Taking drugs involves a great deal of ritual. If you drink alcohol, you’re required to pull down a glass, fill the glass with ice and pour or mix yourself something liquid.
If you take injected drugs, you’re required to prepare the drug, prep your arm, inject your skin and then stash all of the tools away for the next dose. Every single one of these steps can become a habit.
Research highlighted in PsychCentral suggests that it can take up to 66 days to create just one new habit. Until all of your drug habits shift, you’re at risk for a relapse to addiction. How can you keep yourself safe during that time?
Sober living homes may help. By moving into this type of facility, you’ll surround yourself with sobriety safety, until you have the opportunity to change all of your drug-related habits.
Addictions can change the way your brain cells work, and that damage can make it hard for you to keep your urge to use under control. That’s the consensus of researchers in Berlin. In their research of 46 people who had been through detox and a group of healthy controls, they found that those who relapsed to use had a loss of tissue in the portion of the brain that regulates behavior and emotional control. With this damage, people couldn’t stop from using. When the substance was there, they found it hard to avoid the temptation.
That’s something people with addictions might know all too well. For one person, profiled in a patient vignette in an article in 432-440.htm” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, a day spent working in the yard triggered an almost uncontrollable urge to drink beer. This man didn’t want to drink, but he felt compelled to do so, and there was beer in the refrigerator, just waiting for him.
Sober homes can help simply because there is no such temptation. Alcohol, illicit drugs, legal prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs are all banned from the premises, and the days are controlled to such a degree that there’s no opportunity to relapse. There’s no time, and there’s nothing to take. That could help a person to stave off a relapse, so those damaged brain tissues can heal.
In addition, people who live in sober homes are surrounded by peers, and the entire group comes together for periodic housekeeping meetings and addiction support group meetings. In time, that group can look a lot like a family, with people understanding one another and supporting one another. Everyone in the home is trying to heal, so everyone in the home understands what it’s like to:
- Lose control
- Disappoint others
- Want to change
- Struggle with cravings
There’s always someone available to provide support or help, and there’s no need to provide a great deal of explanation for recovery feelings. Everyone has been there. Everyone understands.
Planning for Success
There’s no set time that you’re allowed or required to stay in a sober home. As long as you follow the rules, you can stay as long as you’d like to do so, but typically, you should plan to stay for at least six months or even longer. That’s the best way to ensure that you get the full benefits these homes can provide.
If you’d like to know more about the sober living model, please call us. We can tell you more and help you find a facility that’s right for you.
Further Reading About What Are the Benefits of a Sober Living House?
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David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.