The Purpose Of Oxford House
Oxford House is a concept in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In its simplest form, an Oxford House describes a democratically run, self-supporting and drug free home. Parallel to this concept lies the organizational structure of Oxford House, Inc. This publicly supported, non-profit 501(c)3 corporation is the umbrella organization which provides the network connecting all Oxford Houses and allocates resources to duplicate the Oxford House concept where needs arise.
The number of residents in a House may range from six to fifteen; there are houses for men, houses for women, and houses which accept women with children. Oxford Houses flourish in metropolitan areas such as New York City and Washington D.C. and thrive in such diverse communities as Kansas, Hawaii, Washington State, Canada and Australia; but they all abide by the basic criteria.
Each House represents a remarkably effective and low cost method of preventing relapse. This was the purpose of the first Oxford House established in 1975, and this purpose is served, day by day, house after house, in each of over 1,200 houses in the United States today.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is an Oxford House?
Oxford House is a self-run, self-supported recovery house concept and system of operation for individuals recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction. Oxford Houses assure an alcohol and drug-free living environment. The first Oxford House was started in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1975.
Q. Who manages an Oxford House?
Oxford Houses are democratically self-run by the residents who elect officers to serve for terms of six months. In this respect, they are similar to a college fraternity or sorority. However, if a majority of residents believe that any member has relapsed into using alcohol or drugs, that person is immediately expelled. There are no resident counselors in an Oxford House.
Q. How long can anyone live in an Oxford House?
A recovering individual can live in an Oxford House for as long as he or she does not drink alcohol, does not use drugs, and pays an equal share of the house expenses. The average stay is about a year, but many residents stay three, four, or more years. There is no pressure on anyone in good standing to leave.
Q. Why is Oxford House self-run?
Oxford Houses are self-run because (1) this permits individuals in recovery to learn responsibility, and (2) the lower cost associated with self-run housing permits extensive replication of houses. Each House is fully responsible for its own expenses and debts which will not and cannot be assumed by the National Organization of Oxford Houses.
Q. How can one get into an Oxford House?
Any recovering alcoholic or drug addict can apply to get into any Oxford House by filling out an application and being interviewed by the existing members of the House. The application is then considered by the membership of the House and if there is a vacancy and if 80% of the members approve, the applicant is accepted and moves in.
Q. What if there is not an Oxford House in the area or there are no vacancies in any Oxford House in the region?
Any Group of recovering individuals can start a new Oxford House. All they need to do is to find a house to rent in the name of the Group, and apply to Oxford House, Inc., for a charter. The house must be able to accomodate at least six residents.
Q. Can the new house become affiliated with Oxford House?
Yes, by simply writing or calling Oxford House to ask for a Charter application. Once that application is completed and received by Oxford House, Inc., a “Conditional Charter” will be granted to the house at no cost. A “Permanent Charter” is granted once the group demonstrates that it understands and is following the Oxford House system of operation. It is also granted free of charge.
Q. Can an Oxford House be started without a loan from the state?
Yes, the prospective residents of the House can find a suitable house, rent it, put up the security deposit and pay the first month’s rent themselves. Oxford House, Inc. will consider favorably a Charter application whether or not a loan is received from the State or some other outside source.
Q. Can both men and women live in the same Oxford House?
No. Experience has shown that Oxford Houses work for both men and women, but not in the same house.
Q. What is the “ideal” number of individuals to make a self-run, self-supported recovery house work well?
Experience of Oxford House has shown that from 8 to 15 members works very well. Oxford House will not charter a house with fewer than six individuals because experience has shown that it takes at least six individuals to form an effective group.
Q. How much sobriety or clean time is needed before an individual can be accepted into an Oxford House?
There is no time limit. Generally an individual comes into an Oxford House following a 28-day rehabilitation program or at least 10-day detoxification program.
Q. What is Oxford House Inc.?
Oxford House Inc., is a non-profit, tax exempt, publicly supported corporation which acts as a umbrella organization for the national network of Oxford Houses. It provides quality control by organizing regional Houses into Chapters and by relying heavily upon the national network of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups. While Oxford House is not affiliated with AA or NA, its members realize that recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction can only be assured by the changing of their lifestyle through full participation in AA and NA. In most communities, the members of those organizations help Oxford Houses get started and report any charter compliance problems to the national office of Oxford House World Services with respect to a particular house. As soon as Oxford House Inc., hears of such problems, it takes corrective action because the good name of Oxford House is an important factor in the recovery of thousands of individuals.