Once you have finally chosen which sober living home is going to give you the best chance of continued recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, you’ll need to decide what you are going to take with you before your moving day.
Having obviously been in contact with the home prior to choosing (and hopefully having visited the place, spoken to the staff, and learned all you can about living there), you will have a fair idea of what is allowed and what isn’t.
Many sober living homes have strict rules and regulations for their tenants to abide by, as a way to ensure their sober living environment remains shrug and alcohol-free. For example, many have a regular or random drug testing service as a method of doing this.
Additionally, there will be rules and guidelines about what items you can have in your living space, and hopefully, you will have been advised of these. If you haven’t, be sure to confirm with the management of the sober living home.
In this article, we’ll look at what items it is advisable to take with you – remember, you are going to be living here, so you will want to have access to your normal clothes, belongings, and other stuff.
It should come as no surprise to you that certain items are banned in the house (and we’ll look at those later in this article, too).
If you are entering a sober home because you have just completed a course of treatment at an inpatient (residential) drug and alcohol rehab, you are more than likely used to traveling light. To a degree, moving onto the next stage in your recovery journey – a sober living home – isn’t much different.
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The same will be true if you are currently homeless.
However, if you are moving into sober housing while you undergo an outpatient treatment program (or you are moving in having just completed this type of program), you might not be quite ready to cut down on what you think you should pack.
This article will help you do just that – based on standard sober living home guidelines, expert advice from addiction recovery specialists, and, if you’ll bear with me – my good, sober self.
Having attended a residential drug and alcohol rehab near Phoenix, Arizona several years ago now, my next step after the treatment there came to an end was to move into a sober living home nearby.
Fortunately, the rehab where I was treated was very forthcoming about accessing high-quality sober living in Arizona, and I was able to secure a place in an excellent home before leaving the safety of the rehab.
Sober living proved to be a crucial step in my continued recovery, which has now lasted many (proud) years – and it will be in yours, too.
Sober Living Works: Here’s the Evidence
According to one research study – “What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?” – people who enter recovery housing normally have:
- Decreased rates of substance use
- Decreased rates of incarceration, and
- Increased rates of employment
Essential & Necessary Items to Pack for Sober Living
Essential Daily Items
You should remember to bring items that you can’t do without and will need for day-to-day living, such as:
- Checkbook / Debit / Credit cards, as you’ll need to pay rent, buy food, and so on
- Cell phone, which will also act as somewhere to store the names and contact details of those people you want to remain involved in your sober living, eg. anyone within your support network)
- Cash (just a small amount)
- Notebook or journal
- Comfort items: Photos of loved ones, personal memorabilia, etc.
- Books / eReader (Kindle), – even if you aren’t a big reader, book s can be a great way to entertain yourself
- Yoga Mat (this is purely personal choice of mine, as I learned and practiced yoga in rehab, and it became a healthy way to keep fit and stay calm and centered)
Before you actually get around to the business of throwing all of your favorite t-shirts into a travel bag, suitcase or backpack, consider where you are going, and remember, there’s really no point in taking certain items of clothing if you are never going to wear them:
What is the climate like? Is it seasonal? Does it get cold there? Or is the weather normally hot?
For example, if it’s winter and you will be in a setting with snow, bring your snow gear and a warm jacket.
Laundry services remain typically offered at sober living homes, and this should allow you to pack fewer items of clothing. Furthermore, you may not know how much storage you will get, so it’s best to play it safe.
Lastly, clothing will be the bulk of your packing, so be sure to pack an amount that is appropriate to the length of your stay.
Here’s a simple example list of clothing items to take with you:
|● Casual wear / Sports wear
|● Jeans / Pants
|● PJ’s / Night clothes
|● Hat / Gloves
Be sure to know in advance if you need to take bedding items, such as sheets and blankets, pillows, and towels
You may or may not be sharing a bathroom (you should check this out in advance, too). If you are, don’t forget to take a shower caddy or bag.
Here’s a simple example list of hygiene items to take with you:
|● Shaving razor
|● Shaving cream
|● Hair brush / comb
Forbidden / Banned Items
Each house will also have a list of items which remain forbidden – these cannot be brought into the house for any reason whatsoever. Bringing in one of these items – trying to sneak it in – can be enough to have you evicted straight away – seriously.
|● Inappropriate clothing (with sexual / drug / alcohol references)
|● Expensive jewelry (house won’t cover loss or theft)
|● Weapons of any description, eg. guns, knives, pepper spray
|● Furniture (it is all provided)
|● Pornographic materials
|● Unauthorized medications
|● Over-the-counter medications (including sleep aids or diet pills)
|● Pre-workout supplements (with high caffeine levels)
|● Drug or alcohol paraphernalia (such as pipes, bongs, etc)
Living in the substance-free environment of a sober living home should remain seen as a new start for you, and a vital step in your continued recovery toward a substance-free life you fully deserve. Good luck.