Recovery housing is currently gaining traction as a method to give individuals in recovery a safe, substance-free, and healthy environment in which to grow and maintain pertinent life skills. As an Addiction Psychiatrist, Dr. Hamilton Gaiani advocates for reputable recovery housing for several reasons, all linked by their noted ability to replicate structure within everyday life as much as possible. In this article, Dr. Hamilton Gaiani discusses the evidence as well as other potential ways that recovery housing and similar rehabilitation models help their tenants.
According to Dr. Gaiani, research exists that supports effectiveness of recovery housing in improving abstinence, employment, and reducing the overall severity of one’s addiction1. These outcomes appear to improve with longer stays. With recovery housing, stable employment is recommended and encouraged for residents who are not disabled. Stable employment entails that a person in recovery has a steady schedule, along with monetary power, which helps maintain the life skills needed to flourish independently. Dr. Gaiani notes that more research is needed to replicate these findings as well as determine what else about recovery housing might be attributed to these results. Other possible ways that recovery housing may be helpful include:
Improved Socialization with Peers in Recovery: Often, a common thread between individuals in recovery is that they feel isolated by their communities. With recovery housing, not only are people placed in an environment that is conducive to their physical and mental well-being, they are also grouped with individuals that are in a similar position. This socialization fosters a sense of community, as those in recovery have convenient access to peers that can relate to them, offer support, or compare strategies to take care of their health and wellness.
Provides a Structured Environment: Structure goes a long way when it comes to helping individuals that are in recovery. With a structured lifestyle, people can learn pertinent home life-skills, explore employment opportunities, and receive help with task management skills. Much of the success of recovery housing may be linked to its tendency to challenge individuals as well as encourage them.
1Sharon Reif et al., 2014. Recovery housing: Assessing the evidence. Psychiatric Services, 65 (3) (2014), pp. 295-300.
Disclaimer: Dr. Gaiani helped to create a recovery home for women in New Haven, CT.