Find Your Fit: A Guide to Picking a Sober House
It’s no secret that recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism is a process. A big step for many men and women in recovery is the transition from clinical treatment to a sober house or independent living. IF you want to move to a sober house, you’ll probably find more information than you can process. Large homes, small homes, coed or gender-specific, structured or unstructured, certified or not certified. Plus, every sober house operator has a different philosophy on recovery, and each home has a different group and character.
What is the Sober House Structure?
Most sober houses are for-profit organizations and operators must pay their bills, but some take it too far. We’ve seen the best run sober homes balance the need to make a living with the operator’s desire to make a difference offering a home to men or women in recovery. We’d like to offer a few tips to help spot the difference between a sober house and what’s called a “flop house”. Let’s take a look!
What is the difference between a sober house and a flop house?
A sober house should be just that; a structured group home for those in recovery, offering the right amount of support and accountability compared with independence and freedom. Many great sober houses exist, but some operate their business as a sober house when they’re just running a rooming house.
Does the sober house have a reputation, track record, or brand?
Certification is a great way to see if an operator is serious. It’s voluntary, but sober house certification help show an operator believes in the mission as well as the dollar. Professional websites are also indicators of a well-run organization. Community involvement through social media is also helpful to investigate. Finally, do they have an organization behind them? For example, Vanderburgh House operators have joined a community of other operators with a pledge to follow a set of high standards and expectations.
Are the sober living staff friendly and welcoming?
Give them a call! Speaking to the staff and management of the sober house can give you an indication of what the home might be like. If you didn’t get great service on the phone, you might not get great service in the home. What’s their philosophy on recovery? What are their house rules like? How many sober houses do they run? You should get clear answers to these questions and not get a hassle for asking them. Tours should be readily accommodated for qualifying applicants.
Does the sober house have a clear mission?
Any legitimate sober home will have a clear mission statement. This is likely found on their website. We recommend that you pick a home that has a soul and spirit. They should know why they do what they do. We recommend asking about the costs of their sober living program up front. What should sober living cost? Take a look at our opinion here.
Do they drug screen residents?
Anything shy of zero tolerance from substance use in a sober home is not a safe recovery environment. Do they drug screen? How often? Successful recovery takes place in a drug-free environment of honest, supportive peers.
What are the sober house rules?
Ensuring the safety of all sober house community members through a strong set of house rules and responsibilities is the job of good sober house management. In most well-run sober homes, this is an in-house manager. Indicators include mandatory NA or AA meetings, chore duties to maintain a clean home, and of course timely rent payments.
Our sober house directory is a great tool to help you find the homes, but it’s up to you to find the right fit. While certification and a good outward appearance is a start, do more digging before you commit. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! While many homes offer fantastic sober living, we’re partial to Vanderburgh House, but that’s because they helped build this directory. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to open a sober house, we would encourage you to reach out to Vanderburgh Communities, the first organization offering sober living charters in the United States. Keep your head up and take it one day at a time!