A lot of research has been done on the efficacy of sober living homes, primarily because of the environmental factors that separate them from typical neighborhoods. Sober living homes are defined as facilities used by those recovering from substance abuse that serve as “an interim environment between rehab and mainstream society”. Sober living homes aren’t just for anyone – they’re typically for those who have completed a residential treatment program for a period of time and are ready to start transitioning into independent living. Sober living homes provide more support than a person would receive by returning home, because those in recovery are surrounded by other people who want to reach sobriety goals, too.
There are many ways in which sober living homes can benefit multiple areas of a person’s life, and we’ll explore several of them:
Employment is Fostered
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment sought to identify the characteristics of sober living homes and how they impact certain areas of individuals’ lives. After looking at 330 residents in 49 sober living homes, researchers found that this type of setting actually increased odds of employment – and this was found after having conducted interviews 6 and 12 months after initially speaking with participants. Why might this be? Sober living environments remind residents of their goals, and, because structure is still there (such as a substance-free living environment, 12-Step support groups, house rules such as paying rent and completing household chores and more) those in recovery are more likely to feel confident in applying and interviewing for positions.
Social Support is Provided
Peer support, as well as participation in recovery services while in a sober living home, can greatly improve a person’s outlook on their life. In 2016, researchers from New Hampshire assessed 28 female residents and found a number of social components that boosted their recovery:
- Support – family, love and consistency amongst those in the sober living environment helps people in recovery feel part of a larger community
- Education – services provided help many in sober living homes gain access to information that could be applied to their everyday lives
- Empowerment – food, clothing and housing are basic needs for some in addiction recovery, and this help – paired with people who believe in them – can have significant effects on their growth potential
- Directions – 12-Step programs, therapy and other recovery-related activities provide guidance for those trying to make their way back into mainstream society. It’s a long, difficult journey, but it’s well worth the effort
Sobriety is Reinforced
One of the most common fears of those returning home from rehabilitation is becoming triggered and ultimately relapsing. Relapse is possible no matter who you are or how long you’ve been in recovery, but the environment you live in can become more influential than a person realizes. A 2015 study published in the journal Substance Abuse Rehabilitation assessed those in a sober living community for over 18 months; they found that having support peers enhances a person’s chances of sobriety because they’re more likely to feel understood, to recognize the vulnerability in others, to identify with recovery paths that other people are taking, to receiving confrontation in a loving way, and to hold each other accountable. There’s no doubt that social support is one of the strongest factors of motivation – and when someone is surrounded by people who work to uplift one another, the results can be truly transformative.
A Community of Empowerment
Sober living homes provide truly unique settings for those in addiction recovery to thrive. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights that for those who aren’t quite ready to return home yet, sober living homes provide the time, space and support for people to become more confident in their sobriety. Lori Criss, Associate Director of the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers, told SAMHSA in 2016,
“Who we spend our time with, where we go, and the things we surround ourselves with all impact who we are and the decisions we make…Recovery housing can [fill the pain and isolation often felt in recovery] with a safe place, compassionate people, and a life full of purpose and fun that doesn’t involve alcohol or drugs.”
12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) further strengthen opportunities for those in recovery to build strong support systems while also continuing to follow a structure that will aid in the mental, physical and spiritual health. If you believe you may be ready to transition to a sober living home, please call Cumberland Heights today. There are many tools, people and resources that can aid in your recovery and make it easier for you to transition to more independent living – it’s right around the corner.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.