What an accomplishment. You have done the hard work to get clean and sober, grinding through detox and withdrawal. You then spent X many months in rehab, gaining much needed recovery skills and learning how to revamp self-destructive thought and behavior connections. All of this took a ton of effort and lots of time, but now you can look forward to carving out a new life free of the bondage of addiction.
This post-rehab status is a key juncture in recovery. Too many, unfortunately, pay little heed to the booby traps that lie in wait, ready to take you off course. An over-confident attitude is usually to blame. That, or just rehab burnout and being anxious to blaze new trails. But not taking special care in managing the early months of recovery is a huge mistake.
That said, what are the steps to take following addiction treatment that will help reinforce recovery and provide key sources of support? One of the most important steps to protect sobriety is considering where to live after rehab. One’s living environment must be supportive of a sober lifestyle, meaning not only the absence of drugs and alcohol but also the humans who also inhabit your home. If there is not such a scene to go home to after rehab, the smart money is on choosing sober living housing instead.
The Lure of Returning Home After Rehab
After focusing on getting free from addiction for an extended period of time, it is understandable that home sweet home seems very inviting. It is normal for people to crave familiarity and family following rehab as well as a desire to just get on with life. Returning home is attractive from a financial standpoint as well, seeing it as a prudent choice to make after rehab-related expenditures or loss of income while in treatment. But there is a saying for this kind of reasoning: penny wise and pound foolish.
When beginning the journey to recovery from addiction it helps to make financial plans that include all phases of recovery, including where to live after rehab. Sober living is just the next step in recovery and should be incorporated into your recovery planning for the best chances of securing lasting sobriety.
As alluring as your comfy bed at home might be, it is often not the best choice in where to live after rehab. You may have a well-meaning enabler waiting for you at home, or an unsupportive family or roommates who refuse to stop drinking or using drugs in your presence. You may have established deeply engrained behaviors to use or drink while at home, like in a favorite chair, which will be hard to ignore upon returning. The risks of immediately returning home are many.
Why Sober Living Is Beneficial in Early Recovery
Sober living provides a drug and alcohol-free living environment that ensures that status through regular drug and alcohol testing of the residents. So, right off the bat you have dramatically reduced the potential for relapse by a) not having drugs or alcohol in the house and b) having a powerful deterrent in place to help your sobriety efforts.
Here are the valuable benefits of sober living as a source of aftercare support:
- A substance free safe zone that greatly reduces the risk of relapse
- A supportive home community where sober friendships can be formed and mutual support for each other’s sobriety is provided
- A place to practice and reinforce recovery skills before returning home
- Being accountable to others, being part of a team in cooking, cleaning, and following house rules
- Developing new healthy habits in recovery, such as establishing daily routines, eating nutritious meals, and getting exercise
- Attending 12-step meetings with the housemates
- Having supportive services, such as transportation to therapy, doctor, or legal appointments
- Some sober living homes offer academic support or employment assistance to help get you back on your feet
- Having a deterrent in place (to being kicked out) through drug and alcohol testing
Where to Live After Rehab if Sober Living is Not an Option
For some, sober living is simply not a feasible option. In that event, careful thought and planning as to where to live after rehab must be done to determine the most supportive housing option. These might include:
- A sober friend. If you have a friend who is also in the program and committed to sobriety, look into staying with them for a few months, or longer.
- A supportive family member. If you do not have a supportive family home environment, consider staying with a relative who will be supportive of your recovery efforts.
Whenever you decide to reside, just ensure that there are the layers of support you will need while shoring up your sobriety.
Other Actions to Take After Rehab
Sober living is but one aftercare measure that helps bolster recovery success. Other actions to take include:
- Active participation in a recovery community. Find a group that fits and make the meetings as often as possible. These recovery groups, such as A.A., N.A., or SMART Recovery, offer peer support and accountability, as well as opportunities to find a sponsor, to volunteer, and to make new sober friends.
- Ongoing outpatient therapy. A therapist can be an important ally during the first year of recovery. They are able to help overcome life stressors or challenges that might threaten sobriety.
- Embrace a sober lifestyle. Look into sober activities or Meet-up groups where you can meet others committed to recovery. Develop social connections that will further reinforce your recovery while enhancing your quality of life.
Phoenix Rising Is a Leading Provider of Outpatient Rehab Services Orange County
Phoenix Rising offers comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment services in Orange County, California. With a blend of proven evidence-based therapies with 12-step programming and adjunct therapies, Phoenix Rising strikes a perfect therapeutic balance for guiding clients out of addiction and into recovery. Phoenix Rising offers detox resources as well as sober living resources to cover the full continuum of care in addiction treatment. For more information about our outpatient program, please reach out to Phoenix Rising today at (949) 518-0345.