What Is a Sober Living House?

Sober living houses are alcohol and drug-free environments where residents can establish or maintain their sobriety.

What Is Sober Living?

Sober Living Homes are for residents that have typically completed an Inpatient Treatment Program, or are currently attending an Outpatient Treatment Facility and have the desire to live in a safe, drug and alcohol-free environment. In most cases a House Manager resides within the residence, this is generally the best-case scenario when seeking a Sober Living. The House Manager commonly oversees and implements the rules of the home pertaining to the residents residing there. Some examples of this include curfews, drug testing, chores and house meetings.

The most important aspects of a Sober Living environment include structure, compassion, drug testing and someone to keep you accountable. Whether you're coming directly out of Inpatient Treatment or attend an Outpatient Facility during the day, a Sober Living Home is generally suggested by every Treatment Facility as an ideal environment to focus on rebuilding your life while abstaining from drugs and alcohol.

How Does Sober Living Work?

There are many options for sober-living homes and halfway houses that work in a variety of ways, so it's important to locate the right sober house based on your individual requirements. Sober living can occur in conjunction with an individual attending an outpatient treatment center, or after the completion of treatment. The National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR) categorize sober living into four different categories, including:

Category 1 - Peer-Run:
These are often single-family homes that are democratically run, typically with a senior resident holding other residents accountable. Drug screenings and house meetings are typical, but there are no paid, clinical positions within the home.

Category 2 - Monitored:
These are typically single-family homes or apartments. They can be run by a senior resident or a house manager with at least one compensated position. Drug screenings and house meetings are typical as well as peer-run groups and house rules.

Category 3 - Supervised:
This type of dwelling varies, but the facility is typically licensed and there is organizational hierarchy, administrative oversight, and policies and procedures. Life skills development is emphasized, and clinical services are provided outside of sober-living services. Staff are certified, and drug screenings are standard.

Category 4 Integrated:
Services tend to be provided in a more institutional environment and are often transitional services for those completing an addiction treatment program. Clinical services are provided in-house with a strong emphasis on life skills development. Staff are credentialed, and drug screening is standard.

Contemporary Row Homes

How Much Does Sober Living Cost?

The cost varies by the type of sober-living environment and length of stay. The more services provided, the more it's going to cost. Location is also a factor in the cost. Some sober-living homes have a base rate with additional costs for added services. When you're looking for a sober recovery home, be sure to ask what's included in the monthly rate and what is extra. Some examples of additional services may include transportation to appointments, recovery coaching, meals and gym memberships. But when considering some of the services offered, make sure they're services that help support your sobriety. Part of living in recovery is "showing up for life," meaning doing things for yourself that make you a successful, contributing member of society. When in active addiction, we tend to ignore the things that make us successful. So when getting back on our feet and in recovery, cooking and cleaning for ourselves is part of a healthy recovery plan.

How to Pay for Sober Living

Finances can be crucial in determining the best plan for your recovery. Some halfway houses, or sober re-entry programs, are state-funded. However, sober living houses are not covered under an individuals health insurance policy since they do not provide treatment services and thus aren't considered rehabilitative facilities.6There are still options to get the support you need, even if finances are a stressor. If you think that a stay at a sober living house would be a good fit for you, here are ways in which you can pay for your stay:

Ask your Treatment Provider.
Some addiction treatment programs have options to support residents in financing their stay in a sober living house. They may also be able to connect you to sober living houses that offer sliding scale fees.

Grants and Scholarships.
Changing Lives Foundation is an organization that offers grants to those facing unexpected financial hardship, medical bills, catastrophic events, or even need help with rent payments.

Finance it.
This isn't an ideal option for many, especially due to high-interest rates and barriers to borrowing like low credit scores, but seeking out a loan can be helpful. Before doing this, make sure to consider how debt may impact your level of stress and, in turn,negatively impact your sobriety.