A SOBER HOUSING VISION
Someday there will be recovery supportive housing and community centers throughout the United States. These clusters will be developed with a variety that will include individual houses, apartments, and congregate living accommodations. There will be a mixture of housing with normal-cost apartments for recovery veterans and low-cost, supervised shared housing for those in early recovery. In many accommodations there will be specially designed housing sections for women and/or men with children that have play areas and childcare. Sober housing clusters will be designed to accommodate persons who are physically and mentally challenged.
Sober housing clusters will be recovery-promoting incubators. The clusters will include meeting spaces to host self-help and educational meetings, recreational, and social events. They will be operated within a democratic culture and a high level of recovery enthusiasm.
These clusters will become islands of sobriety in our alcohol and drug using society. Sober housing and community centers will become continuously available as a recovery assistance resource for alcoholics, addicts, and family members. They will be available and noticeable not only to those who are fully into their addiction, but those who are in their earlier or experimental stages. Communities of stable recovering persons can easily absorb newly recovering persons into their community.
Currently many sober living homes are trying to meet the needs of newly recovering persons without the benefit of having a core of stable recovering residents or the management resources to meet their needs for recovery and other supportive services.
The rationale for cluster housing is that the self-help learning process occurs over time. The greater the exposure to a comprehensive recovery environment with many recovery activities and a predominance of recovering people, the greater chance a person has to learn recovery. The need for a balance of recovery experiences became evident when twelve-step meetings dominated by newcomers were not as effective in assisting recovery as those meetings where most members have long-term stable recovery.
One urban and suburban development trend—the growth and popularity of mixed use commercial and residential developments—can facilitate the development of recovery-friendly environments where blocks of residential capacity can be designed and promoted to attract individuals in recovery.