Using Sober Living to Effectively Transition Out of Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is a form of inpatient care that requires individuals to reside in a designated facility as they participate in their treatment program. This type of treatment program is especially valuable for those working to overcome the challenges of substance use disorder (SUD) as well as other mental health disorders. Once a person completes a residential treatment program, however, they may experience added difficulties as they transition back to life outside of treatment. Fortunately, sober living can help individuals go about this transition with greater ease.

At 12 South Recovery, we recognize the power of sober living for those in early sobriety and recovery. As we currently offer outpatient treatment programs, we are dedicated to helping our clients secure safe housing while they are in treatment and beyond. Not only does sober living foster a safe and supportive living environment, but also accountability from peers that can help clients stay on track with their recovery.

What Is Sober Living?

Broadly, sober living offers residential environments where individuals in sobriety and recovery can work to build their lives free from substance use. Every sober living residence holds certain expectations for clients, such as demanding that residents adhere to curfew as well as remain sober. As an article for the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs explains, other essential characteristics of sober living homes include:

  • “No formal treatment services but either mandated or strongly encouraged attendance at 12-step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).”
  • “Required compliance with house rules such as maintaining abstinence, paying rent and other fees, participating in house chores, and attending house meetings.”
  • “Resident responsibility for financing rent and other costs.”

There are many reasons why a person may choose to utilize sober living homes, with the most common being the desire to effectively transition out of residential treatment.

Easing the Transition: Using Sober Living Following Residential Treatment

Although residential treatment programs vary in duration, such programs offer intensive and highly structured programming for clients in early sobriety. While demanding, scheduled programming offers a much-needed sense of routine for those working to obtain stability in their lives. In other words, over time, clients know what to expect each day from treatment, helping to reduce uncertainties about the treatment and recovery process.

The Many Benefits of Sober Living

However, when a client completes a residential treatment program, they are faced with immense challenges as they work to reintegrate their sobriety into their lives outside of the treatment facility. These clients no longer have the stability and structure of a residential treatment program, nor the added accountability from mental health professionals and peers. Further, many may feel as if they have no other living option but to return home to past substance-use triggers and perhaps even loved ones who continue to engage in substance use.

Thus, sober living is an excellent resource that individuals can use to transition out of residential treatment. This type of housing offers a safe space not only free from alcohol and other drugs but also free of any outside triggers that may otherwise tempt an individual to relapse. Additionally, those in sober living will reside among other peers in recovery, offering opportunities for accountability on demand.

Moreover, as a publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights, “These communities empower people by providing support as they transition towards living independent and productive lives in their respective communities.”

Continuing Outpatient Care

As highlighted in the aforementioned Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, continued participation in outpatient care or 12-Step groups is often a requirement of sober living homes. This is because sober living is often not enough on its own to foster an effective transition out of residential treatment. Contrary to what some may believe, recovery is not complete once a residential treatment program has been finished. Residential treatment is simply the first step in lifelong recovery.

Oftentimes, various outpatient programs are utilized as a step down from residential treatment. Typically, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) is initially recommended for clients. Once completed, a client can step down into an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and from there, a general outpatient program. It is essential to use each of these treatment programs as stepping stones. Removing one of these options can leave a large gap in the treatment journey and increase an individual’s risk of relapse.

Outpatient Programming at 12 South Recovery

While participating in outpatient treatment programs, individuals will reside at home or in a sober living home. Each client will work with a professional to create an individualized, client-focused treatment plan that addresses their unique needs and goals for recovery. Like residential treatment, a wide range of therapies and interventions may be used in outpatient treatment. At 12 South Recovery, we utilize the following interventions as part of our outpatient programming:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Relapse prevention
  • Holistic therapy
  • Family therapy

Using sober living and outpatient programming together can offer the best chance of achieving lasting healing and recovery.

If you or a loved one seek a safe living environment while you participate in treatment for substance abuse or mental health disorders, consider utilizing sober living. Sober living homes provide substance-free living environments coupled with the structure and accountability that you need to strengthen your independence in early sobriety. At 12 South Recovery, we provide treatment in the form of outpatient programs that complement sober living. Furthermore, we can connect you with sober living resources to ensure you have the best chance at securing lasting sobriety and recovery in your life. To learn more about the value of sober living for recovery, give us a call today at (888) 830-8374.

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