Drug and alcohol addictions are considered to be diseases of the brain; they are physical, chemical, and psychological. Addiction is a complex, multifaceted issue that requires thorough, evidence-based treatment. At the same time, it is important to remember the human aspect of addiction and recovery, the one that benefits from compassion, community and support.
One method of treating addiction is through a combination of traditional treatment modalities and sober living programs.
Traditional drug and alcohol addiction treatment
Depending on the level of care needed, the severity of the addiction, and the needs of the client, there are a few different options for treating drug and alcohol addiction.
- Counseling. There are many forms of therapy that can be used in treating the psychological aspect of addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, is a method that encourages reflection and introspection not only to get to the root cause of certain thoughts and behaviors but also to recognize and adapt to responses in stressful situations. If, for example, you feel the need to drink after a stressful day at work, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you to recognize those feelings and channel that energy into a more productive response; perhaps instead of drinking when you are stressed, you will go for a run or meditate.
- Medication-assisted treatment. Certain substances, like opioids, respond well to medication-assisted treatment, which is a method that utilizes medication to facilitate complete detox from drugs or alcohol. Methadone, for example, is a substance that is employed to lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms in opioid addiction. Medication-assisted treatment should always be done under the supervision of medical professionals, as certain drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous if left untreated.
- Inpatient care. Inpatient care is incredibly valuable in recovery from addiction, especially if you will experience intense and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. You will receive care through it all and will never have to face detox alone. Once the hospitalization program has been completed, you could then transition into a sober living home where you can better focus on your recovery and sobriety.
Sober living in tandem with addiction treatment
While traditional treatment methodologies address the science and psychology behind addiction, sober living emphasizes the human component of recovery. Sober living programs provide a safe and comfortable space for individuals going through a recovery.
Sober living programs can provide value in myriad ways:
- A strong sense of community is one of the most important aspects of a sober living home
- Some programs offer recreational therapy, which can give you the chance to find new passions and create a life for yourself outside of drinking and using drugs
- Career support is important at this stage of your recovery so that you feel prepared to re-enter your normal daily life. Take advantage of the career coaches offered by your sober living home to create a resume, search for jobs, and prepare for interviews
- Because of the house rules, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for relapsing in a sober living home. This type of program provides you with a safe and comfortable space in early sobriety, when it may be the most difficult to avoid drugs and alcohol
- You will never be alone. Sober living programs are empowering and encouraging when recovery gets tough because you will be surrounded by others in the same situation. Seeing your roommates work through their own recovery can remind you that if they can do it, you can certainly do it too.
- Sober living can act as a gentle transition from detox back to normal life
- You will likely share a room with someone else in the program and you will be given chores every day. Picking up after yourself and keeping group spaces inviting can help keep you accountable not only for yourself but for your roommates, the program’s employees and your shared living space
- You will build confidence in yourself, your relationships and your sobriety. You will prove to yourself that you can live, have fun, develop healthy habits and have positive influences without drinking or using drugs
- They can show you what your life can be like as a sober person. You may have never thought you would make it this far, and you may not know what lies ahead, but the meaningful relationships, support and tools brought to you by sober living can be carried with you long after you complete your program