Sober living communities provide many benefits especially in cities like Boston where services and lodgings are expensive. Services in the Greater Boston Area are generally more expensive compared to the rest of the country, with only New York, Oakland, and San Francisco beating out Boston by a small margin. Unfortunately, Boston rehab centers are more expensive than many in other parts of the country.
This is problematic for a couple of reasons. First, substance use disorders disproportionately affect low-income individuals. Second, residential treatment and rehab, the most effective types of substance use programs, are prohibitively expensive for many people who need them the most. Third, even if individuals could pay for these programs, they may require months off from work or school. Successful recovery takes time.
Fortunately, the Greater Boston Area offers alternatives to expensive long-term residential rehab.
What are sober living communities
Also called a sober houses or halfway homes, among many other terms, this is a type of long term recovery program designed for people with substance use disorder.
They are similar to conventional long-term residential programs in many respects. They may require participants to stay in a facility for the duration of the program and attend group and individual therapy sessions. As with conventional rehabs, many also have strict schedules and limit the movement of participants to prevent them from coming into contact with substance use triggers.
However, there are many crucial differences between sober living communities and most residential rehab programs. Most sober living communities will require participants to be employed or actively looking for employment. In contrast, most residential rehab programs will not allow participants to have a full-time job.
Previously, sober living communities were seen as places individuals can go to complete recovery after completing intensive outpatient or residential substance rehab programs. But given the high cost of residential treatment in Boston, many of sober living programs now occupy a niche somewhat in between purely outpatient and purely residential modes of treatment.
Who should consider a sober living community
The following types of recovering individuals can benefit from joining a sober living community:
1.) People who have completed a substance rehab program
Most sober living communities in Greater Boston are meant for people who have completed substance rehab. People who have completed short-term residential or intensive outpatient programs may still have extremely powerful cravings. They can be vulnerable to relapse if they immediately go back to their previous ways of living.
Sober living communities can provide them with the time and space to heal away from potential negative influences. They can continue to recover and hone their trigger management strategies in an environment that, while less controlled compared to residential rehab, is still far more forgiving than the real world.
2.) People who need to continue working
Long-term residential rehab programs, while potentially more effective than sober living communities, also tend to have strict schedules that make it all but impossible for participants to continue working. Most sober living facilities, by contrast, explicitly make employment a prerequisite for joining.
Many sober living programs will also allow participants to work regular jobs. This means that they can provide a more controlled environment than purely outpatient modes of treatment would allow, while simultaneously allowing the participant to have an income, which can be impossible in a purely residential setup. This makes some sober living community programs a good choice for individuals that need to support a family.
3.) Disadvantaged individuals
As we mentioned earlier, the cost of living in Boston can be quite high compared to that of other major American cities. Because recovery from substance use disorder is often a matter of putting in the time, the best treatment option is usually a stint at a residential rehab facility. Unfortunately, these facilities are often difficult to get into if you don’t have the money or the right kind of insurance.
Sober living communities, in contrast, are often quite affordable. The cost can be further offset because the individual can usually keep earning an income while enrolled in one. Some of these programs may even help the individual find work. A few may even make it a point to teach participants skills that would be useful for future employment.
Your solution to long term recovery
Sober living communities today perform many of the same services provided by residential rehabs a few generations ago. That said, they remain targeted at recovering individuals who already understand the basics of substance recovery.
Because there is so much overlap in the services offered by rehabs and sober living communities, it’s best to study what different local programs before choosing. To find sober living communities and residential rehab programs in the Greater Boston Area, specialized directories such as Boston Drug Treatment Centers can be a good place to start. Good luck on your recovery!