What is the best sober living near me?
Key info about sober living & substances use disorders.
What is a sober living home or halfway house?
A sober living home serves as a residency for people with a substance and/or alcohol use problem seeking a stable, community-like environment that is often compared to informal treatment. Important to note that general usage of sober living home is commonly substituted for halfway house. There is a difference but for purposes of this article it is okay to use the terms interchangeably. In general, a halfway house tends to be more restrictive in terms of house rules and overall length of stay compared to a regular sober living facility or house.
These transitional houses could be privately owned, run by the state, businesses, charity or religious organizations. They are often located in quiet residential areas across the country to offer a peaceful and conducive environment for addicts to recover but are very commonly located in big cities like Los Angeles, New York City (NYC), and Boston. Each facility differs in its mode of operation from the other in that they are generally not regulated by a single authority and the rules and regulations for each sober house are established by the owners. In most places, the residents (or their parents) are expected to pay their share of the rent, buy their own food and maintain sobriety by contributing to the upkeep of the house through chores and remaining true to spirit of the program. Essentially, the sober living residents (SRR) are mostly independent and responsible for their own well-being and recovery.
The rules and management system may differ from one home to another, but one rule remains common across all facilities from Manhattan to Los Angeles. The rule that expects total and complete sobriety from residents at all time is reinforced by several facilities by requiring residents to submit random and impromptu drug testing. Violation of this agreement or any other rule are not without consequence. Depending on the particular transitional facility, “punishment” for breaking the rules could range from fines to eviction from the home. Additionally, some of sober house and halfway house residents usually encouraged to go to work, school or meet some other social responsibilities; the residents usually have freedom of movement to come and go as they please as long as they are back by a certain time — determined by the house management and — are always available and willing to be provide voluntary toxicology.
What are the differences between a sober living home and other inpatient facilities?
Sober living homes and halfway houses are different from other inpatient residential programs, such as rehabilitation centers, in that they are not restrictive and are loosely structured to facilitate employment and other outside obligations. Additionally, the sober house recovery experience is less intensive compared to rehab centers. This is the main reason that recovery community homes are considered secondary to treatment centers and is usually recommended for addicts who have already undergone a treatment program with more intensive treatment regimens. The need for both halfway houses and SRR arose from the realization that several addicts returned to their addictions once they had completed their treatment programs and were released. Other differentiating features of a home focused on sobriety from other treatment facilities include:
- Most of the recovery oriented homes do not have any treatment program for patients, they just provide a conducive and drug free environment for recovery.
- Unlike rehab centres that usually have a fixed period of treatment after which addicts are released, sober living homes do not necessarily have a time limit on how long patients can stay—although a halfway house might be more restrictive in general. In most cases, a minimum period of 3 months is encouraged and they are allowed to stay as long as they please as long as they pay their rent and adhere to house rules.
- The facilities are not staffed with medical professionals. Addicts receive advice and instructions from their peers in the house. This is believed to provide them with the motivation to fully recover – if others can do it, so can they.
- Drug and alcohol free houses are actually structured like regular homes and a lot of them are situated in residential areas. This brings a more home like feel to the treatment process without having the residents feel like they are in a hospital or another health facility.
- In general, sober residencies (especially halfway houses) are very affordable – all the residents are required to pay for is the accommodation which is usually at the same rate as rental apartments. As residents are responsible for themselves and with no treatment program in place either, there are really no expenses incurred. However, sober living NYC is different story. Because the townhouse or loft is located in Manhattan, the prices are usually more expensive. It’s fair to state that residential sober community options available in NYC range across two extremes on the socioeconomic spectrum between high-end luxury and low-tier affordable. There is a lack of middle tier facilities due to high rent and overhead expenses. The options typically available to those seeking assistant in Manhattan are either out of pocket, which costs nearly $10,000 per month, or public assistance related to HRA or medicaid. Hopefully as the public awareness of addiction grows, so too will the options for receive help!
