“The House That Built Me”

“The House That Built Me.” For most people it’s their childhood home, the place where they grew up, the place where they made their first memories and learned some of their first lessons.

But for some, the “House That Built Me” is a different home. It’s still a home where people learned some of their first lessons: the lessons that would keep them thriving and healthy, and the lessons that would support them and serve as a foundation in the subsequent years of their life. However, this home also taught them how to manage a disease that the majority of society does not understand yet. This unique home offered camaraderie, understanding, and a new form of hope. Sadly, this home, called a sober living, is not talked about enough because of the stigma that surrounds it. Rather than being painted as a progressive and beautiful idea, it is painted as an oddity and a punishment.

For people who suffer from addiction there are not a whole lot of treatment options. If you think about that reality it is actually quite astonishing. Addiction is becoming a more common problem by the minute, but the scope of treatment options available remains horrifyingly narrow. There’s rehab, and well, rehab. Therapy and some questionable prescriptions are sometimes an option, but again, the solutions are limited. 

This is where sober livings come in. Sober livings are where people suffering from addiction can seek out addiction treatment that does not tuck them away from society. Sober livings, unlike rehabs, empower people to treat their addiction while still maintaining a functional life. It is important to note that sober livings are not halfway houses. A halfway house is a place that a patient goes to transition from an inpatient facility to general society. Conversely, a sober living is a place where a person goes because that person does not want to transition out of general society in the first place. While isolating or entering a rehab might work for some people, a strong case can be made that for many working adults a treatment that pulls you away from your job and your family only creates new problems.Through sober livings a person can seek treatment without having to completely disrupt their daily life.

Moreover, sober livings create a family environment. With addiction still stigmatized as heavily as it is a lot of people who seek out recovery have lost their loved ones. As mentioned in previous articles, taking the support system away from someone suffering with addiction is like taking the shield away from the soldier who is about to go to war. These people are scared, embarking into new territory, and now they are doing it with no support or defenses. Society continues to throw ammunition to the disease of addiction and to disarm the people who actually suffer with it.

In sober livings this problem is addressed. A lot of sober livings are actually run by people in recovery who understand the disease of addiction. These sober living managers offer structure, experience, and SUPPORT. In a sober living home people are able to rebuild that support network that general society often stripped away from them.

Below is a series of testimonies from people who have gone through sober livings. The hope of this article is that it sheds some light into how positive and inspiring time in a sober living can actually be:

“In my addiction I didn’t know how to live at all, I was just existing. Sober living not only gave me an opportunity at life , but gave me an opportunity to learn how to be responsible, while forming healthy relationships with other people. It helped learn how to set boundaries, gain self worth,  and how to have fun, and because of those things I get live a life with purpose and meaning today.”

“I needed the guidelines, rules, curfews, daily chores, drug tests and meetings everyday as they are a requirement to live there. All of that kept me busy, it was all about accountability, and becoming a responsible sober woman. Entering the workforce again and paying my own rent was a huge deal for me…I had been evicted and unwelcome pretty much everywhere by the time I was ready to go get help. I was able to form friendships with the other woman that lived there which was something that felt brand new to me after isolating myself for so long. I know for sure that entering a sober living is what helped me to stay sober after rehab, and now long term as I recently celebrated four years of recovery in January.” -Samantha 

“Sober living gave me responsibility, accountability, and comrades that had similar goals in staying sober and recreating my life. Also I saw examples of hope and strength from the alumni of women came back to continue to support the home. Staying connected has given me the ability to help new ladies!” -Kat

“Sober living created an extra layer of support for me. Living under one roof with several women trudging the same path as me, was a gift and it drove home the idea of how important community is while building a foundation in recovery. The structure sober livings provide I.e. mandatory meetings, curfew, chores and drug tests re-acclimated me with basic life skills I had been separated from from for so long due to my addiction. It kept me accountable and on the path to recovery.” – Kaylyn

“I had an amazing experience in sober living. I came into sober living after struggling with heroin addiction for over 15 years. Sober living taught me how to be accountable and gave me a structured living environment and it gave me the opportunity to be able to mend fences with my family. For me, my last race in life was just 12 steps.”

Sober living homes might not be for everyone, but they are another valuable treatment option for those struggling with addiction. The more these treatment options are talked about, the more likely sufferers are to connect to them and get help. “The House That Built Me” often refers to the place where a person finds their true identity. For people in recovery, a sober living can be exactly that place.

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