Graduating from drug rehab represents a major step in a teen’s life. Although getting through detox and rehabilitation is a personal triumph, facing the realities of the world outside of rehab can be frightening and overwhelming. Faced with peer pressure, academic responsibilities, environmental triggers and family stress, a teenager’s new coping skills will be severely tested. Sober living homes offer a bridge between the rehab phase and the real world, so teens can continue to practice their coping strategies in a safe, drug-free environment.
Benefits of Transitional Housing
Research studies indicate that sober living homes can be an effective transition for rehab graduates, giving them a solid foundation for long-term sobriety. A study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs followed 300 adults living in sober housing environments for 18 months to determine their success rates. The majority of study participants showed improvement in these important areas:
- Alcohol and drug use declined
- Involvement in 12-Step programs increased
- Employment rates were higher
- Psychiatric symptoms were less severe
Teenagers can gain similar benefits from sober living homes. These residences provide a secure, supportive setting where teens can continue to be supervised while retaining some independence and flexibility. Teens are held accountable for following the rules and requirements of the home, but they are given enough freedom to go to school, work at part-time jobs or spend time with their families. Some of the key advantages of transitional housing include:
- The opportunity to develop in recovery without the social distractions or triggers of everyday life
- The support of other teenagers who are equally committed to the process of recovery
- The supervision of adult addiction specialists who are trained in the treatment of recovering teens
- Rules and expectations that help teens develop a sense of responsibility and stay on track with their recovery goals
- Fellowship with others through group meetings and 12-step programs
- Adequate time to continue to acquire coping strategies and build self-confidence
Twelve-step programs play a big part in the sober living environment. In some homes, attendance at regular meetings is a requirement; in others, participation is optional. Many of these residences offer on-site meetings, some of which are open to the general public.
Rules and Guidelines for Sober Living
Sober living homes are more open and less restrictive than addiction treatment centers; however, there are still a lot of rules to follow. Although rules vary from one facility to another, most gender-specific residences for teens follow guidelines like these:
- No alcohol or drugs are allowed in the home.
- Residents must follow a curfew.
- Teen residents may not have guests after certain hours.
- Residents must behave in a courteous, socially appropriate way.
- Violence and aggression are not allowed.
- Teens must attend counseling sessions or community meetings.
- Teens must participate in house meetings.
- Residents are assigned chores and household tasks.
- Teens must go to school or work at a job while they live in the home.
Teenage boys who get involved with drugs or alcohol often have problems with authority and structure. Sober living homes provide the opportunity for them to learn to be accountable to authority figures, family members, peers and themselves. The rules at a sober living house for teens are often strict, and residents who don’t follow the guidelines will be asked to leave. But those who successfully complete their stay will leave with stronger coping skills and greater confidence in their abilities.
Finding a Sober Living Home
Sober living homes are found in a number of different settings. Some of these residences are privately owned and located in mainstream neighborhoods. Others are situated on the campus of an addiction treatment center, so residents can continue to attend counseling sessions and peer group meetings after they graduate. In both cases, the sober home represents a transitional phase from the rehab facility to the outside world.
Comprehensive addiction treatment programs for teens may include a sober living option as part of their aftercare services. After completing rehab, teenage clients can stay in a transitional residence for several months, or until they feel confident about their ability to cope with the stress of daily life. When you search for a sober living home, look for a facility that stresses family involvement, personal growth and accountability for teens. The home should be located in a safe environment with minimal exposure to triggers and distractions.
The addiction treatment program at Muir Wood was designed exclusively for teenage boys between the ages of 12 and 17. We offer a full range of services for our clients to help them realize their potential and become strong, successful young men. If you’re ready to find help for your son, call our central intake number at any hour of the day or night.