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Dictionary of Sober Living

Sober Living, What You Can Expect

Unless you know someone who has lived in a sober living home, the word sober living may be very strange for you. Sober living homes are often misclassified as half way houses, rehab homes, recovery support home, boarding home, homeless shelter, and negatively as flop houses. It is true some sober living homes provide some of these services, most do not. Sober living homes are affordable alcohol and drug free environments, which are essential to someone who sincerely wants to make a recovery. Peer groups are one of the most important aspects of living sober. Sobriety promotes individual recovery by providing an environment, which allows the residents to develop individual recovery programs, which have a goal of becoming independent and self supporting. The majority of sober living homes are small businesses established as small partnerships, LLC corporations, or a single proprietorship. Less than 1/3 are set up as non-profit corporations. Most do not receive government subsidies or grants. It is not uncommon for some residents to receive some form of government benefits. Ethical practices and standards are achieved by membership in a sober living network. These networks maintain accountability through self regulation and inspection by representatives of the association or group. The homes maintain alcohol and drug free environments through a series of activities and strong membership participation in the governance of the home. Sober homes are not set up to be acute detox facilities or treatment centers. Most have strong referral services if a need arises.

The typical sober living home is a single family residence, duplex, or multi-unit complex placed in a quiet residential neighborhood. Residents are required to follow a strict set of house rules. Rules violations may result in writing a reflection essay or possibly rejection from the home if the violation falls under a zero tolerance policy. The most common rule is no tolerance for drugs or alcohol. This rule extends to medicine cabinet items, which have the effect of causing a relapse. When bringing personal medicine items into the sober environment, check with the home's director. Most sober living facilities conduct surprise drug and alcohol testing. Other zero tolerance rules include violence, threats of violence, fighting, harassment, theft of items on the premises, or a string of unexcused absences. Each resident is required to be financially independent, pay rent, and buy food. Residents are required to either work, look for employment, or be enrolled in an accredited school or training program. Residents who are permanently disabled will be required to be of service to the home or community. All residents are required to attend a minimum number of 12 step meetings (such as AA, Na, or other behavioral addiction programs), or, if not 12-step based, to become active in another accredited or spiritually-based recovery program."Living in a sober home facility is communal, usually from 6 to 30 residents depending on the size of the home. (For Bridge, however, an average of only 8 to 10 individuals reside in each home.) Residents typically share a bedroom with a roommate, but may request a single or private room. A well-run house is much cleaner than a regular residence, and daily house responsibilities are assigned to each resident."

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