Binge Drinking vs Alcoholism: What’s the Difference?

Although alcohol is socially accepted, it is still a drug that, when used irresponsibly, can severely impact your health and well-being. Some of the most common outcomes of alcohol abuse include binge drinking and alcoholism. But what’s the difference between the two? These are very distinct terms that encompass their own set of behaviors.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help. 

What is Binge Drinking?

As defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is, “a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent—or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter—or higher.”

In plain terms, it is essentially drinking alcohol with the intention of getting drunk. Those who binge drink may only consume alcohol a few times a week, but when they do, they drink significantly more than recommended. Even doing so once is still considered a “binge.”

As a general rule, females should consume only one standard drink per hour, while men should consume only two standard drinks per hour. A standard drink is defined as a drink that contains approximately 14 grams of alcohol. Abiding by these recommendations is intended to keep your BAC levels below 0.05%.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a disease, as stated by the American Medical Association. When you are addicted to alcohol, dramatic physical and chemical changes are made to your brain which prohibit you from controlling your drinking habits. The brain requires more and more of the substance to experience its effects, so the addicted continues to increase their intake to dangerous levels. Although the alcoholic may get into trouble legally, financially, or at work due to their intoxication, they likely find they are still unable to control their habits.

Because the brain is severely changed, when the addicted is not drinking, the brain craves and requires the drug in order to reach what it now considers a “normal” state. In addition, alcoholics will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when they have not had a drink for a substantial period of time.

The Primary Difference

The primary difference between binge drinking and alcoholism is that one is a chosen behavior, while the other is a medical disease in which one cannot help. However, it is possible that binge drinking, when done consistently over a period of time, can develop into alcoholism. But, it is not considered an addiction until it becomes a behavior in which the user has no control over due to chemical brain changes.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

We hope you better understand the difference between binge drinking and alcoholism. If you feel that you need assistance pursuing your sobriety, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is here for you. A sober living environment will allow you to recover in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, contact us to discover how we can provide the help you need.

The Benefits of Meditation for Addiction Recovery

Choosing to pursue your sobriety requires a complete lifestyle change. You’ll need to create a solid routine that’s filled with enriching activities, new responsibilities, and supportive individuals. If you’re looking for a place to start, explore the benefits of meditation for addiction recovery. This is a great practice to incorporate into your daily life.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help. 

What is Meditation?

Meditation is the practice of clearing the mind. It connects the mind and body through a focused breathing pattern in order to rid you of your thoughts. When practiced continually, some are able to reach a state of inner peace. Meditation is something that must be done on a consistent basis to experience the wonderful benefits it has to offer.

How to Meditate

There are a few different ways that you can practice meditation. However, to get you started, take the following steps:

  • Find a quiet location free of interruptions.
  • Sit or lay down with your eyes closed.
  • Take deep inhales and exhales. With every exhale, consciously relax your muscles.
  • Focus solely on your breath, making sure it is consistent and at a steady pace.
  • If thoughts arise, acknowledge them, and allow them to drift away. If you’d like, you can use imagery to rid yourself of your thoughts—imagine them as leaves floating away down a tranquil stream.
  • Do this for 10 to 15 minutes per day.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is a very useful tool for those who are pursuing their sobriety. Explore the top benefits of engaging in meditation for addiction recovery:

  • Helps regulate emotions. Feelings of anger, depression, stress, and anxiety all put you at risk for relapse. If you don’t have a method for controlling your emotions, meditation is a great way to calm down and reset. Afterward, you can better assess and regulate your emotions with a clear head.
  • Can serve as a coping technique. If you begin to experience cravings, meditation can serve as a healthy distraction from temptation. It can also provide the clarity you need to reason through why you should not give in to your cravings.
  • Promotes better sleep. Getting proper sleep is an essential part of recovery. Meditation relaxes both the mind and body, helping you to get a better night’s rest.
  • Improves mental strength. Not only can meditation improve your concentration, but over time, it can develop your mind to be better equipped to handle negative thoughts and emotions even when you are not practicing.
  • Increases self-awareness. Meditation helps instill a better sense of self, which could help you become more at peace and comfortable with your new identity as a sober individual. It can also help show you what you prioritize and truly care about, which can also be used as an incentive to continue on your path to sobriety.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

While meditation is a very helpful technique, if you feel that you need further assistance pursuing your sobriety, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is here for you. A sober living environment will allow you to recover in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, contact us to discover how we can provide the help you need.

