A sober living house acts as a stepping stone from a residential treatment program to everyday life. For some people, the transition back to their home environment can be difficult.
Sober living houses allow people to continue their recovery journey in a safe environment surrounded by people committed to the same goals as they are.
What Is a Sober Living Home?
Sober living homes (also known as recovery homes, halfway housing, and transitional housing) are group residences for people in addiction recovery. Members of a sober community commit to staying sober during their stay in the home and may participate in random drug testing.
If you stay in a sober living home, you may have your own bedroom or share it with one other person. Typically, you share communal spaces like kitchens, living rooms, and gardens with others.
While sober living homes can support your early recovery journey, they are not the same as addiction treatment centers. Addiction treatment centers offer extensive medical and social support alongside treatment sessions such as therapy and group activities, and residents tend to follow strict schedules and lack independence.
On the other hand, sober living housing allows you to engage in everyday life from a safe and supportive environment.
What Are the Benefits of Sober Living?
Sober living can help you to stay sober during early recovery. For some people, it makes the difference between turning back to their old ways or continuing on the path to long-term sobriety.
There are several ways that sober living supports the recovery process – here are a few of them.
A Safe Environment
Sustained substance abuse can cause physical changes in the brain. Your brain connects the substance with experiences of pleasure, producing strong urges for you to seek and use the substance. You can experience these urges at any time, but you are more likely to experience them in response to certain environmental cues that may remind you of substance use. These cues are known as triggers.
Addiction treatment programs can go some way to reversing these brain changes and provide you with tools to cope with triggers. However, you may not fully internalize the recovery skills you learn in early recovery, and encountering these triggers can be challenging.
Sober living offers a trigger-free environment (or at least a trigger-reduced environment) that can remove some of the challenges of early recovery. You will not encounter drugs or alcohol or see other people engaging in drug or alcohol use. For many people, aspects of home life or even objects in their house can trigger substance use – sober living homes take you away from all that.
Of course, you will need to be able to encounter and cope with your triggers without turning back to drugs or alcohol eventually. Staying at a sober living home gives you time to reinforce your skills and entrench healthy habits, helping you to prepare to return to your daily life. It also gives you a chance to identify what some of your triggers might be so, if needed, you can work through coping mechanisms with a therapist.
Instill Healthy Habits
Sober living homes mimic everyday living in a safe and controlled environment. They allow you to re-encounter challenges of everyday life securely and develop healthy habits, structures, and routines.
When you first leave a treatment center, you may find you have a very different perspective on life. You will need to build daily routines that don’t involve drugs and alcohol and work out what works best for you.
In sober living properties, you are surrounded by others with the same goals – you can share your thoughts, advice, and gain inspiration from each other.
Build Healthy Relationships
Addiction recovery is a lifelong process that requires commitment and support. There will be challenging times ahead, and you need to have the tools and resources to get through them.
One of the most important resources you can have is supportive relationships with others. Strong networks of mutual support can offer encouragement, advice, inspiration, distraction, and meaning throughout your recovery journey.
For some people, addiction strains their relationships and makes it difficult to build healthy bonds with others. Addiction treatment programs – especially group programming sessions – can help you learn how to form these connections, but it takes practice.
Sober living is a chance to build healthy relationships with others who share your goals and can offer mutual support on your recovery journey.
Having Sober Fun
Learning to have fun when sober is an important component of addiction recovery. Engaging in sober hobbies helps you fill your time and distract yourself from drugs and alcohol, and it can also help you remain motivated and committed to your goal of sobriety.
At a sober living house, you will meet lots of other people interested in having sober fun just like you. You can discover hobbies together, go on outings, and enjoy each other’s company without drugs or alcohol.
Research has found that socializing with friends who do not use drugs or alcohol is connected with lower alcohol and drug use, less severe addiction, and fewer psychiatric symptoms.
What Can You Expect From a Sober Living Home?
During a residential treatment program in a rehab center, clients are fully immersed in their recovery programs. Typically, they follow a full daily schedule with fixed meal times, treatment sessions, and organized activities.
In structured sober living housing, you have much more independence. You can come and go from the sober living properties to fulfill your daily obligations and responsibilities, helping you ease back into everyday life.
At the same time, sober living homes have some rules, structure, and accountability to help you stay on the right track.
