If you struggle with any form of substance use disorder, the hardest step is recognizing you have a problem and reaching out for help.
This can be even harder for a woman due to all the societal expectations and pressures that are in place.
Luckily, there are many mechanisms and programs in place to help women eventually reach a place of “sober living.”
In all cases of addiction, “sober living” is the ultimate goal; however, understanding what this means and how to get there can be challenging.
To help you out, this guide contains all the information you need to know regarding sober living for women including:
- What sober living is
- The need and benefits for women-specific sober living
- How and where to find sober living homes for women.
Let’s get into it.
What is Sober Living?
In the simplest of terms possible, sober living means a lifestyle that does not include any drugs, alcohol, or any other harmful substances.
While anyone who does not use alcohol or drugs can be said to undertake “sober living,” the term is more commonly used to describe someone who has overcome substance use disorder and no longer takes any such substances.
It involves a daily and conscious decision to abstain from drugs and alcohol to lead the lifestyle that is best for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
What is the difference between sober living and residential treatment?
Sober living is typically seen as the end goal of addiction recovery. Usually, it is achieved at the end of treatment once the patient has undergone the necessary steps to eradicate all harmful substances from their life.
On the other hand, residential treatment is a different step in the recovery process.
Often, it comes before sober living and involves undergoing intensive therapy and treatment in a residential facility to understand and gain control of addiction to eventually achieve sober living.
Not everyone who recovers from addiction goes through residential treatment. However, most people who have “recovered” can be said to practice “sober living.”
The Need and Benefits for Women-Specific Sober Living
For women, there are a multitude of benefits that can be found in finding a women-specific sober living home or program. Here is a breakdown of the most important reasons:
- Provides a safe and supportive environment: Sharing your sober-living experience with other women helps to provide a safe and supportive environment, which in turn increases your chances of sticking to your sober-living plan.
Sober living can be a vulnerable environment, and by surrounding yourself with other women experiencing the same issues, you are allowing growth to occur in a safe environment
- Helps women develop life skills and coping mechanisms: Participating in women-specific sober living exposes you to a vast range of healthy behaviors from like-minded individuals.
This can lead you to develop life skills and coping mechanisms that are integral in your sober living journey. By seeing how others progress on their sober-living journey, you can learn a lot that can then be implemented into your routine
- Offers opportunities for relapse prevention education and support: Women’s psychology is unique, therefore one of the key benefits of participating in women-specific sober living is the access that it grants to education and support that is tailored to your needs.
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to relapse prevention and education, but by engaging with gender-specific sober living, you will have access to support that meets your needs as a woman
- Promotes social connection and peer support: Sharing your journey with others makes the load lighter and the road shorter.
One of the key benefits of women-specific sober living is the ability to form meaningful connections with other sober-living women that will help to carry you through your sober living journey.
Finding a Sober Living Home
If you have reached a stage in your recovery journey where you are now ready or have begun practicing sober living, you might want to consider finding a sober living home.
Sober living homes are homes set up to help those struggling with addiction to practice sober living in a supportive environment.
It is not as intense or hands-on as residential treatment and instead serves as an opportunity to adjust to sober living while surrounded by others on the same journey and while being provided with adequate support.
Where To Find Sober Living Homes For Women
SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) has a wonderful directory of treatment centers across the country.
Included in this are sober-living homes specifically designed for women. Simply enter your address or zip code into the treatment locator to find an appropriate facility in your area.
The National Association of Sober Living Residences (NASLR)
The National Association of Sober Living Residences is an organization made up of sober-living residences in the United States that aims to support and grow these facilities.
The alliance has a directory of all involved sober-living residences in the country, including sober-living homes for women which you can search through using this directory.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is the country’s leading authority on substance abuse, providing research, education, and resources to tackle addiction in the United States.
They have an extensive life of sober-living facilities, some of which are sober-living homes just for women.
The Bottom Line
Sober living is a crucial and important part of an addict’s recovery journey. By choosing to abstain from harmful substances, you are giving yourself the opportunity to live your life to the fullest and take charge of your health.
For women, achieving sober living by spending time in a women-specific sober living home can be a fantastic step to take.
By surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are on the same journey as you, you will enjoy a supportive and safe environment in which you are more likely to stick to your sober living journey.
The women around you understand exactly what you are growing through, and you will find that you form a community that helps one another in the sober living process.
Your first few months practicing sober living can make or break your recovery process, so you should do everything you can to ensure you stay on track and achieve a completely sober lifestyle.