There’s no greater weight hanging over our heads in recovery. Unfortunately, they’re common – studies have shown over 80% of people relapse during their first year of recovery. Most of those relapses happen within a month of leaving a drug treatment center.
We’ll say it upfront: a relapse isn’t the end of the world. It doesn’t make us bad people when we relapse; it’s a sign we just need more help in our recovery. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do to prevent them.
Sober Living Helps Prevent Relapse
During treatment, everybody enters outpatient care. Less structured than inpatient recovery, outpatient care generally marks the time we begin to reenter normal life. It’s the phase where we explore independent living while receiving addiction care.
For a lot of people, outpatient care is the phase of care when they return to their living arrangement before entering rehab. In some cases, this can mean returning to an environment where substance abuse is still common.
A sober living house is the first and best defense against this situation. A sober home allows us to live away from our former surroundings, giving us more time to bolster ourselves against the temptations and addiction triggers of substance abuse. It’s also an opportunity to live in a shared space with people who genuinely understand the major life change we’re making.
Here is how a sober home can help defend against three major causes of relapse.
The “Pink Cloud”: Pride & Overconfidence Can Lead To Relapse
Recovery is hard … but it feels so good, especially when it’s new. Recovery means overcoming a lot of difficult challenges, and when we surpass them, we rightly feel proud of ourselves. While this a normal (and welcome!) feeling, it comes with a certain risk.
In recovery circles, it’s called “pink cloud syndrome.” Basically, it’s the name for the intense happiness we feel in early recovery. In some cases, pink cloud syndrome can feel so good it convinces us we’re actually cured of addiction and no longer need our support groups, therapy sessions, sober living, or the many other things which help us prepare for long life in recovery.
The thing is, recovery is a lifetime commitment, and it’s one that needs constant tending to in order to succeed. Pink cloud syndrome can convince us tending to recovery isn’t necessary, which in turn can lead us to the kind of risky behavior which leads to relapse … and back into treatment.
Sober living can keep our heads out of the pink cloud. When we’re living with a group of people with the same experiences and goals, it’s far easier to be realistic about our recovery and focus on long-term positive goals. Our roommates and house manager help keep us grounded during early recovery and beyond.
Isolation: Being Alone Can Create Relapse
This is a tough one. We’re living in a time where isolation is sometimes encouraged in the interest of public health. What’s more, addiction is a very isolating disease. Its behaviors often cause people who really care about us to go away out of fear of seeing what addiction does to us or to avoid enabling addictive behaviors.
Worse, addiction makes us fill the social gaps with people who are only interested in abusing substances with us.
When we return to normal life from a drug rehab or addiction center, many of us find ourselves with a greatly diminished social circle. With no support system or safety net to rely on, it can be far too easy to return to substance abuse as a way to cope, undoing all the work we did in recovery.
Sober living homes are a great help here. The communal, drug-free life they offer allows us to develop lasting, positive relationships based on recovery. Many people come out of sober living with a network of lasting friends who can be relied on for help – and who remind us to be accountable in our recovery.
People, Things, & Places: Our Old Lives Contribute to Relapse
Thinking back to our lives before recovery can be risky.
While addiction largely creates bad – even traumatic – memories, it’s also possible to have good memories of the times we had while abusing drugs and alcohol. Recalling memories of old parties, like a major rager that got out of hand, can be a very risky habit to fall into – especially early in recovery.
It’s also possible to look at bad memories fondly. Sure, reflecting on how far we’ve come can be a useful thing to do from time to time, but it’s also easy to view the bad old days through a romantic lens, remembering when we lived life on the edge.
This is especially true when revisiting the people and places from the time before we got sober. Old places – bars, liquor stores, places where we used drugs – hold powerful memories for us, memories that can cause us to relapse. And people, especially if they’re still engaged in substance use, can be exceptionally potent triggers for relapse.
This is another reason why sober living is so helpful in creating new social networks. Being able to bond with people who share your goals of a long life in recovery allows you to more easily leave old relationships behind – or keep them at arms’ length. Why let relationships driven around substance use poison your new life?
It’s a reason why many people in recovery decide to move away to a different location while they recover.
As for places, it’s a good idea to avoid anywhere alcohol use is going on until you’ve got serious recovery time under your belt. Getting to a place where you can comfortably be around people who are using substances while you happily abstain takes a lot of time and effort.
Find Your Sober Home Today with SoberLivingNearYou.com
There’s no greater way to strengthen your recovery than living in a sober home. Finding a sober home to call your own can be tricky, however.
That’s why we developed SoberLivingNearYou.com. It’s the internet’s leading directory of sober homes. We’ve carefully compiled thousands of listings for you to browse, making finding a sober home easier than ever!
Find your sober home with us. Log on to SoberLivingNearYou.com today!