A Fresh Start: Sober Living in Stuart, Florida
What does a fresh start mean to you? Does it mean all your troubles are behind you? That you have done your work and life goes back to normal? You have conquered your addiction and don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Not exactly. You will always be in recovery. You have a chronic disease, so your problem is not behind you, but now you can deal with it. A fresh start means starting over with knowledge, understanding, and new skills and putting them to work so you can ease your way into a substance-free life.
What Is a Sober Living House?
Sober living houses (SLHs) are alcohol and drug-free living residences for people trying to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs. These houses may have some government-funding, but the residents pay most of the costs themselves. The principles they follow emphasize 12-step attendance and peer support groups.
A critical part of a person’s social network is the living environment. The realization of this is what led to an escalation of residential and inpatient treatment programs during the 1960s and 70s. The theory was to get clients away from detrimental living situations that aided in continuing substance abuse. Therefore, they can begin creating new social support systems during treatment.
Every sober house has its own organizational structure. Typically, residents will work their way up in the home to earn more liberties. A new resident may have more chores and responsibilities, but as they prove themselves by remaining sober and doing what’s right, they will move up to receive more freedom.
Sober houses were created where clients could live after completing a residential treatment program or while they attended outpatient treatment. Several studies showed that living in a sober living house improved treatment outcomes.
What to Expect in Sober Living
Sober living houses don’t typically provide group counseling, case management, treatment planning, or a structure of daily activities. But still, a study tracking 300 people living in an SLH over an 18-month period discovered that house residents had considerable improvement on a variety of outcomes including:
- alcohol and drug use
- alcohol and drug-related problems
- psychiatric symptoms
And the improvements were maintained even though most of the residents left by 18 months.
Rules of Sober Living Homes
Although each sober living house has its own set of rules, most of the rules are based around common goals of staying sober, respectful, and in control of your recovery. Breaking some rules may lead to immediate eviction from the home. And breaking other rules may just bring consequences such as a loss of privileges.
Common rules include:
- Abstinence from the use of drugs or alcohol
- Submitting to random or scheduled drug or alcohol testing
- Attending support groups or 2-step meetings as required by your counselor or house leader
- Participation in house meetings.
- Being respectful of others in the home
- No violence of any kind
- No sexual contact at the house
- Pay rent and other detailed bills or share of costs
- Following curfew time
Advantages of Sober Living Homes
Sober house living has several advantages. But the actual advantages that the individual experiences depend on the person’s attitude and needs. Some benefits include:
- Affordable when compared to the cost of renting a home or apartment.
- Effective. People who enrolled in a recovery home had markedly lower substance abuse rates two years later than those who didn’t choose to enter sober living.
- Diverse options. It’s possible to find houses that serve all types of people—some for families, Veterans, or LGBTQ.
- Continued participation in 12-step programs reduces rates of relapse.
- Ability to apply 12-step lessons in real-life situations.
- Peer support from others in the house who have similar goals.
- Motivation to stick to the sober living plan.
- Ability to live well right out of treatment even without your own home to go to.
The Role of Social Factors
Research is still documenting the role of social factors in recovery. One study of the problem and dependent alcohol users discovered that social support was associated with drinking results. The best results were predicted by alcohol-specific social support that discouraged drinking. And clients who had a higher number of abstainers and recovering alcoholics in their social networks had better outcomes 3 years after completing treatment.
Two important aspects of recovery that are affirmed are :
A connection is highly regarded in the recovery community in 12-Step programs, rehabs, and sober coaching. It gives them support and motivation that people need to change their lives and stay sober. One study found that having a recovery circle, or network of people rooting for your abstinence, can greatly impact a person’s ability to remain sober up to three years later.
Soberlink Remote Alcohol Monitoring is a tool that is used by hundreds of treatment programs to highlight accountability and connection. Soberlink uses government-grade facial recognition technology. It allows clients to submit tests anytime, anywhere. The results confirming sobriety are wirelessly sent in real-time to recovery coaches and staff to help support accountability. Testing clients consistently helps build accountability for sobriety and allows them to remain connected to their recovery circles.
