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What Are Sober Living Homes?

Sober living homes are live-in communities for people recovering from substance abuse. People who aren’t ready for daily life after treatment may use a sober home as a temporary bridge. 

Substance abuse can disrupt your life. Many people lose jobs, living situations, and relationships over drug or alcohol use before they get into treatment. Sober homes give you a safe place to transition back into your regular life. 

Most sober homes are for recovering opiate or alcohol addicts. Some homes welcome people recovering from all kinds of drug abuse. Different homes have their own rules and guidelines that say who can live there. 

Here’s what you need to know about sober living homes: 

Who Uses Sober Living Homes?

Sober living homes are used by people who need structure while they recover from substance abuse, but don’t currently need inpatient treatment. 

Sober homes are most helpful for people who:

  • Don’t have a support network at home
  • Have an unstable living situation
  • Are at high risk for relapse
  • Have relapsed in the past 
  • Live with people who use drugs

Most residents come to sober homes straight out of inpatient treatment. But you don’t have to be right out of rehab to benefit. 

Many people who spend time at a sober living home are addicted to heroin or alcohol. However, people with any kind of substance abuse problem can find a home that’s right for them. There are homes that help people with all kinds of substance abuse problems, including benzodiazepines and stimulants. 

How is Sober Living Different From Treatment?

You may be wondering how sober homes are different from inpatient treatment or rehab. The two resources are meant for different stages of recovery. 

Inpatient treatment is the first step toward recovery. This is where you detox from drugs, get through withdrawal, and form a plan to treat your addiction. 

Sober homes are a step between inpatient treatment and returning to daily living. You might not be ready to go back to your regular life after leaving inpatient. Spending time in a sober home lets you keep focusing on recovery in a safe environment. 

Living in a sober home isn’t a substitute for finding treatment. Sober homes are most effective when you’ve already done some groundwork to beat your addiction. Once you’re stable, then you can move into a sober home as soon as you’re ready. 

The Benefits of Sober Homes

Living in a sober home has many benefits for someone just out of treatment. They include:

  • Structure. Inpatient treatment works because every part of your day is structured and focused toward recovery. The transition from inpatient to everyday life can be too much for some patients. For those people, a sober home offers enough structure to ease the transition. 
  • A built-in social network for recovery. Recovery is easier when you’re surrounded by people who have the same experiences as you. Part of the benefit of sober homes is that you have a live-in social support group that’s going through exactly what you are. 
  • Supervision and expectations. Responsibility and accountability help you stay off drugs. When you live in a sober home, you’re accountable for your behavior. If you don’t follow the rules, there are consequences that can lead to losing your place in the sober home. 
  • Less temptation to relapse. Staying away from drugs and alcohol is a condition for living in sober homes. It’s not negotiable. Losing your living situation is good motivation to avoid relapsing. 

Do Sober Homes Have Rules?

One of the benefits of sober homes is the way they’re structured around rules. Having rules for housemates means you’re held accountable for your recovery. 

The rules depend on the individual home, but might include:

  • Be responsible for your own cooking, cleaning, and maintenance
  • Follow a set curfew
  • No drugs of any kind, including products like mouthwash with alcohol 
  • Make rent payments on time
  • Submit to regular drug testing
  • Stay active in treatment outside of the sober home 

Sober homes are usually strict about rules. If you break the rules, there’s a punishment. If you break a rule about using drugs, then you could be asked to leave. Most places also have rules about violent behavior. You can be evicted for breaking those, too. 

The rules may seem overwhelming, but they’re actually part of the reason why sober homes work. It’s easy to relapse when you go from the structure of inpatient treatment to the unstructured real world. Sober homes help you be responsible and take charge of your recovery by enforcing simple rules. 

How Do You Pay For a Sober Home Stay?

Sober living homes aren’t usually paid for by insurance companies. There’s usually a monthly fee that’s comparable to rent. It covers your housing, utilities, and any other amenities that are included with residence. 

Managing your own finances is an important part of drug and alcohol recovery. That’s why sober homes expect residents to pay rent. It’s important practice that you’ll need when you re-enter daily life. 

Some sober homes are geared toward people who have jobs and are able to pay full rent. Others have lower rent fees for people who are using public assistance. People who are re-entering society after leaving prison often receive lower rent, too. 

Sober Living As Part of Recovery

Sober living homes are an important part of recovery that helps prevent relapse. 88% of meth addicts relapse at least once, and 90% of heroin addicts do the same. Sometimes more structure can help you avoid relapsing. 

People recovering from substance abuse are more likely to stay in recovery when they: 

  • Have a stable living arrangement. Sometimes it’s not best to go home after rehab, such as if you have unsupportive family. But you’re more likely to relapse without a place to go. Sober living homes offer the convenience of a group home experience at an affordable cost. 
  • Have strong social networks. A sober living home offers a live-in social network of people who are going through the same experiences as you. Fellow recovering addicts can be a strong source of support. Some sober homes also offer support groups, such as a live-in 12-Step group. 
  • Are held accountable. Relapse can be tempting if you don’t see immediate consequences. Sober homes have strict rules around drugs and behavior. And they will hold you accountable if you break those rules. That’s a good incentive to stay clean.

Sober homes can be an important part of recovery for people who need some extra stability. The combination of accountability, social support, and a stable living arrangement can be the difference between successful recovery and relapse. 

Start Your Recovery Journey Today

A sober home could be the next step on your journey to recovery. Staying sober can be hard combined with the challenges of daily life. Spending time at a sober home can help keep you on track. 

But a sober home isn’t the place to start your recovery. If you’re currently using drugs, then you need to detox before you can enter a sober home. Sober homes expect you to have some level of control over your substance abuse disorder. 

Treatment & Therapy Choices

Inpatient treatment is best for the beginning of your recovery when you need the most support. A substance abuse treatment center gives you access to:

  • Behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy helps you recognize thought patterns that lead to using drugs. Then, you can change your behavior to help lessen the chance that you’ll have a relapse. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is most commonly used for substance abuse disorder. 
  • Group therapy. Talking through recovery is a big part of staying sober. Group therapy gives you a safe social space to work through your feelings and experiences. Plus, group therapy gives you a place to meet other people going through substance abuse disorder. Having sober friends can make recovery much easier. 
  • Medication-assisted treatment. For patients who use opiates or alcohol, medication-assisted treatment might be an option. This kind of treatment uses drugs to help manage detox and recovery. They can include drugs to lessen withdrawal or stop cravings. 
  • Personalized treatment. No two patients have exactly the same needs. So there’s no single treatment plan that’s right for all substance abuse patients. Your inpatient treatment center will evaluate your medical history and drug use history. Then, a medical professional will work with you to come up with the right treatment plan for your needs. 
  • Withdrawal symptom management. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and make it hard to detox. Inpatient treatment lets doctors manage your symptoms with medication. This keeps you more comfortable and helps increase the odds that you’ll get through treatment. 

The first step is to call our treatment specialists to get more information. Sticking with your treatment plan is important for your success in recovery. After treatment, you’ll be able to join a sober living home. Don’t wait to start recovering from substance abuse. 

Sources

  1. Help.org: Guide to sober living homes <https://www.help.org/guide-to-sober-living-homes/
  2. United States Library of Medicine: What did we learn from our study on sober living homes? <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057870/#!po=20.3125
  3. United States Library of Medicine: Lapse and relapse following inpatient treatment of opiate dependence <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20669601>  
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