What is Sober Living?
Sober living means maintaining a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle. It involves a daily commitment to yourself, to abstinence, and to self-care. While detox is the first step, sober living goes well-beyond just stopping the substance use. Sober living requires a person to change their attitudes and actions – transforming bad habits into positive, healthy behaviors.
How do you do this? To reach a state of sober living, you must first dig deep within yourself and understand the root of your substance use. You must find your truth – why you started using and why you continue to, despite the negative consequences. From there, you will discover what needs to change. And this will put you on the path to a successful, sober life.
As you might imagine, sober living is not always easy. It takes time, patience, dedication, and constant check-ins with yourself: Are you taking care of your health (mind and body)? Are you getting support when you need it? Are you doing things that make you happy? Sober living also requires a lot of outside support. Recovery is not something you should ever tackle alone. Close friends, family members, counselors, mentors, and support groups will be some of your greatest assets in maintaining a sober life.
What Does Sober Living Look Like?
When you are living sober, you are more aware of yourself – your emotions, interests, desires, and triggers. You know what you need to be happy and abstinent, as well as what to do when the hard days hit. Recovery is a marathon, and there will be obstacles along the way. When living sober, you will know what your “triggers” are and how to cope when they arise. You will also have a better idea of the people you want in your life, and those you need to step back from. This will allow you to surround yourself with healthy relationships and avoid the toxic ones.
When living sober, you will attract many other sober and like-minded friends (in treatment and beyond). You may repair bridges that were once “burned” by your addiction. You will also have a greater sense of accountability in relationships and in life. You will have goals, maybe a career, and other responsibilities that keep you going. You will become more independent. You will become a stronger and healthier person. You will enjoy more of the little things in life, and you will remember them. These are just some of the many benefits of sobriety.
Living Sober vs. Getting Sober
Living sober is different than “getting sober.” As noted above, sober living goes beyond the detox phase. While removing substances from your body is an important part of the recovery process, it is only the first step. Living a sober life requires you to:
- Fully commit to yourself and your health
- Face your demons (i.e. root of your drug abuse)
- Find the courage to change your life
- Trust others in the recovery community
- Transform negative outlooks into positive ones
- Replace drug-using behaviors with healthy habits
So, after detox treatment, it’s important to find a longer-term program that teaches you the skills to truly live sober. (A long-term drug treatment program of at least 90 days is recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.) This type of treatment will provide you with the counseling, therapies, and resources to succeed. Not only will you get to the root of your drug abuse, you will also learn how to cope with it. You will learn how to handle difficult drug cravings, tough emotions, and toxic relationships as they come and go.
A residential treatment program is also a keystone to sober living. In residential substance use treatment, you will be provided a safe and sober place to heal, away from outside temptations. In addition, you will establish the life skills needed to live independently, when it comes time for living sober on your own.
What are Sober Living Homes?
Much like it sounds, a sober living home is a substance-free residency for people in early recovery. Typically, sober living homes are designed to bridge the gap between treatment/rehab and the “real world.” They provide residents a safe space to live independently, away from drug-using peers, while they get back on their feet in the community (finding a job, attending school, etc.). As a result, sober living homes are often called “halfway houses” or “transitional homes.”
There are several types of sober living homes available. Some are owned by private organizations, and some are run by drug treatment professionals. Some have highly-structured house rules, while others are more flexible and social in nature. If you are seeking professional treatment, you may find structured sober housing as an extension of your rehab program.
For example, Turnbridge enacts a three-phase reintegration program, in which residents progress through the stages of treatment and establish more independence with each. In the final phrase of their treatment, they are able to live independently in the community, with other sober residents, but still have close access to our facilities and resources, including 12-step meetings, counseling sessions, and clinical care.
Sober living is a lifelong journey, that takes time and dedication. It is also one that will enrich your life for as long as you stick to it. To learn how to start your sober life, or to learn about our sober living programs at Turnbridge, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more.