Sober Living Residences: Are You “Off to Great Places” Post-Rehab?Micah Robbins
These quick tips can help …
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You may have heard these words of encouragement from the venerable Dr. Seuss. They tend to mark key life transitions that can leave you feeling excited, scared, expectant, curious, nervous, and happy all at the same time: graduation, getting married, having a baby … and, leaving inpatient rehab with us for the bigger world outside these walls.
This transition to staying sober without all of the comforting, built-in supports of our Beach House family can sneak up on you, and if you’re not prepared, can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why many of you, immediately following your time with us, arrange to live in a sober living or recovery residence, a.k.a. a halfway house.
Even so, choosing the right sober living residence can itself be a challenge and potentially stressful. The following quick tips can help you choose a sober living environment that’s best for you, so relax: “today is your day,” and “you’re off to great places.”
Do your research. Beach House has visited, vetted and built relationships with many wonderful residence facilities in and around Palm Beach County. If you’re more inclined to go with a local Beach House option as a way of drawing upon our aftercare and alumni services, start here. Why do unnecessary research when we’ve already done it for you?
That said, you may want to broaden your search, explore additional leads, or learn more about appropriate recovery residence standards and requirements. There are two great resources available to you:
- The National Alliance of Recovery Residences (NARR): narronline.org
- Florida Association of Recovery Residences: farronline.org
These two websites offer a wealth of information including levels of care, national standards, affiliated houses, and an official grievance procedure if you encounter negative practices that may impair your recovery.
We also recommend reading NARR’s “A Primer on Recovery Residences FAQ’s.” This is a thorough document that walks you through definition, history, expectations, and standards of a quality recovery residence program. Read it, print it, and stick it on your wall! There hundreds of blogs and boards out there, and many that have great information — but there are also some that are misleading and three shakes from illegal, so tread cautiously and use the national standards as a guide. If you have questions ASK SOMEONE, and if you are not satisfied with your answer ASK SOMEONE ELSE! This is your home and your life. There is nothing more important!
When choosing the residence that will best support your commitment to sober living, do your best to visit the facility in person with the following considerations in mind. If a visit to the residence is not possible, make sure to ask the following questions:
- Is the residence clean and in working order? Are the common areas well-kept? Are the cooking facilities adequate and is the furniture in good condition? Would you feel safe living here? What about sleeping arrangements? (Sorry gang: co-ed sleeping arrangements are out.)
- Is there a clear (written!) set of house rules and expectations and appropriate consequences for not adhering to them? These would pertain to client conduct, available resources, rent due dates, etc. If there is no such clear, written policy, cross the residence off your list.
- Who is in charge of the sober living facility? Are they officially recognized as the management in charge? If it is a small peer led facility, get to know the house manager. If the facility is larger, acquaint yourself with the on-site staff, their roles and how to contact them.
- Where is the facility? Location is everything. Is this residence in an area that will risk your sobriety? Is it close to recovery meetings? Jobs? Recreation? Transportation? Publix? Health Services? This will be your home environment and critical to your success in maintaining sobriety and continuing to work on you.
Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere will not help. Remember, North Palm Beach County really lies between Park Ave. in Lake Park and Indiantown Rd. in Jupiter. Everything from jobs, food, recreation, health, fitness, to buses, bike lanes, spiritual support, meetings, beaches and endangered sea animals all exist comfortably in this nice tidy rectangle of Florida fun. We’ll be taking a virtual tour of it and its resources in our next post…..
- Last but not least, do you feel safe, supported and comfortable in this residence? I am not talking about early new-person jitters; I’m talking about that sixth sense or intuition that tells you, “I got a bad feeling about this.” If you get this message, find somewhere else to live.
The bottom line is this: you have a choice when it comes to finding the right sober living residence, and you are never alone in making that choice. These tips and resources can help. So can our family here at Beach House and the larger recovery community at our doorstep. As Dr. Seuss says, “You’re off to Great Places. You’re off and away!”
And we’re always here when you need us.
Got a question, comment or suggestion for a future blog? I’d love to hear it. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.