Recovery Tools

What are Recovery Supports?

Recovery Supports

When we begin our journey into recovery, we are often isolated and feel alone.  We carry shame and guilt for the things we said and did through our addiction and dark thoughts fill our minds.  We remember all of the negative comments about us-about how we are worthless, or hopeless.  We remeber the hurt in the eyes of those we wounded while we were high; the things that cannot be unsaid.  We isolate further.

Maybe some of our loved ones expect that since we are no longer using, things will go back to ‘normal’.  Maybe we expect that, too.  But what is the new normal?

We have probably proven to ourselves that we can’t live the same life the way were and just not use.  We know we can’t go back to the same places, hang with the same crowd, relax or enjoy life the same way.  We have entered a new life.

What is Recovery?

Recovery is a process of change through which we improve our health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach our full potential. There are four major dimensions that support recovery:

  • Health—overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.

  • Home—having a stable and safe place to live.

  • Purpose—conducting meaningful daily activities and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.

  • Community—having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

  • Hope is the belief that these challenges and conditions can be overcome, and is the foundation of recovery. The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways.
  • Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness that may involve setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural part of life, resilience becomes a key component of recovery.

The process of recovery is supported through relationships and social networks. This often involves family members who become the champions of their loved one’s recovery. Families of people in recovery may experience adversities that lead to increased family stress, guilt, shame, anger, fear, anxiety, loss, grief, and isolation. The concept of resilience in recovery is also vital for family members who need access to intentional supports that promote their health and well-being. The support of peers and friends is also crucial in engaging and supporting individuals in recovery.

In this page, we will focus on Community.

What are Community Recovery Support Resources?

  • Community recovery resources offer a practical and cost-efficient way to assist alcoholics, addicts, and family members to enter and maintain long-term recovery.
  • The current alcohol and drug treatment system does not have the capacity to meet the long-term recovery assistance needs required to meet the needs of the many.
  • The treatment system is too heavily invested in short-term treatment and too little invested in the development of safe and healthy community recovery promoting environments and activities that are constantly available to support recovery and lifestyle enhancements.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment programs have been formatted by government and academic institutions into quality “people processing” treatment stations that are now too costly per person assisted to significantly reduce addiction problems.

Community recovery is based on the theory that safe and sober places filled with healthy recovery activities provide the environments, motivation, and recovery tools for alcoholics, addicts, and family members to assist (process) themselves. Operators maintain healthy and safe environments and promote individual recovery responsibility.

  • Community recovery resources include self-help meetings, Alano clubs-which host self-help activities, community recovery centers, sober living housing, and sober recreational and social events.
  • Community recovery centers are self-service spaces that offer education sessions, host self-help groups, hold social/recreational events, and have counseling and therapy available by self-selection. Community recovery centers, activities, and housing are easily adaptable to meet the broad ethnic, cultural, and physically challenged needs.
  • Community recovery resources are assisting millions of alcoholics, addicts, and family members in recovery from alcoholism and other drug addictions with little or no support from government and health insurance funding sources. Sober living homes, Alano clubs, and community recovery centers are primarily created and supported by recovering persons motivated by a call to be of service to others.

Types of Community Recovery Resources

1.  Peer Support Groups 

Addiction treatment programs at alcohol and drug rehab facilities are designed to help you overcome your addiction, the primary goal is to achieve abstinence first and foremost, (detox), and then, if finances allow, provide you with psycho-educational therapies to sustain your new sobriety.  

Challenges of Recovery

In recovery, it’s often necessary to let go of old relationships and ways of life.  How you supported yourself before recovery, who you associated with, where you spent time. This can be daunting and friends and family may not always support your decisions. You may be challenged with questions about your motives to enter into a recovering life; using friends may begin avoiding you or encouraging you to use again.  ​ Old friends may attempt to verbally, physically, or emotionally harass you.

