How Long Should I Stay at a Sober Living Facility?

Leaving inpatient addiction treatment can sometimes be scary. After weeks or even months of diligently maintaining your sobriety, the very thought of facing the stressors and challenges of the outside world might be daunting. Fortunately, you don’t have to immediately return home or revisit your old stomping grounds. In fact, you’ll probably be advised against it. After all, the longer that you spend in any space in which your recovery is the top-priority, the more successful you’ll ultimately be.

Sober living facilities are the perfect bridge between inpatient addiction treatment and a return to home. They give recovering addicts a chance to gradually ease back into normal routines. They’re also an excellent place to look for work, take advantage of higher learning opportunities, and to engage in other activities for establishing a stable, self-sufficient lifestyle. Sober living homes provide an excellent balance of freedom and personal responsibility. When residing in these shared spaces, you’ll have to follow a strict set of household rules.

You’ll have ongoing access to counselors or mentors, and you’ll be surrounded by people with similar goals and aspirations. How long you stay in a sober living facility is largely up to you. However, according to research, the risk of relapse dramatically declines after one full year of sobriety. Thus, many people choose to spend between nine and 12 months in sober living homes before striking out on their own.

What Staying in a Sober Living Home is Like

Sober living homes are shared living situations that house recovering addicts after they’ve completed inpatient addiction treatment or while they’re completing intensive outpatient programs. To stay in a sober living home, you will need to have successfully completed the detox process, and you’ll also need to pass regular drug or alcohol tests. These tests are performed to ensure the safety and success of everyone.

These environments are kept entirely drug and alcohol-free, and they’re generally best for those who’ve already completed a significant portion of their early addiction treatment. The rules for sober living homes can vary significantly from one location to the next. Not only is continued sobriety a stipulation for being a resident, but all residents are expected to contribute in the form of household chores. Each person has regular or rotating duties that can include cleaning common areas, preparing meals, and organizing in-house meetings and activites.

These routines and responsibilities further establish a sense of normalcy, and they also help residents to prepare for caring for themselves. For instance, if you didn’t do much cooking in the past, you’ll learn how to prepare a variety of meals. You’ll also learn about shopping on a budget, meal-planning, and ensuring balanced nutrition among other things.

Residents of sober living homes have ongoing access to:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Sober meetings
  • Life-planning services

and many other forms of support. While staying in these environments, you may be required to take part in sober meetings and other support services two or more times each week.

Sober Living Helps Eliminate Many Common Barriers to Recovery

Neither alcohol use disorder nor substance use disorder are curable diseases. These are lifelong mental health issues that must be carefully and diligently managed on an ongoing basis. The longer that you stay in recovery; the less likely relapse becomes. This is why many people are encouraged to find and reside in sober living homes after they’ve completed treatment. However, there’s another important step that you can take to greatly reduce your risk of relapsing. This is to eliminate some of the most common barriers to continued sobriety such as:

  • Joblessness
  • Homelessness
  • Social isolation

Residents of sober living homes pay rent. These shared environments have far lower rental costs than the average apartment. Thus, they offer an affordable way for people to exit inpatient rehab, and to avoid short-term housing instability. Onsite counselors also present information on job fairs and other employment resources. They also align residents with various forms of transportation assistance, career training assistance, and financial counseling. By remaining in one of these locations for approximately one year, you’ll have the benefit of constant camaraderie and the ability to lay solid plans for building your post-treatment life.

Is a Sober Living Facility Right for You?

During the weeks and months that people spend in addiction treatment, the thought of going home is an incredibly exciting one. However, throughout treatment, many people realize that their former environments are riddled with temptations, stressors, and triggers. After multiple counseling sessions and after you’ve had plenty of time to look at your former circumstances objectively, you may recognize a number of inherent dangers in immediately returning home. Sober living will give you far more freedom than you had during inpatient treatment while still having enough structure for helping you stay on track.

If your former living environment was in any way toxic or if you’ll be returning to enabling relationships, choosing to extend your addiction treatment with time spent in a sober living home is probably your best bet. A sober living facility will give you continued support for keeping your recovery on track. If you’re interested in learning more about sober homes, we can help. Call us at 614-705-0611 to find out more about sober living homes in your area.