What is a Sober House?

A sober house, or halfway house, is an alcohol and drug free living environment for people in recovery. Sober houses provide an environment that is often essential to the recovery of a drug addict or alcoholic. A sober house promotes recovery by requiring residents to attend 12-step meetings, submit to random drug and alcohol screening, and become an active participant in his or her recovery from addiction.

A sober house provides structure for the recovering alcoholic or drug addict. Often, sober houses enforce curfews; require a resident to be involved in school, work, or outpatient treatment; do not allow overnight guests; and have zero tolerance for violence, drugs, and alcohol. The punishment for breaking rules can range from a financial penalty to expulsion from the sober house, depending on the offense. This structure can be essential for long term sobriety.

The benefits of living in a sober house in early recovery can be invaluable. Sober houses provide a safe, drug-free environment for the new in recovery. Living in a sober house with other people in recovery allows you to make friends with the same goals and issues as yourself. Your housemates provide you with support and understanding, which is crucial to success in recovery.

Sober houses also provide accountability. Residents are less likely to end up in situations that may lead to relapse because of the strict enforcement of rules. Many people find that when returning home or to living on their own after inpatient treatment can be very dangerous. It is easy to slip back into behaviors and habits that they practiced while using or drinking. This can be a step down the road to relapse for many addicts and alcoholics. Sober houses provide a nice interim step between inpatient treatment and independent living.

Living in a sober house can help teach a person important life skills that he or she may be lacking. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics must learn or re-learn how to live in order to recovery. Often, the lives of many addicts and alcoholics are completely out of control before they enter drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Sober houses teach addicts and alcoholics to become a functioning member of society. A sober house usually requires a resident to go to bed at a reasonable hour, get up and be active during the day, find gainful employment, and keep the residence clean and in good order. Also, living in close quarters with other people can teach respect, patience, and cooperation. Residents in a sober house also learn how to be financially responsible.

Spending a few months in a sober house can help a recovering alcoholic or drug addict gain the strength they need to re-enter society. Often, when a drug addict or alcoholic gets clean and sober, they have to change many things about themselves in order to maintain their sobriety. This could include changing jobs or eliminating relationships that are toxic. Sober housing provides a secure place to adjust to all these life changes. Living in a sober house gives the drug addict or alcoholic the opportunity to build new and healthy friendships and working relationships. A sober house allows the recovering alcoholic to learn tools that they will need to live a productive, alcohol and drug-free life.