Addiction is a Collective Problem that Affects us All
Addiction continues to devastate the American landscape. Individuals and families of all socio-economic backgrounds across the country are experiencing loss as the direct result of a drug or alcohol problem. With the opioid epidemic in full swing, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention that 70,237 people died from a fatal drug overdose in 2017. This is up from 63,600 in 2016. This statistic represents the highest number of fatal drug overdoses in a single year in American history.
Additionally, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that approximately 88,000 people die every year in the United States from an alcohol-related death. Alcohol misuse is now the third leading cause of preventable death in America.
Furthermore, the National Institute on Drug Abuse that alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription opioids are responsible for at least $520 billion in costs related to crime, healthcare costs, and a loss of productivity.
In our nation’s history, there has never been a greater need for a community effort to stop the cycle of addiction in the lives of those who are struggling with a substance use disorder. Addicted people are parents, beloved children, loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Addiction is still highly stigmatized in American culture. But, no longer can we afford to consider addicted people “those people.” They are OUR people.
Understanding the Value of Sober Living Houses
One of the most important ways communities can support the national effort to heal individuals and their families from addiction is to embrace privately owned sober living houses in neighborhoods.
Our CARF-accredited, licensed facility has been helping women get sober for over 40 years. We understand that women who complete addiction treatment need a strong support system and a stable living environment once they leave rehab. To ensure the success of our clients, we offer sober living to provide long-term support to women, which promotes ongoing recovery.
Studies have shown that those who reside at a sober living home for at least 90 days substantially increase their chances of enjoying continuous sobriety. This greatly reduces the risk of a fatal overdose, DWI, drug arrests, and other negative consequences that result from addiction.
Encouraging measures that keep addicted people sober makes our communities safer, drives down the cost to taxpayers, and lessens the odds that someone will lose a family member because of a fatal overdose or alcohol-related illness. This is good news for everyone.
The Benefits of Having a Sober Living House in Your Neighborhood
There is a perpetuated myth that a sober living house can drive down property values. Many people have the illusion that a sober living house will attract drug activity, poorly maintained homes and yards, loud music, crime, traffic, and shady characters. This is simply not true.
Perhaps if we shared some information about our sober living house, you might be more inclined to support sober living in your neighborhood. Our strict guidelines are the norm rather than the exception when it comes to privately owned sober houses.
Here are 8 things you should know about our sober living community:
- Our sober house is beautifully landscaped and well-maintained. We take pride in our property and are committed to impeccable standards when it comes to presentation. Our sober living is CARF accredited (one of the only ones in Orange County, CA).
- The women who come to stay with us are required to stay for a minimum of 30 days. Most stay for much longer. This reduces high turnover and promotes stability within the home.
- Our sober house is fully staffed to provide round-the-clock care to our residents and reduce the likelihood of a relapse. This means residents are supervised at all times.
- The women who stay with our work, go to school or must commit to some kind of community service. This is a requirement, which promotes responsibility and accountability.
- We have a strict curfew. Women must be home early in the evening and are not allowed to leave after a certain time. This is for the safety of our residents’ recovery and also eliminates the potential for disruptions to our neighbors.
- We also have therapeutic rules that govern the household. We expect our residents to demonstrate respectful and thoughtful behavior at all times. Inappropriate behavior toward other residents or members of our community will not be tolerated.
- Residents must be actively participating in their recovery to stay at our sober living house. All residents also participate in outpatient services at our facility, attend self-help meetings, and give back to the community.
- Finally, women must stay drug and alcohol-free when they stay at our sober house. We perform regular, random drug tests.
We have developed these guidelines for the benefit of our residents and also for the community at large. We are focused on being good neighbors and we are sensitive to the needs of our community.
The Benefit of Having a Sober House in Your Neighborhood
What many people fail to realize is that sober houses offer residents the opportunity to give back to their communities through volunteer work. We encourage the women who stay with us to get out and make a positive difference in the lives of others.
We also organize community projects to build up our community and demonstrate the importance of local involvement to recovering women. This promotes a sense of belonging, accountability, and responsibility to women who are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. It also gives neighbors the opportunity to get to know women in recovery and see them as hurting (rather than bad) people. This reduces stigma.
Quite often, sober houses will organize the clean up of trash and debris in their neighborhoods, assist the elderly and others in need, and plant a community garden. Most people in recovery are eager to get out and help others. As a general rule, people suffering from substance use disorder feel shame and guilt for the harm they caused in active addiction and they are looking for ways to redeem themselves. This type of selfless service brings neighbors closer and makes them better places to live.
Take Another Look at Sober Living
If you have always believed that privately owned sober houses are detrimental to neighborhoods, we respectfully ask you to reconsider your point of view. Sober living homes are designed to help addicted people pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. The reality is that most people who receive substance abuse treatment are good people who want to be active members of their communities. They are not bad people. They are sick people who need help.
Healing happens at sober houses. Healing for the individual means healing for families, communities, and society at large. In the spirit of taking positive action to battle the opioid epidemic, neighbors can serve the greater good by reevaluating preconceived notions about privately owned sober living homes.