Possible Disadvantages of SLHs
Although there are many advantages to sober living houses, they do have their limits. Such as:
- Being forced to take part in 12-step programs. Some people don’t respond well to 12-step programs.
- Possibility of being evicted with little or no warning. Anxiety and stress from the constant realization of eviction if a rule is broken.
- Some homes have poor living quarters that are more like homeless shelters.
- Limit on time—Residents are usually required to move out after several months, whether they feel ready or not. Residents who don’t feel prepared to live independently will occasionally return to outpatient treatment for continuing care.
- Financing the house—Financing often includes government-funding which puts the houses at risk for funding cuts. However, residents do usually hold employment while in the house and contribute to the expenses.
- Formal treatment requirement—Some people don’t want to be involved with formal treatment programs. They might have relapsed after treatment and feel they need increased support for recovery, but don’t want to enter another formal treatment program.
Clearly, you should do some investigation before choosing a sober living house. The disadvantages listed don’t apply to all SLHs but have been seen.
How to Choose an SLH
Because there are so many benefits and so many potential negative elements in a sober living house, it’s important to choose carefully. Plans for sober housing should be made long before you or a family member is released from treatment. Consider these things;
- Is the cost affordable and reasonable?
- Where is the house located, and what are the surroundings?
- Who are the residents and leaders of the home, and what are their attitudes towards others? Ask residents how they like it and how they feel about the leader.
- Make an inspection of the home and ask questions.
- Research online to find reports and reviews of the facility.
A Fresh Start in Stuart, Florida
You can get your fresh start in Stuart, Florida. There is a facility that can offer you a safe space between treatment and returning home to your community.
A Fresh Start is a men’s-only living facility where you can continue to receive support and encouragement from your peers. You have a ready-made support group offering help and a sense of fellowship from your first day.
Stuart FL: An Intracoastal Gem
Stuart is a city in Martin County, Florida, and it is located on Florida’s Treasure Coast. It is often cited as one of the best small towns to visit in the U.S. mainly because of its nearness to the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. In most places, you can get in the water and see all the way to the bottom. You may see snook and lobster. “Our environment is pristine,” says the president of the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce.
Stuart’s shoreside areas are shared with sea turtles, and you don’t need a boat to see dolphins swimming offshore. But the spiky mohawk sailfish is the real star here. The city of Stuart is known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World.” This is because of the many sailfish found in the ocean off Martin County.
In the 18th century, some Spanish galleons were shipwrecked in the Martin County area of the Treasure Coast as a result of a hurricane. The ships were carrying quantities of gold and silver. Since then, some of the treasure has been discovered and resulted in giving the region its name.
History of Sober Living Homes
SLHs have been around since the mid-1800s. They have gone through many changes since then. They started in the 1800s with homes linked to the Washingtonian Temperance Society in Boston. In the 1900s, homes linked with Alcoholics Anonymous became popular. They were called Twelfth-Step Houses.
“Halfway houses” were often government-funded in the 50s. They were founded because of concerns about sustaining personal recovery after a treatment program. Today, halfway houses are still used as a way to further entry into society for addicts and occasionally prison inmates.
Minnesota Model—This model was designed using the principals of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was developed during the 1950s and is the basis for the social model for recovery, which is the foundation for modern, sober living houses.
Oxford House—This model uses a democratic guidance system. There are rules regarding abstinence and taking part in recovery activities (like NA or AA). It was meant to be more economical because all the residents share the cost of the rent and utilities and pay a small fee to sustain membership in the Oxford House network.
Regional networks—There are other networks of sober living homes like Oxford House. They were started to promote self-supported and self-governed residences. An example is the Sober Living Network that represents 550 homes in Southern California.
