Sober Living Home – What to Know

Sober living homes are invaluable resources for people looking for a “middle step” between residential treatment and going home. These communities offer many advantages to recovering individuals. Each sober living house is distinct, so knowing the house rules when entering a sober living home will help sober living residents understand what to anticipate before arriving. These residences are group homes for patients who are in addiction recovery. Most importantly, all residents must remain sober throughout their stay. Living in this kind of atmosphere promotes continued recovery and helps people maintain their sobriety while they adjust to life during and after rehab.

What Are Sober Living Homes?

A sober living house is a group residence environment for individuals who are recovering from alcohol or drug abuse. Most sober living homes are privately owned, although corporations and charity groups own some group residences. These recovery houses are usually located in quiet, residential neighborhoods to create a peaceful, sober environment for patients in early recovery, typically after formal treatment is complete.

Man talking to a therapist
Sober living homes are a great transition to living independently.

These sober living homes are different from addiction treatment facilities. Substance abuse treatment centers usually offer more intensive recovery programs, and residents have less of an opportunity to engage in independent living. Those who reside in sober living homes can generally come and go whenever they want, as long as they follow the house rules.

For example, sober living homes might require residents to be back at home by a specific time or find a job that requires early daytime hours. During their stay in a sober living home, residents might also be subjected to random drug tests to prove their sobriety.

People who live in these sorts of facilities are required to be responsible for themselves. This is a critical step in the recovery process because addiction causes individuals to act irresponsibly. This is especially important since loved ones at home often inadvertently enable them. Sober living home residents typically have to pay rent, buy their food, and keep up with household chores.

The Benefits of Sober Living Homes

Life in sober living homes comes with numerous benefits for individuals recovering from substance abuse. Those include:

  • Supportive Environment: Sober living homes offer a supportive community of individuals who understand the challenges of addiction recovery.
  • Structure and Routine: Residents follow structured daily routines, which can help them develop healthy habits and stay focused on their recovery goals.
  • Accountability: Living in a sober home encourages accountability, as residents are expected to adhere to house rules and participate in group activities.
  • Peer Support: Residents can connect with others who are also on the path to recovery, providing mutual encouragement and understanding.
  • Safe and Drug-Free Environment: Sober living homes provide a drug-free living environment, reducing the risk of relapse and promoting long-term sobriety.
  • Transitional Support: These homes serve as a transitional step between formal treatment programs and independent living, helping individuals gradually adjust to life outside of rehab.
  • Access to Resources: Many sober living homes offer access to resources such as counseling, support groups, and job placement assistance to aid in the recovery process.

What Do Sober Living Homes Require?

Sober living home rules will vary from facility to facility, but some rules are universal to most. Residents will agree to all the rules upon moving in, and violating the rules will come with consequences. Depending on the misdeed, the residents could have to pay a fine, make amends to other residents, or compose an essay about their actions. In some instances, the resident may have to leave the facility if they violate any rules.

Scrabble tiles that spell rules representing sober living home rules
Individuals need to follow certain rules to stay in the facility.

The cardinal rule in all sober living homes is that residents must remain clean and sober. They’re not allowed to use any substances at all. In some instances, the residents can’t even cook with certain ingredients, such as vanilla, or use specific kinds of mouthwash. These items contain alcohol and could lead to false positives if the resident takes a drug test. Also, these products could increase the chance of relapse, as some residents may try to get high or drunk by abusing these items. Therefore, some sober houses ban the use of any items that contain alcohol.

In addition to these regulations, residents who live in this type of transitional housing are urged to go to school or find work during the day and also participate in doing chores. They also must avoid any violence. Some residents are obligated to be home by a particular time of night. These rules encourage residents to learn how to be accountable for themselves and their behavior.

Rules at Sober Living Facilities in WV

Here is a list of general rules in sober living homes in West Virginia:

  • Drug testing: Residents must be completely clean and sober to reside in a sober living house, just like in a substance abuse rehab center. Those who violate this rule due to failing a drug test or having drugs in their possession will possibly lose privileges or be required to leave.
  • House meetings: Regular house meetings are commonly mandatory in sober living homes. This allows a place for each resident to check in and work through complaints, delegate chores, and get questions answered.
  • The Twelve Steps: Some homes offer in-house 12-step meetings. Others expect the residents to attend meetings within the community and get a form signed, proving their attendance. 
  • Curfews: Being home by a precise time is obligatory, especially for all new residents. Over time, though, if a resident commits to work or school, this rule can be waived under specific requirements.
  • Bathroom schedule: With numerous residents living in one area, it becomes necessary to designate shower times to ensure that everyone can have a proper rotation.
  • Cleaning: The cleaning of common areas is usually up to the residents. Chores typically are distributed on a rotating basis.
  • Meal prep: If meals are shared amongst the community, then grocery shopping, planning, and meal prep might also be assigned to residents on rotation.
  • Personal treatment plan goals: If the sober home insists residents develop a treatment plan and engage with in-house case managers. They’ll also be expected to work during the week and continue to progress toward therapy goals.

