One of the most difficult obstacles to long-term sobriety is an unsafe or unstable living environment, or one that offers easy access to drugs or alcohol. Sober living homes provide a safe, structured and substance-free place to live. Research shows that sober living homes reduce the risk of relapse and promote long-term sobriety in a variety of ways.1
How Sober Living Improves the Chances of Long-Term Sobriety
The key feature of sober living homes is an environment free of drugs, alcohol and people who are under the influence. But the benefits of sober living for long-term sobriety transcend simply staying away from drugs and alcohol. They promote successful long-term recovery through a variety of avenues.
Structure is important in early recovery. Many people who are addicted have very little structure in their lives. They go to bed whenever, get up whenever and spend much of their time seeking, using and recovering from using drugs or alcohol.
The built-in structure of sober living situations is beneficial because it helps you fill the time with productive pursuits and maintain a sense of control over your life. It promotes feelings of safety and well-being and helps you develop healthy lifestyle habits.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that social support is one of the four pillars of successful recovery.2 Sober living homes provide a high level of social support from both peers and staff.
High-quality sober living homes emphasize personal accountability, and they have a number of rules in place to promote it. Regular or random drug testing helps to ensure residents remain abstinent, while a curfew helps promote time management and healthy lifestyle habits. Attending house meetings and pitching in to help maintain the home are usually required and help you stay accountable to the rules and take some responsibility for the condition of the facility.
Support Group Participation
Most sober living facilities either require or strongly encourage participation in a 12-step or similar support group. Research shows that support group participation itself promotes long-term sobriety and helps individuals develop healthy relationships with other non-users.
A Healthy Lifestyle
Sober living homes make it easy to live a healthy lifestyle. Self-care is one of the most important aspects of long-term sobriety.3 A high level of self-care includes eating healthy food, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly. The structured environment of sober living makes it easier to develop a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Relationships and Having Fun
Sober living provides the opportunity to develop close, healthy relationships with others in recovery. Many lifelong friendships are made during a stay in a sober living home, and these often become central to successful long-term sobriety. Fun and relaxation are incredibly important during recovery, and sober living offers plenty of recreational and socializing opportunities.
Essential Life Skills
Learning and practicing essential life skills promotes long-term sobriety by helping individuals function optimally in regular, day-to-day life. Some of the skills learned in sober living homes include household skills like cleaning, cooking and doing laundry; financial skills like budgeting money and paying bills on time; communication skills such as listening and being honest; and time management skills to help promote structure in life and reduce stress.
Long-Term Sobriety Starts with Sober Living
For people new to recovery who need a little extra structure and support in the early months of sobriety, sober living is an ideal way to transition from addiction to a purposeful, meaningful and fulfilling life free of drugs and alcohol. Sober living marks a new chapter in your life, and it’s one filled with friends, fun and a wonderful new way of living your life.