Sober living homes are an invaluable resource for people looking for a middle step between residential treatment and going home to try an intensive outpatient program. These communities offer many advantages to those in recovery, but these benefits do have structure as well. Each sober living home is distinct, so knowing the house rules entering a sober living home will help residents understand what to anticipate before arriving.
These residences are group homes for patients who are recovering from addiction. In most situations, people in sober living homes must follow specific house rules and contribute their part by doing tasks. Most importantly, all residents must remain sober throughout their stay.
Living in this kind of atmosphere promotes continued recovery and helps people maintain their sobriety while they adjust to life during and after treatment. Many people use sober living homes to assist in the transition from addiction treatment to living independently without using substances.
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What Are Sober Living Homes?
Sober living homes are a group residence atmosphere for individuals recovering from substance use disorder. Most sober living homes are privately owned, although corporations and charity groups own some group residences. Sober living homes usually are located in quiet neighborhoods to create a peaceful environment for patients in the early stages of recovery.
These sober living homes are different from rehab treatment centers. Substance abuse addiction rehab treatment centers usually offer higher intensive recovery programs, and residents have less freedom. Those who reside in sober living homes can generally come and go whenever they want as long as they follow the house rules. For example, sober living homes might require residents to be back at home by a specific time or must find a job that requires early daytime hours. Sober living home residents might also be subjected to random drug tests to prove their sobriety.
People who live in these sorts of facilities are required to be responsible for themselves. This is a critical step in the recovery process because addiction causes individuals to act irresponsibly, and loved ones often enable them. Sober living home residents typically have to pay rent, buy their food, and keep up with household chores.
What Rules Do Sober Living Homes Require?
Sober living home rules will vary from each facility, but some rules are universal to most. Residents will agree to all the rules upon moving in, and violating the rules will come with consequences. Depending on the misdeed, the residents could have to pay a fine, make amends to other residents, or compose an essay about their actions. In some instances, the resident may have to leave the sober living home if they violate any rules.
The cardinal rule in all sober living homes is that residents must remain clean and sober. They’re not allowed to use any substances at all. In some instances, the residents can’t even cook with certain ingredients, such as vanilla, or use specific kinds of mouthwash. These items contain alcohol and could lead to false positives if the resident takes a drug test. Also, these products could increase the chance of relapse, as some residents may try to get high or drunk by abusing these items. Therefore, some sober living homes ban the use of any items that contain alcohol.
In addition to these regulations, residents who live in sober living homes are urged to go to school or find work during the day and also participate in doing chores. They also must avoid any violence. Some residents are obligated to be home by a particular time of night. These rules encourage residents to learn how to be accountable for themselves and their behavior.
Generally, the following rules of sober living homes are relatively common and include:
- Drug testing: Residents must be completely clean and sober to reside in a sober living home, just like in a substance abuse rehab center. Those who violate this rule due to failing a drug test or having drugs in their possession will possibly lose privileges or be required to leave.
- House meetings: Regular house meetings are commonly mandatory in sober living homes. This allows a place for each resident to check in and work through complaints, delegate chores, and get questions answered.
- The Twelve Steps: Some sober living homes offer in-house 12-Step meetings. Others expect the residents to attend meetings within the community and get a form signed, proving their attendance.
- Curfews: Being home by a precise time is obligatory, especially for all new residents. Over time though, if a resident commits to work or school, this rule can be waived under specific requirements.
- Bathroom schedule: With numerous residents living in one area, it becomes necessary to designate shower times to ensure that everyone can have a proper rotation.
- Cleaning: The cleaning of common areas is usually up to the residents. Chores typically are distributed on a rotating basis.
- Meal prep: If meals are shared amongst the community, then grocery shopping, planning, and meal prep might also be assigned to residents on rotation.
- Personal treatment plan goals: If the sober living home insists residents develop a treatment plan and engage with in-house case managers. They’ll also be expected to work during the week and continue to progress toward therapy goals.
If all requirements are satisfied, residents may earn privileges that usually come in the form of additional freedom. These could include some or all of the following:
- Free time: Time off from obligatory house excursions or the ability to choose an activity can be one privilege.
- Group outings: Joining a group of residents on a unique excursion like shopping, visiting a museum or amusement park, going to the movies, etc.
- Personal outings: Being allowed to go for a stroll to a nearby shop or go into the neighborhood without a sober partner is also an earned privilege.
- Release from chores: Enjoying free time instead of taking part in community chores while the rest of the house is working is also a motivational privilege.
