Five Things To Look For in a Sober Living Facility
In early recovery, it is crucial to be surrounded by those who are on the same journey as yourself. A great first step is finding a sober living facility before heading back home, or to transition you back into society slowly. Going from supervised care around the clock, a sober living home will ensure you have all the tools needed in order to be strong enough to handle the temptations of society. Choosing a sober living facility once you have successfully completed your addiction treatment plan is the right path in your new journey of recovery.
Before you choose a sober living home that is appropriate for you and your needs, there are five things to take into consideration before making any decision. You have to keep in mind, that choosing a sober living facility is as important of a decision as choosing to stay clean and sober. Choosing the wrong house can lead to many more problems, and there are many sober living homes that are not ran properly and being involved with a sober living facility that is not conducting themselves properly can lead to relapse sooner than later. So, take your time, do tours of different homes, and keep the following five things in mind before making your final decision.
One of the most important things to look for in a sober living house is the location. Location goes a long way for someone in early recovery, you want to make sure it is in close proximity to a number of things and also make sure it is in an appropriate neighborhood.
Once you are back into society, the first thing individuals in early recovery want to do is gain employment, so having your sober living home within some vicinity to a town or city area is a good idea. Also, many do not have their own transportation so you should take into consideration if the sober living facility is by local public transportation, this can include bus lines and trains. If you are in a city or town setting, you can also easily get around on a bicycle.
The neighborhood should also be safe, secure, and within a close proximity to local 12-step meetings. It is important that a sober house is not located close to any known drug areas, there is already enough temptation with being back in the real world, seeing drug dealers on a daily basis should not be one of them. You also don’t want to be walking past liquor stores on your way home from work, and areas that have these types of establishments usually aren’t the best neighborhood for a halfway house.
A large part of life in early recovery should be getting into a 12-step program and homegroup that goes best with your individual preferences and needs. Having your residence close to a number of 12-step meeting locations will be key in your success in early recovery.
Accountability is a huge part of early recovery. Accountability is needed for one to achieve their goals and it means that there are other around you who are pushing you to be that best version of yourself. Are you going to be surrounded by individuals on the same path as you? When you are new in your recovery process, it is difficult to not fall back into your negative habits, this is where accountability comes into play. The people who you live with in any sober living home should be encouraging to one another but also be able to give you that “tough love”.
Drug testing should be a standard and nightly breathalyzers should be administered to keep everyone accountable and honest. All good and credible halfway houses have some measure of accountability when it comes to drug and alcohol testing, this should be done at least twice a week.
Another good practice that most sober living homes have is a mandatory curfew. This is a positive practice that you should be thankful for, many in early recovery do not see the significance in a curfew, but it goes with your accountability. With your newly added freedom there must be rules in place to keep you accountable and a reasonable curfew must be one of them. Mom always said, “Nothing good ever happens after midnight.” Typically she was right.
Will your roommates call you out if they see you slipping? Are you required to go to a certain number of 12-step meetings a week. Is there a certain standard of living you are expected to live up to? All of these things should be questions you ask of the house-manager when you do your initial tour.
As previously mentioned, accountability is one of the most important concepts in early recovery. It is necessary to make sure you don’t fall back into your old self-destructive ways. Having others holding you accountable will ensure that you are creating positive habits, give you the knowledge and strength to make good decisions, and check in on you when things aren’t going so perfect.
We have already briefly touched on safety when we discussed location, but safety is not just a concern when it comes to where the sober living residence is located. Where you live is your place of serenity. It is where you lay your head at night with hopes to gain a good night’s rest. It is crucial to always feel 100% safe in your halfway.
Safety within your sober home is important. Make sure there are rules in place to ensure everyone living within the house always feel safe. You should never have to worry about your roommate going through your belongings or stealing from you, rules are essential to make sure this doesn’t happen. The last thing that those in early recovery should have to deal with is stress from the fact that they feel unsafe at their home. Tours are important when it comes to the safety issue, you can typically get a pretty good idea of the safety of the halfway and surrounding neighborhood this way.
A common theme you see throughout this article is the importance of taking a tour of the halfway house you are thinking of moving into. This will give you first introduction to the support staff of the sober living facility you are interested in. A credible sober home will have 24/7 supervision.
Having someone available at all hours of the day is important to discourage any arguments between roommates, and if there are any problems or issues that must be addressed. A strong support staff would be strong in their recovery, genuinely caring, but also is not afraid to lay down the law.
Ability to Transition
In order to be successful in the early stages of your recovery, you need to have all the accessible tools to do so. We as humans rely on others in order to survive, so it is important to be surrounded by people who can help you transition back into a good routine so you can become a productive member of society.
In the rooms, there is a general idea of “addicts helping other addicts” or “alcoholics helping other alcoholics” and that is what you should feel is the attitude of any sober living facility you choose to call your home. You want to know that you can count on your roommates to pick up your spirits when you’ve had a bad day, or pick you up from a meeting if you walked and it’s raining. We all need to be able to count on one another during that first stage of recovery.