4 Ways Sober Living Saved My Life
When I think about the foundation for my long term recovery from addiction, there are many resources and tools that come to mind. However, I believe that sober living was the most powerful tool in building a lasting recovery. During inpatient treatment, I was assigned a case manager who set me up with an aftercare plan. It was recommended to do three months of sober living and at that time, it felt like too much. However, I listened to the suggestions of people wiser than me and it ended up saving my life. I stayed in a structured sober living environment for over ten months. It was the groundwork for my long term recovery. Here are 5 ways that sober living saved my life.
by Lara Frazier
During the five years of my addiction, I rarely had a home. I isolated myself and lost the majority of my friends. I didn’t know how to live with people anymore. I had friends from my past, but none of them were sober. As much as these friends wanted to support me, they weren’t going through the same thing as me. When I moved into a sober living home, I was living with 10 other women who were committed to recovery. At first, it was difficult for me to open up and make friendships.
However, they loved me until I learned to love myself. I learned how to build strong friendships and I learned how to be a friend. I understood how important it was to have connections with people who are also in recovery. I am still friends with the women I met in my sober living home. Even though I live in a different state than them, we all get together at least once a year to re-connect, laugh, and grow. Community is imperative to recovery and sober living allowed me to build one.
When I first heard the house rules of the sober living I was supposed to live in, I was overwhelmed. They wanted me to wake up at 7am, make my bed, attend morning meditation, work all day, and go to a meeting once a day. I thought this was impossible. How could one person be expected to do so much?
However, overtime, I found that making my bed in the morning set me up for a successful day. I already accomplished one thing at the very start of my day and this made me feel proud. I learned that structure was healthy for my recovery. In my addiction, my life was chaotic and messy. I couldn’t stick to a plan or a routine. The structure of the sober living home showed me how to live. It prepared me for my future and I am so grateful for the structure I learned during sober living.
If I broke a rule at my sober living home, there would be a consequence. If I lied, there was a consequence. If I didn’t show up to a meeting when I said I was going to be there, there was a consequence. My peer group kept me accountable. I also had to take weekly drug tests and I was breathalyzed nightly. There was no way that I would be able to use in this home. If one of our roommates looked drunk or high, we reported it. We wanted to live in a safe environment without drugs or alcohol. Because my actions had consequences, I learned that I had to behave better. The accountability structure in sober living set me up for my long term success. It awarded me with the knowledge that there are consequences for our choices and our behaviors. I started to hold myself accountable.
In sober living, I started working a 12 step program. In fact, I had to work a 12 step program in order to live in the sober living. I had tried to get sober many times before, but I never stayed committed to my 12 step work. I went to meetings and I got a sponsor, but I never worked the steps. In order to move up in phases and have more freedom, I was required to work the steps. In working the steps, I started praying throughout the day. I found a relationship with God. I started to rely on His will.
In finding God, I found more truths about spirituality. I learned that I could let go of the wheel and allow something bigger than myself to take over. I stopped trying to control everything. Letting go of control was the ultimate freedom. Finding a spirituality that works for me is the most important thing in my recovery.
Lara Frazier is a truth-teller, a sobriety warrior and a writer. She is a FIERCE believer in the power of owning our stories and is a strong advocate for addiction recovery. Lara shares a story of healing: in sobriety, through addiction, in life and love, and in all the other big huge moments of fear and magic that we rarely talk about, but we should. Find more of Lara’s work on her website at www.larafrazier.com or follow her on Instagram @sillylara.