The decision to stop taking drugs and alcohol is often a difficult one, given the hold these substances have over the user. Difficult as it is, the decision to get sober is only the first step in a long line of personal challenges that will see someone undergo physical and mental changes. Hamilton Gaiani, who is an addiction psychiatrist, is sympathetic to these struggles. It’s one of the reasons why he developed a women’s recovery residence/sober living house in Connecticut called Phoenix 43 (www.phoenix-43.com). Just like the phoenix of Greek mythology that is born against as it rises from the ashes, Hamilton Gaiani says his facility provides the same opportunity for residents who are turning the next page and entering a new chapter of their life. Those considering entering such a facility for the structured daily life and circle of support it offers need to do their research. Below, some of the hallmarks of a trustworthy sober home will be explored.
Supportive recovery ecosystem: It’s important at Phoenix 43 and elsewhere for residents to find fellowship. The individuals who will resident together need to be engaged in community-building and wellness ventures. This is typically accomplished through community-engagement, house-management and activity development ventures. The net results, as has been proven by countless Phoenix 43 residents who have moved on to the next stage of their lives, is reacclimating to society through daily positive interactions within a supportive recovery ecosystem.
Integration of evidenced-based care: In many cases, going “cold turkey” can actually be dangerous. For this reason, residents are allowed to use treatments that have proven effective in treating addiction. Buprenorhpine, (commonly recognized by a brand name Suboxone) and methadone have been successfully used for many years to reduce deaths from opioid addiction. In the professional opinion of Hamilton Gaiani, “medications can be valuable recovery-tools and often life-saving” when used properly. That’s why those looking to enter Phoenix 43 and concurrently using buprenorphine or methadone are welcomed.
Good faith and ground rules: According to a 2018 article from The Guardian newspaper, approximately 72,000 Americans fatally overdosed on drugs the previous year. As part of the ongoing effort to ensure the safety and health of those struggling with addiction, Hamilton Gaiani says most sober living facilities have ground rules, and that those rules should work in the interest of fellow residents. Those who enter Phoenix 43 must also agree to the fact that they must remain abstinent to stay in the home in order to maintain a safe environment for all residents. Residents are encouraged to reach out if they are struggling or do have a recurrence of use so that they can be guided to appropriate treatment resources. Other general ground rules include limitations on visiting hours, curfews, and attending house meetings to provide a structured environment.