Everything you need to know about sober living

Everything you need to know about sober living

Everything you need to know about sober living

When my therapist first suggested that I move into sober living after treatment, I was kind of wary. I didn’t really know anything about sober living houses. As the terms “halfway house” and “sober living house” are sometimes used interchangeably, I thought these were the same kind of homes that parolees had to go after getting out of jail. I envisioned a slightly homier version of a jail cell, with barred windows and lock down after curfew. I agreed to go because I was desperate, and I was pleasantly surprised that the sober living homes were much different than I imagined.

Everything you need to know about sober living: Sober living homes are not homeless shelters

Before I moved into a sober living home, I thought that they were all run-down, sober versions of homeless shelters. I’d heard horror stories about “flop houses” where the residents just did drugs with impunity and came and went as they pleased. My preconceived notions couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sure, flop houses do exist, as do homeless shelters and halfway houses for parolees that enforce sobriety, but a true sober living home is something else. The good ones are generally well kept and clean, and the people living in them are people trying to get on their feet after going to treatment. These homes give recovering addict a place to call home while they navigate the waters of early sobriety.  Sober living homes are definitely not free, everyone is expected to pay their share of rent and groceries, and some sober living homes are quite exclusive.

Everything you need to know about sober living: You have rules

I never thought much about the rules in a sober living home, but once I lived there, I had to abide by a certain set of rules. In my experience, there are similar rules in most sober living environments. Obviously, you cannot drink, use drugs, or possess any kind of drug paraphernalia. Sober living homes regularly drug test the residents. Most sober living homes also enforce a curfew and require you to have an approved pass to spend the night out. My sober living home strictly prohibited men from being anywhere on the property, but we were allowed to have female friends and relatives over to visit. We were required to get a job, get a sponsor, and go to at least one meeting a day. We each had chores, and they did room checks every morning to make sure we were doing them. We had a zero tolerance rule for drug use. If a resident failed a drug test, they had to go to detox and test clean before they were allowed to come back to the sober living home. Communal living was the order of the day, and we all pitched in and helped out when things needed to be done. When things didn’t get done, we all often shared in the punishment as well. If one person didn’t do chores, we all were put on early curfew. In this way, we were encouraged to keep each other accountable.

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