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Updated on September 27, 2022

Women's Sober Living

What is Sober Living for Women?

Sober living homes or halfway houses are the bridge between rehab and recovery. They serve as a temporary residence for people recovering from substance abuse.

Adjusting to a life without drugs and alcohol can be difficult for someone who is used to their presence. People who are not ready to resume their normal routine can stay in a sober living house.

Women's sober housing caters exclusively to women in recovery. Among these are women struggling with substance use disorders such as drug abuse, alcohol dependence, and addiction.

These homes provide gender-specific care and support long-term recovery by:

  • Keeping residents safe
  • Preventing relapse
  • Helping you create a sober lifestyle

While men are just as likely to have substance abuse problems, women face unique challenges in addiction recovery.1,2 Women's sober homes offer specialized care for their needs.

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What is it Like to Be in a Women's Sober Living Home?

Sober living facilities offer a structured home environment. Residents are expected to work on their recovery and contribute to the home. In exchange, you get the support and guidance needed for a sober life.

Here is what you can expect from a sober home:

House Rules for Sober Living

Residents are required to complete detox and/or rehab before entering sober living. You must also be willing to undergo therapy and 12-step meetings at least once a week during your stay.

Each home has its own rules. Here are some common rules:

  • Participating in group activities
  • Performing household chores
  • Sleeping at the home several nights a week
  • Not allowing guests to stay overnight
  • Being accountable for your actions
  • Adhering to a curfew

Drugs and alcohol are not allowed in a sober environment. However, exceptions can be made for prescription medications. Homes perform random alcohol and drug screenings to ensure you are sober.

If you fail to comply with these rules, they can deny you services and ask you to leave.

Sober Living Services and Amenities

You can have your own room or share it with a roommate. Sober living residents get basic amenities like a bathroom, kitchen, living room, and laundry area.

Some homes provide places for recreation to make your stay more comfortable. Examples include swimming pools, patios, and gardens.

Sober homes are usually located in safe neighborhoods, away from places that make it easy to obtain drugs and alcohol. They can also provide transportation to nearby treatment centers.

This gives you quick access to recovery services such as:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Family counseling
  • 12-step treatment program
  • Vocational and life skills training
  • Relapse prevention programs

In addition to these services, sober living prepares you for a life outside. They can help you find work and make housing arrangements when you are ready to move out.

Typical Day at a Sober Living Home

Residents must follow a schedule, which will depend on their stage of recovery. Some homes will be highly-structured with strict schedules and consistent times. Others may allow more free time and independence.

A typical day at a sober house includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most homes hold meetings every night. Residents usually attend outpatient treatments, recovery meetings, and wellness activities together.

How Long Can I Stay at a Sober Living Home?

Several factors determine your length of stay. These include:

  • Severity of substance abuse
  • How long you received addiction treatment
  • If you have any history of relapse
  • Your current stage of recovery
  • Compliance with house rules
  • Financial capacity to pay rent

You can stay in a recovery house for as long as you like, or until you are ready to move to a private residence. Studies show that 62% of people who moved into sober homes stay for at least 2 years.3

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How Much Does Sober Living Cost?

The cost of sober living is about the same as renting a small apartment in your area. Prices vary depending on your location and amenities.

Most sober living houses cost $300 to $1,000 per month. Luxury homes that provide more amenities may cost you up to $2,000 per month. When calculating the total cost of recovery housing, you have to consider expenses for outpatient treatments.

Some homes are also covered by private insurance, government funding, and Medicaid. The amount covered by your insurance policy will depend on your plan.

Is It Best for a Woman to Seek Women's Sober Living?

Yes. While recovery is unique for every woman, they also face common challenges which can only be addressed by a gender-specific program.

For instance, women are more susceptible to cravings. This puts them at greater risk for relapse, preventing them from sustaining long-term recovery. Women are also less likely to seek specialized treatments such a women-only programs. Researchers say this can lead to poor treatment outcomes.1,6

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Benefits of Gender-Specific Sober Living

A sober living program can benefit anyone who needs a safe environment that is free from drugs and alcohol. Researchers found that people who stay in a sober living program for at least 6 to 18 months were less likely to relapse.7

However, women's sober living homes offer several advantages for women struggling with substance abuse. Below are the benefits of a gender-specific sober living environment:

1. Focus more on your recovery

Women's sober living homes are community-based. So it is important for residents to feel comfortable with each other. Unfortunately, women are generally uncomfortable around men.5-

Women often avoid intimately engaging with male acquaintances due to concerns that the man may misinterpret friendliness as flirtation or even sexual interest.

Eric M. Russell, Research Associate at the University of Texas at Arlington

Women who form relationships during early recovery are also less likely to complete them. This happens if their partner discontinues treatment or the relationship becomes complicated.6

A women-only home eliminates these problems by limiting your interaction with other sober women.

2. You can feel safer and avoid relapse

Women who suffered trauma from men should not stay in mixed-gender homes. A co-ed living space can make you feel less safe and cause your trauma to resurface.6

Sober living for women can increase your feelings of safety. Many of these homes are trauma-informed and will accommodate their services to your circumstances.

Trauma victims who feel safe and supported have a lower risk for retraumatization. It allows you to manage your symptoms at your own pace. Studies also show that preventing trauma is key to relapse prevention.8

3. Get support from recovering women

As a woman, you will be facing challenges that only other women can relate to. These shared life experiences enable you to support women while also getting support.

According to research, having the support of peers is crucial in the recovery process. It can make you feel less isolated and help you stay sober. You can also share practical knowledge and sustain each other's efforts on recovery.9

4. Access to female-centered treatments

Men and women encounter different barriers that prevent them from staying sober. For example:

  • Women benefit more from self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous.6
  • Women tend to seek mental health services and hospital treatments for substance use problems.6
  • Women who do not receive adequate care are more likely to continue using drugs and alcohol.1,6

Sober living for women gives you better access to female-centered treatments. This can help you achieve long-term sobriety and increase your chances of a successful recovery.

How to Find the Best Sober Living Home

There are many different resources available to help you find the best sober living home for your circumstances.

For example:

  • Medical support teams: These teams are familiar with your specific issues and can help you find the best facility for your needs. 
  • Word-of-mouth: People attending 12-step or other recovery support groups have experience with sober living facilities and can provide information about the homes in your area.
  • Online reviews: You can learn about sober living homes in your area and what past residents thought of these facilities by searching online.

There are several things you should consider when looking for a sober living facility.

For example, look for a sober living home that offers:

  • Supportive community environments
  • IOP program in combination with residency
  • Ability to track your progress
  • Case management services
  • Minimum 90-days of access
  • Drug and alcohol testing that holds residents accountable

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Resources

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  1. "Substance Use in Women Research Report: Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use." National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  2. "Women and Alcohol." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  3. "A Survival Analysis of Communal-Living, Self-Help, Addiction Recovery Participants." Springer.
  4. "Gender and Use of Substance Abuse Treatment Services." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  5. "Women Warm Up Faster to Gay Men Than Straight Guys, Study Suggests." Association for Psychological Science.
  6. "Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  7. "What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?" National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  8. "Trauma resolution is relapse prevention." Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association.
  9. "Peer Support Key to Sustaining Recovery." Behavioral Health Evolution.

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