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Standards for Sober Livings

As far as the law goes, there is no one set definition of what a sober living is. Also known as a recovery residence, sober home, or sober living environment, the most basic definition is a drug and alcohol free environment for individuals seeking to abstain from alcohol or drugs. While that is true, there are also many more things that a sober living residence can help with. These run the full spectrum from drug testing to case management to behavior modification. The many different program structures are important because of the different challenges each person in recovery faces.

One issue that arises from this is the need for a set of standards that all sober homes can follow to maintain the highest level of care and ethics. One organization stands out above all for defining a clear and specific list of standards, the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR).

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NARR Standards

NARR’s national standards “define the spectrum of recovery oriented housing and services and distinguishes four different types, which are known as “levels” or “levels of support.” The standard was developed through a strength-based and collaborative approach that solicited input from all major regional and national recovery housing organizations. Guidance for the standard was also received from recovery residence providers (some with decades of experience) from across the nation representing all four levels of support and nationally recognized recovery support stakeholders.”

The most current NARR standard is version 3.0, released in 2018. These include four domains, ten principles, and 31 standards that all recovery residences should meet or exceed. The domain outline is as follows:

Outline of the Standard

Domain 1: Administrative Operations

Principle A. Operate with integrity: Standards 1-4

Principle B. Uphold residents’ rights: Standards 5 and 6

Principle C. Create a culture of empowerment where residents engage in governance and leadership: Standards 7 and 8

Principle D. Develop staff abilities to apply the Social Model: Standards 9-13

Domain 2: Physical Environment

Principle E. Provide a home-like environment: Standards 14 and 15

Principle F. Promote a safe and healthy environment: Standards 16-19

Domain 3: Recovery Support

Principle G. Facilitate active recovery and recovery community engagement: Standards 20-25

Principle H. Model prosocial behaviors and relationship enhancement skills: Standard 26 Principle I. Cultivate the resident’s sense of belonging and responsibility for community: Standards 27-29

Domain 4 Good Neighbor

Principle J. Be a good neighbor: Standards 30 and 31

Along with the standards that NARR has laid out, they also defined a clear code of ethics that every sober living operator and staff member should agree to and abide by.

NARR Standard Compliance and Certification

The National Alliance for Recovery Residences doesn’t directly certify sober livings, their affiliates do. One of those affiliates is the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP).

CCAPP Recovery Residences offers certification under the NARR standards for any California located sober living home that meets the national requirements. Open Sky Recovery is proud to announce that we are fully compliant and certified by CCAPP as meeting/exceeding all NARR Standard 3.0’s requirements. We believe in offering the highest level of care to our residents and one way to do that is by following evidence based best practices for recovery residences.

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