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Sober Living Directory

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Sober Living Directory

Within the United States, addictions are relatively common. In fact, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service suggests that about 45 percent of Americans know of someone who has an addiction problem. Many people with addictions lean on their understanding friends and loving family members during recovery, gaining strength and support from the people who know them best. There are times, however, when people with addictions need to make dramatic changes in order to heal, and for some, this means moving into a sober living community. Those who choose the right facility, and who work hard to apply the lessons of sobriety into their day-to-day lives, may have a transformative experience that allows them to make meaningful changes that would have eluded them, had they continued to live at home.

Explaining the Benefits

Sober living facilities are designed to reduce the risk of relapse for people who have addictions. Stringent rules are key to sober success in facilities like this, and most require their residents to submit to frequent urine tests and remove all intoxicating substances from their living areas, including:

  • Alcohol-based beauty products
  • Intoxicating cold medicine
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Prescription pain relievers
  • Solvent-based cleansers

While these steps can ensure that residents don't have access to substances they could use and abuse, sober living communities do more than just eliminate temptation. The rules in most communities also ensure that people in recovery learn more about how to fill up their time with constructive pursuits, including volunteering, working and doing chores. Their days have form and structure, and the residents of the facility lean on one another in order to keep the house up and running. In time, this sense of schedule and responsibility can become engrained for a person in recovery, and it can work as a template for the days that lie ahead, when the person no longer lives within the community.

According to an article published in Addiction Professional, much of the research conducted on sober living homes has been incomplete, and there isn't an accepted set of standards by which one home could be measured against another. As a result, it can be difficult for families to understand how the facilities might work, and it can be even harder for them to ensure that the facility they choose has the capacity to help someone they love. This may change in the coming years, as researchers work hard to ensure that they understand the model and can speak to specific components of care that should be included in all facilities. In the interim, families of people who need care might be required to do their homework and ask questions, just to make sure that they're making informed choices. Focusing on location may help.

The Role of Location

Sober living facilities could be located almost anywhere. Some are tucked away among residential neighborhoods, and they're flanked by majestic homes with gigantic trees. Others are situated in rougher neighborhoods where trees are a little more rare and crime is a little more common. A study in the journal Addiction Research and Therapy suggests that these facilities have the capacity to be helpful to the community that surrounds them, as long as the residents make a commitment to being good neighbors, keeping their substance abuse issues under strict control. However, the needs of the residents should also be taken into account, and often, their needs are very individualized.

Sober living homes in lush and lavish neighborhoods can be good options for some people in the early stages of recovery. While they might be forced to walk by bars and liquor stores, or people selling drugs, when they live in rougher neighborhoods, upscale locations may not be subject to this kind of pressure. Walks to work or trips to therapy could be less stressful as a result, since the lure of substance abuse isn't consistently present. Some people might not feel comfortable in these environments, however, as they might not feel as though they have the educational level, economic standing or professional background that allows them to relate to their neighbors. People like this might feel isolated and alone, sticking out like a sore thumb, and they might be tempted to relapse due to these difficult feelings.

Some addicted people find that living in transitional neighborhoods just suits them better. They can relate to their neighbors in a free and open manner, and as research subjects in a study in the journal Health and Social Care in the Community point out, living in a neighborhood in which drug and alcohol abuse is common allows people in recovery to test their therapy techniques and improve their sober skills. Each trip outside the home provides them with learning opportunities, and they might grow stronger as a result. Even so, some people find that this constant pressure is just too distracting, and they may want to leave a life of addiction clearly in the past. For them, a transitional neighborhood isn't the best option.

In the end, it's a personal decision that an addicted person and his/her family will need to make, based on the person's preferences and history. Some may find that they'd like to live in sober communities in the neighborhoods they once lived in, while others find that a community located halfway across the country is a better option that provides personalized care and in-depth healing.

Looking for Options

Once a family has found a neighborhood that seems appropriate, they should feel compelled to ask questions regarding:

  • Cost
  • Availability
  • House rules
  • Consequences for breaking house rules
  • Success rates

These interviews can help families to learn more about the facilities they're considering, and they can use this information in order to make an informed choice for the person in need. We can help you find a good program, if you call us.