ALR Sober Life, located in Bessemer, Alabama, operates four apartment complexes for male residents coming out of chemical dependency treatment programs. Two are structured sober living apartment complexes and two are apartments for men who are further along in sobriety. Typical length of stay range from three to nine months, though clients may stay longer if needed. Residents in ALR houses have easy access to shopping, bus lines, recreational and cultural activities and employment opportunities.
Accommodations and Amenities
As many as 50 men can be accommodated in ALR’s 18 apartments, which are generally shared by two or three clients each; house managers and staff reside in the additional apartments. Each unit has a full kitchen where residents prepare meals, though each is expected to purchase their own groceries. Apartments also come with a flat-screen TV and WiFi. There’s also a big-screen TV, computer and landline phone situated in each of the communal areas for use by all clients. Also worth mentioning is a shared, on-site laundry room. In community rooms located in the complexes, residents attend on-site 12-step meetings.
Rules and Regulations
Catering to clientele who are fresh out of inpatient treatment, ALR residents must be stable enough to live in a transitional, sober environment. They must have jobs, be actively seeking employment or be attending school.
Each client progresses through four phases of the ALR Sober Life program. In the first phase which lasts for six weeks, residents come in having recently completed inpatient treatment at a recognized facility. In this phase they are required to find an AA sponsor and complete steps one through three (and start on step four). They should begin looking for employment, enroll in school or find a volunteer position. All told, residents must work a minimum 25 hours a week in addition to complying with all guidelines at ALR Sober Life. Men in this phase are teamed with a more experienced client through a buddy system.
In the second phase (which also lasts six weeks), residents continue working on treatment plan recommendations and complete steps four and five while working with their sponsor. They are also required to begin and complete one in-house community service project. In learning to take on more responsibility, men in phase two help newcomers by making sure they go to meetings and accompanying them to outings.
Residents in the third phase should expect to spend approximately 12 weeks working on their treatment recommendations and completing steps six through 10 of the 12 steps. They continue to work with new clients, helping them comply with meeting attendance. They also have to complete one outside community service project.
Phase four lasts a minimum of three months, during which time residents move into advanced housing. Men in this group continue working on treatment recommendations and complete steps 11 and 12. Finally, they continue to assist newer residents in early phases of recovery.
Some eligible prospective residents may qualify for pre-Phase 1 placement, which allows them to be in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) or a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) when they move into an ALR house. This is regarded as a preparatory stage that precedes phase one.
A sign-in and sign-out process is in place and must be followed. The curfew here is 10 pm for residents in phase one and 11 pm Saturday through Thursday for residents in phases two through four. Weekend curfew for later-phase residents is 12 am. A certain level of common courtesy is also expected, such as being on time for meetings and group sessions. There is a zero tolerance policy here for violence, and men must have no violent criminal charges pending or a history of violence.
Those with dual diagnosis support must be able to independently take their prescribed medications on time in addition to maintaining regular contact with their medicating physician or therapist.
In a setting abundant with flowers in Spring and Summer, residents at ALR’s Sober Life houses find a structured progression of phases that help them methodically advance through recovery. Always working the 12 steps with the help of a sponsor, clients progress into more normalized sober lifestyles with support from managers and staff, all of whom are also in recovery.
ALR Sober Living
1515 2nd Avenue North
Bessemer, AL 35020
ALR Sober Life Cost: $640 to $700 (30 days) ($600 admission fee). Reach ALR Sober Living by phone at (205) 253-8871. Find ALR Sober Life on Facebook
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Photo courtesy of Alabama