What Is a Sober Living Home?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that as many as 60% of people with a substance use disorder relapse. After intensive inpatient and outpatient programs, it is essential for those with an alcohol addiction to still receive support and guidance in a safe environment. Sober living houses offer accommodations for people who can benefit from continued support after treatment.
A sober living home, also called a halfway house or a sober house, is a transitional living arrangement for people with substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. They are a possible next step after inpatient and outpatient programs.
A sober living home can offer continued structure and emotional support for your substance use disorder while providing flexibility and freedom. It allows you to apply your newly learned skills and tools to real-world scenarios, giving you the confidence you need to go out on your own.
At a sober living facility, you have to respect the facility rules and stay sober. You will need to follow your recovery program and attend treatment sessions for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.
Some halfway houses allow people with an addiction to remain for as long as they need to, while others have limits on how long residents can stay.
Although federal and state agencies do not monitor these halfway houses because they don’t offer formal treatment programs, there are many sober living facilities that are part of coalitions and associations. These can guarantee that the halfway house follows health, safety, and quality guidelines.
In order to be able to live in a sober living home, you will usually require a referral. These referrals can come from various sources, including a dual-diagnosis treatment program, substance abuse treatment programs, the criminal justice system, and family or friends.
Good Candidates for a Sober Living Home
Those who have a substance use disorder with or without a co-occurring condition and who need more time after an inpatient or outpatient program to solidify their skills to stay sober can benefit from a halfway house.
The supportive environment, the emotional assistance for mental illness, and the strict rules can all offer the kind of positive structure you need to remain sober.
Some sober living homes require residents to complete treatment of some sort, but some only require that you have the motivation to end your substance abuse in a sober environment.
Sober Living Arrangements
Each halfway home has a different structure and set of rules, but they all require that you abstain from all substances, attend house meetings, and do chores around the facility.
Some halfway houses can help residents find a job and may have connections that can help them find a volunteer position. In some instances, sober living facilities may have a connection to local treatment programs.
Although not all halfway homes require residents to participate in 12-step programs, they do strongly recommend it.
Those struggling with mental disorders as well as substance abuse may need to attend therapy sessions to address their dual diagnosis during their stay. Going through a mental health treatment process can be vital to maintaining sobriety.
How to Choose a Halfway House
There are many sober living houses to choose from, making the decision of which one to turn to a complex one. Transitioning into supportive accommodations is often the last step before returning to normal life, so it is vital to take some time to make this decision.
Consider the Location
Safety is key when choosing a sober living house. You want to choose a facility in a location that is conducive to recovery, where you will not have easy access to triggering substances.
You may also want to consider the location in relation to your job, school, treatment programs, or other responsibilities.
You need to ensure that the halfway house is one that has accreditation and licensing if that is a requirement in your state. Accreditation and licensing show a commitment to providing the best quality care for people with substance use disorders.
You want to also read about their house rules. They must have:
- A strict no-tolerance policy for substance use
- Clearly stated residency rules
- Safety and cleanliness rules
Recovery support services are another important aspect of a sober living home, especially if you intend to be there for a number of weeks or months. These services can include employment assistance, educational planning, volunteer placement, and even access to intensive outpatient programs and mental health services.
Make sure you know what the conditions for residency are. You want to ask about whether you need to be in a 12-step program like AA, whether there are a certain number of treatment hours you need to complete each week, which house chores you will need to do, and anything else that might impact your stay.
You also want to ask about whether there are social events and what the policies are for relationships between residents.
If you are part of an outpatient treatment program, you may be able to get coverage for a halfway house through your health insurance, but you always want to make sure that is the case. If you do not get coverage for sober living, make sure that you know exactly what the costs of the facility are and what assistance you may be eligible for.
Watch for Red Flags
There are a few red flags that can tell you a particular halfway house may not be the right one for you. These can include:
- No admissions requirements
- Under-qualified staff or no staff
- No rules
- No drug-testing requirements
- Dirty or unsafe structure
- No fees
The right sober living facility will have a clean and safe set-up and will clearly state its living cost, fees, and rules.
Transition to Sober Living
After undergoing treatment for substance abuse, you want to be able to find your way back to a healthier way of living while remaining sober. Treatment providers typically recommend sober living homes/halfway houses to help you with this transition.
Get the help you need to find a great sober living home by contacting Quit Alcohol today.