Making the decision to get sober can be hard. Many of us still hold to the idea that we can control our drinking and using. A majority of young people in the rooms these days were strongly encouraged by their parents to get sober, so sometimes it can feel like the decision wasn’t really their own.
Hopefully, by the time the end of rehab comes near, the truth on whether or not you struggle with addiction will have become clear, and the decision to move into a sober home will be plain to you. Not everyone needs to go into sober living after rehab, as some people have other arrangements that better suit their needs. So how can you know which category you fall into?
If You Have Relapsed Before
Listen, most people aren’t one chip wonders. In other words, a large majority of people in the rooms have experienced a relapse after trying to get sober. For many people, they first tried at home or on their own, maybe stringing together a few days or even a few weeks. However, without the protection of a quality sober home, they were left to their own devices and drank or used again soon after.
Sober homes don’t do all the work in keeping people sober, however, they do provide a safety net after rehab before entering the big bad world. Rehab is often like a very safe bubble, where there are limited temptations and troubles to tempt addicts and alcoholics back to using. When people just go right back home, they are often faced with the same old triggers and behavior patterns that encouraged them to use in the first place.
If Your Family Enables You
I understand that for those who are lucky enough to have a loving and caring family system, it can be difficult to leave them for a period of time, especially for people with children. On the other hand, our families are often one of the biggest triggers for us and can sometimes even enable our addictive patterns.
Most of our parents don’t know how to help us. They do their best, but our self-destructive behavior patterns are dug deep, and we usually know how to manipulate those we love into getting what we want.
Which is why moving to a sober home after rehab may not be the easier way out, but it is by far more rewarding, both for us and the people who love us. Sober homes help us learn:
How to become independent
How to take care of ourselves
How to buy groceries!
How to make sober friends
How to stick to a budget
How to implement sobriety into our life
If You Need to Save Money
If I had a dollar for every person new to sobriety who came in broke as a joke, I’d be a rich woman. Most of us didn’t practice “smart money management” during our addiction, and rehab ain’t cheap! Sober homes give us the opportunity to learn how to start saving money, without the lease agreement and financial responsibility.
Sober homes are also cool because a lot of them give you a mandated period where you CANNOT work so that you can get fully adjusted to sobriety “on the outside” and learn how to manage your time, go to meetings, meet with a sponsor and a therapist. No apartment landlord would be cool with you taking time to “get settled” before you go look for a job without paying rent.
Again, sober homes provide a cushy landing pad between the rehab and real-world stage, where people can find sponsors, make sober friends, and yes, save up some money.
If You Struggle with Discipline
I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I first got sober, and even still sometimes, I did not like rules, I did not like being told what to do, and I rebelled at anyone who thought they were “just trying to help.” As you can imagine, I relapsed a lot the first year and a half I attempted to get sober.
So, understandably, I did not fare well in sober homes, but that was the problem! I had too much ego and a bad attitude, and I wondered why it felt like the world was out to get me. When I finally surrendered and hit a pretty heavy emotional bottom, I gave in.
I did my chores without grumbling (most of the time)
I followed my curfew
I went to all the meetings and got my sheets signed by the meeting chair
I got a job
I came early to the house meetings
Low and behold, I finally made it past the three-month mark that had previously been followed by a relapse. It wasn’t so bad either! I moved out in 6 months into an apartment with a sober friend and have been sober ever since.
Learning how to be responsible for ourselves, even if it just starts out by making the bed in the morning, is something that can be really difficult for us. Sober homes give us guidelines and encouragement to become adults.
If You Don’t Already Have a Sober Community
We all know how uncomfortable we can feel in our newly sober skin. Making friends seems hard, especially for those of us who have been burned in the past. Living in a sober home provides us with a group of other individuals, usually around our age, who we can get the ball rolling with.
Make friends with your roommate, go to meetings together, get coffee, go for walks. If there is someone who has more time and what looks like strong sobriety, hang out with that person. Have them introduce you to other people. It’s called building a network of sober supports. What may seem uncomfortable in the beginning may just save your butt when something comes and disturbs your peace.
Moving away from home, your family and friends that you’ve always known can seem really scary. Moving away from all that and into a home full of strangers who are newly sober can seem even scarier. However, making the decision to do so, based off of what you know to be true about yourself, can only strengthen your sobriety. When the day comes to move into your own place, I guarantee you will look back at a majority of the time spent in sober living with fondness.