How to Relax Without Alcohol

Before you decided to become sober, you may have turned to a glass of wine or a few beers as a means to de-stress. Now that alcohol is no longer a part of your lifestyle, you need to be able to cope with your emotions in other ways. That’s why we’re here to offer you some ideas on how to relax without alcohol.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help. 

Enjoy a Green Tea

Green tea, in particular, is known to have active ingredients that regulate mood and help relieve stress. Plus, the ritual of making the tea, setting up a comfortable seating area, and simply enjoying the first few warm sips as the tea takes effect can also be quite a soothing process.

Engage in Physical Activity

Physical activity works wonders in terms of regulating mood, since it releases endorphins that promote feelings of wellness. You can keep your activity as light or vigorous as you’d like, from enjoying a walk and stretching to lifting weights and cycling. In addition, yoga specifically is praised for its ability to assist in clearing the mind. Once you find the exercise that works for you, engage in it whenever you need to release your pent-up energy and feelings.

Practice Meditation

A great method to clear your head is meditation. Meditation is a practice that takes some time to master—it asks you to empty your mind of all thoughts until inner peace is achieved. You can try this technique by finding a quiet place to sit, closing your eyes, and taking deep breaths. Acknowledge your thoughts as they arise, and then let them go until your mind is blank, blocking out any external disturbances.

Find a Creative Outlet

Some people find that having a creative outlet or hobby helps them most when trying to relax. Consider picking up a book, working on a painting, dancing to some music, writing in a journal, or any other activity that allows you to express yourself. Not only can these activities be a lot of fun, but in their own way, they also help you to empty your mind and release stress.

Take a Soothing Bath

A classic self-care activity, drawing a bath can be a very relaxing experience. Treat yourself to a bath bomb, light a few candles, and simply enjoy doing absolutely nothing but soaking in the warm water.

Tidy Up

Some people can’t relax knowing that there are chores left to do, while others actually clean their home as a way to clear their head. Whatever the case, tidying up the house can help a lot in reducing your stress levels. You’ll be able to enjoy your time much more knowing that everything is in order, plus, you may discover that the ritual of cleaning really helps you feel more relaxed and accomplished.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

We hope these ideas help you relax without alcohol. However, if you feel that you need assistance pursuing your sobriety, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is here for you. A sober living environment will allow you to recover in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, contact us to discover how we can provide the help you need.

How to Make Friends Without Drinking

Pursuing your sobriety can be challenging when many of the activities you loved—and the friends you enjoyed these activities with—revolved around alcohol. But don’t feel discouraged. There are many ways to meet people in an environment that doesn’t require the consumption of alcohol. Below, you’ll discover how to make friends without drinking.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help. 

Try a Group Exercise

Trying out a class at a local gym is a fantastic way to meet new people. Some great group exercises include spin, yoga, and Pilates classes. You may also enjoy community weight lifting classes, HIIT exercises, and even running. No matter what you prefer, signing up for these kinds of activities provides a great opportunity to meet people with shared interests. Plus, staying active and healthy also plays a large part in helping you maintain your sobriety.

Connect with Colleagues

You spend a lot of time with your colleagues—why not try to get to know them? This is one of the easiest ways to meet new people since you already see them most every day. At work, making a new friend can be as simple as asking a coworker to join you on your lunch break or to go out for a coffee.

Join a Club

If you have a hobby or activity that you love, search to see if there is a local club for it. Or, consider getting into something new such as reading, painting, cooking, or gardening. Not only will this give you the resources to do what you enjoy and provide you with a new experience, but it’s also another opportunity to meet people with shared interests. Bonding with people with similar passions is an easy way to form instant friendships.

Reconnect with Old Friends

It’s pretty common to lose touch with people, no matter the circumstances. But just because you lose touch, it doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out to former friends once again. It can be thrilling to catch up and reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in a while. You may even find that you simply pick up the friendship right where it left off.

Volunteer

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in your community. Whether you enjoy working with children or assisting those in need, there are plenty of ways to help out. Plus, once again, not only will you be providing a great service to the community, but you’ll be doing so alongside likeminded individuals.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

We hope you have a better idea of how to make friends without drinking. However, if you feel that you need help pursuing your sobriety, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is here to assist you. A sober living environment will allow you to recover in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, contact us to discover how we can provide the help you need.

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Am I an Alcoholic if I Drink Every Day?

It’s a common ritual among adults to indulge in an alcoholic beverage after a long day. For many, this may even be a daily occurrence. If you fall into the latter category and are wondering if having a drink every day makes you an alcoholic, we’re here to help clarify when this habit has gone too far.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.  

