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Sober Living

  1. Article SummaryPrint
  2. The Sober Living Environment
  3. The Sober Living House
  4. Sober Living House Rules
  5. Halfway Houses
  6. Halfway House Responsibilities
  7. Tips for Living Sober

You have admitted to yourself and to others that you have developed an addiction to alcohol or drugs and have recently completed a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program. The journey to a drug- and alcohol-free life does not end here. Most recovering addicts, regardless of the type of drug addiction they are recovering from, are not prepared to function in a sober world without having adequate sober living plans in place.


For most recovering addicts, relapse most often occurs within the first six months after they have completed an addiction treatment program. Therefore, it is highly recommended that recovering addicts participate in a sober living program or an aftercare program for at least six months after leaving treatment.

The Sober Living Environment

Many who are recovering from substance abuse issues find that to remain sober immediately following treatment they must immerse themselves in a sober living environment. These environments serve as interim environments between the treatment center and their former lives. Sober living environments were originally introduced as a safe and supportive place for recovering addicts to live during their recovery. The environment offers a place for the recovering addict to live that is both structured and supportive. It is not necessary for the person to have just completed a rehab program, although this is the case for many sober living residents.

The sober living environment originated on the West Coast and soon spread across the United States. Most sober living environments provide a lot more than a transitional living environment. Many revolve around sound recovery methodology and 12-step programs. Many are also governed or certified by the Sober Living Coalition. Residents are typically required to take random drug tests, to take part in 12-step meetings, and to demonstrate that they are taking the steps necessary to achieve long-term sobriety.

The Sober Living House

A sober living house is an affordable, drug- and alcohol-free environment that offers a positive place for recovering addicts to find recovery support in their peer group. Sober living homes provide individualized recovery plans and offer an environment that allows residents to work on their unique recovery program with the goal being to become self-supportive.

Residents of sober living homes generally must be able to support themselves, pay their rent, and purchase their own food. They are usually required to work or must be actively seeking work. Students who are enrolled in an accredited trade school or academic institution are typically not required to work while staying at the sober living house, although many do. Residents who are permanently disabled or who are receiving local, state, or federal assistance must provide service work to the sober living house or the community. All residents must attend a minimum number of 12-step meetings each week, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous.

Did You Know?

Most sober living houses are owned and operated by private citizens for a profit. Less than one-third of homes are registered as nonprofit organizations. Most homes do not receive grants or subsidies from the government; however, some of the residents qualify for social security benefits.

Sober Living House Rules

If you choose to live in a sober living house, you will be required to respect and adhere to all of the house rules. Rules are in place to protect you and other sober living guests and to make the living arrangement more enjoyable for everyone in the house. A list of rules will be given to you when you first enter the house, and residents are generally required to sign a contract stating that they will obey all the house rules. Sober living house rules may vary from house to house, but most include the following:

  • No drinking alcohol
  • No taking drugs
  • Must smoke in designated smoking areas
  • Must have no sexual contact with other residents
  • Must pay your program fees on time
  • Must not steal from the house
  • Must not destroy house property
  • Must not engage in violent behavior

Some sober living houses have a zero-tolerance policy in effect regarding the above rules, meaning that if a resident breaks one of the house rules, he or she will immediately be evicted from the house. Others are a bit more lenient with certain rules and stricter with others. For example, you may receive a warning if you are caught smoking in a non-designated smoking area; however, the warning generally states that the next time you are caught smoking outside of a designated smoking area you will be evicted from the sober living home. All sober living houses have a zero-tolerance policy in effect regarding sexual contact between housemates. You are living in the sober house to work on living sober. Try not to let your attraction to another housemate interfere with your recovery program.


Sober living homes tend to be communal in nature. Depending on the size of the house, occupancy generally ranges from six to 30 residents. All residents are required to share a bedroom with one or more other residents. The number of housemates sharing a bedroom usually ranges from two to 10 residents per room. Oftentimes, the bedroom arrangement is barracks-style bunk beds. Almost all sober living homes have only one gender living in the house; coed sober living homes are almost nonexistent.

Whether you are looking for a small or large sober living house, our representatives can assist you in finding one in your area. Call us at 1-888-287-0471. We are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions about sober living homes.

Halfway Houses


Addiction Help

There are a number of ways how to help an alcoholic or addict. When you are considering how to help an addict, consider that there are mental aspects to addiction and dependency as well as the physical addiction. Help for alcoholics and addicts can be found through hospitals, clinics, interventions, and therapies, as well as through groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Read More

Halfway houses are also called recovery houses. They allow recovering addicts to begin reintegrating with society while receiving support and monitoring. Recovering addicts who live in halfway houses are at a reduced risk of relapse or recidivism compared to recovering addicts who go directly from a treatment program back into society. Some halfway houses have been established to provide recently released jail or prison inmates a place to live as they reintegrate with society. Others have been established to house those with chronic mental health disorders. Most, however, have been established to house people with substance abuse problems. Many halfway houses will only accept residents who do not have criminal records. Halfway houses that accept ex-convicts have experienced opposition from neighbors when trying to locate their halfway house in certain neighborhoods.

