Sober Living: What to ask?
This article from the fix is impeccable. How do you tell a quality sober living from a random house looking to fit as many people and call it a process? The fact that it brings back power to the client is important. We'd like to add our own questions that help to refine the outcome after providing sober living in San Diego for over 5 years.
How often do you drug test?
This one is a biggie. There tends to be cost cutting in drug testing because it can be up to $10 dollars a test. The second one is alcohol breathalyzer. Alcohol is 'easier' to 'bring in' a sober house. We have found that the costs for testing is actually an investment and keeps sober living clients accountable. Our data also shows that the more we have tested, the better the outcomes. It is not uncommon for sober living homes to test once it is very evident that someone is either using or is on a behavioral path to do so. Testing often helps deter and many times eliminate excessive relapse in sober living homes. We recommend a minimum of once a week on urine and at least twice on breathalyzer.
What is the relapse policy?
Rarely do people talk about relapse and it's important to know that not only does it happen, but its less common to have continued and extended sobriety. Sad? Unfortunate? Drug and alcohol recovery is messy and, let's not forget, mortal. We do have hope. It is important to set clear the consequences of relapse, and not in a manner of punitive measures, but as to keeping a home safe for sober living clients. The greater the structure, the safer it is. Relapse with a focus on money can lead to sober homes charging reinstatement fees or simply feeling afraid to asking someone to leave because of losing a clients expenses at the end of a month. A quality sober living home will care more about safety than money. Our experience shows that having options to staying at a local hotel, going back to detox or having another sober living home to begin recovery (with their residents aware of the issue) will lead to a greater connection to the community and ties not broken. There should be consequences but there is no need to punish a behavior that many times is cognitive and biological and not a decision of morals.
Communication. Communication. Communication.
Although you can't nanny a loved one, it is important to know what the process of communication will be in both relapse, payment and/or changes. Do get treatment and support with both the rehab and ideally a therapist, and knowing you are not on your own should reduce stress for everyone. Our prayers go out to those seeking help and information reminding everyone that we are not starting from scratch and that sober living homes like By The Sea Recovery look to find innovation in data, process and ultimately outcomes in the sober living world.