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What is Sober Living?

April 20, 2021
Reviewed by: Lisa Misquith

To live in a safe environment while being in recovery from any addiction treatment. Choosing ‘Sober Living Homes’ is one of the most reliable and smart decisions for recovery. It allows you to recover in a place where other people who are in a similar situation will be living with you; it will make you realise — you’re not suffering alone, and you will be alright like others. 

Sober living helps in so many ways for people who want to recover soon while choosing a healthy environment for themselves. It helps in transitioning back into the community after intensive inpatient services. You will learn how to live independently without using any drugs or alcohol because they help you to manage yourself when there are mild to severe drug or alcohol cravings. 

Residents complete their rehabilitation programs, and after that, they can hold a higher standard sober living house. They guarantee — an alcohol/and substance-free home, support from neighbours for employment and engaging in group meetings and a free and supportive environment to help people build a new routine and inculcate good habits for themselves after overcoming any kind of addiction. 

Physicians recommend people in the early stages of their addiction recovery, live in sober living homes due to their unstable home environment; so that they can learn how to live without any drug use.

Today, in this sober living blog, we are going to cover these topics — 

  • How many Types of Sober Living Homes Are There?
  • How Do Sober Living Houses Work?
  • What Are the Rules & Regulations at Sober Living Homes?
  • What Makes Sober Living Effective?
  • Who Can Live in a Sober Living Home?
  • Does Your Routine Change While Sober Living?
  • What Happens if You Relapse in a Sober Living Home?
  • Is There any Process to Find a Sober Living Home?
  • How Much Do Sober Living Homes Cost?
  • What  You Have Before Going to a Sober Living House? 

How Many Types of Sober Living Homes Are There?

The sober living home provides peer support and a sober environment as they are designed to help people who are experiencing difficulties in their recovery. A person can live in a sober living home while recovering or after the detox and inpatient rehab process. It will be a safe and protected space to live while refining recovery skills as the person would meet other people like them in a supportive environment. 

While being on the same mission — recoveries of residents, each program of sober living is kind of different from others. Hence, there are different types of sober living houses with different levels of services, amenities, and rules. 

Here are the two most useful types of sober living homes with a brief description of them —  

  • Sober Living With 12-Steps – 

In this type of sober living home, people who are in the midst of their recovery from any substance/alcohol addiction can live as a resident. People run them as democratically, which means one person of that resident will be responsible for the whole sober living home like a leader. 

There will be no counsellor or professional to provide any kind of treatment on the site to assist them. However, residents need to attend meetings, either within the residence or in the community. There may be a rule to provide proof of attending meetings regularly to continue staying as a resident in that sober living place. 

The 12-step based homes allow people to reside as long as they need, but there may be few which have a time limit according to your recovery plans. This type of sober living homes helps people to build new habits along with assisting them in their recovery.  

  • Apartments as Sober Living –

Sober living houses might ask to share a kitchen and bathrooms, so there are sober living apartments as well for the people who have a good budget to rent out an apartment for their sober living because many people like privacy and they don’t like sharing bathrooms due to hygiene purposes and a personal choice. However, they still need to share a unit with other residents, but they will get other commodities to access their own living space.

In these types of apartments, residents might need to submit periodic urine tests for substances along with the report we have discussed above in the 12-step sober living. They might get asked for periodic searches of their living area to ensure that there is no illicit drug or alcohol.

 Many types of sober living homes exist because there are different types of people who want them for their recoveries according to their needs. Many don’t allow both genders to live in the same place, and there are a few which are specially designed for executives, few cater to certain religious backgrounds or communities to not disturb their living schedules.

How do Sober Living Houses Work?

Generally, people in sober living homes are asked for household work while helping each other. They need to function as a cohesive family so that they can support one another’s recovery. There are many options to function regularly at a sober living house; however, finding a fit according to one’s needs is important. And to do this, people should know how these houses actually work.

