Last Tuesday, daytime talk-show fixture Wendy Williams revealed that she has been living in a sober living facility as she endeavors to overcome issues related to substance use disorder. The revelation comes after a two-month hiatus, during which there was considerable speculation about her absence, including rumors of addiction. Williams has struggled with cocaine abuse in the past, a condition for which she admittedly had never received treatment until this recent incident. When it was announced that she was taking a break from her show for “health reasons”, her fans were understandably compelled to draw certain conclusions regarding the reasons.
Williams also talked about the launch of her nonprofit organization, the Hunter Foundation, which is a 24-hour hotline service that she said has “already successfully placed 56 people in recovery centers around the world.”
Wait…Wendy Williams? Sober Living? Really?
It can be very easy to dismiss the notion of a successful celebrity like Williams receiving treatment anywhere but the highest-end facility, and certainly not in a community-living paradigm like a sober living home. On her decision to finally get treatment after years of active struggles with cocaine, Williams said that every day she goes to Pilates, attends sober “meetings around town in the tristate area,” and then her 24-hour sober coach brings her back to the sober house she’s been living in “with a bunch of smelly boys who have become my family.” These sentiments indicate two things: Williams’ incredible and inspiring humility and the value of sober living to help individuals recovering from substance use disorder get the support and assistance they need to incrementally get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.
The Universal Benefits of Sober Living in Addiction Recovery
As she revealed her struggles before her audience, Wendy Williams said she was doing so, in part, because she knows how common addiction is, and that she wanted to be honest with her audience, many of whom have struggled with drugs or alcohol or have watched a loved one go through it. Although she is certainly one of the highest-profile substance use survivors to avail herself of the sober living option in addiction treatment, she is, by no means, alone. Hundreds of thousands of people per year enter sober homes as a support resource as they endeavor to reenter their everyday lives after residential or outpatient treatment.
Also known as “halfway houses”, sober living programs provide accountability to recovery parameters, assistance with medication management and meeting attendance, drug screenings, logistical assistance, family reconciliation facilitation and more. One relatively recent study from the Alcohol Research Group Public Health Institute revealed that sober-living can be a game-changing resource both during and immediately following the treatment process. These programs range in scope and duration according to each patient’s individual care needs and may involve “step-down” options that enable progressing residents to incrementally decrease their active involvement in treatment and therapy. Sober living arrangements are reserved for eligible patients, generally coordinated by patients’ treatment facilities and are run by qualified counselors and mental health professionals.
The Need for Transitional Resources In Drug and Alcohol Recovery
Individuals recovering from substance use disorder need all the help they can get on practically every front. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that relapse rates for drug and alcohol addiction are between 40-60 percent, and data from the University of Texas Dallas Center for Brain Research indicates that they can be as high as 90 percent for sufferers of more serious and protracted drug and alcohol use disorder. Part of this is because so many lack the post-treatment support and assistance they need to effectively thrive in recovery. Sober living homes give patients the often-critical leg up they need to rebuild their lives as they endeavor to maintain long-term sobriety.
What We Can Learn from Wendy Williams’ Honesty
If there’s one thing we can immediately glean from Wendy Williams’ entirely human struggles with addiction, and her courageous decision to get help, is that addiction affects everyone, no matter how successful or impoverished you are. Her honesty also reinforces that often-overlooked reality that it’s ok to talk about addiction and the struggles we go through as we strive to put more and more distance between ourselves and drugs and alcohol. Recovery Unplugged applauds Wendy Williams for her choice to enter sober living, and for her candor regarding the mistakes, strengths and experiences that are shared by so many others. We wish her the best of luck in her recovery.
If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, Recovery Unplugged offers supportive, compassionate and effective sober living options. Contact us today to arrange treatment so you can start healing, and rebuilding your life.