An unfortunate statistic: 40 to 60% of individuals new to recovery relapse within their first 30 days of leaving an inpatient treatment center, and up to 85% relapse within their first year. Oftentimes individuals in their initial months of recovery will resume their day-to-day lives that they lived prior to recovery with the expectation that they can continue to live life as normal without using drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, this is not possible for many new to recovery. The first year of recovery is especially fragile and meaningful. Studies suggest that once an individual is able to maintain 12 months of abstinence, their chances of continued long-term success in sobriety dramatically increase.
Research shows that a safe and substance free living environment as well as social support are critical to long-term success in maintaining abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Sober Living Homes, also known as Transitional Living Homes, can serve as a vital tool and conduit of change, allowing for new social support systems to develop in a healthy living environment that is conducive to recovery. Otherwise, if individuals are placed back into their previous living environments when they are not stable in their recovery studies reflect an increased risk for relapse.
Despite how “strong willed” one might believe they are, the fact of the matter is that when returning to an environment in which one was once active in their addiction there is risk for increased exposure to triggers that can lead to relapse. This is because individuals who have developed addictions have neurally embedded associations and memories with their addictive behaviors, resulting in minuscule things triggering them that may not even enter the conscious mind. Sights, sounds, smells, people, places and other such things that can trigger euphoric recall. As such, sober transitional living homes serve as a great resource in early recovery when individuals are most vulnerable and susceptible to relapse.
What is a Sober Living Home or Transitional Living Home?
The terms Sober Living Home and Transitional Living Home are interchangeable in the addiction recovery industry, but for purposes of this article the term Sober Living Home (SLH) will be used. Let’s first start with what a SLH is, and what a SLH is not. SLHs are houses or apartments that provide a safe, supportive and structured living environment to individuals new to recovery. SLHs are not considered to be “treatment” in the conventional sense because therapy (addiction counseling) is not offered on-site, but SLH’s may offer other forms of support and guidance such as Recovery Coaching (Sober Coaching), Recovery Companionship (Sober Companionship), Recovery Transportation (Sober Transportation), Career Coaching, among other forms of support and guidance such as a mentor or peer.
Unlike residential treatment centers where individuals are usually not able to leave the facility, SLHs allow for residents to go about their day-to-day lives so long as they follow house rules which may include things such as a curfew, alcohol and drug screen monitoring, and working on their recovery and general wellbeing. Residents of a SLH are encouraged to be working, in school, or making strides towards their career, educational, and other personal goals. Residents of a SLH are also often encouraged to attend outside therapy or treatment in addition to mutual support groups, at least in the first few months or until they are stable in their recovery.
SLHs are often utilized as a post-inpatient rehabilitation residence before one returns to true independent living. While some SLHs may require completion of an inpatient treatment center prior to admittance, it is not always mandatory so long as you are abstinent and not at risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon arrival. SLHs usually house residents on a month-to-month basis, with an average stay of 3 to 12 months.
Why Should I Go to a Sober Living Home or Transitional Living Home?
There are more options available for the treatment of substance use disorders now than ever before. Conventionally individuals who are seeking treatment for a dependency to drugs or alcohol will attend a 28- to 90-day inpatient treatment program, commonly referred to as “rehab,” followed by a 6- to 12-month outpatient rehabilitation program. In recent years there has also been a growing demand for Sober Coaches, Sober Companions, and Sober Peers/Mentors who can serve as much needed support and accountability for individuals new to recovery. Free mutual help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery and other such support groups are abundant and easy to access. With all of these resources available, why would a SLH be needed?
SLHs provide a continuum of care and improve your chances of staying abstinent so that you don’t have to become a statistic of relapse. While relapse rates for individuals new to recovery are staggeringly high, studies reflect that supportive relationships and a healthy living environment conducive to recovery greatly increases the likelihood of short- and long-term abstinence from alcohol, drugs, and other addictive behaviors.
SLHs provide much more than a safe and sober living environment. They provide the support, accountability, and guidance that is needed in early recovery. Beyond abstinence, SLHs have supportive mentors and coaches that can help direct you towards a better version of yourself in a vast array of life areas such as educational or career goals, family and relationships, personal health and general wellbeing, among other aspects of life that are important.
