Stairway to Freedom Sober Living Blog

Choosing the Right Sober Living House for You

Living in a safe environment with access to support and structure is an important step on the road to complete recovery. There are a number of factors that recovering addicts should consider when looking for the perfect sober living house.

Four Tips for Choosing a Sober Living House

Each of these factors plays a tremendous role in the success of a sober living house, so as you navigate your options, make sure to ask plenty of questions about each of the following:

#1 Accountability

The only way anybody ever is going to really get back to an independent, substance-free existence after rehab is to take accountability for their actions. A sober living house should help former addicts adjust to this way of thinking and living, which means drug tests, breathalyzers, and even curfews all should be set up as safeguards to ensure you are remaining honest in your sobriety and moving safely toward life after the halfway house.

#2 Support

Ideally, most of this accountability would come from within, but no individual can navigate this process alone, which is why a strong support system also is important. The best support in the journey toward sobriety comes from people who genuinely are sympathetic, yet still tough and honest. Compassion is a key part of this process, too, so finding a staff that understands and appreciates what you’re going through, while still holding you to that accountability piece that is so important is essential in selecting an ideal sober living facility.

#3 Structure

Something else recovering addicts need in their daily lives is plenty of structure, and honestly the more mundane that daily routine, the better. While a curfew is one way to enact this structure, other routines are equally helpful. Essentially, there should be a number of set-in-stone rules and regulations that exist to supplement the spiritual and therapeutic work a person does throughout the course of the day, and good sober living facilities have solid rules and a predictable routine, all of which works to create a zero-tolerance drug-free environment for people in recovery.

#4 Location

There are all sorts of different halfway houses available to those leaving rehab, but with so many other things to stress about in recovery, personal safety shouldn’t be among them. Choosing a sober living facility in a safe neighborhood is important, because while it’s impossible to avoid temptation completely in the real world, it is possible to move as far away from temptation as possible when true, long-lasting sobriety is still a work in progress.

Recovering from any sort of substance abuse isn’t easy, even upon completion of rehab, when it feels like the worst of things is in the rearview mirror. A supportive sober living facility is the next pit stop on the road to true recovery, and here at Stairway to Freedom, we would love to be that destination.


Six Common Myths about Addiction that Stifle Recovery

The road to recovery from any sort of substance addiction is a long and challenging one that unfortunately very often comes with a whole lot of questionable advice about recovery from friends and family who think they know how best to help the people close to them. There are plenty of myths about recovery that can give recovering addicts the wrong idea about how to squash their demons, but these myths often are counterproductive to the healing process.

Knowing this, we want to make sure addiction recovery happens as it should here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living. Recovering addicts should not be fooled by these common myths about addiction recovery:

1. Addiction Should be Overcome with Willpower

Many people seem to believe that addicts can get over their addictions simply by having the willpower to do so, but addiction recovery is about so much more than just willpower. Modern science has proven definitively that addiction is a disease, not a choice, so getting healthy goes way beyond just wanting it badly enough.

2. Addicts Deserve Punishment

Entirely too many addicts have seen their lives and personal relationships destroyed by their addictions, and some see their failure to be healthy as a punishment or a sort of atonement for their sins. Lives do not get better through more substance abuse, however, and everybody deserves a shot at health and redemption.

3. Detox is an Off-ramp to Recovery

Some detox patients believe that a little time at a recovery center is enough to be cured of their addiction, especially after getting through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Getting sober may feel like the hardest part, but it certainly is not the end of the process. Detox is just the beginning. Staying sober is an entirely different series of challenges.

4. Rehab Doesn’t Work

Plenty of addicts sincerely believe that rehab is a scam, that it flat-out does not work for certain types of addicts. However, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, research shows one-third of people treated for alcohol abuse have no further symptoms one year later, and many others show significant progress in that same amount of time. Done right, this really can work. It certainly will not work for those addicts that never try it.

5. Medications are Dangerous for Addicts

Many recovering addicts are concerned that taking medication would just be trading one addiction for another, but certain FDA-approved drugs used in the addiction process are not themselves addictive. More importantly, though, these drugs actually can work to help combat the disease, and avoiding them just because they are pills is counterproductive to recovery.

6. Relapse Means Defeat

Worst of all, entirely too many patients believe that a slip up means the whole process is over and that they have lost their fight against addiction, but there are so many ways to “get back on the horse,” as they say. A relapse does not mean you have lost. The road to recovery has just hit a speed bump.

Getting sober is hard enough as it is, and myths like these only make it harder. Take advice only from professionals because if you are willing to get help, it should be from someone who is qualified to help you. Thankfully you can find those professionals right here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living.

Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction



Alcoholism can be a difficult disease, in large part because its cure only comes at the hands of the person suffering from it. For those that decide they do want help, however, there are answers. Here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we want to assist those individuals who are serious about getting help for their alcohol abuse. That is the first step, of course, but what comes next for those that have decided to get sober?

Five Steps in Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction

The following are steps one can take once they have made the decision to work toward a life beyond alcohol addition:

1. Weigh the Benefits of Quitting

Those who abuse alcohol invariably have rationalizations for doing so. Those serious about sobriety first need to make a physical list weighing those reasons against the reasons for quitting. While drinking can help people have fun and forget about their problems, the costs are weighty. Quitting can improve relationships, ebb anxiety and depression, and even improve performance at work or school. This initial list of benefits vs. costs is a great way of generating some perspective.

2. Set Goals & Announce Them

Next, it is important to make some goals in regard to quitting drinking. Decide a “quit date” and announce it to your friends and family so they can help hold you responsible for that goal.

3. Remove Temptations & Bad Influences

In the meantime, it would be wise to start removing temptations from your home. Remove all alcohol, barware, or anything else in your house that reminds you of drinking or encourages you to drink. Furthermore, if there are friends or acquaintances in your life that you associate with your alcohol abuse, create some distance from them, too. That might mean missing events where alcohol is served or even burning some bridges, but that can be a necessary step in the process of sobriety.

4. Get Educated & Be Safe

In some cases, quitting can cause some physical discomfort, including everything from headaches and nausea to anxiety, sleeplessness, and elevated blood pressure. Be aware of the withdrawal symptoms of quitting drinking, and be safe about doing so. If you have a high fever, experience seizures, or have hallucinations, call 911 or go the emergency room immediately.

5. Seek Help

If all of this sounds overwhelming and perhaps a little scary, don’t forget that there is absolutely no shame in seeking help. That might mean family or friends who can help, but it also may mean visiting a treatment center. Stairway to Freedom Sober Living is a great resource for those with no idea where to turn, and we are the help many former alcohol abusers need.

Of course, if any questions arise at any step of the process, the good people here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living will be happy to answer them. The treatment of alcohol abuse is a delicate process, and our professionals know best how to approach that process. Sobriety is a lifelong endeavor, and we are eager to help those suffering from alcohol addiction, especially those that are ready to seek the help they need.


Five Signs That a Relapse May Be Coming

Getting sober is not easy, but staying sober can be even harder. Even people with long histories of sobriety can occasionally have doubts about how long they will be able to keep it up, but the last thing anybody wants after all that hard work is a relapse. Here at Stairway to Freedom, we want to make sure that those who find their way out of our sober living recovery homes in Chicago stay healthy.

If you feel like you or someone you know is slipping, keeping an eagle eye out for the following signs of relapse could help with relapse prevention moving forward:

  • Growing Complacent – It can be easy for former addicts to believe they have their addictions under control, perhaps to the point that they skip certain positive habits that helped usher them toward sobriety in the first place. If someone starts eating more poorly, stops exercising, or insists that one drink or a small amount of a drug is not going to hurt them, it could be a sign that they are nearing a slip.
  • Failure to Deal with Increased Stress – For many people, substance abuse emerges as a crutch for dealing with stress. If someone sees increased stress in their work or personal lives and cannot figure out how to approach that stress in a healthy way, it is possible they could return to drugs or alcohol as a means of coping.
  • Isolation – Sober people need constant support from other loving, sober people in their lives, so if someone falls off the map and stops interacting with those positive influences in their lives, it could be a sign that they are hoping to avoid confrontation about a possible relapse.
  • Connecting with Old Friends – The opposite side of the social spectrum occurs when a former addict reconnects with associates who were part of their lives before sobriety. Spending time with people who were part of that old, damaging lifestyle can make it easy to slip back into that old, damaging lifestyle right along with them.
  • Missing Meetings – For many former addicts, a big part of sober living is attending meetings. While not everyone gets the same experience from these meetings in terms of maintaining their sobriety, a sudden pattern of skipping meetings for those that appear to need them is a major red flag for a potential relapse. Most people get at least something out of these recovery meetings, and missing them suggests that a relapse could be coming.

If you or someone you care about shows any of these signs or there is any sort of fear that a slip is coming, please reach out to someone in the Stairway to Freedom community so we can prevent a relapse before it happens. We care about keeping people sober because we know how much work it is to make that happen. The easiest way to avoid having to go through it all again is nipping those feelings of doubt before they lead to a regretful mistake.

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