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  • Writer's pictureMARJORIE FERGUSON

Why are the best sober houses for either men or for women, but not both?

Women's Sober House

Sober Living is an amazing recovery vehicle. Unlike detox, rehab, intensive outpatient program and managed medication, the results for our version of sober living are 99%; their positive results hover at 30%.

But how does that work when the two sexes are mixed together? The results are universal- anyone and everyone engaging with the opposite sex halts their emotional growth. In addiction’s co-dependent relationships, the sexes are each playing a role rather than experiencing real intimacy. Here relationships are a search and rescue mission-one is being saved and one is doing the saving.

At the end of an active addiction, those so afflicted are reduced to a child-like level of living and are dependent on family, friends or bosses for carrying them financially and emotionally. Healthy intimacy develops from a place of self-knowledge, but addiction prevents us from knowing our inner most selves and damages our self-worth. Instead of gaining life skills, addiction was how we coped with life. Undermining us was the knowledge that if we felt how we should be feeling, our sadness or fear would have stopped us in our tracks and we felt that pausing in life to regroup was a bad thing.

The only way to grow in self-awareness is through a combination of therapy, 12-step and spending time alone to reflect on living a sober life. In the company of a community of like-minded individuals, we learn new skills. The old skills we learned helped protect what we wrongly thought were our friends, drugs or alcohol, but they are not from a good skill set: deception, manipulation and self-centeredness.



Yet we immediately fall into that behavior through being a chameleon or a control-freak, or clinging or being the ice-queen or king. While self-awareness and reality will just be a

visitor during the first few months of recovery, we struggle to maintain any kind of relationship, let alone a romantic one.

For best results, individuals should be housed according to their sex. Our business plan includes both a men’s and a women’s sober house. Statistics bear this stark fact out. The Clare Foundation, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based residential and outpatient treatment facility examined results of a program evaluation for federally funded services at the agency. While men and women as a group both had shown significant improvement on illness domains such as hostility, anxiety and depression, women in much greater numbers were reporting low satisfaction with their quality of life post-treatment. Women were returning to personal relationships within their sober living arrangements and found that they were not improved and therefore were not conducive to a lasting recovery; men needed a TV to be satisfied.

We look forward with great excitement to opening our men’s house this coming summer and unveiling our brand-new 12,000 square foot women’s house.

Thank you for your continuing interest and efforts toward making this a reality.

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