Brian Albright of Behavioral Healthcare writes a great article entitled: “8 ways to be a good sober home neighbor” in response to the explosive and necessary growth of the sober home/recovery residence therapeutic living model that has taken on more urgency as the nation comes to grips with facing and dealing with substance misuse across populations and demographics.
I sincerely appreciate Brian taking the time to speak with me about our experiences in South Florida.
In the article, Brian writes:
The number of sober homes is growing, and the need for recovery housing is greater than ever as the United States struggles with an epidemic of heroin and opioid addiction, and that means more potential community conflicts. NARR has developed a set of recovery home standards, including a good neighbor policy, that can help operators put best practices in place that can improve community relations.
“The good neighbor policies are really a product of decades of experience established in our affiliates around the country,” says NARR president Dave Sheridan. “The central principle is, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. The policy really centers around courtesy.”
Communication and education are also critical.
“What providers know and understand about the experience of residential recovery is a lot different than the assumptions in the community at large,” Sheridan says. “Those assumptions are often at odds with reality, but they are real to the people making them. Part of the challenge of a good operation is to change those stereotypes, and that takes time.”
Both the recovery community, neighbors and community leaders have to be willing to work together, says Palm Beach County attorney Jeffrey Lynne, whose firm, Beighley, Myrick, Udell & Lynne, represents hundreds of recovery home operators in Florida.
“If a community becomes committed to ensuring recovery residence meets its mission, then everybody wins,” Lynne says. How can a residence integrate better in the community? “It takes both sides coming together.”
While communities have to come to grips with the reality of the need for sober homes, there are things operators can do to smooth the transition. Here are eight strategies to mitigate confrontational reactions from neighborhood groups or city council and to help make sure your recovery home will be viewed as a good neighbor.
Here are the eight (8) ways to become a good sober home operator:
- Know the law and be prepared to educate community leaders;
- Join a NARR affiliate and adopt its standards;
- Minimize disruptions;
- Maintain the home as if it is your own;
- Communicate openly with the community;
- Act like a good neighbor;
- Become active in the community; and
- Work to establish good recovery housing across the community.
A more detailed discussion can be found at: http://www.behavioral.net/article/8-ways-be-good-sober-home-neighbor