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Sober living facilities have a place in overcoming addictions of any type successfully.  Whether addicted to alcohol, drugs, or even if an individual has a gambling problem or eating disorder all types of sober living facilities can assist a person in overcoming an addiction and most of all, avoiding relapse.  These facilities expedite a transition back into normal life, as many addicts experience job loss, fractured family relationships, and isolation due to their addictions.

Sober living facilities do require that residents, once released from medical detox centers, participate in group activities, purchase their own food, and if possible, obtain a job.  The counselors there assist with all these duties, and recovering addicts also attend sessions on proper care of their health as well as many times, nutrition classes.  Treatment at a licensed detox and rehab facility is a requirement before admittance to any sober living facility.

A sober living facility is a steppingstone back to real life.

Re-entry too quickly into a normal lifestyle again, for many addicts, leads to a quick relapse.  Faced with situations that are stressful to them as well as being subjected to both addicts from their past does not assist on the road to complete lifetime recovery.

Temptations to start the addiction again are rampant and the re-entry into a normal life is a better solution than being thrown right back into the circumstances that contributed to their addiction.  The truth is that addictions do not happen overnight, and it is not usually possible to stay clean and sober immediately.  While some addicts can successfully manage returning to real life immediately, when a strong family support system is in place, most really cannot.

Random drug testing and chores are enforced as well as other rules.

There might also be a curfew imposed and any stepping outside of the boundaries of the sober living facility will be cause for immediate expulsion from the facility.  Curfews are generally imposed for the sole purpose of ensuring that no addict disrupts the entire facility.  Curfews are especially helpful for gambling addictions.

Those facilities that deal with eating disorders will put a primary focus on nutrition and monitor the weight of individuals as well.   Eating-disordered individuals need a schedule that includes timetables of when to eat, as this is missing from their lives.  The eating-disordered addiction centers can be focused only on those that are eating disordered as this is a special type of addiction that can lead to unexpected death.  These facilities focus on all types of eating disorders and can quickly change an individual treatment plan from residential, to inpatient therapeutic if a patient is down sliding again.

Partial programs can also be offered at sober living facilities.

These types of programs are what they claim, “partial” inpatient, and partial outpatient.  Some days are spent at the medical facility, while other days are spent in a group home setting, with planned activities for patients in the outside world.  This type of approach is geared mainly towards the eating disordered addicts, as eating disorders are difficult to treat and can run the gamut from anorexia to binging and purging, as well as overeating to the point of risking death and illness.  Anorexia has the highest death rate of any eating disorder and requires a special treatment plan.

While also considered a mental disorder, eating disorders are also considered addictions.  Alcoholism also is not only considered an addiction but an actual disease, and the struggle with these two types of addiction are the most difficult.  Most alcoholics, drug addicts, and every other type of addiction may have co-diagnostic disorders along with the addiction, which are usually mental health related.

Depression and anxiety, as well as bipolar and other disorders must be treated alongside the addiction.  It may not be clear whether the addiction and abuse of the body caused the co-occurring mental disorder or whether the mental disorder was underlying and caused the addiction.  It does not matter as both must be treated.

However, any type of addiction can cause changes in an individual’s brain and thinking, so most addicts do have a co-existing mental disorder at the time of treatment.  The sooner treatment starts, however, the better the chances of full recovery and the less likelihood of relapse.  Sober living facilities take all this into consideration and monitor each resident’s behavior throughout each day and log the behaviors and progress made.  A good treatment plan will include the addiction and all dual diagnoses disorders.

The question then remains is do sober living facilities prevent relapse?

Studies that abound in Canada, from 2010 on do offer evidence that they are a necessary step in complete recovery no matter what the addiction.  Some are targeted towards alcohol or eating disorders only, while others cover a wider spectrum of addictions such as gambling.  But the fact remains that they are proven to assist in maintaining control over an addiction.

The downside is that choice of facility can depend on financing, as just like within the USA, Canadian inpatient addiction facilities might be covered by private or public insurance, whereas sober living facilities since they are considered outpatient treatment might not be.  This can be a deterrent to many that need these facilities but cannot afford to pay for them.  Some facilities will work with residents on expenses and others will not, and payment for sober living facilities in Canada can also vary from province to province.

Wise individuals overcoming addiction will seek what they can afford and research facilities that meet their needs as well as budgets.  Worry over financing should not occur and a good outpatient facility does not have to be “posh” to be effective.  Recommendations and a plan should be in place before leaving any inpatient detox facility so that outside the medical detox facility relapse does not occur.  The path to total rehabilitation and overcoming addiction is not an easy one, but it is quite possible when well-planned.


Photo by Julia Avamotive from Pexels


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