Treatment and Sober Houses

Sober Houses can be an integral step in recovery after attending treatment in a residential treatment center. Sober Houses provide an interim step between a highly structured treatment environment and a person in recovery living on his or her own. Better outcomes are shown for those individuals who participate in this gradual phasing process: more remain sober, and those that remain sober do so for a longer period in time.

Drug and alcohol treatment generally begins with a detox process to ease a drug addict or alcoholic through the withdrawal process. Detox provides a safe, comfortable way to eliminate the drugs and alcohol from the body. Medications are administered to alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal, and the patient is carefully monitored. Detox can be a dangerous process if not done in a medically supervised environment. With certain drugs, like alcohol and benzodiazepines, it can be life threatening. Withdrawal from drugs such as heroin and painkillers is not life-threatening in and of itself, but it can be very uncomfortable if it is tried at home. A high rate of relapse is observed during the withdrawal stage for individuals trying to do it on their own.

After the detox stage of treatment, the individual usually enters into a residential treatment center. This type of program is highly regimented, with clients living on site or at a monitored residence and attending group and individual therapy during the day. Therapy is focused on dealing with the issues that caused the individual to abuse drugs and alcohol, the issues that resulted from drug and alcohol abuse, and the issues that may cause them to use or drink in the future. Residential drug and alcohol treatment teaches clients tools that they need to build a sober and productive life.

After a stay in a residential drug and alcohol treatment center, it is generally recommended that a client enter a sober house. Sober houses provide structure to those newly in recovery as they try to get their life on track. Generally, sober houses enforce rules regarding curfew, chore schedules, and attendance at 12-step meetings. Residents at sober houses usually have to be actively involved in recovery. Also, residents are usually required to have a job, attend school, or volunteer in the community during the day. Drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited, and most sober houses give the residents regular drug tests.

Sober houses can have many benefits to residents. By being surrounded by other people in recovery, living in a sober house promotes friendship between people who do not use drugs or drink and can relate to each other. The other residents can become a support network for someone new in recovery. Also, living in a sober house can teach recovering drug addicts and alcoholics important life skills. Residents must get along with others in close quarters and learn to cooperate and respect each other. The lessons learned at a sober house can be invaluable to the recovering drug addict and alcoholic.

This gradual step-down of structure has been proven very effective in helping a drug addict or alcoholic to stay off drugs and alcohol long term and learn to live a productive, healthy life.