A sober living environment (SLE) can have many names, but the purpose is generally the same for each. These homes provide the structured living with recovery support for people to stay in while they rebuild their lives and get stable enough, clean time under their belts.
Whether you want to call it a halfway house, a three-quarter house, transitional living, or something else, sober living homes have been proven to help people get re-established in life, especially following an inpatient treatment program.
Requirements for sober living homes can vary from state to state and within different levels of housing, but generally, there are a few basics that can be found in each one.
For starters, living drug- and alcohol-free is, of course, a must. Residents who break this rule have to leave the house for the protection of the others there. There are no exceptions to this rule. Random and even routine drug testing procedures are often used to monitor the sobriety of residents.
Another rule is that the person must either be a working or a full-time student. These homes are for transitioning, not flophouses where people just waste time. People must be actively involved in improving their lives through work or studying toward a degree or specialty certification for future employment.
Scheduling and curfews are to be upheld at all times as well. Residents are supposed to be out and about during the day taking classes or working and then be home by an agreed-upon time each night.
Another important part of any sober living home is the continuation of recovery support. This can come in the form of counseling, therapy, outpatient treatment, and recovery support groups such as AA, NA, SMART Recovery, or other similar groups. Commonly known as 12-step alcohol and drug rehab programs, they have been helping people through recovery since the 1930s and are the predominant method of rehabilitation and support as they are used throughout the addiction treatment community. Originally founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, in its simplest original form, these programs have helped millions of people through hard times. While it started out as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), it has since grown to many other types of support groups as well, including Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Al-Anon (support for family members of addicts), and others. In short, they make an important part of sober living homes.
All of these things, combined with routine house meetings, additional educational and vocational components, provide for one of the best environments to ensure long-term success after treatment. A typical stay in a sober living home can last from 6 to 12 months, but it may be a shorter or longer period.
In addition, in the area of addictions, research continues unabated in developing medications that can help reduce cravings, minimize symptoms of withdrawal, aid in relapse prevention,and even cure alcohol and drug abuse.National attention is also focused on alleviating this growing problem of addiction; with the best scientific minds devoted to unraveling the secrets inherent in both psychiatric disorders and preventing, eliminating, and curing abuse, more breakthroughs will come.