By Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living

When you think of “recovery housing,” what crosses your mind? Most people’s definition of recovery housing begins and ends with “a house without drugs or alcohol.” News flash: recovery housing is that, and so much more.

The residents of CSTL shed light on what recovery housing means to them. “Being active in a sober living environment and being able to relate to another alcoholic has kept me clean and sober for over nineteen months and still going strong. For that, I’m grateful” wrote one of our residents. He’s talking about what social scientists consider “the glue” of recovery housing. It’s a culture of connection and community that gives us purpose and validation as human beings. Connection is the antidote for the loneliness and isolation that can be dangerous to those who struggle with drugs or alcohol. And fostering connection is one of the things we do best.

We designed CSTL to give people a chance to live with others who care about them. Our residents eat meals together. They volunteer together at Fair Oaks community events. They attend AA or NA meetings together, and they often walk together to those meetings. They gather in their sober homes to discuss the day or provide a shoulder to learn on. They strengthen their recovery by helping others be strong.

How do we know that recovery housing “works?” A growing body of evidence shows that recovery housing increases connectedness, a key indicator of quality of life. Our own numbers tell a similar tale. More than 6500 people have lived at CSTL since I opened the doors in 1989, and those residents have bolstered their recovery in a setting that’s been intentionally designed to increase connection and community. Overwhelmingly, our residents have sober “Ever Afters” when they transition from our recovery housing to the real world. In great part, that’s because they’ve built a strong support system via connection and community, pride and purpose.

Here’s another way that recovery housing works: Practically speaking, recovery housing opens doors that are often closed to addicts and alcoholics. Substance Use Disorder takes prisoners on many fronts. Evictions, bad credit, lost jobs and criminal convictions don’t make it easy for anyone to find housing. For the newly sober, recovery housing is often the only open door for safe, sober and affordable housing.

Others might roll up the Welcome mat and latch the deadbolt to those who seek a drug and alcohol-free life. Our doors at CSTL are wide open for those who want to change their lives.

Wishing you the best in 2018.

FullSizeRender9By Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living

The holiday season brings a lot of emphasis on giving and getting gifts. Well, I get to be part of that every month of the year when CSTL residents give and receive AA recovery chips. No holiday is necessary to make those meetings special!

Recovery chips tend to mean different things at different points in a person’s recovery. When people have just gotten sober, receiving a chip is a validation to the outside world that they’re headed down the right path. It’s one of the few measuring sticks we have for sobriety. Everybody knew when you were abusing drugs or alcohol, so now everybody can witness the validation of your sobriety. Yes, there is ego involved here, and it’s a healthy, motivating force because it prompts us to recognize how far we’ve come in our recovery. And it prompts our peers to offer up the support for sobriety that can be essential early in the game.

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By John Perry, co-founder of Clean & Sober Recovery Services

What could 2018 look like without alcohol or other drugs? Let me count the ways…

No more harm to self or others. Fewer fights. No more trips to the pawn shop to retrieve family jewelry. Fewer trips to the ER. Fewer trips to jail, the courthouse or prison. Fewer car accidents, or accidents in general. No more covering up to Grandma, Grandpa and friends. Less self-hatred. Less sorrow and disappointment. Fewer broken marriages. Fewer lost jobs. Fewer disability claims. Less domestic violence. Less child abuse. Fewer secrets.

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Many people lack even a basic understanding of why some people drink too much or use drugs. They don’t understand the problem, and they don’t understand solutions. Now that the holidays are here, the pressure is on families to overlook or address a loved one's substance misuse - but they don't know how. Give them the gift of education by sharing Recovery 101, a FREE basic primer about addiction, treatment and recovery.

These are some of the topics that interventionist/family counselor Ricki Townsend tackles in Recovery 101.

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