When people have reached the end of their stay in rehab they can feel like it is their graduation day. There is good reason to feel proud, but for many they will now be entering the most treacherous part of their journey thus far. The transition from rehab to home can be daunting for a number of reasons including:
* When people stay in rehab they are protected from alcohol and drugs. Once they go home they will have to face familiar temptations.
* The whole rehab environment is geared towards keeping people sober, and such support will not be there once the individual goes home.
* Going home may mean facing a mess. Those who enter rehab often do so after hitting rock bottom and facing the wreckage of this can be a challenge on sobriety.
* When people leave home they will once again be faced with familiar stresses and irritations. These may have been used for justification for alcohol or drug abuse in the past, and the individual may feel the temptation to escape arises again once they are home.
* The individual may need to face friends or family who are not supportive of their recovery. There may even be people who will try to actively sabotage this attempt to live a better life.
* When people stay in rehab they will be surrounded by all the resources they need to stay sober. Such resources will not be so easily available when they return home.
* Rehab means being surrounded by people who share similar concerns. There is usually someone to talk to at all hours of the day our night but such support may not be available at home.
* When people are in rehab they will have very few responsibilities – this is so they can fully focus on staying sober. After rehab the individual will be expected to take care of their responsibilities and stay sober.
Sober living homes (sometimes called dry houses) are an option for people who have just completed a residential rehab. It is also sometimes possible for people who have gone through detox independently to enter one of these homes. Sober living homes can act as an intermediate step between rehab and home. It gives the individual more time to develop the skills they are going to need to build a successful life away from addiction. A sober living home is not as strictly regimented as a rehab, but it does offer a great deal of structure and support. Some people will only stay in a sober living home for a couple of months, but it is also possible to stay for a year or even longer.
Other names for sober living homes include:
There are some good reasons for why people might choose sober living homes including:
* Many people relapse during the transition from rehab to home. The sober living house acts as a halfway point and thus reduces the risk of relapse.
* The client can ease their way back into normal life.
* Those people who live in such an environment will benefit from continued support from people who share their goals. They will also be encouraged by peer support.
* There will often be counseling sessions available to residents as part of the program.
* Most of these homes are comfortable and in some cases the accommodation could even be described as luxurious.
* The rules of these facilities are that no alcohol or drugs are allowed, and if somebody relapses they need to leave right away. This means that those who stay in these houses are protected from temptation.
* Those homes provide a structured environment. When people first become sober life can feel a bit overwhelming but structure makes things feel more manageable.
* There are usually plenty of recovery resources available to people who stay in these homes. There may even be continued support group participation and sobriety education.
* Loneliness can be a real problem in early recovery and can easily act as a relapse trigger. Those who live in this type of environment are less likely to suffer from loneliness, and they can begin building a social network.
* These places can provide instruction in useful tools such as mindfulness meditation or yoga.
* In early sobriety people can be faced with all types of unexpected challenges. By living in a supported environment they will have somebody to turn to with their problems.
* It means they are not faced with familiar temptations until they have developed a stronger sobriety.
* Some people leave rehab and develop the dangerous misconception that they are cured and the work is done. Staying in a sober living home reinforces the idea that there is still work to be done.
* Staying in this type of environment usually means that the individual will be spared some responsibilities. This means that they will be able to focus more on their continued recovery.
* Some parts of the world offer free supportive housing to those in need in situations where the alternative would be homelessness.
* Boredom is another common relapse trigger, and those who live in this type of environment may be less likely to experience such risky emotions.
There are some potential disadvantages with dry houses such as:
* These houses tend to be far less supervised than rehab. This means that if one person relapses they could take other people with them.
* It is usually necessary to pay for this type of aftercare. It can be prohibitively expensive to stay in a sober living home long term, but there are some reasonably priced options.
* Some people might claim that such additional support is unnecessary, and that it is just delaying the inevitable return to normal living. This may be true for some people, but it is unlikely to be true for everyone – there are people who do seem to need this additional support.
* Some people may find it uncomfortable to be living in such a community.
* There is the worry that the individual might become a bit institutionalized. This means that they become dependent on a structured environment.
* If people have responsibilities at home their extended stay in a sober living home could make life difficult for family.
The rules of sober living homes can include:
* No alcohol or recreational drugs of any sorts. They may also ban such things as alcohol based mouthwash or cough medicine.
* Any instance of physical or verbal violence can get people instantly banned from the house.
* There will usually be rules for taking care of the house that each client will need to follow.
* If people relapse they will need to leave the house.
* There may be house meetings and groups that the client will be expected to attend.
* Clients are usually expected to be self supporting financially, and to buy their own food.
* Some of these homes require that the individual be employed.
* Clients are expected to make the best use of their time in the sober living home. The resources they need will usually be made available, but it is up to each individual to make the best use of these.
* There should be no romantic relationships between clients.
* There are usually restrictions on clients brining family or friends to the house – there will almost certainly be a ban on overnight visitors.
* Some houses will expect clients to attend 12 Step group meetings and may even have rules for working the steps while there.