A lot has been happening lately, and whether the new circumstances are positive or negative, change can create a sense of instability and emotional displacement.  While I am excited about things, I still feel anxious with the lack of clarity on what the future hold sometimes.  It is easy for me to feel comfortable in routine and repetition because it eliminates the fear of the unknown and the feeling of not being in control of things.  As an alcoholic, I struggle with control, and as a person with anxiety, I struggle even more so when I do not have a full or clear understanding of how things are going to play out.  I have learned that when things feel overwhelming, I need to step back and take a few deep breaths.  I remind myself that things are going to play out the way they are meant to, and it probably for the best that I do not have a say in everything that goes on.

I recite the serenity prayer and take a few moments to ground myself in the here and now, recognizing that while the future is not mine for the knowing, I can do everything I can to the best of my ability to work my hardest in the present.  I do not need to know what will happen a few weeks from now to feel comfortable today.  I can face the tasks laid out in front of me, and I can ask for support along the way while maintaining the faith that my serenity and well-being will not be affected by outside circumstances.

Objectively looking at situations for what they are without assigning positive or negative weight to them help me face reality and remain able and willing to live out the rest of today.

While specific policies vary in individual sober living homes, the majority of them follow the same basic rules as a template for program and structure.  Traditionally, clients are required to wake up at a reasonable hour, make their beds, do chores around the house, and then start their day as a productive member of the greater society they are a part of, being encouraged to find jobs or continue with aftercare from treatment they received.  Weekly 12 step meeting requirements along with random drug testing and breathalyzers sustain accountability for sobriety and encourage residents to actively participate in their own recovery.  Curfews are in place to ensure safety and break patterns of old behaviors of staying out all night and sleeping all day, along with nightly check ins to promote the idea of community and connection amongst house mates and fellow AAs.

Especially coming out of treatment, some people may think, “Why do I need to put myself in another institution of following rules and being told what to do?  Am I not ready to get back to real life?”  Sober Living is not inpatient or lockdown.  While weekly and daily rules are implemented, there still is a high level of independence and autonomy.  It becomes the client’s responsibility to fulfill their own duties and obligations, but they are given support and structure that is usually needed to develop healthier patterns and more order to their days.  The level of accountability holds clients to standards which ultimately promote the ideals and principles of healthy living which might not seem as important to people if they just jump back into mainstream flow of society. 

Coming out of treatment, we are vulnerable.  Providing ourselves with a safe transition from one place to another creates a smoother adjustment for when we are needing to get back to what is required of us to succeed in the world.  When a group of people can come together, they can offer support and guidance to one another with common goals of maintaining recovery and healthy living.  Community and fellowship are strong forces, and sober living reinforces the ideas of peer support, accountability with supervision, and balance.