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Sober Living Homes: Five Things You Should Know

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Category: Recovery, Sobriety

Sober Living

It’s easier to “just say no” when you’re surrounded by people with the same priorities.

This blog often discusses the importance of stable, drug-free environments for people following substance abuse treatment; however, not all recovering addicts will find this waiting for them back at home. Enter sober living homes. For many people, these drug- and alcohol-free living spaces offer the support they need to stay on track while transitioning back into the community. Read on for a roundup of five things to know about sober living homes.

1. Not all sober living homes are created equally.

There are many different types of sober living houses. While the majority of them are privately run, some are owned by religious groups or businesses. The type of sober living home you choose determines the specific terms of the sober living arrangement.

Explains DrugAbuse.com:

“Each sober living home operates differently. Some have a resident manager that oversees and enforces the house rules, while other homes have a social model approach in which each resident has decision-making power. Everyone has to follow house rules in order to stay in the home, regardless of management style.”

Furthermore, sober living homes differ in terms of who is allowed to live in them. Many require that residents have undergone treatment and/or detox while some also mandate ongoing participation in outpatient treatment.

2. Sober living homes are less structured than residential treatment programs.

Most residential substance abuse treatment programs are very structured; however, sober living homes represent the next step on the continuum of care for many recovering addicts. Because part of their aim is to facilitate reentry into the community, they’re more loosely structured in order to accommodate individual obligations, such as work.

3. Sober living residents can come and go as they please.

Most sober living homes have “house rules,” which may be overseen and enforced by a resident manager. These may include rent, chores, and other contributions to the home’s upkeep. However, aside from meeting these basic requirements, sober living house residents have much more freedom than they had while in a residential treatment program.

During this stage of recovery, addicts assume complete responsibility for their own recovery, health, and overall well-being. Because of this, it is important for sober living house residents to be committed and ready for this step, as one resident’s backslide can be an impediment to recovery for the other residents of the home. To that end, some homes may require residents to sign contracts indicating their commitment to the process.

4. Sober living home residents become each other’s support systems.

Research indicates that recovering addicts who return home to dysfunctional home environments may backslide into negative behaviors and habits. Sober living homes provide an alternative to such negative situations and instead offer residents built-in support systems. Many times, residents attend outpatient treatment programming outside the house, together. Proposes DrugAbuse.com:

“To be surrounded by caring people on the same path, to share meals, and to have someone to talk to and go to meetings with can be the make-it-or-break-it factor in whether or not you stay sober.”

Addiction treatment

Perhaps no one can understand a recovering addict better than a recovering addict.

5. Sober living homes are surprisingly affordable.

Depending on the specifics of each sober living home, including its location, rates are comparable to modest rental apartments. In other words, residents can expect to pay similar rent as they would in another living arrangement. Furthermore, utilities are usually included with rent. Compared to inpatient residential treatment programs, meanwhile, sober living homes are significantly less expensive.

Do sober living homes work? Researchers say yes, with improvements noted across a number of measures, including alcohol and drug use, arrests, psychiatric symptoms, and employment. And yet, they’re woefully underutilized. According to research published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs:

“Sober living houses are an excellent example of an underutilized modality that could help provide clean and sober living environments to individuals completing residential treatment, engaging in outpatient programs, leaving incarceration, or seeking alternatives to formal treatment.” 

We’re Here to Help

To learn more about substance abuse treatment programs, including inpatient, outpatient, and sober living home options, contact us at Harris House today.


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