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.

Sometimes people “slip” because they think they can spend sober time with old friends in familiar jaunts. In doing that, they’re also brushing elbows with another familiar sidekick - the bottle or the drug. Triggers, plus the addict’s siren song - “You can have just one” - is simply too powerful to resist. Or maybe they get disappointing news, or they fight with their spouse over a shaky marriage. Then, the intoxicating and numbing way they used to manage stress raises its ugly head, and they seek solace in drugs or alcohol.

I’m not excusing these relapses because the challenge of recovery is to stay sober NO MATTER WHAT. But we do give residents a chance to explain their behavior and possibly get back on the horse in our recovery community. At the same time, there is a type of relapse that calls for permanent expulsion from our community, and that would be a relapse that takes a fellow resident down. That kind of relapse is characterized by the lack of integrity that robust recovery requires.

Some drugs, such as the opioid-like Kratom, can’t be picked up by an ordinary urine test. Instead, detecting Kratom requires a costly test for specific metabolites. If one person slips, we drug test our entire community. Those costly Kratom drug tests drains fund that could be better used to support the residents in the CSTL recovery community. And Kratom is costly in other ways: it will cost a resident the chance to return to our powerful recovery community, a community that requires a strong personal commitment to acting with integrity. Residents who use Kratom to avoid detection demonstrate deceit, not integrity, so they lose the privilege of living in our community.

At the end of the day, recovery is about staying sober when tough times or triggers call your name. CSTL will be at your side as you learn how to live a life free of drugs or alcohol, with integrity as your foundation.

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