The Importance of a Sober Living Environment
Having clean and sober housing available during recovery is one of the best
ways to help prevent relapse and succeed in ending the cycle of drug abuse. When the individual’s home environment is enabling or even promotes substance abuse, sober living homes may provide a healing alternative.
There are many indicators that point to success on the road to recovery. Rather than focusing on where the addiction started, bringing as many helpful and supportive tools as possible to the problem empowers the hard work of achieving and maintaining sobriety.
What Factors Help Prevent Relapse and Are Indicative of Success?
Preventing relapse of this recurring disease is one of the biggest challenges recovering addicts face. As many as 50% or more of addicts relapse within the first 12 months,1 but that also means that half are able to remain sober.
These factors will increase the likelihood of staying sober long term:1
- Self-efficacy. Holding a strong belief in our ability to change our own behavior as part of the recovery process.
- Positive relationships. A single supportive relationship with someone who understands the challenges we are facing tends to increase self-efficacy.
- Shared goals, ideals, and responsibilities. A sense of community is developed in a sober living rehab facility or group home, providing accountability and building relationship skills by coming together around common goals and tasks.
The Benefits of a Sober Home
When a substance use disorder begins to take over our lives, or the lives of our loved ones, only by making a change can we find the path to sobriety and healing. Changing the spaces, places, and people around us can help support a new conviction to make that meaningful change.
Choosing a sober living environment allows individuals to:
- Remove stressors that may be fueling their desire to use.
- Allow space for healing damaged relationships.
- Prevent temptations and triggers which cause strong physical cravings.
- Create a new circle of supportive friends and mentors to smooth out the road ahead.
- Get medical treatment for any conditions that they might have been using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.
- Step away from destructive, codependent, or enabling relationships.
- Learn the skills needed to stay sober, prevent relapse, and build healthy relationships in the future.
- Regain trust and respect from co-workers, friends, and family.
Identify Motivators and Triggers in Daily Life
Making a change and finding confidence in your ability to stay sober can start by identifying those people and things which motivate you. What factors in your daily life should you change to create a sober living environment?
- Consider your partner, children, pets, career, and your own health as inspiring reasons to choose treatment.
- Recall previous attempts to stop using drugs or alcohol and be honest with yourself about what worked and what did not.
- Communicate with someone you trust and admire and ask them to honestly tell you if they think you should seek treatment for substance abuse.
- Evaluate your relationships and eliminate those that are actively enabling your addiction or are toxic to your recovery.
- Clear your home of triggers that cause cravings or are constant reminders of past drug use.
Explore your local options by doing a search for “sober living facilities” or “recovery homes near me.”
Seeking a Sober Place to Live
Sometimes the existing home environment is too steeped in a culture based on substance abuse, or family members and friends are actively engaged in the status quo and do not support the changes required for a successful recovery. Choosing a treatment option that provides a solid platform for building a sober lifestyle can reverse a lifetime of influences by offering a safe and supportive place to heal.
Consider these options when finding the right treatment program to provide that secure and sober environment:
- Supervised medical detox in a sober living facility, with or without medication to manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse.
- Simultaneous treatment for any co-occurring depression or anxiety that may be leading to self-medication.
- Residential treatment at sober living homes to build new relationships, practice living skills, and develop a community of friends and mentors who support sobriety.
- Availability of long term follow-up or intensive outpatient care to allow smooth transitions and relapse prevention.
- Residential sober living communities, which offer a privately or group run charter to provide affordable sober housing long term with the goal of preventing relapse.
How Can You Transform Your Home into a Sober Living Environment?
Not everyone needs 24/7 supervision and sober housing to conquer their addiction. With the right amount of professional help and a strong natural support system in place, it is possible to maintain a sober home and be successful at changing addictive behavior.
When discussing house rules and asking for the help you need, consider these tips for creating a sober home environment:
- Recognize the importance of removing triggers to manage cravings during the early stages of sobriety.
- Educate yourself and your family about the stages of recovery and the physical causes of withdrawal symptoms.
- Create realistic goals for yourself and share them with your support network.
- Seek medical help for any physical or mental health issues that might be contributing to your desire to use.
- Be up-front about your drug use with the medical or treatment professionals seeking to help you.
- Establish a safe space for yourself which is free of drug and alcohol use.
- Make attending meetings and outpatient treatment therapy one of your highest priorities.
- Eliminate social contacts, places, and activities that you know will put your recovery at risk.
Replacing Old Habits with Motivating and Fulfilling Activities
With a secure home base in place as a foundation of sober living, a recovering addict is ready to find alternative activities to replace those that are associated with substance abuse. There may be some temptation to just stay at home to avoid triggers, but building a new lifestyle includes healthy socialization, exercise, and creative pursuits.
Try some of these ideas to prevent boredom and re-energize your life after treatment:
- Use healthy distractions like reading or watching a movie to work through unexpected cravings.
- Talk through what you are experiencing with friends or family members to recharge your self-confidence in your power to succeed.
- Question your self-talk and negative thinking, focusing on positive change for the present day.
- Engage your creative brain with new hobbies and pursuits like art, crafts, repairs, or construction.
- Exercise regularly and use this time to clear your mind of other things. Yoga is a good practice for most people, but any type of exercise can be a type of meditation and stress-relief.
- Identify what fulfills your sense of purpose, which might be helping others, adopting a pet, or starting education or job seeking.
- Be mindful of your mental and physical health, and make taking care of yourself a daily priority.
- Get help from experts whenever you feel you need it. Take advantage of whatever tools and resources are available and never give up on sobriety, even if you have a slip.
If a relapse occurs, try a different solution, look into alternatives like sober living houses, and continue to move forward with a different type of treatment.
Sober Living Starts with Choosing a Sober Home
Environment is an important factor in developing addiction and in treating this chronic disease. Moving for health reasons is considered standard treatment for debilitating diseases like asthma or COPD. Choosing to live among people who genuinely want to help you succeed can make all the difference in addiction recovery.
At RECO Institute, we offer luxurious and comfortable group living options with onsite staff, on-call medical care, and 24/7 supervision for recovering individuals. Being surrounded by others on the same journey will offer you or your loved ones the opportunity to create new relationships and learn the skills necessary to transition out of our sober living programs.
Treatment for addiction at our inpatient facilities or through our partnership with RECO Intensive is a comprehensive and complete journey which addresses more than substance abuse. Engaging family and loved ones in group counseling and scheduled visits allows our residents to rebuild what has been damaged while protecting what has been achieved.
To talk more about how to change your home environment or to visit our Delray Beach, FL residences, contact us or chat online. There is always a compassionate person from RECO waiting to answer your questions.