So, you have gone through detox, attended an inpatient facility, and now you are ready to start entering back into the world.
Sober living homes are one of the best options when recovering from substance use disorders (SUDs). They provide structure and support for your long-term recovery. Not every sober living home is the same, however. It’s important to find the right facility for your unique needs.
Here are a few factors to consider when deciding on the right sober living home for you.
Lack of Regulations for Sober Living Homes
One of the biggest challenges in finding a sober living home is the lack of industry regulation. Federally, there are no rules about how you can or cannot run a sober living home. Residents are protected under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, but these are the only regulations in place.
In April of 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced H.R. 2367 – SOBER Homes Act and H.R. 2376 – Excellence in Recovery Housing Act. Both of these bills remain stuck in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health. Until these bills or something similar is signed into law, people with SUDs must default to state policies. Unfortunately, only three states mandate licensing in sober living homes and seven provide an option for voluntary certification.
Due to the severe lack of regulation, you should look for houses backed by the National Alliance for Recovery Residences or the National Sober Living Association. If that is not available in your state, do your due diligence and vet every potential sober living facility thoroughly yourself.
Strict Substance-Free Environments
As a person early in recovery from SUD, you may be particularly vulnerable to relapse triggers. Any potential sober living facility should create a no-exceptions substance-free zone for residents. It should be zero-tolerance.
Many homes even implement randomized drug tests to ensure you are not using or drinking in secret. Additionally, house managers may be allowed to search living spaces for paraphernalia or substances if there is reason to believe you might be breaking the rule. This is to ensure the safety and sobriety of all residents.
Medication is one area where substance-free rules get fuzzy. All medications must be prescribed by a qualified doctor. House managers will likely have to approve medication usage in the house. They may require that you use a monitored, time-controlled safe for your prescriptions.
Most sober living facilities do not allow visitors to stay overnight. This is standard procedure, but most sober living providers allow visitors to come over during certain hours of the day. If you have a family, friends, or children, consider how often you want them around. Having a support system can bolster your sobriety, but you do not want to rely on them too heavily or have them get in the way of your recovery process.
Boundaries are extremely important with visitors. It is up to you whether to let them into your healing space or meet them elsewhere. You should decide what is best for your recovery. If you intend on having people visit the sober living house often, ask your potential facility what their visitation schedule looks like. Read their policies thoroughly to ensure they do not bar visitors.
Sober living homes usually require residents to attend some sort of therapy or regular support meeting. You have likely just exited an inpatient program, and they know aftercare matters. This can come in the form of an outpatient program, 12-Step meetings, support groups, individual counseling, and more.
Inquire into each sober living home’s policies on aftercare attendance. Some places only accept AA or NA. If those organizations are not going to work for your needs, those sober homes are not the right choice for you. If you feel strongly about attending individual counseling, make sure the facility you are entering allows that as aftercare. Think about what is best for you in the long run and find a sober living home that works that way.
Safety and Security
Your sense of safety can impact your mental health. You must be in a secure environment so you can focus all your energy on maintaining recovery while engaging with normal life responsibilities. Do not just select a home based on the website photos—those can be deceiving. It is okay to ask for a house tour or talk to the other residents. That’s often the best way to find potential red flags.
There should only be internal locks on private spaces, not external locks controlled only by the house manager. There also should not be locks on the kitchen or pantry. Additionally, it is reasonable to look into local safety statistics.
Check crime rates, check the distance to the nearest hospital, check the sex offender registry if that is something that will factor into your mental well-being. If you plan on taking early morning or late-night jogs, walk the path during the day. Make note of the location and number of streetlights, as well as areas you might want to avoid. Overall, just ensure you will feel safe in the neighborhood so nothing will detract from your healing.
SoberLivingNearYou.com Helps You Find Your Sober Living Home Solution
When you are deciding to enter a sober living home, it is important to find the right home for you. Again, the federal government does not regulate these houses, so you should thoroughly evaluate each place. Factors that should influence your decision are substance-free policies, visitation rules, mental health aftercare, and the security of the facility and location.
Researching, visiting, and speaking to current residents will help you discern if it is the right location for you. Fortunately, if you’re reading this blog, you’re on the right site. We created SoberLivingNearYou.com as a way to make finding a sober living home easier. With thousands of sober home listings across the US at your fingertips, finding your sober living solution has never been easier.
Start searching today with SoberLivingNearYou.com!