Sober living homes are an effective component of treatment in a number of studies, including research published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the Journal of Substance Use and Misuse, and Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation. Research demonstrates that housing choices made after rehab directly relate to the long-term success rate of patients. Those who chose to live in supportive, recovery-based environments after addiction treatment were far less likely to relapse and far more likely to get back on track after a slip.
Sober Living Rules
Sober living homes in California provide patients with the structure and guidance they need to build a strong foundation for a new drug-free life. Specifically, this means a home with guidelines and rules that all must adhere to in order to protect everyone’s safety and sobriety. These rules and guidelines will vary depending upon the facility but may include:
- Nightly curfews for residents
- Employment requirements
- A limit to the number of guests in the house at and time guests may stay
- Household chores that may include cleaning, paying bills, or restocking community supplies
- No drugs or alcohol in the house
- No admission of guests or residents who are under the influence
- A required amount of twelve-step or support meeting requirements or counseling sessions per week
- Mandatory house meetings
An additional benefit of choosing a sober living home in the State of California is the location itself. Whether you are from another state and need a physical distance between yourself and the people, places, and things associated with past substance use, or you are from California and want to be close to home, it is important to consider your sober living choices. The beauty of Peace Park, California, where The Canyon is located, will provide a restful place for you to recoup and heal.
Call now to find out more about our sober living and aftercare options and how they can increase your chances of a successful recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
A History of Sober Living Homes
During the Temperance Movement of the 1830s, many religious organizations like the YMCA and Salvation Army created “dry hotels” or “lodging houses” for those recovering from alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse. These institutions gave patients a safe and sober place to live along with the support they needed to avoid relapse. These early sober homes often carried a heavy emphasis on Christianity and religious instruction and little of today’s focus on therapeutic growth.
After World War II, a new kind of sober living center was developed when housing options were limited. These homes augmented the tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous, which was becoming increasingly more popular and well-known as an effective recovery tool in the United States. Called “twelfth step houses,” the focus was to help get alcoholics off the street and encourage them to find employment and become self-sufficient. Attendance at AA meetings was often mandatory or at least strongly encouraged, but again, there was little focus on the individual recovery of the patient and the achievement of specific treatment goals that would facilitate their long-term success in sobriety.
Depending upon whether or not the sober living establishment is privately or publicly funded, there may be more or fewer residents enrolled at a given time, more or fewer rules and requirements, and more or less supervision to facilitate recovery. In general, privately funded sober living homes have more to offer patients in terms of resources and amenities with a higher staff-to-patient ratio and more options for community integration.
Sober Living versus Inpatient Drug Rehab
Sober living is very different from drug rehab, though both can be an integral part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Sober living comes after rehab to provide a safe place for patients who have already completed treatment and allowing them to practice the skills they learned during rehab. Though there are still expectations placed upon patients in a sober living program, they usually get more leeway in terms of scheduling their time than is experienced in drug rehab.
Patients are often able to get a job, attend recovery meetings off site, go out to doctors’ appointments or meet up with nearby family members while residing in sober living. They are often required to attend a certain number of 12-step meetings as well, a component of long-term recovery that has been shown to be very effective in helping patients avoid relapse. The specifics are determined by the sober living house manager in relation to the patient’s status in recovery.
Drug rehab is a far more rigorous experience than a sober living program. Each day, patients have a set schedule that will include different kinds of therapies, including one-on-one therapy sessions, support group meetings, art therapy, and ropes and adventure therapy, and in some cases, alternative options like yoga, meditation, gentle exercise, bodywork, acupuncture sessions and planned organic meals meant to promote well-being, energy and detoxification.From the time patients get up in the morning until they go to bed, free time is a scheduled activity and the focus is on therapeutic recovery.
Sober living homes, on the other hand, offer ongoing support in recovery but much less structure in terms of daily schedules. The focus is on giving patients a safe place to go to as they practice what they learned in recovery and continual access to on-site staff members who can provide guidance and counsel as necessary.
