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What are Women’s Sober Living Homes?

Women’s sober living homes, which are sometimes called halfway houses, are the bridge between full-time rehabilitation facilities and the complete return to regular life. These homes provide a temporary residence for women recovering from addiction who still need the support of others focused on sobriety.

Sober living homes offer a structured environment free of alcohol and drugs. Residents have easy access to counseling and recovery meetings, as well as support and guidance for returning to a sober life outside of the home. They provide a bridge between inpatient and outpatient treatment.

To improve the chances of successful addiction recovery, many residents receive assistance finding work, housing, or access to resources they’ll use once they graduate from the sober living facility. 

Who is Women’s Sober Living For?

Any woman recovering from an alcohol or substance use disorder benefits from sober living.

Sober living facilities provide a home environment focused on sobriety. Instead of being distracted or tempted as you might be once you return to your pre-recovery life, you’ll be able to focus on: 

  • Strengthening your willpower
  • Building a toolbox of recovery assets
  • Staying focused on recovery goals

Sober living facilities are gender-specific for many reasons. Many people find they are less distracted living in an environment with only their gender. 

Unfortunately, many women who abused drugs or alcohol struggled with issues of sexual assault. Living in an environment with other women drastically reduces their risk and discomfort concerning their safety.

Some women are also more comfortable opening up and sharing their challenges with people of the same gender. Gender-specific programs also provide the benefit of treatment and activities that cater to female needs. This includes support and treatment for dealing with sexual assault trauma.

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What to Expect in Women’s Sober Living

Sober living facilities are structured residential environments. They are usually less regimented than full-time rehab facilities, but provide the support and structure that isn’t available for those returning directly to their homes.

Residents of sober living homes attend school or work. When at home, they are expected to work on their recovery and contribute to the community of the house.

People in sober living environments typically have expectations while they are residents that might include:

  • Remaining drug- and alcohol-free
  • Searching for work
  • Adhering to a curfew
  • Completing household chores
  • Attendance at 12-step or other recovery meetings

What can residents expect while in a sober living facility?

  • Alcohol or drug testing
  • Assistance with their job search
  • Gradual adjustment to a return to regular life
  • Assistance arranging housing away from the sober living facility
  • Support and guidance for mending fences and repairing damaged relationships with friends and family members
  • Help with building routines and learning how to live a fulfilling substance-free life

Are Sober Living Homes Effective?

Most health professionals who specialize in addiction believe that sober living homes are effective. They believe these programs increase the odds of successful long-term recovery.

Medical studies have confirmed this opinion. One 2010 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment showed that people with AUD were significantly less likely to face relapse, homelessness, and arrest at the six to 18-month mark after graduation from a sober living facility. Researchers determined the successful outcomes were due to the positive community support people received in the early days of their sober journeys.

One of the reasons why sober living homes are thought to be so effective is because of the enforcement of alcohol- and drug-free policies. Some homes employ random drug and alcohol screenings, holding residents accountable to themselves and their co-residents.

People living in these facilities usually take their commitment to sober living seriously. They know that being honest and accountable is one of the keys to a successful recovery. 

Benefits of Gender-Specific Sober Living Programs

Participating in a gender-specific sober living program offers many benefits.

Many residents find that living in a gender-specific environment alleviates the temptations and pressure one might face in co-ed environments. 

For women, specifically, gender-specific environments feel safer. This is an especially important factor for women who have previous experience with sexual assault and need a safe space to focus on recovery.

At the very least, people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction can speak freely and not worry about the issues that sometimes come up in a co-ed environment. Essentially, gender-specific sober living homes remove the complications that arise when men and women live together under one roof.

Medical professionals familiar with recovery often recommend setting aside romantic relationships until the recovery process is well underway. The time in a person’s life immediately after leaving a treatment facility is best spent on their physical and mental health and well-being. 

While they are encouraged to mend fences in existing relationships, it is usually not recommended that they enter into new romantic relationships.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse even recommends setting a rule for no romantic involvement among members in treatment programs. The consensus is that romantic relationships sabotage recovery for both people involved.

Early recovery is a time to focus on getting to know more about yourself as a sober person. For most people, this is most easily accomplished in a same-gender environment. 

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How Much Do Sober Living Homes Cost?

The cost of living at sober living facilities varies based on your location and the amenities offered by the recovery program.

Residences that offer basic amenities usually cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to $1000. In most cases, sober living rent is based on how much it costs to rent a small apartment in your area. Homes providing a significant range of amenities can be as much as $2000 per month.

The goal of most sober living homes is to provide structure and accommodations to those who are learning to live independently as they recover from their addiction. The cost of rent is low, which allows people to focus on recovery without worrying about finances.  

It’s also important to note that sober living homes often forego some of the things that make independent living cost-prohibitive. For example, most don’t require a security deposit of the first and last months’ rent. Again, the goal is to promote recovery, not deny people access to a resource they need to transition back into the community. 

Does Health Insurance Cover Sober Living Programs?

Very few insurance companies provide full payment to help people with the cost of sober living programs. Some offer partial financial assistance. And even if your insurance covers the cost of sober living, not all facilities accept insurance. Make sure you check in advance before making arrangements to live in a facility.

In most cases, people in a full-time rehab program will receive guidance finding a sober living program that suits their medical and financial needs. Additionally, sober living facilities assist you with financial arrangements, regardless of whether they accept insurance or not.

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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“NIAAA Publications.” Nih.gov, 2019, https://www.pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh291/55-62.htm.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Substance Use in Women.” Drugabuse.gov, 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What Are the Unique Needs of Women with Substance Use Disorders?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/what-are-unique-needs-women-substance-use-disorders.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What Helps People Stay in Treatment?” https://ww.drugabuse.gov, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/what-helps-people-stay-in-treatment.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 13 June 2014, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/treatment.

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