What are Sober Living Homes?
In This Article
Sober living homes, also known as sober houses, are transitional living spaces for people who want to maintain sobriety. It provides a safe environment for people to focus on their recovery after substance abuse treatment.
People who have undergone addiction treatment in rehab centers often struggle to stay sober as they adjust to the real world. In sober living homes, you can learn essential skills and techniques for recovering addicts before returning to your everyday life.
The life skills that sober living homes provide can help you prepare for the next chapter of your life. It also offers a community of empathetic peers.
What to Expect in a Sober Living Home
Sober living homes are typically located in secure, serene neighborhoods to provide a stable housing environment. It's a comfortable, home-like place where you can feel safe and relaxed.
There are also various activities that you can expect to take part in throughout the day. Although your experience may vary. Some activities you can expect include:
Daily Activities in Sober Living Homes
A typical day in a sober living home usually begins with chores such as:
- Tidying the bedroom
- Cleaning the bathroom
- Helping with breakfast
After that, you may take part in
- House meetings
- Twelve-step meetings
- Mandatory drug tests
- Counseling sessions either inside or outside the home
You can enjoy healthy meals in the evening, followed by group therapy sessions. Nighttime is often reserved for free time when you can call loved ones, read books, or watch television.
Can You Still Go to Work While in A Sober Living Home?
If you have a job, you can go to work as scheduled. You can also schedule meetings or counseling sessions around your work hours.
However, if you don't have a job, your afternoon activities can include:
- Looking for a job
- Household chores
- Community service
Common House Rules of Sober Living Homes
There are many well-established rules in sober living homes, as the structured environment is one of the main reasons they help with recovery. Some of the house rules set up in sober living homes include:
- Abstaining from drugs and alcohol
- Attending house meetings or 12-step meetings
- Completing specific chores
- Participating in random drug testing
- Following a curfew
- Signing in and out when being away from the home
- No overnight guests
Benefits of Sober Living
Recovery is a lifelong process. The key to sustaining long-term sobriety is to prevent relapse.
Sober transitional living spaces like sober homes can help you by:
- Limiting your access to drugs and alcohol
- Avoiding environmental triggers that may cause you to relapse
- Constant guidance and support from addiction specialists
- Minimizing the risk of relapse
Why Choose Sober Living
Sober living gives you time to develop healthy coping mechanisms that can help you avoid a relapse. You'll learn to deal with internal and external triggers such as:
Substance abuse may have taken years of your life, so sober living homes can help you regain them. Lastly, it allows you to build meaningful sober relationships and bonds.
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Who Lives in Sober Living Homes?
Sober living homes are for:
- People who are new to addiction recovery
- Patients undergoing outpatient rehab but don’t want to stay at their home
- People who have completed a treatment program but need additional support to sustain long-term recovery
- Recovering individuals who don’t have the support of family and friends
- People who want to maintain sobriety but aren’t ready to go back to the real world
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Is There a Difference Between Sober Living and Halfway Houses?
In many ways, sober living houses are similar to halfway homes. Sober living residents often deal with unique challenges like:
- Psychiatric symptoms
- Navigating life post-incarceration
- Adapting to life after formal treatment services
Both sober living homes and halfway houses support people recovering from substance use disorders. Both of them also offer access to resources that can help you with early recovery.
However, halfway homes and sober living homes have key differences:
- Usually run by government agencies or sponsored by the state
- Accommodates people who have been previously incarcerated and have a history of drug or alcohol addiction
- Less expensive
- Has fewer amenities
- Lacks privacy; tends to be crowded with residents
- There is a limit on how long you can stay
- You must be enrolled in a treatment program or have recently completed rehab
Sober Living Houses
- Run by medical professionals and experts in sober living
- Accommodates anyone with a history of substance abuse
- More costly, although it is likely covered by insurance
- It offers plenty of amenities to ensure a comfortable stay
- Residents get their own rooms for privacy
- You can stay for as long as you want
- Doesn’t require you to be in a treatment program
Types of Sober Living Houses
Most sober living environments provide separate homes for men and women. However, there are mixed-gender homes and homes that specifically cater to LGBTQ+ people.
People can experience specific challenges in recovery depending on their gender. By providing separate homes, facilitators can provide gender-specific care to improve the chances of success.