Sober Living versus Aftercare Services
Aftercare services are offered as a part of most drug and alcohol rehab programs after the completion of drug and alcohol treatment. These include regular phone check-ins for patients who live far from the facility or weekly in-person check-ins with a counselor or therapist. Group therapy sessions are an option, as are 12-step meetings, and continued alternative treatments like yoga, acupuncture, massage and more.
- Comfort Level: Patients who do not feel they are ready to head out into the world and successfully avoid relapse may feel more comfortable in a sober living home. Those who are confident in their recovery may feel ready to go home and utilize aftercare services.
- Availability of a Positive Home: Many individuals may have a safe, sober home waiting for them after drug rehab, but not all patients feel that other inhabitants make that home a positive place for continued wellness. Some may live with those who abuse drugs and alcohol while others simply have stressful relationships with those at home and fear relapse due to stress. Sober living is a positive option in these cases. Those who are supported at home may opt for aftercare services instead.
- Sense of Safety: At a sober living facility, there are fewer surprises. Patients know that they will never return home to a party or find drugs or alcohol in the house unexpectedly. There are fewer stresses and fewer opportunities for surprise stressful events.
- Need for Continual Guidance: Many patients are focused on getting a job or enrolling in school after treatment. At a sober living home, they have counselors who can assist them and sober companions who can accompany them out into the community as they go on interviews.
The Benefits of Sober Living
There are three different ways that patients benefit from sober living. These include:
- Social Context: This describes the bonds that patients develop with other residents during their stay in a sober living home as well as the relationships they develop with others in the larger recovery community and how that bond influences their needs.
- Self-Governance and Self-Care: When the social context is controlled at a sober living home, it can affect the internal emotional states that motivate choices. For example, lower stress and the ability to trust others puts residents in a position to make better choices that prioritize their recovery rather than medicating their discomfort. Practical application of new skills to get practical and emotional needs met without drug and alcohol use is a huge benefit of sober living homes.Many people also feel a sense of decreased stress that comes with living in a more controlled and positive environment.
- Peer Interactions: Constant interactions with others who have similar goals means that residents have continual opportunities to practice positive interactions and to receive positive support when they stumble. Over time, this can better facilitate each resident’s ability to make more affirmative choices for their lives.
Is Sober Living Right for You?
The best candidate for a sober living home in California (or elsewhere in the U.S.) has successfully completed alcohol and drug treatment, is not currently physically addicted to any drug or alcohol, and is prepared to live with others who are committed to staying clean and sober. Most people who choose a sober living home do so immediately after graduating from an alcohol and drug rehab. They are fresh from learning their new coping skills and eager to put them into practice, though perhaps not quite ready to do so back at home where they are surrounded by alcohol, drugs and other temptations.
Have you successfully detoxed off every addictive drug, including alcohol? Have you stopped using any drug or alcohol non-medically? Have you completed inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol rehab successfully? Do you feel that you know what you need to do to stay clean and sober but feel uncertain about jumping back into your old life right away? Do you think you need more time to feel settled and comfortable in sobriety before heading back home? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then a sober living program is the right choice for you.
Recovery at The Canyon
Finding a sober living home in California is as simple as contacting the confidential call center at The Canyon. We can answer any questions you have, including what to bring, when to come, how long to stay. We can also get you started on the road to a productive life without using. Calling is the easiest part. We’ll be by your side for every step going forward, helping you stay clean and avoid relapse.
The Canyon is a beautiful and relaxing place for men and women to live as they learn to make each choice a positive one. Our staff is educated, licensed, and prepared to help those with addiction and a desire for mental wellness thrive without drugs and alcohol. A combination of psychological and drug addiction issues can make learning how to cope with the pressures of a job, bills, family and friends overwhelming.
At The Canyon, we provide you with the structure and assistance you need as you navigate the waters of responsibility without getting in over your head. Contact our call center today at for more information.