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Restrictions On Sober Houses

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Sober Houses, or Halfway Houses, were created to provide a safe and structured living environment for individuals in early recovery from drug or alcohol addiction while they continue their recovery process. Many addicts and alcoholics who enter an addiction treatment facility require ongoing support once they leave Inpatient and Residential Rehabilitation. Others need structured places to live while continuing with day treatment or receiving other outpatient services. Still others who are not in treatment, seek structured, sober living environments with peer support, that promote a sober lifestyle. These sober houses help addicts and alcoholics to build a strong foundation in recovery so they have the best possible chance to remain clean and sober long after their treatment programs have ended. Despite the American Medical Association’s classification of drug abuse and alcoholism as a disease, and despite that recovering people are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), it is not uncommon for these sober homes to be discriminated against by neighbors and entire communities. Sober houses have consistently prevailed in Florida courts to have city ordinances that discriminate against them lifted, or to require reasonable accomodations. The fight, however, is not over when it comes to discriminating against sober houses; a recent bill has been presented to the Florida state legislature that would restrict such sober living houses on a state-wide basis.

Rights Of Addicts And Alcoholics In Recovery

Beth Ann Middlebrook, Legal Coordinator for The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs, stated in Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, “Individuals in recovery from the disease of addiction are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Florida Housing Administration (FHA) and cannot be discriminated against with respect to housing policies. These individuals have the right to access housing on par with those who are not disabled, they also need and deserve to have a place to live.” Beth Ann also expressed in detail to ADAW that not all sober houses are bad; in fact, more and more communities are being improved as a result of well-managed sober houses, like those provided by Watershed’s extended care program.

Not All Sober Houses Are The Same

Not all halfway houses are the same, and most provide quality living environments and fulfill their purpose. Unfortunately, a few bad apples seem to spoil the bunch. Or is it really a case of stigma associated with drug addiction and alcoholism that give half-way houses a bad reputation? Too many people still do not consider addiction a disease, but rather a moral dilemma. This kind of thinking has kept many addicts and alcoholics from seeking help for fear of discrimination, judgment and reprisal. This is why Watershed has worked diligently at creating The Watershed Apartments and The Watershed Residence. After completing Inpatient Rehabilitation, Watershed provides a safe and structured sober living community for our patients to continue their recovery. The goal for our patients is long lasting sobriety and to rebuild their lives so that they can become productive members of society. We believe in helping the addict/alcoholic to recover, and also helping to rebuild their families and communities by providing the highest quality of care in each of our facilities. At Watershed, we understand that addiction is a disease and not a moral choice, which is why we help advocate for those suffering from addiction and those in early recovery. We believe every addict and alcoholic has the right to obtain treatment and to continue recovery in a safe and structured sober living environment.

Written By: Watershed Ashling

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