Sober Home Provides Second Chance for Ohio Father
Blake had a drinking problem. A bad drinking problem. After he lost his job, Blake’s drinking problem got even worse. Then his wife gave him an ultimatum: get help or me and the kids are leaving. Two weeks of detox and six months of a sober home later, Blake’s got his life back. It was just the second chance he needed.
What’s in a Sober Home?
Some sober homes call themselves sober houses. Some call themselves sober living facilities. Others prefer the term sober living environments. While those that skew young insist upon sober college. But no matter the title, there’s really only one way to define a sober home.
Wiki defines it as such: A sober home is a facility that provides safe, secure and supportive, structured living for people who are battling substance use disorder (SUD). The majority of sober homes help people transition from in-patient addiction treatment facilities to mainstream society. Though many sober houses also accept people who are in recovery but haven’t recently completed a rehabilitation program.
All sober homes are drug- and alcohol-free. The facility also requires regular drug tests to ensure it stays that way too. And staff administers medication for any clients who have been diagnosed with a co-existing disorder. This helps clients solidify their treatment plan. It also significantly reduces the risk prescription drugs will fall into the wrong hands.
The large majority of the most effective sober living facilities are structured around Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Step program. Why? Because AA’s sole purpose is to help members “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” It really is that simple. AA’s one membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking. Period. Its core principles however are founded upon fellowship. And the best sober houses make great use of those fellowship principles.
Finally, the most reputable sober homes are also certified by and/or members of one or more local, state and/or national sober facility network or coalition. This ensures the facility adheres to safe and effective addiction treatment standards and practices. It provides assurance to its clients as well.
Sober Home: Celebrity Connection
You’re probably well aware of the Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew spin-off Sober House. You’re also probably well aware that the series was cancelled after two seasons. Dr. Drew said the cancellation was because the VH1 reality show was too intrusive and interfered with the cast members’ treatment plan. No wonder, considering each cast member was trailed by their very own camera crew. It also probably didn’t help that the show was set in a mansion high atop the Hollywood Hills. Effective sober homes don’t film their clients efforts to get clean. They’re usually not housed in mansions either.
Furthermore, Some Home only required its celebrity participants to stay 30 days. This after various amounts of sober time, with and without detox. In other words, clients entered the house with a sobriety that was even more precarious than usual. Then they were expected to turn their lives around in a mere 30 days. A single month is generally not enough time in even the best of circumstances. It’s most certainly too little when you add the questionable sobriety. Throw in the inherent pressures of show itself and you’ve a recipe for relapse.
And relapse there was. On many occasions. Sure the intentions of most of the show’s participants seemed genuine and honorable (especially those of Sober House manager Jennifer Gimenez). But some of the cast seemed to be there merely for the attention — and a paycheck. Yes, disingenuity is another clear warning bell. So are conflicting goals.
All in all, it was probably for the best that Sober House only lasted two seasons. Now the participants can truly concentrate on really getting the help they need. Help that comes free from camera crews and incentives for melodrama. Who knows? Perhaps they can even do without the Hollywood mansion!
Blake Gets Help
Back to our friend Blake… After the ultimatum, Blake got himself into detox. Fast. He’d already lost his job due to drinking. He wasn’t going to lose his home and his family because of it too. No matter how hard it might prove to be.
And detox was hard. Make no mistake. Just crossing the threshold into the facility was one of the hardest things Blake had ever done in his life. Getting the alcohol out of his system was even harder. Fortunately, the facility’s medical staff prescribed medication that helped him through the physical toll. The psychological toll, well, that he basically had to fight on his own.
And fight he did. Night one was a nightmare. Night two was somehow even worse. And that third night he can’t even remember. But everytime Blake got a notion to get up and walk right out of the place, he thought instead of his wife and his children. He’d been blessed. And he needed to live up to those blessings.
Fourteen days later Blake walked out of that detox facility feeling like a new man. He was tempted to jump on a plane and fly right home so he could show and tell his wife. But he knew better. Back home meant triggers and temptations. And if Blake returned too early, he ran a real risk of relapse.
Detox to Sober Home
So he had the detox facility drop him at a sober home. Blake had done his research. So he pretty much knew what was in store for him. Zero tolerance. A.A.’s 12 Steps. Meetings and counselors. Check, check and check again. But what Blake wasn’t truly prepared for was the fellowship. Here he met a group of men pretty much just like him. Even when they were from other parts of the country and other walks of life, they still possessed many of the same traits he had. They also faced many of the same problems. And Blake found a strength he’d never felt before.
It was the strength of camaraderie. What soldiers feel on a battlefield. What teammates experience on the ballfield. And what orchestras must feel when they’re onstage. The might that comes from people uniting behind a single cause. The invincibility felt when a group amasses for a singular purpose. The strength of fellowship.
Blake made friends. Quickly and sincerely. Everyone was on the same page. And everyone watched each others’ back. In fact, one of Blake’s new friends even got him a job with the plumbing company he worked for. Turned out the owner was in recovery, And so were 90% of his crew. This gave Blake some serious sober support.
It also helped Blake regain his self-esteem. Losing his job had really knocked the wind from him. Not being able to care for his family left him shame-faced and distraught. Now he was sending most of his paycheck back home to his wife and his family was getting back on its feet. So was Blake. One day at a time.
Blake spent a full six months at the sober home. He made the meetings. Heeded advice. Followed suggestions. And discussed things openly with his counselors. Every day, in every way, he felt his strength returning. So by the time he said goodbye to his new group of great friends, Blake felt stronger than he had in decades.
Blake’s back home in Ohio now. He’s also back with his old firm. They liked the new Blake. It was like the before-drinking Blake, but even better. HIs wife likes the new Blake too. So does his family. And so do the new group of friends Blake’s made through A.A. Yep, Blake’s still going to meetings. At least three a week. Every week. And he’s never looked back. Not once. He doesn’t intend to either. Why would he? Today’s the best day of his life.
BTW: In case you’re wondering. We changed Blake’s name. But his story took place right here at Healing Properties.