An alcoholic or addict’s fight doesn’t end in rehab. Most often than not, the real battle happens when they’re outside, back with their families and social circles. Here, they will experience the highs and the lows, the pressure and probably the same triggers which drove them to drink too much in the first place.
According to research, as much as a third of recovering alcoholics or drug addicts fall back into the habit within a year after rehab. On the other hand, those who make it to the five-year mark are less likely to backslide. Psychologists say that alcoholics who stay sober for a long time are more likely to remain abstinent and recover for good.
At the same time, patients who return home immediately after treatment are more prone to taking up drinking again.
Why is there a need for sober homes?
Recovering alcoholics are encouraged to stay in sober homes, or transitional living homes like those found in Phoenix, Arizona, and other urban areas. Similar to halfway houses, but with a more structured living arrangement and patient monitoring, sober homes are now accepted as a secondary course of treatment after rehab.
The logic behind the transitional home is to shield the patient from people and triggers that could prompt them to take up drinking or use drugs again for a little while longer. Recovering alcoholics or addicts are still vulnerable, and the smallest thing could set them off, especially when they feel rejected or depressed.
Drinking or using drugs is a form of self-destructive behavior and is a difficult thing to change for everyone. While others express this behavior through binge-eating, shopping, or overindulgent habits, addicts do it through excessive drinking and substance abuse.
Sober homes are safe places where recovering patients can spend more time changing their behavior and getting to know their emotional triggers. Like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), the majority of these transitional living homes follow the 12-step support group to encourage continued abstinence.
The patients are taught to manage their feelings and how to cope with their urges to drink or use.
Be with people who understand
One significant advantage of staying in a sober house for a few weeks more is that recovering patients get to be with people in the same position as them. Whether people admit it or not, society looks down on alcoholics and addicts no matter how long they have stayed sober.
The transition homes allow patients to regain control of their lives by carrying on regular day-to-day activities while they enjoy the support and companionship of fellow recoverees. At the end of the day, they have someone to share stories. They can also take turns encouraging each other, much like a sober companion.
At the same time, sober homes have counselors who monitor the patient’s recovery. They hold classes to give the patients a leg up in the recovery process. They are made aware that they are not supposed to experience hunger, anger, loneliness, or become too tired because it could lead to a relapse.
More importantly, once the euphoria of surviving rehab fades, the recoveree must learn to effectively handle various situations and stressors without resorting to drinking or a quick joint.
Recovery and true reintegration can be achieved with slow, baby steps. Patients must learn to have fun, build their confidence, and become aware of their emotional weaknesses so they don’t fall into the same trap again.