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What is Sober Living?

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It is estimated that 10% of Americans develop a substance use disorder, or addiction, at some point in their lives. Fortunately, many people are able to find recovery from their addiction if they receive the proper treatment. Proper treatment for substance use disorders often includes many types of treatment and levels of care. Many people start with inpatient or residential treatment and then move to outpatient treatment. For many people who move to outpatient treatment, sober living is an important part of their recovery journey because of the benefits of sober living programs. 

What is Sober Living?

Sober living homes are homes that individuals with addiction concerns can live at as they aim for long-term recovery. These homes are drug and alcohol-free environments that often have programs to promote healing. Characteristics common for most sober living environments include: 

  • The requirement to remain sober from all substances while living in the home 
  • Encouragement or requirement to attend 12-step self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous
  • The requirement to abide by all house rules with the penalty of being discharged from the home if rules are broken 
  • The responsibility for paying rent and other costs associated with living at the sober living home 
  • The ability to live at home for as long as the individual needs as long as they abide by all house rules

Why is Sober Living Important in the Recovery Process?

Sober living homes are often an important part of the recovery process because of how successful these programs have been. A study that observed data from sober living homes found that they have very high retention rates compared to other substance use treatment programs. People in these environments had an average length of stay between 166 and 254 days, which is much higher than the general bare minimum recommendation of 90 days. Additionally, individuals that included sober living environments in their recovery process noticed many improvements. Most residents were able to reduce or stop their use between baseline and the 6th follow-up and continue to maintain those improvements at additional follow-ups. They were able to maintain these improvements even after leaving the sober living home. They also noticed overall improvements in residents in terms of employment, psychiatric symptoms, and arrests. These homes were most likely successful for individuals who attended 12-step meetings regularly, had a drug and alcohol-free social network, and had low severity of mental health symptoms. 

Sober living homes are very helpful to individuals striving for long-term sobriety because they offer an alcohol and drug-free environment while also empowering individuals to become equipped with tools to use so that they cope with triggers in effective ways. It also helps individuals rebuild their lives in a safe environment so that they are more likely to build it without the presence of supports that promotes alcohol and drug use. 

How Do I Know if a Sober Living Home is Right for Me? 

Sober living environments are not required for everyone seeking long-term sobriety. However, many people find success when incorporating them into their recovery process. Here are some factors to consider that might make sober living a good option for you: 

  • Your current living environment keeps you exposed to alcohol or drug use.
  • Most or all of your social supports use alcohol or drugs.
  • Most of your recreational activities included alcohol or drug use before you decided to seek recovery. 
  • You need support managing triggers for relapse. 
  • You want to be surrounded by others who understand what you’re going through and who can support you through your recovery.
  • If you have a mental illness, the symptoms are managed mainly by coping skills, therapy, or medication and are generally low in severity.

How to find Sober Living in Santa Monica, CA

Thrive Treatment offers comprehensive services to clients experiencing mental health or substance use concerns. We have expert clinicians available that provide case management services, individual therapy, group therapy, and incorporation of family support. Each client has an individualized treatment plan unique to their recovery. We offer different levels of care, including partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, sober living houses, and aftercare. Contact us today to find out how we can help you through your recovery!

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