What are Sober Living Homes?
Sober living homes are group homes for people recovering from substance use disorders (SUD) who choose to live in an environment that will work to benefit them in their recovery. Sober living homes may be privately run businesses, connected to religious groups, or part of charity organizations—all with the belief of providing a safe space free of drugs or alcohol, so that those who live in them can continue to work on recovery.
Sober living homes are temporary housing situations that are used as a bridge to build a life after participating in an inpatient treatment programs and before returning to being fully active in society. Sober living homes provide an ideal combination of freedom and structure to help people begin to readjust to life outside of inpatient treatment.
Some people who leave inpatient treatment need extra help readjusting to real world situations and feel they need an extra step before transitioning into society once again. Others may not have a stable home environment and fearing relapse, want to continue the progress they’ve made in recovery.
One study noted abstinence rates improved in one sober living home from 11% at the beginning to 68% at 6- and 12-months. At 18 months, abstinence was a bit lower at 46%, but still significantly better than the time period before they entered the home. Another home in the study showed abstinence improved from 20% at the beginning, to 40% at 6 months, 45% at 12 months and 42% at 18 months. This study also found that residents were able to maintain improvements even after they left the sober living homes.
Whatever a person’s situation, sober living homes provide an excellent foundation for positive change as people transition from inpatient treatment programs to the outside world. They provide enough structure to keep someone with a SUD on track with their recovery goals, without the intensive monitoring and regulations of an inpatient facility.
A Place to Live in a Sober Environment
The top reason to choose a sober living home is having a place to live in an alcohol- and drug-free environment. These homes help people as they transition from their old way of living and teach them a new way of life—one with sobriety as a cornerstone.
Imagine living in a home where people used drugs and drank alcohol. What chance would someone in recovery have when facing that type of situation? Living in a house where people are drinking or using drugs is a temptation no one fresh out of an inpatient facility should have to face. That’s not to say the lure of drugs and alcohol will disappear—drugs and alcohol are everywhere in our communities—but having a safe living environment free of temptation could mean the difference between sobriety and relapse for someone with a SUD.
Strength in Numbers with Peer Support
Peer support plays a huge role in sobriety. While living in a sober living home, residents have the chance to cohabitate with like-minded individuals all doing their best to hold on to sobriety.
When you stay at a sober living home, you’re surrounded by others who are in recovery and understand the issues and problems that come with staying sober. Being in a supportive environment surrounded by like-minded people can give a person a positive outlook on life and provide them with the motivation to keep on the path of sobriety.
Residents of sober living homes learn to reconnect with society while living among peers experiencing similar situations. Birds of a feather flock together? Well sober people have a better chance of staying sober together.
Accountability and Responsibility
Residents who stay in sober living home are required to follow rules. This not only provides a basis for a uniformity among residents, but it teaches people to be accountable for themselves and their actions.
Most people with a SUD have followed their own will, have done as they pleased, and are not used to following rules. Having accountability and responsibility for your actions are a large part of learning life is less what a person wants to do—and more of what is good for the community and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Rules may include: a curfew, participating in house chores, paying rent, making your bed and keeping your living space clean, finding and keeping a job, quiet hours, and random drug testing.
As a whole, these rules help in teaching accountability AND responsibility to people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction after they have not lived in a structured environment. Rules reinforce that to be productive members of society, we all need to be responsible for our actions and behavior.
Residents of sober living homes are often required to participate in 12-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and many require residents to reach a quota for meetings each week. Step meetings help reinforce sobriety through a peer network of like-minded individuals, all working to overcome addiction. Attending meetings will help build fellowships with others that can provide a person with the emotional support they’ll need in sobriety. Some residents may also attend outpatient recovery programs during the day as part of their transition from inpatient programs.
Gaining Tools for the Future
Together, the experiences learned while residing in a sober living home can help build a meaningful future of abstinence for someone with a SUD. These experiences become personal steppingstones to reentering society as a healthy sober individual with recovery at the center.
Residents of sober living homes learn what it means to live a life free of drugs and/or alcohol, the importance of peer support, how to be accountable and responsible in life, and the lesson that recovery is a long-term process. The main goal in recovery from a SUD is to learn to live life on your own, to support yourself, and to learn how to live a successful and productive life. Sober living homes provide tools to help make a person’s dreams of a substance free lifestyle a reality.
Recovery Centers of America is Here for You
If you’ve been thinking about entering treatment or have a loved one that would benefit from inpatient treatment, Recovery Centers of America is here for you, 24/7. If you’re struggling or need help, call any time at 1-800-RECOVERY.