Sober Living: The Foundation for Virtuous Healthy Relationships

Today’s blog post continues to dive deeper and conclude (for the moment) the discussion on the virtuous life awaiting you when you chose a life of recovery among peers in a sober living home. You know as well as I that learning to live with others can be difficult and at times, trying. Developing the skills for good moral behavior is necessary to rise above and past each members ego, insecurity, and low self-worth.

You must keep in mind that each resident is planning and preparing their personal journey for recovery. Each works through denial and other barriers blocking the path of change at their own pace.

Residing in a sober living home jumpstarts the transition into a life of good moral character because you will have chosen to live, communicate, and commit to new healthy relationships with peers aiming to find their own personal path in recovery.

Today's post will continue to outline the virtues of good moral character which sprout from new healthy relationships forged in sober living homes:

8)   Confidence

Sober living is the perfect environment to stimulate the change of your self-worth. Life and learning to grow with other peers in all stages of change create within you the desire to heal. As you recover, forgive, and work through your past mistakes and failures, you become more confident in your ability to grow and change.

Of course, change doesn’t occur overnight but the more energy you exert disputing your irrational thinking and feelings of low self-worth the more you’ll begin to value you.

Improving your self-esteem and feeling of self-worth happens over time. The more you commit and communicate with those living in a sober living home with you and members of your support network the more you’ll desire to dispute irrational doubt and fear.

It is difficult to feel competent and confident that others people motives are genuine and honest when you are not satisfied in your own actions. Over time, healthy relationships forged in sober living build the confidence you need to believe your efforts are pure and good consistently.

9)   Humility

In your addiction denial created an image of you which lacking in humility. You were blazing your own path without the need and support of others. Humility often brings to mind weakness and fear, which in fact are characteristics of addiction.

As you come to trust and respect those residing in a sober living home you begin to understand that a little humility will go a long way.  Previously discussed virtues of good moral character, honesty, courage, and confidence are all characteristics defining modesty. Therefore humility empowers you to act with strength and righteousness.

Humility is illustrated quite easily through the absence of pride. Up to this point you’ve learned how virtues of good moral character bond you with others living communally in a sober living house. The benefits, love, and care you feel from others in the home create the desire to act with humility.

10) Mindfulness

In your addiction, your sites were set on one goal. Keenly focussed on finding the time, money, and freedom from family and loved ones to be alone with your drug or alcohol. Your thoughts and actions were set to auto-pilot.

Early recovery is a time for new beginnings. Most importantly forging new relationships with sober, supportive peers to help you steer the course and focus on the changing you are making.  Mindfulness is moving your attention from autopilot and deliberately becoming self-aware of yourself in relationship to others and your surroundings.

Being present and attentive in your thoughts helps you retain positive attitudes and emotions. In fact, mindfulness is emotional regulation. When you are practicing mindfulness, you are able to correct imbalances within your physical and mental states quickly and easily.

When residing in a sober living home, you’re being mindful and compassionate to the needs of others reinforces your healthy relationships. The more conscious you are of your self, thoughts, and actions towards others the more satisfying life and relationships will become.

11)  Forgiveness

So much can be said about the virtue of forgiveness.  On the road to recovery, forgiveness plays a mighty significant role.  Forgiveness heals your wounded spirit and soul. When you learn to forgive others, you are learning to accept the past and move on.  But when you learn to forgive yourself, you’ll unlock the doors and break down the barriers keeping you trapped in negative thoughts and low self-esteem.

Shame, regret, and guilt only create feelings of unrest inside you. Holding on to these feelings quickens an unwanted relapse. When you are willing to accept and let go of the pain the wrongs you have done to what others have done to you-you are removing and resolving the pain.

When you take the time to understand our actions and the actions, abilities, and disabilities of others you find it easier to forgive because you see a situation from a different perspective. Understanding, compassion, and honesty all play a mutual part in mastering the virtue of forgiveness.

12)  Patience

The virtue of patience is vital to cultivating healthy relationships in early recovery.  Learning to be patient is torturous in and of itself. Every human is tested with time, waiting, or working on achieving a goal day in and out with little to show for it.  Getting in shape, dieting, and working out are great examples of possessing the patience to succeed and being tested by time.

Everyone’s path of addiction and into recovery is different, but it’s safe to say that as an addict or alcoholic, “You wanted what You wanted,  when You wanted it.” As you step onto the road of recovery and learn to practice acceptance in your life, you’ll quickly learn how patience plays a crucial role.  As you stop trying to control the outcomes of people and situations, you’ll learn to be patient and wait.

Sober living creates a community of peers from the same background, but still all members have different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.  As you establish rapport with individuals within the community, you’ll begin to understand the differences of each resident. Just like in the virtue of forgiveness, understanding plays an essential role in developing patience with others.  

Like all the virtues mentioned patience doesn’t just happen overnight, but with time, practice, and mindfulness you will come to feel comfortable accepting others perfection and imperfection. You'll no longer feel a sense of dread when another resident gets into the bathroom before you in the morning, aggravated waiting to be seen by your outpatient primary care clinician, or standing in line while the old lady in front of you is digging through her purse looking for the change.

13)  Gratitude

The last virtue on this list is gratitude. By any means, it is not the last virtue of good moral character you’ll develop from healthy relationships forged in sober living.

Being grateful for the little efforts and actions of others creates a bridge to happiness and self-respect. The virtue of gratitude has been called “the mother of all virtues,” because it is a culmination of so many other virtuous behaviors.

When you begin your day with reflection upon what you are grateful for you’ll cultivate an attitude of service and support for others. When you are thankful for what you have and where you are in life you negative self-talk, and irrational thoughts will vanish from your mindset.

Developing an attitude for gratitude in your recovery your meaningful relationships will strengthen. Understanding, feeling, and expressing all that you are grateful for and too you will reinforce your sense of self-worth. Your wellness and health are internally connected to your gratitude.  The bonds of friendship forged in a sober living home strengthen when you are grateful.

When you are caught in the throes of addiction your mindset is self-centered, negative self-talk plagues your thoughts, and cause you to act irrationally. Gratitude happens when you shift your focus from self-consuming thoughts and instead, begin to focus upon the efforts and actions of others whose aim is to help and support your recovery.

The Virtues of good moral character

The peer bonds you make in recovery will aid you in changing your behaviors and actions in life. Once you begin changing the behaviors of your past, you’ll overcome self-doubt and live a life of integrity.

In your efforts to become more focused on how your actions and behaviors affect others you'll begin to pursue a life of goodness. Replacing old feelings of failure, regret, shame, and guilt with the positive outcomes of gratitude, compassion, and empathy will position you for success in life, and long-term sustained recovery.

For the time being, pausing the discussion of sober living and the virtues of healthy relationships here makes sense. The virtues of forgiveness, patience, and gratitude play vital roles to living a rewarding life in recovery.

  For recommended further reading check out the other blog posts in this series:

  • Why we need to commit to communicate, trust, and participate in our healthy relationships forged through sober living.

  • How the Serenity Prayers helps you stay on top of living a life of the good moral character