Why Should I Go to Sober Living After Treatment?

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When making the commitment to conquer addiction, many are hyper-focused on the first two phases of recovery, detox and treatment, while ignoring a critical phase of recovery, continuing care. It is understandable that someone whose life has been torn apart by drug or alcohol abuse or addiction might hop right over that last important component, figuring after they complete a program they need to get back to “normal” life and that they’re good to go. Just getting into detox and then inpatient or outpatient rehab may be all the person can cope with initially, but to leap-frog over the continuing care portion of recovery is like to getting out of knee replacement surgery and immediately running a 10k marathon. Addiction recovery is a process that doesn’t end with the completion of a rehab program anymore than physically healing from surgery ends upon discharge from a hospital.

So, what exactly does aftercare in recovery entail? Understanding that recovery moves along a continuum that is a lifelong process, aftercare treatment elements are the activities and choices that will solidify sobriety and move the process forward. These include ongoing outpatient therapy sessions, active participation in a 12-step or a similar recovery community and continuing to create a healthy lifestyle from the disciplines learned in treatment. Together, this three-pronged approach to continuing care will reinforce recovery and greatly increase the likelihood of long-term recovery success. This post will focus on the role of sober living following rehab.


The Benefits of Sober Living

Rehab provides a highly supportive and safe environment where healing can occur. An environment that reinforces the various aspects of recovery throughout the duration of the program. Every week, for several hours per week, the client is engaged in all things recovery. They will participate in multiple therapeutic activities that work together toward the ultimate purpose, which is to provide the tools for lasting recovery.

Once the program is completed, clients can return to regular life or they can choose to reside in sober living for a few months. Clients who return directly to their former lives may not yet be adequately prepared to face the stressors that they are sure to encounter fresh out of rehab. In fact, 65%-70% of people relapse within 90 days of leaving rehab. Sober living offers transitional housing provided in a safe, supportive, drug and alcohol-free space where recovery tools can be practiced and reinforced, allowing the client to become better equipped to return to community life.

According to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs “Involvement in 12-step groups and characteristics of the social network are strong predictors of outcome, reaffirming the importance of social and environmental factors in recovery.” In fact, 6-month abstinence rates improved from 11% at baseline to 68% at 6- and 12-months. Additionally the chances of being arrested are reduced by as much as 80%.


How Does Sober Living Enhance Early Recovery?

Sober living provides several advantages toward establishing long term recovery after rehab. These include:

  • Increased accountability. Sober living reminds the individual that they are accountable for their own actions, but that they are accountable to fellow housemates and the house manager as well. Clearly stated house rules and shared responsibilities create expectations for accountability, which can prepare the person for being accountable in family life, work, or school.

  • Deterrent to relapse. A zero tolerance policy for the use, possession, or distribution of drugs or alcohol is standard in sober living homes. Random testing provides a powerful deterrent to residents who might be tempted to use, which they understand would get them removed from the house.

  • Added structure. Life in active addiction can be chaotic and disordered. Once sober, the individual may struggle to re-establish order in their lives. Sober living provides daily structure and a regular, predictable schedule that helps the client create new daily habits, including 12-step meetings, house meetings, and daily chores.

  • Peer support. Some people who leave rehab do not have a family to return to, or the friends they once had are no longer conducive to recovery. Isolation and loneliness are triggers for relapse. Sober living provides social support and fellowship among others with the same commitment to sobriety.

  • Practice recovery tools. After completing rehab, the client has not yet tested out the coping skills, interpersonal skills, stress-reducing techniques, conflict resolution skills, or anger management skills they learned in rehab. These are all just concepts introduced in treatment. Sober living provides the space and time to practice these tools before returning to regular life.

In essence, sober living provides a stepping stone towards resuming normal life, preparing the individual for recovery on a much more solid foundation.


While this is by no means a comprehensive list, we’d like to share with you some the local sober living homes we work with and trust. We’ve included links to their websites and a little blurb from each.

For clients looking for a good structured sober living in the Mesa and Chandler areas we highly recommend Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor Sober Living provides a safe and sober home for men and women 18+ who have completed a treatment program and are looking to transition back to their families or to independent living. We will provide a drug/alcohol-free home which is 12-step program based with our residents being engaged in a program of recovery. We will offer support, tools and experience to give our clients the best chance at recovery as well as a new and purposeful life.

In the Scottsdale and Arcadia area we often refer to our friends at Camelback Recovery where information and the ability for practical application to real world challenges collide. For the recovering alcoholic/addict, trying to navigate life for the first time in many years without the use of alcohol or drugs is intimidating enough.

The safe and sober environment that our community affords empowers the recovering individual to assure them that they are not alone in this new journey. Moreover, with the provision of guidance, structure, accountability and fellowship, Camelback Recovery assists our clients to discover and normalize a new, healthy lifestyle and pave the path for long-term recovery.

At Advanced Sober Living in Phoenix, AZ, we help our residents battle their addiction at a personal level, through a sense of inclusion. We believe the unity we share in the home, as well as the family atmosphere, sets us apart from other rehab programs. Being made to feel like you belong to something greater than yourself is without parallel. This also reinforces our tailored approach to sobriety.

Residents are able to attend outpatient treatment, school, work and external meetings. Incentives are offered for maintaining sobriety and achieving milestone goals set in place upon admittance. All of this culminates in an outlook on sobriety that’s engrained in a person’s day-to-day life, and one they’ll come to live by for the future.

Central Phoenix has a great home for both men and women at Casa Milagra which has provided a safe, sober living environment for over 11 years, professionally managed. In the heart of the recovery community. Casa has 35 beds with no more than 2 people per bedroom.

The Sweetwater House in north Phoenix. When you move into Sweetwater House you will encounter an environment designed to help your recovery thrive.  Our expectation is you will follow our five simple guidelines, attend meetings, get a sponsor, have a service commitment, complete the twelve steps and find a home group.

We believe in accountability at Sweetwater, so we will verify you have a sponsor by calling them and checking periodically to make sure the steps are being worked, we will provide you with a meeting slip to be signed when you attend meetings. Last we believe in the healing properties of community and like mindedness.  Our only expectation is you stay clean and sober, find a job, rebuild your life so you can move on to a better life than when you first moved into Sweetwater home.


Sanctuary Sober Living provides affordable and welcoming sober living homes located in north Phoenix and Scottsdale. The Sanctuary believes in providing a safe environment for men in recovery to live and grow as they expand their 12 step program and begin to transition into independent living.

Through a structured environment men in The Sanctuary are encouraged to work, get involved in the community, return to school, and return to their families. Our hope is that all our residents discover the gifts that have been given to them allowing them to live a happy substance-free life

The Hayward House in West Phoenix is dedicated to the Oxford democratic style of operation. Oxford House is a concept in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In its simplest form, an Oxford House describes a democratically run, self-supporting and drug free home.

Sober living resources are available to help guide clients as they transition between rehab and re-entering regular home life, giving clients the best chance of achieving long-lasting recovery. With connections to several high quality sober living homes, we can offer this important continuing care component to our clients as an added layer of support in recovery.

For more information about our outpatient treatment program in Scottsdale Az. and our sober living recommendations, please contact Cornerstone Healing Center today at (800) 480-1781.




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