Research has found that unhealthy living environments are extremely detrimental to those in early recovery. Unstable living environments can lead to serious consequences for addicts, like relapse and even death.
Sober living homes offer the necessary support, encouragement and stability that is crucial in early recovery. It is recommended that adolescents and young adults remain in a sober living house for at least one year to 18 months.
Parents and family members often don’t know where to begin when trying to find a suitable sober living home for a child or loved one. So, what is the best sober living for young men?
Finding the best sober living for yourself or a loved one is important. Keep structure and accountability in mind: these are key elements to consider when choosing a facility.
If it is a viable option for you, finding a sober living that caters to a specific age range can also be extremely beneficial. Today, age-specific recovery homes are prevalent due to the benefits they provide. Finding a place where recovering addicts and alcoholics can relate to their peers is crucial to building a foundation in sobriety.
Of course, one of the first considerations is location. If you’re looking out of state (and environments away from home can be very useful in recovery), do some research on which city would be best. New Life House’s Southern California locations are perfect for beach access, activities, job opportunities and a thriving young person’s recovery community.
A SOBER LIVING HOME CHECKLIST
Sober living homes greatly decrease the chance of relapse within the first year of recovery. However, success rates vary among individual sober living houses. A good facility will exhibit all of the following characteristics:
No drugs or alcohol. Look for a strict set of zero-tolerance rules and clear consequences for breaking them. The staff at the home should also be responsible, sober individuals. Strict guidelines for staff are important too.
Structure and rules. Aside from rules against substance use, the facility should have an established structure and dependable routine. A full recovery is much more likely when daily schedules are organized.
Transitional activities. A sober living home shouldn’t just be a place to hide from temptation. A good facility will help its residents transition back into real life by encouraging them to pursue work, education, and positive recreational activities.
Participation in a 12 Step program. Recovery from addiction is an ongoing process, so the facility rules should require all residents to continue attending a 12 Step program. One resident’s regression could put everyone at risk, so recovery is seen as a unified group effort.
Aftercare. Transitioning back into regular life is a gradual process, not a sudden event. When a resident’s in the home is over, they should not be tossed out to survive on their own. A good sober living home provides aftercare support to its former residents to ensure they continue to do well in their new environments.
A tight-knit community is crucial for a positive recovery experience. In early sobriety getting clean is hard, and can feel pretty lonely. A brand new environment can be a shock, so it helps a lot when there is a ready-made support system of peers waiting for anyone who walks through the door.
Both the size and the involvement of the community are important things to consider. The recovery community will be a positive impact on your or your loved one’s sobriety. An active recovery community can make all of the difference, so see if the program has alumni who actively participate. These individuals serve as a shining example of what you or your loved one can achieve through the process. Down the line, you could participate as an alumnus to help someone else in recovery.
Alongside this, investigate whether the facility encourages familial involvement through the process. Are there opportunities for the individual to rebuild their relationships in recovery? At New Life House, we’ve found through decades of experience that it is of the utmost importance to include the family in the recovery process when possible.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Accountability is also vital. It is not unusual to slip up in early sobriety since many addicts have been living unproductively for years. When relapses happen, it is essential to have a group of peers that are there to point out where you went wrong and what you could do better in the future.
Without accountability for your actions and proper guidance, the chances of relapse increase dramatically. It is crucial, even though it may be hard at first, to be shown where you slipped up. In the long run, it will help you or your loved one out a great deal.
It’s recommended to check how entering or continuing a workforce is integrated into a facility. This is one of the last things that should be on the priority list – returning to work should ideally only happen once a person is committed to sobriety.
See if the facility has support for holding down a job, building resumes and mentoring people through the “job search” process.
Weekly group meetings are helpful so the house can come together and keep everyone up to date on their successes. Contact the sober living director to see how day-to-day flows and how much downtime there is. Are there chores to teach good work ethic? Are there policies in place to teach honesty and willingness?
It is important to have some time to yourself. But communal responsibilities are crucial to create a solid foundation. Too much downtime can begin to foster negative thoughts that are detrimental to recovery.
TRANSFERRING OUT: A DELICATE PROCESS
Finally, investigate how the program transfers people out. What is their procedure? More often than not, completion of an aftercare facility means the end of their help.
A quality program not only keeps their alumni involved, but also transitions them out into the real world in a healthy way. Quality practices include moving out with other alumni, coming back to participate in groups, sponsoring other young men in the program, and helping with life skills throughout transition.