Sober living has excellent benefits for people in early recovery, including offering a safe place to live and practice new skills. Moving into a group living environment always has its ups and downs, but if you mentally prepare for sober living, you’ll be more likely to settle right in and get the most benefits out of your stay—benefits that include a better chance at long-term sobriety and reduced mental illness symptoms.1
Here are five ways to mentally prepare for sober living:
1. Prepare to stay open-minded.
Living with other people can be challenging, and so can navigating a new living situation. Keeping an open mind will help you acclimate quickly, and it’ll help you develop healthy relationships with your housemates and others. Depending on the number of people living in the residence, you’ll likely encounter a range of religious and political beliefs, musical tastes, cultural backgrounds and other types of diversity.
To mentally prepare for sober living and the people you’ll find there, practice withholding judgment and patiently getting to know the essence of the people you meet.
2. Prepare to be honest.
Honesty at all times is one of the five rules of recovery.2 Addiction often involves dishonesty, and much of it is lying to yourself. By practicing being honest with others about your relevant thoughts, feelings and motivations, you’ll help ensure you stay honest with yourself as well.
3. Prepare to follow the rules.
Rules can be a drag when you’re a grown adult, but in early recovery, rules are essential for helping you learn and practice the skills you need to stay sober for the long-term. Rules provide a high level of structure that is very beneficial for newly sober individuals.
Prepare to follow the rules by understanding and admitting to yourself why they’re necessary and how they’ll help you stay sober for the long-term.
4. Prepare to pitch in.
The residents of a sober living facility are expected to carry their weight in the household. In addition to paying rent, housemates are responsible for their space and the home’s upkeep, including cleaning, cooking and doing laundry.
Some of these duties may be new to you, and there may be a learning curve in terms of tasks and time management. Decide ahead of time to meet new challenges with a positive attitude and an open mind.
5. Prepare to make new, lifelong friends.
Any time you live with people, you get to know them very well, for better or for worse. During your stay in sober living, you’ll meet new people and develop new relationships, and some of these may end up being very important in your life for the long-term.
Developing healthy relationships with your housemates is important in a sober living situation, where you’re honing your interpersonal skills. Mentally prepare for sober living and the relationships you’ll develop there by staying mindful of being honest in your conversations and practicing healthy communication skills in all of your interactions.
Mentally Prepare for Sober Living for the Best Possible Experience
Sober living is an exciting, new chapter in your life, and preparing yourself mentally for the experience can help you adjust more quickly and engage more fully in your new lifestyle once you arrive. The sooner you start to mentally prepare for sober living, the sooner you’ll be ready to reap the many benefits of your program.