What to look for in an NYC Sober Living

After a stay in an addiction treatment facility, many people in recovery aren’t sure what to do next. One of the best ways to continue and solidify the journey into recovery is by taking up residence in a sober living. Becoming part of a sober living community can be a crucial component in creating long term, lasting sobriety.

In a place like New York City, where temptation abounds and daily life itself can become overwhelming, it’s especially important to choose a sober living that will provide a healthy, safe home environment to come home to while you learn to navigate your newfound life in recovery. But with so many different types to choose from, it’s hard to know which type of sober living will be the most beneficial to your recovery. Luckily, there are key things that you can look for in any sober living in NYC that can act as a roadmap to choosing the right sober living for you.

On-site staff members

Almost every sober living has staff members that check in with residents on a regular basis, but the safest and most beneficial sober livings have staff on-site 24/7. These staff members are there to ensure the safety of all the residents by administering drug tests and breathalyzers, settling in-house disputes, holding residents accountable for their in-house behavior, making sure the house stays clean and resident chores get done, and most importantly, providing much-needed wisdom, guidance, support, and accountability when you need it most. Look for a sober living that has staff members on-site at all times.

 

Experienced case managers

Case managers are a crucial components of a […]

By |November 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Myth of the Functional Alcoholic

Warning: The following article contains frank language about alcohol and drug use that some people in recovery may find triggering. The techniques described for hiding patterns of substance abuse are meant to illustrate a downward spiral addiction, and should not be considered “tips and tricks.”

If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please seek the help of an addiction specialist, alcohol and drug counselor, case manager, medical detox center, inpatient rehab, or sober living residence. If you are experiencing withdrawals from alcohol or drugs, please seek medical attention or dial 911.

 

Alcohol and drugs as part of the culture

Ever since stories of addiction, alcoholism, and substance abuse entered the pop culture canon, there have been stories of alcoholics and addicts who are able to maintain their normal, everyday lives, all the while harboring a secret (or not so secret) addiction or substance abuse habit. Think about all the times you’ve heard or seen references to the “three martini lunch” on Mad Men, or the late night (or all day) cocaine use in movies about Wall Street and the financial industry, or documentaries and biographies of rock stars like the Rolling Stones, The Band, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and countless others.

Alcohol and drugs are a huge part of many industries like fashion, film and television, and corporate culture in places like Silicon Valley and the NYC Financial District, where alcohol and drugs are simply part of the culture. Industries where the underlying ethos is “we work hard, and we play hard.” Some companies even keep alcohol on-site, in the office, available at any time of day. There are dozens of high-end corporate […]

Surfing the Big Wave of Recovery

Think of your recovery like surfing a giant wave. As long as you’re concentrating on surfing that wave, (aka working on your recovery – going to meetings, talking to your sponsor, working your steps, staying in touch with your higher power), you’re balanced on your board, experiencing joy, and surfing the ultimate wave. But then your concentration breaks. You stop focusing on the wave and start paying attention to distractions around you. Maybe you start thinking about your romantic relationship, or how it’s going at work, or how you’re going to pay that next bill that’s due, or how that person you met last night perceived you, or some dumb joke you made that no one laughed at. It doesn’t matter what the distraction is, because as long as that distraction becomes more important than that wave you’re surfing, you’re going to lose focus. So you get distracted, you lose your balance, the wave breaks, and you come crashing towards the rocky shore.

If you regain focus quickly, you can jump back on your board, catch your breath, and paddle back out into the water to catch another wave. But if you lay on shore feeling sorry for yourself thinking, “I’m such a loser, how did I mess up that wave? I’ll never catch another wave like that one, I might as well just give up,” all is lost. Sure, you might have a moment or two on shore, beaten, battered, but still breathing. Laying there in the sand, feeling sorry for yourself, feeling crushed, but safe for the moment. But if you wait too long, another wave will inevitably come crashing into shore, catching you in its undertow and […]

Relapse, Recovery, and Getting Back on Track

Those of us in recovery from addiction know that, sometimes, relapses happen. Relapse can strike anyone in recovery. Anyone. From the newcomer with 30 days sober, to people who haven’t had a drink or drug in years, no one is exempt from the dangers of relapse. Of course when it comes to avoiding relapse, vigilance helps. Going to meetings on a regular basis, participating in a recovery program of any kind, having a sponsor or recovery coach, and keeping in good emotional, physical, and spiritual health are all great ways of keeping relapse at bay. But the truth is, even those of us who maintain our spiritual and emotional health to the best of our abilities sometimes relapse. In the words of my first sponsor, “hey, shit happens.”

