How to Choose the Right Sober Living
Choose the Right Sober Living
Choosing the right sober living can be a long process for those who are unsure of what to look for or how to start. Families opting for a sober living for their child, spouse or relative are taking steps to ensure that their loved one has a safe place to live in an environment that is conducive to their recovery. The commitment of a sober living facility can solidify positive and healthy habits for the recovering addict or alcoholic, enabling them to live their best life possible. With the right sober living community, your family member will learn ways to make recovery and sobriety a part of everyday life with support from people who are going through a similar journey, guided by professionals and experienced sober team members. By prioritizing the list below, families will find it easier to narrow down options for what best meets the needs of a prospective resident.
Prioritizing a structured house means you will want to look for things like a zero- tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol with random drug tests, a curfew and regular check-ins with the rest of the house. You should always feel free to ask the team members about how they keep schedules for residents. Every house keeps their routines differently on a collective and individual scale. A collective routine for the community can be anything from group activities to dividing out chores around the house. On an individual scale, many houses help residents work toward maintaining a schedule that integrates recovery (such as attending regular twelve-step meetings and therapy) with work or school. Most highly structured facilities do come with a higher price point, but this does not always mean that expensive sober livings equal structure.
The neighborhood where the sober living facility is may also have an effect on your decision. Along with your family member staying sober, you want to know that they’re safe at the facility. A house should ensure the safety of residents and have some form of security. Safety within the house is also important. Your family member may need medication management or you may want to know about specific risk-reduction and plans in case of emergencies. You can always ask the people in charge at a sober living about any of the above, and feel that your questions are fully answered.
Culture and Community
Every sober living has a different culture and community based on its staff and residents. It is highly recommended to find a facility with all-male or all-female residents. However, co-ed sober living facilities are also available in most cities. The sober living house you choose should foster unity, cooperation and friendship between residents. A house with regular group meetings gives residents the opportunity discuss house issues and speak openly and constructively about their feelings, promoting a positive environment. The goal should be to help residents adjust to a very different lifestyle and to let them know they do not have to go through their recovery alone.
Meeting the people in charge will also have a great impact on your decision about a sober living facility. Remember, not all places have the same staff structure. Some have a clinical nurse on staff, some lack team members with experience in handling dual-diagnosis patients. Considering a team with strong administration and good clinical support is very important before making your decision. You also want to find a staff with members who can answer your questions in a confident and straightforward manner. Staff members should have the qualities of leaders with the ability to handle many different personality types under one roof. A team should also be able to handle tough situations and conflicts in a calm and diplomatic way. Staff members with experience in the twelve steps are helpful in understanding the mindset of the addict who struggles and are helpful in sharing their experiences that helped them continue on a successful path of sobriety.
Remember, if you ever feel uneasy while touring a house or something doesn’t seem right, honor that in your decision process. You should never feel pressured or pushed in to choosing a place that is not transparent enough and does not sit well with you. Trusting in the house you choose and comfort in your decision is vital. Feeling good about the facility and the level of communication you have with the staff will help you allow your loved one to get the most out of their time in sober living.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.