Communal living settings for adults recovering from substance abuse
Research on treatment outcome for addictive disorders indicates that a variety of interventions are effective. However, the progress clients make in treatment frequently is undermined by the lack of an alcohol and drug free living environment supporting sustained recovery. This introduction to a special edition on Oxford Houses suggests that treatment providers have not paid sufficient attention to the social environments where clients live after residential treatment or while attending outpatient programs. The paper begins with a description of the need for alcohol and drug free living environments. The history of communal living for recovering addicts and alcoholics is then reviewed and the Oxford House model emphasized as a recent and widespread communal living option for recovering persons. The structure and philosophy of Oxford Houses are presented along with recent outcome studies providing support for their effectiveness. Three different perspectives are presented as ways of conceptualizing how residents in Oxford Houses benefit: social context theory, self governance/self care, and peer affiliation/identification.
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