Relapsing after a long (or short) period of sobriety brings about a slew of emotions. Guilt, shame, remorse, anxiety, fear, spite, self-loathing, jealousy, secrecy, rage, and more. These negative emotions can lead to a shame spiral, leaving many of us who relapse at an impasse. Should we embarrass ourselves by admitting the truth to our friends, families, recovery groups, and loved ones? Or should we just get “the effits” and keep going until the our secrets expose themselves? Fortunately, there’s an easy answer to this question, and it boils down to 8 simple words:

 

Relapse Isn’t the End of Your Recovery

Listen, as we admit every time we attend a recovery meeting or 12-step group, we’re alcoholics, we’re addicts. This is who we are. We’re trying to recover, but ultimately, what do addicts and alcoholics do? We drink. We drug. We make bad decisions. […]

Women in Recovery: Finding Support, Following Suggestions, and Learning to Trust

When I first started going to recovery meetings, I didn’t trust anyone. Not even myself. And even though I didn’t understand why, I was especially intimidated by women. As a woman in recovery, I kept hearing that I should trust women, stick with the women, ask other women for help, but it just didn’t feel right to me. Women scared me, I thought they would manipulate me, judge me, compete with me because I felt like that was what they had always done. Of course I know now that a lot of my insecurity about trusting women was my own unhealthy defense mechanism.

During active addiction, I surrounded myself with the opposite sex, hoping to avoid judgement and seek validation. Seeking external validation from the opposite sex isn’t healthy, and my own unhealthy mind searched for ways to justify my unhealthy behaviors. Even though I had been physically and emotionally abused by men, and had received a lot of negative male attention throughout my life, for some reason I still trusted men more than I trusted women. Learning how to trust other women in my recovery program was one of the biggest challenges of my recovery, and n invaluable skill that has had tremendous benefits to my sobriety.

 

Learning how to take suggestions (from strangers!)

The people at the 12-step meeting I attended suggested sticking with your gender, especially during your first year. I didn’t feel good about this suggestion, but I did it anyway, because the people who suggested it seemed like they knew what they were talking about (they did). So I stuck with women (for the most part). So in the early days […]

Living Sober in Manhattan – Booze-Free Activities for Your Recovery

There’s no denying it, New York City is a party town. Packed with thousands of bars, nightclubs, speakeasies, cocktail lounges, irish pubs, sake bars, underground clubs, and more, there’s no shortage of places to get a drink in the City. Manhattan has a well-earned reputation as a place where it’s easy to have fun. For many, this reputation makes NYC a destination to live the ultimate work hard/play hard lifestyle. But for those seeking sobriety in the City That Never Sleeps, NYC’s reputation as a party town can leave people in recovery feeling like the only way to get sober and stay sober is to leave the city altogether.

Luckily, you don’t have to leave New York to leave alcohol and drugs in the past. Sure, it’s easy to find a drink in NYC, but guess what? It’s easy to find a drink anywhere. In fact, while it may be easy to live a party lifestyle in New York, it’s also easy to live a healthy, rewarding, sober lifestyle without ever leaving Manhattan. In addition to NYC’s thousands of 12-step and recovery meetings, New York City abounds with endless booze-free activities that are fun, safe, and beneficial to recovery.

 

Meetings, meetings, and more meetings

In a city with a population of almost 9 million people, there’s always more of everything, including recovery meetings, self-help groups, and sobriety services. Manhattan is brimming with meetings of all kinds. There are 12-step fellowships like AA and NA, agnostic and atheist groups, gender specific groups, and meeting formats of all kinds that meet around the clock. There are also non-substance-based recovery fellowships like Overeaters Anonymous, and Sex and Love Addicts […]

Building a Support System Through Sober Relationships

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and in early recovery, that child is us. A newly recovering alcoholic or addict is often compared to a newborn baby. Helpless, needy, and emotionally uncontrollable, and in need of help. People in early recovery need support and guidance from people with recovery experience – either trained addiction and recovery professionals, or people with personal experience with addiction and recovery, or preferably both. Without support, the chances of a full recovery are dramatically decreased.

Working with other addicts and alcoholics is a core tenet of several recovery programs. Even without any “program” in place, in order for a recovery attempt to be successful family and friend circles need to be dynamite – not naysayers, dependents, or enablers. We can find this support in many ways, but it is vital to our recovery process because it gives us relatability, emotional support, and a sense of something worth holding onto. One of the most crucial steps in early recovery is finding a sober community.