Sober Transitional Living Homes provide:
- Support, accountability and guidance from addiction professionals
- Peer mentorship from individuals in long-term recovery
- An easier transition back to the “real world,” a bridge back to life and independence
- Meaningful, sober relationships and a sense of community with house peers
- Life skills that may have been impaired during active addiction
- A reduced risk of relapse, and mitigation of slips and setbacks into full blown crises
- Education and rebuilding with loved ones of an addiction
- Independence, skills and planning necessary to thrive in recovery and life
What Should I Be Looking for When Choosing a Sober Home or Transitional Living Home?
When selecting a sober living home you should give it the same prudence that you would give to your primary care physician, your child’s school, or any other such significant life decision. SLHs can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life that assist to lead you to long-term success after suffering from an addiction. As such, it is important to know what to look for when selecting a SLH. There are many factors to consider before beginning your search for a SLH that may help narrow your options and make your decision easier.
Some basic starting points might be the location you are looking for and the price you are willing to pay. SLHs are located all across the world, in rural areas to cities and everything in-between, usually in residential neighborhoods. Prices can vary significantly from SLH to SLH depending on a variety of factors such as the location, amenities and the services that are offered, ranging anywhere from an average of $2,000 to $5,000 per month on the low end to $10,000 to $30,000+ per month on the higher end. SLH’s are not covered by health insurance in most states, but some SLHs may offer scholarships or a sliding scale to help those with financial challenges. Some SLHs offer comprehensive services to residents included in their programming such as Sober Coaching, Career Coaching and Case Management to name a few, while other SLHs might offer these services a-la-carte or not at all.
The size of a SLH and maximum occupancy can range significantly, with average maximum occupancy anywhere from 4 to 25 residents depending on the size of the home. Rooms are generally single or double, while some homes may have rooms with three or more residents per room. Additionally, the vast majority of SLHs are gender-specific, so be sure to search for a SLH that is either male or female depending on your gender. SLHs may also serve a specific population or clientele such as young adults, adult executive professionals, or those struggling with pervasive mental health issues.
There are other factors to consider when searching for a SLH that may or may not be important to you. For example, some SLHs offer house cooked meals by a house chef as well as maid service, while others encourage you to cook your own meals and clean up after yourself. One may argue that the latter offers more accountability while the former offers more luxury and the ability for individuals to be laser focused on working on their recovery, career and other aspects of their personal life. Some SLHs will also offer certain amenities or services such as transportation or gym membership. These are all factors to take into consideration when looking for a SLH for you or your loved one.
How to Find a Sober Living Home or Transitional Living Home?
If you are planning to go to a SLH from an inpatient treatment center, the treatment center should provide you with a referral to a SLH that is most conducive to meet your needs, your personality, and other personal criteria. If you are not coming from an inpatient treatment center or if you are looking for a SLH on your own for any reason, there are a few different options to find one.
- Do an online search for sober living homes or sober transitional living homes in the location of your choosing. Narrow your search by selecting “male sober living home Manhattan” for example or “female sober living home NYC.” Browse through the respective websites to look at photos and to read about the home, services and amenities offered, and the staff. Read through any Google reviews or other such online reviews that might be available. If the SLH looks and sounds appealing, call the SLH to inquire further and have questions prepared such as, what type of individuals they cater to, if they believe you will be a good fit for their home, and what is their bed availability.
- Seek out an addiction recovery professional who does treatment placement or an addiction treatment placement specialist. These are addiction specialists who can help assess your substance use issues and determine what SLH would be appropriate to meet your needs, or if you may need a different level of care.
- Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSAS is a branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides 24/7 confidential guidance and support to individuals struggling with substance abuse issues. They can be reached at 1-800-662-4357 or by visiting https://www.samhsa.gov
Getting sober and living sober are not one in the same. It is easy to get sober, but much more challenging to stay sober. Addiction is a chronic illness with a high probability of relapse, especially in the early stages of recovery. Sober Living Homes and Transitional Living Homes provide a much-needed transition from active addiction to long-term abstinence and recovery. For more information on Sober Living Homes and Transitional Living Homes or for an assessment to determine the proper level for care for you or a loved one please contact our undisclosed therapy office located in the Upper East Side of New York City today at (929) 220-2912.