Additionally, you will also face a number of other unique challenges, such as acclimating to physical, mental, and emotional changes, learning how to openly communicate with others and admit that your past behaviors were unacceptable, and moving past the overwhelming guilt and shame of your past.

Although dealing with all these changes while letting go of old relationships can be difficult, creating new, healthier ones are essential to your recovery.  Building intentional relationships with people who will support your recovery goals and keep you accountable is a key aspect of long-term, lasting change and will make your recovery journey sustainable and rewarding.

The challenges of creating your new recovering life require a strong commitment and time to overcome.  Recovery is not easy.  And it is not a road you have to journey alone on.   People who have walked this road before you are available and waiting to help you.  Here are some of the benefit

  • Peer support groups give you something to lose. – some people entering into a sober life feel that if they have something to lose, such as friends, health, employment, or personal freedom, they are more likely to stay motivated and maintain their sobriety. The knowledge that a relapse could harm or destroy an important relationship is a great reason to stay sober.

  • Sober support in recovery helps with stress management. – Social support can also improve your ability to manage stress and develop coping skills and strategies. Whether you are facing the day-to-day stressors of life or are coping with the death of a loved one, a peer support community can help you healthily process these things.

  • Social support in addiction recovery offers hope. – Some days in recovery may be more difficult than others, but a support group can offer hope when you feel depressed and beaten down. Your peers also provide a judgment-free outlet for open communication about any personal issues you may be dealing with.

  • Having peer support in addiction recovery gives you role models to follow. – In recovery, it’s important to have role models who have succeeded in living a substance-free life. These people can provide wisdom, advice, and encouragement at times when it’s needed most. Listening and learning how others who have experienced similar challenges, and have overcome these obstacles, can give you strength and hope.   

  • A sober support network can give you strength during difficult times. – You’ll have to fight through difficult times. Having peer support in these times is essential to maintaining your sobriety, especially in times when you feel like giving in to your cravings and triggers.

  • Peer support in addiction recovery reduces your risk of relapse through being available to you, getting to know your strengths and weaknesses, and helping you to remain honest with yourself.

2.  Faith-Based Services

Many faith-based organizations provide services within the context of a religious framework of beliefs and rituals. These services may or may not be peer-driven and can be used as an adjunct to treatment or as a path to recovery, depending on the needs of the person and family seeking services. Faith-based organizations, many of which have a mission outside of the addiction treatment field, may already be providing services that are consistent with recovery support services. They often work with families, provide youth services, and are oriented toward providing social supports such as social activities and community services, which inherently support recovery. Faith-based organizations could be enlisted to provide more focused recovery support services, such as

  • pre-treatment support for the individual and family

  • sustenance and support of treatment adherence

  • continuing recovery support. 

Faith-based organizations may serve a vital function in recovery-oriented systems of care, particularly in under-served areas and those areas with a large number of ethnic and racial minorities. Trusted by their members, they are often the center of community life, and most have a strong commitment to serving their faith community. Engaging faith-based organizations in a recovery-oriented system of care can help expand the types of recovery services offered to people and families seeking such support.

3.  Sober Living Homes

If you or a loved one is trying to stop drinking or using drugs, sober living homes may be an option for you. Sober living homes are group residences for people who are recovering from addiction. In most instances, people who live in sober homes have to follow certain house rules and contribute to the home by doing chores. Most importantly, residents must stay sober throughout their stay in the home.

Living in this type of environment can promote lasting recovery—helping people to maintain their sobriety as they adjust to life both during and after treatment. Many people use sober housing to help make the transition from rehab to living independently without using drugs or alcohol.

a.  What Are Sober Living Homes?

Sober living homes are group homes for those recovering from an addiction. Most of these homes are privately owned, although some group homes are owned by businesses and may even be owned by charity organizations. Homes are usually located in quiet areas to help ensure a peaceful environment for individuals in early recovery.

