For individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, a sober house may be a necessary step on the road to sobriety. Sober living homes, sometimes known as halfway homes or a sober house, are group homes for people who are recovering from addiction. Sober living homes generally have a set of rules and expectations to which each resident must adhere, and all residents are expected to contribute to the household in a variety of ways. For many, a sober house provides an important step during the transition from a recovery program back into the real world.
Sober Living at Sober College
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by real world responsibilities and obligations when adjusting to life after treatment. Often times, the initial time spent living independently can be isolating and stressful, causing some to relapse. It is one of the most vulnerable periods of time in a patient’s path to sobriety, which makes sober living homes even more critical to an individual’s sober journey.
What is a Sober House?
A sober house is a group home for recovering addicts. Most of these homes are privately owned in quiet, peaceful neighborhoods; however, some homes are owned by businesses or charities. These homes are generally less structured than inpatient rehab programs, but there are still rules that all residents must follow in order to stay in the home. Residents can come and go as they please, but must be home by a certain time and they may be required to work and/or go to school during the day.
Most people who live in a sober house have gone through a recovery program and are working on developing independence while in a safe environment. Residents are expected to practice their independence and take care of themselves while living at the home. Every sober home has different expectations of its residents. They may be required to do chores, contribute to the bills, pay rent, buy food, and perform other duties that would be required of them if they lived on their own. While living in the home, residents must submit to random drug testing, follow the rules, and maintain strict sobriety.
Rules at sober living homes vary from facility to facility, but there are common rules that are in place at most sober homes. Residents must agree to and abide by all rules while living in the home, or they may face consequences. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, consequences may include paying a fine, making amends with others in the home, writing an essay or even being asked to leave the home.
One rule that is universal among all sober living homes is maintained sobriety. In order to live in a sober house, residents must submit to random drug testing and they must pass. Some houses will not allow residents to use specific mouth washes or cooking ingredients because they may show up as a positive on a drug test—or they can be misused in order to get high. In addition, residents must refrain from fighting or violence, go to work or school, and abide by curfews. These rules are in place in order to help residents hold themselves accountable and develop a sense of responsibility.
While most sober living homes do not place restrictions who can live—or apply to live—in the facility, most residents have undergone treatment for their addiction and are transitioning back towards independent living. These individuals make up the majority of the population in sober living homes because they already have experience sobriety and have learned some techniques and behaviors to support them in recovery, making them much more likely to maintain it while living in the home. In some cases, sober living homes may accept individuals who are new to the rehab process as long as they are willing to abide by the rules of the house. If anything, residents are expected to have at least completed a detox program to help them overcome the physical nature of their addiction and address any potential withdrawal symptoms they may experience.
Have questions about finding a sober home?
Call 800.465.0142 to speak with an admissions counselor.
Men’s Sober Living at Sober College
Eaves Apartments is home to Sober College’s Men’s Sober Living clients. Unlike our San Diego location, our sober livings are only available to clients who have completed a minimum of six months in our primary or drug rehab programs. Take a your of our Men’s Sober Living as well as our other men’s programs.
Women’s Sober Living at Sober College
Montecito Apartments is home to our Women’s Sober Living Program. Like the Men’s sober living our Women’s Sober Living is specifically geared toward women and their unique needs. Only open to ages 18 to 26, our women’s sober living is just one of our three residential environments at Sober College.
Services and Benefits of Sober Living
A sober house is not a place to wait and sit idly. They offer a number of services that help jumpstart an individual’s sober lifestyle. Sober living homes serve as a safe place to work through the practices learned in treatment while acclimating to a more independent lifestyle. Sober living homes can provide services for a number of things:
- Job searches: Searching for a job can be stressful, especially if there is no support system in place. While in a sober house, residents are encouraged to apply for jobs with the assistance of others. Sober living homes provide residents with structure and adequate time to apply for jobs, attend job interviews, and pre-employment drug screenings. Some sober living homes will even provide transportation.
- Arranged, safe housing: One of the biggest risks for clients who have left a treatment facility is the possibility of returning to a dangerous environment or enabling peers. Some may be afraid of their homes or unable to resist temptation if they return to familiar places. Time spent in a sober living home provides residents with a safe environment away from enabling peers and environments. This allows them the ability to search for an apartment or another living arrangement with feedback from sober peers and housing staff about their options.
- Adjusting to sober life: In residential treatment programs, clients are often limited in their mobility and freedom. When leaving treatment, clients can be easily overwhelmed by the amount of freedom and autonomy they are suddenly given, which can make them incredibly susceptible to relapse. In the real world, the burden of too many responsibilities and tough decisions can make it easy to fall back into old habits. In sober living, residents are given rules to abide by that provide them with freedom and flexibility but also offer structure, ensuring they can transition back to independent living with relative ease.
- Mending relationships: One of the most critical components of the recovery process is mending relationships that have been damaged by drug and alcohol addiction. While this is worked on throughout the recovery process, sober living homes further support the process by keeping individuals in contact with a community of sober individuals who can relate to the experiences of one another. In this environment, residents give and receive support from peers and assist one another in rebuilding damaged relationships.
- Alleviation of major financial burdens: Another benefit of sober living homes is that they are reasonably priced. Depending on where the home is located, rent for a sober living home generally runs anywhere from $450 to $750 a month. While residents are expected to pay their rent on time, they are not expected to pay first and last month’s rent upfront like many other housing situations require. In most cases, residents are not expected to contribute to utilities. Sober living homes tend to be cheaper than residential treatment programs because while they still offer services, they are reduced. Residents are expected to still participate in therapy sessions and group meetings, but they are not expected to engage in intensive services. This keeps costs low and helps residents continue to stay in the sober home.
What About Sober Houses for College Students?
College is an exciting time for many individuals. Many experience independence for the first time and have the freedom and flexibility to do whatever they like. This same freedom can also be a catalyst in the development of addiction. New-found independence is accompanied by new stressors, financial burdens, and other compounding factors. This, in conjunction with a desire to establish an identity and relationships with peers, can make young adults especially vulnerable to substance abuse and addiction. A college environment can be troublesome for a young adult, especially when they are working on maintaining sobriety.
Some sober living homes offer specialized programs for young adults who have completed a rehab program and want to continue getting a college degree. Attending college while living in a sober living home can provide an extra layer of support by surrounding residents with similarly-aged peers who share the same sober mindset. Many of the housing programs have requirements of the individuals who live there, much like other sober living homes. There are also school-specific requirements, such as the completion of an inpatient rehab program, proof of a minimum amount of time spent sober, and course completion expectations.
Sober houses designed for college students have additional services that are specific to college environments and experiences. Many offer services to assist residents in academic achievements as well as resources to deal with social situations, peer pressure, and sober entertainment. These resources may be available in the form of a workshop, group discussion, or group activities. These homes also offer unique therapies designed to address the needs of students and may even offer partnerships with individual academic coaches. Tutors are also made available at sober living homes to help residents achieve academic success. In addition, these homes frequently establish study sessions, transportation to and from campus, and career testing to help residents identify a path for their futures.