What are the requirements to stay in a sober living home?
Abstinent based houses should not be the first point of treatment for addicts seeking recovery. Most commonly, it is most recommended that potential residents undergo some form of intensive treatment programs like inpatient rehab before they enter into drug free community. This is usually for their own good as it is expected that during this period of intensive treatment, the patients would have days or weeks of sobriety from alcohol which would prepare them for substance free life focused community and fellowship. Most patients who violate the ‘no substance use’ rule and fail their drug tests are evicted from the facilities, so residents who have already had a taste of sobriety are more likely to live longer in the house than the first timers.
What are the benefits of a sober living home?
What is the best sober living near me and what are the benefits? All around, Valley Spring offers one of the best options for quality SSR in Manhattan and will help coordinate your professional treatment. The primary advantage of a substance free residence is that it provides a more supportive and structured home for recovering addicts who may not have a similar living situation in their original homes. Other benefits living sober in a house includes:
- Several abstinence based houses offer a 12-step program which every resident is encouraged to participate in. It should be noted this program is not necessarily a treatment program, it just provides the residents with a forum to share their recovery stories and lessons to help and encourage other addicts through the process. The program is similar to ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’. Based on a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse, addicts who participated in these programs showed better signs of recovery after 18 months compared to those who did not.
- As mentioned, these self promoted clean facilities are structured like regular homes because likely they are just residential locations that promote a more relaxed and comfortable recovery process. Also, addicts are at liberty to choose whatever style sober housing suits them best. They are sparsely furnished homes, facilities with posh and luxuriously settings and everything in between. Addicts can go for whichever one feels most like home or whatever will facilitate the recovery process.
- In sober living facilities, residents are at liberty to go anywhere as there is usually little or no restriction in movement—as opposed to a halfway house. This structure helps residents with jobs, families and other social obligations to maintain their lifestyle freely without restrictions as long as they remain drug free.
Benefits of an alcohol & substance free life
It’s easy to relapse and fall back into substance abuse after rehab and sometimes even after living sober. But alcoholism and substance is a deadly addiction and there are a hundreds of benefits to living that alcohol free life. Next time you feel like a relapse is near, here are some benefits to remind you of why quitting is totally worth it:
- Needless to say, alcoholism predisposes one to a myriad of diseases, giving up alcohol gradually rebuilds your immune system and revitalises the body. With time, you’d be as good as new.
- Alcoholism builds up a lot of psychological and emotional problems which could hinder your creativity/productivity at work as well as destroy your relationship with your family and friends. Giving up alcohol will give you a chance to rebuild and mend whatever that addiction destroyed.
- Sunken eyes? Puffy face? Wrinkly facial skin? Giving up excessive drinking will rejuvenate your body and though it may take a while to achieve the looks you want, the earlier you give up alcohol, the better your chances.
- Money that could have been used to buy alcohol or drugs can be used for better and healthier purposes.
- Sobriety may not give that temporary substance ‘high’ but in the long term, sobriety is a whole lot better than going crazy trying to control something that seemingly is uncontrollable—with the exception of being able to let go altogether.
A SSR is possibly one of the best complimentary solutions to alcoholism. Nevertheless, it is important to go through rehab or detox before committing to a community oriented recovery house. Addicts should take out time to do the necessary research on every potential facility before choosing whichever one suits them best. Also, the recovery process may take a while and progress may seem difficult, nonetheless, addicts can draw the motivation to continue from other residents who are there to provide support and encouragement. NYC sober living is a great option for individuals looking to address their fears head on and for people looking to recovery in levels while enjoying the best city on earth.
