety helps you build new life habits and a sense of community. You can practice relationship skills and share experiences as you and your house-mates expand your skills in the outside world and return to a safe home base. Residents may go to work or school during the day or participate in volunteer work and sober social events. Exercise, fun, and friendships are part of daily life.
Sober living programs allow you to choose 90 days or longer for recovery without remaining in more restrictive treatment facilities which are appropriate for detox. A recent study showed that those who stayed in sober living homes not only had reduced rates of relapse after 18 months, but they were also less likely to be arrested or have harmful psychiatric symptoms.3
Rediscovering the joys of life without chemical abuse is part of healthy recovery and can be found within the structure and stability of a sober living facility. By making home a place of healing, you can build the life you want and deserve through personal commitment and thriving community support.
Choosing a Sober Home for Lasting Recovery
When you are considering sober living homes and treatment services nearby, finding a program that offers the right balance of independence and supportive care should be a priority. Also, take into account the tranquility and accessibility of that environment.
Choosing where to spend three or more months of healing is an important decision that may directly impact the speed and duration of your treatment. RECO Institute in Delray Beach, Florida offers comfortable and luxurious surroundings to foster your recovery and focus on your new way of life.
From early detox to sober living for the future, our programs empower individuals to break free of addiction and choose a new direction for their lives. You can make the choice to stay with us or another treatment center, but finding the right fit for your own recovery begins with taking action today.
If you are looking for more information or just want to talk about your treatment options and concerns, give us a call or chat online today. You can make a change right now and start living a better life tomorrow. Reach out to find the support and encouragement you need in your journey out of addiction and come home to sober living with us.