Oxford House Overview
Oxford House is a non-profit housing organization for individuals interested in sober living and addiction recovery without relapse that was first established in 1975 in Silver Spring, Maryland. Between the years 1975 to 1988, individuals going through recovery established eighteen houses for other individuals going through the process as well. The organization believes firmly in self-help and taking responsibility as a path to recovery from addiction and mental disorders. The number of residents in an Oxford House may lie in the six to fifteen individuals. There are houses for men, women, and women who have children. Residents at these homes may have undergone one form of residential treatment or another. Houses exist in various states across the United States (over 2000 self-run Houses accommodating over 24,000 people yearly), Canada, and Hawaii, although all houses usually follow in the same pattern. An Oxford House Chapter basically consists of at least three or more houses spanning a hundred mile radius. Every month, representatives from each house in a particular Chapter have a meeting to discuss issues pertaining to a particular house and exchange information. Residents must commit to maintaining their sobriety and are usually responsible for managing, organizing and taking care of their homes and one another which helps them build the spirit of accountability and community. Residents may also partake in the 12-step program and attend recovery meetings as conditions for their stay.
Accommodation & Facilities
Many of the Oxford Houses are homes which have been adapted to suit the communal living style which helps the residents to care for one another. The number of residents and the size of a house may vary as residents are usually up to six in a home. Residents share bathrooms, kitchen, living rooms, and backyards but may have private rooms. Houses have their own laundry facilities and provide bed sheets, toiletries, and cleaning equipment. Residents are required to find employment (although there are community service options for residents who may not be able to do or find work) and take responsibility for their groceries, food, clothes and other personal items. Residents are also expected to pay a monthly rental fee while living in the house. Oxford House employs a policy of constant sober living. As long as the client is maintaining their sobriety, they may reside in the homes for as long as they feel it is necessary. The average length of stay for residents is a year although some have chosen to stay for up to four years.
Oxford House costs approximately $400 – $500 ($60 – $160 weekly) monthly and this fee is called EES which means Equal Expense Shared. The average cost though weekly for a resident under the Oxford House program is $98.75. Rent and other expenses such as feeding are the responsibility of the residents. Donations made to the institution from the houses is towards supporting the houses currently in network and donations made from external bodies is towards the expanding of the organization (for acquiring more houses). A form for aspiring house residents can be filled on the website if clients are unclear about the rules, house availability, and finance information.
Why Oxford House
A president, leader or officer is selected in an Oxford house by the residents of the house. A new leader is selected every 6 months to avoid corruption or partiality. Admission into the house requires three rules which are as follows:
- No drugs, Alcohol or Disruption
- Democratically run the house
- Regular payments of EES (Equal Expense Shared)
Group meetings like AA meetings are mandatory for each member of the house weekly. House meetings are mandatory for housemates weekly, and in this meeting, problems and issues are discussed concerning the management of the house and solutions are proffered. Housemates are notified on their financial standings in this meeting. The essence of The Oxford House is to support individuals with addiction issues or in the healing process by providing housing, that creates an environment for healing and total abstinence and to help in completely minimizing or eradicating the dependence on such addictive substances. The normal duration of a lengthened stay is one year but some residents stay for two to three years or more.