Sober living homes are a safe haven for tens of thousands of people across the country. The fundamental ideas of a sober living home are easy to understand, with the home being a space for individuals to come to be a part of a sober community.
A healthy sober home should be a safe space that offers support in various ways, providing individuals with the means to get sober. For those who run sober living homes, though, there’s a set of home standards that need to be adhered to.
It’s more complicated than simply creating a safe and sober environment – you need to learn about managing a sober living house.
We’re going to take a look at some of the essential quality standards for sober homes today. Hopefully, the information below can give you a better idea of what you should be thinking about.
Let’s get started.
Sober Living Home Standards
The goal of the information below is to help you manage your home in a way that provides an ethical and effective means to sobriety. There are also a few longstanding organizations that have been staples of the sober living community for a long time.
These organizations set the pace for sober living homes in the United States and also offer certifications in some cases. For example, the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) has produced a set of quality guidelines that their associates adhere to.
These guidelines seek to address the wellbeing of the residences and the efficacy of the programs in terms of meeting business goals.
Before you look at how you treat your residents, think about your establishment’s general vision and business function. Are you abiding by all of the laws and regulations that bind sober living homes?
Are you aware of these laws, how they’re applied to you as the owner, and what you’re supposed to do in response to them? If you’ve run a home for several years, you might find that laws and regulations have changed recently.
It’s tough to say what specific laws might have changed in your area because states have unique regulations, respectively. That said, sober living homes were largely unregulated. Regulations are still a little foggy depending on where you are, but there may be some local, state, and Federal oversight that you need to adhere to.
Obtaining licensure, for example, might be a smart thing for you to do in your area. Doing so could be the only way for you to get referrals and make connections with state-run resources or state-affiliated health facilities.
So, the first thing to do is to look at the legal landscape in your area and make a plan to get in line with what will provide you with the best resources for your residents.
The Rights of Your Residents
The next thing to consider is your philosophy toward the rights and privacies of your residents.
Sober living homes have been host to instances of abuse, neglect, and the violation of various rights in the past. Any time there’s a vulnerable group taken care of by an establishment or organization, there’s an opportunity for manipulation.
Whether that happens at the business or individual level, you must create safeguards for that kind of failure. The first step is to establish a way to communicate the rights and expectations of your residents when they arrive.
Make sure they have a clear understanding of your sober living home rules, the rights they’re entitled to as individuals, and have them sign an agreement that they will respect those standards. They must understand the need to respect other residents’ rights and privacies as well.
Ensure that there’s a clear and effective way for residents to voice grievances. Further, ensure that their grievances don’t go untended. Have a clear way that you investigate complaints as well as clear punishments for different things.
That applies to the residents as well as the staff.
Person-Driven, Structured Programs
Another principle to maintain is the participation and effort required by your residents.
Your home should have a formula that’s driven by individual and staff participation. Both entities have a mutual interest in the sobriety and success of the individual upon leaving. You should have clear, research-driven steps on how your home facilitates that process.
Simply having a space where sober individuals live isn’t enough to lead to desirable outcomes. Program structures that are supported by research tend to do a lot better over time.
That structure includes classes, group social structures, responsibilities of residents, responsibilities of staff, and most aspects of the home.
Resident Responsibilities and Roles
One aspect of creating a successful environment is to give residents important roles. The responsibilities and expectations of individuals might grow and increase the longer they stay.
Peer management and expectations are a way to produce meaning and purpose inside the home and give individuals an increasing sense of confidence. The distribution of roles also provides a meaningful social structure within the house. Individuals with different positions can set examples, offer support, and cultivate skills.
Those positions are made more important when you solidify them through written agreements or contracts.
Focus on Recovery Support
Another thing that gets forgotten is the element of recovery. Individuals who come to the sober living house have likely undergone traditional recovery and are ready to establish a sober life.
Just because someone has gone through rehabilitation, though, doesn’t mean that they’re fully recovered. Addiction recovery is something that takes sustained commitment over a lifetime in most cases.
A healthy sober living home should serve to provide education and resources for individuals to safeguard their sobriety. That might include classes, mental health resources, training, and more.
Further, the atmosphere of recovery should be present at all times. Group discussions are one way to connect every day and keep recovery in mind at all times.
When groups are united through their shared struggle, that point of connection can serve as the bedrock of everything else the residents do. Sobriety and recovery are why people go to sober living homes, so make sure that fact is evident in your group values and business mission.
It seems like it would be difficult to forget the point of recovery, but it happens in sober living homes all of the time. The home becomes a place for people to stay for a while before they get back on their feet instead of a facility where they can get sober and learn from their peers.
Create a Truly Safe Space
The idea of a “safe space” can be vague.
In terms of your sober living home, the environment should be safe in every sense of the word. It’s never possible to make things one-hundred percent safe, but there’s a lot that you can do to make sure things are pretty well taken care of.
The first thing to ensure is that everyone is physically safe. Ensure that the home is secure from intruders and that there are methods of keeping residents safe from one another if those issues should occur. That also means that you have to establish ways for visitors to come and be monitored.
Sign-ins and sign-outs are standard methods. The point is to ensure that people cannot come to the sober living facility and disrupt your mission. People could sneak drugs or alcohol into your home, for example.
Ensure that the climate and temperature are comfortable for residents. Be prepared to feed all of your residents without any errors in ordering or preparing meals. Food insecurity is a fundamental fear and not one that should ever enter your home.
Many individuals come from volatile or difficult situations, so our job as sober living professionals is to provide stability wherever we can.
Further, you have to try to ensure that your home is emotionally safe. Residents should feel comfortable and at home. If unruly residents make it difficult for others to voice their thoughts and opinions, that’s something that you need to know how to address.
There’s a lot to keep track of while you’re running a sober living home. At first, it might seem like an impossible task.
You’ll get the hang of it over time as long as you find ways to stay organized and responsible. Write everything down, deliberate responsibilities to your staff in a way that will ease the load for everyone, and know that minor mistakes will occur.
After a while, you’ll find ways to keep your home’s quality standards without having to spread yourself thin.
Learn More About Managing a Sober Living House
You need to utilize your resources if you’re going to run a sober living home. Whether that means you use a source to keep up on home standards, or you need a way to find new clients reliably, we’re here to help.
When someone searches “sobriety houses near me,” our goal is to help you be the best option they can find.
Explore our site for more resources to use as you learn about managing a sober living house.