A briefly explained sober living functioning process — 

  • Peer-Run — Homes which usually have single-family and democratically run by a senior within the resident holding other residents accountable. Mostly drug screening, house meetings, self-help groups encouragement; the kind of services a person will get here in this level 1 (Peer-Run) sober living process. Also, there will be no paid medical staff for the recovery process.
  •  Monitored — This function is applicable in sober living apartments, and they are run by a senior resident or house manager. Services like drug screening and house meetings are available along with level 1 services.
  • Supervised — These type of accommodation process vary, however in this case residency is usually licensed, and there will be an organisational hierarchy, policies, procedures, and administrative oversight. They focus on developing life skills in residents. Clinical services are provided outside the sober living facilities. All staff will be certified, and they primarily do drug screening. 
  • Integrated — It is an advanced level of sober living services and in this way services are more into the institutional environment and are often looked as transitional services; especially for those who completed an addiction treatment program. Clinical services and life-skills development is provided in-house. All staff will be certified, and drug screening will be done on a time-to-time basis. 

What Are the Rules & Regulations at Sober Living Homes?

To live in a sober living home, people need to adhere to specific rules and regulations. Rules can be different to every sober living place, but there are general guidelines that are almost followed by every sober living home. 

Rules and regulations are an essential part of sober living places due to being a support for the recovery process of an addict. These rules are designed to keep sober residents in a safe home with a healthy environment. The guidelines are planned to let an individual with addiction develop a sober lifestyle without any drug/alcohol use. 

These sober living houses can be managed by owners, managers, or any social approach with these below-mention guidelines — 

  • Any kind of drug/substance and alcohol shouldn’t be present. However, some specific exceptions can be made by physicians for a few useful drugs for the treatment of an addict such as anti-depressant or any particular medicine for other medical issues.
  • The person who wants to live in a sober living home should be able to pay the expenses and rent of the house on their own.
  • Random screenings for drugs and alcohol should be conducted for resident’s safety and sobriety purposes.
  • Residents must participate in support meetings once a week and should take part in household activities for regular chores. 
  • Before renting any sober living residency, that person must have completed the detox and rehabilitation process.
  • Residents should have a go-to plan for the next 12-step meetings at least once every week.  
  • The person must sleep at least five nights at a sober living home with very little time to travel. 
  • If they’re not at a sober living home, then they must be accountable for their whereabouts, and they must adhere to the sober living place’s deadline time. However, curfew timings can vary in different sober living houses because they’re determined by the person who runs that residency. 
  • These sober living homes need to keep the accounts of the action of the recovering person to help it in their recovery process while providing them with a supportive environment to get better in their life.

There can be additional rules as well in sober living houses, so before choosing any one of them for yourself or your loved ones; ask prospective homes about any kind of specific rules & regulations. Like — if they would allow you to use the internet or not, having a car or not, any guest come over, etc.

What Makes Sober Living Effective?

Sober living helps in maintaining sobriety in a person’s life while recovering; it can be problematic due to the biological components of substance dependency, but with the right support and resources people can do better in their life. It depends on the person as to how long they want to be there to help themselves in the recovery process and bring about a balance in their life without consuming any alcohol/drugs. 

It really makes sense because if an addict has completed their addiction treatment program, and now while in recovery, they choose to be in a sober place with no illicit substance and decide to attend meetings as well. The longer the addiction period, the more time a person needs to be in a sober living environment as the brain needs some time to adapt to the new function of the body without any stimulant drug or alcohol consumptions. 

A person will find out the importance of sober living homes before even moving into them because of strict rules, abstaining from illicit substances, regular meetings, following tight schedules, agreeing to random screening for drugs. It is useful in a person’s recovery phase after addiction treatment.

Who Can Live in a Sober Living Home?

Anyone who has a history of vagrancy, inadequate social support are at a high risk of relapsing after detox. Still, sober living houses can help them to recover in a supportive environment. Many people can’t find help due to living alone, or they don’t want to hurt their loved ones because of their addiction. 

Sober living homes welcome everyone after attending a detox or rehabilitation program. However, sober living homes mostly prefer same-sex residents to avoid any complications. Anyone comfortable with their rules can live there, after rehabilitation.  

Does Your Routine Change While Sober Living? 

