You can really stay sober for the rest of your life, but you might find it helpful not to think about it forever. On the other hand, many people in recovery find it easier to take things one day at a time. To achieve years of sobriety, you have to start with a day. I think this is a very interesting topic and is definitely worth exploring.
I know people who fight forever, but others who seem to overcome it. My assumption is that those who replace or reverse are those who have not arrived at the underlying problem that causes the behavior. I agree with you, we should not assume that we are all addicts forever. Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction can be full of ups and downs.
You may stay sober for years and relapse after the sudden loss of a loved one. Other unexpected life events can cause a relapse, which could make recovery seem impossible. In sober living, you'll be in a community of like-minded sober friends committed to helping each other. After a sober living program, the time it may take you to return to the “real world” may vary compared to others.
Many people need more time to gain the skills they need to continue a sober life outside of a sober living program. For example, you could complete a sober living program but not feel ready to return to the real world. You may find a lonely sober life or feel like you are missing out on living a fun life when you are drug or alcohol free. Finding a sober community will help you find like-minded people to have fun with while living your new sober life.
Staying sober for the long term requires self-care, getting support, a relapse prevention plan, and a commitment to a healthy life. According to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the average stay in a sober living program was between 166 and 254 days (at the time of the study).