From the Desk of Rudy L. Troyer, LCSW
Sober Living Homes, also referred to as Transitional Living Homes or Halfway Houses, have long become an affordable option for providing an individual in early recovery a long-term, safe, and structured living environment where they can develop bonds with others in recovery and learn how to maintain their own long-term sobriety. Unfortunately, many sober living homes fail to truly provide an individualized experience that meets the specific and unique needs of each resident, particularly for women.
Through my family intervention business, private therapy practice, and co-owning The Recovery Center of Baton Rouge’s Intensive Outpatient Program with Marcia Bannister, LAC, I have had the opportunity work with hundreds, if not over a thousand, women in early recovery. I have learned from each of them specific needs of Women in early recover that differ sharply from men. More specifically, I have realized that there a several key components a Sober Living Program must provide if they are to afford their residents the healing necessary to over-come addiction and/or alcoholism. These components are as follows:
- Sober Living Needs to be a Step-Down in the full treatment continuum.Simply stated, for most Women suffering addiction or alcoholism issues, they will have a very hard time maintaining their recovery in a sober living environment if they have not first had adequate residential or intensive outpatient treatment. In our Sober Living for Women Program, all residents must have a minimum of thirty (30) days of sobriety and successfully completed an approved residential or outpatient treatment program or be currently a patient in our Intensive Outpatient Program. Furthermore, all of our residents also participate in a weekly 90-minute aftercare therapy group for women. Our residents also participate in a weekly community group lead by Mrs. Bannister and are encouraged to be engaged in outside individual therapy. This provides a sense of stability in the home for all residents. Sober Living environments are not equipped, clinically or medically, to provide Women the structure and support required during the first month of their recovery.
- Accountability, support, love, and boundaries.Addictions cannot survive without the deterioration of the person’s values and morals, boundary violations, dishonesty, and withdrawal from family and loved-ones. In stark contrast, recovery from addiction requires honesty, accountability, developing and repairing relationships, and the restoration of healthy boundaries, morals, and values. At our Sober Living for Women Program, each resident works closely with Marcia Bannister, LAC, their peers, AA/NA or Faith-Based Recovery Group Sponsors, their therapy group, and therapists in learning how to live a sober, healthy, and fulfilling life in recovery. Men are not allowed at Our Sober Living program unless they have been approved by our clinical team. Our program lovingly provides women with the support, accountability, and structure necessary to overcome their addictions.
- Support from other women in 12-step or faith based recovery.We cannot recover alone. Our residents are provide support from our Staff (specifically, Marcia Bannister, LAC) and the recovering community. They are encouraged to be actively working a program in AA, NA, or Faith-Based Groups such as Celebrate Recovery or New Beginnings at Healing Place Church. They are also encouraged to attend church weekly.
- Provide a home that is a “home.”Our Sober Living for Women Program strives to provide a comfortable, safe, and family like atmosphere. Our biggest hope is that our residents want to call our program “home” during this phase of their treatment and recovery.
- Provide both 12-step and Faith-Based recoveryMany programs fail to provide Christians struggling with addiction issues a recovery plan that respects their spiritual beliefs. At The Recovery Center, we provide an optional Christian recovery Program that includes weekly Bible Study, meetings with a Christian Counselor, and introduction to local Churches that provide Faith-Based Recovery groups.