What Is Sober Living?

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated June 25, 2020

When it comes to addiction, getting sober is only half the journey. For many, transitioning out of a residential rehab program can be both freeing and daunting. Going home might include a variety of comforts, but it also involves the temptation to return to substance abuse and other destructive behaviors. If you’re intimidated by the idea of leaving inpatient treatment and returning to normal life, sober living might be a good option.

What is sober living, and how does it work? Sober living facilities provide any recovering addict with not only a place to live but also coping strategies and tools for facing triggers that can arise in day-to-day life. For many, utilizing the full continuum of care is vital in achieving life-long sobriety. Upon completing detox and graduating from residential rehab, sober living can be a critical stepping stone before transitioning to an outpatient program while living at home.

Although Northbound Treatment is a rehabilitation center that doesn’t offer a sober living facility of our own, we’re here to answer all your questions on the topic and can help you find housing that’s right for you. Keep reading to learn more about sober living and what to expect from the experience.

What Is a Sober Living House?

Sober living facilities are often referred to as sober living houses. Choosing to temporarily reside in a sober living house is often an essential component of successfully transitioning to living independently at home.

Sober living houses are designed to be not only safe and supportive but also affordable for those in recovery. They’re funded through resident fees and range in size and capacity. There are many facilities in Orange County and throughout the United States that provide those recovering from addiction with a clean and structured environment.

Since no two paths to sobriety are the same, sober living can be used as aftercare for those transitioning out of inpatient treatment. It can also work as housing for someone as they participate in an outpatient program. For some, sober living might be a stand-alone approach to overcoming addiction once detox is safely completed.

To find out “what is inpatient treatment?”, check out our blog here.

Why Sober Living Can Be Crucial After Rehab

As we mentioned, moving back home from residential rehab can be a substantial adjustment. It’s easy to get accustomed to the around-the-clock care and support of inpatient treatment. Your family and friends will be thrilled when you finally return, but suddenly being thrown back into your old lifestyle and home environment can be a shock. For some, the abrupt change is overwhelming and stressful, which can hinder your recovery and increase the risk of relapse. 

Additionally, if being home is triggering, your loved ones might feel pressured to keep an eye on you at all hours to prevent you from using drugs or alcohol again. This scenario can be stressful for everyone involved. The continuum of care is designed to provide appropriate addiction treatment at each stage of recovery. With that said, it’s important to be prepared for the next step before making the transition. Northbound Treatment recommends sober living houses to those completing residential drug and alcohol rehab who might not be ready to be entirely independent.

In a sober living setting, individuals can adjust to an autonomous lifestyle, develop healthy routines, and eventually reenter society. You’ll practice what you’ve already learned in rehab and build on your abilities to cope with negativity, resist temptation, make practical choices, and find satisfaction in everyday life. If relapse does occur in a sober living house, it’s promptly addressed, and residents have immediate access to the help they need to get back on track.

Sober Living: What to Expect

How does sober living work, and what can you expect from this type of housing? Like residential rehab centers, sober living houses are structured environments for healing and personal development. When you live there, you’ll have a predictable routine, a supportive community of sober peers, healthy socialization, and lots of accountability.

The framework of each sober living facility will be different, but you can expect to have to follow certain rules and guidelines. For instance, some sober living houses require participants to spend normal business hours either working, looking for a job, taking classes, or volunteering. Additionally, each resident is typically responsible for a number of chores. This helps sober living residents optimize their experience there while getting used to having responsibilities and a schedule. 

Most sober living facilities also require residents to take drug tests regularly. Some ask that participants attend an outpatient treatment program at a rehab center, such as those offered by Northbound in Orange County. It’s all about relearning healthy routines, being held accountable for your actions, and living productively so that you’re ready to function at home when the time comes.

With sober living, you can bridge the gap between intensive residential rehab and immersing yourself back into your community. Addiction is a complex disease. Unlike some health conditions, overcoming drug or alcohol dependence isn’t always the be-all and end-all. Achieving sobriety in a controlled environment is a necessary first step, but it’s only half the battle — and for some, more like a fraction of the battle. Real life can be unpredictable, to say the least, and being 100% ready to return home is crucial for preventing relapse.

Addiction Support Services from Northbound Treatment

For some clients, addiction support is the treatment phase that follows an outpatient program or discharge from residential rehab. So, what is outpatient rehab? Essentially, it involves maintenance services for those who no longer need intensive treatment. With Northbound’s addiction support services, clients learn various techniques for preventing relapse, which helps them live confidently without supervision and rules.

We offer a highly effective addiction support program in Orange County that allows clients to become more independent and track their progress with overcoming addiction. Our discharge plans are strategically designed to assist individuals in reorienting their behaviors to the long-term realities of sobriety.

Clients have the flexibility and self-determination to decide which course of action is best in their unique road to addiction recovery. In some instances, they may need to return to a more intensive level of care, such as sober living or inpatient rehab.

We’re Here for You

Here at Northbound, we’re committed to providing our clients with the support they need at every stage of addiction recovery. If our facilities don’t offer what you need, such as a sober living house, we can assist you in finding one that suits you.

No matter where you’re starting or what your needs are, Northbound Treatment is here to help. In addition to residential rehab, we offer detox and partial hospitalization programs to help individuals get sober in a safe, medically supervised setting. Many recovery plans involve dual diagnosis treatment, in which clients receive care for a co-occurring mental health disorder along with addiction.

Our outpatient services include intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment and telehealth treatment services. We also offer our Signature Services, which are developed to support our clients in achieving their short- and long-term goals. Clients can participate in our Collegebound®, Careerbound®, and music programs to continue with education, get on track professionally, and express themselves while working on their recovery.

We understand how challenging it can be to take the first step toward sobriety. You may feel nervous or overwhelmed, but we promise to be there for you at every milestone, setback, achievement. We’ve been helping people overcome addiction for over three decades, and we welcome you to join us at our addiction treatment facility in Orange County.

Northbound is an in-network provider for almost all major health insurance plans. If you have questions or concerns about paying for treatment, we’ll review your insurance policy, tell you what your options are, and determine a payment plan that suits your unique situation.

Call us today to get started, or fill out our online admissions form and someone from the Northbound team will get back to you within 12 hours.

Sources:

  1. Polcin, Douglas L. et al. “What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?” Journal of psychoactive drugs 42.4 (2010): 425–433. Print., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057870/
  2. “Sober Living Houses (SLH) Research.” Arg.org. N.p., 28 Feb. 2017., http://arg.org/news/sober-living-houses-slh-research/

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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