Drinking in Moderation

Generally, having one or two evening beverages on a daily basis does not indicate alcohol abuse—that is, if you’re pouring your drinks correctly. Many people tend to over pour. For instance, if your usual nightly cocktail contains three or more shots, this would not be considered a single drink, and might be indicative of increased tolerance to alcohol. It is recommended that women should have no more than three drinks in a day, while men should have no more than four drinks per day.

You may be wondering why having a tolerance to alcohol is so bad. After all, you don’t feel intoxicated, so why does it matter?

The fact is, you’re still consuming the same amount of alcohol as another person who feels the effects after a few beverages. Even though you don’t experience a buzz, you’re still exceeding the recommended number of drinks you should have in a day, which may put you at risk.

Levels of Alcohol Abuse

There are three levels of alcohol abuse: mild, moderate, and severe. The number of alcohol abuse symptoms you are experiencing is what defines what category you fall into:

  • Mild alcohol abuse is present when you experience two to three symptoms
  • Moderate alcohol abuse is present when you experience four to five symptoms
  • Severe alcohol abuse is present when you experience six or more symptoms

Some symptoms of alcohol abuse are as follows:

  • When your alcohol consumption interferes with your work, schooling, family, and other responsibilities
  • Continuing to drink despite being aware of its negative effects on your career, relationships, and responsibilities
  • Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence, such as driving, having unprotected sex, committing crimes, or fighting
  • Requiring more and more alcohol to feel the same level of intoxication
  • Trying to quit drinking multiple times, but being unable to stop
  • Drinking more and longer than you’d planned
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you stop drinking

If you fall into any of the above alcohol abuse categories, it’s likely time for you to quit drinking.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

If done in moderation, you are not necessarily an alcoholic if you drink every day. However, if you fall into any of the above alcohol abuse categories, you should consider seeking professional assistance, especially in severe cases. A sober living environment will allow you to get the help you need in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, reach out to The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation to discover how we can help.

Contact us

How to Know When it’s Time to Quit Drinking

Many people enjoy an alcoholic beverage to relax and unwind. It may even become part of one’s ritual to have an evening drink after a long day. However, when a couple of alcoholic beverages turn into multiple drinks on a daily basis, it may be time to reassess your habits. Learn how to know when it’s time to quit drinking.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

When You’re Drinking Regularly & Excessively

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that the average woman should have no more than seven drinks per week, while the average man should have no more than fourteen drinks per week. If you notice that your tolerance is increasing due to the regularity of your drinking, it may be time to stop. You may also consider taking a break from alcohol for the week to see if you are able to resist. If you notice your tolerance increasing and/or you are unable to resist drinking for the week, this may be a sign that you are developing an addiction.

When You Hide Your Drinking Habits

Drinking in secret or by yourself is a telltale sign of addiction. When you feel that you need to hide your drinking habits from friends and family, you likely know that you’re drinking in excess. You may even feel guilty or worried that your loved ones will try to make you stop. If this is the case, you should consider getting sober.

When Your Relationships Are Affected

You know your drinking habits are out of control when your relationships are affected. Lying to family and friends about how much you drink may already be placing a strain on the relationship. If you are also continually showing up to gatherings while buzzed or completely intoxicated, it may cause your loved ones to have feelings of worry or anger. Before your drinking causes your relationships to get to this point, it is imperative to seek help and make a change.

When You Engage in Dangerous Behaviors

You are more likely to engage in risky behaviors while intoxicated, such as drinking and driving or having unsafe sex. It is also common for people to become more aggressive when having too much to drink, or even blackout. Each of these scenarios have serious, potentially life-threatening consequences. Continuing to put yourself in these situations is a giant red flag that you need to quit drinking immediately.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

Learning how to know when to stop drinking can help you fix your drinking habits before they begin to affect your relationships and overall health. If you notice any of the above behaviors in yourself, it may be time to seek sobriety. While this may feel like a difficult task, a sober living environment will allow you to get the treatment you need in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, reach out to The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation to discover how we can help.

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How to Help an Alcoholic Son

No one wants to accept the fact that a beloved family member—especially a son—has an alcohol use disorder. But avoiding denial, offering support, and refusing to enable can be the actions your son desperately needs to turn his life around and break free of addiction. If you’re wondering how to help an alcoholic son, read on for more concrete actions you can take to support your child and help him gain access to the support he needs.

If your son needs a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for him. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Don’t Blame Yourself

First, you must realize that you shouldn’t blame yourself if you think your son has become an alcoholic. This is very common, but completely unproductive. Shame and guilt are commonly experienced by parents, and this is totally human. But the truth is, there comes a point when you aren’t responsible for your child’s decisions. You can, however, be a gentle intervention that could positively change your son’s life for the better.

