Drug Rehabilitation: Sober Living

Millions of people in the United States actively struggle with drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. When most people hear about drug abuse, they think of an illegal street drug, like heroin, or recall the gaunt and florid faces of methamphetamine addicts. But for most people in the U.S. with active addiction, prescription drugs are the biggest culprit. The best option to combat these issues is participating in a sober living house.

Since the early 2000s, prescription drug abuse has skyrocketed. Opioid-related overdoses and emergency room visits have increased across the nation, and thousands of people per year accidentally overdose on legal prescription medications. They may forget a dose, or take a medication that produces dangerous interactions with other drugs. People who aren’t actively struggling with addiction can inadvertently overdose.

Sober Living as Depicted by a Blue Sky with the Word Detox Written in the Clouds

Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with drug abuse, and for those who find themselves dependent and addicted to prescription medications, there is even a strong undercurrent of denial in these cases. Also, individuals with chronic pain conditions who find themselves addicted to prescription painkillers are in a difficult situation. How can they find adequate relief from pain without abusing drugs or suffering from the disease of addiction?

With a disease like drug addiction, the first step is always reaching out and getting help. Most patients must undergo a period of detox, where physicians are available 24/7 to help patients with painful withdrawal symptoms. In medical detox, patients are safely weaned from the drug, or given a replacement, such as methadone in opioid abuse cases. Once the patient is physically stabilized, they can begin a stay at an inpatient rehab center.

In inpatient rehab, patients are kept in a hospital-like setting where they can work one-on-one with trained therapists. Patients are also able to attend group and family therapy. While detox works to physically stabilize a patient, inpatient rehab works to emotionally and mentally stabilize the patient. They’re given the tools and coping mechanisms they need to stay sober once they leave the inpatient facility.

Outpatient rehab care is another option that those recovering from addiction can utilize. Sometimes, patients go straight from detox to outpatient care, yet others go to outpatient care models after a stay at an inpatient rehab facility. Outpatient care offers flexible arrangements and support post-recovery. Patients live at home, perform work, family, and school tasks, but are required to attend pre-scheduled therapy sessions to maintain sobriety.

In some cases, though, patients may need more support post-treatment. This is where sober living arrangements and halfway houses come into play.

What is sober living after rehab?

Drug addiction is rooted in several complex biological and social factors. The disease entirely takes over the sufferer’s life, hijacking their emotions, thought-processes, and their social circle. When someone is in the throes of active addiction, one of the only things they can think about is getting their next fix.

When someone completes rehab, they’ve cleaned up their health and emotions, but what is waiting for them back home can be a mess, especially if they don’t have much support from friends and family. To stay sober, people in recovery need to remain in a safe, structured, and drug-free environment. They need a new circle of friends and peers, ones who aren’t addicted to drugs or who are otherwise negative influences.

Sober living bridges the gap between a highly structured, drug-free hospital-like environment and the chaos of the world back home. A sober living facility is designed to help those in the early stages of recovery when they are still very vulnerable to falling back into old, destructive habits and patterns.

A sober living arrangement is structured like a group home. Residents are encouraged to work or seek employment if unemployed. They are also required to help pay for the house, splitting bills and rent. A sober living home aims to reintroduce the person in recovery to living on their own, drug-free. They are taught life-skills and how to cope with stressors so they don’t relapse. Residents are usually required to attend 12-step programs and undergo random drug testing.

Why do people need sober living post-treatment?

People who are in the early phases of addiction recovery are incredibly vulnerable to outside stressors which can induce a relapse. Sober living helps keep them safe, drug-free, and gives them the necessary post-treatment support. Not everyone is blessed with supportive friends and family after they complete inpatient rehab. Some people need more structure after they undergo detox and become physically stabilized from withdrawals.

Where are sober living houses and facilities located?

Rehabilitation centers are staffed with knowledgeable employees who can guide patients to a sober living arrangement that will meet their needs. When deciding on a facility to attend, consider how close it is to work, school, or family, and it’s location to your doctor, therapist, and any other outpatient treatment sessions you are required to attend.

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Is sober living necessary?

For a lot of people who complete inpatient rehab and detox, sober living is necessary for their success. Up to 60% of people who detox from drugs will have a relapse at some point, and it is usually the first few weeks to a couple of months after cessation that a person is most at-risk of relapsing. Often, the culprit is stress and proximity to drugs which cause a relapse. Sober living gives patients a supportive environment that can help them successfully navigate their way through stressful events. Also, sober living arrangements are entirely drug-free environments, making it hard for someone in the heat of a negative moment to take drugs.

Drug addiction is a tragic thing to experience, either first-hand or through the struggles of a loved one. 1 in 10 Americans is addicted to drugs, and every family across the country has been impacted in some way by drug abuse and addiction. Don’t become another statistic. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, reach out to a qualified rehabilitation specialist today. They can help you safely detox from drugs and make post-treatment support arrangements if you’re interested in a sober living facility after cessation.

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