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.