Is Your Son an Alcoholic?

The most important question to consider is, is your son an alcoholic? There are certain tell-tale signs can help you determine this. For example, consider the following:

  • Does your son drink every day?
  • Does he binge drink (does he drink 5 or more alcoholic beverages in 2 hours or less)?
  • Has he created social issues for himself as a result of alcohol, such as lost friendships or fights?
  • Does he experience mood swings when he doesn’t have alcohol?
  • Has he brought legal or financial troubles upon himself because of his alcohol use?

Considering these questions can help you determine if your son is abusing alcohol. If you’re still unsure, consult with a medical professional about your concerns. They can provide you with resources to help you and your son.

Don’t Enable Him

As a parent of an alcoholic, it’s important that you don’t enable your child. This means that you should avoid, at all costs, making it easy for him to continue abusing alcohol. Don’t make excuses for him in any context to help him cover up bad behavior or mishaps that result from his alcohol abuse. If he finds himself in legal or professional trouble, don’t bail him out or help with legal fees. He must feel the consequences of his drinking in order for him to realize he has a problem that needs to be addressed.

Avoid Denial

It’s also important for you, as a parent, to avoid being in denial, as this will not help your son. Alcohol use disorders are serious health issues, not phases that will be grown out of or an issue that will just go away on its own. Address the situation head-on and as soon as possible for your son’s sake and for the sake of those around him.

Ask For Help

Realize that there is no shame in asking for help, for yourself or your child! Rather, it’s a sign of strength. A medical professional or counselor will be able to provide resources like residential our outpatient treatment programs and sober living homes, as well as individual and group counseling/support groups.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

Now that you know how to help an alcoholic son, it’s time to take action. The best thing you can do as a parent is to be a supportive, listening ear that encourages healthy recovery. You can help him access the treatment he needs, rather than enabling or ignoring the problem altogether. Reach out to our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation for assistance.

College Sobriety Tips: Stay Sober on Campus

College is a time of self-discovery, newfound freedom, and opportunity. But sadly, it’s also a time when many students make drinking a priority over their studies. The alcohol culture and party scene on college campuses can make it extremely hard for a student, whether in recovery or not, to stay sober.  However, we have a few college sobriety tips to help you stay sober on campus.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Keep a Schedule

Keeping your habits in check with a rigid schedule is one of the best ways to structure your days to avoid unplanned binge drinking sessions. Avoid temptation by scheduling blocks of time for the main priorities of your day. Plan to make time for healthy, balanced meals, going to the gym, studying, and relaxation. Avoid too much idle time in your days or evenings. This will help you avoid becoming impulsive and starting to drink without a plan to stop.

Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

If your friends are sober, you’re more likely to be sober. Don’t surround yourself with people who drink frequently and irresponsibly. Find friends who support you in your sobriety and spend their free time doing activities other than drinking alcohol.

Focus on Why You’re in College

You’re probably paying quite a bit of money to attend a university, so remember why you’re there. You aren’t there for weekend binge drinking sessions or a social life, but to learn and prepare yourself for your future. Keep this in perspective when you feel tempted to lapse into the party scene. College is there to help you better yourself, not graduate with an alcohol use disorder.

Take Advantage of Campus Resources

See if your campus has any sort of support for sober or recovering students, like group meetings, counseling, or sober residence halls. Using the tools available to you will help set yourself up for optimal success. If your college doesn’t offer anything like this, consider starting something yourself or becoming active in similar programs in the community.

Plan Ahead for Spring Break

Spring break trips can create huge roadblocks for those trying to live a sober life. Plan ahead each year and do something different. You could go on a mission trip or visit distant family members. Or, maybe take a road trip and try an active adventure like hiking or camping. You’ll find that vacations like this are more enjoyable than drinking on the beach, anyway!

Staying Sober in College is Possible!

We hope these college sobriety tips to stay sober on campus assist you. Know that staying sober in college is possible when you make it a priority and plan for success. Avoid people who drink excessively, and don’t put yourself in risky positions. If you do find that you are struggling, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides a safe place to stay sober. Contact us to learn how we can help.

How to Help a Relapsing Alcoholic

Even though recovery is a positive step for anyone addicted to alcohol, there is always the very real and present concern of relapse. Relapse is when a recovering substance abuser returns to using substances immoderately and threatens their recovery. You, as a loved one, likely want to help your loved one or be prepared for this possibility—and luckily, there are several ways to do that. Here’s how to help a relapsing alcoholic.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

What is Relapse?

