What Are Sober Living Homes? Benefits and How It Works


Sober living homes are a great tool to use when you are coming out of rehabilitation or have just started your sobriety journey.

For many people, sober living homes offer a great way to find social support, build structure, and help maintain the skills needed for sobriety.

In this article, we will cover some of the most common questions you may have about sober living homes, including who they are designed for, how they work, and how much they cost.

Read on to learn more about:

  • What a sober living home is
  • How living in a sober living home may look like
  • The common types of sober living homes available
  • What rules you need to follow in a sober living house
  • The benefits of living in a sober house
  • The costs and length of stay required for a sober living house arrangement.

Let’s get into it.

What Is A Sober Living Home?

A sober living house is a peer-supported living arrangement that is specifically crafted to assist individuals in upholding their commitment to sobriety.

Residents are required to maintain sobriety, attend recovery group sessions, and actively participate in household responsibilities.

Sober living homes are often best suited to people who have recently completed inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment programs and transitioning out from the structured treatment environment, which is challenging.

Despite not offering individual or group counseling, sober living houses provide a supportive environment with a focus on maintaining sobriety through structured living and substance-free surroundings.

How do they work?

Residents staying at sober living houses are typically required to adhere to strict rules, with an emphasis on maintaining sobriety.

They must also attend regular recovery group sessions, and actively participate in household responsibilities such as chores.

People living in these houses often rent rooms on an indefinite basis and are encouraged to engage in productive activities like work or school.

Some sober living houses will require a resident to be employed, volunteering, or attending classes, for example.

Principles of Sober Living Houses

  • Communal living with other sober people
  • Recovery group sessions
  • Active participation in household chores
  • Be, or be actively working towards employment, further education or volunteering
  • Weekly, or monthly rent payments
  • Drug and alcohol testing to prove sobriety.

Types of Sober Living Homes

  1. Traditional Sober Living House: A traditional sober living house is a type of house where you may pay your monthly rent and are required to maintain sobriety and attend recovery groups. You will also be expected to contribute to household chores
  2. Sober Re-entry Program or Halfway Houses: These houses are designed for people on parole or people who have completed their prison sentence.

These houses are designed to help people reintegrate into society and have a time limit on how long someone can stay here. They also require strict adherence to sobriety and have regular drug testing.

  1. Transitional Housing Programs: These sober living houses are designed for people who have just come out of homelessness.

These houses are intended to help people find stability and often help people to find their own secure houses. Like other sober living arrangements, transitional housing can require drug tests as proof of sobriety.

The Requirements, Rules, and Regulations of Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes often have rules and regulations that allow them to run successfully. Some of these include:

  • Commitment to sobriety, which may include alcohol and drug testing
  • Zero tolerance of physical abuse
  • Proof of employment, volunteering, or education
  • Payment of rent
  • Prohibition of gambling
  • Mandatory participation in group meetings
  • Night curfew that must be adhered to
  • Overnight guests must be approved.

It is important to note that all sober living homes will have their own rules. Some regulations will be stricter than others.

The Benefits of Sober Living Homes

Increased sobriety rates

Sober living homes have been found to help people maintain their sobriety. These homes require individuals to be free of substances and commit fully to their recovery.

This often includes drug and alcohol tests, which ensure that people are not abusing alcohol or other drugs.

Improved mental health

Studies show that sober living homes can help improve psychiatric symptoms. This may be due to a number of factors, including the structure and social support that sober living homes provide.

Stronger social support

Sober living homes provide a community of like-minded officials who are all working towards recovery together. They often require group meetings and can have counselors who lead these meetings.

Enhanced life skills

Sober living homes often require people to further their careers, or education whilst living at the premise, to help further their skills.

The communal living aspect also helps people to work on their life skills while maintaining a high level of independence.

Reduced risk of relapse

In general, the longer someone stays abstinent, the lower their rate of relapse. Sober living homes help people to maintain this abstinence, which reduces their risk of relapse once they leave the home.

Transition from rehabilitation to everyday life

For many people who have been in rehabilitation, the transition to everyday life can be challenging. Sober living homes provide a way to maintain some of the structure present in rehabilitation while allowing for the independence of everyday life.

What Is It Like Living In A Sober Living Home

Living in a sober home is not all that different from any other shared housing situation.

However, there are some rules that residents must adhere to that are aimed at maintaining a substance-free lifestyle. Regular attendance at recovery group sessions is often mandatory, promoting a sense of community and mutual support among residents.

“[sober living homes] holds you accountable and makes sure you are on the right path for your future…. I’ve formed a lot of good relationships and a good support system living here.” Matthew H.

What To Expect After? The Results

For most people who have lived in sober living homes, they can expect to find the transition to regular housing much smoother.

This is because they would have developed coping mechanisms and skills required for independent living while living in a sober living home.

However, it is important to maintain social support and skills developed during sober living to continue your journey.

Sober Living vs Halfway House vs Rehab Centers: What Are The Differences?

Rehab centers are designed for intensive, short-term treatment. They provide a structured and supervised environment for individuals to undergo detoxification and participate in short-term therapeutic interventions.

On the other hand, sober living homes are transitional residences for individuals who have completed a rehab program or achieved a period of sobriety. The length of stay is usually longer than at rehab centers.

Halfway houses are similar to sober living houses but are more specifically designed for people who have come out of prison to help them reintegrate into society.

Sober Living Halfway House Rehab Centers
Purpose Transition after rehab/sobriety Reintegration after prison Intensive short-term treatment
Length of Stay Longer-term (months to years) Variable (may have time limits) Short-term (weeks to months)
Supervision Limited Moderate Intensive
Treatment Focus Sobriety support Reintegration, life skills Detox and short-term therapy
Admission Requirements Completion of rehab/sobriety Release from prison Seeking addiction treatment
Therapeutic Interventions Limited, often external Counseling, vocational training Comprehensive programs

Who are sober living homes best for?

Sober living homes are best for people who have just come out of rehab. They are also great for people who have self-detoxed and are in the early stages of maintaining their sobriety.

Sober living homes help these people sustain their sobriety by providing people with a structured, safe place.

How Much Does It Cost To Stay In A Sober Living Home?

Like with any rent prices, prices vary greatly based on location, housing standards, and the support they provide.

In most cases, you can expect to pay around $500 to $2000 a month.

How Long Should You Stay In A Sober Living Home?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends at least a 90-day stay in sober living. However, according to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the average length of stay was between 166 and 254 days.

In general, the longer someone stays in a sober living home to help maintain their abstinence, the higher the rate of recovery success. By staying in a home for a year or longer, you may be reducing your risk of relapse.

Are Sober Living Homes Effective?

Yes – for most people. Sober living homes have been found to have a positive effect on mental health and addiction recovery.

However, recovery is a unique journey that does not look the same for everyone. While a large proportion of people find these homes helpful, it may not be for everyone.

How To Find A Sober Living Home

Your rehabilitation center or family doctor will be able to recommend a local sober living home.

American Addiction Centers also offer sober living arrangements nationwide at Resolutions – Recovery Residences.

The Bottom Line

There are numerous types of sober living houses, which all work in unique ways to help you early on in your sobriety journey.

Sober living houses are best for people who have just finished rehabilitation programs, are on parole, or are early on in their self-detox.

They provide support, structure, and mandatory group meetings to help you in recovery. It is important to remember that sober living homes are a commitment to sobriety and to yourself.








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