By: Marilyn L. Davis
“Sex parties, alcohol and drugs lost their appeal to Sven after a while. Music never did, in his continual search for that sober connection–intimacy with one person over a long period of time, as opposed to periods of intimacy with a bunch of random faces.” ― Jess C. Scott, SVEN, Incubus Story.02
You Don’t Have to Be Alone
Early recovery is a vulnerable time for most people, even when they have family and friends supporting their decision to enter treatment. There is a sense of isolation as if no one else has gone through the feelings and difficulties before and that they cannot discuss the issues with their families or friends.
Although rationally people understand they are not alone in their pain, emotionally they may feel isolated and disconnected from their support. However, living in a recovery home provides peer interaction and support that the person feels is authentic and is available and accessible when not participating in IOP.
Combining this support with education in IOP means that addicts can experience what they are learning in IOP in a safe, structured environment.
Recovery Home Means a Recovery Community
There are many advantages to living in a recovery home while participating in treatment. Some of the advantages are:
1. Peer Support
When people share space together, bonding takes place. Whether it is the shared experiences of addiction, the guilt over past behaviors or the hope of different outcomes with changes, peers help each other heal. The sharing of pain and hope can occur in the daily interactions, which provides support, guidance, and encouragement for all the participants.
With a staggered population, meaning that not everyone comes in at the same time, there are people who have made progress with their issues, found added coping skills and are willing to mentor the newer residents. Many people find this peer support invaluable as it lets them know that others had the same issues and have made progress towards resolving them.
2. Learning Responsibility
One of the unstated benefits of living in a structured recovery home is that people learn how to run a house. With participants engaged in making menus, shopping for groceries, or learning the best way to clean, and structure their time, these are skills that will help them when they transition to their own homes.
Monitoring chores done by others gives someone a sense of ownership in the way the house presents, as well as letting them experience authority combined with accountability.
3. Developing Financial Independence
In active addiction, most of our monies went for drugs and alcohol and many of us did not learn financial responsibility. When participants pay for sober living, this fosters independence, as well as learning to place value and worth on efforts to improve themselves.
When you think about it, most people do not place value on something that they get for nothing. Therefore, if they are paying for either treatment or living expenses, it means that they are more likely to become invested in both.
4. Learning Beyond Treatment
Addiction robs us of opportunities for safe social activities. In a sober living environment, there will be access to beaches, mountains, cultural activities, and community gatherings depending on the place. However, for all of them, safe outings are a part of the holistic approach to sober living combined with treatment. In an environment that fosters healing for mind, body and spirit, these scheduled group activities introduce exciting, uplifting and therapeutic outings for the group.
Social Learning Theory studies substantiate that these peer involved activities provide role models for new behaviors. Often, venturing out individually seems frightening to some; however, most people will take part if the group is going, thus helping them set up fun activities that they enjoy.
5. A Fresh Start at Self-sufficiency
Living in a recovery home transitions people from active addiction to an independent life by promoting life skills, coping skills, relaxation techniques, and relapse and recovery action planning. While education about relapse and recovery planning is a primary focus of treatment, living the new behaviors in a recovery home reinforces the lessons and skills.
As a result, people residing in recovery homes while in IOP experience a sense of satisfaction and pride when they successfully blend their treatment goals and aims, responsibilities and other life skills in a nurturing, supportive environment. These positive feelings strengthen their sense of self-sufficiency.
When people are ready to leave IOP or transition out of a recovery home, they are better ready to live independently with the skills needed to stay in recovery. They have learned the value of sharing their stories to find and receive help with their addictions, many life skills, and understand the benefits of the shared experience.
Writing, and recovery heals the heart