Sober Living for Men
Men are more likely to seek treatment for their substance abuse than women.1 But they face other challenges that make lifelong recovery difficult, such as:
- Men are less likely to stop drinking on their own
- Men tend to be more skeptical of early treatment
- Men who relapse report positive feelings about their experience
- Men have a higher risk for mental disorders and dual diagnosis
- Men tend to have poor treatment outcomes (e.g., more frequent relapses)
Given these struggles, men-only homes usually focus on early treatment, mental health support, relapse prevention, and aftercare programs.
Sober Living for Women
Women are more likely than men to quit drinking alone.2 They also have better treatment outcomes and are less likely to relapse.1
However, they face the following challenges in alcohol recovery:
- Women are less likely to seek treatment
- When they do seek help, it’s from primary healthcare settings (e.g., hospitals and mental health clinics), which leads to poorer outcomes
- Women are more likely to feel depressed after a relapse
- Women who seek treatment reported higher rates of sexual abuse
Women-only houses tend to focus on providing mental health support for their residents.
LGBTQ+ Sober Living
People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer are at higher risk for substance abuse than their heterosexual counterparts.
Below are some of the struggles they face in recovery:
- Limited access to treatment facilities that focus on care
- Many LGBTQ+ patients deal with trauma and mental health problems (e.g., depression and anxiety)
- Lack of support from loved ones
- Discrimination in healthcare settings
Sober living homes for the LGBTQ+ help them recover by focusing on self-acceptance, peer support, and mental health.
Other Sober Living Facilities
In addition to gender-specific sober living, some homes cater to different age groups and populations. These include:
- Teenage sober living houses
- Young adult sober living
- Veteran sober living homes
- First responder sober living homes
Certain age brackets can experience specific challenges when recovering from addiction. The same can be said about military veterans and first responders.
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How Much Do Sober Living Homes Cost?
A sober living home typically costs the same as the average apartment. Although these prices will depend on its location.
However, sober living homes are generally less expensive than inpatient treatment centers. This is because they offer fewer services. But, many sober living homes have mandatory support group meetings.
They also tend to be affiliated with addiction treatment centers that provide outpatient programs. Both of which may add to the costs. Most homestays will cost between $500 to $1,200 monthly, with all services included. But they can be anywhere between $300 and $2,000, depending on the neighborhood and amenities.
What Amenities Do Sober Living Homes Offer?
Some services and amenities that may increase the cost of sober living are:
- In-house recovery programs and training
- Phone, internet, and cable
- Laundry services
- Health and self-care amenities (e.g., spa, gym)
- Recreational amenities (e.g., pool)
It’s worth noting that many sober living homes are covered under insurance plans or government funding. So make sure to check with your provider.
How to Find a Sober Living House
If you or your loved one needs to go to a sober living facility, contact your local healthcare professional or medical professional for a referral.
They will be able to discuss the best available options and can help locate nearby locations. You can also visit the websites of sober living homes in your area to find one that suits your needs.
A sober living home is a temporary transitional living space for people recovering from substance abuse. It's a safe haven that keeps you away from triggers and minimizes the risk of relapse.
Sober living homes provide a structured living environment that prepares you for reintegration into society. It provides necessary life skills and techniques to help you maintain sobriety.
It also provides a therapeutic space where you can get support from peers who are also recovering from substance abuse. There are also specific types of sober living homes that cater to your gender, age, and in some cases, profession.
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- “Gender and Use of Substance Abuse Treatment Services.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- “GENDER AND ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: PATTERNS FROM THE MULTINATIONAL GENACIS PROJECT.” National Center for Biotechnology Information.
- “What did we learn from our study on sober living houses and where do we go from here?”. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
- “Recovery Housing: Assessing the Evidence.” Journal of Psychiatric Services.
- “A clean and sober place to live: philosophy, structure, and purported therapeutic factors in sober living houses.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
- “Sober living house characteristics: A multilevel analyses of factors associated with improved outcomes.” PubMed.
- “Gender Differences in the Association Between Romantic Relationships and Relapse Among Individuals in Early Recovery in Oxford House.” ResearchGate.
- “Participation in Peer Support Services and Outcomes Related to Recovery.” ResearchGate.
- “Gender Similarities and Differences in the Treatment, Relapse, and Recovery Cycle.” National Center for Biotechnology Information.
- “A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.