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Frequently Asked Questions & Treatment Glossary

If you're navigating the world of substance use disorder treatment and sober living for the first time, you may have some questions or concerns.  We have outlined some of the most frequently asked questions, and provided a glossary of common terms to help get you started.  As always, we are available to discuss your individual needs and concerns,  please contact us for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sober Living?

Sober living houses, also called sober homes and sober living environments, provide safe housing and supportive, structured living conditions for people exiting drug rehabilitation programs. SLHs serve as a transitional environment between such programs and mainstream society. They are NOT treatment centers. 

What are the benefits of Sober Living?

Sober living provides individuals in recovery with an important layer of support that is vital to their success. Sober living environments are drug and alcohol free, meaning there is no temptation or risk of slipping back into addictive behavior or settings that may lead to relapse. These homes also provide a place to process the difficult emotions associated with recovery such as grief and anxiety, without the danger of turning back to drugs and alcohol for comfort. Residents have time to build positive relationships with one another and motivate each other without distractions from outside stimuli. Ultimately, sober living serves as a healthy transition for individuals starting out on their journey towards long-term sobriety.

What are the rules in sober living?

Generally, the rules include abstaining from use of mind-altering substances, including alcohol, attending regular meetings with support groups such as AA or NA, adhering to a strict curfew, being willing to participate in household chores, respecting all members of the house, and refraining from engaging in activities that would negatively impact other house members. By following these simple rules, individuals in recovery can focus on rebuilding their lives free from substance use.

What is the success rate of Sober Living?

Research suggests that participation in sober living directly influences the resident's length of recovery. The National Institute of Health performed a well-defined study on the topic: Read More about that Study here.

How do I know if Sober Living is right for me?

Sober living is a great option for anyone looking to break free from the cycle of addiction.  In a sober living environment, there’s strength in numbers. Residents have the opportunity to join forces with individuals who also strive for recovery. Not only does this provide much-needed peer support and accountability, but it can also be an invaluable learning tool as recovering addicts learn how to manage their lives without drugs or alcohol by observing how others do it. A successful transition back into their lives should also include developing healthy habits, such as exercising regularly, eating well, managing money properly and staying involved in support networks such as fellowship meetings. All these together, may make participating in sober living right for you, if you are serious about leading a drug or alcohol-free life.

Treatment Glossary

12-Step Program

A group providing mutual support and fellowship for people recovering from addictive behaviors. The first 12-step program was

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), founded in 1935; an array of 12-step groups following a similar model have since emerged and are the most widely used mutual aid groups and steps for maintaining recovery recovery from alcohol and drug use disorders. It is not a form of treatment, and it is not to be confused with the treatment modality called Twelve-Step Facilitation.

AbstinenceNot using alcohol or drugs.


The most severe form of substance use disorder, associated with compulsive or uncontrolled use of one or more substances. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that has the potential for both recurrence (relapse) and recovery.


A chemical substance that binds to and activates certain receptors on cells, causing a biological response. Fentanyl and methadone are examples of opioid receptor agonists.


A chemical substance that binds to and blocks the activation of certain receptors on cells, preventing a biological response. Naloxone is an example of an opioid receptor antagonist.

Binge Drinking

For men, drinking 5 or more standard alcoholic drinks, and for women, 4 or more standard alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.

Case Management

A coordinated approach to delivering health care, substance use disorder treatment, mental health care, and social services. This approach links clients with appropriate services to address specific needs and goals.

Clinical Decision Support

A system that provides health care professionals, staff, patients, or other individuals with knowledge and person-specific information, intelligently filtered or presented at appropriate times, to enhance health and health care.


Repetitive behaviors in the face of adverse consequences, as well as repetitive behaviors that are inappropriate to a particular situation. People suffering from compulsions often recognize that the behaviors are harmful, but they nonetheless feel emotionally compelled to perform them. Doing so reduces tension, stress, or anxiety.

Continuum of Care

An integrated system of care that guides and tracks a person over time through a comprehensive array of health services appropriate to the individual's need. A continuum of care may include prevention, early intervention, treatment, continuing care, and recovery support.


