Sober living homes are facilities that provide drug-free environments where persons in recovery can live and transition from rehab to independent living. These facilities are also known as recovery residences or transitional living arrangements.
Unlike formal rehab programs, sober living homes do not offer addiction treatment services. Instead, the home is an informal recovery environment for persons struggling with addiction. Likewise, persons who have completed formal rehab programs can use these homes as a bridge to transition to independent living.
The main aim of sober living homes is to ensure that newly sober persons have peer support in an environment that does not present opportunities for relapse. Access to this support system will help them to sustain sobriety and prepare to return to their normal lives.
Again, sober living homes in Arkansas are not treatment centers. Residents do not have the training or expertise to provide addiction treatment services like detox, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), or psychotherapy. Instead, these homes often pass for family houses. The main difference is that the residents are [unrelated] adults recovering from addiction rather than relatives.
Furthermore, these facilities are located in residential areas. They are mostly private-owned and may be for-profit or non-profit. Generally, sober living homes in Arkansas do not need a license to operate because they are not treatment centers and have no regulatory body. Despite this, most comply with the standards for sober living homes.
There might be surface-level differences in daily life in various sober living homes in the state, but they are similar at the core.
First, when recovering individuals are discharged from inpatient treatment centers and seek enrollment into sober living homes, they fill out application forms and are screened either online or on-site. If found eligible, they are welcome to move in. Next, the house manager explains the house rules and checks their personal belongings to ensure they are not bringing alcohol or drugs into the home. Then, the new residents get a room or bed space.
Most homes have routines for the proper functioning of the homes and also to give the residents a sense of stability. Here is how a typical day goes in most sober living houses:
Residents wake up, make their beds, clean up their environments, then prepare and eat breakfast. They are to participate in house meetings, if any. Many homes also encourage morning meditation and exercise.
Residents follow their personalized daily plans. This may include seeing a therapist, attending a medical appointment, going to their place of work, attending classes, or even relaxing. Many also attend addiction support meetings like 12-step meetings or spend time acquiring vocational skills or volunteering. Friends may visit during the day but cannot sleep over.
Most sober living homes in Arkansas have curfews, and residents are expected to return on time. Lateness counts as a violation of house rules. The house prepares dinner and holds group meetings before residents go to bed.
Generally, there are rules and regulations in place to guide the day-to-day affairs of residents. A very major rule is no alcohol or drug possession or use. Violation of this cardinal rule threatens the sobriety of other residents and often ends in an eviction.
Furthermore, attending support group meetings, making financial contributions, participating in drug screening, and respecting housemates are important.
Staying in a sober living house does not automatically guarantee abstinence, especially as the house does not provide round-the-clock monitoring for residents. Still, there are ways residents can increase their chances of staying sober.
House rules are in place to enhance the chances of staying sober. Rules like zero tolerance for alcohol and drugs and participation in house meetings and other activities have proven helpful in helping residents maintain sobriety.
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". Indeed, the journey of recovery from addiction is not a sprint. It is long and arduous, requiring resilience and support from rehab specialists or a recovery community. Though rehab specialists can provide individualized treatment, mutual support programs and 12-step groups have proven to be immensely helpful for maintaining long-term sobriety.
These friendships create opportunities to offer one-on-one support, counsel, and accountability. They demand reciprocation such that residents can give and receive help from their friends.
It is best to avoid friends or family members who encourage or trigger drug use. Making this decision is hard but worth it long-term. For starters, consider changing phone numbers to limit contact with them. Adjustments to social life can also involve avoiding places known to contain external triggers and stressors.
Indeed, stress can be avoided, but there are some stressors that you must learn to handle without resorting to drugs. So as you work to reduce stress to the barest minimum, learn and practice alternative coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.
Putting one's mind and hands to work creates less room for relapse. What's more, having a job can give one a sense of purpose and a feeling of well-being. Staying active could take various forms like paid jobs, volunteering, outdoor adventures, engaging in hobbies, acquiring new skills, or returning to school. All these give the mind something to focus on and, in the long run, will result in financial stability.
When there is a weakening of willpower or a drop in the level of motivation, it is more helpful to speak up instead of trying to handle it alone.
Individuals struggling with drug addiction tend to adopt unhealthy lifestyles like poor dieting, which can cause the body systems to malfunction. Therefore it is essential to incorporate healthy meals into the recovery plan to keep the body fit enough to follow through with daily recovery goals.
Recovery from addiction is holistic, involving the spirit, mind, and body. Regular exercise like jogging and yoga can cause the body to release endorphins, natural chemicals that can boost morale and improve mood and self-esteem.
Upon discharge from an inpatient treatment center, the individual, their caregivers, and the rehab team will decide what the next step should be. Typically, the answer is aftercare in a recovery residence.
