People in recovery usually know they must change the people they hang out with, stay away from high-risk locations and avoid things that could cause a craving. That’s why the number of sober living homes is increasing across the country.
The alcohol- and drug-free living environments are recommended for people who complete addiction treatment programs. Many people live in them for their first months or years in recovery. But where do they go after that? If a person doesn’t have family nearby, how do they find sober places to live?
Many people look online. That’s what Jesse Sandler did when he was trying to help young adults in recovery move out of transitional living situations. Sandler is a social worker for an intensive outpatient program in California.
“A lot of times people move states or move cities to live in their sober living [homes],” Sandler told DrugRehab.com. “And they want to stay in that area. When they’re moving out of the sober livings, they’re having trouble finding sober roommates to live with.”
Jesse Sandler’s podcast about MySoberRoommate.com.
Rooming with another person in recovery is beneficial because both roommates understand the challenges of sobriety. They’re committed to keeping alcohol and other drugs out of the home, but sober roommates can be difficult to find.
So Sandler and a colleague, Dr. Emily Churg, created a website called MySoberRoommate.com to help people find someone sober to live with. The demand for the resource has been apparent.
“We launched the website in June of 2016, and we already have almost 4,000 members on the site,” Sandler said. “That’s a pretty substantial number.”
The website is one of few resources available to people in recovery who are looking for others in recovery to live with. Another website, RoommatesInSobriety.com, has a similar purpose.
Roommates in Sobriety lists profiles of people looking for sober roommates. The profiles include details about the person, such as approximate age, smoking status, length of sobriety and optional details about his or her personality. Profiles also list a telephone number and email address for potential roommates to contact. Readers do not have to create an account to view the listings.
Sandler’s website provides more privacy. Online users must create an account before searching the listings. Profiles include basic information about people, but they don’t include phone numbers or email addresses. Instead, people can contact potential roommates using My Sober Roommate’s private messaging service.
Numerous studies indicate that people in recovery have better recovery outcomes if they live in sober living homes, halfway houses and other transitional living environments after treatment. The homes usually mandate or strongly encourage participation in outpatient treatment or self-help groups, such as 12-step programs.
“The longer you stay in treatment, the higher the chances are of success,” Allison Walsh of Advanced Recovery Systems told DrugRehab.com. “We encourage patients to stay at least a year at Next Step Village.”
Next Step Village is a sober living home run by Advanced Recovery Systems. Residents at Next Step Village are encouraged to find work or go to school during the day, and they receive outpatient therapy at a nearby rehab center at night.
Sober living homes are the ideal environment for most people, but they aren’t accessible for everyone. Some people work too far from a sober living home, and many homes have long waiting lists. Some sober homes are affordable, but others are expensive.
Sandler said MySoberRoommate.com serves people transitioning out of sober living homes and people who can’t afford homes in their city. The website is still growing, and Sandler is hoping to gain enough members to serve people in every region across the United States. If all works according to plan, people in recovery will have another resource to help them stay sober.