A state in which an organism only functions normally in the presence of a substance, experiencing physical disturbance when the substance is removed. A person can be dependent on a substance without being addicted, but dependence sometimes leads to addiction

Drug Diversion

A medical and legal concept involving the transfer of any legally prescribed controlled substance from the person for whom it was prescribed to another person for any illicit use.

Heavy Drinking

Defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as consuming 8 or more drinks per week for women, and 15 or more drinks per week for men, and by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), for research purposes, as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past 30 days.


Inability to resist urges, deficits in delaying gratification, and unreflective decision-making. Impulsivity is a tendency to act without foresight or regard for consequences and to prioritize immediate rewards over long-term goals.

Inpatient Treatment

Intensive, 24-hour-a-day services delivered in a hospital setting.


The systematic coordination of general and behavioral health care. Integrating services for primary care, mental health, and substance use use-related problems together produces the best outcomes and provides the most effective approach for supporting whole-person health and wellness.


A professionally delivered program, service, or policy designed to prevent substance misuse (prevention intervention) or treat a substance use disorder (treatment intervention).

Prescription Drug Misuse

Use of a drug in any way a doctor did not direct an individual to use it.


A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. Even individuals with severe and chronic substance use disorders can, with help, overcome their substance use disorder and regain health and social function. This is called remission. When those positive changes and values become part of a voluntarily adopted lifestyle, that is called “being in recovery”. Although abstinence from all substance misuse is a cardinal feature of a recovery lifestyle, it is not the only healthy, pro-social feature.


The return to alcohol or drug use after a significant period of abstinence.


A medical term meaning that major disease symptoms are eliminated or diminished below a pre-determined, harmful level.

Residential Treatment

Intensive, 24-hour a day services delivered in settings other than a hospital.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the likelihood of beginning substance use, of regular and harmful use, and of other behavioral health problems associated with use.


A psychoactive compound with the potential to cause health and social problems, including substance use disorders (and their most severe manifestation, addiction).

Substance Misuse

The use of any substance in a manner, situation, amount or frequency that can cause harm to users or to those around them. For some substances or individuals, any use would constitute as misuse (e.g., under-age drinking, injection drug use).

Substance Misuse Problems or Consequences

Any health or social problem that results from substance misuse. Substance misuse problems or consequences may affect the substance user or those around them, and they may be acute (e.g., an argument or fight, a motor vehicle crash, an overdose) or chronic (e.g., a long-term substance-related medical, family, or employment problem, or chronic medical condition, such as various cancers, heart disease, and liver disease). These problems may occur at any age and are more likely to occur with greater frequency of substance misuse.

Substance Use

The use—even one time—of any substance.

Substance Use Disorders

A medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances. According to the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), substance use disorders are characterized by clinically significant impairments in health, social function, and impaired control over substance use and are diagnosed through assessing cognitive, behavioral, and psychological symptoms. Substance use disorders range from mild to severe and from temporary to chronic. They typically develop gradually over time with repeated misuse, leading to changes in brain circuits governing incentive salience (the ability of substance-associated cues to trigger substance seeking), reward, stress, and executive functions like decision making and self-control. Note: Severe substance use disorders are commonly called addictions.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment

A service or set of services that may include medication, counseling, and other supportive services designed to enable an individual to reduce or eliminate alcohol and/or other drug use, address associated physical or mental health problems, and restore the patient to maximum functional ability.


The use of digital technologies such as electronic health records, mobile applications, telemedicine, and web-based tools to support the delivery of health care, health-related education, or other health-related services and functions.


Two-way, real-time interactive communication between a patient and a physician or other health care professional at a distant site. Telemedicine is a subcategory of telehealth.


Alteration of the body's responsiveness to alcohol or a drug such that higher doses are required to produce the same effect achieved during initial use.


A set of symptoms that are experienced when discontinuing use of a substance to which a person has become dependent or addicted, which can include negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, or depression, as well as physical effects such as nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and cramping, among others. Withdrawal symptoms often lead a person to use the substance again.

Wrap-Around Services

Wrap -around services are non-clinical services that facilitate patient engagement and retention in treatment as well as their ongoing recovery. This can include services to address patient needs related to transportation, employment, childcare, housing, legal and financial problems, among others.

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