Leaving Sober Housing: Creating Your Own Sober Lifestyle

Leaving Sober Housing: Creating Your Own Sober Lifestyle
Sober Living June 12, 2018
Author: Ilana Jael

Leaving a sober living facility and embarking on a new life causes different reactions in different people. After reaching your goals for sober living in Delray Beach, the next step on the recovery journey is to move forward and create the life you want for yourself.

Some recovering addicts who leave sober living communities experience a “pink cloud” effect of optimism and new experiences. The feeling of accomplishment is well deserved and rediscovering the simple pleasures of life, like ice cream on the beach, is one of the rewards of early sobriety in Delray Beach.

Finding Your Footing

Not everyone has this period of excitement. For some who have felt comfortable and safe in a clean sober living facility, there may be feelings of anxiety about living independently. Every individual has different needs, and it is important to stay in transitional living until you are truly ready to achieve your goals.

For almost everyone, the honeymoon period soon ends, and they are left with the same responsibilities and challenges. Bills to pay, family relationships, lovers and friends who have varying expectations, returning to the old job or seeking a new one—these are just some of the challenges waiting. They are the challenges everyone must face. For the recovering addict, only the starting point is different.

Building a solid foundation of sobriety and accessing the resources that will boost your ability to transcend these challenges is the focus of recovery. Full participation in therapy and group meetings prepares you for the steps ahead and provides the solidity and security we all need to thrive.

Timing Your Launch

Individuals reach their drug addiction treatment goals at different rates. While there is no established “correct” length of time to remain in sober homes and treatment facilities, studies show that less than 90 days of treatment has limited success.1 The best outcomes are associated with longer stays.

Some individuals who choose medication-supported treatment plans might stay in Delray sober living up to 12 months.1 Leaving treatment too early might jeopardize success, and returning to a residential facility might be necessary to more firmly establish the lifestyle changes that keep relapse at bay.

Recovery is a long-term process which continues throughout life. Like other chronic diseases, including diabetes and hypertension, lifestyle changes and management strategies take time to be fully established and effective. The relapse rates of these chronic diseases are similar to those of addiction, meaning treatment plan adjustments and ongoing management effort is to be expected.2

Getting Back to Work

One of your first moves may be returning to work, seeking new employment, or finding your first job. If this causes you some trepidation, consider these points:

Strengthening the Right Relationships

Those closest to us also need to adjust to the changed person who returns from sober living, and understanding their feelings is part of changing old relationship patterns. Family, partners, and friends need time to recognize, trust, and embrace the new you.

So, how do you tackle those crucial conversations?

How to Talk About Your Recovery to the People Who Matter Most

Part of building trust is being the first to risk honesty. When you are talking to the people who are very important to you, keep these tips in mind:

Eliminating Toxic Relationships

Can Social Relationships support healing

While some old and new relationships support healing, others from the past may be toxic. During therapy, you learn how to differentiate between them and, as part of your transition to a sober lifestyle, you may need to curtail or clearly end such relationships.

Rather than isolating yourself to avoid those toxic relationships, now is the time to branch out and form new relationships using the social skills and self-knowledge that you have gained in recovery.

Identifying and Eliminating Triggers

When something is likely to light up the brain pathways that are associated with drug use and spawn cravings, we refer to it as a trigger. These might be people, places, smells, tastes, songs, or habits.

Triggers are unique to each individual and, while some were obvious enough to be discussed in treatment, some may come as a surprise. As you navigate through your day, pay attention to cravings and what triggered them, with an eye to eliminating as many triggers as possible.

Developing new activities and social groups which support your sobriety and have never been associated with addiction is part of this strategy. Sitting home and feeling isolated are not the best ways to avoid your triggers, so build new associations by getting out there and engaging with others in a new way.

Social Situations and Social Media Strategies

An essential part of sober living in Delray Beach is a healthy social life and staying in touch with your support network. Put some energy into building friendships with these ideas for creating fun and fulfilling connections:

young man playing billiards

Managing Lingering Symptoms

While the acute symptoms of withdrawal will have passed before you consider leaving sober housing, some effects of drug use linger for six months or more. This is one reason longer stays can be beneficial, as a condition called “post-acute withdrawal syndrome” may create obstacles to the process of building relationships.

The brain is establishing new pathways and creating a healthy chemical balance—a process which takes time and long-term sobriety. Until that balance is established, cravings may continue to arise, and these symptoms may come and go:3

Leveraging Your Assets

The knowledge and experience gained during sober living in Delray Beach will help you know when the time is right for your launch from sober living into a sober life. While an average stay is between 166 and 254 days,4 the time you need to fully prepare for that leap is vital and precious. Only when you have fully healed are you ready to meet these challenges.

Helping you create the right plan for independent sobriety is part of your recovery at RECO Institute’s sober homes in Delray Beach. Each of our comfortable and luxurious residences embodies the best Florida sober living has to offer and will fully prepare you to transition smoothly to the fulfilling life you deserve.

If part of that transition plan is ongoing therapy, you can utilize the RECO Intensive outpatient program, which will provide strategies and support as you take the lead in creating what is best for yourself. When you step out of our doors, you will be ready to change your life and your future for the better.


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-long-does-drug-addiction-treatment
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-acute-withdrawal_syndrome
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057870/
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