Congratulations on reaching this milestone! You’re nearing freedom from addictive substances. You’re keenly aware of how they derail your thinking, health, and relationships. You want to live responsibly, with the trust of your family and kids.
You’ve made great strides in cutting ties to getting high, but fear relapsing. A sober living home may be your next step to full recovery.
Bridge to Independence
If you’re not entirely familiar with this type of residence, a sober living home is a group home for people in recovery. For many, it’s a bridge between a rehab facility and independent living. For this reason, sober living homes are often called halfway houses. However, there are clear distinctions between the two.
Halfway houses are government-funded and must adhere to federal and state laws. Most sober homes are privately owned. In some cases, they’re run by businesses and non-profit organizations.
Residents at halfway houses may be former criminals, sex offenders, or prisoners. They may be court-ordered to live there. Conversely, many sober homes only accept people without criminal records, after receiving opposition from fearful neighbors.
Additionally, admission to a sober home is voluntary. Most people enter after successfully completing a rehab program. They’ve been clean for an extended period and have acquired tools to maintain sobriety.
If you’re new to recovery, you may be accepted to a sober living home, but first you must undergo detox. Otherwise, it will be too difficult to stay clean, a strict condition of residence. Once you’ve achieved total abstinence, your chances of full recovery are good.
You’re welcome to remain at a sober home until strong enough to leave. Most people stay from three to 12 months.
Unlike a rehab center, the sober home lifestyle is less structured. At most homes, you must have an outside job and conform to a nightly curfew. You’ll likely have to pay rent and purchase food. You’ll contribute to the community by doing chores and paying maintenance fees.
Another responsibility may be attending weekly 12-Step meetings. You may also need to be present at house meetings and therapy groups.
The resident supervisor will customize a recovery plan for you, with the goal of being independent. Fellow residents will also support you. An employment coach may be on staff to help you obtain a job, assisting with resume writing and interview preparation.
To maintain healthy relationships, you’ll work on improving communication and interpersonal skills. You’ll be guided in the process of restoring trust with family members. You’ll also develop new friendships.
Within this encouraging environment, your recovery will continue. You’ll be protected from negative influences and temptations. When you’re ready to leave, if you need to find housing, the staff will help you.
Rules are designed to help residents achieve independence. Upon admission, you’ll be given the house rules in writing. You’ll also sign a contract, pledging your conformance. To stay in residence, you must remain sober at all times, and random drug tests will be conducted to prove abstinence. Fighting and violence are not permitted.
You may need to share certain quarters, such as a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. When departing the house, you must tell staff where you’re going. You’ll document your whereabouts by signing in and out.
No alcohol of any type is allowed. Therefore, some facilities ban alcohol-containing mouthwash and vanilla, which can cause false positive results on drug tests.
There are penalties for breaking rules. Depending on the seriousness of an infraction, a person may have to pay a fine or write an essay. If the offense is against another resident, they’re required to make amends. A severe transgression can result in being discharged.
Owners of sober homes want them to be affordable. While facilities vary in rents and fees, expenses approximate those of living in a modest home or apartment. Costs are typically less than those of a rehab center since fewer services are provided.
Sober Home Certification
Since 2015, Florida has promoted voluntary certification of sober living homes. Leading this effort is the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR). This organization sets and monitors standards for recovery support services in Florida residential settings. These standards ensure that you will have safe housing and respectful treatment.
Certified sober homes must adhere to core principles established by FARR. These include:
- being free of alcohol and illegal drugs
- focusing on recovery
- sustaining a supportive atmosphere
- upholding residents’ rights
- employing trained staff
- providing responsible supervision
- teaching life skills
- offering clinical services
- fostering ethical relationships among residents and staff
- ensuring safety
- demonstrating courtesy for neighbors
Regarding this last stipulation, residents of sober homes cannot loiter, be noisy, use offensive language, or encroach on neighbor’s parking spaces. They must keep the property and surrounding public spaces clean. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas.
Boynton Beach Requirements
As of May 2017, Boynton Beach mandates certification, rather than allowing it to be voluntary. A new ordinance may shorten the required distance between sober homes from 1,000 feet to 300. Parking may also be affected.
To become law, the ordinance must be approved by the City’s commissioners in two voting sessions. At the first meeting, this past June, some commissioners proposed a minimum distance between group homes greater than 300 feet. The Director of Planning and Zoning will investigate further and make a recommendation at a second voting session on July 18, 2017.
Currently in Boynton Beach, at least nine sober homes are certified. Since June 4, the City is no longer accepting applications for new sober homes.
Boynton Beach certified sober homes have more progressive recovery services than non-regulated homes or halfway houses. Programming is designed to maximize long-term sobriety. Residents in sober homes are better equipped to meet the challenges of independent living. Armed with effective coping, communication, and interpersonal skills, they have a good chance of staying sober.
If you’re no longer in withdrawal and have been clean for an extended period, a sober living home may be right for you. With the new Boynton Beach certification requirement, you’re ensured safe housing, fair treatment, and supportive recovery services.
You’ve already surmounted steep challenges. Don’t lose your footing. Take the next step on the trek to freedom. You can do it! Call us today (866) 963-7200