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Is Sober Living After Rehab Mandatory?

Every addict knows that rehab is just the beginning of the lifelong journey of recovery. However, after completing treatment, many have to choose where to go next. Part of that decision is choosing between sober living after rehab or returning home. Overall, the answer is simple, while deciding where to go after rehab can be a challenging decision, mainly when their situation back home is less than ideal. 

If you or a loved one is stuck in this dilemma, here are some things to consider when choosing where to go after rehab. 

What is Sober Living?

A sober living house or a halfway house are substance-free homes with a group-living environment that hosts people recovering from drugs and alcohol. Residents are all going through a similar process, and the staff creates a sense of structure. Unlike rehab, people are free to come and go as they please, but there are still some ground rules in place. 

Choosing Between Sober Living After Rehab and Returning Home

After rehab, many people feel the urge to go back home. However, sometimes things might not be the best idea for most cases. There are both pros and cons of choosing to return home versus moving to a sober living facility instead. It’s up to the recovering addict to choose the path they feel better fits their recovery journey. 

Benefits of Going Home

Going home after rehab is a common choice for many, especially those with a close family. Those who left beloved pets behind, spouses, and kids are eager to go back home. Financial concerns are also another reason why people choose to go home. This means they might try to go back to work and save the expenses to continue paying for a rehab facility. 

Unfortunately, there are also some downsides to returning home after rehab. Sometimes family members don’t have the tools to promote sobriety. Without relapse prevention education they might cause more harm than good. Therefore, sometimes returning home can jeopardize someone’s recovery journey as the added stress can lead to relapse. 

Reasons to Choose Going Home After Rehab:

  • Reuniting with family and friends
  • Financial concerns
  • Going back to work or school
  • Family is supportive and participated throughout the recovery process
  • Relapse prevention measurements are in place

Benefits of Sober Living

On the other hand, sober living is almost an extension of rehab with a more flexible structure. Sober houses hold residents accountable for their actions, which can be huge for those in early recovery. They also offer recovery support since other residents are going through the same journey. This is incredibly helpful for those without a support system back home. 

Although sober living is more flexible, residents are still asked to follow house rules. Rules like attending resident meetings, working on interpersonal skills, and following a structure that helps promote sobriety. 

When going back home involves being exposed to constant triggers or returning to a toxic environment, sober living can be the best option. Although it isn’t a mandatory step of recovery, most therapists recommend that patients go through this transition. These less structured living facilities provide a safe and controlled environment that slowly helps people integrate back into society and provides them with the tools they need to do so safely.

Reasons to Choose Sober Living After Rehab:

  • Not having a healthy support system back home
  • Living near a toxic environment that promotes drug and alcohol
  • Not feeling ready to continue sober without support and guidance
  • Needing a space that fosters accountability and support
  • Needing help with interpersonal and life skills development to reintegrate into society

What Researchers Say About Sober Living Homes

Overall, both therapists and researchers advocate for choosing sober living homes after leaving rehab. Although everyone’s recovery journey is unique, sober living seems to promote long-term recovery. Various studies have looked at the difference sober living homes can make in the early days of recovery to prevent relapse. Here are some of those findings:

  • A study included in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs showed that sober living homes increased the likelihood of recovering addicts to maintain their sobriety with few or no relapses.
  • In general, sober living residents have lower arrest rates, fewer substance abuse problems, higher employment rates, and more stable housing arrangements. 
  •  Another study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that those in sober living programs had lower scores on personality disorder tests and improved their mental health, including lower symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • A study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine showed that addiction recovery patients who lived in a sober living home were ten times more likely to avoid relapse. 
  • The average stay of a sober living home is often between 166 and 254 days, much higher than the recommendations of at least 90 days from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

How to Find a Sober Living Home Near Me

For those in early-sobriety, sober living offers accountability, structure, a support network, and general help during a tough time. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we believe addiction treatment never ends. The value we place in the community and ongoing support is incomparable. We foster sober communities within our community to help people in recovery. 

For anyone considering choosing sober living after rehab, here are some steps to help you:

  • Ask your treatment team for a referral. Most likely, your addiction treatment center has partnered up with some sober living facilities to offer continuum care for its residents. In addition, addiction centers might count on their own sober living homes to provide a familiar space for those leaving rehab. 
  • Find the structure that works best for you. Not all sober living homes are structured the same. For example, halfway houses have different rules, requirements, and expectations from patients. Sober living facilities have their admission process and set of rules. Familiarize yourself with both structures before making a decision.
  • Learn about the length of stay. Most sober living homes don’t have a specific length of stay, with many residents staying up to five years or more. However, this isn’t the case for all facilities. It’s essential to learn about any length of stay commitments or restrictions that could interfere with the recovery journey later on. 
  • Only choose accredited sober living homes. Unfortunately, many individuals don’t do their due diligence and end up in sober living homes that promote a toxic environment, allow drugs and alcohol, and don’t stand by recovery principles. Make sure you choose one with accreditations and licenses that guarantee they’re following the standards of care outlined by the National Alliance of Recovery Residences. 

Choosing Alternatives 

For those who chose to go home, there’s another option available. Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) can be a structured program that helps those in early recovery. These types of programs are often recommended after completing a residential rehab program. Intensive outpatient programs feature one-on-one counseling as well as group therapy sessions. An IOP may also have a 12-Step-program component. In these programs, participants are highly encouraged to attend 12-Step meetings or other recovery support groups. Besides, these programs can be followed whether you live at home or a sober living facility.

In our aftercare programs, those who complete treatment can continue fostering and building their support network. Beyond group meetings and counseling sessions, we encourage an environment of fellowship and companionship. Our aftercare programs work on relapse prevention, life skills development, family therapy, trauma therapy, etc. 

We believe in offering customized drug addiction treatment plans for those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. On a case-by-case basis, we look at each treatment program to cater to whatever your needs are to get better and walk towards recovery. From detoxification programs to group meetings and more, everyone in our team is committed to helping you win the struggle with addiction. 

For those in early recovery, we recommend asking about our aftercare recovery programs. Like structure to alumni programs, we designed our aftercare program to offer ongoing support that helps those in recovery learn the tools they need to maintain sobriety and succeed in their recovery journey. 

Choosing Where to Live After Rehab

It can be challenging to choose where to live after rehab. However, the decision is ultimately yours. If you’re uneasy about returning home, a sober living home can be a great option to help you stay away from drugs and alcohol as you continue your recovery journey. 

If you or a loved one recently completed rehab, contact Lighthouse Recovery Institute to speak with an admissions specialist that can help you understand your options better, so you can make the right choice. 

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