The best sober living homes are communities designed to provide a drug-free environment for individuals struggling with addiction. Unlike residential treatment, sober living homes are structured similarly to the outside world, necessitating social participation, housework, and the fulfillment of certain responsibilities – from finishing school to seeking employment – in order to help tenants build a good work ethic, find self-discipline, and take control of their lives. Sober living homes also often work with residential clinics and other facilities, to provide a better and more comprehensive recovery plan.
Yet sober living homes share different philosophies, amenities, programs, and facilities. Finding the right one will take some time, and a lot of reflection.
Shop Around For The Best Sober Living
There are hundreds of sober living homes around the country, catering to individuals from all walks of life, struggling with all manner of addiction. However, some specialize, or set themselves apart with specific rules and philosophies. Some are stricter than others, abiding by principles that are not universally shared.
Don’t be afraid to look around, compare, and figure out what kind of structure you need in your life and which is the best sober living for you.
Gender-Specific or Co-Ed?
Men and women face different challenges in addiction, and addiction treatment. Men are more likely to struggle with addiction in general and consume more drugs. But women are more susceptible to addiction after beginning drug use, and they struggle more with mental health issues, as well as symptoms of depression and self-harm. While a substantial amount of men struggle with addiction due to a history of risk-taking and experimentation, many women begin their drug use as a way to cope emotionally with pain.
For women, addiction can also be one of many consequences from a long life of violence and loss, and treatment for them is best sought among other women. For men, living in an environment separate from women can help them focus entirely on their recovery and develop a brotherly bond with other men, fostering a kind of encouraging environment not always found in co-ed sober living facilities. By catering to a specific gender, certain facilities and communities can focus on the unique differences between male and female cases of addiction, while addressing each individual.
It’s important to note, however, that statistics don’t determine a person. There are women who first got addicted not because of violence or pain, but risk-taking. And there are men with deep histories of trauma, suicidal tendencies, and depression, for whom addiction had been a way to cope with terrible loss and sorrow. People come from all walks of life, and all sober living homes realize that on top of treating an entire community as a single unit, they have to cater to each person and their unique issues.
Co-ed environments provide the benefit of a more realistic mixed experience, where men and women can go about their day together, returning to split living quarters afterwards. Some might suggest that transitioning from a single-gender community to the outside world is harder than a co-ed environment, but all sober communities focus on teaching their tenants how to cope with the challenges of living a sober life out in the real world, regardless of what kind of gender structure the community follows. Determining the best sober living for you is about your needs in a recovery community.
How Supportive is the Staff?
A knowledgeable, caring, and experienced staff is crucial in the best sober living option for you. If you cannot trust the people working for the community, and cannot trust in their ability and know how, then you won’t be able to make any progress.
Part of recovery is finding someone who can guide you through the hoops to come to the conclusions you need to commit to your sobriety – but if you feel conflicted by the staff’s philosophy or commitment to tenant care, then you’ll be uncomfortable, and not in the right state of mind for recovery.
Being uncomfortable with certain stages of recovery is normal. But there’s a difference between being uncomfortable with the message and its implication and being uncomfortable and anxious about the person conveying the message.
It’s important to like your therapist. There will be times when you will be told things you may not want to hear, and your mind will search for ways to discard these things, by attacking the person’s credibility and eroding their trustworthiness in your eyes. But if you can trust in them, then you will be able to overcome these initial feelings and come to see that they have your best interests at heart.
Best Sober Living: Keeping Reputation in Mind
At the end of the day, a medical practitioner, tax attorney and artist all have one thing in common – no matter how passionate or skilled they are, they are running a business, and offering a service. It’s important to feel comfortable with the prospect of your sober living home, and excited at the idea of giving it a go – but be sure to do your research. If you’re looking for the best sober living environment for yourself or your loved one as your next step in recovery, be sure to sniff around.
In the past, doing so was not exactly the easiest thing in the world. You could ask around and hope to get lucky, but it’s only with the information age and the beginning of social content and communication like forums and instant messaging services that people began to realize how the ability to publicly share and compile data could push businesses to be more honest, transparent, and consumer-friendly. This goes for all businesses across all industries presenting themselves online – and a poor online reputation is often a red flag.
Dig into any sober living homes and see just what former tenants have to say. Tempering your expectations and hype with real reviews from real people can give you a better insight into what to expect. Remember that there will always be people looking to malign others through the internet, so take in several reviews and make a judgment call on which reviews are most likely to be genuine.
Ultimately, moving into a sober living facility for the first time can be scary – so it helps tremendously to set your worries aside by hearing first-hand what others thought about the staff and scheduling. While horror stories do exist, the best sober living homes are renown for outstanding facilities and amenities, solid treatment, a strong and forward-thinking philosophy, and a long list of former tenants whose lives have changed considerably and for the better after staying at a sober living facility.
This will be your new home for a while, so choose wisely. With the tips above and some help from friends and family, you’ll be sure to find the best sober living for your recovery journey.