A sober living home offers a safe, drug- and alcohol-free place to live after treatment. Sober living homes are beneficial in a number of ways.1 In addition to increasing the odds of successful long-term recovery, they improve employment outcomes and reduce symptoms of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
While most established sober living facilities are reputable, some are not. Being able to see the truth behind a sober living home’s claims about itself is important, but it can be a daunting task. That’s why the best way to choose a sober living home is to take a number of factors into consideration rather than relying solely on a sober living home’s claims about itself.
Here, then, are five important questions to ask yourself when evaluating a sober living facility.
1. Is this home licensed and accredited?
Sober living homes are a fairly new concept. The federal government doesn’t currently regulate these facilities, and not all states do either, unless the home hires mental health professionals or other medical staff.
Because sober living homes are becoming more popular, however, a number of regulatory bodies are gaining membership and setting standards for homes to follow. The National Association of Recovery Residences, for example, is a nonprofit organization that has set standards for a healthy, clean and safe environment; licensed and unlicensed staff and medical support; onsite activities and amenities; and management and other aspects of sober living homes.2 NARR oversees regional affiliates who offer accreditation in 25 states.
A lack of accreditation doesn’t necessarily mean that a home is sub-par, but accreditation can reassure you of a home’s commitment to quality and research-based programming.
2. Is this home well-managed?
A sober living home should be a calm, relaxing place to come home to. It should be conducive to self-reflection, de-stressing and enjoying the company of others in the household.
A well-managed home will ensure safety, comfort and cleanliness. It will guarantee that rules are followed and problems are taken care of right away. If a sober home isn’t clean, comfortable and orderly or doesn’t have strict rules with accompanying consequences for breaking them, you’ll want to keep looking.
3. Will this home hold me accountable?
A sober living home that doesn’t hold its residents accountable in their sobriety is not worth your trouble or your money. Accountability measures should include regular drug testing as well as requirements like attending house and support group meetings and adhering to a curfew.
4. Does the facility meet my needs and preferences?
Always visit a sober living facility to check it out with your own eyes. Make sure it’s clean and comfortable. To ensure you’ll be happy at the home, ask about the things that are important to you, such as:
- Meals: Does the facility offer the kind of food you need or prefer?
- Recreation: Does the home offer amenities for recreation?
- Does the facility offer house activities to promote fun, relaxation and healthy relationships?
- Sleeping quarters: Are there private rooms, or will you share a room?
- Proximity: Is it close to your job, school, treatment center and other important places?
5. What do other people say about this home?
Ask around about a facility to determine whether a sober living home’s claims about itself are genuine. Ask people in your recovery community, and look online for reviews. Check to see whether your treatment program recommends a home, and look at their Better Business Bureau rating.
The Right Sober Living Home is Crucial
Choosing a quality, reputable sober living home is essential for getting the most out of your experience. Check out a home as thoroughly as possible before making a commitment, and be sure to listen to your instincts about a sober living home. The better you like your living situation, the more successful and enjoyable recovery will be.