Now that we’ve discussed all about sober living, let’s speak generally about Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
It’s important to discuss addiction and sobriety. Granted, drug abuse ranging from use of marijuana to crack cocaine is continually blared by the media and government as posing the biggest threat to health and subsequently the use of these substances is illegal. Being in possession of certain drugs is considered a misdemeanor while selling drugs is a felony. However, the commonly ignored and legal alcohol poses a far greater threat to health than drugs. Alcohol abuse alone is reportedly the third leading behavioral cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States, behind smoking and obesity with about 1800 alcohol related death cases in New York alone every year.
According to a research published by US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, about 15% of New York residents drink alcohol excessively and over 135,000 New Yorkers are hospitalized for alcohol treatment on an annual basis with every one in ten admissions being alcohol related. One drink is technically 12 ounces of beer/4-5 ounces of wine/1.5 ounces of distilled liquor and one out of every six New Yorkers does not adhere to the recommended alcohol drinking guidelines. Basically, it is an established fact that alcoholism is a far greater health issue than it is acknowledged for. Only recently has addiction received more national headlines and discussions begun about recovery through recovery.
So here is the deal for most “average” people, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a drink, as long as alcohol is taken in moderation, then it remains safe. However, the problem arises when alcohol use becomes an addiction. An addiction is a direct result of alcohol or substance abuse, or more specifically alcoholism is defined as the total physical and psychological dependence on alcohol to the point where it can disrupt your day to day activities as the body can no longer function properly without alcohol. Millions of people all over the globe are personally plagued by alcoholism or they know someone whose drinking habits are excessive and reckless. This article is going to focus on the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on an individual level and to society at large, as well as discuss clean communities options in addition to treatment options available for addicts who wish to live an alcohol and drug free life.
Effects of Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Indulging in frequent and excessive drinking or drug use for the temporary ‘high’ feeling is like setting your apartment on fire to keep yourself warm. You’d get warm alright, but at the end of the day, you’d be homeless and probably dead, a lot worse off than you were before you started the fire. It’s the same with substance abuse, whether you use alcohol or drugs as an escape route for personal or societal pressures or you just like to indulge for the feeling, either way, the effects of substance abuse are detrimental to your personal health and the society at large. The following reasons are another reminder why to consider reducing harm for you or your loved one. Long term use is potentially fatal, and short term effects of alcohol or other substances consumed beyond the recommended quantity may likely include:
- Poor co-ordination and lowered concentration
- Lowered reflexes and response time
- Organ Damage
- Slurring of speech
- Nausea and eventually vomiting
- Temporary loss of consciousness (blackouts)
Several of these effects are primarily as a result of slowed brain activity. In extreme cases of drinking, especially when combined with drugs, whether prescription drugs or non-prescription drugs, these effects could be amplified resulting in coma or worse, death. Still, these are just the temporary effects which will level off once the alcohol has been removed from the blood stream. The poignant and more detrimental effects of substance abuse are in the long term effects caused by a longer and more frequent period of abuse, and again, another reason to favor living sober. We will consider the negative effects of alcohol below. We see alcohol as a drug, especially useful to prove the point is if you were to boil alcohol to its true form, you are left with ethanol. In this view, all drugs (including alcohol) can lead to a form substance abuse. Below we will consider the effects of alcohol under two broad categories: (1) its effect on personal health, and (2) its effect on society.
Health Effects of Alcoholism and Addiction
There are over 60 health conditions linked to chronic alcohol consumption. A few of the popular effects include:
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, people who drink excessively stand the risk of developing certain types of cancer including cancers of the mouth, throat and liver. In the body, alcohol is broken down to acetaldehyde, a compound with carcinogenic properties. Hence, the more alcohol is consumed, the more a potential carcinogen piles up in the body which is additional support to take control of your life and begin recovery. “ASCO joins a growing number of cancer care and public health organizations in recognizing that even moderate alcohol use can cause cancer,” said Noelle K. LoConte, MD, lead author of the statement and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin. “Therefore, limiting alcohol intake is a means to prevent cancer. The good news is that, just like people wear sunscreen to limit their risk of skin cancer, limiting alcohol intake is one more thing people can do to reduce their overall risk of developing cancer.”
