Sober Living Programs and Sober Homes

Sober living is the stage of recovery following completion of detox and primary treatment. It provides a safe haven for those recovering from addiction and offers a structured, safe and substance-free environment devoid of triggers. Sober living in not always necessary as part of the recovery process but it is ideal for people who do not have support available upon returning home after an inpatient rehab treatment.

There are differences between various sober homes and sober living environments. They can vary in size and have different rules. A sober house may decide to have a house supervisor who manages the home, creates and enforces rules while another may choose to be more liberal in their approach, opting instead to seek the inputs of housemates before any house rules/regulations are made.

Key Features of Sober Living

The most important feature of sober living is the peer to peer support environment. It has been shown that people recovering from drug or alcohol abuse who have access to a supportive system are more likely to remain sober than those without. Although each sober living environment has a unique approach to recovery, many share some common features.

Participation in group therapies is encouraged and will usually be mandatory. House rules and regulations must be adhered to. For instance, doing your assigned chores in the house and obeying the curfew rules.

Since you can come and go in a sober house, members are encouraged to work towards completing their recovery education, getting vocational training or participating in voluntary work. Sober homes will do periodic drug testing to ensure abstinence. Housemates who have been found to be using substances may face expulsion from the program.

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Communal area for group therapy at a sober house in Asia

All these measures are put in place to transition the patient as easily as possible into an independent life without drugs. The environment in the sober home fosters opportunities for housemates to learn new decision making and problem solving skills which are necessary to live effectively in the larger community.

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Rehab Programs vs. Sober Living Houses

Some of the main differences between rehab programs and sober living houses include the following:

  • Rehab programs are more restrictive and may prohibit patients from leaving the facility whereas sober houses are more relaxed in this regard.
  • Rehab focuses more on the early stages of recovery while sober living provides an environment for people who are already on their way to complete recovery.
  • Rehab programs provide more qualified personnel, which may include psychiatrists, psychologists and medical specialists.
  • Rehab is more expensive. The cost of primary treatment is higher due to the cost of medical supervision and the level of care received.
  • Rehab programs are usually duration bound. Meaning a patient can only spend a limited about of time in the facility. This could between 30 days and 90 days.

Other similar programs to sober living houses include day care programs, partial hospitalization programs, and intensive outpatient programs. These programs allow the patient to stay at the facilities during the day while undergoing treatment and returning home at nights or during the weekends. One disadvantage to this model is the increased exposure to addiction triggers. If a patient is exposed before completing treatment, they are more vulnerable to a relapse.

Who Is Sober Living For?

Although there are inherent benefits in sober living, it is not a suitable solution to everyone. There are some factors to consider when deciding whether sober living is right or you or not. If you have previously spent time at rehab and it was unsuccessful, maybe the peer to peer model of sober living might help you maintain long-term recovery.

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Secondary care center in Thailand

The most successful outcomes can sometimes be achieved by those who have inadequate outpatient support or support systems to help on the journey to recovery. Sober living is also ideal if you crave the freedom that comes from having a job while maintaining the structure offered by sober living.

Sober living arrangements are not likely to be recommended to individuals who are violent and have a history of aggression towards new people. They are also inappropriate for those who are actively abusing a substance and need to undergo rehab first.

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Sober Living Programs in Asia

If you’re currently undergoing treatment at rehab, your primary care giver may be able to refer you to a sober living environment. If possible, it is advisable to visit the house you intend living in and speak with the residents to gauge whether the program is a good fit for your needs.

Some rehab centers have their own sober living facilities attached to primary treatment centers for patients to continue treatment following successful inpatient rehabilitation. Other centers also specialize in sober living and extended care provision with programs specifically designed for secondary care and arrested relapse.