In most sober living homes and situations, random drug testing is a part of the process of recovery. Why? It helps residents to remain accountable to themselves and others for their ongoing abstinence from drugs and alcohol while also providing an incentive to “stick to the program” should they feel tempted to get high or drink.
The stresses in early recovery are many, and for patients who have long turned to alcohol and other drugs to deal with uncomfortable feelings, it can be a reflex to take a drink or get high in order to deal with the problems that crop up. Drug testing for this purpose is in no way intended to be intrusive but instead provides confirmation that either a problem exists that requires attention or that the resident is maintaining and continuing to grow in recovery.
Remember that every sober living situation is different. Some may require regular drug tests while others provide random testing. Still others may only drug test if drug use is suspected. If this is an issue for you, get the details of what you can expect before you enroll.
The driving force behind most patients’ concentration in recovery is self-centered – as it should be. Decreasing health problems, increasing career opportunities, improving quality of life, avoiding incarceration or death – all of these are “big picture” goals that can motivate someone to go through the difficulties that come with addiction treatment and recovery. But sometimes, in the moment, in the face of an irritation or the heat of anger or a particularly depressing day, the cravings to drink or get high can be difficult to fight despite the potential costs. For residents who know that a drug test is pending – or could be – the realization that they could potentially lose their spot in their sober living program and backslide into active addiction as a result can put things in perspective. Looming drug tests are a reminder that just one drink is all it takes to lose everything.
The idea that one can have a single drink, take a pill or indulge in the use of any illicit substance “just once” and get away with it can be tempting. Drug tests offer accountability to residents who may be considering tempting fate by losing focus for the brief moment it takes to relapse. Hoping to avoid consequences for occasional drug use is often the first step down the path back to active addiction and knowing that drug tests are imminent can stave off that relapse and give the resident the ability to build up more time in sobriety and become stronger.
Relapse is contagious. If one person in a sober living home drinks or gets high and gets away with it and another resident finds out about it, it can trigger resentments and cravings for them and may lead them to make the same decision. Drug tests can identify those who aren’t following house rules and provide the house manager, therapist, and case manager with the opportunity to get them back on track before it becomes overwhelming – and in doing so provide a positive example to others in the house.
Learn more about the specifics you can expect to experience in a sober living home when you contact us at the phone number listed above today.