Sober living homes, sometimes called halfway houses, can be a viable option for those looking to transition back to their day-to-day routine after attending an inpatient or residential treatment facility. For those who complete treatment, the transition from a safe and structured environment back to a busy life can be filled with worry and stress. Being thrust back into the same environment can trigger cravings and temptations that can lead to relapse. A sober living home can provide the encouragement and support needed from a community and help prevent relapse..
What is a Sober Living Home?
A sober living home is a group home for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. They aim to foster accountability for people in early recovery and provide extra support while establishing life free of substances. Sober living is different from an inpatient rehab. Sober living homes are less structured, and individuals are free to come and go as they please, usually with certain rules and restrictions geared towards fostering abstinence. For example, a curfew may be enforced. Periodic drug testing or alcohol breathalyzers may be required to continue living in the home to demonstrate sobriety.
What To Expect
Most sober living homes don’t offer formal addiction treatment onsite, however may offer transportation to and from local 12-step meetings depending on the facility. Typically, there are specific rules and expectations in sober living that people need to follow as a requirement to maintain residency at the home. Some things to expect from a sober living home include:
Accountability: From staying sober to paying monthly rent, accountability can be considered a huge part of recovery. Most of the time, sober living will require rent for a room in a house, and people are responsible for paying with their own funds. Sometimes residents can get assistance through scholarships, charities, or other financial assistance.
Chores & Meals: Typically, residents are expected to clean up after themselves, keep their spaces clean, and are responsible for purchasing and cooking their own meals. While group meals may be at a specific time, expect to be responsible for being productive and handling these responsibilities on your own.
Work & Volunteer: Some sober living facilities will require their residents to be out of the home during specific hours of the day engaging in a productive activity, whether that be working, volunteering, or job searching.
Medications: Most sober living homes do not allow residents to hold onto their own medications, but instead are distributed by a staff member or medical professional. Any products containing alcohol are generally prohibited. Note that some sober living homes will not allow certain medications to be taken at all. If you are on medication, including MAT, like Suboxone, it is important that any living accommodation be supportive of taking these medications.
Visitors: Most sober living homes have limited visiting hours out of respect for other residents and to ensure a drug and alcohol-free environment.
Curfew: To create a safe and accountable space, sober living homes usually have curfews that require residents to be home at a specific time.
Requirement in Treatment or Therapy: Recovery is a long-term process. Following an inpatient rehab, ongoing therapy or aftercare involvement in a treatment program is often required by sober living homes for accountability and relapse prevention.
Consequences: Most times, sober living homes have a strict no-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use. For respect and safety of other residents, violation of rules can result in consequences such as an early curfew or possible eviction.
Benefits of Sober Living
Sober living provides reinforcement of skills learned in addiction treatment. While you can continue to apply the newfound skills you may have learned, you can also develop new sober connections where you’re surrounded by people who are also working on their own recovery. Other benefits of sober living homes include:
Smooth Transition Back to Everyday Life
With the above requirements, sober living can help bridge the gap between addiction treatment and the real world. Providing a safe space to come home to during the evening, sober living can help individuals establish a life of sobriety.
Helps Reduce Relapse Risks
Sober living homes can mitigate the risks of relapse by eliminating stressors that may cause temptations to use, like not being around people who are regularly using and drinking. Because of residents being held accountable for their actions and decisions, and the guidelines and structures set in place, residents are encouraged to stay busy and productive.
Sober living homes sometimes have staff members that check in with residents, help with gaining a job, and encourage them to follow their continued path of recovery. These staff members are also available to help with issues, conflict, stressors, and cravings. Typically, these staff members are also in recovery and understand what it’s like to get sober, offering guidance and support when you may need it most. Staff in sober living homes function as peer support, and is not the same as ongoing mental health treatment from a therapist.
How Much Does Sober Living Cost?
Sober living prices range depending on the facility, amenities, location, and resident to staff ratio, however rent costs about the same as renting a room from someone depending on the area. For example, sober living homes in less populated areas may have lower rents than a sober living home in a highly-populated city.
Sober living is usually less expensive than attending a residential rehab facility, as they are living environments. A sober living home is not a treatment facility with trained mental health professionals.
Sober Living vs Halfway House: What’s the Difference?
Sober living and halfway houses are very similar, structurally. However, while sober living homes can be stand alone facilities or affiliated with a higher level addiction treatment center, they also have no limitation on duration an individual can stay at their facility, so long as rent is being paid. Halfway houses can be affiliated with government agencies. While sober living homes can be more private, halfway houses tend to be less exclusive, with less amenities and not as structured.
Find Sober Living Near You
How do you know if you need sober living? Anybody who has struggled with a substance use disorder might benefit from a sober living home. An adequate sober living home should be state licensed and meet the regulations of state and federal requirements. Fortunately, there are sober living homes in each state that abide by these regulations. If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder and looking for a sober living home, help is not far away. Sober Nation is dedicated to helping individuals find individualized and sustainable recovery. Find a sober living home today.