“Your best days are ahead of you. The movie starts when the guy gets sober and puts his life back together; it doesn’t end there.”
― Bucky Sinister, Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks, and Weirdos
A common misconception about the addict’s mind is that it is unfocused, that it has lost the ability to prioritize and manage its wants and needs. As Bucky Sinister’s book attests, addicts and substance abusers are highly focused—keenly and fully focused, in fact—at obtaining their substance of choice.
In other words, the substance abuser has a very finely tuned set of adaptive skills that make them exceptionally capable when it comes to drinking and using. However, that’s definitely not the best use of anyone’s time. Nevertheless, that drive and motivation can be shaped and molded in recovery, and especially for those who complete their program and move on to what’s called “sober living.”
What sober living is
You’ve reached a major milestone in your recovery and survived your rehabilitation. Congratulations are in order! Still, you may be insecure in your sobriety and might need additional education and living skills to aid in your return to your life before rehab. Sober living, in a nutshell, is a residential program that builds on your newly developed sobriety skills. You’ll likely find yourself living with others in recovery, handling chores, attending meetings, and generally assisting yourself and others in the transition to sobriety.
What sober living is NOT
Sober living is NOT a way to delay relapsing by staying sequestered. It is a way to relearn essential interrelational and life skills every day in the flesh, with others who have made it through. It’s not a way to reminisce about the great times you had with your particular substance(s), nor is it a crutch to be relied on in perpetuity. What sober living provides is a way to more easily transition back into “the world” with a fresh perspective and the right mindset to prevent relapse.
Sober living is what you make of it
In 2010, a study by Polcin, et al. found that “Involvement in 12-[S]tep groups and characteristics of the social network were strong predictors of outcome, reaffirming the importance of social and environmental factors in recovery.1” Moreover, the more those in recovery embrace the environmental advantages of sober living—community, structure, balance, nutrition, study—the better their chances at long-term or permanent sobriety.
What to look for
Like any recovery process, the best fit for you is only something you can decide. And remember that sober living isn’t some “house arrest” in disguise. Many residents take pride in getting out in the community with others in recovery and experiencing life on new terms, seeing the world with new eyes. Yes, there will be random drug and alcohol screenings. Yes, there will be structure and coordination. Yes, you will have to find a way to get along with different kinds of people. But the benefits so outweigh the cons that if you find yourself having sober living suggested to you by a counselor or doctor after your initial rehab stay, it’s essential to consider the possibilities.
Making it stick
Sobriety is not an easy task. Plenty of people emerge from their 30-day stint full of optimism, only to find their will breaking as soon as they get back into their old, pre-sobriety environment. Old triggers will soon make their way to the surface. Friends may try and test your commitment. Your family may not trust you completely to be able to live with them until you get back on your feet. In other words, all the problems that triggered the use of your substance of choice will still be there. Now it’s all a matter of how you handle it.
In the Orange County area, True Recovery offers a unique spectrum of personalized services to enhance your sober living experience. From its metropolitan location to its proximity to nature walks and the beach, True Recovery provides respite and preparation for life outside the walls of the center or sober living house.
The best part
When considering if sober living is right for you, consider how you are living now. If you are using enough to be considering rehab, chances are good your support structures are collapsing in on you. That doesn’t have to be the case. You can find others who struggle yet succeed because they are committed to living without addiction. So can you.
If you are seeking a new way of life that can be happy, joyous and free, it’s time to find true recovery for yourself and those you love. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.