By: Marilyn L. Davis

Is It Time You Considered Sober Living or Residential? from addict 2 advocate marilyn l davis

You Don’t Have to Be Alone

“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. ScottSVEN, Incubus Story.02

Early recovery is a vulnerable time for most people, even when family and friends support their decision to enter treatment. There is a sense of isolation as if no one else has gone through the feelings and difficulties before. It may or may not be valid, but they believe they cannot discuss the issues with their families or friends. 

Although people rationally understand they are not alone in their pain, they may feel isolated and disconnected from their emotional support. 

For some newcomers, a sober living or residential recovery home may provide them with the support they need early in their recovery. 

Sober living and residential provides peer interaction and support that the person feels is authentic and is available and accessible when not participating in outpatient treatment or recovery support meetings.  

Combining this support with education in outpatient treatment and learning from others in meetings means addicts can experience what they are learning in a safe, structured environment. 

Sober Living and Residential Means You’ve Got Community

There are many advantages to sober living and residential. Some of the benefits are: 

1. Peer Interaction and Support

When people share space, 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. 

Since not all participants enter sober living or residential simultaneously, people will have made progress on an issue and can assist newer residents in acclimating. 

Some people have found added coping skills and are willing to mentor the newer residents with a staggered population. 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 sober living and residential is that people learn to run a house. With participants engaged in making menus, shopping for groceries, or learning the best way to clean, these skills will help them transition to their own homes. 

Monitoring chores done by others gives someone a sense of ownership in the way the house presents and lets them experience authority combined with accountability. 

 3.Developing Financial Accountability and 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 or residential, this fosters independence  and learning to place value and worth on efforts to improve themselves. 

When you think about it, most people do not value something that they get for nothing. Therefore, if they pay for sober living or residential, they are more likely to become invested in both. 

4. Learning About Having Fun

Addiction robs us of opportunities for safe social activities. In a sober living or residential, there will be access to beaches, mountains, cultural activities, and community gatherings, depending on the place. 

However, safe outings are often part of the holistic approach to sober living and residential. In an environment that fosters healing for the mind, body, and spirit, these scheduled group activities introduce exciting, uplifting, and therapeutic outings. 

Social Learning Theory studies substantiate that these involved peer activities provide role models for new behaviors. Often, venturing out by themselves 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 Foundation to Build On 

Sober living or residential transitions people from active addiction to 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 sober living or residential reinforces the lessons and skills.  

As a result, people residing in recovery homes while in outpatient treatment 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 transition out of sober living or residential, they are better prepared 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, acquired many life skills, and understand the shared experience’s benefits. With this solid foundation, they are ready to return to living by themselves, with help from their new recovery support groups. 



Writing and recovery heals the heart

Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available at Amazon, Books A Million, Indie Books, and Barnes and Noble. 

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