There are 23 million Americans in long-term recovery from their alcohol or drug abuse, and I imagine that many of them of them lived in “sober livings” or recovery housing as they learned how to navigate life without drugs or alcohol. Today, sober livings are under siege as NIMBYism ramps up. I’m hearing rumblings about legislative movements to shuttle sober living homes off to industrial zones, or to shut them down entirely. It’s particularly disturbing because, as a result of their brain disease, our residents are classified as Americans with Disabilities, and their protections are threatened by the growing storm.
Where would we be without recovery housing? Let’s ask some notables who might have stepped inside those very doors as they embarked on their own recovery. That long, long list includes President G.W. Bush, Olympic champion Michael Phelps, prolific author Steven King, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and actor Daniel Radcliff (AKA “Harry Potter.”) I hardly consider them a blight on the landscape of humanity.
You’ll also find some unfamiliar faces among the millions in long-term recovery. Let’s listen to some of their voices:
- “Clean & Sober Transitional Living (CSTL) has given me a safe place to live and a great group of people who share the journey... I know that I am able to enjoy the life I have now because I managed to get here, managed to follow the few simple rules, and now choose to stay and surround myself with the people who understand me and share the same challenges of living a sober life. I'm truly grateful for everything I have learned here and that I found my tribe.” (Muriel)
- “Clean and Sober Transitional Living is an amazing place if you're trying to do something different with your life........ not only does it help you get clean and provide meetings but also helps you with all the aspects of living life on life's terms......... from the social part of living on a block with others fighting a similar fight........ honestly there is absolutely no comparison to anywhere else.” (Ross)
- “I never knew there was a better way to live. Clean and Sober gave me that. Amazing food. Amazing structure. Meetings every day. This place saved my life.” (Heather)
- “If you want change in your life this is a great place to start. This is a beautiful place of healing and love.” (Eric)
I’ll close on that note, with a simple request that people pay attention to the effort to ostracize recovery housing, and then let your support for recovery housing be heard. NIMBYism keeps people from getting and staying healthy. Sober living homes give people a chance to reclaim productive lives and fulfill their dreams. Who knows? The next Olympic champion may be living in recovery housing right around the corner.