The Complete Guide to Living in a Sober House

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Written By MartinCorbett

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What is a Sober Living House?

Sober living home are drug and alcohol-free places where residents can maintain or establish their sobriety. Residents can strengthen their sobriety by using peer support, peer empowerment and peer recovery principles.

Sober living homes are private homes that people who have recovered from addiction to drugs or alcohol. These houses are often located in peaceful, quiet neighborhoods where members can relax and focus on their recovery.

Residents in recovery housing receive and offer support from their peers and community leaders. Research shows that communal living has the potential to decrease rates of substance abuse, incarceration, and increase employment. It can help people improve their coping skills, communicate effectively, and build trust.

Sober Living Houses vs. Rehab Centers or Halfway Houses

Although it is easy to mistake sober living homes for rehab centers or halfway houses there are many important differences. Rehab centers provide intensive treatment programs to help residents overcome their addictions. They follow strict regulations. Residents must complete a formal rehabilitation program before they can be admitted to halfway houses. They also limit their stay to 12 months.

Sober living communities are less restrictive. Residents are more free to move around as they wish. It is often used as a bridge between rehabilitation and the preparation of residents to live independently, drug- and alcohol-free. Although residents are not required to have completed a rehabilitation program before they can be admitted, many have. Individuals may be able to use the tools they learn in intensive rehab programs to make it easier for them to succeed in sober living houses.

Residents in the communal home are responsible for their own finances and may have to assume more responsibility than those who live in rehab centers. Members must pay rent, have a job, or go to school. They are expected to help with chores and take responsibility for their actions.

A Short History of Sober Housing

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which was founded in 1930s, provided the stepping stones to sober housing. It required strict sobriety and participation in the community. Peer support and a 12-step program. Despite being a 12-step program, AA didn’t address the housing needs of its participants.

Some AA members realized the urgent need to find affordable housing. They required strict sobriety, and encouraged their residents to attend AA meetings. Some of these houses are still in operation today.

California began to demolish its custodial systems in the 1940s and 1950s (e.g. state psychiatric hospital and local jails) and created a greater demand for sober living homes. The 12-step recovery homes were not willing to take inebriates. Instead, they demanded that applicants begin their sobriety prior to entering the sober house. The gap was filled by recovery programs that included detoxification and abstinence.

Sober houses today are independent, self-governing and independently operated. They are not licensed by any government agency and do not offer licensed professional services.

What are the rules and regulations of sober living homes?

One would assume that the primary rule to sobriety is staying sober. A resident who drinks or uses drugs in a sober house may be asked to leave. A resident may be allowed to return if they admit to their relapses and are honest. If they are willing to stay sober and clean, they may be suspended.

Here are some basic rules of sober living that many homes follow.

Residents must:

  • Avoid drug and alcohol abuse
  • Respect a set curfew
  • Respect your housemates and home staff
  • Receive and give emotional support
  • Participate in activities, such as support meetings or chores
  • You can’t have pets depending on where you live.
  • Do not allow overnight guests
  • At least five nights per week, you should sleep in the house
  • You can cover certain costs to live in your home
  • You agree to take part in random drug or alcohol tests
  • Regularly attend 12-Step meetings and peer-support groups in your local area

Policies regarding cell phones and pets vary from one home to the next. If they’re not disruptive, some homes will allow pets and cell phones. Some may restrict or limit cell phone and internet access due to the possibility of triggers that could cause relapse.

Are You Interested in Joining a Sober Living House

A sober living community is a place where people can stop using or drinking alcohol. Although many residents go through a rehabilitation program before they can approach a sober living community, it is not required. This type of facility is a good fit for those who have completed rehab but are not ready to live on their own.

Although it is not necessary to complete a substance abuse rehabilitation program before moving in, it can be beneficial for individuals to keep sobriety. They have already acquired some coping skills. Residents should apply if they are willing to stay sober, adhere to all house rules and ensure their medical stability.

People who live in sober living houses are serious about their recovery. They are willing to take responsibility and support their fellow housemates. They want to live an independent life, free from addiction and substance abuse.

A sober living home may be a good option for you or your loved one if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have mental or medical problems, as well as substance abuse or addiction.
  • There is no support system in your home.
  • You have already been through rehab.
  • In the past, you have been resistant to treatment.