By Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living
If you look up “intentional living” in Wikipedia, you will see it defined as “any lifestyle based on an individual or group's conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs. These can include lifestyles based on religious or ethical values, as well as coaching, personal transformation, and leadership training.” So intentional living communities can attract and embrace a variety of residents. Consider communities of Vegans, Buddhists, school teachers, Seniors, or those who choose to live a life of sobriety. Each of these communities is built on the shared values of their residents.
Living with people who share your values and beliefs creates community, which is the antidote to loneliness and isolation. And loneliness is one of the primary reasons why so many people drink or use drugs in the first place. When I sought out companionship in a bar, I did much more drinking than “companioning.” After three or four beers, any hope of authentic companionship went out the window. As the old song goes, I was looking for love (or friendship, or happiness) in all the wrong places. I was seeking a buddy and instead found isolation and toxicity in a bottle.
The whole idea of a recovery community is that that people prefer the companionship of like-minded people over the loneliness that comes with drugs and alcohol. (Even rats prefer companionship to drugs, as we’ve seen in the famous Rat Park study.) New residents at CSTL may start out thinking like short-timers, but then they stick around because they see the benefits. I’ve often been told, “I’ve never lived in a place like this,” and it’s true. At CSTL, the neighbors are friendly. They care about each other. They offer support during difficult times. And they are working on improving their lives and the lives of others.
Coincidentally, there are several intentional living "Eco developments" now blossoming in our area. One of them describes itself as “A pedestrian-friendly village for people of all ages, where neighbors know and care about each other. Young folks have mentors, older folks have support.” Well, CSTL sounds an awful lot like that Fair Oaks co-housing community of like-minded people. We wish those intentional living communities the best as they attract residents who embrace “the place and the purpose” the way our residents have.
One of our residents lived here for 17 years, and he left our community to get married. That is certainly an anomaly: Most of our residents live here for a year or two as they fortify lives of recovery. But 17 years speaks volumes about the strength of the community we’ve built at CSTL. Come check us out and see how we work.