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Sober-Living Homes

Published on May 12, 2021

After you go through detox and formal addiction treatment, sober-living homes give you a place to go where drugs and alcohol are not allowed. Each sober-living home runs differently but all of them help support you as you begin the recovery journey in the real world.

What Is A Sober-Living Home?

Sober-living homes are group homes that are free from any alcohol and drugs and run as a co-op where residents pay the costs to maintain the home and also do day-to-day chores

People are expected to be responsible for themselves and their decisions but there’s also likely a home or resident manager who enforces the house rule. This ensures the house stays a safe environment and that everyone is supporting each other’s recovery process.

While some sober-living homes are owned by businesses, religious organizations, addiction treatment centers, or charities, the majority are privately run by groups of people in recovery.

Sober-Living House Rules

Most sober-living homes come with rules for the house. While they differ from home to home, the most common house rules include:

  • stay sober
  • no use of items with alcohol (like mouthwash)
  • contribute to household chores
  • no violence
  • no stealing
  • abide by the curfew
  • sleep at the sober-living house most of the time
  • no overnight guests
  • attend most house meetings
  • agree to random drug testing or alcohol screenings
  • respect other housemates and staff
  • attending support group meetings
  • no sexual activity between residents

Who Can Live In Sober-Living Homes?

Just about anyone can live in a sober-living home as long as they’ve been through some sort of addiction treatment program prior to moving in. Whether that needs to be a formal inpatient treatment or a 12-step program depends on the house.

Having completed a rehab program before is important because people need to have some tools under their belt so they can practice their recovery skills in real-world situations and live in the house without drugs and alcohol.

How Much Do Sober-Living Homes Cost?

The cost of staying in a sober-living home depends on the location and amenities but most homes try to keep it moderately priced so everyone can afford to stay there. The rent is usually between $450-$750 per month

Most of the time, paying for utilities like electricity or water is not required.

Sober-Living Homes Vs. Halfway Houses

On the surface, halfway houses and sober-living homes are quite similar. They both provide an alcohol- and drug-free environment for those in recovery. But there are a few differences.

Halfway houses likely have a limit to how long you can stay there and while some sober-living houses have this as well, not all of them do. 

Halfway houses are also not always only for addiction recovery. They can be for those dealing with homelessness, former prisoners on parole, or those suffering from psychiatric issues.

Halfway houses are also usually funded by treatment centers or the government, which means if the government decides to cut their funding, people may end up having nowhere to go.

Sober-living houses are often funded by the people living there, so a lack of funding is likely not much of an issue.

Benefits Of Sober-Living Homes For Addictions

Sober-living homes do a lot to help those with addiction, including:

Stable Living Environment

Having a safe and supportive environment can lead to the recovery of all residents. Having a home, as well as being near others in recovery, can help people maintain sobriety and further develop skills for long-term recovery.

Accountability

Living in a sober-living home gives you accountability to yourself and to the other residents there. Ongoing support and community can improve everyone’s chances of continued recovery.

Peer Support

While these houses likely don’t include other treatment services, residents may encourage you to go to 12-step meetings and other support groups. Residents will also likely be there for meals and simply be there when you need to talk.

Additional Benefits

Some additional benefits of sober-living housing include:

  • encouraging you to find a job and/or other housing situation
  • helping you adjust to outside life after treatment
  • helping you identify triggers that may lead to a relapse
  • building healthy relationships with fellow sober residents which can be highly beneficial to mental health

How To Choose The Best Sober-Living Home For You

Choosing the best sober-living home for you really depends on what you’re looking for. Here are a few tips on how to find the home that’s best for you:

  • location: find a home that’s close to meetings, counseling, or therapy sessions
  • understand the rules: be sure you know and understand all the rules before moving into a home
  • seek out former residents: look for personal referrals from people who have lived, or even are living, in the sober-living home you’re considering
  • ask treatment providers: your treatment provider at the treatment facility you went to is likely to have plenty of recommendations for sober-living houses 
  • cost: make sure you can afford the cost of rent before signing up to living in a specific home
  • standard of care: check out the National Alliance for Recovery Residences to see if the home you’re looking at has a high standard of care

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or alcohol or drug addiction, call our helpline today and discover the right treatment options for you.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

National Library of Medicine - A Clean and Sober Place to Live: Philosophy, Structure, and Purported Therapeutic Factors in Sober Living Houses
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Recovery Homes Help People in Early Recovery
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Affording Housing Models and Recovery

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