What is Sober Living? Is it the same as treatment or detox?
Generally, a short term (1-2 weeks) place where a person goes to have medical attention during early stages, to assist with withdrawal symptoms, to rest, and learn about addiction / attend meetings.
A longer term place (anywhere between 30 days and a year) where a person goes for intensive work on their sobriety. Generally, the person will remain at the treatment center, not work, etc. while undergoing addiction workshops, discipline training, etc. Treatment can be anywhere from a couple of hundred to a few thousand dollars per day and many accept insurance.
Sober Living Home:
Unfortunately, there is no standard definition as sober homes can range from extremely healthy like Twin Rails to extremely unhealthy environments where at best there is little sobriety and safety. So we are going to give the definition that best fits our facility, which is: "A place where alcoholics/addicts voluntarily choose to live together, submitting to structure and accountability, while learning and practicing the tools needed to remain permanently sober for the rest of their lives."
Twin Rails Sober Living Facility Standards:
- A home where individuals live together who not only say they are attempting to recover from substance abuse, but in order to really change their lives and to protect the sanctity of the sober house, are willing to prove it on a daily basis by their own actions and by holding each other accountable.
- A nice, clean, and comfortable home.
- Within walking/biking distance of plenty of jobs, AA meetings, and public transportation.
- It is required that all Members have complete 30 days of treatment prior to being accepted into Twin Rails.
- Members are provided strong, healthy structure and accountability.
- Members are required to work an active and consistent 12 step program.
- Daily chores and weekly deep cleaning duties.
- Members are required to hold regular employment (30+ hours per week).
- Safety: Individuals with sexual, arson or violent based felony convictions are screened out. However, those with "light violent" offenses (such as "I was in a drunken bar fight 5 years ago") are allowed to apply but are only accepted via interview/staff discretion.
- Has a zero tolerance policy towards substance abuse. (vs. an "I won't tell if you won't" or a "come on back in a few days" policy).
- Fees cover all basic necessities except food, clothing, and toiletries.
- Access to resources and amenities that lessen your worry and allow you to focus on staying sober.
- Effective rules that benefit and protect the health and sobriety of the house.
- Proper maintenance and care of the house.
- Observance of basic 'good neighbor' policies.
- Onsite house manager who actively engage and hold those accountable living in the house.
- At least weekly regular visits, inspections, and oversight from off-site Twin Rails Directors to further ensure the good and healthy operation of our houses.
- Weekly drug and alcohol testing for members (including house managers).
- No overnight 'guests'. Allowed guests also remain in the common areas.
- Minimum "Sobriety Standards", such as minimum and verified:
- Meeting attendance
- Working with a sponsor
- Reading recovery literature.
- Progress on 12 step work
- Working with other alcoholics. (Sponsoring)
Are there any reasons I won't be accepted?
- "Do you have any violent, sexual, or arson based felony convictions?": Sexual and arson based felons will not be accepted. Violent based felons are only accepted on a case-by-case basis and only via staff discretion. Let's look at two examples:
- Example 1: Applicant #1 was convicted of murder or some other overtly violent crime. He will not be accepted.
- Example 2: Applicant #2 was convicted of a felony after getting into a drunken bar fight back in college 5 years ago. This would lead to the staff interviewing the applicant and depending on his attitude, how chronic the issue is, etc, may still be accepted.
- "Are you taking (or would you need to take) any medications while living here?":
- There will be NO use of mood-altering drugs in the adult membership community, nor by any member in the community—either on or off the grounds.
- If a member is on medication prescribed by their personal physician or dentist, the medication will have to be documented in Administration. ALL narcotics are prohibited.
- Failure to have a medication logged in with administration, (this includes refills) is grounds for corrective discipline up to and including immediate discharge.
- Members must advise prescribing doctors that they are addicts in recovery and that narcotics are prohibited in the sober living facility.
- Staff will be authorized to verify with prescribing medical doctor the need for such medication and the member agrees to sign the appropriate HIPPA release form to verify information with the prescribing doctor. Failure to do so may result in discharge from Twin Rails.
- Attitude: The only other item that would automatically prevent someone from being accepted is if we feel they have a poor attitude, lack the willingness to follow our program, won't submit to structure, or won't follow directions.
Do you accept insurance / Are you state subsidized? Meaning, is there a way I can get in for free?
We do not know of any sober living in Kentucky that accepts insurance. While treatment is closer to $500 - $1000/day, our sober living is closer to $17/day. So it is actually cheaper to live in sober living than if you had your own apartment since everything is included except food, clothing, and toiletries.
