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How to Get More from a Sober Living Home

Sober living homes are proven to help individuals stay sober after rehab and during their transition to life alcohol free.  A sober living home provides an ideal environment to help maintain the transition, limiting the regular cues and making recovery the more obvious choice.  Understandably people have their up days and down days.  The road to complete recovery is rarely perfect and as good as sober living homes are, they aren’t a guarantee for recovery.

Most sober homes encourage involvement in 12 Step programs, volunteering or seeking employment.  They encourage social connections and a support network that can share some of the burden with you.  But fuel for addiction comes in many ways, from all sorts of angles, and the more you can do to create a healthy environment where addiction takes a back seat, the more you’ll get out of your stay at a sober house.

Knowing how to make the most of your time in a sober living home and get more out of the experience:


1. Focus on reducing stress:

People in recovery are particularly vulnerable to experiencing feelings of stress.   Stress is a common pre-cursor to relapse so it stands to reason that it should be a primary focus in your recovery.  Stress comes in many, many forms it comes internally from or thoughts, feelings and emotions and externally from triggers in our environment.   Taking strategies to reduce your stress in different ways can be helpful to counteract any stress you might experience.

  • Don’t keep things in your head – consider ‘offloading’ your thoughts before you go to bed, create a clean and calm mind.
  • Practice relaxation and breathing exercises.
  • Reduce tension – Try progressive muscle relaxation
  • Eat healthily – but treat yourself if you want do.
  • Listen to calming music – If you’re up for trying something ‘different’ consider delta wave music.

Just being in recovery can be stressful enough for addicts.  Generally speaking the brain likes what it already knows so when your trying to change months, years of even decades of familiarity the body can more easily enter into a stressed state.  Knowing that it’s okay and normal to feel these feelings rather than trying to fight them is a start to feeling more at peace.

A common contributor to stress can be what’s called the ‘human negativity bias’.  As humans we’re hard-wired to focus on remembering negative thoughts and feelings.  This can make it easy to focus on stressful events and harder to find optimism for the future.

Being grateful for anything good you experience can help to shift your negative bias to a more positive, resilient mindset.  You can be grateful for absolutely anything each day; it could be as simple as a good coffee, a nice talk with someone or the fact that the sun was out.  The point is that you recognize what you’re grateful for and let it sink into your mind.  A gratitude journal is great for this, but simply recalling 3 things before you go to sleep at night is good too.


2. Make a habit of exercise:

Exercise is a highly effective aid for people during recovery.  In a sober living home you may even find someone to do it with you.  Exercise can help you to better deal with stress, improve your mood and physical health which helps to make recovery from addiction easier.

Research into the benefits of exercise is constantly being released.  Specific to addiction exercise has shown to help on a number of levels:

collection of studies suggest that regular exercise can increase the abstinence rate for substance use by 95 percent.

Exercise helps to release feel good hormones – endorphins which give you a short of high, though this is less intense then a chemical high associated with drugs or alcohol.

Some sober living homes have small workout rooms or organize walks and yoga sessions.  The Step Up Inn is very close to the West Hvaen beach so residents can take relaxing walks, jogs or runs by the sea.

Do as little or as much exercise as you feel comfortable with.  Low impact exercise such as yoga is great for concentration and releasing stress.  Some yoga poses require total focus of the mind and can be great for limiting unwanted thoughts or feelings.  If you feel devoid of energy then walking is also a feel-good, simple thing you can do to keep your body moving.

If exercise isn’t something you typically do then don’t fret about doing intense hour long sessions, just keep to small and simple goals that you can accomplish on a regular basis.  Even 5-10 minutes of exercise to start is great, if you can start to make an eventual habit of it.


3. Make chance with affirmations

Affirmations have exploded into the mainstream since 2018-2019 and the turn of the 2020s.  People from all walks of life are using affirmations to improve their mindset, chance their habits and more.  Positive affirmations work on the idea that if you repeat something enough, you’ll come to believe it; if you believe it then the reality becomes easier to achieve.

For example if you want to get more exercise but you find it difficult to get started your affirmation could be “exercise is easy for me”.  You don’t have to believe the statement now, but it helps if you can visualise the affirmation as being true for you.  As you read the affirmation to yourself, act as though it is true for you; over time any blocks you put in the way, or beliefs you have that are holding you back may disappear.

It’s best to write your affirmation(s) down and read them to yourself each day.  The more often you repeat the affirmations the quicker it can become your reality.


4. Find an accountability partner

Humans are highly social creatures and deep down we all want to be part of ‘the tribe’.   Without realising often our actions and beliefs are influenced by those around us.  When the rest of the home you’re staying in shares the goal of staying sober and is doing things to keep that up, it becomes easier for us to maintain the same goal.  Having someone or a few people you can talk to during your stay in a sober living home can be a way to receive some accountability.  It can sometimes be difficult to hold ourselves to account, but if we know someone else is involved then it can increase our motivation that little bit we need to succeed.



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