Sober Living

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Sober Living

What is sober living? Sober living is a transitional, drug and alcohol free home designed for men and women who are new to addiction recovery. Every reputable sober living home holds its residents to a set of recovery guidelines, regularly conducts drug or alcohol testing, has a sense of community and camaraderie, and offers individuals accountability. Sober living helps individuals slowly transition back into the world-at-large while in early recovery. 

According to an article published by the US National Library of Medicine, “Lack of a stable, alcohol and drug free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence.” Countless studies point towards the fact that men and women have a much higher chance of staying sober long-term and avoiding relapse if they immediately transition into a sober living environment once they have completed inpatient treatment.

At Guardian Recovery we strongly believe in the importance of transitioning into sober living following residential treatment. While we don’t currently operate any of our own sober livings, we do work in close partnership with several reputable sober living houses in all of the states we have facilities. Our case managers help place our clients in a safe and supportive living environment as part of our comprehensive aftercare planning services. To learn more about the sober homes we work with, contact us today.

Sober Living Guidelines

The rules implemented by a specific house vary significantly depending on who is running the house. However, every reputable sober living home will implement the following rules and guidelines:

  • Residents must adhere to a curfew, returning home by the same time every evening. Curfew varies depending on the sober house itself (curfews tend to be slightly later on the weekends then they are on the weekdays). 
  • Residents must wake up by a certain time every morning. Many sober living houses require residents to participate in a morning check-in. 
  • All residents must respect the personal property of the people they live with, and avoid borrowing or using without asking in order to prevent potential conflict. 
  • Residents must keep their personal space clean and tidy, making their beds every morning and cleaning up after themselves should they use the kitchen or any other common space. 
  • Most sober living houses have a weekly or daily chore chart. Residents must complete their assigned chore by a certain time every day in order to keep all common areas clean and tidy. 
  • Residents must either find a full or part-time job, continue their education or volunteer on a regular basis 
  • If a resident wants to have a guest at the sober living home, he or she must check with the support staff to make sure that the visitation is approved.
  • Of course, residents must stay completely abstinent from all mood or mind-altering chemical substances. Regular drug and alcohol testing is expected. 

Who Should Consider Sober Living?

As a general rule of thumb, everyone who has battled addiction and who has recently undergone addiction treatment benefits from transitioning into a sober home immediately after inpatient treatment concludes. However, some people might benefit more from sober living than others.

Entering into a safe and stable living environment might be especially beneficial for people who:

  • Tend to experience a relapse after going through medically monitored detox and inpatient treatment (and who have experienced multiple relapses in the past)
  • Would otherwise be returning to a living environment with friends or family members who are actively using chemical substances 
  • Would otherwise be returning to an unsupportive living environment, where sobriety and living a sober lifestyle is not respected 
  • Lack a supportive social circle, and who would benefit from developing and bolstering healthy relationships with other residents in the house 

The Benefits of Sober Living

The benefits of sober living are extensive. The most obvious benefit is that entering into such an environment encourages men and women who recently completed inpatient treatment to continue along on their journeys of recovery while continuing to develop and implement relapse prevention skills and healthy coping mechanisms.

Benefits of sober living include:

  • Developing a sense of personal responsibility.
  • Continuing on with therapy (individual and group therapy).
  • Developing a healthy and sober social circle.
  • Making the transition back into fully independent living as seamless as possible.
  • Helping residents further develop necessary life skills.
  • Having access to support 24/7 (whenever necessary).
  • A built-in level of accountability which assists relapse prevention.

How to Pick the Right Sober Living Home

When choosing the right sober home for you or a loved one, there are numerous components that you will want to consider. Take a look at the following checklist, and remember that you are more than welcome to reach out to Guardian Recovery at any point in time with additional questions. We can help you get connected with quality sober livings and help transition clients from residential inpatient to sober living.

When picking the right sober living, consider the following:

  • The location of the house – You want to make sure that the house is in close proximity to a sober support network, employment opportunities, your individual therapist, a variety of 12-step meetings and other community resources. If you or your loved one does not have reliable transportation, it is a good idea to find a sober home that is close to public transportation or within walking/biking distance to things like a grocery store, a meeting house and other essential establishments.
  • A low resident-to-staff ratio – It is always a good idea to find a sober home that is staffed by men or women who have years of sobriety under their belts and who are readily available around the clock to offer additional guidance or support.
  • Transportation options — It is important to know whether or not the sober living home provides transportation to residents. If you or your loved one does not have a car, it is a good idea to ensure that support staff members transport residents to a 12-step meeting at least once a day, and offer rides to other essential meetings and appointments.
  • The length of the stay – Look for a sober home that requires a minimum stay.
  • Whether or not the sober living house has a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use in place – Also consider what happens if a resident does experience a relapse. Will the resident be thrown out on the street with nowhere to go, or will the owner of the sober home help place him or her back into a higher level of care?
  • Cost and amenities – Does the cost of the sober home seem proportionate to the environment and the amenities it provides? Look for a house that is comfortable, clean and fully stocked with whatever you might need (functional kitchen appliances, or example).
  • Whether or not the sober home caters to your unique needs – Are your personal needs being carefully considered and met? Would you prefer that your sober home is LGBTQ+ specific, or do you suffer from a dual diagnosis disorder that requires some additional training on the part of the staff?

Covering the Cost of Sober Living

Unlike medical detox or inpatient treatment, most sober living homes require residents to pay privately — just as you would pay for rent in an apartment building or any other temporary housing situation. Most sober homes understand that men and women who are transitioning directly out of a long-term rehab program lack financial stability. Because of this, many reputable sober homes are flexible when it comes to payment plans and will work directly with a resident to come up with the most viable options. There are also ways of getting financed for the cost. To learn more, contact one of Guardian’s Treatment advisors. We are available 24/7.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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