04 Sep What to Ask When Choosing a Recovery Community
When you first realize that a loved one needs to seek treatment for substance abuse, figuring out the right course of action can feel overwhelming. Where do I send them? What kind of help do they need? What is the best type of aftercare or sober living environment? What kind of community would they fit best in?
With the sheer amount of “sober living homes” out there (some great, some not-so-great), it’s important that you do your research and ask the right questions to make sure that your loved one gets into one founded with a deep sense of community and recovery, instead of a generic sober living home. Here are some questions that you will want to ask when researching and choosing sober living with a true recovery community:
1) Is it 12 Step based?
While 12 Step programs (such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) are not the ONLY paths to sobriety and recovery, they have proven to be extremely successful. Not only do they allow the addict to address core issues that are driving their addiction, they offer a spiritual program of recovery as well as a community of peer support. Make sure you ask whether the recovery community is 12 step based, and if it’s not, if they at least offer 12 step meetings.
2) Do they drug test?
You want to make sure that any recovery community that you are considering does random drug testing. This offers another level of accountability for clients and the knowledge that they are going to be drug tested can potentially help them if they are put in a dangerous situation early in sobriety.
3) What level of structure is maintained?
Evidence shows that recovery for the young person is assisted with a higher level of structure. Temporarily putting aside cell phones, iPads, tablets and any other form of electronic communication or gaming device encourages quality time where the addict is able to take a good, hard look into unhealthy behaviors and solutions without distractions. Structure might also mean living in a recovery community that is age and gender specific. When the men stick with the men and the women stick with the women, old behaviors and sexual acting out can be suspended, giving needed time to reflect and implement new ways to relate to the opposite sex. Younger people will also find more inspiration and reasons to stay sober when they bond with peers. They are motivated to change with people of their own age and cannot relate to the divorced man who has lost his family and job as easily as they can to one another.
4) Do they encourage family involvement?
Addiction is a disease that affects not only the addict, but also the entire family. Make sure that you choose a recovery program that encourages family involvement. Educating the family is crucial in increasing the chance of success post treatment.
5) What happens after?
Experts agree that having a plan is essential in increasing chances of success in recovery. When choosing a recovery community, ask what happens after the stay is complete. Ideally, you want to find a COMMUNITY: a place that will continue to support your loved one and foster their development in sobriety. Do alumni stay connected with each other and involved in the community? Do the young people in recovery move out together into apartments? Attend events together? Or does everyone just go his or her separate ways? When addicts come from out-of-state, eventually most will migrate back to where they are from, however it’s important that they stick close to their community for a good chunk of time to get them rooted in sobriety. Accumulated evidence shows that there is strength in numbers, especially where recovery from substances are concerned.
Choosing a recovery community is essential to getting your loved one the care and support that they need and giving them the best opportunity possible to get sober and change their life. Make sure when you choose a recovery community, you are asking the right questions and picking the option that is going to be right for you and your family.
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