Addiction is a chronic illness that is known to have the potential for relapse. This means that overcoming substance abuse is often a life-long commitment. Depending on the nature of a person’s addiction illness, they may require an indeterminate length of time in rehab before they are ready to return home. In this article, we take a specific look at long-term rehabilitation programs and how they help people to strengthen their sobriety skills before returning home after attending a drug rehab center.
What Is Long-Term Rehab?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), long-term drug rehab centers are generally not attended by medical personnel. This is in direct contrast to an inpatient program which is completely managed and supervised by therapists, nurses, and physicians. Long-term drug rehabilitation centers, often referred to as “sober homes,” are often run by a few non-medical staff members with responsibilities shared with residents. Although recovering addicts share the same living space, it is not a frivolous environment and the focus remains on residents maintaining sobriety.
Sober homes usually have strict rules for residents to adhere to in terms of behavior, substance use, alcohol, and drug addiction treatment and employment. If rules of the house are broken, there are generally stiff penalties which can include being expelled from the program. It is crucial that all residents comply with the terms of a long-term rehab program as they are able to offer considerable support to each other in their household community. The majority of residents in sober homes work extremely hard to maintain their sobriety and stick to the rules of the house. It is also helpful for their own recovery to ensure other residents do likewise.
During the first few days of taking up residence in a sober home, new residents will be formally introduced to others living there and the rules will be explained in detail. The recovering addict may be asked to:
- Remain on the premises at all times unless leaving for work or therapy
- Agree to periodic substance screenings
- Undertake household duties
- Participate in group meetings held in the sober home
- Check in with an in-house mentor throughout the course of the day
As time goes on and the recovering addict has delivered on their end of the bargain by following the rules, they will gradually be allowed greater freedom. Some long-term drug rehab centers or sober homes allow residents to leave for overnight visits to friends and family although these arrangements can vary significantly from program to program.
Why Long-Term Drug Rehabilitation Centers are Successful
Living in a sober community can provide a great deal of support and motivation to an individual struggling with substance abuse. Being immersed into living circumstances with unfamiliar people all at varying stages of a recovery journey encourages and motivates residents through their pursuit of a shared goal of sobriety.
In regular residential rehab, patients learn how to be accountable for their behavior with the guidance and supervision of therapists. Conversely, in sober homes, there is a greater sense of accountability to the individual themselves and those they share the facility with. Essentially, sober homes provide an opportunity for people to put everything they’ve learned in rehab into practice with complete support and encouragement from their recovering peers.
Additionally, long-term inpatient drug treatment center programs are heavily structured so that residents can work towards their return to substance-free living. Vocational training or occupational therapy might be offered alongside other addiction treatment components for the duration of the program. The structure of a program in a long-term inpatient drug treatment center leaves little time for individuals to dwell on obtaining and using drugs or alcohol.
For many people dealing with addiction, the most challenging aspect of their recovery journey is making fundamental lifestyle and attitude changes. For some, the prospect of cutting out close friends or family members who continue to abuse substances is too much for them to cope with and can present an obstacle to them receiving the help they need.
A long-term drug rehab center or sober home assists in the transition from alcohol or drug addiction treatment to daily life by helping individuals to recognize that they are not alone in their struggles. Living with others who are dealing with the same issues provides access to a new community of people intent on remaining sober. For those who feel isolated by addiction and who may have lost close friends and relatives as a consequence of their substance abuse, this can make a big difference to their recovery outcomes.
Whether a person has voluntarily entered into drug addiction treatment or not, it is crucial that they accept the need for change before they are able to continue towards recovery. Group therapy has been shown to be extremely valuable in encouraging continued sobriety as participants often feel more inspired by success stories than medical opinion. Long-term inpatient drug treatment centers and sober homes offer a secure passage from rehab to recovery for those who need a little extra help on the way.