The Importance of a Healthy Sober Living Environment in Recovery

When people are recovering from substance or alcohol abuse, they don’t need to see those substances being used in their environment. The temptation to begin using or drinking again will be overwhelming. Recovering addicts need a neutral environment in which temptation is not present.

What Are Sober Living Homes?

What they are not is halfway houses. These are established to give those just out of jail or other circumstances a place to live, so they can return to and maintain a productive life.

The sober living home is just that: a home. Residents pay rent, clean the house, indulge in social activities, go to work, and enjoy the environment of family life. There is no atmosphere of substance or alcohol abuse, for there is none in the house. There are almost always 12-step programs at the house designed for residents to socialize, find support among those who understand and to trade ideas on how to remain clean.

Research has shown that those living in sober homes were tested at six months, 12 months, and 18-month intervals for the depth of substance abuse, depression, employment, and family problems. The results showed that 42 percent of the residents made progress with their substance abuse problems as opposed to 19 percent of residents who were abstinent following addiction treatment when they began living there.

Why Would People Need Sober Living Homes?

Willpower only plays a small part in recovery. The physical need for a substance or a drink is like an illness. It pulls the sufferer down until s/he can find no way to battle it. Once the person gets clean, their balance is precarious. They could fall right back into addiction at any provocation.
Depression plays a large part in substance abuse. It’s called a dual diagnosis. A depressed person often turns to drink or drugs to lift themselves out of the doldrums. An addict becomes depressed during the use of substances or drink. It’s a vicious circle, and users often don’t connect one with the other. Users are treated for both simultaneously.

Recovering addicts or alcoholics have generally been through addiction treatment or a detox program. Now they need surroundings that keep them clean so they can work and grow as human beings. Social surroundings have been proven to aid in their recovery, says the National Institutes of Health. These homes feature a 12-step program aiding recovering addicts and alcoholics in remaining clean and strong in their determination to succeed.

Transitioning From Treatment To Living Sober

The first step to transitioning out of addiction treatment and into living sober is to examine the environment into which the person will return. If the environment is chaotic or in any way detrimental to the person’s recovery, then s/he should not return there. The recovering person wants to avoid anything that will threaten a relapse. Sober homes are the answer.

The second step in transitioning is to choose a sober home. Not all are created equally; some don’t include a 12-step program, for example. Some might not have a good record of helping people. Get the names of a few former residents, and call them to ask for references. Do some research into the home’s credentials. If they’re not licensed and approved, then pass them by.

The third step in transitioning from treatment to sobriety is to recognize that rehabilitation isn’t temporary. You’re going to have to fight temptation for the rest of your life. In treatment, you were taught to recognize triggers peculiar to your personal addiction. Avoiding these triggers will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Keep on, though, because you don’t want to backslide.

The fourth and last step in transitioning from treatment to sobriety is to understand the rules and the structure. It’s not easy to comply with others’ rules. However, the rules and structure are in place to teach recovering addicts and alcoholics how to structure their lives when they resume their own lives. The same rules and structure will remain in place, helping to keep you clean and strong.


The importance of a healthy sober living environment in recovery such as West Hollywood’s and Los Angeles’ Karuna Recovery Residences cannot be overstated. It provides a safe and healthy place to recover. It helps the addict or alcoholic gain strength of will while socializing with those who understand. Your health will improve as well as your mental and emotional status.

Life will become fun again. Your relationships will move to new levels of understanding. Your work will be more rewarding due to the clarity of your mind. Perhaps the most important of all, healthy, sober environments will allow you to see not how far you have yet to go, but how far you’ve come. Congratulate yourself. You’ve beaten addiction, and you’re on your way to remaining sober for life.

Leave a Comment