Why Sober Living?

silhouette of backpackers climbing ridge - helping each other up - benefits sober living

A good question asked by many addicts, alcoholics, and their family members who are looking for help with substance abuse disorders instead of, or in addition to, traditional treatment programs.

I went to rehab for alcoholism 6 times in 3 years.

Every time I finished treatment, I wound up drunk again within days or weeks—not because I didn’t have the “want to.” I was desperate to quit, but life was waiting for me each time I walked out those doors.

This guy was still going to do what he was going to do because I didn’t know any other way to live and had no other way to cope.

In other words, you could separate me from booze in lockdown, but the wounded, angry, frightened alcoholic was still inside.

During my 6th stint, I knew I had to try something else. I was about to be homeless and I was going to die or be incarcerated. My friends and family unanimously concurred.

I had to find a way to live life without using booze or drugs to anesthetize myself.

Sober living was the difference maker. The staff and their program showed me the way out of that horrible spiral.

I am not unique. I have many acquaintances with similar stories about the critical advantages of sober living aiding their recovery. Those benefits of sober living continue to serve them months and years later.

On that note, I’m going to get out of the way for a minute to let them tell you in their own words.

Learn, Practice, and Apply Recovery—Derek

“Sober living provided the necessary structure and accountability to cultivate a lasting change I hadn’t experienced before. It balanced requirements and freedoms in order to foster a sense of accomplishment and independence within me.”

Building an Adult Life—Jan

“I think the most important thing it did for me was to give me an opportunity to build my way back into a fully adult life, which I had not been a part of for a very long time. It also gave me a community that, seven years later, I still have in my life. The closest people in my life today are the ones that I went through sober living with.

“It’s about living life: how to have a job; learning how to balance the checkbook; finding your own way. At 43 years old I had never done those. Choosing sober living allowed me to really build my foundation without distraction.”

Sober Living Showed Me How to Live—Regan

“Committing to sober living takes the willingness to leave behind your old life, but I didn’t feel alone in making a big decision like that. I was introduced to a community of recovery—people who would tell me the truth. It taught me to trust in something I couldn’t see.

“I didn’t know what a disciplined structure looked like in a sober world. Now I do. I look into a kaleidoscope of different possibilities I never knew existed.”

Sober Living: A Structured, Safe Environment—Mark

“Becoming sober was my only goal when I started the process, but it turns out that sobriety is just a bonus to a more manageable life.

“The sober living home provided a structured, safe environment to make the changes necessary to become sober. I was very isolated during my addiction, and it helped to be around other addicts working toward the same goals.”

An Opportunity—Alicia

“I have never been to rehab, but I have been to jail. I was never given an opportunity to grow in the world with a program of recovery and support, except through sober living.

“Sober living gave me the opportunity to focus on me, work on learning about my addiction, a safe place to grow and to learn a program of tools to stay sober, and a community to stay connected to when I left.”

To Build a Foundation—Pam

“Sober living was a remarkably life changing experience for me. I’d lived my 39 years as someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s mom, and for about 10 years, Hydrocodone’s bitch. I learned coping skills to help me find peace. I was able to begin the process of accepting who I was on a fundamental level. I discovered that service to others fosters a deeper level of compassion and perspective. I learned the importance of being part of a community. Sober living helped me build a foundation and everything that has come after fits nicely on that firm foundation.”

The Benefits of Sober Living

“Rehab separated me from the alcohol. Sober living showed me how to live in the midst of it while being back in the real world.”—Regan

That’s the real benefit of sober living.

When we walked out of detox, jail, or rehab, we were left without the numbing, anesthetic action of booze and drugs. We were left bare, unarmed to face fierce emotional adversaries, including:

  • Bewilderment
  • Isolation
  • Pain
  • Confusion
  • Resentment
  • Frustration
  • Guilt
  • Terror

Compare that list with the benefits that my friends found at sober living, and you’ll find a strong problem-solution relationship:

  • Accountability
  • Structure
  • Support
  • Community
  • Acceptance and understanding
  • Altruism through service opportunities
  • Practical know-how
  • Real-time, guided application of recovery principles

In short, the fundamental advantages of sober living directly counteract the negative emotions that, if left untreated, lead to relapse and another dose of despair for the user and his/her loved ones.

“Although I had several experiences with treatment centers, I was unable to consistently apply the tools I had learned. Sober living was an effective environment to learn, practice, and apply recovery in real-world situations. I’m grateful for the time I spent in sober living.”—Derek

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