September 7, 2021

I'm Interested in Recovery: Is a Sober Living House Right for Me?

Exposure to alcohol, drugs, relapse triggers and friends and family who encourage substance use can derail recovery even for persons who are highly motivated. Sober living houses, which have existed in the U.S. in some form since the 1940s, are alcohol- and drug-freeliving environments that offer social support to individuals who feel they’d be most successful with some structure, peer support and a feeling of living at home.

Let's explore some of the most commonly asked questions about sober living homes:

Who lives at the sober living house, and who runs them?  

A sober living home is a place where recovering alcoholics and drug addicts can live to maintain their sobriety.

Many sober living homes are privately owned and operated by a homeowner who wants to help others maintain their sobriety. They provide the house and basic necessities such as food and have addiction counselors come in periodically for residents to talk with them about staying clean.

There are also charitable organizations that have established sober living homes, and still others are managed by community behavioral health clinics. The services and programs available are, logically, determined by the home “owner” and operator. So, you can expect to find more clinical support at homes funded by organizations versus individuals.

Should I go to a sober living house, rehab or just stay at home?

There are several factors that will affect which option is best for you—and that may change over time. If you feel you would need more supervision or structure, a sober house may not be best for you. Likewise, your health status will affect which program can address your needs: If you need more medical attention or constant supervision and observation, an outpatient or residential program might be more helpful.

Unlike most residential rehabilitation facilities, sober living homes can't offer 24-hour supervision and won't have medical staff on-call or monitors doing rounds.

Staying at home might not be your best option if you feel that the supportive environment of being around other people who are committed to their sober journey is necessary to your recovery and healing. A sober living home environment may be better for you if you need to distance yourself from housemates or neighborhoods that are triggers for your substance abuse.

What can I expect from life in a sober living home?

Different homes have different rules and expectations, but for the most part, they are not as restrictive as rehabilitation centers.

The average time spent in a sober living home is 12 months. Some people feel comfortable leaving after six months, but others may need more time because they've struggled longer with addiction problems or have co-occurring mental health issues.

When you live in a sober home, you typically have to follow house rules and take care of your living space. You may even be responsible for certain chores and will be expected to try to build a sense of community with your housemates.

What are the pros and cons of going to a sober living house?

Sober living homes are a good option for an individual who doesn’t have the resources to live on their own. It's also an option for those who need more support and time to heal but don't require the intensive recovery treatment that rehab centers provide. Compared to rehab, sober living houses offer more freedom, allowing you to come and go as long as you follow the rules.

The biggest advantage is that sober living houses offer round-the-clock help with sobriety. But there are also some limitations you should be aware of: You may not be permitted to bring your pet(s), which you feel may be instrumental to your healing. Sober living homes also do not typically accommodate families with children, which could mean living away from loved ones during your stay.

Wherever you are in your recovery journey, Communicare has options to help support you—from groups, peer support specialists and individual therapy to residential, outpatient and even sober living arrangements with or without medication management. Reach out today, and let’s find the best path for your recovery.