Likewise, persons with a mild addiction, who are motivated to stay sober but need some support, accountability, and supervision, can consider a sober living house.
Both sober living homes and halfway houses are temporary living arrangements developed to ease the transition of recovering individuals from inpatient or institutional treatment into society to continue their regular lives.
They both seem very similar, but there are some key differences. These include:
Historically, halfway houses were for people who have served time in prison or other correctional facilities. But sober living homes are drug-free places people go to stay sober.
Halfway houses are mostly built and funded by the government and come at little-to-no cost to the residents. On the other hand, sober living houses are owned by private individuals, businesses, and organizations to make a profit.
Generally, people are court-mandated to stay in halfway houses, but entry into a sober living house is voluntary and depends on whether or not the individual wants to.
The rooms in halfway houses are often rowdy, with many people sharing facilities. In sober living homes, the living arrangement is very home-like. There is enough space, and it is more comfortable and private.
People can only spend a stipulated amount of time in halfway houses and are supposed to leave when the time elapses whether or not they feel ready to live in the society. In sober living homes, residents can stay as long as they want so long as they maintain sobriety. The typical duration is three months, but residents can stay up to 12 months or longer.
There are four major types of sober living houses in Arkansas. The difference, albeit subtle, is in the level of support offered by these houses.
Most people enter halfway houses right after inpatient or other formal rehab programs. Although halfway houses are open to those who want to join voluntarily, individuals on leaving probation or other correctional facilities are often court-mandated to stay in halfway houses for a specified period.
Addiction has socioeconomic consequences. Individuals battling substance use disorder could lose their source of income, go into debt or become nuisances.
Transitional housing is a program that provides housing for drug offenders on probation or parole to stay while trying to regain economic independence and re-enter society. They look for jobs, acquire skills and try to save up some money for rent and other necessities.
These houses must be accredited by Arkansas Community Correction and have trained staff to provide round-the-clock supervision.
Recovery houses are temporary alcohol- and drug-free residences that provide counseling and peer-based support. Completion of an inpatient rehab program is not a mandatory entry requirement.
Rules and regulations are set in place by the house managers. Residents encourage one another and work together to achieve their recovery goals.
A sober living home is more informal and less restrictive compared to other types of sober living houses in Arkansas. Prospective residents would have been able to stay sober for some days or weeks to be eligible for sober housing.
Support in sober living houses is informal and mostly peer-based. The individual decides when to move in and when to move out. These homes suit highly motivated individuals who need mutual support and minimal supervision to remain sober.
Most sober living homes in Arkansas are structured in such a way that residents go through phases of increasing levels of independence. There are three phases of sober living in Arkansas:
The first phase is the restrictive or abstinence phase. This can last up to 30 days or more. The aim is to get newly sober individuals to adjust to the new environment without becoming overwhelmed. Residents get acquainted with the new environment and also the rules and regulations that guide the home. Limits are placed on how much social interaction the residents are allowed. They will have to do away with their phones and computers.
In this phase, the new resident begins to attend 12-step meetings and is assigned domestic chores. But they cannot leave the house. If they have an important appointment, the home will provide a chaperone. Personal transport is not allowed at this stage.
New residents use this phase to fully settle into the daily routine at the home, exercise, and attend therapy sessions.
In the reintroduction phase, the sober living homes ease the restrictions, and residents have more liberty. The resident can now attend to personal responsibilities outside the home without a chaperone. However, they have an early curfew, and movement is restricted to important activities like therapy, work, or school.
This is the final phase. Residents at this stage have a track record of staying sober and are now ready to rejoin society and live independently. There is increased autonomy, and residents in this phase are held to a higher degree of accountability.
At this phase, they would have jobs and be sure of stable housing. In some cases, they can share their time navigating between their homes and the sober living houses. They would have acquired coping skills and motivation that will help them to cope with the stress of everyday life without relapsing. Attendance at 12-step meetings is less frequent.
If a resident relapses at this phase, they move into the restrictive or abstinence phase.
At the very least, the services offered by sober living homes are a clean, safe, and comfortable alcohol- and drug-free environment. Others are Wi-Fi, laundry, parking lot, counseling for family members, and on-site support staff. Here are a few things to keep in mind while searching for a sober living home in Arkansas:
The home should be close to other meeting centers. For instance, the home should not be too far from the 12-step meeting location.
It will be helpful to find past residents and ask them about their experiences in those sober living homes. What they liked and disliked about the homes. You should also ask questions about concerns you have.
Most homes have websites or contact details. Enquire about the price of the home and how insurance coverage works. Doing this will help you determine affordability and choose a home for you.
Are you or your loved one completing an inpatient addiction treatment program and needing support to continue the journey to recovery? Or are you a state agency representative looking to refer someone to a sober living home? You can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline at (800) 662-4357. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help you find a suitable sober living home in Arkansas.