The sudden transition from a life destroyed by addiction back to everyday life can be nerve wracking. Addicts who finally escape their must resist their old habits while making the same everyday decisions that stress even healthy people out. Improperly treated addiction can result in relapse. Therefore, they must make the transition into normality at a slow and steady pace, and with plenty of outside support.
A sober house is a halfway point of sorts between addicted and sober living. In a sober house, addicts typically live with others who have had similar experiences. They are usually monitored by social workers or other professionals. Residents usually participate in mandatory group meetings where recovering addicts share experiences and offer each other emotional support. Staff usually impose some rules on residents to prevent them from making poor decisions while they are in a weaker emotional state.
The right sober house can feel almost like a second family. The combination of supportive peers and knowledgeable, compassionate staff can make recovery significantly easier. Of course, not every sober house is the same. Make sure your chosen sober house meets certain criteria before you move in.
Make sure that the sober house is in a safe area. It should be located in a safe side of town or even somewhere quaint out in nature. The ideal location is safe, isolated, and close enough to town for convenience’s sake, yet still distanced from the hectic pace of everyday life.
Fellow residents should not be violent or mean-spirited. Not all sober living facilities perform background checks, so always check before you move in.
The thinking and decision making skills of addicts are often impaired, and they are more predisposed to make decisions that will hurt them. Sober houses usually have strict rules placed on residents to keep them from making poor decisions. These rules are enforced by staff, and there may be a peer accountability system in place as well. Strict rule may seem impossible to live with at first, however they build discipline in the long term.
The average sober house rule set may require residents to attend one on one and group therapy sessions. They may also be tested for drugs, either at regular intervals or randomly. A curfew, wake up time, and bedtime are also typically enforced. Residents cannot bring in overnight guests. Obviously, drugs and alcohol are prohibited. Residents must also be nonviolent, competent, and accepted by their peers. Since there is typically a peer accountability system in place, residents must report those who break rules. To hasten the return to normalcy, residents are also often expected to be involved in a work or study program.
It is important to know what kind of people are operating and staying at any prospective sober living facility. An ideal sober house should be run by experienced medical professionals, social workers, and even people who were once themselves addicts. Fellow residents should be kind, understanding, and supportive. Former addicts who meet at sober houses often become friends for many years to come.
It is important to keep in mind that sober living facilities are still a niche industry, and some conmen are practically exploiting addicts for profit. However, finding a good sober house so long as one does not choose blindly. Always thoroughly read reviews. Make things personal and call the manager or staff. Ask them questions about the facility, but also about themselves so you can assess their character.
Comfort and amenities
A sober living facility is called a living facility for a reason – after all, it shouldn’t feel like a prison. A place to sleep and a private or public living quarters should be provided at minimum. Additionally, everything should be neat and clean. Most sober houses will have residents room together in groups of at least two.
Some sober houses offer very upscale amenities such as private rooms, pools, gyms, and even daycare for recovering addicts who have families. However, such fancy features can easily run into money – which brings up another important point:
Sober houses are not free. They are typically privately owned and do not receive government funding. Residents are required to pay fees to keep the facility running, but may also be required to pay for groceries, rent, and utilities costs to help them relearn financial independence skills. A large initial investment may deter residents from relapse as they do not want to waste their money.
Some sober houses are very exclusive and can cost thousands per week. Thankfully, only a few sober houses cater to wealthier clientele. The typical sober living facility costs 400 to 800 monthly, including fees, groceries, utilities, and rent.
The right sober house can make a difference in your life forever. Make sure to do the following before you settle on a choice:
- Accept that you have a problem. No matter how good the sober living facility is, it will not help unless you are ready to change forever.
- Do research beforehand. Your facility should have a good reputation.
- Be sure there are rules in place to help you relearn independence and accountability. You may require the guidance and support of others before reintegrating into the world.
- Call the facility and speak with owners and staff one-on-one. It is easy to tell when people are welcoming and compassionate.
- Make sure facilities do background checks on residents or have a code of conduct. You don’t want to have your recovery slowed by personal disagreements.
- Visit the facility. It will give you an idea of how a long term stay will be structured.
Equipped with the knowledge to choose the right sober house and possessing the readiness to make a change, you will recover smoothly. Recovery should not be painful. It is a stepping stone back to normal life laced with happy memories of overcoming your vices and meeting kind and supportive people along the way.