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Sober Living vs. Residential Treatment: What Are the Differences?

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There are many forms of addiction treatment. In fact, when someone is ready to get sober, there are some decisions they will need to make regarding the kind of treatment they need. This article will explore the differences between various treatment options, specifically between residential addiction treatment and residing in a sober living home.

If a person’s addiction were severe, then it’s likely best that he or she be surrounded by assistance 24 hours a day during their initial weeks of recovery. And this is precisely what residential addiction treatment is. This level of treatment is considered to be the most intense, meaning that a person resides at a new location and is being serviced by staff all day long. The intent behind residential treatment is to give someone an entirely new environment, one that is healthy, safe, and drug-free.

During this time, a person may be receiving individual therapy, group therapy, drug counseling, education on the nature of addiction, and more. A person staying at a residential treatment center may also be receiving nutritional meals, learning relaxation techniques, and participating in other services that address their unique needs. This level of treatment might be called wrap-around services, in that every one of a person’s needs is being met by this one treatment method.

Typically, once a person has completed their residential treatment, it’s common for him or her to transition to living at a halfway house or sober living home.  At a sober living home, a person has more autonomy. For instance, at a residential treatment center, life can be very restrictive. Staff might limit a person’s phone calls, internet use, and visits. The strict environment is meant to keep a person safe and sober. However, at a sober living home, a person has had enough sobriety under their belt that he or she can use this time to begin to look for employment and housing.

Essentially, a person who has gone through intense addiction treatment is often starting a new life. A person might stay at a sober living home from 1 to 6 months. During this time, he or she is no longer spending time with drug-using friends. Instead, they are attending 12-step meetings, forming new friendships based upon sobriety, and learning more and more about themselves. Sober living homes are often also called halfway houses because someone is making their transition to a new and sober life.

It’s possible a person could enter a sober living home even without attending residential treatment. For instance, there are other types of treatment levels that might meet a person’s budget. These include outpatient services, meaning that a person does not live at a treatment center, but attends there on a regular basis to receive their treatment services. However, whether a person has participated in inpatient services, such as residential treatment, or outpatient services, anyone is often welcome into a sober living home, if they need it.

If you are in recovery and you feel that a sober living home would help sustain your sobriety, there are often many to choose from in your community.

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