Lack of a stable, drug, and alcohol-free living environment can develop a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence. Even highly motivated individuals, who want to quit doing drugs or alcohol, may not stay against a destructive living environment as long as they can derail the recovery process. Sober living houses are alcohol and drug-free living environments for the people who attempt to abstain from drugs and alcohol. They are not licensed and funded by local governments or states, which means the residents pay for costs themselves. The philosophy of recovery emphasizes 12-step group attendance and peer support. Check our previous article to learn more about 12-step support groups.
What are Sober Living Houses
Sober living houses are group homes for people recovering from an addiction. As we already said, most of these houses are owned privately, however, there are some group homes owned by businesses and may also belong to charity organizations. Typical sober living homes are mostly located in quiet areas, which help ensure a peaceful environment for the people in early recovery.
Sober living homes are different from rehab centers.
Rehab centers usually provide a more intensive recovery experience and give their patients less freedom. People who reside in sober living facilities can usually come and go as they would like because they follow certain rules. For example, sober living houses may require residents to come to the house by a certain time or to go to work during the day. Residents may also be subject to periodic drug testing to demonstrate ongoing sobriety.
People who live in these types of houses need to be responsible for themselves. This is a very essential step in recovery as long as addiction may cause people to act in irresponsible ways, and the friends and families of addicted individuals often enable them by supporting them. People living in sober houses pay their own rent, usually buy their own food too, and do the same things they would do for themselves if they lived in a regular home.
Rules in Sober Living Houses
As it was pointed above, there are some rules in sober living houses, which need to be followed by the residents while living there.
Rules differ from facility to facility, but there are some rules that are common to most sober environments. Residents agree to all the rules when they move in, and violations of the rules have consequences. Depending on the violation, residents may have to pay a fine, make amends to another resident, or write an essay about what they did. In some cases, residents may be asked to leave the home because of violations of rules. Besides, there is a primary rule of any sober living house. The primary rule in all sober living houses is that residents must stay sober. They are not allowed to use alcohol or drugs. In some cases, residents cannot use certain types of mouthwash or cook with certain ingredients, such as vanilla. These items could contain alcohol and might lead to false positives if the resident is subjected to a drug test. In addition, products such as these may increase the risk of relapse, as some residents might attempt to get drunk or high by misusing these items. Thus, some sober houses ban the use of items that contain alcohol.
In addition to these rules, people who live in these types of houses are encouraged to find work or go to school during the day and must contribute to the home by doing chores. They also must refrain from any violence. Some people who live in halfway houses are required to be home by a certain time of night. These rules help residents learn to be responsible for themselves and their behavior.
Residents in Sober Living Houses
Although most sober living homes do not restrict who may apply to live there, the majority of residents have completed a substance abuse rehabilitation program prior to moving in. This makes sense because residents must be able to stay sober in order to live in this type of home. Those actively working on their recovery who already have some sobriety under their belt and have learned the tools to help them stay sober are more likely to succeed at sober living than those who are new to recovery.
Although prior completion of a rehab program is common, it is not always a prerequisite to living in a sober residence. Many sober living homes will accept residents who are new to the rehab process as long as those residents are willing to stay sober and live by the other house rules. When applicable, residents should already have completed a detox program to guarantee medical stability and to preclude being acutely ill and unable to work while living in a sober house.
How Much Does It Cost?
Prices vary for staying in halfway houses, but most of the time it costs about the same as it would cost to live in a modest apartment or home. Sober living residents must pay rent each month. The rent usually amounts to between $450 and $750 per month, depending on where the home is located. Residents have to pay rent on time, but they do not have to pay first and last month’s rent. They also do not have to pay for utilities in most sober homes, although they may get in trouble if they overuse utilities.
Living in a halfway house is generally cheaper than living in a residential rehab because the staff provides fewer services. Residents may be encouraged to attend 12-step program meetings on a regular basis and may have to periodically meet with a therapist while living at a sober living home, but intensive therapy sessions are not part of the daily operations of a sober living home. This helps bring the cost down. In addition, most sober homes try to ensure that residents can afford to live there so people who desire to stay sober are able to have a safe environment in which to do so.