The first rule of recovery: you don’t recover from addiction by stopping using, you recover by creating a life where it becomes easier not to use. Once a client has navigated a primary facility and managed to get clean, the challenge begins – how to integrate into society, how to sustain that hard-earned recovery and how to put newly learned behaviors and skills into practice. That’s where sober housing comes into the recovery landscape. Addiction and alcoholism are regarded as chronic, they last a lifetime, so any recovery plan, for it to be feasible, requires longer-term attention. The Living House provides this safe, contained environment that is so necessary to sustained recovery, a place where individuals can engage the next phase of their journey – the creation of a recovery lifestyle. Situated in leafy Claremont, right in the hub of the recovery community of Cape Town, The Living House offers a convenient location whether working, studying or volunteering.

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The Living House is co-owned by Kerry and Kyle Collins. Kerry, an Educational Psychologist in Gauteng, has experience with facilitating family support groups while Kyle has his own learning curve through the journey of recovery on which to draw on. The house program provides the impetus for clients to grow, while the house rules make provision for the containment that is so helpful in early recoveries, like being home by a certain hour and keeping the dishes washed. With a focus on reintegration, residents are encouraged to look for employment or to further studies.

For those who are not planning to stay in Cape Town longer than a month or two, volunteer work is encouraged and facilitated. Ongoing counseling, coaching or therapy is required, usually with existing practitioners to ensure continuity of care. The Living House maintains contact with the interdisciplinary team supporting each resident, thus ensuring an all-important continuity across all treatment modalities. The re-integration and recovery programme, under the supervision of an addiction counsellor, is led by our empathetic, caring House Manager, Shellean Jones, who has a counselling diploma and shares her insights as a recovering co-dependent. Recovery coach Bobby Jean-Jacques facilitates weekly house meetings and offers individual sessions.

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The recovery coaching model focuses on partnering with clients to strengthen recovery, overcome obstacles, uncover personal strengths and, in Bobby’s words, “create a life worth staying clean for”. Bobby can be contacted directly on 076 999 3848. Recovery assistants are on duty until curfew at night and provide support to residents wanting to complete Step work or to simply guide and share ideas. In addition, they are on hand to carry out random alcohol and other substance testing. Kyle says: “Our spacious home provides shared accommodation and ample space for recreation – a meeting room with a pool table, the TV lounge and Wi-Fi area and a pool/lapa area provides a venue for alternative therapy and social occasions such as drumming sessions and house braais. Sufficient off-street parking is available for residents’ vehicles with overnight security managed by an on-duty staff member.”

The program at The Living House is organised into phases and offers structure while allowing for flexibility to address the needs of individual residents. Progression from one phase to the next is monitored by Bobby and Shellean and residents are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for putting their own recovery plans into action. There are three phases that enhance personal growth and development in small incremental stages. This helps to minimise feelings of being overwhelmed while practicing new behavior and social skills, allowing residents to face challenges, supported in the safety-net provided by The Living House.