How Much Time Should I Commit to a Sober Living Home?

For many addicts, the final step before returning home after rehabilitation is a sober living home. These homes serve as transitional residences that teach individuals how to acclimate into normal, everyday life again after rehab. Here, residents learn how to implement the coping, self-reliance, and communication skills they were taught in rehab into sober life.

Because rehab typically has strict rules and guidelines in place, it can be difficult to immediately return home and back into everyday life again. Sober living homes offer more independence than rehab and make this transition a gradual one, so residents learn how to be independent, manage their triggers, and use their newfound coping skills. Combining freedom and structure, these environments are perfect for those who want independence without returning home just yet.

Length of Stay Can Vary

The amount of time a resident stays can differ depending on their situation. This may include the severity of the addiction, other failed attempts at short-term treatment, a triggering home environment, finances, or if there are any underlying mental illnesses involved. A Journal of Psychoactive Drugs study on sober living homes found that the average stay is between 166 and 254 days. Three months, or 90 days, is the minimum recommended amount of time for most residents.

Staying longer allows you to receive more help through various programs at the home, such as job training. A basic rule of thumb is that staying longer is always better than leaving before you are ready.

Keep in mind that not following the house rules can get you kicked out. Some homes have a no-tolerance policy for rule-breaking. Make sure you are complying with all house rules to ensure a peaceful, healing stay.
90 Days Minimum

Again, the amount of time an individual spends at a sober living home can greatly impact their overall recovery. A resident typically chooses the amount of time they wish to stay at a sober home, with the average stay ranging from three months to a year. However, some do stay longer. It ultimately depends on the person and their preferences, as well as what they are looking for in recovery.

At Camelback Recovery, we typically recommend at least three months. In that amount of time, residents are able to cultivate a community that is built on mutual support and participation between the residents. This community of support helps with the recovery process by preventing isolation and depression, which are often triggers of relapse to those in recovery.

Longer Stays Produce Better Results

While the minimum recommended stay at a sober living home is ninety days, it is argued that longer stays are suited for long-term recovery. The same Journal of Psychoactive Drugs study found that sober living homes decrease drug and alcohol-related issues and arrest rates while increasing employment and stable housing in their local communities.

Research suggests that around 40-60 percent of those in recovery for substance abuse will relapse. Thankfully, sober living homes have caused a drastic decrease in this statistic. This is likely because sober living homes require abstinence from any mind-altering substances — and the longer a person is abstinent, the less likely they are to relapse. This is especially true for individuals who are abstinent for a year or more.

The study also found that of residents who were abstinent for less than a year, approximately two-thirds of them relapsed. The residents who were clean for an entire year in a sober living home were less likely to relapse. Those who leave before they are truly ready are more at risk for relapse and falling back into old habits.

Sober living homes are able to produce such incredible results through their encouragement of community support, 12-Step programs, and the promotion of abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

Life in a Sober Home

Sober living homes are successful because they teach newly-sober individuals how to live an independently sober life. Through the use of rules, chores, and other guidelines in the home, a community is formed between residents as they care for the home, themselves, and each other.

Often, residents will be expected to help with cooking and cleaning, as well as mandatory self-care. At Camelback Recovery, self-care is incredibly important and involves exercising, meditating, going to church services, and more. Drug testing and breathalyzers are also implemented to help recovery rates. Residents know they will be tested at the sober living home, so why risk losing their place?

Who Is Best Suited for a Sober Living Home?

Sober living homes are a big commitment for those in recovery, meaning the resident must be absolutely certain they are ready to take on this next phase of their life. Sober living homes are best for individuals who:

  • Have been through a medical or mental health issue in addition to substance abuse/addiction
  • Do not have a proper support system for their recovery in their home environment
  • Have previously gone through a rehabilitation program
  • Are opposed or resistant to treatment for their addiction

Sober living homes exist to make transitioning from rehab to normal life a gradual process. Learning to live independently when you are newly sober can be challenging on your own. At these residences, you can learn to use your new coping skills to maintain a sober life that you are proud of.

You don’t have to do it alone. If you or someone you love is struggling, reach out to see if a sober living home is right for you. Call Camelback Recovery today at (602) 466-9880.