House Privileges

If all requirements are satisfied, residents may earn privileges that usually come in the form of additional freedom. These could include some or all of the following:

  • Free time: Time off from obligatory house excursions or the ability to choose an activity can be one privilege.
  • Group outings: Joining a group of residents on a unique excursion like shopping, visiting a museum or amusement park, going to the movies, etc.
  • Personal outings: Being allowed to go for a stroll to a nearby shop or go into the neighborhood without a sober partner is also an earned privilege.
  • Release from chores: Enjoying free time instead of taking part in community chores while the rest of the house is working is also a motivational privilege.
  • Family visits: It’s not uncommon to have regular family visit days, but additional visits with family become possible on a case-by-case basis.
  • Fewer restrictions: Enjoying fewer limitations overall is an earned privilege. This depends on the time spent in the house and a demonstrated track record of dependability.

Who Can Live in a Sober Living Environment?

Although most sober living houses don’t restrict who’s able to reside there, many residents have completed addiction treatment. This makes sense due to the residents committing to staying sober while living there. Those actively managing their recovery and spending time sober usually have learned tools and are more likely to succeed at sobriety.

Although the previous completion of a substance abuse program at one of the rehabs in WV is standard, it’s not always a necessity for living in a sober home. Several facilities still allow residents to stay there as long as they’re willing to remain abstinent and live by the house rules.

When applicable, sober home residents should already have finished a medical detox to ensure stability and prevent them from becoming ill and unable to work while residing in the facility.

How Much Does Sober Transitional Living Cost?

Residing in a sober living home is usually less expensive than living in a residential treatment facility since the staff provides fewer services.

Rent costs will vary, but usually, they are about the same as what it would cost to live in a modest home or apartment. Sober-living home residents must pay rent every month. The rent is usually between $450 and $750 per month, depending on the location.

A man and a woman talking to a therapist about a sober living home
Sober living homes are an affordable treatment option.

Residents will have to make payments on time, but they won’t have to pay the first and last month. They also won’t have to pay for utilities in most sober living homes, although there may be consequences if they overuse them.

Residents must frequently attend 12-step programs or other recovery programs. They may also have to attend individual therapy for addictionStill, intensive therapy sessions are not mandatory for living in a sober living home. This helps to bring costs down. Also, a majority of sober living houses will ensure that residents can afford to stay there.

Is a Sober Living Home Right for Me?

If you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, a sober living home could be the best solution. These unique living conditions can help you continue to stay sober by showing support and allowing you to resume regular activities like going to school or working. You can also develop new friendships with others dedicated to sobriety.

Still, it’s important to note that sober homes aren’t for everyone. Some individuals might need to go through medical detox or addiction rehab before they can successfully reside in a sober home or halfway house.

Types of Support Provided at Sober Living Facilities in WV

Sober living homes offer residents a variety of supportive services tailored to aid in their recovery journey. These services may include access to professional counseling sessions, both individual and group. Here, residents can address personal challenges, discuss progress, and learn valuable coping strategies. Support group meetings, often based on popular programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide residents with opportunities to share experiences, offer mutual support, and build a network of peers.

Group therapy in progress
Residents in a sober living home can support each other.

Regarding living arrangements, sober living homes usually accommodate a small number of residents. The number typically ranges from 6 to 12 individuals. However, this can vary depending on the size and layout of the house. Residents typically have their own bedroom or share a room with one other person. They share communal spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas. Responsibilities such as chores and household duties are usually assigned on a rotating basis. This encourages a sense of shared responsibility and accountability among residents.

Get Help for Addiction Today

Anyone struggling with substance addiction can benefit from sober living in WV. These programs are a beneficial component of treatment where residents move between levels of care as their recovery proceeds. As with all recovery programs, there is no one-size-fits-all option. Again, sober living houses aren’t for everyone. However, they offer a supportive opportunity for people who are working through their recovery and towards a substance-free lifestyle.

If you or a loved one could benefit from sober transitional housing, contact Harmony Ridge Recovery Center today. Learn more about our stable housing option, which can help you maintain abstinence from substance use.

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