Sober Living Home Rules
Each sober living home has its own rules, but they tend to be similar. Sober living houses may require:
- No drugs or alcohol on the premises, except for some specific prescription drugs
- Participation in household activities, including meetings and housework
- Completion of detox and rehabilitation before entering the residency
- Attendance of 12-step meetings or therapy at least once a week
- Sleeping in the sober living housing at least five days a week
- Participation in drug and alcohol screenings
- Adherence to a curfew
- No overnight guests
Social Support and Recovery Meetings
Aside from offering a safe and nurturing environment, sober living homes may offer social support and facilitate recovery meetings.
For example, a social worker may help you develop certain life skills, including:
- Finding a job
- Locating housing for when you leave the residency
- Making amends with loved ones or others affected by your drug or alcohol use
Your sober home may also facilitate the attendance of 12-step recovery meetings in your local area. 12-step recovery meetings are a free and effective method for relapse prevention and maintaining long-term sobriety. Sober housing facilities may provide public transit to and from the meetings and keep track of your attendance.
Filling Your Time in Sober Living
Filling your time with enriching sober activities can help you maintain good mental health, cope with cravings, and build a fulfilling life. Here are a few suggestions of activities you could try in Utah.
Visit a National Park
Utah is a state of stunning natural beauty – make the most of it by visiting one of the spectacular National Parks.
Bryce Canyon offers a series of natural amphitheaters made from dramatic and beautiful rock formations that will leave you in awe. Zion National Park is equally stunning – dramatic red cliffs steeply descend into a rich green river bed that stretches out into the distance.
Nature has known healing properties – the serene beauty of these magnificent structures is the perfect place to relax, refresh, and connect with yourself. Moreover, walking in the parks is a great form of exercise that can improve your mental health, helping you stay away from drugs or alcohol.
You may also like to get creative and experiment with photographing the dramatic scenes.
Internships and Volunteering
Salt Lake City is full of start-ups looking for interns and volunteers, and the city is also full of other opportunities for getting back into employment. Volunteering can help you structure your day, meet new people, and feel invested and engaged in daily life. It can also lead to job opportunities that help you secure a stable and fulfilling life.
Many sober living facilities partner with social workers who can help you explore volunteer, intern, and employment opportunities in the area. Research from 2010 found that sober living housing is associated with increased employment outcomes.
Skiing and Other Sports
Utah is blessed with spectacular mountains that are perfect for skiing in the winter. Enjoy the exhilarating feeling of descending a snow-covered slope in the fresh, crisp mountain air.
If skiing isn’t for you, try another sport – jogging, hockey, or basketball, to name a few. Team sports can help you develop interpersonal and problem-solving skills while boosting your mental and physical health.
Creative sports like dancing can be a valuable outlet for emotional expression throughout your recovery journey.
Creativity is a powerful tool in addiction recovery. Creative expression can act as a healthy coping mechanism for emotional and mental distress while filling your sober life with fun, meaningful, and even magical experiences.
There are countless ways to be creative – through music, art, writing, cooking, and drama, to name a few. Creative outlets may help you to feel calm and relaxed. Research has found that music is an effective tool for stress reduction, with participants experiencing less tension after practicing music than before. As stress is one of the primary triggers for drug or alcohol use, this can be an invaluable tool on your recovery journey.
Remember, when you are being artistic, you don’t have to be perfect! Try not to worry about making mistakes or the end product. The process of creating and expressing new ideas is itself magical, whatever the outcome may be.
When Should You Live in Sober Housing?
Usually, you should think about transitioning into a sober living home if you are worried about staying sober by yourself. Sober living stays typically last at least a few months to give you time to reinforce skills, instill healthy habits, and gain confidence in recovery.
At Cirque Lodge, we provide each client with an individualized aftercare plan to support them in the transition to early recovery.
As part of our continuing care program, we help you decide whether sober housing would suit you and support you to locate residencies when necessary. Our expert staff applies their in-depth knowledge and experience to your case to find the best solutions for you.
How Can You Find a Sober Living House?
Contact us today if you are looking for a sober living home in Salt Lake City, Utah, or elsewhere. Our extensive knowledge of sober living facilities across the state and the nation makes us perfectly placed to find an arrangement for you.
At Cirque Lodge, your recovery is important to us. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day to offer compassionate and expert advice wherever you are on your recovery journey. All calls are entirely confidential, and we treat every client with the highest respect.