Sober living houses are structured living environments for individuals attempting to sustain from alcohol and drug abuse. They are a safe and supportive place for recovering addicts to live during recovery. Most of the patients have completed a rehabilitation program but are not ready to go back into society. These houses that can vary in size and format, bridge the gap between addiction treatment and returning back home.
A typical stay at a sober living home ranges from a couple of months to a year. The length of stay depends on the rules of the house, the patient’s budget, and standards of living. They are more similar to college dormitories than single-family houses. Residents of these homes will be living with other recovering addicts whom they may or may not know.
These facilities are generally controlled by Sober Living Coalitions and follow the 12-step programs and ideologies. As a result, residents participate in 12-step meetings, individual therapies, undergo drug tests, and provide on-site medical care. Staffed with a team of professional and licensed psychiatric nurses and clinical social workers, sober living homes offer individualized recovery plans that help patients become self-supportive.
Sober Living Homes Rules
There are specific rules a patient must meet in order to join a sober living home. The rules may vary from one home to another, but overall, the patient must:
- Be clean and sober
- Pass a drug test
- Agree to frequent drug tests and urinalysis
- Agree to participate in meetings and recovery programs
- Be psychologically stable
- Maintain their sobriety while living in the home
Apart from admission rules, residents already living in a home are also responsible for maintaining the sober environment by meeting further rules and conditions. They are not as strict as residential housing, but everyone needs to make sure everyone else remains healthy, safe, and sober. These rules and guidelines further enhance the comfort, cleanliness, and reputation of the sober living home. Patients agree to these rules prior enrolling and violating them can result in expulsion.
Sober living homes have zero tolerance policy on alcohol and drug abuse. Thus, residents cannot bring in, possess, or use any addictive substances. Moreover, dangerous weapons such as knives are also prohibited. Patients need to work with a sponsor and begin working the 12 steps. If employed, residents usually attend 4 meetings per week, and if not 4 meetings per day. In most sober living homes, they cannot bring any overnight guests. All residents must agree to frequent drug tests and urinalysis and keep their living spaces clean and neat.
Furthermore, sober living homes don’t tolerate any intimate relationships between residents, nor violence, threats, or offensive language. People who stay at these sober living homes generally have to go to work or school, as well as participate in doing chores. These type of rules will help them learn how to be responsible and work on their future.
Typical Day at a Sober Living Home
All sober living homes follow a tight and well-structured schedule that outlines what residents are expected to do and attend. Usually, patients wake up early in the morning and make their beds, attend a morning meditation or yoga, and enjoy their well-balanced breakfast.
Depending on the home, residents either prepare their own nutrition meals or have a professional chef who takes care of the menu. After breakfast, they get ready and go to work or to school. Others, might choose to volunteer in the community. Upon returning home, they perform their assigned chores and write their homework. Moreover, residents might have to attend house meetings and discuss any possible issues, disagreements, or disputes between themselves or with staff.
Residents participate in a nearby 12-step meeting which are obligatory. At night, patients have their free time to read, watch TV, talk, or write letters. Overall, these sober living houses prepare patients for life after rehab and how to come up with a decent job and a secure home.
Benefits of Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes are designed with stability in mind. Through hard work, busy schedule, and constant care, patients learn how to reconnect with their families, engage in extracurricular activities, and come to terms with their employment responsibilities. Sober living homes can help with:
- Succeeding in long-term sobriety
- Achieving mutual support among peers
- Finding strength and hope from each other
- Engaging in creating meaningful lives
- Feeling secure in a critical time
- Developing a sense of responsibility for yourself and your roommates
- Finding work opportunities
- Committing to school responsibilities
- Managing money
- Developing healthy coping skills
- Developing self-efficacy
- Preventing isolation and boredom
- Increasing discipline
- Learning how to function successfully without the use of drugs and alcohol
Although there are number of benefits to sober living houses, they also have some negative aspects. These negative aspects vary from one home to another. To start with, sober living homes are less supervised than residential rehabs. Most of them are deeply rooted in the 12-step approach that may not be ideal for some patients. It’s vital to note that failing to follow the set rules of a given sober house could result in a patient being kicked out of the facility without any legal recourse.
Furthermore, residents need to pay for this type of treatment which can be expensive. Moreover, some houses are not covered by insurance. Other people claim that additional support is not necessary and that returning to society is inevitable. It’s relevant to note that not all homes are high-end and offer first-class amenities. Many are co-ed and feature the basic comforts of a college dormitory. There is also the concern that individuals living in sober homes might become institutionalized. However, it’s crystal clear that the pros of living in a sober home outweigh the cons.
Choosing a Sober Living Home
Although there are thousands of sober living homes across the U.S, you’ll probably want the house you decide on to have all the amenities, qualities, and features that will support your recovery success. Let’s take a look at five qualities you’ll want from a sober living house:
- Accountability – it’s vitally important for the home to have strict rules and regulations that patients need to follow. This is key to ensuring all residents are staying with their recovery practice. It’s always a better option to choose a home that is more strict than not. Most sober living homes have house meetings, curfews, drug and alcohol tastings, and mandatory sessions.
- Safety – safety should be top priority when choosing a home. The home needs to be serene, peaceful, and secure. High crime areas should be avoided and security systems should be installed for in-house safety.
- Staff – before deciding on a sober living home, try talking to the staff first. Make sure they’re experienced in the field of addictions and recovery. Talk to everyone involved in taking care of the residents and establish your level of comfort with them.
- Sober Environment – it’s essential in early recovery that all residents are encouraged to gain sober support, work with a sponsor, and attend 12-step therapy programs. A great part of staying sober and not relapsing comes from attending meetings.
- Comfort – A good thing to keep in mind is the cleanliness of the facility. Another important aspect is the number of roommates to number of rooms in the home. Keep in mind that the lack of privacy is actually of a great importance for those in early recovery. In addition, there are many other amenities that some sober living homes offer, including gym, pool, library, spa, and the likes.
In general, sober living homes cost less than staying at a rehabilitation facility or detox center. Depending on the area, duration of the program, and the services offered, sober living homes can vary from $300 to $2,000 per month. Sober living homes in areas with a higher cost of living, such as California and New York, tend to be more expensive. Most homes require patients to attend support groups, participate in 12-step programs, or receive outpatient treatment which may be additionally charged.
When it comes to payment, there are multiple ways to pay rent at these homes. Many patients find a job and pay out of pocket, while other pay through private insurance, scholarship, or loan. Most sober living homes accept insurance, government funding, or Medicaid. The amount of insurance coverage depends on the plan.
For more information please call our Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a Free and completely confidential call. We are available 24/7. In many cases, your health insurance company will cover 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now.