Sober living environments (SLEs) are facilities used by addicts recovering from substance abuse; they use these as an interim environment between treatment and a return to their former lives. SLEs grew out of a need to have safe and supportive places in which people could live while they were in recovery. They are primarily meant to provide housing for people who have just come out of rehab (or recovery centers) and need a place to live that is structured and supporting for those in recovery. The movement behind these facilities began on the West Coast in the United States and has spread around the country. These facilities have provided transitional living environments focusing on co-ed, women and men’s sober living. Each facility has its own set of rules for its clients to follow, often times consisting of mandatory participation in 12-step meetings, drug tests, etc.
Facilities for young Men Pursuing Sober Living
In the early 1990’s, it was recognized that young men and women needed their own recovery options geared towards their emotional development. A new focus in SLE’s is the creation of facilities targeted at young people as their needs are unique from those of adults. As many young people become addicts at such a young age, they have less resources to fall back on; they have less life experiences and skill sets to draw on during their recovery. Many young people are lacking in the maturity and social graces required to aggressively develop new support systems. These SLE’s created a foundation in the recovery of young people within a peer group setting that they could identify with. In many of these facilities with gender targets, young men’s sober living programs are structured so that the participants work together and support each other in their sobriety, creating new life experiences, new support networks and reinforcing positive lifestyle changes.
Benefits of Men’s Sober Living
Boys are raised to be strong, family supporters, the bread winners and level headed members of the family and society as a whole. They are taught to be strong, unemotional and by no means show any level of vulnerability. They are taught to problem solve and be independent; relying on others is often noted as a weakness or vulnerability. So for those who are recovering from substance abuse, it is extremely hard to let down the walls built around themselves, to focus internally and to begin healing. The stress of family and work continues to be prevalent and access to the environments that led to negative behavior such as happy hour with clients, golfing with afternoon drinks etc., are still very much part of their lives. For many of these men, enrolling themselves into men’s sober living is one of the only options.
This ensures the immediate environment is a place with zero tolerance for any substance use or abuse; it ensures all residents adhere to the men’s sober living rules and take on an active role in the new community during their recovery and transition back to sober living outside the facility. It gives men a chance to deal with responsibilities of daily life while still being surrounded by a support system of other men who are suffering through the same traumas. Sober living for men provides a place where men are only surrounded by other men so they don’t have to worry about the social stigmas that are often applied when a man breaks down or cries.
Achieving lifelong sobriety is the goal of all addicts. Some of the ways to help battle the temptations of relapse include building new healthy, strong support networks that have a primary focus on encouraging healthy lifestyle; eliminating negative influences, peer pressure and environments that led to the poor choices in the first place and continue to reinforce them; eat and live a healthy, well balanced lifestyle, focusing on the physical, mental and spiritual balance in life. This does not mean you need to seek God. This means that you need to find something bigger than yourself to believe in, to work for. For most, these building blocks to success do not come easy – they recover tremendous effort and reinforcement. And for most, it requires admitting that you can’t do it alone and that is ok. Seeking support from men’s sober living facilities shows strength of character.
This article was written by Matthew Engels, who knows that sober living for men after recovery can be a difficult task to achive.