Once you have completed the treatment phase of your recovery, it is time to leave the residential treatment center and find suitable living arrangements. This might mean returning to your family, provided that environment poses no significant danger to your recovery. In many cases, however, returning to the same living arrangements is not a good idea.
A sober living home is a great way to experience life on your own terms, without the added temptation of old friends and acquaintances who might pose a risk to your recovery. If you choose to live in a sober living home, however, how long should you plan to stay?
The length of time one spends in a sober living home can depend upon many factors, including:
- The rules of the house you choose
- Financial resources
- Standards of living
- Personality similarities or differences
Any one of these factors can cause you to leave a sober living home prior to the best time, so take precautions by addressing each one in turn.
Some Options Have No Limit on Residency
A sober living home is, first and foremost, a home. It is not a state-sponsored halfway house or a transient shelter. Therefore, many sober living homes offer no restriction on how long a resident may stay. Provided you pay your rent on time, you don’t cause any unnecessary disturbances and you follow the house rules (most specifically, staying clean and sober), you can stay as long as you like.
It is important to stay long enough to be firmly planted in the habits and comforts of sober living, because the social aspects of the home can be incredibly important to one’s recovery. With this aspect in mind, a typical stay in a sober living home is several months to a year in length.
Choose One That Won’t Break the Bank
If you plan to stay in a sober living home for an extended period of time or if you’re looking for a permanent residence for an indefinite period of time, it is important to find one within your budget. The cost of living in certain areas like Los Angeles can be quite high, so sharing expenses between several sober roommates is a great way to save resources. However, depending upon location and amenities, you can pay far more per month in rent and other fees for one house over another.
Choose wisely so your budget does not force you to leave before you’re truly ready to live on your own.
Surround Yourself With the Right People
Most sober living homes will complete thorough background checks on the individuals they consider for residency. They want to make sure that the people who live in their home are truly committed to sobriety. You may want to consider asking a few questions of your own for the same reasons:
- Is everyone in the home committed to their own sobriety?
- Is everyone in the home equally committed to helping others maintain their sobriety?
- Are there rules concerning attendance of support group meetings like AA or NA?
- Do the housemates have a support group within the home?
Choosing a long-term, or a first residence after treatment, is important. Stability in one’s living arrangements can make a huge difference in building healthy habits and routines after rehab. You don’t want to leave one sober living home because of poor social skills or a lack of structure. You may not be able to find a new home quickly enough to make a difference.
Many people believe that all addicts and alcoholics will get along with one another simply because they share certain life experiences. The fact of the matter is that some people won’t get along with other people. When you’re talking about living with someone, especially in a sober living facility, you’ll want to make sure that your personalities mesh well.
Since you’ll want to live in home you choose for at least several months, if not much longer, it might be a good idea to visit frequently prior to signing a rental agreement. Meet all of the housemates and make sure you’re a good match before committing to staying on as a resident.
How long you choose to live in a sober living home depends on all of these factors. The time spent in one is different for everyone. The most important aspect of the choice is to make sure that you’ve made a conscious post-treatment decision to live a sober and clean lifestyle that can only lead you to more and better opportunities in the future.