Really?? Shellfish in the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Washington, tested positive for the prescription opioid oxycodone, as well as seven kinds of antibiotics, five types of antidepressants, more than one antidiabetic drug and one chemotherapy agent. The presence of these meds speaks volumes about the health of people in the urban areas surrounding the Puget Sound. And that’s not all – learn what else we’re eating, and how it impacts our bodies.

One of the requirements for living in the CSTL community is that residents consent to a “on demand” drug test if we consider it necessary. And sometimes it is necessary because someone in our community has slipped and we need to determine if – and how far - the drug or alcohol use has progressed.

When a resident’s drug test shows up positive for drug or alcohol use, our resident-elected judicial council will determine the consequences. There will always be a mandatory three -day expulsion, but after that, the resident can explain their circumstances to the council. The council meets only on Wednesdays, which means that a resident who relapses often needs to find a new place to live for a week or more. Then they may be given a chance to return to CSTL – or maybe not.

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Early on in my recovery, I expected people to forgive me because – after all – I had been sober for three months. It was easy to be upset when I felt my loved ones were still holding the past against me. Wearing my rose-colored glasses, I didn’t understand that true forgiveness takes a long time to earn. I came to that realization through my step work which helped me understand that, while people might forgive me for a specific thing if I asked, it would take a long time for my family to become willing to forgive me across the board.

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There are 23 million Americans in long-term recovery from their alcohol or drug abuse, and I imagine that many of them of them lived in “sober livings” or recovery housing as they learned how to navigate life without drugs or alcohol. Today, sober livings are under siege as NIMBYism ramps up. I’m hearing rumblings about legislative movements to shuttle sober living homes off to industrial zones, or to shut them down entirely. It’s particularly disturbing because, as a result of their brain disease, our residents are classified as Americans with Disabilities, and their protections are threatened by the growing storm.

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