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What to Look for in a Recovery Home

Recovery homes are residences that help people transition from rehabilitation to long-term recovery. These homes provide a drug- and alcohol-free place to live while they find work, attend treatment, reunite with their families, and create a new daily routine that avoids intoxicating substances.

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Some people enter a recovery home after exiting an inpatient treatment program. Others live in a recovery home while they attend outpatient treatment.

The National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR) was founded in 2011 to promote this type of housing for people overcoming addiction, by creating a set of standards and credentials that recovery homes could apply for and implement. This ensures a higher standard of safety and excellence in care at recovery homes across the United States.

Various states across the country are also creating government-based standards of care and excellence for recovery homes. This helps potential residents and their loved ones understand what to look for.
24/7 Staff Support
Planned Activities
Peer & Community Led Support Groups
Life Skills Counseling
Comfortable Apartment Style Living
Transportation to Clinical Programing

FTR Recovery Home

Goals of a Recovery Home

The ultimate goal of any type of recovery house is increase a person’s stability, improve their personal functioning, and move the person toward a stable life in their community. Each recovery home has different external regulations based on local and state laws, along with which model it is based on or which organization created the home.

Every home must adhere to federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prevents discrimination based on mental and physical health, and the Fair Housing Act, which helps to prevent discrimination in housing situations.

Questions about state and local laws for recovery housing can be addressed to administrators at your rehabilitation program. These representatives can often help you find a new living situation.

The Basics of Good Recovery Homes

Many recovery homes are linked to specific addiction treatment programs, and these can be good places to start your search. If you choose a recovery home that has a connection with your addiction treatment program, you’ll know that the house rules and overall mentality will meld well with your treatment.

There is a wide variation in quality levels of recovery homes. Here are some basics to look for as you start your search:
What safety measures should be in place at a recovery home?

In addition to following local, state, and federal laws, each recovery house should adhere to building safety codes, fire safety codes, and “good neighbor” policies that keep the exterior of the house and associated yard or other property in good, clean, working condition. Most recovery homes require residents to have completed detox and rehabilitation, have a sponsor for a mutual support group or a regular therapist, and have a way of paying their own rent and bills. Most residents search for employment to pay their bills, but they often use savings or financial help from loved ones to get started. These are basic safety measures to ensure residents stay sober and working through the recovery process.

What level of accountability is part of recovery home living?

Unlike rehabilitation, recovery houses are not formal treatment programs. Instead, they provide a living space that disallows drugs and alcohol on the premises, with rare exceptions for prescription medications like antidepressants.Homes are run by peers who have worked through the aftercare and recovery process for longer than most of the residents. These individuals oversee the small or medium-sized group of residents, manage repairs and rent payments, and oversee the residents’ council. Recovery house residents are accountable to each other to follow the rules rather than a social worker, doctor, or therapist.Each house will have specific rules about chores, shared finances, house dinners, and other types of meetings. You will be required to do some chores to maintain the house, and you will be required to meet at least once a week with other residents. The intensity and frequency of these requirements vary by house.

What type of support structure exists in a recovery home?

 The internal support structure of a recovery home focuses on residents working together. Chores, regular meetings, and, shared expenses help to bring the house together.In some homes, counselors will come in to lead support group meetings. In others, residents essentially live in separate apartments and are only required to interact once a week for council meetings. Regardless of the specifics, the support structure is based on peer support rather than professional medical support or family support.While living in recovery housing, many residents take the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family members they may not have spoken to very much while in a more intense rehabilitation program. This can be part of the process of building a strong support system in early recovery. Living in a sober living home, rather than back at home, can give newly sober individuals the space to rebuild these relationships with family members safely before returning to live together again.Ultimately, recovery homes exist to provide a safer, more stable environment than the person’s home life may provide. The person may also focus on finding new friends through work and sober social groups. Other residents of the recovery home may provide vital support too.Finding the best type of residence for you can take some effort, but understanding how much support you need, and what kind of support, can help you find the right group to live with. You may ask your case manager, therapist, or social worker at your rehabilitation program for help finding the right transitional residence.

How can I apply for or enroll in a recovery home?

Some recovery homes accept applicants who need post-rehabilitation housing whenever a room becomes available. Others take applications and have the residential council vote on potential new housemates. Inquire with the specific recovery home that interests you regarding their practices.

If a resident relapses back into substance abuse, they have broken the rules of the recovery house. However, this does not mean the resident is kicked out without options. Instead, they receive a greater level of support to detox again and return to a rehabilitation program. Relapses can be fatal. Recovery homes, especially those certified by NARR, support the ongoing recovery process to keep residents safe.

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