The word “recovery” can mean many different things to people with addictions. For some, the word seems to refer to sobriety and the ability to face the morning without regrets of events that took place the night before. For others, the word means years and years of sobriety, as well as a reduction in the need to use and abuse substances. Still others might believe that recovery from addiction isn’t really possible, as these conditions tend to persist throughout one’s lifespan.
For some people, however, the word “recovery” is best used in the context of a living situation. These people may live in specialized recovery homes for addiction, and the help they get here may allow them to achieve their own type of recovery, no matter how they may define the word.
Data profiled by The Partnership at Drugfree.org suggests that about 10 percent of all Americans consider themselves part of the recovery moment. These people were willing to admit that they once had difficulties with either drugs or alcohol, and that they don’t have those issues now. Research like this seems to suggest that almost anyone with an addiction issue could easily find a peer who has once dealt with the same problem.
Even so, few people would feel comfortable polling their acquaintances and asking about their addiction histories. And, even if addicted people did find peers in recovery, they may find it hard to move in with that peer. Most people require a little bit of privacy at home, and few people are comfortable with the idea of letting distant family members or friends move in.
Even so, some people in the early stages of an addiction recovery process just need the help of supportive peers. They may need to discuss their concerns from time to time, for example, and they may wish to live in a home that doesn’t contain either alcohol or drugs. People like this may also like to live with good role models who can demonstrate an ironclad will to stay sober. In a home like this, they won’t be tempted to relapse, and they can learn more about what a long-term recovery might look like and feel like on a day-to-day basis. A recovery home is designed to provide all of these benefits.
A recovery home is designed to help people learn more about how to live a sober lifestyle. The help provided might be similar, but these facilities may go by several different names, including:
Each home may serve a slightly different segment of the population and provide care that differs just a little in one way or another. But, these facilities are all designed to help people move through the recovery process with a little bit of added support. Instead of living at home, surrounded by temptation, they’ll have a safe and sober place to live, and peers who can help them to make good choices concerning their recovery process.
It’s hard to know how many recovery homes there are within the United States, as the National Association of Recovery Residences points out that most of these facilities aren’t regulated at the national level. Some may be managed by the states, and they may include their information in polls about addiction care, but others may consider their work private, and they may have no reason to include their facilities in lists of care available within the state. Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that there are thousands of these facilities in communities all across America. Understanding how these facilities work may make their popularity a little easier to understand.
As the Pennsylvania Department of Health aptly points out, recovery homes can’t be considered a form of care for an addiction issue. These facilities don’t provide therapy, and there are no medical professionals on site that can assist with medications or physical complications of addiction. Additionally, the facilities aren’t typically funded by health insurance companies, and they’re not always licensed by the state. In a way, they’re a little like apartments or group housing complexes, but the help provided here might set these facilities apart from more generalized housing choices available in the community.
Unlike private homes, in which people are free to do as they please, those who move into a recovery home are often asked to abide by a strict set of rules. These rules are designed to allow a large group of people to live together without harming one another or feeling as though their rights are abused, but the rules might also help people to develop a healthy lifestyle. The day might be broken into segments, with meals, chores, meetings and work taking place at the same time each day. Residents might be asked to keep their living spaces tidy, and they might be required to turn off the lights at a specific time at night. These are the sorts of schedules that can keep a person on the sober path when treatment ends, as people with schedules just have less time available to use and abuse drugs. Their lives are focused on being productive.
A recovery home can also help people to make progress in the fight against addiction. Random urine tests for the presence of drugs are common, allowing the administrators of the home to ensure that all clients are maintaining a commitment to a clean lifestyle. Clients might also be required to produce their treatment plans, including details about the medications they take and the appointments they’re expected to keep with their treatment teams. Following those plans might be required, and those who don’t comply might be forced to leave the home. It’s also typical for recovery home leaders to conduct periodic searches of client rooms, removing any and all alcohol-based and drug-based products.
Helping clients to stick with their treatment plans, and ensuring that the home is free of any products that might tempt a return to drug use, are among the most studied benefits of recovery homes. In one such study, in the journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers suggested that abstinence support and information provided in a recovery home was key to a resident’s feelings of self-efficacy regarding abstinence. By living in a recovery home and learning more about addiction, these authors suggest, residents build up their own skills and they feel more confident about their ability to handle their own lives. It’s a huge benefit, and it could be one of the main reasons people choose to live inside the walls of a recovery home.
In addition to providing a sober place in which to live and requiring that residents comply with their treatment programs, many recovery homes also ask residents to participate in regular support group meetings in the 12-step model developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. These meetings allow residents to learn more about addiction and how they can make better choices each and every day to reduce their stress and stay sober at the same time.
In a study about the benefits of these meetings for people living in recovery homes, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse, 72 percent of residents reported that they attended these meetings simply because they wanted to learn more about how to maintain their sobriety effectively. The meetings allowed them to build on the benefits they were already receiving through their participation in the recovery home.
Meetings like this can also help residents to learn more about one another, and strengthen the ties to the community that they might already feel. In each meeting, they share and they learn, not only about addiction as a concept, but how addiction has touched the lives of the people they live with on a daily basis. They may feel closer to the other residents, and they may feel the walls of isolation, built up by years of addiction, begin to crumble away.
Since sobriety is a key factor in the success of a recovery home, most facilities require residents to provide proof of sobriety that’s lasted for at least a month. This isn’t the place for people who are still taking drugs and who want to stop in the near future. Instead, this is a place for people who are already on the road to a recovery, and who might need a little help in order to ensure that they stay on the right track. As a result, it’s not uncommon for people to enter these facilities after they’ve completed an inpatient addiction program. It’s also not uncommon for people to enroll in these facilities when they’re obtaining outpatient care for addiction and have a few weeks of sobriety already underway. Both sets of people could benefit from the help a recovery home can provide.
If you’d like to know more about how these facilities operate, or you’d like to find a recovery home in your area, please call us. Foundations Recovery Network facilities such as Foundations Nashville and Foundations Atlanta provide homes like this, as do our programs located in other parts of the country. We’re happy to help you find the right facility to meet your needs.