5 Things to Look for in a Sober Living Facility

When you or a loved one is in recovery, selecting a supportive environment for living is incredibly important.

A sober living facility gives you the opportunity to begin your recovery in a safe place along with others in similar situations. This environment helps you transition back into a community setting, where the patient learns to live more independently, without the use of these drugs or alcohol.

What is a Sober Living House?

This type of facility is a group home that is free of drugs and alcohol for people who are in recovery. You might think this sound just like a rehabilitation center, but sober living houses aren’t clinical. They usually operate similarly to a co-op, where you contribute to the house through paying rent and completing chores.

There are all kinds of different types. Religious groups or businesses manage some, but they are almost all run privately. Others like New Life House specifically house young men. No matter the place, a sober living house should adhere to several characteristics that make it a safe space for recovery. Facilities like New Life House list their mission and services on their website at www.newlifehouse.com, but you’ll want to do your own research too and learn what to look out for in a great sober living home.

Here are five things to keep in mind during research.

#1 A Balance of Independence and Structure

Those who have completed a formal treatment program for addiction have become used to living with a strong sense of structure in their lives. In many of these living situations, every single day is planned out from the minute the patient wakes up to the time they go to bed. This helps to minimize stress and potential uncertainty so that they are able to completely focus on their own recovery.

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However, when an individual is removed from this incredibly structured environment and returned to their home, it is easy to become unbalanced, and potentially relapse.

If all of the structure is removed right away in the beginning stages of sobriety, it may be possible for that person to abuse as a way to relieve stress and deal with their uncomfortable emotions.

A sober living house will ease overwhelming emotions by providing the structure needed, while also offering enough independence for residents to gain footing. Residents must abide by curfews, follow house rules, attend required house meetings, and complete chore schedules. However, they’re not glued to a schedule.

#2 Experienced Staff

The peaceful and safe environment of the home needs to be closely maintained and monitored by licensed, skilled staff members.

As the residents develop their skills for learning how to engage with the world again, the employees should be invested in the patient’s success while also making sure that residents are held accountable for all of their actions.

Reputable homes should also have 24-hour staff members that are able to both enforce rules and provide support for residents at all hours of the day.

#3 Accountability

In order to keep these facilities safe and encourage recovery, residents need to aware that they are accountable for their own actions, especially when it comes to sobriety. When researching different facilities, ask about their tolerance policies and how they enforce them.

#4 Location

Here are a few important things to consider as far as location goes:

  • Is the facility close to the individual’s support system or family?
  • Are there libraries, gyms, or grocery stores nearby?
  • Is it in a rural or busy city environment?
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The location completely influences the patient’s experience. If they’re in a town they dislike, why would they want to continue their recovery journey there? If they’re too far from family and support, they might not feel like they can make it through the recovery process.

Consider what makes the patient comfortable to feel like they can persevere in a new place. They might need to choose a residency in their hometown. However, it’s also likely that they’ll see this as an opportunity to explore a new area.

#5 Amenities

The needs and wants for each resident can vary, but there are definitely valuable amenities that are nice to have at the facility. These include:

  • Group outings and social activities
  • Alumni programs
  • In-house laundry
  • Transportation to medical appointments

These make a patient’s stay more relaxing, and feel like home. You’re not choosing to stay at a facility to lock yourself away. It should be enjoyable! Choose a place you connect with, and that you believe will support you, no matter what.

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