As your time in rehab draws to a close, you might be more eager than ever to return home. But is this the best choice for helping you stay on the road to recovery? For most people, transitioning to sober living after rehab is a better choice. In fact, there are all kinds of benefits of sober living after rehab. And we’re going to tell you more about them in this post.
First, let’s start with the basics and explain exactly what sober living is in the first place.
What is Sober Living?
Sober living involves moving into a home or environment with other people who are also in the early stages of sobriety. These environments offer people in recovery a safe space that’s conducive to maintaining sobriety. They give people in recovery structure, support, and security—each of which are incredibly important, especially when you are just leaving rehab.
Sober living environments are meant to be a transitional environment after rehabilitation and before returning to your home or previous environment. That’s why sober living after rehab is common practice for many people in recovery.
Depending on the particular sober living environment, there are a number of rules occupants are expected to follow. First and foremost, they must not use drugs or alcohol, bring these substances into the environment, or offer them to others in the home.
Other rules can also entail work or school requirements, as well as the hours the occupants must be in the sober living environment. Usually, residents are also required to perform certain chores or tasks in the sober house as well.
Benefits of Sober Living After Rehab
Now that we’ve covered the basics of sober living, let’s talk about the benefits of sober living after rehab.
Guidance and support
Leaving rehab, you might feel like a pony learning to take its first steps. When you immediately return to your home after rehab, going from 24/7 structure, guidance, and support to being left to your own devices can mean it’s easier to fall back into your old habits.
When you go to sober living after rehab, however, you will still be getting guidance and support in a structured environment. As much as you might be craving total freedom after rehab, a lack of structure and support often means bad news for your long-term sobriety.
Ask anyone in recovery and they will tell you about the importance of developing relationships with other people who are also in recovery. After all, who else will better understand what you’re going through?
When you go to sober living after rehab, you’re bound to meet a number of other people who are on a similar path. This camaraderie and support will be helpful not only in the early stages of recovery, but over the years as you maintain your sober lifestyle too.
Many people who enter rehab often do so knowing they will have to leave some of their old friends behind. This is simply because they aren’t supportive of the new, healthier path they will be on. Or, some relationships will no longer be as tight-knit.
But with the friends you meet in sober living? You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing these friends want the same things as you. It’s also helpful knowing you don’t have to go it alone!
Relearning life skills
When you were in active addiction, many of the life skills you once knew could have fallen to the wayside. Simple tasks like caring for your home or yourself might seem foreign to you now. But in sober living, you’ll have the opportunity to relearn these skills before you return to your home or wherever you will live permanently after rehab.
This is one reason part of the agreement you enter into when you transition into sober living after rehab involves certain chores or responsibilities you must keep up with.
Although you will still have guidance, support, and structure, sober living tends to come with more independence than rehab does. As you first transition to sober living after rehab, you might have a more structured routine with closer monitoring. But overtime, you can begin to regain your independence, and at the same time, your confidence.
This can include:
- Traveling to work or school by yourself
- Doing grocery shopping for yourself
- Attending 12-step meetings by yourself
- Partaking in social activities on your own
But keep in mind, these steps should be gradual and they won’t happen overnight.
Minimizing the risk of relapse
There is always a chance of relapsing after leaving rehab. But if you go to sober living after rehab? Then you’re giving yourself a better chance at staying sober for longer—and the science agrees!
Consider the findings in this 2012 study explaining how people who relapse during recovery have less brain tissue in the portion of the brain that regulates behavior and emotional control:
“It was proven that relapse patients had increased loss of grey matter in particular regions of the forebrain. This section of the brain is known to be associated primarily with behavioral regulation and emotional control. Furthermore, measurement of functional brain responses in reaction to alcohol-associated stimuli showed that different brain regions were activated in relapsed patients than in patients who remained abstinent. These measurements show that sections of the brain in relapse patients were active that are associated primarily with directing attention to certain stimuli. In contrast, the abstinent patients demonstrated an activation of brain areas that are (among other functions) associated with processing of stimuli inducing aversion (aversive stimuli) or that are particularly important (salient stimuli).”
When you’re in sober living, you are providing yourself with more structure and support when you need it most. So, even if your decision-making abilities aren’t at their peak, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’re in a safe space conducive to making good decisions.
Is Sober Living After Rehab My Only Option?
As you’ve seen, there are several benefits to going into sober living after rehab. But is it your only option? Not necessarily! There are some situations when sober living (or in-patient rehabilitation for that matter) might not work for someone.
At Elysian Sober Services, we help people of ALL ages who suffer from addiction and cater to those who cannot be in residential care for one reason or another. We provide professional care in the comfort of your own home. We believe it isn’t always necessary to put your life on hold while trying to stay sober. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take hard work and a lot of support to do so!
With that in mind, we offer a number of sober services for people at different points in their recovery journey.
For example, our sober companions offer a continuum of care to residential treatment and provide 24/7 accountability for the challenges of early sobriety. They immerse you within the recovery community and get you quickly acclimated with your new way of life in recovery. Sober companions engage with individuals in their home environment to achieve these goals. We typically live in the home of the person receiving help. This can be done for any period of time ranging from two weeks to a year. This depends on the client’s unique circumstances and needs.
Alternatively, our sober coaches do not live in the client’s home. But they still offer regular support during the early and most difficult stages of recovery. Our sober coaches are much more of a mentor to the client. They help to guide them in decisions and integrate them into the recovery community.
Learn more about Elysian Sober Services and what they can do for you here.