As more people develop an opiate addiction, more treatment programs are needed to help them overcome the disorder. Across the country, states are fighting to keep up with demand, and as a result, more sober living homes are needed to help people in the months following intensive treatment.
There are a number of different types of sober homes, each offering a different level of support and continuing care. Some require that residents take part in “house meetings,” complete house chores, contribute to the prep and cleanup for meals, and adhere to other requirements to maintain their ongoing progress in recovery therapies and treatments. Others offer only a sober environment with the understanding that all housemates are avoiding use of drugs and alcohol and will not bring any substances into the home, leaving the details of ongoing recovery and treatment up to the individual.
In some parts of the country, there has been concern that an increase in sober living homes is contributing to the degradation of some neighborhoods, causing an increase in crime rates, noise, and drug activity. Is it a problem in Nevada?
Often, when there is a big event in a sober living home – someone dies of an overdose or a fake sober living home with corrupted management rips off clients in recovery – the media is ablaze with the event. It makes sense; headlines about people successfully transitioning from rehab back home due to their stay in a sober living home are not as grabby, and it is important for people to be aware of the possible ways in which some organizations may cut corners or otherwise prioritize profits over people.
However, the real news is not the occasional case of corruption but the millions of lives that are transformed with the help of sober living homes – not just the lives of the individuals who take up residence and find the support they need to stay sober but the lives of their loved ones as well. While the person in recovery is building a new structure for their life, their loved ones have to reconnect and heal on their own terms as well. Children grow stronger seeing their parents in recovery do the hard work needed to put drug and alcohol use in the past. Spouses see their significant other putting in the work necessary to become stronger. Extended family learn that they can trust their loved one to be persistent in recovery and make the necessary changes to stay sober for the long-term.
When everyone does their part, sober living can be a critical piece in recovery.
Because there are some homes and/or apartment buildings that tout themselves as “sober living” establishments with no oversight or staff in place to ensure the integrity of the program, many neighborhoods have a “not in my backyard” response to the idea of a sober living home setting up shop down the block. The fact is, however, that when done correctly, a sober living home and its residents can add great value to the neighborhood. Residents who are committed to their sobriety, maintaining their home, and their neighbors contribute quite a bit to the area. Many work hard in gardens or to repair things around the home. Others volunteer in the neighborhood, planting trees or flowers, cleaning up trash, and more.
While it is important to make sure that the sober living home is credentialed and there are trained staff members in place who are able to ensure that all are following the rules – not just the residents but visitors as well – it would be a mistake to assume that a few disreputable places are the norm.
What Do You Think?
Do you have concerns about sober living homes setting up in your neighborhood? Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where there was a sober living home and you barely noticed it at all? What has been your experience, and what do you think should be the response of a Nevada neighborhood when it is proposed that a new home opens its doors nearby?