recovery homes
CREOKS Health Services operates a recovery home in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. (Provided)

Recovery homes offer a safe and supportive transitional housing arrangement to help individuals with substance-use issues sustain long-term recovery. These homes bridge the gap in an individual’s recovery journey by offering supports until they are ready for successful independent living.

Recovery homes have been called many names throughout the years, such as a recovery residence, an Oxford House, sober living and therapeutic communities. Regardless of the name, recovery homes and programs provide beneficial ongoing resources for recovery from substance use. I hope this brief overview of recovery home models and benefits can help more people understand the value of transitional housing arrangements.

New habits can help counteract addiction triggers

Abstinence from drugs and alcohol use is often just one of many challenges faced by individuals on their recovery journey, and recovery does not simply end after treatment. Active effort toward healing and positive social and environmental factors are vital in a person’s success. Changes in the neurochemistry of the brain to unwind addictive pathways can often take several months. It takes time to develop the recovery-oriented habits that counteract the obsessive-compulsive triggers of addiction.

For people attempting to break their substance use habits, recovery homes promote independence and self-responsibility, while also providing the security and structure needed to navigate the potential challenges of recovery. Living alongside peers who may have had similar experiences can reduce the feelings of loneliness that are often associated with the cycle of addiction.

Establishing meaningful relationships and building a recovery network can be a challenge, but the 24/7 support of fellow peers with common goals of sobriety can help reduce potential temptations. Developing a social network of peers can provide constant mutual support and accountability on demand that can be influential in recovery. This support from peers can improve an individual’s confidence, self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment.

Social and environmental factors can greatly impact the outcomes for individuals in substance-use recovery, and recovery residences provide a positive transitional environment that promotes success through the restoration of a healthy life. According to scientific studies and anecdotal observation alike, residents of recovery homes often experience reduced alcohol and drug use, fewer arrests and psychiatric symptoms, and improved rates of employment.

Finding functionality in a household can help

Certain environments can undermine the effort individuals are making toward sobriety. Reducing the presence of triggers can allow individuals to utilize new-found coping skills when facing obstacles. Stressful home environments, co-dependency or the presence of drugs or alcohol can derail even highly motivated individuals in recovery.

But recovery home environments that operate similarly to a traditional household can support the restoration of healthy life skills, such as maintaining hygiene, preparing nutritious meals or finding and maintaining employment. In recovery home settings, housemates are expected to remain actively engaged in both their sobriety and the functionality of their household.

Recovery homes provide support for an ongoing commitment to recovery while mitigating the risks of relapse, and the right home can be found right here in Oklahoma. Recognizing that people’s addictions vary, there are recovery home options for different circumstances.

Some homes are designated for women, others for men, and there are also homes for women with children. Oklahoma has several organizations that provide recovery residences, such as Oxford House, Spring River Recovery Homes and OCARTA. More information on recovery homes and their availability can be found on the Housing page of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ website.

If you or someone you know is looking to make a change, contact ODMHSAS or your local community behavioral mental health providers to learn more about whether recovery home models could be beneficial. People experiencing mental health or substance use crisis should call 988.