Their researchers continue to follow the results of studies like the one by Zywiak, Longabaugh, and Wirtz, done in 2002. Based on Project MATCH, it showed that sober individuals with an active social support system involving people who are in recovery, tended to have more success in their own personal recovery.
This fact is not surprising as many drug and alcohol users relapse for the first time in a social setting when offered a drug by their peers.
This theory is not a new one. In fact, during the sixties and seventies, a large number of facilities opened that offered residential treatment programs as well as inpatient rehabilitation centers.
Their goal was to remove addicts from their harmful living environments. Then they gave them a place to stay with a sober living support system as they completed their treatment.
Enter The Halfway House
The idea of halfway houses came about decades ago as a place where people could go after completing rehab to take the first baby steps out into the world. The term ‘halfway house‘ has been traditionally used to refer to homes where those transitioning from prison or a mental illness facility would go to reintegrate into society.
But with the creation of sober halfway houses, the term began to take on a new meaning.
As the programs went on, some people would relapse by bringing drugs into these centers and giving the term halfway house a bad reputation. But that wasn’t their only downfall.
Unfortunately, halfway homes typically only offer placement for the first few months after treatment. After that, patients are asked to move out whether they feel ready to live independently or not.
Since these facilities are often funded by the government or rehabilitation facilities that don’t have a lot of money, when a halfway house is overrun with drugs, they are often vulnerable to losing funding and can’t offer all the services they need to benefit their residents.
For continuation of care, patients who leave these facilities can turn to sober living homes where they can live with others in recovery outside of treatment.
Halfway Houses vs. Sober Living Facilities
A halfway house and a sober living facility are similar in nature, but there are distinct differences. They both allow residents to have a place to live where they can feel protected from the temptation to use alcohol or other addictive substances they would typically have access to in the outside world. But that doesn’t mean they are all created equal.
A halfway house is generally owned and operated by the government or a rehabilitation center. It’s used as a transition place for recovering addicts, a cocoon of sorts, to protect them from the temptations of the world.
They stay there for a few months on average while they start to adjust to the real world again – beginning a new job, creating new friendships, and establishing themselves as part of a community.
A sober living facility is an agreed upon living environment where a group of peers has made a commitment to keep the home free from alcohol and drugs and support each other through recovery. They are not held to the same regulations as halfway homes and often function outside of the assistance of government funding or certain regulations.
The Structure of a Sober Living House
To avoid the pitfalls of a halfway house, like limited duration and potential loss of funding, sober living houses have a different structure. Most do not have any formal treatment services in the home. Instead, many will mandate that their residents attend a treatment program like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or a non-12-step treatment program.
Sober living homes also make their residents agree to a set of rules. These can include staying free of drugs and alcohol, participating in house chores or events, and participating during house meetings.
Those living in these facilities pay rent and utilities much the same way as anyone else does with a traditional roommate situation.
HOW SOBER LIVING HOMES STRENGTHEN YOUR RECOVERY
A sober living home is an option for next step treatment after achieving sobriety. It acts as a supplement to recovery allowing those who leave the treatment environment to have a safe transition into a new environment where temptation is minimized.
They can help you reduce your risk of relapse by teaching you how to maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships and insulating you from the people who would threaten your recovery.
They can also help you locate a job and find a way to get to and from work. Many of these homes work with others in the community to help you be successful.
They may also help with other relapse prevention techniques by identifying potential triggers before they get out of control.
THE POTENTIAL PITFALLS OF SOBER LIVING HOUSES
Since sober living facilities are not formal treatment programs, they don’t have to be licensed by a state agency. That means that there is no one regulating what goes on in the home. It is up to the existing residents to enforce each other and prevent anyone who relapses from affecting the behavior of everyone else living there.
Since remaining sober is incredibly difficult for so many people, once one person brings a drug in the door, it can bring down everyone else’s will to stay clean. When a sober living house becomes overrun with drugs and those people aren’t asked to leave, it can quickly become a flop house.
A ‘flop house’ is a safe haven for addicts to who feed off each other’s negative behaviors. They become rundown, creating a very dangerous environment for those who are actually trying to be successful with their recovery.
Before choosing a sober living home, make sure to plan a visit and talk to the residents about their experiences before moving in. Make sure to find out about how the rules of the house and how they are enforced. While some people have an aversion to rules, in this case, they are a necessary component for success in recovery.
It’s also important to ask if the home provides any sort of structure for the day, like morning meetings, afternoon check-ins, or required group therapy sessions. These kinds of things will be very helpful during your stay and can help create a community of recovery.
HOW MUCH DOES LIVING IN A SOBER HOME COST?
The cost of sober living houses varies based on how many residents are in the home, the quality of the home, and its location, much like traditional apartments or houses.
Residents are asked to pay rent each month that is fairly close to market rates. Typically the utilities will be covered in this rate to make it easier for whoever pays the bills at the end of the month.
Living this way is much cheaper than living in a residential rehab since residents aren’t also paying for medical care and additional services. This helps bring the costs down ensuring that those who want to live sober have a place to do so.
WHEN TO CHOOSE A SOBER LIVING HOME
After completing detox and an inpatient stay at a facility, many people worry about staying sober alone.
It’s imperative to be serious about recovery. For many, it’s a life and death matter, and a sober living house can act as an integral step in transitioning to lifelong sobriety. It is possible to see others succeed and fail, but it gives insight into the process and helps build friendships that will strengthen the will to stay sober.
While some people may want to head straight home to their family and friends when they complete treatment, this can often be a recipe for relapse. This puts them in an environment near the same triggers that caused the addiction in the first place. A sober living home gives people a fresh start and makes them feel like a contributing member of a community.
FINDING A SOBER LIVING HOME
When recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, it’s important to establish a firm foundation to build a sober life. At Alo House, we offer personalized treatment programs that shape a path to recovery.
Our residential detox and treatment programs are just the beginning. For clients looking for sober living after treatment, we transition them to Alo House sober living homes in southern California that are managed and maintained by us.
This offers our clients the peace of mind that they are still a part of our family and community, and reduces the fear of starting over in an unfamiliar environment.
Here are other pages with information related to sober living…