- Family visits: It’s not uncommon to have regular family visit days, but additional visits with family become possible on a case-by-case basis.
- Fewer restrictions: Enjoying fewer limitations overall is an earned privilege. This depends on time spent in the house and a demonstrated track record of dependability.
Who’s Allowed to Reside in a Sober Living Home?
Although most sober living homes don’t restrict who’s able to reside there, many residents have completed substance abuse treatment. This makes sense due to the residents committing to staying sober while living there. Those actively managing their recovery and spending time sober usually have learned tools and are more likely to succeed at sober living.
Although the previous completion of a substance abuse rehab program is standard, it’s not always a necessity for living in a sober home. Several sober living homes still allow residents to stay there as long as they’re willing to remain abstinent and live by the house rules. When applicable, sober home residents should already have finished a medical detox to ensure stability and to prevent them from becoming ill and unable to work while residing in a sober living home.
What is the Cost of Rent at a Sober Living Home?
Rent costs will vary for residing in sober living homes, but usually it costs about the same as it would to live in a modest home or apartment. Sober living home residents must pay rent every month. The rent is usually between $450 and $750 per month, depending on location.
Residents will have to pay rent on time, but they won’t have to pay the first and last month. They also won’t have to pay for utilities in most sober living homes, although they may be consequences if they overuse these.
Residing in a sober living home is usually less expensive than living in a residential treatment facility since the staff provides fewer services. Residents must frequently attend 12-step programs or other recovery programs. They could also have to meet regularly with a therapist while residing at a sober living home.
Still, intensive therapy sessions are not mandatory to living in a sober living home. This helps to bring costs down. Also, a majority of sober living homes will ensure that residents can afford to stay there. This way, people who want to remain sober can do so in a safe environment.
The Difference Between Halfway Houses and Sober Living Homes
Overall, sober living homes and halfway houses are similar. They both present substance-free living conditions for those who are struggling with addiction. However, they can also differ in various ways.
Substance abuse treatment programs design halfway houses. The goal is to provide patients with a place to live upon completing inpatient treatment or while attending outpatient treatment. The focus is to separate the patient from their former environment so that they can recover in a sober, supportive atmosphere. These halfway houses enhanced treatment outcomes for many patients. That said, halfway houses do have a few drawbacks.
Halfway houses usually have a time limit on how long a resident can stay. Residents frequently have to move out after an extended period, regardless of whether they’re ready. Halfway houses also demand that all residents are currently attending substance abuse treatment or have recently finished a program. This can be tough for some addicts who want an alternative to conventional therapy, previously relapsed, or had unsuccessful treatment experiences. Finally, some halfway houses are financed by treatment centers and the state, which makes it likely that their funding will be cut. If that happens, residents might have nowhere to go and become provoked to move into more vulnerable circumstances that challenge their sobriety.
Unlike halfway houses, sober living homes allow residents to live there for as long as they need, provided they follow all home rules. Sober living homes also don’t require that residents had attended previous addiction treatment programs before residing there. Also, some sober living homes either command or greatly encourage that residents engage in 12-step meetings while living there. Finally, there are no funding interruptions that can occur due to residents paying their rent while living there.
Are Sober Living Homes Right for Me?
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance addiction, a sober living home could be the best solution. These unique living conditions can help residents continue to stay sober by showing support and allowing them to resume regular activities like going to school or working. Residents can also assist each other and create new friendships with others dedicated to sobriety.
Sober living homes aren’t right for everyone. Some individuals might need to go through a medical detox or addiction treatment rehab before they can successfully reside in a sober atmosphere. However, sober living homes can provide a supportive environment to transition from a substance-abusing lifestyle to becoming sober and accountable.
Those who are sober and want to remain that way should consider moving into a halfway house. Living in this environment promotes sobriety and allows recovering addicts to stay in addiction treatment rehab for the long term.
Get Help For Addiction Today
Anyone struggling with substance addiction can benefit from a sober living home. These programs are a beneficial component of treatment where residents move between levels of care as their recovery proceeds. It is often the final step before returning to everyday life. People usually go back to school, work, and get back into their daily lives while in a sober living home.
As with all recovery programs, there is no one-size-fits-all option. Sober living homes aren’t for everyone. However, they offer a supportive opportunity for people who are working through their recovery and towards a substance-free lifestyle.
If you or a loved one could benefit from a sober living home, contact Harmony Ridge Recovery Center today. Allow our team of specialists to get you the answers you seek.