What To Expect When You Move Into a Sober Living House

Learn more about the benefits of sober living communities and how to find a sober living house near you.

Sober Living House: Overview

Completing detox or any type of substance abuse treatment is difficult and it can be scary leaving treatment. There are many unknowns when individuals leave the safety of treatment programs. A sober living house is a way for those struggling with addiction to reside in a safe and supportive environment while learning to get back on their feet and start a life free of substances.

What is a Sober Living House?

A sober living home is designed to be a transitional place between residential treatment and regular life. These houses are often peer-managed homes designed to help people maintain their sobriety. This is achieved through the following requirements:1 

  • Remaining drug and alcohol-free
  • Attending recovery support groups, like AA, NA, or SMART Recovery
  • Participating in household activities
  • Helping to maintain the household and teach responsibility with assigned chores

A sober living house can be a crucial part of maintaining long-term sobriety. It provides continued aftercare support for those who need it.

Types of Sober Living Houses

There are a few different types of sober living homes available, some of which are detailed below.

Traditional Sober Living Homes

Traditional sober living homes are peer-managed. People live there to continue maintaining their sobriety. These sober living homes often do not have a time limit on how long individuals can live there. They allow people to stay as long as they need to.2

Sober Re-Entry or Halfway Houses

Many people use the terms “sober living” and “halfway homes” interchangeably, but there are some differences between the two. A sober re-entry house, or halfway house, serves as a transition point between an institution and an independent society.3

The biggest difference is that a halfway house is usually a place where those who were incarcerated can transition into independent society. Halfway houses require the same systems to maintain sobriety but may offer services like mental health, medical, or educational support. Another difference is that these programs are often time limited. A person can only stay for a certain length of time before needing to transition to an independent place.

Transitional Housing

Transitional housing provides housing for those who were previously homeless. Like sober living homes, most transitional housing programs offer structure, supervision, support, and life skills training. Transitional housing also requires proof of sobriety before providing housing.4 

Rules and Expectations of Sober Living Homes

Each sober living home may have its own set of rules and expectations, but there are common requirements among most sober living facilities. The typical rules and expectations include:5 

  • Abstaining from drug and alcohol use
  • Regularly attending 12-Step meetings or peer support groups
  • Abiding by the set curfew
  • Paying monthly rent on time
  • Taking part in household activities like weekly meetings and chores
  • Agreeing to take part in random drug screenings
  • Maintaining employment
  • Respecting other residents
  • No overnight guests allowed

Do Expectations Vary From House to House?

The rules and expectations can vary based on the sober living house, but most of them follow similar requirements. These expectations are meant to provide accountability and responsibility for individuals in recovery. It is critical to learn how to be responsible for yourself and your time when you transition from a structured treatment program to more independent living. A sober living house can provide a way to learn that before becoming fully independent.

Are Sober Living Homes Effective?

Going to a sober living house has been shown to be effective in supporting sobriety efforts. The results of living in a sober living house vary from decreased number of relapses to long-term sobriety. Research on the effectiveness of sober living houses has also shown that residents experience a higher possibility of securing employment and a lower likelihood of getting arrested.6 

The lack of a stable and substance-free environment is a serious obstacle for those looking for long-term sobriety and recovery. Going into an environment that can provide accountability helps to support an individual’s recovery. It has also been shown that these programs can provide increased access to supportive services that can improve outcomes.

How is Sober Living Different from Other Treatment Programs?

Sober living houses are often mistaken for residential treatment or rehab programs. But there are many differences between the two. A sober living house is also different from other treatment programs like outpatient and intensive outpatient programs.7 

Sober Living House vs. Residential Treatment

A residential treatment program is a structured, live-in program to assist individuals in their recovery. The main difference is the level of independence. Most residential programs do not allow the residents to leave the facility until after treatment has ended. These programs may last anywhere from thirty days to one year in which individuals are focused on therapy and building skills to transition to independence.

A sober living house is traditionally a step down from a residential program. While sober living provides some structure and accountability, it also provides more experience to live independently.

Sober Living House vs. Outpatient Programs

Sober living and outpatient programs can sometimes go hand in hand. People can be residing at a sober living house while attending an outpatient program. The main distinction between the two is that sober living does not provide therapy services and outpatient programs do not provide a place to live. Many people attend outpatient treatment while in a sober living house to continue to build on their recovery.

Sober Living House

How Can Essence Healthcare Help with Treatment and Sober Living?

Making the decision to get sober can be overwhelming, especially if you do not know where to get help. At Essence Healthcare, we are focused on providing high-quality, individualized care for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Because we understand that all individuals are unique, we use a combination of therapies and techniques to provide you with the best outcome for recovery.

What We Offer

At Essence Healthcare, we provide treatment programs for a variety of mental health and addiction issues. Not only does our program include a sober living house but also detox services, residential treatment, and an outpatient program. 

Contact Essence Healthcare Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, recovery is just a phone call away. To find out more about sober living houses or our programs, contact us at 818.491.7288 or online.

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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.