Geraldine is a lifestyle and wellness writer. She writes about substance abuse, mental health, and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Sober living houses, also known as halfway houses, transitional homes, or recovery residences, are a critical step in the road to recovery. These houses offer a transition option for people completing addiction treatment. As you might imagine, it can be overwhelming and scary to go back home. The best sober living houses offer a safe and supportive environment to those in early sobriety.
What is a Sober Living Home?
A sober living house or a halfway house are drug-free homes with a group-living environment that hosts people recovering from drugs and alcohol. Residents are all going through a similar process, and the staff creates a sense of structure. Unlike rehab, people are free to come and go as they please, but there are still some ground rules in place.
Another significant difference is the length of stay, as sober houses don’t specify a time limit for residence, with some people staying for as much as five years. This is because, unlike government-funded housing, sober living home residents pay specific fees to stay there.
How to Identify the Best Sober Living Houses?
A study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine showed that addiction recovery patients who lived in a sober living home were ten times more likely to avoid relapse. Thus, finding the best sober living home is critical for sustained recovery as it offers continuum mental health support in early sobriety.
Anyone recovering from drug or alcohol use disorders can benefit from transitioning into a sober living home. The benefits these programs offer far outweigh the time away from home. In fact, some facilities even allow residents to go home during the weekend, so it makes the transition less stressful.
To identify the best sober living houses near you, consider the following:
- Ask your treatment team for a referral. Most likely, your addiction treatment facility has partnered up with some sober living facilities to offer continuum care for its residents. Also, addiction centers might count on their own sober living homes to provide a familiar space for those leaving rehab.
- Find the structure that works best for you. Not all sober living homes are structured the same. For example, halfway houses have different rules, requirements, and expectations from patients. Sober living facilities have their admission process and set of rules. Familiarize yourself with both structures before making a decision.
- Learn about the length of stay. Most sober living homes don’t have a specific length of stay, with many residents staying up to five years or more. However, this isn’t the case for all facilities. It’s essential to learn about any length of stay commitments or restrictions that could interfere with the recovery journey later on. Some offer short- and long-term rental options you can choose from.
- Only choose accredited sober living homes. Unfortunately, many individuals don’t do their due diligence and end up in sober living homes that promote a toxic environment, allow drugs and alcohol, and don’t stand by recovery principles. Make sure you choose one with accreditations and licenses that guarantee they’re following the standards of care outlined by the National Alliance of Recovery Residences.
FAQs About Sober Living Homes
Most people have an idea of sober living homes. However, it’s common to have questions. Each sober living facility will have its unique set of rules, admission processes, and schedules they follow. Some centers are more flexible than others. Also, some sober living homes are gender-specific, others offer faith-based support, and so on.
Who Lives There?
Most sober living home residents are recovering addicts. For someone to be eligible for admission, they must complete a rehab process. Halfway houses require residents to pass a drug screening and breathalyzer test, as they’re not equipped to deal with withdrawal symptoms or delirium tremens.
These facilities are ideal for those who’ve gone through a medical detox and, most likely, an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
What’s the Cost?
Prices vary depending on location and living arrangements. Sober living houses with little-to-no luxury can go for about $450 a month. However, people can find luxury sober living facilities that can go well over $1,000 per month.
Still, most sober living homes cost the same as modest apartment rent, with averages between $450 to $750 a month. It might also be helpful to see if your health care insurance will cover some of the cost.
How Do They Work?
Each type of sober living home is structured very differently. Still, most homes have a set of rules every resident must comply with. The most common house rules are remaining abstinent from all substances, attending house meetings, and completing house chores. The majority of sober living facilities offer job placement services to ease their transition into employment and life after rehab.
Some sober living homes have relationships with local treatment centers. For example, Lighthouse Recovery Institute works with multiple sober living homes in the Palm Beach area. This is particularly important as aftercare treatment can help provide continuum care as residents go back to life after rehab.
As part of their structure, some sober living homes require residents to participate in 12-step programs, while others merely strongly recommend participation. One study about participation in sober living houses found that residents who attended 12-step support group meetings at least once a week were more likely to remain sober.
Where Can I Find Sober Living Houses Near Me?
A quick Google search can help you find sober living facilities near you. However, the best way to find a trustworthy organization is to ask a local rehab center for recommendations. If you or someone you know is currently seeking addiction treatment, ask the admission specialist or therapists.
For those who chose to go home, there’s another option available. Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) can be a structured program that helps those in early recovery. These types of programs are often recommended after completing a residential rehab program. Intensive outpatient programs feature one-on-one counseling as well as group therapy sessions.
Polcin, D. and Henderson, D. (2008). A Clean and Sober Place to Live: Philosophy, Structure, and Purported Therapeutic Factors in Sober Living Houses. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 40(2), 153-159.
National Association of Recovery Residences. (2012). A Primer on Recovery Residences: FAQs from the National Association of Recovery Residences.
Polcin, D., Korcha, R., Bond, J., and Galloway, G. (2011). What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here? Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 42(4), 425-433.
Drug-Free Housing for Substance Abusers Leaving Detox Linked to Fewer Relapses - 02/27/2012. (2021). Retrieved 12 March 2021, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/drug_free_housing_for_substance_abusers_leaving_detox_linked_to_fewer_relapses
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Geraldine Orentas