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City Puts Brakes on Sober Homes

March 11, 2011
by Gary Enos, Editor
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The newly created national association representing sober homes doesn’t have to look far to find examples of why it feels the need to establish an advocacy presence. The group forming the National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR) learned this week that leaders of one California city are placing a moratorium on new sober homes, despite warnings that their action might place them at risk of a lawsuit.

A California recovery home operator reported to NARR leaders that city council members in San Rafael, which already houses several sober homes, have halted any further plans involving sober residences housing seven or more people. At a council meeting, virtually all of a group of 160 people in attendance voiced opposition to recovery homes’ presence in their city, for reasons related to property values and safety.

According to a sober home operator who attended the meeting, two residents said city leaders should ignore federal and state laws that protect people with disabilities, because it is local taxpayers’ views that matter.

Have sober homes become a presence in your community, and what has been the public’s and policymakers’ reception?



Marin County residents are merely voicing their belief that they are more valuable as human beings than their less fortunate addicts/alcoholics. Decades of delusion are responsible for this misconception. They are not at fault. They seem to have been born that way.

Centralized sober living communities or within communities are the single most important treatment model that needs further exploration and implementation. This is the primary reason for my decision to enter the recovery profession after almost 3 decades success within another profession. I am convinced that the further organization and structured that this mode of living becomes, the longer will be the individual participation in continued growth as well as regeneration. If we would consider the interim housing and living needs for those entering recovery as much the same as the plight of the ex-prisoner returning to his community then perhaps this model of continuing and transitional growth in recovery within the "normal" community standards will also become viable to the improving mental and emotional health of those afflicted with the disease of addiction. Signed Charles L Dick, grad student

Gary Enos


Gary Enos

Gary A. Enos has been the editor of Addiction Professional since its inception. He also...

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