Let’s talk sober living. Anyone reading this knows how to define sober living for addicts and alcoholics. Yet it seems harder to define sobriety/abstinence for eating disorders. It’s quite simple, really. At HHRR, abstinence is the same for ED and SUD: free of behaviors that lead us away from the lives we want. So, if you have a meal plan and follow it, you are abstinent from behaviors. While addicts can never pick up, we all need to pick up food 4-6 times/day. Sobriety is knowing which foods you can pick up and when and how to pick them up to create the meaningful life you want. Yes, recovering from an eating disorder, is often infinitely more difficult than recovering from an addiction, which is really hard in itself! Slips and slides are inevitable when we each have to make so many daily decisions about eating. That’s why we opened HHRR. Let’s use the same model to recover from both!
To be accepted in the program, residents must have completed an intensive treatment program for ED and preferably, SUD. New residents will be required to participate in a 6-week minimum step-down program for ED and SUD or both. Such programs are typically 10 hrs/week for 6 weeks. All residents will be required to participate in weekly individual therapy, weekly dietitian appointments, and daily 12-step or 12 step alternative programs. Some of these services will be provided by The Hull Institute, and others will be provided with our expert partners in the community. One such program is offered in Cleveland, 15 miles away. There are a number of SUD treatment programs near the residence. Other programs exist virtually. Requirements for participation in other types of therapy: family, group, trauma, etc. will be based on individual resident’s needs.
Accountability, Connection and Love are key factors in living a sober successful life. For this home-like residence to be in constant harmony, it’s all dependent upon the ability of the residents to follow all program rules and guidelines.
Residents must engage and participate in daily life inside and outside the residence. A large living room permits residents to sit and talk, play games, listen to music, learn, and sit still together. There will be no eating in bedrooms or in front of the TV or at the kitchen counter. The large dining room allows us to sit together comfortably and practice sharing a meal.
Each resident will sleep in a lovely and cheerfully decorated bedroom that promotes quiet, calm and safe. While there will be a curfew time to be inside the house each at night, there will be no set time for lights out. Sleep is often a challenge in early recovery, and waking to a new day in a community where one feels understood and accepted allows for one-day-at-a-time recovery.
The home has 4.5 bathrooms and there will be no full-length mirrors. Residents will be too busy to stand in front of the mirror to negatively critique their bodies. Yet, women need space to get ready to face the day. There is plenty of space and closet space for women to bring with them what they need for an extended stay. However, a search of belongings will occur when new residents move in.
Hull House Recovery Homes are committed to a resident driven community. Residents will collaborate with staff to make the initial house rules, will participate fully in their own treatment planning, will develop chore lists together, meet together to address issues in the house, and hold each other accountable. Keeping the house clean and in good the working order is part of living together and part of recovery. Hull House is forging partnerships with community organizations. Volunteering and service are important components of recovery.
For example, Stan Hywet Hall, home of the first AA meeting took place in 1935, is less than 1 mile away, and residents will have the opportunity to volunteer at Stan Hywet, a public country estate. After completing the 6-week program residents will be encouraged to return to work or school or seek employment. While it is expected that many residents will wish to return to high powered jobs, less demanding jobs often work better in early recovery. Since recovery is primary, residents must develop their work/school/volunteer schedules around treatment and recovery meetings.
There is bound to be disagreement and conflict in any home with 4 newly recovering women. It is the job of the house manager to promote participants working together to resolve disputes effectively and safely. Living together is a team effort, and conflict resulting in resolution is often a new experience for people in recovery.
It is not the job of Hull House staff to dictate how participants live their lives. Instead, the model we will use is based on empowering participants to make the best decisions for themselves, to create the life they want for themselves. Since we know that good decision-making is challenging in early recovery, the house manager will work closely with each resident and her outside treatment team to offer guidance, support and assistance as needed and accepted.
Many people newly in recovery are on a variety of medications. Hull House staff cannot administer meds. However, we will lock them up for safety reasons, and we can monitor participants taking them. Taking meds as prescribed is critical to recovery and the house manager will oversee compliance.