Recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs is a journey, and that journey looks different for every individual. For many people, one stop on that journey is a sober living facility.
Sober living homes act as a transition stage for people who have completed their time in inpatient recovery but still require a bit of time to readjust to living a “normal” life. Sober living helps the person remain accountable to themselves and their sobriety by imposing curfews and random drug and alcohol checks. It also provides continued support by providing a community, individual counselling, and assistance with next steps such as finding a job or a permanent place to live.
These aspects of community and additional support play a vital role in maintaining sobriety after completing inpatient treatment for addiction. But is there any data showing that sober living facilities help residents become more successful in the long run?
As it turns out, the answer is yes.
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health undertook a very thorough study in 2015 which illustrated how effective sober living facilities are for those overcoming substance addiction. Firstly, the retention rate of residents in the homes was high and average lengths of stay were well above the recommended length. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends a stay of at least 90 days for maximum benefit; the average length of stay during this study was 254 days. This means that residents weren’t getting discouraged and leaving early. Instead, they were taking as much time as they needed until they felt they were truly ready to move on.
And what about the outcome – did sober living houses help these people stay sober?
The answer here is also yes.
When the residents were followed up with 6 months after leaving, they had significantly reduced or completely stopped their use of drugs and/or alcohol. 12-month and 18-month follow ups showed that these improvements were maintained.
The study notes that there were a wide variety of individuals that experienced positive outcomes after completing time at a sober living home. This means that sober living isn’t any more or less effective for any one demographic – everyone and anyone suffering from substance addiction can benefit from it.
If you’re struggling with an addiction that you just can’t seem to overcome, consider complementing your treatment with time in a sober living facility. It may just be the final step in your journey to lifelong recovery.