A sober living home is a transitional phase from inpatient or outpatient treatment as it allows individuals to live in a structured, substance-free environment. Also known as “transitional living” homes, these places offer a refuge for clients wanting to live in an atmosphere that supports drug-free living while easing into everyday living and responsibilities.

Who is Sober Living For?

Sober living is ideal for individuals who have completed rehab and who want to continue their recovery in a safe environment that is substance-free. They are also suitable for individuals who have relapsed and require more of a structured environment prior to returning to normal life. Studies have shown that individuals who live in sober living or transitional living homes following treatment have lower risks of relapses.

How are Sober Living Homes Run?

Sober living homes are often run by mental health professionals or addiction counselors. These homes are also often affiliated or networked with mental health treatment centers or substance abuse support programs. Sober living homes are also often staffed with people in recovery who understand the process of overcoming addiction.

While these facilities primarily provide accommodation, they also run regimented programs to encourage responsibility and accountability within the house. For example, residents are subject to random drug screenings and are expected to obey the house rules.

Benefits of Sober Living

  • Provides guidance and support
  • Fosters meaningful sober relationships
  • Encourages independence
  • Allows for an easier transition to regular life
  • Reduces the risk of relapse
  • Helps clients develop or improve life skills
  • Provides homes free from drugs or alcohol
  • Provides a stable living environment

Sober Living Home Duration

The duration of a person’s stay in a sober living home depends greatly on their circumstances. Some individuals may only need a few months to readjust, while others may require a longer stay. In general, though, many people stay in sober living homes for 3 to 12 months.

Sober Living Home Cost

Unlike rehab, where treatment is often covered by insurance or Medicaid, clients in sober living programs are usually expected to pay for their stay. While sober living can be highly affordable, there are variances in terms of basic and upscale options. Therefore, the cost of a sober living home will depend on the location, amenities, duration of stay, type of accommodation, whether you need to pay for utilities, etc.

Generally, sober living arrangements can cost around $300 to $2,000 per month.

What to Expect with Sober Living Homes

people talking in living room

Unlike inpatient treatment, residents in a sober living home are free to come and go as they please. While they are expected to abide by curfews and house rules, they are encouraged to be independent and to create a life of their own. The structured programs offered by sober living homes allow residents to ease into everyday life and gradually return to responsibilities. The advantage of this is that it creates a sense of steady progression, rather than being thrown into the deep end and suddenly facing life pressures.

Sober living homes are also largely based on networks and fellowships. By staying in one of these homes, it gives residents a chance to foster meaningful relationships with people who are on the same journey towards sobriety. This support system is also vital because they can also maintain these links once they return to their normal lives.

Services

Along with providing a safe, substance-free environment to live in, many sober living homes also run a variety of programs for their residents. These include:

  • 12-step meetings
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Relapse prevention counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Educational programming
  • Vocational training
  • Employment assistance
  • Life skills training

House Rules


Most sober living homes have a list of house rules to abide by. This encourages responsibility on behalf of the residents while maintaining an environment of mutual respect. Some of the more common house rules include:

  • Curfew compliance (as set by each house)
  • Abstinence from alcohol or drugs
  • Compliance with random drug tests
  • Participation in house meetings
  • Completion of household chores
  • Active searches for employment, schooling, and housing following a resident stay
  • Participation in outpatient treatment or community support groups like the 12-Steps
  • No intimate relationships with other residents
  • No drug paraphernalia or items promoting drug use
  • No violence, threats, or offensive language
  • Paying rent on time

Types of Sober Living Facilities

There are four levels of care when it comes to sober living facilities.

Level I

Level I homes are typically peer-run by the residents and are the most common form of sober living home in the US. In these homes, there are no paid staff, no in-house treatments, and no requirement for the residents to attend a specific recovery program (other than 12-Step groups). A good example of a Level I sober living group is Oxford House which operates across the country. These types of homes are usually single-family dwellings.

Level II

Level II homes will typically have a house manager, along with written policies and procedures. There will be at least one paid member of staff, and residents will be expected to adhere to house rules, drug screening, and support groups or treatment. These types of homes are usually single-family or apartment-style dwellings.

Level III

Level III homes are more structured and will typically consist of a facility manager, along with certified staff and a case manager. Like Level II homes, residents will have to adhere to house rules, drug screening, support groups, or treatment; however, life skills tend to be emphasized a bit more at this level. These types of homes can consist of multiple types, including apartment-style or single-dwelling.

Level IV

Level IV homes are the most structured and will usually be run by a service provider or a substance abuse treatment facility. They are often run by a facility manager and credentialed staff. One of the key differences with level IV homes is that they also provide in-house treatment and access to other addiction services and programming. The types of homes will also consist of multiple types and may even be institutionally based.

Typical Daily Routine at a Sober Living Home

group attending class

While sober living homes each have their own routine, there is a general structure across most of them. These consist of group breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Most homes will also hold daily or nightly household meetings, and residents will attend treatment or support groups together.

The daily schedule of a sober living home will depend on the level of care and the resident’s overall stage of recovery. Some homes will be highly structured with strict eating and meeting times, while others will allow more freedom and autonomy.

However, a typical day at a sober living home can look like the following:

  • Residents rise between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and eat breakfast with the other residents.
  • Residents attend classes, receive vocational training, or find employment.
  • Residents attend outpatient treatment or attend work or school.
  • Later in the day, residents attend house meetings to iron out personal disputes, talk about concerns, and arrange household chores.
  • In the evening, residents usually attend support group meetings together.
  • Residents may have free time after dinner and meetings while following a set curfew. Free time can consist of watching TV, exercising, or other recreational activities.

How to Find a Sober Living Center

Finding the right sober living center will depend on your individual needs. You may want to do some research into the type of community you want to live, how structured you would like it to be, and how much independence you’re looking for.

Along with your personal criteria, it’s also a good idea to look for places that have the following qualities:

  • Accreditations by a reputable source such as CARF, NARR, or a state agency.
  • Memberships with a reputable association like NARR or Oxford House.
  • Encourage attendance at support groups like 12-Step programs.
  • Have strict rules for substance use, rent payments, and house rules.
  • Provide access to services and levels of care that are relevant to your recovery.

Sober Living Home Resources

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, you are not alone. Treatment and support are readily available. Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment.

You can also find a list of treatment centers near you on our website to help get you on the path to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer

At RehabAid.com, we are dedicated to helping people recover from problematic substance use and associated mental health disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are not alone. Information on treatment and support options is readily available through the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-4357. To further assist you along the path to recovery, the treatment center locator on our website allows you to easily find rehabilitation programs and services in your local area.

We provide our readers with factual, evidence-based content concerning the causes and nature of addiction, as well as available treatment options. However, this informative content is intended for educational purposes only. It is by no means a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. With regard to any addiction-related health concerns, you should always seek the guidance of a qualified, registered physician who is licensed to practice medicine in your particular jurisdiction.

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