Renaissance Ranch

Establishing a Sober Living Environment for a Special Needs Family Member in Recovery

Jun 22, 2024

It can be difficult for some families to manage the effects of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) alone. Many individuals facing challenges with autism need ongoing family support. The best decision a family can make is to provide a safe environment free from trauma, drugs, and alcohol to promote comfort in everyday recovery. Although it can be tough for some families to manage their loved one’s condition, Renaissance Ranch offers a family education program. Their program helps to ensure families with ASD are making the best choices while moving forward in a sober living environment together. 

What Is Autism?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an individual experiencing problems with autism spectrum disorder may present difficulty in various areas. ASD is a developmental disability that affects one’s ability to communicate, interact, behave, and learn on a daily basis. Autism spectrum disorder is called a “spectrum” disorder because many individuals face difficulty with several different types of symptoms. 

Therefore, an individual with a more severe condition may need more assistance than one with mild Asperger’s. Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological condition (sensory) that can interfere with an individual’s ability to function effectively in school and other areas of life. Although this may be true, one can live a normal life with proper support. Even though there is no direct cause of autism, a few risk factors commonly include: 

  • Older parents
  • A sibling with autism spectrum disorder 
  • Very low birth weight
  • Certain genetic conditions such as Fragile X, Rett’s Syndrome, and Down
  • Some environmental factors
  • Any birth difficulty leading to periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain

The Challenges Family Members Face When Living With the Effects of Autism

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), daily life with unmanaged autism spectrum disorder may not be easy. Planning for the future can significantly improve a family’s quality of life. ASD not only affects the individual with the condition but affects the entire family. The effects of ASD on families can feel demanding, leading to a great deal of stress. For example, autism spectrum disorder can impact a family’s emotional, physical, and financial state. 

It can be difficult for families to cope with a loved one’s behaviors related to their autism. An individual with autism may feel isolated from others but in turn, find comfort in being alone in their own world. Family members may find it even more challenging to develop a strong bond as it may be difficult for their loved ones to communicate. The effects of autism can feel frustrating and defeating for both parties. Self-injurious behaviors, aggression toward others, and severe meltdowns can be highly difficult to manage, especially in a public setting. 

The effects of autism may feel embarrassing and sometimes humiliating. Although ASD can be tough to manage, each person with autism spectrum disorder is truly unique. Once families learn how to better manage their loved one’s ASD, they may gain a more positive perspective on their loved one’s condition. 

The Importance of Creating a Sober Living Environment for a Loved One With Autism

Knowing autism can be challenging for everyone involved, it is always best for families to reassess their daily habits. Doing so may make for a more comfortable living for all family members. Abuse, neglect, substance abuse, and trauma, in general, can negatively disrupt a healthy environment and make a loved one’s condition much worse. 

For example, engaging in drugs and alcohol affects an individual’s brain and behavior. Prolonged substance abuse can put one at an increased risk of developing severe substance use disorder (SUD) leading to physical and psychological issues. This may hinder one’s ability to not only care for themselves but for their loved one with ASD too. Although it may be difficult for families to cope with the effects of autism spectrum disorder, establishing a sober living environment is especially important. 

Individuals with autism may enjoy the outdoors, slow movement, music, and anything that may positively stimulate their senses. Healthy ways to cope and decompress together instead of self-medicating with harmful substances to soothe daily stressors include: 

  • Family bike rides 
  • Walking around the neighborhood – 
  • Swimming together
  • Baking kitchen goodies
  • Family board game night
  • Listening to music 
  • Movie night
  • Yardwork

Establishing a Sober Living Environment With Renaissance Ranch’s Online Family Education Program for Ongoing Recovery

Knowing both ASD and poor family habits can negatively impact a family’s lifestyle, it may be helpful for some families to pursue aftercare services for ongoing support. Renaissance Ranch offers the convenience of an online family education program to accommodate those who are seeking care but cannot attend treatment in person. Five of our weekly classes are open to the public. Matt Piper proudly teaches the residential family group. 

Family members who are also participating in the Men’s Residential Treatment Center may enjoy participating in Renaissance Ranch’s family education program. They are welcome to attend our closed group for ongoing healing. The facility also provides a Women’s Support Group and Couples Recovery Group for those facing challenges in various areas of their life. 

We are NOT meant to recover alone. Our team understands the pain of family members who are dealing with ASD and addiction. We are here to give you hope through recovery resources and solutions that work. Families are welcome to attend as many of the open classes as they wish. Please understand that the more family members (eighteen and older) who attend, according to research, the higher the chances of a more positive outcome for addicted loved ones. Note that classes are taught from a spousal, parental, and personal perspective. We also offer a Women’s support group and a Couples Recovery Group. Call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898 to learn more about the benefits of attending our program.