After completing addiction treatment, many people are not ready to head back home or take a chance on losing their hard-won sobriety. A sober house can fill the gap between rehab and living independently, but there is a catch: These facilities have many rules, which begs the question of what would happen if you were to relapse in a sober house.
What is a Sober House?
A sober house, also called sober living, is a group home for recovering alcoholics and addicts. Most of these living centers are privately owned, although some may be owned by charities or businesses. A sober house does not offer addiction treatment services, but rather is a safe place to live while you are new in recovery.
These homes generally have quite a few rules, and some also have mandatory drug testing. Other rules that you might encounter in a sober home include agreeing to pay rent, having a job or being enrolled in school, doing certain household chores, and not causing any disturbances with other residents.
The Effectiveness of Living in a Sober House
Sober living environments seem like an excellent idea when you are newly sober, and an 18-month study confirms their benefits. Researchers looked at the outcomes for 300 people who lived in different types of sober houses and published the results of their findings in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
The study concluded that these homes provide a high level of support and that the risk of relapse diminishes during a period of sober living. Some of the main benefits of a sober house include:
- Social Support. You will live and bond with others who are also new in recovery, which is a way to make friends and create a support system.
- 12-Step Groups. Most sober houses require participation in a 12-step fellowship, which is another way to build support for your recovery.
- Develop Sober Skills. A sober living home helps you to develop certain skills, such as getting along with others and more practical skills like cooking and cleaning.
- Provide Structure. Sober homes provide structure because you will be required to follow a long list of rules.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing. Sober living offers accountability through substance testing, which means that you will be in trouble if you relapse.
What Happens If You Relapse in a Sober House?
If you are using alcohol or drugs while living in a sober house, this is a clear violation of their rules. Depending on how the sober living home is run, you may or may not be asked to leave. When you are serious about recovery, it is important to admit mistakes and be honest as quickly as possible. If you relapse and try to cover it up, the sober house is going to learn the truth and will make sure that you are shown the door.
Your best chance to avoid this is to admit your use as quickly as possible. You may be given a short suspension from the property and then be permitted to return if you remain clean and sober. Whatever happens, never give up on your recovery. Use everything that you have learned in addiction treatment and afterward to help you build a strong recovery program and avoid future relapse.