Just as you probably took your time in researching addiction treatment facilities, it’s also important to evaluate the sober living homes in your area. While they may all seem the same at a first glance, there are many factors that will differentiate one from another.
What to Look for in a Sober Living Home
A Structured Environment
The primary purpose a sober living home serves is to provide you with a safe and sober living environment, while you re-adjust to society. For this reason, you should look for a home that has clearly outlined rules, such as setting a curfew and prohibiting alcohol or drugs on the site. You may also want to ask if a staff member will be present to ensure the rules are obeyed.
You have no way of knowing who else may be living in the sober home, so you should also inquire about security measures. Are there security guards on site? Cameras in common areas? Someplace to lock your valuables? These are all concerns you should address upon your initial interview.
As you tour the sober living home, what kind of vibe do you get? You should feel welcome and comfortable as you interact with the residents in the home. When you ask questions of your guide and any staff in the home, you should receive polite and honest answers. If you feel like an intrusion or a nuisance, this may not be the right home for you.
Watch Out For These Red Flags
Evaluate the Physical Condition
In addition to familiarizing yourself with the residents and staff, you should also use your tour to judge the condition of the home. Every home will be different and, depending on the resources available, each home will have different amenities. However, every home should provide a basic quality of living. Avoid sober living homes with these problems:
- Unclean or messy common areas
- Outdoor grounds that aren’t well maintained
- Sleeping quarters located in a garage or shed
- Pest infestations
- Broken or damaged walls, doors, and windows
- Kitchen and bathroom facilities that are in disrepair
- Poor lighting
Free Sober Living Homes
We all know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so be wary of sober living homes that offer free residency. Often, disreputable sober living homes will offer free residency or even offer to pay kickbacks to their residents. The staff typically do this to get insurance information, so they can submit false claims. In addition to being unethical and illegal, these situations can put you at a greater risk of identity theft.
Lack of Support
Among the rules and guidelines, you should find information pertaining to support meetings. In addition to adhering to a curfew and substance use restrictions, you should also be able to participate in group support meetings. If the facility doesn’t offer basic meetings, this may be a red flag that sobriety isn’t as valued as it should be.
Each sober living home will offer different resources and amenities to help you stay sober and rebuild your life. Facilities with more amenities will likely cost more, so you will have to work within your budget. However, you should expect a sober, safe, and well-maintained living environment at the very least. Use your best judgment and, if the sober living home gives you an uncertain feeling, it may be wise to look for another home.