Because of the lack of national coordination among the regional networks and independent homes, leaders had a conference to develop standards and unify homes around the best practices. The National Alliance for Recovery Residents (NARR) was the result of that conference. The NARR created standardized language and definitions to define homes based on the level of services and structure that they provide.
Other Recovery Support in Stuart, Florida
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)—Twelve-step programs have proven to be an effective way to maintain sobriety. In AA, recovering and those who want to be recovering alcoholics meet to discuss ways to deal with their disease. Participants share valuable information about dealing with relapse triggers and handling life in recovery.
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA)—Narcotics anonymous is the arm of AA that specifically speaks to recovery from abuse of narcotic substances. You can find meetings at www.na.org/meetingsearch.
- SMART Recovery—Self-Management and Recovery Training is a support group for people dealing with any type of addiction. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, gambling, or overeating, the goal is to help you develop the power within yourself to change your life. You can learn more at www.smartrecovery.org/local-meetings.
- Spring of Living Water Counseling—Licensed clinicians use various scientific counseling methods to treat addiction, anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD, and other issues. French, Creole, and Faith-based services are available.
Relapse after Treatment
The idea of a relapse can be frightening for a person recovering from addiction. It is also just as scary for their friends and loved ones. But for many people, relapse is just part of the recovery process. The National Institute on
Drug Abuse says addiction is a chronic relapsing disease and has estimated that about 40-60% of people who have completed a treatment program for substance abuse will experience some type of relapse.
Any chronic condition can flare up from time to time, whether it’s diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or substance addiction. It could be that the medication stopped working, or the disease progressed, and more aggressive care is needed. It isn’t your fault; it just means that maybe it’s time to try a new treatment.
6 Strategies to Help Prevent a Relapse
Although relapse is common for alcoholics and addicts in recovery, it is not inevitable. Here are some suggestions that might help diminish its effects:
- Go to a 12-step group meeting. Taking part in a support program that helps people stay abstinent from drinking and drug use provides support and encouragement from peers who have been where you are.
- Surround yourself with positive people. If you hang out with drinkers and drug users after you have completed treatment, the chances are good that you will relapse. Sobriety works best if you surround yourself with sober people.
- Mind your HALT. This is a well-known acronym in the recovery community. If you don’t know it, learn it. It means you shouldn’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Any one of those can lead to a relapse.
- Learn new methods of coping. In recovery, you need to learn how to deal with the ups and downs of life without turning to a drink or drugs. You must learn new coping skills to deal with stress.
- Remain cautious. Time in sobriety doesn’t exempt you from a relapse. Anyone can relapse at any point in time. If you relapse after a long period of sobriety, you will not pick up where you left off, you will pick up where you would be if you had never quit.
- If you do relapse, reach out. You may feel humiliated if you relapse after achieving sobriety. But isolating yourself will only make it worse. Immediately get back into the regimen that helped you get sober in the first place. Support meetings and a sober network will work again.
Your Future is Now
If you or a loved one is in treatment or going into treatment for a substance use disorder, it is not too early to consider a Sober Living Home. A Fresh Start, located in the small seaside town of Stuart, Florida, is a calm, serene spot to continue recovery. You can learn to live independently but still have the support and guidance of a peer group.
You deserve a safe, drug, and alcohol-free environment. This allows you to practice the skills you learned in treatment in real-life situations. But without many of the triggers. A Fresh Start can be your bridge into the future. Contact us here.
Men’s Only Sober Living Facility
24-Bed Apartment Style Living in Beautiful Stuart, Florida
12-Step Fellowship Meetings
Our 12-step self-help meetings are designed to support you through your recovery after drug or alcohol addiction, helping prepare you for an independent sober lifestyle.
Who We Are
About A Fresh Start Sober Living
A men’s only sober living facility, a Fresh Start is dedicated to helping courageous men in recovery make a smooth and successful transition back into the real world, one step at a time. We offer 24/7 on-site supervision by staff who truly care about your wellbeing and want to help you achieve the dream of lifelong recovery.