Yes, your routine changes after moving into a sober living home due to the fixed schedule for residents living there. A typical morning at a sober living home might start with daily chores of being in a regular house such as — making your bed on your own immediately after waking up, cleaning the house, helping others, making your own breakfast and doing all the household chores with other members.

After that, you may need to attend house meetings, 12-step group counselling or may get asked to take any test or drug screening, however, you don’t need to do these things daily as they will be done on a fixed day. So, you can go to work or look for employment (if your sober living home allows it).  

In the evening you might start working with other residents of the home and prepare dinner along with other household duties at night.  Then at night, you may need to attend a group session or else you will be able to manage some free time to talk to your loved ones and do your personal stuff. 

It may sound complicated, but it is effective for people as the day has a proper structure to keep oneself occupied in purposeful duties that help you to understand the responsibility and use it when you are back to your own living environment and not be thinking about indulging in any kind of behaviour or action leading to consuming drugs or alcohol.

What Happens if You Relapse in a Sober Living Home?

Living in a fully strict scheduled place can be challenging to someone in the earliest of sobriety, especially going there from your home instead of a rehab environment. But, within a few days, people get comfortable with other residents and the schedule. 

People are aware of the fact that relapse is a common part of any addiction’s recovery process. However, people who relapse during the period of living in a sober house need to leave that place as a sober living home doesn’t want to punish them after their relapse experience. They need to go back to a rehab program to cope with their relapse.

Is There any Process to Find a Sober Living Home?

There’s no strict process to go by to find a sober living house; however, there are a few tips to follow while on the lookout for a sober living place for yourself or your loved one. Sober living accommodations are a useful place for people to complete their recovery process. So choosing the right and comfortable place is necessary. 

Remember these below-mentioned  (red flags) before finalising any sober living home — 

  • If they claim to be free or say they will pay you, then do comprehensive research about that place as they can fool you around. 
  • Research well about the fees which you will need to pay at sober living places.
  • Be aware of the refund policies of that place before renting any dorm.
  • Check if the interiors are clean or not of that home.
  • Working amenities should be efficient.
  • Look out for any signs of a bad neighbourhood.
  • Whether they have a record of previous residents or not.
  • Ask them what methods they have to keep your home secure after renting out.
  • What medication policies the place offers.
  • Check if they have a written policy of a disciplinary process for all members of the home.
  • Are the staff qualified and trained or not?

Ensuring these things before renting any sober living home will help you to stay away from scams. You deserve to have a better place for your recovery process, so choose accordingly.

How Much Does a Sober Living Home Cost?

Usually, a sober living home costs as much as an average place in your area would charge for rent. However, the price varies according to the services of the sober living home. Their cost depends on many factors such as — city, services & amenities, neighbourhood, type of sober living home etc. And, outside meetings like 12-step sober living home says to attend needs to pay for outpatient treatment because sober living homes don’t include these charges. 

Ways of paying can be decided after meeting the owner or manager of the sober living house, and most residents pay from their earnings while living there and some decide to set up a payment plan for them. Some sober living homes may be provided by the government as well, which charges a less fee than a private licensed one. Also, many people decide to pay rent of sober living homes through their insurances and credit cards.

What  Should You Have Before Going to a Sober Living House?

Before you choose to look out for any sober living place to live in, ensure that you are aware of the following— 

  • Some sober living homes require a minimum number of days of sobriety from drug/alcohol and many will directly allow you.
  • Information about your insurance plan, policy number and company as well.
  • How severe your addiction was. 
  • Your past history of drug/substance or alcohol abuse.
  • Duration of substance abuse.
  • Any other medical history or ongoing medications.
  • Information about your family, friends and community in case of any emergency.

That’s all, Folks!

If you or your loved ones want a recovery process in a sobriety space, then sober living homes are there to help them, go for it. These special living environments help people stay sober and keep their addictive habits under control. Remember, there are many people like them, so it becomes easy to open up about your own condition and ask for support from everyone. 

If you want to try a sober living home, then find a sober living program in your area. Use the directory or call their helpline and fix up a meeting to finalize your renting period for a better and natural recovery.