Sober Living Homes and Housing Options
For an addict working to recover from dependency on drugs or alcohol, a sober living home provides a stable, safe and sobriety-focused environment in which to overcome addiction issues. Within sober living homes, individuals can practice using learned coping skills for navigation of the demands of daily life without resorting to drugs or alcohol, as they have in the past. These homes are often the first step back into independent living after a resident has completed a rehab program.
Sober living homes prepare residents for that independence by setting rules and standards all home group inhabitants must follow. These expectations include doing chores to contribute to home upkeep and comfort. Together, the residents of such homes can support each other through the struggles of addiction recovery while learning to live and work harmoniously in a real-world setting.
What are sober living homes?
Sober living homes have been popularized by reality television programs depicting the struggles of addicts and their recovery process. These homes are primarily adult group homes which are quiet, safe and peaceful by both location and design, to provide security and peace-of-mind for those undergoing recovery. In a group home, inhabitants learn to adapt to sober life. The properties are sometimes owned by business entities or charity locations, but most are privately held.
Addiction treatment centers are designed to help addicts overcome dependency and free themselves of the drugs or alcohol to which they have become dependent. Rehab centers are most often very structured programs, with dictated schedules addicts must follow to ensure participation in the recovery process. These centers break the chain of addiction.
Sober living homes help newly sober individuals return to their environment of free will without resorting to old habits. If rehab centers are said to break the chain of addiction, sober living homes serve the purpose of helping the recovering addict go back to their daily life and all of its obligations without relinking that chain of dependency.
Because sober living homes are a transition to normal daily freedoms, these environments are freer than rehab centers. Residents can come and go as they please. But rules must be followed and not following those rules often results in removal from the home. Such laws exist to help the individual hold him or herself to a higher standard of integrity than addiction allows, ensuring confidence is built in sobriety, and the recovering addict strengthens in intellectual, healthy independence.
While residents who live in sober living homes are expected to maintain accountability and responsibility for themselves, they are still subject to random drug testing. Accountability is critical toward relearning such liability and consequences of relapsing into old habits.
Friends and families of addicts are notorious for enabling addiction by providing support of many kinds. They may coddle the individual emotionally, financially or by handling responsibilities, a typical healthy adult should handle on their own. To break this cycle and indicate to the newly sober person how fulfilling sobriety is, residents are expected to pay rent, purchase their groceries and otherwise maintain themselves as they must when living. Any rules imposed by the home exist to reacquaint the resident with structure and responsible behaviors which form the foundation for a clean life.
What types of rules do sober living facilities require?
Each service sets its standards. But most sober living homes present their rules clearly when the resident is making the decision to move into the home. Consequences of breaking those rules are also very clearly shown, so the recovering addict is very sure of what will happen if they fall back into old, dangerous habits.
Violations of rules bring various penalties, according to the infraction. Fines may be imposed for some broken rules. Other incidents may involve apologies to other inhabitants or even writing an essay explaining their behavior, thought process and accountability. Residents are even sometimes asked to remove themselves from the program for violations such as drug or alcohol use.
The biggest rule common to all sober living homes is the requirement of sobriety. No use of alcohol or drugs is permitted. There may also be limitations on variations of drugs or alcohol, such as mouthwash, cooking ingredients like vanilla, or over-the-counter medications.
Some of these items can lead to false positive results on drug tests, so the rules help the addict remain free of such concerns. Other limitations are due to historic abuse of these products for their alcohol or drug content. There is also proven gateway use of many common items, such as cough syrup and mouthwash, leading to relapse. For these reasons, most sober houses prohibit the presence of any products containing alcohol.
Work and school are also a part of sober living home rules. Adults not enrolled generally must work and become financially self-supportive. Daily chores within the home are required of all residents. Curfews are very common, and absolutely no fighting or violence are tolerated. Together, all of these rules help residents form the life skills needed for self-control and good sober living outside of supportive environments.
Who can live in a sober living house?
Most halfway houses are open to any recovering individual freeing him or herself from addiction. However, most are recently discharged from a completed treatment program within a formal addiction recovery center. Because constant and unwavering sobriety is a prerequisite for sober living home residence, most people trying to break addiction for the first time will not enter such a home without first going to rehab.
Some sober living homes do accept individuals who can remain dry but have not been treated in a rehab. Residents must first be detoxed before entering sober living, however. Detoxing means that all drugs and alcohol have exited their system, and the individual can re-establish a regular work and daily life routine. The goal is for residents to be on the common ground in similar stages of their recovery, so the environment is non-disruptive, secure and supportive for everyone living in the home.
How much does It cost?
Each home sets its pricing, just as a rental home or apartment rate is established by the landlord. Sober living residents pay rent each month which usually is on par or just below residing in a standard apartment in their community. Pricing is typical between $450 to $750 per month, an amount which non-substance was abusing individuals can earn through part-time or full-time employment in their region.
Although rent must be paid as scheduled and all residents are accountable for this, there are not some hindrances one would experience when trying to rent a first apartment or home. For example, there is not a required deposit of first and last month’s rent. Most utilities are covered in sober living homes. Residents do have to exercise the reasonable and responsible use of the home’s utilities, however.
Sober living homes, also referred to as halfway houses, are less expensive than rehab programs. There are necessary meetings, such as a 12-step program or personal therapy. But these are not financially prohibitive to the average resident. The goal of most sober homes is to provide a clean, secure, safe and supportive environment to improve sobriety within the community.
The struggle of sobriety is a difficult one for those wanting to break permanently free of addiction to drugs and alcohol. A sober living home provides an excellent, safe environment in which individuals going through this struggle can return to a healthier, more normal lifestyle. Residents and staff of sober living homes are mutually supportive while the recovering individuals relearn how to cope with work, daily life, and interpersonal relationships. In such an environment, the former addict regains the confidence and necessary self-control for successful sobriety.
Sober living homes are not the addict’s first step, in most cases. Most individuals first need to enter detox or a treatment program. But when the addict is clean of drugs or alcohol and has regained some stability in their daily life free of their addiction, a sober living home provides the place for adaptation to the lifestyle of a sober, productive and healthy member of society. Sober home life enhances the opportunities and chances that a recovering addict will remain clean for their lifetime.