Sober Living Program

Sober living programs provide a safe, mutually supportive and structured environment for individuals seeking to abstain from alcohol and drug use. According to a recent study from Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, residents often develop strong psychological and emotional ties to each other, creating an “alternative family" or “fictive kin," which in turn greatly assists personal recovery. The study finds:

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“Residents perceived fictive kin as more supportive than actual kin, encouraging them toward greater individuation, in contrast with family backgrounds that were sometimes described as stifling."

Function Of Sober Living Programs

Individuals seeking residence and care in sober living programs typically live in the facility for a few weeks or several months following the completion of an addiction treatment program, or while undergoing treatment. While residents are not typically asked to leave a facility, there often exists a limit on how long someone can stay. Unlike rehabilitation programs, residents of sober living homes are free to come and go as they wish.

The goal of sober living programs is to provide a smooth transition back to daily life, while allowing the recovering addict an alcohol and drug free environment to address the challenges of staying sober. Residents of most programs are often required to attend 12-step meetings, take drug tests and demonstrate that they are making a committed approach towards lasting recovery. By doing so in a communal living environment, residents have the opportunity to formulate a supportive community and adjust to a long-term sober living experience.

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Rules And Regulations

Each sober living program maintains a strict set of rules and regulations, which can vary between facilities. The overall goal is to maintain the safety and health of each resident, and to discourage relapse to old habits and addiction. Generally rules for a sober living house include:

  • No drugs or alcohol on the premises
  • Limited number of guests and only during approved hours
  • No guest may bring drugs, alcohol or other contraband into the facility
  • Everyone performs assigned household duties and chores
  • No sexual relations on the premises
  • No fighting
  • No unexplained absences from the facility
  • Everyone must abide by an agreed upon “lights out" time

Life Skills Training

Many sober living facilities also offer residents courses, to help them acclimate to a sober lifestyle and repair damages that may have been wrought by addiction. Individuals are more inclined to maintain sobriety if they are equipped with life skills training to help them maintain steady employment and financial independence, and sustain healthy and stable relationships with friends and family. Some of the life skills training offered in sober living programs include:

  • Personal budgeting
  • Cash management
  • Credit rebuilding
  • Anger management
  • Relationship building
  • Shopping for economy and nutrition
  • Healthy cooking
  • Commitment and responsibility to self and others

Sober living programs exist in nearly every major city, as well as many towns, many of which are certified and governed by Sober Living Networks. While many sober living houses are struggling to maintain adequate funding to stay open, and face community opposition due to the stigma surrounding addiction, the facilities provide a critical service on the pathway to recovery. By helping individuals recover dignity and self-reliance, sober living programs provide structure and safety at a particularly crucial time, and can help increase the likelihood of long term sobriety.