5 Things to Look for in Sober Living Homes
Recovery from substance abuse doesn’t stop at removing drugs and alcohol from the equation, they are often a solution to a much greater problem. This is why many San Diego drug and alcohol rehab programs will recommend client’s enter sober living after their stay in a residential or detox setting. Exploring San Diego sober living options is a great way to ensure continued growth and progress of the recovering addict or alcoholic, and there are important characteristics and qualities some sober livings may offer above others. Below are five important aspects of sober living that should be considered to give those in early recovery the best chance at success.
1) Structure – “What do I do to stay sober?”
Most people in active addiction will attest to the idea that their lifestyle in use was not conducive to maintaining a healthy and productive schedule. Imagine waking up every day where the most important item on your schedule is getting your next fix and other aspects of life are neglected and avoided which can lead to more depression, shame, guilt and anxiety. It’s easy to see why it can be hard to even imagine a life of sobriety in addiction. This is why developing a consistent daily routine can be paramount to overcoming fear of the unknown, provide purpose and direction, and reintegrate you back into a productive life. It’s helpful to look for a sober living facility that provides residents a specific and detailed framework for building daily schedules, planning for long-term goals, and maintaining commitments and obligations to their recovery program. Getting sober is hard enough, so getting guidance on, “What do I do now that I’m sober?” can help set you up for success in recovery.
2) Accountability – “What do I need to stay focused on my recovery goals?”
Honesty and authenticity are not only cornerstones of recovery but also satisfaction with life. In active addiction the reward center in our brain has been compromised, and this “hijacking” of motivation and drive can create a lifestyle where the addict needs to lie or avoid the truth to gain access to drugs and alcohol. Lying to others makes it easier to ultimately lie to oneself and this deceit does not stop the minute someone refrains from using drugs and alcohol.
From the perspective of sober living, this may include encouraging residents to work a 12-step program and checking in on their progress, random and frequent drug and alcohol tests, full transparency and collaboration on daily schedules between residents and staff, and continued exploration of residents’ recovery goals with management. Accountability to those more experienced with sobriety can help foster the restructuring of intrinsic motivation and a full sense of living honestly and authentically.
3) Full-Time Experienced Staff – “Who can I trust to keep me on my recovery journey?”
The level of involvement of the house managers at the sober living is a signifier of the passion of ownership and generally indicates higher success rates among residents. The more structure that exists within the house, the more involved the house managers will be. In this role, a house manager can help clients with many case management needs and will be involved in crisis intervention when needed.
Seeing that everyone in the house comes together with the common goal of establishing a healthy routine is key. It serves as a way to create accountability and brotherhood amongst the residents. There should be a senior resident or manager checking off chores to create that dynamic. Waking up on time, being on time for house meeting/ AA meetings, and being reliable within any other structural facets establishes a healthy routine.
4) Cleanliness – “Does respect start at the most basic of levels?”
Many addicts start their recovery lacking a variety of life skills, including keeping a clean space. Cleanliness of the sober living coalition is generally a marker for an environment where life skills are being taught. The cleanliness of a sober living exhibits the extent to which healthy habits are being created amongst residents. It also cultivates accountability as it promotes the respect for others’ and one’s own space. When cleanliness is a cornerstone of a sober living environment, residents are provided the opportunity to experience how their actions affect other people. Taking the consequences of your actions into account yields substantially less conflict among residents. Moreover, keeping everyone on the same page in this regard strengthens brotherhood.
5) Culture and Reputation in the Recovery Community – “Do they practice what they preach?”
Before committing to a particular S.D. sober living, ask around about the reputation and read reviews when possible. The existence of a positive reputation is a good indicator of whether a strong culture exists in the sober living residence. Culture breeds comradery, and that’s what every recovering addict need. Regarding culture, a sober living program should regard the safety and well-being of their residents first. Additionally, recovery group involvement within the house is extremely important in maintaining long term sobriety. Depending on what program you or your loved one subscribes to, whether it be AA, NA, Smart, or Refuge, make sure the residents of the house are required to participate in a recovery program.
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