Guide to Sober Living Homes


Many people ask, “What is sober living?” and “Is it difficult to get into a sober living home?” These are frequently asked questions. Sober living houses are established for people who are committed to overcoming addiction. They assist in successfully transitioning people to a life of independence and sobriety.

People are often at risk of relapse when they return home from a residential treatment program. You can decrease your risk of relapse by staying at a sober living home after inpatient treatment. For those who aren’t enrolling in residential treatment, you can still live at a sober living home while going through an outpatient program.

What is a sober living home?

Sober living homes are structured living environments designed to provide support and safety as you transition into your daily life after completing a drug rehab program. Not everyone needs to move into a sober living home, but it’s highly recommended for those who don’t have a safe environment to return to. If your home is in an unsafe neighborhood, or you were in an abusive relationship, then you’ll want to stay at a sober living home.

Anyone who has finished a drug rehab program and thinks they would benefit from sober living can apply. It can help prevent you from reverting to old habits after completing an inpatient rehab program.

Benefits of sober living houses:

  • Assistance in finding work
  • Safe environment
  • Surrounded by others who want to stay sober
  • Guidance in repairing interpersonal relationships
  • Accountability

When do people go to sober living?

You can stay at a sober living facility after completing a drug rehab program. Some sober living houses allow you to live there while going through a partial hospitalization or outpatient rehab program. Another way of going about your recovery is to start with an inpatient treatment program, then drop down into an outpatient rehab while staying at a sober living home. You can discuss with your therapist what would work best for you.

Another option for staying sober after finishing a drug rehab program is to enroll in an aftercare program. When you enroll in aftercare, you create a plan for staying sober and making a successful return to daily life. Your therapist checks on your progress to make sure you’re staying on track. You could stay at a sober living facility while following your aftercare plan to benefit from a more structured environment than you would on your own.

How long do people stay?

Most people stay for an average of about three months in a sober living facility, but you can stay longer if you think you need more time there. The typical residential drug rehab stay is 1–3 months, and outpatient rehab programs last as long as you need ongoing support and treatment.

However you set up your recovery plan, it’s recommended that you go through at least one year of aftercare to ensure lasting change and minimize the chance of a relapse. It takes time to solidify good habits, especially after overcoming an addiction. Addiction is a serious health issue that can have a stronghold on people. Stay patient with yourself during the recovery process and always err on the side of staying in treatment longer than you think you need.

What are the rules/expectations?

Most sober living homes require that you continue a drug addiction treatment program in order to live there. Sober living houses usually accept a 12-step program as a treatment program since there’s evidence of its effectiveness in helping people overcome addiction. A sober living house may be managed by an on-site manager, a homeowner, or a residential council.

Sober living houses usually don’t charge you for utilities, but you’re still expected to conserve electricity and water. Remember to turn off lights when you’re not using them and don’t overuse the water.

Drugs, including alcohol, aren’t allowed on the property. The only exception is prescription medications that you need. You must inform the management of your prescription medications.

Certain weekly activities need to be completed during your stay in a sober living home. These specific activities vary based on the sober living facility. They typically include household chores and weekly meetings.

Sober living houses also require that you sleep there a certain number of days each week. Usually, it’s five days a week you must sleep at the sober living facility. Residents are given drug tests sporadically to help ensure everyone is staying sober.

Most sober living managers will require residents to let them know where they are when they’re not at the house. This is to help prevent people from falling back into their old lifestyles. Many sober living houses also have a curfew. Also remember that each sober living home has its own rules for residents to follow, so read them before applying.


Are treatment programs a part of sober living?

Treatment programs aren’t part of sober living houses, although some may have weekly group therapy sessions or meetings. You must enroll in a treatment program to stay in a sober living environment.

Will insurance pay for it?

Most insurance companies don’t pay for sober living because it’s not a drug addiction treatment, but sober living is often affordable. Sober living facilities expect residents to hold employment and pay rent in order to transition them into a life of independence and discipline. Some will make exceptions for new residents who don’t have employment as long as they’re actively applying for jobs. You can also apply for scholarships and grants that will cover the first few months of sober living while you search for a job.

Insurance does cover addiction treatments like outpatient rehab and therapy, so this will ease your financial burden while continuing your drug addiction treatment and living at a sober living facility.

Some sober living facilities allow you to further your education in place of employment. You can go to trade school to quickly gain skills for a well-paying job. Trade schools usually take 8 months to 2 years to complete your education.

Sober living houses give you more accountability than you would have at your own house. They help prevent relapses while you finish up a drug addiction treatment program or go through a treatment program that isn’t residential. Structure, consistency, and self-discipline are a key components of lifelong sobriety. You’ll strengthen these new habits by staying at a sober living home.

Here at Defining Wellness, we offer high-level addiction treatment therapies that you can take while staying at a sober living home, such as neurobiofeedback and PEMF. Defining Wellness is experienced in healing past trauma, something that often contributes to substance use disorders. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you overcome addiction.