 

Developing sober relationships

In active addiction, many addicts experience abusive, harmful, enabling relationships. We either live in fear of the people around us, lie to them or are using them to our advantage. These relationships come to serve us in twisted and unhealthy ways. Sometimes family enables our drinking, friendships become toxic and volatile, or romantic partners encourage (and simultaneously criticize) our drug use. These toxic relationships feed the demon of addiction, creating more and more reasons to flee reality for the supposed comfort of substances.

It may feel impossible to ditch these harmful relationships for new ones, but creating new, sober relationships can […]

Addiction and Impulse in Recovery

Many people assume that addiction ends the moment we stop using alcohol and drugs, but addiction isn’t just a physical ailment. Addiction is a compulsive behavioral pattern that often continues into sobriety, beyond the use of alcohol and drugs. Normal behaviors that seem harmless at first can spiral out of control, rapidly becoming compulsions that are as harmful as addiction to alcohol and drugs.

As addicts in recovery, our addiction can manifest in a variety of ways, compelling us to act out on addictive behaviors, sometimes without realizing it. There are many recovery fellowships that deal specifically with non-substance-based compulsive behaviors, such as Gamblers Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Co-dependents Anonymous, and more. Just because an addiction or compulsion doesn’t involve alcohol or drugs doesn’t mean it’s harmless.

 

Finding the line between harm reduction and self-harm

In active addiction we had a crippling, life threatening addiction to drugs and alcohol. Now in sobriety, we are free from substances, but may find ourselves acting out through compulsive eating, shopping, tv watching, phone use, sex, relationships, and more. Some of these behaviors can be labeled as harmless, or at least less harmful than past addictions, but where do we draw the line between harm reduction and self-destructive behavior?

How do we define what is addiction and what is a harmless habit? As addicts we tend to be accidental hedonists, participating in multiple pleasure seeking behaviors. We are attached to the dopamine and serotonin accessed by alcohol and drug use. In sobriety, we seek that same blissful feeling through exercise, sex, shopping, eating, and even screen time in front of the TV or mobile devices. This compulsion to seek […]

Benefits of Sober Living

Early sobriety is a confusing and precarious time in the life of anyone recovering from addiction. During the the first 6-12 months of recovery we learn how to navigate the world in our newfound sobriety, while simultaneously trying to learn how to be comfortable in our own skin. We are bombarded by unfamiliar, conflicting, and often painful emotions that combine with old habits and old ways of thinking. Emotionally, everything feels raw and uncomfortable, with even slight annoyances or disappointments feeling like the end of the world.

Without proper treatment, guidance, and a safe, supportive home environment, these triggers can become overwhelming, resulting in relapse. To minimize triggers and avoid potential relapses, many recovering addicts and alcoholics take up residence in a sober living. Sober livings encourage growth through accountability and responsibility, while giving residents the peace of mind that comes from knowing they’ll always be safe at home.

 

What is a sober living?

A sober living a semi-supervised communal group home for people in recovery from addiction of any kind. Sober living’s house residents who are in various stages of recovery, with staff members onsite providing support, guidance, and accountability for all residents. Sober livings provide a safe haven away from the temptations of the outside world, while simultaneously allowing residents to ease back into full autonomy as they learn to live life without alcohol and drugs.

For many people, a sober living is the next step after a safe medical detox followed by a stay in a long-term inpatient treatment program. Residence in a sober living can last anywhere from 3 months to a year or more, depending on each resident’s individual […]

Early Recovery Services part 3: Rehab and Sober Living

When it comes to recovery from addiction to alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors, it’s never too early to get started. But many for many people seeking recovery for the first time, it’s hard to know where to begin. Questions like, “should I start with meetings?” or “do I need to go to detox?” or “how do I find a rehab that works for me?” are common for those new to recovery. These questions can be overwhelming and confusing, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

In this 3-part series, we’ll explain the differences between detox, rehab, intensive outpatient programs, recovery fellowships, sober living, and more, to give newcomers and their families a basic roadmap for addressing and defeating addiction safely. This information in these posts is not a definitive blueprint for recovery. Rather, these suggestions are simply meant to help the people who are looking for help. Every person’s addiction is different, and no recovery is one-size-fits-all. This series is simply meant to be a loose guide to ease confusion and give people who are struggling a game plan to get started.

 

Inpatient Rehab: 30 Days May Save Your Life

After a safe and successful medical detox, many people seeking long-term recovery seek help in the form of an inpatient rehab facility. Inpatient rehab is one of the most effective ways to develop healthy habits that aid in recovery. By being removed from the temptations and stressors of their everyday lives, rehab clients are fully immersed in a daily sober lifestyle. Most rehabs have daily program classes from morning to afternoon, and recovery fellowship meetings in the evening, as well as therapeutic activities, exercise, team building […]