The biggest difference between sober living houses and halfway houses in the United States is that a halfway house generally provides a rehabilitation treatment program. The program runs throughout the day, and residents receive group counseling and intensive individual counseling for their substance abuse problems. The average stay at a halfway house ranges from one to six months, and behavioral health insurance typically covers all or a portion of the cost of the stay. At sober living houses, on the other hand, residents are simply required to remain sober and to comply with the minimal requirements of their recovery program. At sober living houses, residents pay for their own expenses. In some areas, a halfway house is licensed by the Department of Health and includes 24-hour per day staff service, which usually includes a clinical addiction treatment team.

Halfway House Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of residents at sober living houses and halfway houses are very similar in nature. All house guests must do their part to keep the house clean and neat, including picking up after themselves. The sober living arrangement is so much more enjoyable when all residents chip in and help each other. Some halfway house duties and responsibilities include the following:

  • Clean up after yourself
  • Keep your bedroom clean
  • Take messages for other guests
  • Attend at least three 12-step meetings per week
  • Keep mental health and medical appointments
  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Inform the house manager if you will be out overnight
  • Attend mandatory house meetings

If you would like to find a halfway house in your vicinity, we can help. Call our compassionate representatives at our free national helpline at 1-888-287-0471. A representative is available 24/7 to help you find the halfway house that can best meet your needs.

Did You Know?

Sober living house rent ranges from $250 to $1,450 per month, with the average ranging from about $450 to $750 per month. This cost is split among the residents. Factors affecting the cost of rent are services provided by the living sober house and location. No security deposit is required, no first and last months' rent are required, and no credit checks are performed. Utilities are included in the cost of rent. Most homes allow residents to pay their rent on a weekly basis.

Tips for Living Sober

Whether you are living at home, in a sober living house, or in a halfway house, it is imperative that you participate in an addiction aftercare plan to aid in your recovery from addiction. Your aftercare plan can be individualized to meet your unique needs, but nearly all aftercare plans include the following:

Attend a 12-step program at least three times per week: Most recovering addicts need to be involved with an addiction support group. This is a group of people who have gone through or who are currently experiencing the same issues regarding recovery that you are going through now. The group can offer support and provide feedback to you about any concerns you have about living sober. Some newly sober recovering addicts find it helpful to attend 12-step meetings every day.

Get Clean and Sober

projectknow-shutter229879537-holding-patients-handDrug or alcohol addiction, or even addiction to both drugs and alcohol, can be treated. Medical and psychological research has determined new ways to help addicts who have the will to recover, get clean and sober, and stay that way. Getting addiction help usually begins when an addict faces up to his or her addiction problem and realizes that assistance is necessary to fight it. Read More

Get a sponsor and call him or her as often as necessary: Your sponsor has accepted the responsibility of being your mentor. He or she expects to hear from you. The person would not have agreed to be your sponsor if he or she did not want to get phone calls from you. Call your sponsor often, and tell him or her how you feel about the problems you are facing. Your sponsor likely has experienced the same problems and can offer help and guidance.

Make at least three phone calls a week to people in recovery: It is important for you to stay in contact with your peers who are also in recovery. You can help each other stay sober and remind each other to work on your daily programs. You don't have to go through the recovery process alone.

Eat three meals per day: When you were drinking and drugging, you probably did not receive the daily nutrition your body needs to function. If you don't keep your body properly nourished, it becomes impossible for you to make sound decisions. At the very minimum, try to eat three meals per day.

Exercise at least three times per week: Addiction recovery involves the spirit, mind, and body. Exercising plays a large role in recovery. Regular exercise is known to release endorphins, which are your body's natural "feel good" biochemical compounds.

Follow the above aftercare plan, and have faith that you can reach any goals or objectives you set for yourself. Believe in yourself and that you can achieve your dream of living an alcohol- or drug-free life. Now is the time for you to reclaim the excitement of daily living that you most likely missed out on or overlooked when you were focused on your addiction.

If you have completed an addiction treatment or aftercare program and would like help in finding a sober living house or a halfway house, we can help. If you haven't started a treatment program yet and would like help finding one, we can help with that, too. Simply call our free national hotline at 1-888-287-0471, and one of our representatives will assist you in finding an addiction treatment program or a sober living environment that will fit your needs. We are available seven days a week to take your call.

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      A physical addiction is where the body becomes tolerant to a drug and requires more to function normally. The body stops producing certain chemicals because the drug is creating them. Once the drug is withdrawn, the body will take a while to restart production of these chemicals.

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      A number of cough medicines contain dextromethorphan, also known as DMX, or codeine, which are addictive substances.

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