When an individual attends inpatient addiction treatment, the time is spent in a safe and very restricted environment. In essence, they are living in a bubble where most real world stressors don’t exist.
Upon leaving inpatient treatment however, a decision has to be made. Do you return home to the same environment you were in prior to treatment? Or do you step down to a sober living, halfway house, or supportive living before returning home?
Many people feel that they are ready to go straight home – not realizing that they have yet to build a solid foundation for their recovery to enable them to handle the stressors of their new life in sobriety.
Here are several ways staying in a halfway house or sober living home is beneficial.
Sober living and halfway houses provide a sense of community for residents. Every resident is struggling with some form of addiction or mental health issue and living in a group setting with people who understand what you are going through can be greatly beneficial.
A lot of times family members don’t truly understand what you are really struggling with. As much as they want to understand – and as much as we want them to understand – they probably never will. It takes someone who has walked the path to truly understand it. In a halfway house not only do the other residents understand, but usually the staff has also struggled and overcome many of the same issues.
Structure is one of the most important tools that sober living and halfway houses provide. Having wake up times, curfews, daily chores, 12-step or other meeting requirements, and someone to hold residents accountable to requirements is paramount for a successful transition back into the world.
Many have had little to no structure in their lives prior to entering in-patient treatment, or little accountability. Their lives were consumed by addiction and everything else came second.
In a supportive living environment, residents learn how to structure lives around recovery instead of trying to fit recovery around their lives. They also have others around to hold them accountable when they fall short.
3. Life Skills
Prior to a new found life in sobriety, many residents couldn’t handle typical everyday life skills. For whatever reason, they struggled to maintain a healthy and productive life – stopped taking care of health, hygiene, house chores, cleanliness and so many other responsibilities. Sober living and supportive living can help implement these life skills, including:
- Doing laundry
- Going grocery shopping
- Finding and maintaining employment
- Maintaining hygiene
- Following through with commitments
- Interpersonal skills
- Developing new relationships
- Establishing healthy routines
- Sleep hygiene
- Healthy eating habits
Reestablishing life skills helps build a daily and weekly routine that will be conducive to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in recovery.
4. Easier Transition
It’s one thing to talk about transitioning back to daily life – and another to do it. Many people finishing treatment are nervous and scared to make the transition back into the real world because they fear failing. This is not an unwarranted fear, most underestimate the real world stressors they will face upon leaving treatment.
Halfway houses and sober living homes act as a buffer between inpatient treatment and the real world by making the transition to everyday life smoother. Sobriety is a lifelong journey and sober living homes act as the bridge between treatment and the real world. It is a safe place to make and learn from mistakes.
5. Reduces The Risk Of Relapse
Early sobriety can be a very difficult time where the chance of relapse is high. Knowing you have a safe and supportive environment to come home to at the end of the day is greatly beneficial.
Many experience triggers of relapse after in-patient treatment. Having other people around us who have experienced and understand these triggers is an important benefit of staying in a halfway house or sober living home. It affords the opportunity to work through relapse triggers and practice coping skills learned in recovery with the support of others.
6. Resources For Recovery
Many sober living employees have walked the same path in recovery as residents, so when they make suggestions it comes from experience. They understand the importance of having access to services and support groups for residents.
Some of the resources in a supportive living environment include:
- Local 12-step meetings
- Local support groups
- Available sponsors
- Skilled therapists and other clinicians
- Outpatient treatment centers
- Employment opportunities
- Volunteer programs
- Integration into recovery network