But first, what is relapse? Relapse is when a person returns to substance use at an immoderate level for an extended period of time. It’s different from a “slip” when a person gives in to temptation once or twice, but then realizes the danger and returns to working on their recovery. Relapse has the potential to derail plans of recovery for the long term.

Symptoms of relapse include the following:

  • Cravings the individual cannot distract themselves from
  • Withdrawal
  • Isolation
  • Leaving support or recovery groups
  • Putting themselves into tempting situations
  • Talking and thinking about the substance excessively

How to Help a Loved One Who is Relapsing

Relapse is so dangerous because when a person stops using substances for a time while in recovery, their tolerance for the substance decreases. So, if they go back to using a substance at the levels they used before they began recovery, there is a much greater risk of overdose. If you are concerned that this is a real possibility for your loved one, here is how you can help:

Empathize

Realize first and foremost that relapse is not a matter of willpower. It is a very real and biologically rooted symptom of the disease/disorder itself. The brain is deeply impacted by addiction, and between 40 to 60 percent of people in recovery will end up relapsing at one point or another.

So, empathize with your loved one as much as possible. Recognize their suffering and be there to support them and love them through it—don’t accuse and condemn them. Guilt and shame are a big part of relapse, so be a rock of support to encourage them to return to treatment and recovery.

Prepare Yourself for the Worst

Relapse is very possible, and if not addressed, it can be fatal. Have emergency personnel numbers and any interventions you can have (i.e. naloxone for opioids) on hand in case you need to step in to save your loved one’s life.

Encourage Your Loved One in Treatment

Encourage your loved one to attend and stay in their treatment program. Help them access local resources with high-quality treatment plans that will help them have the best chance for success. This may include a 12-step program or access to trauma counseling, if needed.

Help Them Avoid Triggers

One of the most important things you can do is to help your loved one avoid triggers. Help them get away from friends who are bad influences, remove alcohol from the house, and don’t take them places where alcohol will be served.

Sobriety is the Goal

We hope you better know how to help a relapsing alcoholic. All in all, sobriety is the goal, and The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation can be an integral part of that process. Helping your loved one avoid triggers and manage stress properly will allow them to have the greatest chance for success in preventing relapse. Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

Sober New Year’s Resolutions for 2020

New year, new you. This is especially the case if you’ve become sober this past year, or you’re currently working on getting sober. The start of 2020 is the perfect opportunity to create goals for yourself that will help you stay successful on your path to sobriety. View some of the best sober New Year’s resolutions for 2020 that you can hold yourself accountable to.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

How to Set SMART Goals

First and foremost, it helps to know how to create smart, achievable goals. The goals you set need to follow the SMART acronym, meaning they should be:

  • Specific. Don’t define your goal too broadly. Make sure it’s something very particular on which you can focus.
  • Measurable. Choose a goal that is measurable so that you can see the progress you’ve made. This also helps you easily tell when you’ve achieved or are achieving that goal.
  • Action-related. Smart goals require a concrete, definitive behavior change or action.
  • Realistic. You know your abilities and limits. Find a goal that will be a challenge, but one that you know you can reach.
  • Timely. Choose a goal that has particular significance in relation to where you’re at in life currently.

Sober New Year’s Resolutions

Now that you have the tools and knowledge to set SMART goals for 2020, here are a few ideas to help get you started on your sober New Year’s Resolutions. Write the ones that stick out to you down, then place them in an area where you’ll see them and be continually reminded of them:

  • Ask for help when needed. Make it your mission to truly ask for help when you’re struggling in 2020. Don’t wait until you’re on the verge of relapse to do so. Know your triggers and be confident in reaching out.
  • Exercise for at least half an hour every day. Your health will benefit immensely from sobriety as well as exercise. You’ll begin to enjoy more energy and better overall health when you prioritize growing in strength and endurance every day.
  • Learn a new hobby to enjoy in sobriety. Fill your time with things you’ve always wanted to do and learn. Find a new hobby and spend time working on it, learning it, and enjoying it every week. You may even meet new people to call friends at the same time (see below!).
  • Make 1-3 new friends who are supportive of sobriety. Aim to meet new people who aren’t simply around you because of alcohol and drug use. You may find these people when you are exposed to new hobbies or family events. Finding supportive friends will help you stay focused and confident in your sobriety.

2020 is Your Year!

If you’ve been working hard to get sober this year or you’re working on it right now, 2020 is definitely your year to shine. Employ a few of these sober New Year’s resolutions for 2020, and watch your life change for the better! And remember, if you ever need help staying clean and sober, a sober living environment can be of assistance. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.