I've lived at other "sober” houses before, but they weren’t very sober and living there was not optimal for recovery. Is this different?
It’s important to us that it is understood that Twin Rails is absolutely NOT what's known in sober living circles as a “flop house”. This means we do not simply cram people together and call it sober living. If you're looking for a place to simply not be homeless, to "do your own thing", to "just hang around other sober people", "to please the judge", or any similar reason then Twin Rails is not for you.
BUT... If you are truly at your bottom, are ready to listen and follow directions, are humbled, and desperately ready to learn how to live a permanently sober life, then you will be a good addition to our house. Sobriety is a life and death disease to us. We treat it as such and expect all our members to do the same.
How do I avoid "flop house" / low quality 'sober' houses?
Be sure to use our "what a sober home should be" definition above as a reference when asking questions.
- You should be able to thoroughly research the house you’re considering.
- Ask as many questions as you have without issue and are comfortable with the answers.
- If your gut feels any "red flags", there probably are red flags.
- Do the policies of the house meet your goals? Is it "self-managed" by the members or by other people with low sobriety time? Do you need real structure? If so, how is structure implemented and held accountable?
- Find out the major requirements of the house's rules and don't move in unless you'll be able to abide by them.
- Will they allow you to see the house in advance or meet other members to get an idea of what life there is really like?
- What medications are allowed? How many people max? Do they except / don't accept?
- What, in general, is expected of you. What are you willing to do?
I understand that Twin Rails requires house members to work the 12 steps?
When someone chooses Twin Rails, they're saying, "I need structure and accountability getting my life back together. Will you please provide that?" And in our experience, those who are actively working ALL 12 steps to the best of their ability are the ones who not only stay sober, but build a habitual sobriety based lifestyle, and reap the rewards of spiritual growth. Therefore, we require (and verify) that people attend minimum numbers of 12 step meetings, obtain a sponsor AND actually use that sponsor, make regular progress on the 12 steps, and eventually begin working with other alcoholics so that you can keep what you've got by passing it on.
Am I free to come and go? Or is it more like a treatment center or medical facility?
While we are definitely structured, it is absolutely not a treatment center or medical facility. You are free to come and go as you please provided it is within curfew limitations. Sober living is a family-like dwelling in which members live with other alcoholics/addicts who are absolutely committed to remaining sober and strengthening that sobriety. Provided you are fulfilling your duties and responsibilities you are free to come and go as you please within the curfew limitations.
Are there rules?
Like any structured environment, there are rules for members. These serve as a way to help the individuals succeed and protect the safety and sanctity of the house. We do not list all house rules on our website, but our intention is to give you enough information to understand the "flavor" of structure that we utilize at Twin Rails so that you may make an informed decision. However, if you have concerns or questions about potential rules, you are welcome to contact us for more information.
How long until I can move in?
It could be as quick as the same day. It totally depends upon each prospective member's circumstances, time of day, availability of house managers to perform intakes, etc.
How much does it cost?
Please visit our Pricing page for all payment information.
If I pay for someone else to get in, am I enabling?
It depends on each individual case's details. In some cases, it may be enabling. In some cases, it won't be.
Here are some guidelines we feel are reasonable for anyone interested in helping one of our members financially:
- Don't force them into sober living. Simply make it crystal clear that you will only assist them one time. And if they wish for this to be that time, then great. If not, then that is fine also, but they're now on their own. Then if they decide to use their last "ticket" to get assistance, then you both know that this is the last time. Period. Then stick to it. Otherwise, they know they can relapse and then come back to you again and again because you will always be there to clean up their mess and give them another chance.
- Only provide financial assistance one week at a time. We work with parents, friends, or whoever it is that is providing financial assistance to the member by giving weekly reports by phone. If the person is not taking it seriously, then stop assisting. If they are doing well, then keep assisting (but only for a limited time provided the member is following all directions).
- Financial assistance should be for a very limited time. Basically, it should only occur long enough for the member to obtain work and possibly for a couple of more weeks until the member is steady with their paychecks. But each instance is different as one person may be debt free, while another person is paying off fines to the state in order to stay out of jail. We can help guide you through that when the time comes.
What if I'm on disability and can't work?
All members must hold regular employment (30+ hours per week) within 2 weeks of membership starts.
Part of the strength of our house is due to our members being active. Part of its strength is that everyone follows the same requirements. If we suddenly have everyone but one person being active while the one sits around the house all day, we're asking for relapse and one that will likely take others down with him.
