Addiction is a demon that can plague any one of us at any time, and often is far more difficult to break free from than it ever was to become hooked. Factors such as grief, life stresses, or mental health conditions can easily lead us down the slippery slope to addiction. And once we head down that path it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to reclaim our lives and free ourselves from addictions grip.

While the road to sobriety may be tough, it is possible, and there are a whole host of different options to help you get clean. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at sober living programs, what they are, how they work, and what their benefits are for you and your future.

What is a Sober Living Program?

Sober living programs usually take place in a sober living facility, which some nickname a ‘halfway house’. Typically it offers the bridge, or halfway point from inpatient care, to the outside world. These programs aim to allow addicts to gently ease back in to day to day life, and function more as normal homes, than medical care facilities, thus lessening the shock when a patient leaves an addictions system, which in turn reduces the risk of relapse.

Usually these ‘halfway houses’ are rooming style houses out in the community where people who are recovering from addiction can live and seek out employment and community supports to help them on their road to sobriety.

What Can You Expect?

Unlike inpatient care, such as rehabilitation facilities, a sober living program which takes place in a sober living facility will actively encourage your independence. Similar to your own home, you are able to come and go as you please, and it becomes a great place to meet and make friends with fellow recovering addicts, who can help support and uplift you along the way.

In terms of the active care you’ll receive, most sober living programs centre around 12-step programs, as well as other recovery methodology, which will help you understand, come to terms with, and ultimately move on from your addiction.  As with all things, what works for one person may not work for another, so these sober living programs will often have more than one treatment route available to those who seem to respond better to one over the other.

What Will a Sober Living Program Expect From Me?

The expectations of a sober living program or facility are quite straightforward, mostly this revolves around you showing commitment and willingness to participate in the program. Typically you will be required to partake in randomized drug screen, to ensure you remain clean, as well as attending meetings aimed to help you engage with the 12-step program.

What is the 12-Step Model?

The 12-step model was originally formed in 1938 as part of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) recovery program. Since then it has been adapted and added to, and now represents the industry standard for comprehensive addiction therapy. The most common interpretation of the 12 steps are as follows:

1) Being able to admit you have a problem beyond your control.

2) Trusting that whatever higher power you believe in can help you.

3) Being able to relinquish control over to your chosen higher power.

4) Taking a personal inventory.
5) Being accountable, and being able to admit to yourself, your higher power, and those around you, the wrongs that you have committed.

6) Being ready and willing to receive the correction of your shortcomings from your higher power.

7) Being able to ask for help from the higher power in removing your shortcomings.

8) Making a list of how you have hurt others, and a willingness to make amends for these wrongs.

9) Re-establishing contact with those you have hurt or wronged, unless doing this will become harmful to the individual.

10) Being able to maintain a personal inventory, and being able to admit wrongdoing.

11) Seeking a connection from your higher power through meditation or prayer, and achieving enlightenment from this.

12) Being knowledgeable in the 12 steps so that you may carry the message forward to others in need.

What Happens When You Leave a Sober Living Program?

Unlike more traditional halfway houses, sober living facilities typically will not put a limit on how long you can be a resident, so long as you are complying with house rules, such as chores, meetings and paying rent. This means all stress is removed from your shoulders, leaving no time limit to your recovery, allowing you to move on when you feel truly ready. When you are ready to move on to the next step in your life, it is much like moving houses, you just find a new place to live, and continue applying everything you’ve learned during your stay at the sober living facility.