Marin Services for Men provides highly structured sober living for men ages 18 to 65. The organization’s mission is to help residents maintain continuous sobriety through a self-governed program, all based on a 12-step model. Though clients largely govern themselves, they are offered support and guidance from certified staff members and alumni with long-term sobriety. While learning to take responsibility of their recovery and to be of service to one another, clients maintain recovery while establishing a healthy sober community.
Accommodations and Amenities
MSM operates three sober living homes in Marin County: one is a 20-bed facility located in downtown San Rafael while the other two are smaller homes in Terra Linda. The Terra Linda homes accommodate eight and 11 men, respectively. All the houses are located in quiet residential neighborhoods surrounded by leafy green yards.
Each house comes with a spacious living room and adjacent dining room, as well as a fully equipped kitchen. The living rooms are comfortably furnished with large couches and TVs for down-time. All men share rooms with at least one other resident. The homes also come with exercise rooms with weights, treadmills and stationary bikes. Each house also has a backyard with a barbecue grill and outdoor seating where on-site meetings are typically held.
When it comes to food preparation at MSM, clients take turns cooking meals for one another. Typical dinners include healthy options like grilled chicken breast, fish, steak, fresh veggies and rice. The pantry is kept stocked with dried goods and freshly brewed coffee is always on hand. All food fees are included in the rent.
Rules and Regulations
Prior to admission, prospective residents must have a minimum of 72 hours of proven sobriety, which is evaluated during the interview and intake process. Those who are admitted must commit to a six-month stay. During the program, men must work through all the 12 steps, maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol and obtain full time employment. Exceptions are made for those attending school, participating in volunteer commitments, engaging in outpatient treatment or those who are on disability. Employment must be met by the end of the first 30 days. If a client loses their job while in the house, they are given a week to find new employment.
MSM is deeply rooted in AA’s 12 steps and men are expected to attend 90 meetings in their first 90 days of residence. Each resident must also find a sponsor to start working through the steps with as soon as possible. Weekend passes are only granted after 60 days in residency and written completion of the first three steps. In-house meetings are held everyday except on Saturday.
Meetings are held at 6:30 pm Monday through Thursday, 6:45 pm on Friday and 8:45 pm on Sunday. The topics and methods included in these sessions vary, though they often include AA/NA discussion, guest speakers, Big Book studies and recovery topics like relapse prevention, coping skills and anger management.
Other requirements include daily chores including cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes and mowing the lawn. Aside from these requirements, men are provided individual consultations during which they can receive sponsorship assistance, vocational referrals and help with legal, family and life issues.
MSM offers a 16-week Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for men and women struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Treatment consists of group and individual therapy sessions on a weekly basis. Groups are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 5 to 8 pm. The Monday group incorporates CBT, Tuesday groups cover gender-specific issues and the Thursday groups discuss relapse prevention. Individual sessions are held once a week for an hour at a time. Aftercare planning is also implemented into treatment plans at no extra cost. Treatment plans can be individualized to each client’s needs.
Marin Services for Men operates intensively structured facilities which foster healthy sober living habits. While living at MSM, men must follow fairly strict house rules with plenty of 12-step meetings for good measure, though formal treatment programs are available when necessary as well. In all, MSM is a good option for those interested in a long-term recovery program with an emphasis on AA.
Marin Services for Men
424 Mission Ave
San Rafael, CA 94901
Marin Services for Men Cost: $825-$1,500, sliding scale (30 days). Reach Marin Services for Men by phone at (415) 485-6736. Find Marin Services for Men on Facebook
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Photo courtesy of Robert Campbell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [Public domain], via WikimediaCommons (resized and cropped)
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