Do I have to go to a meeting per day when I first move in?
All Members must attend a minimum of (5) 12-step meetings per week if not employed, or (4) per week if employed. All Members must have a sponsor within (14) days of admittance. All Members may have only (1) sponsor. Sponsors must have at least (1) year clean and worked the 12-steps of their fellowship with a sponsor.
Vehicles: Can I have a car? What if I don't have a car?
All Members must attain authorization from staff and complete all required paperwork before they will be allowed to bring a vehicle on-site. Each member who owns a vehicle, must provide a copy of his valid insurance and license, and abide by all Kentucky State Laws. Members must park their cars in designated parking areas with a parking pass on the window (all unregistered vehicles will be towed at owner’s expense). Parking is on a first come, first serve basis. If parking is unavailable, members must use street parking. Parking in designated staff spaces is prohibited at all times. Parking pass fees may apply. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TRANSPORT OTHER MEMBERS WITHOUT PERMISSION.
For those without vehicles, don't worry. Most people don't have one when they first enter. That is why our homes are specifically within walking distance of daily 12 Step meetings, plenty of job opportunities, and public transportation.
What happens if I can't afford to pay on time?
The best case scenario is that you will be charged a late fee each day you are late. The worst case scenario (depending on the circumstances and how chronically you are late, you could have your membership terminated.)
What do I need to bring with me?
Members must provide their own food, clothing, and toiletries. They will be given dedicated dry and refrigerated space for their food. For other personal items, members generally will have about enough space for 1-2 suitcases worth of possessions. And keep in mind that we provide all the other basic necessities, so please visit our Amenities page to help you decide what you want to bring.
Is there anything I should not bring?
Besides the obvious like drugs, weapons, etc. We do not allow members to bring furnishings, other large items, appliances, etc. We never want anything that could get mixed up with the house's property. Because if a member ever relapses or is terminated, they are not allowed to take any property with them other than their food, clothing, toiletries, and other pre-approved items.
Are there house managers? Or does everyone manage themselves?
Yes, there are house managers. Then there is a Director over the house managers that do not live on site, but visits the house weekly works with the house managers daily, and oversees any issues that arise above common day to day issues.
However, with that said, our members are expected to require little management. We are not a rehabilitation center. We are sober living. Therefore our members are expected to follow house rules from the start and jumpstart their lives without having to be prodded to do it. So while we do have house managers as well as a staff manager. Their job is to keep the ship running smooth and make sure the house remains healthy.
Are you a treatment center? Do you provide counseling?
We are not considered a treatment or medical center, nor do we provide any counseling services that are considered professional. However, we are also more than just a place to live around other people focusing on sobriety. While we are definitely in the realm of sober living, we are more like "Sober Living Plus" because of the expectations and requirements we have of our members.
What if I do not have a job when I move in?
- All members are required to work at least 30 hours per week
- Members who do not yet have jobs will be required to work 40 hours per week finding a job, going to bed early, getting up early, and looking for work from 8 am - 5 pm, and turning in a minimum of 10 job apps per day.
- Members will update their House Mentor throughout the day (and will do so often).
- Members must be employed within the first 2 weeks of membership starts.
How long can I stay with Twin Rails?
As long as you like, provided you adhere to Twin Rails house requirements.
How long do I need to live there? (The Three Commitments)
If we had to put a specific "minimum amount of time" on it, then we would recommend at least 1 year. With that said, we feel that telling people there is a "magic" length of time is a false premise as everyone is different.
- Remaining until the member has reached their goals and worked ALL 12 steps of AA with a sponsor as directed in the Big Book of AA (the instruction book).
- Taking someone else through all 12 steps.
- Having a core group of 3 or 4 people who you know provide wise counsel about your life (examples include pastor, mom/dad, counselor, sponsor, best friend, etc.) provided they know you well and that at least some of them understand addiction thoroughly. Then when that group unanimously agrees that it is time for you to move out, then it is likely time for you to consider moving out. However, before they all agree, you agree not to worry about moving out.
What if I relapse?
If you relapse while you are away from the house, then you will simply be terminated and given an opportunity to collect your property.
If you bring drugs and/or alcohol onto the property (or have paraphernalia of any kind), then Twin Rails will help facilitate you experiencing the full consequences of your actions. For example, if you bring drugs onto the property, the police will be called and you will be prosecuted to the full extent allowable by law.
We do NOT mess around with people who are not serious and will protect our serious members to the best of our ability.
