The goal of a sober living home is to help people who are in the early stages of their sobriety journey to have the tools they need to maintain that sobriety and progress on their path to a new and better life. A sober living home is designed to assist in the development of practical life skills and cognitive strategies to help avoid relapse, as well as to help a person in recovery to build a new network of friends that can be counted on to be supportive of sobriety because that is the life path they are traveling as well.
Practical Life Skills
Addiction consumes. It consumes money, time and attention. People in the throes of addiction often find that serving that addiction is all that they have time or energy to do, and they arrive on the road to sobriety without the practical skills that day-to-day life requires. Not having those skills and trying to stumble through, figuring things out on their own, can be overwhelming and stressful. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed can threaten sobriety, particularly during those fragile early days of such a major lifestyle change. Here are some of the practical life skills a sober living home assists with:
- Managing personal finances, including learning to budget, pay bills on time, establish financial priorities and fiscal orders of operations, and build savings.
- Nutrition is an essential part of physical and mental health and well-being. Learning how to eat well can help to maintain sobriety. Learning how to cook can save money. Meal planning and food preparation are important life skills, which is why they are a part of the sobriety home routine.
- Getting and keeping employment are practical life skills, and the life rhythms associated with employment are beneficial to sobriety, so these are an important part of sober living home life.
- Household tasks, such as basic cleaning, laundry and home maintenance, inside and outside, are important to quality of life. Chaotic surroundings can produce a chaotic mind that is vulnerable to relapse. A well-run, clean home is conducive to sobriety.
Learning to manage negative emotions and effectively handle conflict are difficult tasks for all of us. Substance abuse, for many, is a means of avoiding such tasks or not feeling pain and stress. Thus, many arrive on the road to recovery without the skills to manage conflict, stress or painful emotions. Lack of these skills can lead to relapse. Therefore, developing cognitive strategies and skills is an essential part of the sobriety-supporting goal of a sober living home. These are some of the strategies and skills that a sober living home seeks to share.
- Conflict resolution skills are essential to daily life. Effective conflict resolution involves multiple skills, including self-control, respect for others, empathy, and the ability to listen and really hear. Effectively resolving conflict can reduce stress in daily living and serve to make maintaining sobriety an easier task.
- Managing negative emotions, such as pain and anger, is essential to preventing relapse. Learning to feel those emotions and use them in a productive manner, instead of the old way of blotting them out with a substance, will improve a person’s overall quality of life, in addition to helping a person stay sober.
- Learning how to set goals and achieve them is a cognitive skill set with deeply practical use far beyond the immediate goal of maintaining sobriety. Part of establishing goals is breaking those goals into achievable parts, so that incremental progress can be made and measured, providing positive reinforcement to keep moving forward.
- Self-reflection and self-assessment are important cognitive tools to keep growing in positive ways. It is through the use of these tools that people can measure their progress, catch erroneous thinking or actions before they become unmanageable and endanger sobriety, and celebrate their achievements. These tools are an important part of self-improvement.
A sober living home contains all of the elements necessary for such a major life transformation, including hands-on assistance in the development of practical life skills, in the acquisition of cognitive skills and strategies aimed at managing personal relationships, stress, negative emotions and other potential relapse triggers, and a solid network of people engaged in a similar journey, able to offer support and encouragement, as well as practical advice. If a sober living home is a possibility for an individual starting out on the journey to sobriety, it is a wonderful place to get a road map to a new way of living.