Sober Living: What to ask?
This article from the fix is impeccable. How do you tell a quality sober living from a random house looking to fit as many people and call it a process? The fact that it brings back power to the client is important. We'd like to add our own questions that help to refine the outcome after providing sober living in San Diego for over 5 years.
How often do you drug test?
This one is a biggie. There tends to be cost cutting in drug testing because it can be up to $10 dollars a test. The second one is alcohol breathalyzer. Alcohol is 'easier' to 'bring in' a sober house. We have found that the costs for testing is actually an investment and keeps sober living clients accountable. Our data also shows that the more we have tested, the better the outcomes. It is not uncommon for sober living homes to test once it is very evident that someone is either using or is on a behavioral path to do so. Testing often helps deter and many times eliminate excessive relapse in sober living homes. We recommend a minimum of once a week on urine and at least twice on breathalyzer.
What is the relapse policy?
Rarely do people talk about relapse and it's important to know that not only does it happen, but its less common to have continued and extended sobriety. Sad? Unfortunate? Drug and alcohol recovery is messy and, let's not forget, mortal. We do have hope. It is important to set clear the consequences of relapse, and not in a manner of punitive measures, but as to keeping a home safe for sober living clients. The greater the structure, the safer it is. Relapse with a focus on money can lead to sober homes charging reinstatement fees or simply feeling afraid to asking someone to leave because of losing a clients expenses at the end of a month. A quality sober living home will care more about safety than money. Our experience shows that having options to staying at a local hotel, going back to detox or having another sober living home to begin recovery (with their residents aware of the issue) will lead to a greater connection to the community and ties not broken. There should be consequences but there is no need to punish a behavior that many times is cognitive and biological and not a decision of morals.
Communication. Communication. Communication.
Although you can't nanny a loved one, it is important to know what the process of communication will be in both relapse, payment and/or changes. Do get treatment and support with both the rehab and ideally a therapist, and knowing you are not on your own should reduce stress for everyone. Our prayers go out to those seeking help and information reminding everyone that we are not starting from scratch and that sober living homes like By The Sea Recovery
look to find innovation in data, process and ultimately outcomes in the sober living world.
As fraud continues to be evident in the operations of sober living homes, the common denominator of the industry seems to call for standards. What structure or rules exist? Have they been proven to curtail drug and/or alcohol use disorders or relapses? What variables are objective? We need statistics and we need science. As much as we can use the excuse of there aren't enough services available for the problem, there must be an adhered structure and a common practice among sober living homes.
At By The Sea Recovery, we choose to continue focusing on quality, metric based objectives and structure. We look forward to hearing from your experiences and best practices.
We thank Margaret Cho, comedian extraordinaire, for voicing the importance of extending sobriety through sober living. Given the low rates of recovery and previous limit on rehab due to insurance, the focus on extending sobriety through sober living has been a controversial, in housing, but behaviorally transforming emphasis of sobriety in healthcare. Although having a more limited structure and supervision than rehab or detox, sober living homes have made it possible for those wanting drug and alcohol rehab go beyond the common 28 days, even sometimes to a year.
The more we speak about it, the less a stigma it has on society and those who are hurting. We are all a part of this world and are impacted by the effects by alcohol or drugs whether directly or indirectly, thank you to those who choose to share about the hope of behavioral elements of recovery such as sober living. We are excited to see society wake up and have the word sober living be part of their vocabulary when offering help and or support.
People are complaining about the growth of sober living homes, but isn't it at its core a reflection of the drug and alcohol problem in the United States? Is there a space to talk about procedures and best practices? Absolutely? Can they be stopped or closed down? We might as well follow the Phillipines, from research and evidence based practices, housing is a first step for the need and a community that reintegrates those suffering understands the importance of its impact on the long run. Thank you for the conversations, we hope there are just as many solutions as the problems that arise. For those sober living homes that are rocking it (doing great), please come to the front and share your hope, we need it.
It is not so much 'cracking down', but understanding what is being done to make sure that great places can be available as well as making sure that does that do not qualify do not operate. The problem is not so much in the sober living homes, but in the qualification and standards, for disabled housing is not only a right, but the tension and interaction with society is real. How can we support both movements? Metric based systems and stringent measures to operate as well as the aesthetics and limits for these homes are a must. Heres to solutions and standards rather than witch hunting.