These types of homes are different from rehab centers; rehab centers generally offer a more intensive recovery experience and give residents less freedom. People who reside in sober living facilities can usually come and go as they please as long as they follow certain rules. For example, sober living houses may require residents to be home by a certain time or to go to work during the day. Residents may also be subject to periodic drug testing to demonstrate ongoing sobriety.

People who live in these types of facilities are expected to be responsible for themselves. This is an important step in recovery because addiction may cause people to act in irresponsible ways, and the friends and families of addicted individuals often enable them by supporting them. People living in sober homes usually have to pay their own rent, buy their own food, and do the same things they would do for themselves if they lived in a regular home.

b.  What Types of Rules Do Sober Living Facilities Require?

Rules differ from facility to facility, but there are some rules that are common to most sober environments. Residents agree to all the rules when they move in, and violations of the rules have consequences. Depending on the violation, residents may have to pay a fine, make amends to another resident, or write an essay about what they did. In some cases, residents may be asked to leave the home because of violations of rules.

c.  What is the Primary Rule of  Sober Living Houses?

The primary rule in all sober living houses is that residents must stay sober. They are not allowed to use alcohol or drugs. In some cases, residents cannot use certain types of mouthwash or cook with certain ingredients, such as vanilla. These items could contain alcohol and might lead to false positives if the resident is subjected to a drug test. In addition, products such as these may increase the risk of relapse, as some residents might attempt to get drunk or high by misusing these items. Thus, some sober houses ban the use of items that contain alcohol.

In addition to these rules, people who live in these types of houses are encouraged to find work or go to school during the day and must contribute to the home by doing chores. They also must refrain from any violence. Some people who live in halfway houses are required to be home by a certain time of night. These rules help residents learn to be responsible for themselves and their behavior.

d.  Who Can Live in a Sober Living House?

Most sober living homes will accept residents who are new to the rehab process.

Although most sober living homes do not restrict who may apply to live there, the majority of residents have completed a substance abuse detox or treatment program prior to moving in. This makes sense because residents must be able to stay sober in order to live in this type of home. Those actively working on their recovery who already have some sobriety under their belt and have learned the tools to help them stay sober are more likely to succeed at sober living than those who are new to recovery.

Although prior completion of a rehab program is common, it is not always a prerequisite to living in a sober residence. Many sober living homes will accept residents who are new to the rehab process as long as those residents are willing to stay sober and live by the other house rules. When applicable, residents should already have completed a residential or in-patient program to guarantee medical stability and to preclude being acute ill and unable to work while living in the sober house.

e.  How Much Does It Cost?

Prices vary for staying in halfway houses, but most of the time it costs about the same as it would cost to live in a modest apartment or home. Sober living residents must pay rent each month. The rent usually amounts to between $450 and $750 per month, depending on where the home is located. Residents have to pay rent on time, but they do not have to pay the first and last month’s rent. They also do not have to pay for utilities in most sober homes, although they may get in trouble if they over-use utilities.

Living in a halfway house is generally cheaper than living in a residential rehab because the staff provides fewer services. Residents may be encouraged to attend 12-step program meetings on a regular basis and may have to periodically meet with a therapist while living at a sober living home, but intensive counseling sessions are not part of the daily operations of a sober living home. This helps bring the cost down. In addition, most sober homes try to ensure that residents can afford to live there so people who desire to stay sober are able to have a safe environment in which to do so.

f.  What is the Difference Between Sober Living and Halfway Houses?

Conceptually, halfway houses and sober living homes are very similar. They both provide substance-free, living environments for people struggling with addiction, but they can also differ in a number of ways. Halfway houses were originally created by treatment programs.

The intent was to provide the patient with a place to stay after they completed inpatient treatment or while they were attending outpatient rehab. The focus was on separating the user from their previous substance-abusing environment so that they could recover in a sober, supportive environment. These halfway houses improved treatment outcomes for many individuals. That being said, halfway houses have a few disadvantages that sober living does not.   