I have a court case or was referred to a sober living by my parole/probation officer, is Twin Rails willing to work with my parole officer?
Absolutely! In fact, we prefer it. We also provide court reports as needed.
Will there be dangerous people living in the house?
To help ensure the safety and security of all members, we have a Safe Housemate policy in which we run a background check on all applicants prior to them moving in. In order to promote the highest level of safety and security, we do not accept felons with sexual or arson based convictions. Felons with cases that are considered "violent" are reviewed on a case-by-case basis as there is a wide spectrum on what is considered violent. For example, we simply would not consider accepting a person convicted of murder. But if a 42-year-old man had been convicted one time, back when he was 18, for a domestic case where he had gotten into a fight, then it is left to the discretion of the staff.
Would I be considered a “Tenant”?
No. You are a member, not a tenant. As an alcoholic/addict you are considered legally disabled under federal law. As such, you may freely choose to live somewhere that assists with your disability. You are not legally considered "tenants" and therefore do not have the same rights as a tenant. (For example, we do not need to go through an eviction in order to have a member removed as your presence could be a danger to other members.)
Visitors: Are women or minors allowed to live at Twin Rails? How about visitors staying overnight?
Twin Rails provides sober living for men only. So no women or minors housing is available at this time. As for visitors, your ability to have visitors come to the house depends on your Phase. But regardless of what Phase you are on, you will not be allowed to have overnight guests. Nor will you be allowed to have guests anywhere except common areas.
Why do you require a Background Check?
Many sober living houses do not perform background checks. Therefore no one knows anything about the people living in the house, whether they're safe, etc. Twin Rails strives to provide a safe home for everyone who lives or may come to live at Twin Rails. To help achieve this, we run thorough background checks on all members.
What is expected of me once I am there?
Recovery is our first priority. If you don't stay clean, sober, and healthy, you don't stay – it’s that simple. Beyond that,
- Actively maintain and participate in a 12-step based recovery program by attending meetings.
- Maintain a sponsor/sponsee relationship.
- Work the steps.
- Have a job.
- Submit to random drug testing.
- Remain current with weekly membership fees.
- Follow the house rules.
- Complete daily household chores.
- Have a good attitude.
Do I have to go to treatment or detox before being accepted?
All potential Members must have attained a minimum of (30) days clean and sober prior to admission. Proof of this will be required for admission.
What's the curfew for Twin Rails members?
Our goal is to transition individuals to make their own decisions and is based upon a "Phase System". For example, Phase 1 members have a 10 pm curfew, Phase 2 members at 11:30 pm and Phase 3 members at 12:00 am.
Jobs / Curfews: We are a daytime house and therefore don't want everyone sleeping during the night except for one guy who sleeps all day. It just doesn't work out well. So you will be expected to obtain a job that gets you BACK TO THE HOUSE BEFORE midnight, REGARDLESS of what Phase you are.
Can I stay away from the house overnight?
Overnight passes are allowed for those who are at a qualifying Phase level.
Can I have visitors?
Yes, but only during visiting hours granted you follow all guest rules and restrictions.
Are telephones allowed?
They are not only allowed but are actually required. Photo based texting is our primary method for holding new members accountable. Therefore, you must have a phone with a data plan. If you do not have a cell phone, we will help direct you on how to obtain a government-issued cell phone, but you will still be responsible for making sure you have the appropriate amount of data on the phone in order to be able to send photo texts as required by house management.
Do you provide TV / Computer / Internet?
Yes, yes, and yes! We provide everything from hi-speed wi-fi, to Netflix and cable TV to printing stations. For more information, please see our Amenities page.
Tell me a little more about your drug testing policies.
Twin Rails not only tests everyone in the house at least once per week (including house managers so that no one is "above the law"), but our tests are 14-panel tests. We also perform random breathalyzers throughout the week. Further, we are an "at will" testing house. That means that ANY member, regardless of Phase, may test ANY other member, including testing house managers. If anyone refuses to test immediately at the time of request, then they are instantly terminated.
Will I have a roommate? / Are their private rooms?
Yes, all new members will have a roommate. Private rooms are reserved for house managers only.
Are past Twin Rails Alumni able to visit after they move out?
Yes, but only if they have stayed active and in touch with the house and have remained sober. For those people, it is highly encouraged.
Our Phase System:
Phase 1: First 30 days of membership at Twin Rails
Phase 2: Next 30 days of membership (days 31-60)
Phase 3: After 60 days of membership
Please note: strikes and other disciplinary action could result in demotion of phases.