How Long Does It Take to Get Sober?

If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes to get sober, then we’ve got the information you’re looking for… but it may not be the answer you were hoping to get.

We have a tendency to approach recovery as though it’s a task on a to-do list, a process with a distinct start and finish. But if decades of research and observation have taught us anything, it’s that we really need to rethink our perception of addiction recovery.

The truth of the matter is that recovery is a somewhat abstract and even nebulous concept. People often don’t realize what goes into a successful recovery or long-term sobriety unless they begin the process themselves. While there are many questions that are common among those who are new to recovery, one of the most frequent questions is: How long does it actually take to get sober?

There’s not a specific timeline or trajectory for recovery because every individual is different. When someone begins to receive treatment for an addiction, he or she may not get the same level of benefit from specific forms of treatment as someone else might receive.

With this in mind, let’s consider some of the factors and considerations that influence how long a person needs in treatment before he or she is able to achieve stable, long-lasting sobriety.

Getting Sober From Intoxication

To be clear, when we say “get sober,” we were referring to the process of recovery instead of sobering up from a bout of intoxication brought on by alcohol or drug use. But we’re going to address this aspect of sobriety anyway.

The amount of time necessary for the body to fully process alcohol and return to a state of sobriety varies depending on the individual’s gender, body type, weight, metabolism, and even his or her genetics. According to data, the body reaches a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.03 from a single unit or serving of alcohol. However, the body can only process, or eliminate, approximately 0.015 percent of alcohol in the blood per hour. Again, this can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the person, but the key takeaway here is that one serving of alcohol can take as much as two hours for the body to process.

Therefore, the amount of time that an individual needs to become fully sober—meaning BAC has returned to 0.00—is equal to the number of drinks consumed multiplied by two hours per drink. Calculating an exact number of hours can be tricky because most people consume alcohol over time, giving their bodies the chance to process alcohol at the same time that they’re consuming it. But for someone who has consumed two drinks in a one-hour period, you can expect the individual to return to a BAC of 0.00 after about four hours.

Getting Sober For Recovery

The process of recovery doesn’t require a specific amount of time because every person seeking treatment comes from a different background, responds to treatment differently, and has different recovery needs. However, if we break the clinical rehabilitation process into its parts, we can create a tentative timeline for recovery.

Detoxification (approx. 1 week)

For some, the recovery journey begins with an initial period of detoxification. This is a very crucial period of time because it’s meant to give the individual the opportunity to overcome the physical and physiological side of addiction. By the end of detox treatment, the individual can progress into the actual treatment phase of recovery without having to deal with withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient (approx. 4 to 12 weeks)

Once the individual has completed detox, he or she can proceed into an inpatient drug rehab and treatment program. This is a crucial period in the recovery process as it’s when the individual receives treatment for the mental and emotional underpinnings of the addiction. Over the course of an inpatient program, the individual learns more about the disease of addiction, living a healthier lifestyle, building or repairing relationships, relapse prevention, and much more.

Transitional Living (variable)

After inpatient care, some individuals feel that they’re not quite ready to return home and assume full accountability for their sobriety. In such cases, transitional living is an option.

In a transitional living program, the individual spends a period of time living in a sober living home, or halfway house, where he or she has the chance to “practice” being sober in an environment where he or she has much less oversight. Unlike an inpatient program, transitional living programs don’t offer therapy or treatment; instead, the individual lives in a communal home for individuals in the early stages of recovery. The main benefit of transitional living is that it gives you the chance to get more comfortable and confident in your newfound sobriety.

Outpatient (approx. 4 weeks to indefinite)

There are a number of different types of outpatient programs for addiction recovery, including partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and even medicinal replacement programs such as methadone maintenance treatment. Because there’s such a variety of different approaches involved with outpatient programs, the amount of time necessary to complete an outpatient program can vary considerably.

Support Groups (variable)

Unlike clinical programs that are implemented by professionals, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are peer-led recovery fellowships, meaning you don’t get any actual treatment from a support group. Rather, individuals in support groups often fortify their sobriety due to the relationships they’ve built through these meetings. These programs are often a permanent fixture in the participants’ lives although you can participate in support group meetings for as long (or as briefly) as you’d like.

Take Your Next Step Toward Sobriety with Silicon Beach Sober Living

If you or someone you love is looking for the best sober living homes in Los Angeles, then Silicon Beach Sober Living has you covered. Our selection of Los Angeles sober living homes offers clients luxurious living quarters with friendly, supportive peers. Best of all, our homes are in very close proximity to many of the top destinations in Southern California.

If you have questions about our program, contact Silicon Beach Sober Living today.

June 30, 2022

Adam Snyder


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