What Is a Sober Living House? What To Know
After completing an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, you or a loved one might want to stay within a community of other sober individuals while you get back on your feet.
Entering back into the real world can be scary, and plenty more bad influences could threaten your sobriety. Facing the world as a newly sober person is difficult to do on your own, but there are other options out there for you.
Sober living recovery homes are a great outpatient treatment option for people that are recently out of treatment. Especially after going through inpatient treatment, drug rehab, and detox, trying to acclimate yourself back into the real world can be a difficult process.
Recovery housing is drug-free and gives a person the ability to continue their treatment by living with others going through a similar situation. The people living in these houses can provide a support system and community for those struggling with addiction recovery and help them achieve long-term sobriety.
To learn more about sober living houses, keep reading!
Sober Living Houses Explained
A sober living facility is a house that is completely drug and alcohol-free, with the goal of supporting sobriety for the members that reside there. People that live in these transitional housing options commit to abstaining from substance use and often continue their treatment with outpatient services.
People with drug and alcohol addiction know that the recovery journey is not straightforward, and continued treatment is the best way to be successful. Depending on the length of stay, this supportive environment can support sobriety for recovering addicts in the long run.
Sober living houses are usually located in quiet and peaceful neighborhoods where the residents are encouraged to relax and take things easy. These recovery communities are meant to be free from stress and outside influences that might make recovery more difficult. These homes want to help your recovery process along, not halt it.
What Is Their Purpose?
There are several purposes that a residential treatment house has, with who you are as a person and your individual needs dictating which aspects become more helpful. Some of the main goals of a sober living house are to provide peer support and empowerment in daily life, heighten individual responsibility through shared accountability, and offer a safe place for those who need sober spaces.
The houses prepare individuals for re-entrance into the real world. They prepare them to face their triggers and know how to cope with them. It allows for a slower introduction into their old spaces so they don’t have to feel pressure to return to normal while navigating sobriety.
Community is key in recovery, and sober living houses offer a place that can be assured to be alcohol and drug-free. Being surrounded by other sober people can help to motivate you to stay sober yourself.
History of Sober Living Houses
Sober living houses originated in the 1940s and have been providing a safe, sober living environment ever since. The first house came about as a result of the Alcoholics Anonymous support group.
The AA 12-step program created a residence where members were able to live and also hold 12-step meetings. This home allowed sober individuals to feel safe and a part of a community, which inspired more houses like this to be created.
Types of Sober Living Houses
You should choose which sober living house to reside in based on your specific needs and their focus. You could stay at a few different types of sober living houses and may change your living arrangements before finding the right fit. Don’t be discouraged if one doesn’t work out, as there are plenty out there that will fit your needs better.
Many of these houses require drug tests, have a curfew that you must follow, and require that you abide by the house rules.
Traditional Sober Living
A traditional sober living house is how you might imagine it to be. In this kind of sober living house, you pay your rent and participate in household duties. Essentially, you are one of the roommates living in the home, and it's your job to help maintain and run it properly.
On top of that, you should be participating in an addiction treatment program, such as outpatient services, while committing to sobriety. Some traditional sober living houses will require you prove your sobriety to stay living there.
Some might give out warnings if you break any rules, but it's in your best interest to stay on track while living there. These houses give you a great opportunity to focus on yourself and getting better.
Sober re-entry programs are also known as halfway houses, and they are a space for people coming out of incarceration to get back into the swing of things. Many formerly incarcerated people are required to stay sober and benefit from sober living houses.
Being a part of these programs can help these people comfortably re-enter society. It also takes away the stress of figuring out where to go and who to stay with. These houses offer people a great opportunity to stay focused and out of trouble immediately after coming out of jail.
Most re-entry programs have a time limit on how long an individual can stay there, unlike sober living houses with no time limit.
For people who struggle with substance use and homelessness, transitional houses offer stability as they work towards a brighter future. Many transitional homes require that their residents stay sober, as there can be a crossover between homeless individuals and individuals who struggle with substance abuse.
These houses provide a place for people to come home and feel safe, allowing them to focus on improving their lives and achieving their goals.
Benefits of Sober Living Houses
Living in a sober household has two main benefits: you learn how to take care of yourself and meet people who want to see you succeed. When you’re in an active addiction, you often forget to care for yourself and your responsibilities.
You may lose your job, miss out on experiences, struggle in relationships, and decline in mental health and physical health. Additionally, you’re often surrounded by people that are a bad influence on you. They might influence you to use substances or make other bad decisions, which in the long run, hurt you.
Choosing to enter a sober living home may be the best thing you do for yourself after ending addiction treatment. That’s because addiction treatment doesn’t end when you walk out of the facility — it’s an ongoing battle that requires your everyday attention to succeed. Sober living houses make these challenges seem a bit less daunting.
1. Creating Structure and Responsibility
Sober living houses force you to take over responsibilities and create a structure for yourself that helps out the entirety of the house. Everyone staying in the house has to be on the same page and contribute to the upkeep of the space.
This kind of living arrangement helps you get back into a routine and consider others' feelings and space. It prepares you for living out in the real world and taking care of yourself — life skills you might not feel prepared to deal with alone.
When you can leave a sober living house, you are more confident and strong-willed than you were going into one. Taking care of yourself should no longer be scary; every day you’re out in the world should excite you!
2. Being Surrounded by a Sober Community
The second benefit of sober living houses is that you're surrounded by other people that understand what you’re going through and have a similar story. You can connect easily with everyone in the house because you share one common factor: you have the goal of sobriety.
Having other sober individuals in your space can help you become more confident and healthy while you fight for addiction recovery. These houses support you during your dark moments and can even teach you about different coping strategies and methods to make recovery easier. You’ll always have someone to talk to when living in a sober home.
Seeking Sober Living
You can often find sober living through whatever treatment facility you are involved in. Otherwise, you can find sober living houses in more untraditional ways.
You may find a group of people who all want to maintain sobriety and focus on becoming better versions of themselves. Creating your own sober living house is not abnormal as long as everyone involved is set on sticking to sobriety and continuing addiction treatment.
You may find communities form online, like with apps like Sober Sidekick. With Sober Sidekick, you can chat with other sober individuals from your area and across the country who have similar goals as you.
Friendships can form and provide great support when you’re in need. Not only that, but you can gain access to addiction specialists 24/7 if you are ever feeling down.