  • Halfway houses typically have a time limit on how long residents can stay. Residents are often required to move out after a certain length of time, whether they feel ready or not.

  • Halfway houses also require that all residents either be currently attending substance abuse treatment or have recently completed a program.

This can be troubling for some addicted individuals who want an alternative to formal treatment, have relapsed after extended recovery, or have had poor rehab experiences in the past.

  • Lastly, some halfway houses are funded by treatment centers and the government, which means its possible that their funding will be cut, at which point residents may have nowhere to go or be prompted to move into more dangerous, sobriety-challenging environments.

Unlike halfway houses, sober living homes
  • allow people to live at the location for as long as they’d like, provided that they follow all house rules (such as remaining abstinent, paying rent, completing chores, etc.).

  • Sober living homes also do not always require that you’ve attended formal addiction treatment before residing there. That being said, some sober living homes either mandate or strongly encourage that you attend 12-step meetings while living there.

  • Finally, there are no funding disruptions, because residents pay rent while living there.

How Do You Find a Sober Living Home?

  • Since sober living typically follows addiction treatment, getting a referral from the treatment provider is recommended. Other referral sources may include the

  • criminal justice system

  • a mental health professional

  • Oxford Homes -These are some of the fore-runners of must recovery homes.  Their link can be found below.

  • Community Recovery Centers

  • Google Search-Sober Living Homes can be found by googling ‘Sober Living’ in your community.  Generally speaking, one entity may operate several homes in the area, separated by gender, sexual orientation or faith.  Read the reviews, and ask at peer recovery groups!

  • Twelve Step meeting participants, or friends and family. Whatever the source of the referral, take a tour of the facility and talk to the people living there to decide if it’s the right fit for you


Each of the tabs below are links to diffent supports for you to look into.  Whatever your needs are, there is a support for that.  Remember that

a.  You are never alone

b.  You are unique, but you share a disease that many, many people share.

c.  You can live an amazing and rewarding life- and there is someone out there who can help you along your path, to support you, help you, and be a friend to you.

Are you ready to begin?


Community Support Groups

Community Support Groups are free support groups made up of people who are trying to recover or are in recovery from alcohol and other drugs.  They are secular and non-secular, drug or alcoholic specific, gender specific, and sexual orientation specific; they are available on line or in person, and are available in one form or another 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.  Some are church based and others are not, but all can offer hope and support for recovery.

Hazelden Free Recovery Resources Page

Hazelden is a leader in the recovery world, offerring premier drug and alcohol residential treatment services in California, Oregon and Minnesota.  They also have a campus in Minnesota for education and publishing.

Sober Living Homes

Oxford Houses are Sober Living houses where, for normally less than the cost of an apartment, you can reside in a safe and sober environment.   This is a national company with sober houses in many states.  

Sober living homes can be found in most major cities and towns; in addition, many community support groups may have local connections to renting a room in a sober living environment.

What is A Sponsor?

A Sponsor is a person who supports your recovery in 12 step groups.  They are normally someone of the same sex, who have a period of recovery behind them, and will serve as your coach through the 12 steps and beyond.  Many people have a sponsor for years and years, becoming sponsors themselves.

What is a Peer Recovery Mentor?

A Peer Recovery Mentor, sometimes called a recovery coach or Certified Recovery Mentor, are people who are in recovery from substance use disorders and are (usually) paid by a company to help others through the recovery process.  They are educated in recovery resources, community resources and have completed some level of certification process for their title.

What is A Recovery Coach?

A Recovery Coach is a private support for people with addictions or in recovery from alcohol and other drugs.They work with people who have active addictions, as well as those already in recovery.  Recovery coaches are helpful for making decisions about what to do with one’s life and the part addiction or recovery plays in it. They help clients find ways to maintain abstinence, or reduce harm associated with addictive behaviors. These coaches can help a client find resources for harm reduction, detox, treatment, family support and education, local or online support groups; or help a client create a change plan to recover on their own.

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