Cirrhosis is a sometimes fatal condition where the liver is so badly scarred that it can no longer function properly. It is imperative to note that the liver can regenerate up to 75% of its destroyed cells, so it is only left to the imagination how dangerous alcoholism is if it is able to damage the liver beyond repairs. According to the American Liver Foundation , other liver conditions caused by alcoholism include liver inflammation, alcoholic hepatitis, hepatic steatosis etc. It’s better to put down the drink or drugs now in favor of being clean and serene before you are dealing with the potential negative consequences associated with substance abuse for the rest of your life!
Frequent heavy drinking predisposes people to cardiovascular diseases like cardiomyopathy, heart rhythm abnormalities, arrhythmias, stroke and high blood pressure. A research shows that alcoholics are also less likely to survive a heart attack than people who do nor drink at all. More information about the links of cardiovascular disease and alcoholism can be found here: (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Alcohol-and-Heart-Health_UCM_305173_Article.jsp#.Wow7mJM-d24)
Immune system failure
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) stresses the effect drinking too much and it’s effect on your immune system. Habitual drinking weakens the immune system leaving the body immunosuppressed and susceptible to infections the natural immune system would otherwise fight off. Consequently, habitual drinkers are at greater risk of contracting infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and STDs than the non alcoholic population.
Reproductive system problems
Long term alcohol use can cause problems in reproductive health like infertility, erectile dysfunction and reduced libido. Women who drink during pregnancy are at risk of having babies with the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). In most extreme cases, it could result in miscarriage, premature delivery or worst of all, still birth. Loyal University Medical Schools’ division on alcohol research has performed extensive research on the topic of alcohol’s effect on female and male reproduction, and is worth exploring if you see children as part of your future.
Most addicts also suffer from psychological effects of alcohol abuse including unexplained mood swings, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, angry outbursts and destructive behavior. Unlike the physical health effects, psychological effects of alcohol abuse poses a safety threat to not just the addicts but to people around them as well. People interested in pursuing a health lifestyle and better understanding the psychological component of alcohol use disorders can refer to the American Psychological Association
Societal Effects of Alcoholism
The adverse social effects of alcohol abuse on the society at large include:
- Addicts have a higher tendency of being physically, sexually or verbally abusive to their family members, friends and colleagues.
- Alcoholism at some point in life will result in negligence of responsibilities be it work or family related.
- Drinking too much leads to an impairment of cognitive functions and physical abilities hence a lot of drunk driving incidents which often cause loss of lives. Matter of fact, about 30% of all driving fatalities are alcohol related.
- Children of alcoholics are more likely to develop psychological and emotional problems and research shows that these children are at higher risk of becoming alcoholics themselves compared to children who grew up in regular homes, especially if parents are unable to lead by example on the path to a healthier life.
- Financially, alcoholism is an expensive addiction. From personal funds used to foster alcoholic needs to money spent by the government on healthcare expenses for alcoholics, this addiction takes a financial toll on every party involved.
Alcoholics or Substance abusers who are addicted will continue to drink or use irrespective of health, emotional, social or financial implications and circumstances. At this point, the body has developed a dependence on alcohol and cannot function without it, the brain eventually adapts to the way alcohol affects the brain chemicals and consequently is unable to send proper signals to the rest of the body without the presence of alcohol. Even if the addicts wished to stop, there would be a lot of problems associated with withdrawal and in most cases, sobriety isn’t possible as a lone effort. If it were so easy to begin living sober, and addicts could recovery on their own, there would be no need for all these treatment centers! Alcohol, benzo and opioid withdrawal can all be difficult and in certain cases life threatening; professional help may be required to break the addiction. This is where proper recovery services and community orientated sober houses come into play.
For more information, please visit Valley Spring to learn more about both our outstanding transitional home and our recovery services in NYC made available to you and your loved ones!