For anyone struggling with substance addiction and abuse issues, there are a wide range of different treatment options available.
For some people it will be appropriate to remain at home and have therapeutic or counselling treatment whilst still living within the support network of family and friends.
Many substance addictions can be highly destructive, both for the individual with the issue, for friends, family and other loved ones, as well as the wider society. Substance addiction is often categorized as mild, moderate or severe, and moderate or severe issues can often involve damage to society.
A person with moderate or severe substance abuse issues may well have done considerable damage to their own lives, or the lives around them, or have been involved in crime in order to fund a drug or drinking habit.
In many cases they may have proved, at least in the short-term, that living in society is problematic for them at the current time. They may need to rehabilitate before entering fully back into society. This may particularly be the case if they have been perpetrators of crime, and need to be able to get back into the habits of everyday life, in order to get used to living a ‘normal life’.
It may also be the case that someone has entered a rehab center due to substance abuse of either drugs or alcohol. In that case they may need some transitional time and space before starting to carry on with their previous, but now better, lives.
This is where sober living facilities come in, helping people who have overcome, and are continuing to overcome substance abuse issues, to prepare for integration back into society.
Overcoming addiction issues can be a long, complex process. Part of recovering from addiction involves understanding how the addiction came about in the first place. This could be a combination of things; societal & peer pressures, genetic predisposition (particularly for alcoholism), loss, anxiety, depression, poverty and general deprivation. Of course, not everyone dealing with these problems will lead to addiction and addictive behaviours, but it is vital to understand the causes and pressures around addiction.
Treatment then can involve therapy and counselling, rebuilding positive support networks. Towards the end of the treatment process, the (hopefully now former) addict will be focusing on developing positive behaviours, actions, hobbies and interests, that will help them to reintegrate back into society, particularly if either through time in prison or a rehab center their normal day to day life has been disrupted.
Sober Living Facilities
Sober living facilities, therefore, sometimes known as a halfway house or a group home, offer a vital bridge between the treatment that the individual has been receiving away from society, and a return to normal societal activity.
A sober living facility helps an individual who is undergoing treatment to practice the skills and activities required to have a successful everyday life, rebuilding health life structures.
Many sober living facilities will focus on people who are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction. They may take people from either addictive group or they may specialize in one or the other.
They operate as a drug and alcohol-free environment, providing supporting living conditions and helping individuals to transition to outside life.
It is not uncommon for sober living facilities to specifically cater to men or women separately, although this is not always the case. There are also often sober living facilities that specifically cater for young people, as they may have different needs and treatment requirements. It is not unusual, for example in a sober living facility focusing on drug addiction, for residents to have to undergo regular drug tests as one of their conditions of residence.
A range of rules are often in place, in order to provide common structure to help the residents to prepare for the outside world, involving chores and regular meetings, emphasizing a collegial and co-operative atmosphere.
They provide a structured approach to helping individuals transition, often using a combination of medical and therapeutic approaches to help their residents. They may, for example, use a 12-step program like those used at Alcoholics Anonymous, or similar.
Many sober living facilities are also at least partly-staffed by medically-trained personnel, such as social workers, psychiatric nurses and other available medical care as appropriate. This high level of professional staffing helps residents and their families to feel confident that their needs are being cared for, particularly as 24-hour care is often required to ensure that residents do not relapse into old, destructive ways.
As well as residential care in transition, outpatient care is often available, and former residents may occasionally visit back to their sober living facility for some time after leaving, in order to check up on progress.
Making a Choice
There are a number of considerations that you should make when choosing a sober living facility:
Is it accessible, is it close enough for family and friends to visit, which is often encouraged at particular parts of the transition?
Is it affordable over the period of time during which the resident is staying? You may need to consider whether fees are being paid by the individual/family or through insurance cover.
Talk to residents and former residents. Did they feel that the sober living facility helped to prepare them for the life after and to help prevent them from relapsing?
Although it can be a difficult place to live due to rules and conditions, which is inevitable under the circumstances, how do you feel about the place? The individual patient needs to feel comfortable living there for a short while, and to feel safe.
Sober living facilities can be a transformative step for individuals with past substance addiction issues who are looking to reintegrate from rehab or prison back into society, as well as anyone who needs a break from past destructive habits.A wide variety of options are available around the country, often with individual specialisms, which mean that finding the right sober living facility for yourself or a loved one is very possible, helping them to integrate back into society, living a normal, healthy life.