Sober living is a recovery option that provides a buffer between leaving residential or full-time treatment and returning to a fully independent living environment. The challenge for residents is to maintain sobriety when they return to the routine of normal daily life after sober living. The battle to stave off relapse is never easy, but those who attend treatment followed by a period in a sober living facility will be well equipped to successfully maintain their recovery.
During treatment for a substance use disorder, clients develop a skillset to address the underlying issues behind their initial substance use, learn how to identify triggers and successfully cope with cravings. One of the key things people who suffer from addiction could benefit from is to incorporate some structure and routine into their lives. Enrolling in a sober living program provides the structure, safety and routine that can support sobriety after treatment.
Support Options After Sober Living
During individual and group counseling sessions for addiction treatment, clients will learn how to take a proactive approach to their recovery. Getting sober is a vital first step to recovery, but people recovering from addiction may continue to experience cravings even after they’ve broken any physical dependence on a substance. These cravings will be at their most powerful and frequent in the early stages of recovery, and they ease in intensity and frequency as time passes.
Most sober living programs will strongly encourage clients to continue to seek help indefinitely after they complete their initial treatment program. Options include attending 12-step meetings or other similar, supportive meetings held in the local community and designed to help people maintain their recovery.1
Other support groups may be available in your area that deal with a specific type of addiction. Many treatment facilities offer outpatient programs that provide drop-in meetings or phone support for clients who may be experiencing a crisis. Family members can also provide support, as can doctors and trusted spiritual advisers.
Building a Healthy Life After Sober Living
Many people who suffer from a substance use disorder began their initial substance use despite living in a relatively stable environment. However, as the disease progresses, most people will find their lives, and that of their immediate families, in disarray. The challenge for people recovering from addiction is to restore healthy behavior patterns and develop mechanisms for coping with stress and difficult emotions without turning to alcohol or drugs.
Learning to cope with stress during and after sober living is a crucial step for many people in recovery. Stress has physical and mental components and can often be successfully managed by responding in a healthy, predetermined way. Regular moderate physical activity is known to reduce stress. Physical exercise has the added bonus of releasing endorphins, which are naturally occurring feel-good chemicals.2
Another way to build strength and resilience after sober living is to avoid becoming bored. Engage in activities that are mentally and physically stimulating, preferably in a group environment. Join local clubs and societies that meet regularly, and become an active participant.
Success Is Possible
Remaining in recovery after sober living is undeniably a challenge, but it is one that millions of people have successfully undertaken. Using a combination of professional and peer support with personal development is an ideal way to successfully handle cravings and triggers.