[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”SOBER LIVING HOUSES” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Drug users who are recuperating from drug use are encouraged to stay in an environment that is drug free to ensure they don’t relapse. Sober Living Houses (SLHs) uniquely exist for this purpose. Usually, SLHs are neither funded nor licensed by the government and exist independently.
In a study conducted among 461 alcohol and drug abusers over a 16 year period who fell on two extremes; treated and untreated by Moos in 2006, the results suggested that to ensure drug users completely abstain from drug use, it is imperative that they are offered social support in a drug free environment and Sober Living arrangements were very important. An earlier research done by Weisner in 2003 showed that the most successful alcoholics who abstained from alcohol completely after treatment had gone through a social support system and had been involved in the Alcoholics Anonymous Program.
As we have observed, Sober Living Homes have immense advantages but they have limitations too like being costly and they can only take a limited number of people since they prioritize quality over quantity. Sober Living Homes offer an ideal state of living and many of those who are admitted make great gains and it becomes difficult for them to adapt to the real world once they leave. It is a requirement that once a person leaves a Sober Living House, they follow up on formal treatment and monitoring. Majority of those who leave according to a research by Polcin and Henderson conducted in 2008 dread the thought of going back to formal treatment due to previous bad experiences or it’s ineffectiveness since they reported that many people relapse back to drug use after formal treatment.
For a premises to qualify as a Sober Living House, it must meet several requirements. A SLH should be free from alcohol and drugs to help the residents as they recuperate. There is no formal treatment and participants are required to follow self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the 12 Step Program. In a quest to make the individual more productive, Sober Living Houses have rules and regulations in place which include that the resident abstains from either using alcohol or drugs and apart from paying rent and fees required for hosting, residents should participate in house chores and attend house meetings.
According to Polcin and Henderson, the origin of Sober Living Houses (SLHs) was in California and majority of SLHs found within California are run by associations and coalitions responsible for health and safety standards. The main associations linked with Sober Living Houses (SLHs) in California are the California Association of Addiction Recover Resources (CAARR) and the Sober Living Network (SLN).
The main concept of SLHs found in the United States is that they are run by a house manager who sets all the in-house rules. Associations such as the Sober Living Network (SLN) and the California Association of Addiction Recover Resources (CAARR) encourage a social model approach to how SLHs are run and residents are given the mandate of running it while the house manager is given a managerial role. The idea behind bestowing power to residents to run SLHs goes hand in hand with the idea that they should be encouraged to be responsible.
According to a study done by Douglas Polcin, Rachael Korcha, Jason Bond and Gantt Galloway published in a paper titled “What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?”, SLHs are beneficial in the long term in low income areas and to people who are leaving prison or correctional facilities. The study researched on SLHs on a longitudinal design based on four categories of patients; patients who were completing residential treatments, those who were attending outpatient treatment, patients seeking alternative treatment options for recovery and those who were joining the community after they had been incarcerated under the criminal justice system.
According to the National Association of Recovery Residences, majority of the people who are in Sober Living Houses are in their 30’s and unmarried. Popular belief has it that those in SLHs are in a legal tussle but statistics show that it is only 3 in 10 people in SLHs who are having a legal conflict. A research by the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment showed that there’s an improvement in the mental health among those who go to Sober Living Houses and stay. The minimum period recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States to stay in a Sober Living House is 90 days for effective results.
Under outpatient treatment programs, the study found out that those outpatient treatment centers that were based in low income areas would benefit greatly from the Options Recovery Services Model of Sober Living Houses. This is because this model was cheap and Sober Living Houses were located in convenient locations accessible to patients. Drug abusers in these areas trying to recover after a defined period of sobriety would enroll to Sober Living Houses and would stay in a shelter nearby and attend the outpatient program. The Option Houses ensures that residents maintained a low intake of alcohol or drugs or none in the 12 months that followed.
SLHs programs perform well in low income areas that can’t afford outpatient treatment since the required costs such as rent and fees are minimal compared to the costs of outpatient programs. In low income areas the costs are settled by Social Security income or through assistance from the community.
A limitation to Sober Living Houses especially to persons who are seeking sobriety for the first time, according to the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation is that there’s a huge dropout rate from this class of participants due to lack of drug treatment or counsellors to guide them. This implies that Sober Living Houses aren’t successful in offering rehabilitation to first timers seeking a drug free life if they haven’t received treatment prior to checking into a SLH.
However, Sober Living Houses have been found to be effective and studies have shown that many residents remain sober afterwards and due to several factors. Under SLHs arrangements, residents can stay in the program even after finishing the outpatient program if they are willing to abide by the house rules. This ensures that residents only leave when they are ready to transition and move back to society. Residents are therefore able to prepare for life outside the SLH and seek favorable conditions of where they will work and live. SLHs are also effective since one can find role models and mentors to guide them in the recovery process, share stories and discuss their problems openly and finally mentor other people.
In a survey done by the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, abstinence levels from drugs among those studied in one Sober Living House increased from 11 percent to 68 percent within a 6 month period of being studied and there was a 30 percent increase after another 6 months.