“Peeling the Onion" of Recovery Housing

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG)  |  By Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - To the casual observer, Clean & Sober Traditional Living’s "Main House" at the corner of Madison and Hazel seems to be just another house on a busy urban street. If you look closely, you may spot “One Day at a Time” inscribed across the façade of the building. Still, most people drive by without knowing how this community has been intentionally designed to support growth, change and possibility within those walls.

It’s like peeling an onion: The deeper you slice, the more layers you reveal. Very superficially, CSTL is a place where people in early recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction can find affordable, sober housing and nutritious meals. As part of the “social model approach” to recovery from alcoholism and addiction, residents here also encounter a broad community of recovery that offers guidance, understanding, connections for new jobs and more.

Alcoholics and drug addicts tend to isolate themselves, which reveals another asset of the social model approach: At CSTL, you are never far from someone who has been down the same rocky road. Some of the CSTL residents have chosen to live here for many years, so collectively this community of 14 homes and 120 residents offers decades of wisdom to newcomers learning how to navigate life’s ups and downs without the anesthesia of drugs or alcohol.

As Alcohol Research Group Senior Scientist Doug Polcin et. al. write in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (2014), “The social model approach to alcohol and drug problems shifts the focus to the household and community environment as a way to foster a culture of recovery. Residents are invited to draw on the strengths of the household and utilize peer support to shed their addictive lifestyle and reconstruct their self-identity as a person in recovery. Because recovery is a reality that is exemplified by recovering peers and their staff, recovery grows out of hope and results in a process of self-redefinition and the rebuilding of a life in the community.” This is the approach CSTL has taken, with demonstrable results.

Peeling that onion even further, when CSTL residents support the community, they build altruistic and spiritual “muscle.” For over twenty-five years, residents have volunteered at community events like the annual Fair Oaks Chicken Festival, helping ourselves when we help others.

I’ve intentionally designed the “layers” of recovery to build a strong foundation for long-term sobriety, and it works. The CSTL community’s success is one of the few sober living communities in the nation whose impact has been scientifically affirmed by the Alcohol Research Group. We’ve also been recognized by Sacramento County Supervisors and given a resolution from the California State Assembly. Usually those honors are reserved for non-profit institutions, so I am especially proud to receive them as a validation of intentional living. If you’d like to see intentional living in action, call us and we will show you how it works.

Find out more about Clean & Sober Transitional Living at 916 961-2691