Working in recovery, I often hear the question “What is the difference between rehab and sober living?” It is a common misconception and unfortunately both institutions are plagued by a variety of stigma and misconceptions. But both are instrumental, especially for young adults getting sober, and it is important to note what each of them facilitate and why.
If you’re searching for treatment options for drug or alcohol addiction, you’re probably overwhelmed with terminology such as rehab, sober living facilities, halfway houses, transitional living, and so on. It can be hard to tell the difference between each of these options, and oftentimes the information is not readily available.
What is Rehab?
The answer is really quite simple. Rehab offers both inpatient and outpatient services, which will directly address addiction so that patients can begin their recovery. A variety of services are offered in rehab centers, such as group therapy, individual therapy and faith-based treatments depending on patient choice. Both medical and psychological care is offered. Many rehab facilities also facilitate some kind of detoxification program, if it is suggested that the individual is under supervised medical care as drugs are leaving the system especially after long-term abuse. Rehab is generally considered the first step in treating addiction.
Usually rehab facilities will ask for a stay of anywhere between 30-90 days and sometimes up to 6 months. The primary goal of a rehab facility is to introduce an individual to a sober way of living and get them mentally and physically stable so that they may properly be inserted into a completely different lifestyle than the one they are living. But the most important thing to note is that a rehab is only the first step on the road to recovery. In order to build a solid foundation and achieve long term sobriety, aftercare is almost always suggested.
What is Sober Living?
Sober living facilities are sometimes referred to halfway houses, transitional living, or other nicknames. The basic premise is the same, however; after rehab it is often beneficial to avoid instantly submerging oneself back into regular life. An abrupt return to old stressful environments could trigger a return to old unhealthy habits. A sober living facility provides structure and support in an environment with lower stress than the “real world”.
Individuals who commit to sober living facilities are able to avoid factors that could trigger a relapse in their recovery. During a stay in sober living, services and support are offered so that those in recovery can successfully transition back into their regular lives.
Both Rehab & Sober Living are Instrumental to Long-Term Sobriety
The bottom line is that rehab could be considered the first step in treating addiction, and a sober living facility is Step Two. In many cases, recovery is incomplete and can be jeopardized when the second step is skipped. Once you’re aware of the options available to you, you can make informed decisions that will contribute to your overall success in recovery.