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Sober Living Homes: 10 Things You Should Know

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“I started out in the top of the class at school,” recalls Karen A. in her Heroes In Recovery story. “Then at age 13, I experienced the nightmare that was my home life. I also discovered alcohol. By the next year, I was in the bottom of my class. The year after that, I didn’t even go back to school. For me, there is no coincidence – addiction is a family disease…I was a violent, unpredictable alcoholic and addict. Today, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister, I’m a partner, I’m a friend and a member of society.”

Men eating lunchFor people like Karen A., finding a safe, drug-free environment and claiming personal worth and identity were key to her rescue from the grip of addiction. Free yourself from the downward spiral of addiction. Stop playing the victim. Michael’s House can help you through the process of developing a new attitude, finding new opportunities, and charting a new course for your life — one in which you are in charge.

Sober living homes offer a safe haven to people in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. If you come from a home that is not sobriety-friendly or not supportive of your new lifestyle choices, sober living homes may be your bridge to a new tomorrow. These special living environments can help you re-enter mainstream society following outpatient or residential treatment.

1. Sober living homes are not homeless shelters

Many people incorrectly associate sober living homes with homelessness. Some people actually refer to them as “flop houses.” However, nothing could be further from the truth. These houses offer recovering addicts a place to reconstruct their day-to-day lives. In this safe setting, they can get re-acclimated to life in the “real world.” Completion of a rehab program is usually a prerequisite to admittance into a sober living home.1

2. Sober living homes are governed by a strict set of rules

Those who live in a sober living home are subject to a series of rules and regulations. Common rules that all residents must follow include: curfews, drug-free visitors only, specific visitation hours.2

3. Sober living homes are not free

Those residing in sober living homes are expected to pay rent and their share of utility and grocery bills. Paying for these things is actually a blessing, as it helps rebuild the independence that these individuals may have lost during their drug addiction.3

4. Some sober living homes are quite exclusive

The popularity of sober living homes as a legitimate part of aftercare has created a “boutique” niche in the industry. Some sober living homes cost upwards of $2,000 per week and feature a variety of amenities for the residents.4

5. There are fewer sober living homes for women than there are for men

One of the biggest challenges facing women who have completed rehab is the lack of sober living homes geared to their gender. Currently, statistics indicate that nearly three-quarters of all sober living homes are designed for men only. Complicating matters further is the limited number of quality venues that grant mothers the opportunity to bring their children with them. Among those who do permit it, many of them do not provide proper daycare while mom is at work.5

6. Communal living is the order of the day

Sober living homes are all about community. By sharing space and responsibilities with the other residents, each inhabitant develops personal accountability and gains needed self-respect during a period when relapse is still a concern.2

7. Sober living homes offer a chance to interact with peers

The resident peer group plays a key role in sober living homes. Individuals in recovery aftercare may not get the understanding and affirmation they need from their friends and family. Sober living home peers can relate to what the other residents are going through, so they can provide a powerful support structure.3

8. Sober living homes offer a fresh start at self-sufficiency

Living in a sober living home is a phase in the recovery process, part of the transition into the real world – not a destination. It is a useful tool in preparing addicts for the day when they get their own apartment, establish their own routines, make all of their own decisions – seek to live an independent, drug-free life.2

9. There is drug testing at sober living homes

In order to maintain the integrity of the sober living home, many require random drug testing. This keeps individuals from relapsing and becoming a negative influence on the other residents in recovery.2

10. Sober living homes have a zero tolerance policy towards certain infractions

If an individual’s random drug test comes back “positive,” chances are high that they will be asked to leave the home. While these homes may show patience and flexibility on many issues, they generally put up with very little when it comes to drug or alcohol abuse while under the roof of this “safe space.”2


1Sober Living Houses for Alcohol and Drug Dependence: 18-month Outcomes.” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 28, Issue Number 4. June 2010. Web. 22 July 2017.

2What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Volume 42, Issue Number 4. December 2010.Web. 22 July 2017.

3A Clean and Sober Place to Live: Philosophy, Structure, and Purported Therapeutic Factors in Sober Living Houses.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Volume 40, Issue Number 2. June 2008.Web. 22 July 2017.

4 “Sober Housing.” The Addiction Recovery Guide, 19 May 2017.Web. 22 July 2017.

5 “Sober Living Facts and Statistics.” Choose Sober Living.Web. 22 July 2017.