Sometimes sober living home residents don't take their recovery seriously. Sometimes sober living home managers contribute more to the chaos than the peace. But this isn't what a sober living home is supposed to be. A sober living home should be a place to find community, recovery support, and rest.
All of these are very common problems in sober living homes. There are very few legal requirements in place for sober living homes in California, which means its very important to research sober living homes before choosing one. Many people have horror stories about their experiences in sober living, but the good news is that its almost completely preventable with a little research.
Here are five simple tips to help sober living home seekers navigate sober living and use it to their full advantage during the recovery process.
1. Meet the people
For many of us in recovery, meeting new people is difficult. We often bypass talking to others or reaching out for new friendships based on bad experiences we've had in the past. While this is very common and understandable, meeting and getting to know the people who live in the sober living home is very important. These people will become family and primary support. In order to be safe and feel comfortable in sober living, potential residents want to know who their housemates are.
This can certainly be a task, but given the opportunity to tour the home one will most likely come into contact with at least one or two other residents. Ask questions about how they like the house, the others there, and the management. A good reference is someone who has been living in the home for some time and has the knowledge of how the house is run and its group dynamics. From there, one can begin to get an idea of what life will be like as a resident of the sober living home and whether its a good fit.
2. Tour the home
When calling a sober living home for the first time, ask the manager for a tour of the home. Almost all sober living home managers will accommodate this, and if they won't allow a tour then move on. If the home can't be toured, then too many variables are at play. Moving into a home sight-unseen means that the safety, security, and cleanliness of the home can't be verified. Choosing not to stay in the sober living home at that point will usually mean a forfeiture of any fees already paid.
Once a tour date is set, make sure to write down and ask about any specific needs that will arise as a resident. Make sure that the schedule and environment of the home will promote a healthy lifestyle. Ask questions to ensure that the management is helpful and encouraging. How do they provide accountability to the residents to stay clean and sober and work their recovery programs? How do they handle relapses, drug tests, late rent, and household conflicts? It may be important that rooms be free of the smell of cigarette smoke due to allergies or other factors, so its important to know if potential roommates smoke or if the smoking area is right outside of the bedroom window. All of this can be handled with a simple tour of the home.
3. Read the reviews
This may seem like a no-brainer, but navigating reviews can be a tricky task. All businesses are likely to have both positive and negative reviews, even for the best sober living homes. Bad reviews don't always mean that the sober living management can't be trusted, but having a lot of good reviews doesn't always mean that trust is warranted either. Read through the online reviews for any sober living home. Facebook is a great place to start as its so widely used and handles a lot of reviews.
Remember too, that the majority of people will not leave reviews unless they are either very happy or very unhappy. With sober living, many bad reviews are also left when a person is removed from the home for frequent relapses or ongoing conflict. In either case, bad reviews are highly subjective and often emotionally charged. It often helps to contact the manager of the sober living home and ask about any concerns regarding their reviews. What is their opinion about the situation? How do they handle things differently now to avoid that situation in the future?
Its common to see a dozen good reviews on a sober living home's social media page mixed in with a couple bad ones. Its impossible to please everyone all of the time. However, read through all of the reviews and pay close attention to those who write about familiar experiences.
4. Work with the management
Sober living home managers are the ones who will be the point of contact for everything related to staying at a sober living home. This person will be a confidant as well as the front line person who will provide accountability for a resident's recovery program. The sober living home will set and enforce the guidelines of the home and be a live-in guide for life in recovery. Its important to find a manager who understands the residents' basic needs and is willing to work alongside residents to help them obtain their life recovery goals.
In recovery, when we run into problems the first thing we're encouraged to do is to ask for help. A huge part of this is ensuring that the people we place around ourselves are trustworthy and of good judgement. A sober living home manager is the same. Managers have the ability to be of great assistance in the residents' recovery journeys. On the other hand, there are many horror stories of sober living home managers using their positions for personal gain. Finding a sober living home with good management is essential to maintaining healthy growth in recovery.
5. Work a good recovery program
Its important to make sure that a recovery program is in place and adhered to, and advice given by mentors and sponsors is followed. Ultimately, no one will ever be happy in any sober living home while stuck in a cycle of irritability, restlessness, and discontent. These are internal problems that are common in recovery, and they can't be corrected by making adjustments to external influences. It helps to maintain a constant focus on our own growth in recovery and mindfulness about where we still hold on to our character defects. The best sober living homes in the world will hold us to that accountability standard and challenge us to grow through our problems.
There's no doubt about it...almost every aspect of recovering from an addiction is difficult. Recovery forces us to look at ourselves and challenge our old ideas in ways that we've never experienced before. Sober living is intended to provide a strong support system for us in the early weeks and months of recovery as we learn to take inventory of our lives and work to make it better. Therefore, one of the most powerful things anyone can do for themselves in recovery is to seek out relationships and solutions that will build on their existing recovery programs.
At Karuna Recovery Residences, we've developed sober living for people who are serious about their recovery. We offer a strong support system for our residents and work diligently to help them achieve their recovery goals. Our passion isn't just helping our residents stay sober, our passion is helping others realize and achieve their goals and dreams in life!800.563.1215