17 Nov The Effectiveness of Sober Living
Foundation that supports…Community that Units…Independence that grows.
An environment full of temptation is a true detriment to anyone trying to stay sober after an intensive recovery treatment program. There have been many studies showing how environments can greatly influence the behaviors of animals, and even human beings. We are products of nature versus nurture, which aspect has a stronger hold determines part of our character traits as we grow older. Studies have been conducted show that a lack of stability, alcohol and drug influenced living ambiances can be a serious obstacle to sustaining an abstinent lifestyle. Destructive living conditions can derail recovery for even the most highly motivated individuals. This is where sober living homes have shown a dramatic efficacy in helping individuals stay sober longer and fully free of substances. Sober living houses sustain an alcohol and drug-free living environment for individuals attempting to stay abstinent. These homes are private pay. Constellations Recovery, similar to other sober houses, emphasize the 12-step principles, group meetings, and peer support.
The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs studied 300 individuals who entered two different types of Sober Living establishments (Clean and Sober Transitional Living and Options Recovery Services) over a course of 18 months. The study documented findings concerning resident improvements on measures of alcohol and drug use, employment, arrests, and psychiatric symptoms. It was found that involvement in 12-step group work and characteristics of social network were strong indicators of favorable outcomes, reinforcing that social and environmental factors play a strong role in recovery.
The evolution of Halfway Houses into Sober Living Homes
Studies conducted in the 1960s and 70s using individuals living in halfway houses showed the critical importance of one’s social network in their living environments. Recognizing how influential one’s living environment could be to their substance abuse recovery led to a proliferation of inpatient and residential treatment programs during this time period. The idea was to simply remove the client from destructive living conditions that subsequently encouraged substance abuse, while creating a new social support system. These programs became known as halfway houses, where clients resided after they completed detox or while they attended outpatient treatment. Despite the initial advantages of these halfway houses, soon-there-after strong limitations began to surface. For instance, halfway houses only had a set time to which you could reside in them. After that time elapsed, regardless of whether or not the individual was ready, they would be dismissed without question. Secondly, these houses are government funded, so when funding ran out, only a certain amount of people could be helped or would be let go due to insufficient funds. A form of evolution had to occur, and that’s where Sober Living Homes found their birth.
Sober Living residences are structured to avoid some of the limitations seen with halfway houses. These characteristics include, an alcohol and drug free living environment for those attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs, no formal treatment services, but either encourage or mandate attendance of 12-step help groups such as AA or a structured 12-step curriculum, require compliance of house rules, residents own responsibility for financing costs, and an invitation to stay as long as they want, provided they follow house rules and abstain from any substance abuse.
Sober Living has been found to have the highest retention rate among residential living type treatments. In the study previously stated among the 300 individuals analyzed the average length of stay in both types of sober living houses surpassed the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommendation of at least 90 days to obtain maximum benefit. The average stay at Options Recovery Services (ORS) was 254 days and at Clean and Sober Transitional Living (CSTL) it was 166 days. As guessed by the researchers there were two patterns of outcome, one of which was that residents reduced or stopped their substance use between the initial intake and 6 months after and then maintained those improvements well beyond 12 and 18 months after; at ORS 6 month abstinence rates improved from 11% to 68% between 6 and 12 months. At 18 months abstinence was a bit lower at 46%, but still higher than the times before they entered the houses. For the CSTL, abstinence improved from 20% at initiation, to 40% at 6 months, 45% at 12 months and 42% at 18 months. The study also noted significant improvements in secondary outcomes such as on employment, psychiatric symptoms, and arrests. Most importantly studies have shown that Sober Living can prove to be most beneficial to individuals seeking to complete residential type treatments, those already attending outpatient treatment, and those seeking non-treatment alternatives for recovery. For more on this study visit http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057870/
The following are a series of facts reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health.
– Among people ages 12 or older, 21.6 million were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year.
– In 2013, adults aged 21 or older who had first used alcohol at age 14 or younger were more likely to be classified with alcohol dependence or abuse in the past year compared to adults who had their first drink at age 21 or older.
– An estimated 8.7 million, or 22.7%, of underage persons were current drinkers in 2013, including 5.4 million (14.2%), binge drinkers and 1.4 million (3.7%) heavy drinkers.
– By 2020, mental and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide.
For more statistics visit (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh)
Peer recovery support is one of the biggest factors why Sober Living is so effective. In studies of clinical populations, completion of addiction treatment, along with participation in peer recovery groups are among the most predictive of long-term recovery than either activity by itself. Findings show that even helping others helps improve you own prognosis. At Constellations Recovery we are not just a Sober Home, but a foundation that supports our residents through a transitional period of their lives. By sharing experiences among our residents, peers bring hope to others in recovery, and promote a sense of belonging within the sober community.