How Does Sober Living Work?

Those who struggle with drug addiction are fully aware of the severe challenges they face during the rehabilitation process. It is not a natural process that often becomes pointless due to its laborious nature.

People who fall into addiction are usually placed under inpatient care, where they receive around-the-clock treatment from specialists. On the other hand, outpatient treatment is offered to those whose condition can be adequately controlled.

The compromise between the two is the Sober Living Program. In this setting, patients are located in what are referred to as “halfway homes” where they receive treatment. However, they do not receive the full treatment that the inpatient facilities provide.

In this article, we’ll take a deep look at what a sober living program is, why patients and their families choose this type of drug rehabilitation treatment arrangement, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

Sober living homes are built in a way that avoids some of the limitations of halfway homes. The basic characteristics include:

  • An alcohol- and drug-free living environment for individuals trying to abstain from alcohol and/or drugs
  • No formal treatment services but either mandatory or strongly encouraged to participate in 12-step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • Required the compliance with the house rules such as maintaining abstinence, paying rent and other fees, participating in house chores, and attending house meetings
  • The resident’s responsibility for financing rent and other costs,
  • Invite the residents of the house as long as they wish, provided that the rules of the house are adhered to.

What happens in a sober living home?

The best way to answer this question is to compare it to a child learning to ride a bike for the first time. He or she starts with the training wheels, and once they learn how to balance and pedal, the wheels are taken off.

Likewise, a sober living house provides that middle ground for patients coming out of an inpatient facility. It is a place where they immerse themselves in a clean, drug free environment, but without the watchful eye of a therapist. Assists in the process: of returning to normal life, outside the confines of the rehabilitation facility.

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Sober Living House offers the same structure as inpatient institutions, including recovery meetings. Regular drug tests are also done as part of the aftercare program.

But we should not mistake it as a vacation home, where strict regulations are also used. Illicit substances are prohibited, as are overnight visitors.

Sober living homes aren’t free either. Patients are required to pay a certain amount of rent and other corresponding fees. They are also made to do the household chores.

Why do patients choose sober living homes?

In most cases, the patients who choose to go into sober homes are those who feel they still need rehabilitation after inpatient treatment. In some cases, people new to rehabilitation facilities have nowhere to go home.

Even worse, some of them were abandoned by family members who had long since abandoned them.

These are patients who crave a support system to prevent themselves from relapsing and returning to the unpleasant life they once had. They don’t have that healthy living environment to return to.

Most realistic living homes require patients to stay in the institution for three months. However, it will be up to them to extend their stay if necessary, or if they wish.

How can patients reap the full benefits of the sober living home?

Rehabilitation from substance abuse does not happen overnight. It requires a laborious process that comes with several steps before a full recovery is achieved. And just like in an inpatient facility, time spent in a sober home is a valid measure of success.

Simply put, the longer patients stay at home, the better their 100% chance of recovering. They will need to eliminate their harmful habits and develop healthy ones, which takes time.

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Sober living homes offer behavioral therapy sessions as a way to prevent these missteps from forming altogether. Consistency is critical, just as it is required for antibiotics to kill disease.

What are the factors to consider when choosing a sober home?

Each patient’s needs will vary from individual to individual, but here are the general things to consider when choosing a sober home.


You likely have already spent a small fortune while already in the hospital, and you want to reduce expenses as much as possible. Before you sign up for a home, take a look at the total costs involved and whether you can afford them.

Look at the finer details of any applicable agreements, such as security deposit requirements, for example. Getting this type of treatment should be beneficial and not add more burdens.


The idea of living in a sober home is to free oneself from the clutches of drug addiction, but with more independence. With that being said, location plays an important role in decision making.

For example, make sure that the facility is located away from a bar or pub, or anywhere that could be a trigger for a recovering addict to relapse. The quiet environment among trees and nature is also ideal to help speed up the recovery process.

Means of comfort

The extra amenities aren’t exactly needed, as long as they won’t add much to the overall costs. Getting regular yoga and meditation classes, for example, is a big plus.

Just remember that these services come at an additional price. Keep these things in the mind before making a final decision.


A good living home should have a solid structure in place. They must be able to provide a healthy environment for recovering addicts to heal themselves step by step.

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