Sober living

Are often searched for as treatment centers or Outpatient Commitment also known as AOT or also called CTO (community treatment order).  A common Outpatient treatment center is the Betty Ford Center. A popular form of Sober living is Sober living houses (SLH), more commonly called sober homes and sober living homes and more rarely sober living environments, are facilities used by people recovering from substance abuse that serve as an interim environment between rehab and mainstream society.  Sober living or SLHs grew out of a need to have safe and supportive places in which people could live while they were vulnerable in early recovery. 

They are primarily meant to provide housing for people who have just come out of rehab (or recovery centers) and need a place to live that is structured and supporting for those in recovery. However, it is not necessary to come from rehab.  Sober living houses (SLHs) are “alcohol- and drug-free living environments for individuals attempting to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs”. Many of them are structured around 12-step programs and sound recovery methodologies. Many are also certified or governed by Sober Living Coalitions or Networks. Residents are often required to participate in 12-step meetings, take drug tests and show demonstrably that they are taking important steps to long lasting recovery. “Because there is no formal monitoring of SLHs that are not affiliated with associations or coalitions, it is impossible to provide an exact number of SLH or Sober living.

A sober living house (Sober living) is an interim step on the path to sobriety where people recovering from addiction can live in a supervised and sober environment with structure and rules, i.e. mandatory curfews, chores and therapeutic meetings. In many cases, successfully maintaining sobriety requires patients to alter everything about their previous lives when they were actively addicted to alcohol and other drugs. This could include changing jobs, eliminating friends and even abandoning loved ones who are deemed toxic to their sobriety.  Most sober livings are not co-ed, though plenty do exist. 

And some SLH (Sober living) are Sober Colleges, which means they are centered solely around helping young people recover, and operate much like a sober dormitory. Many sober livings are also intensive outpatient treatment centers; which means that they provide a degree of medical care on-site. Often these Sober living homes are staffed in shifts by psychiatric nurses and licensed clinical social workers so that the residents (guests) can have 24hr supervision and centralized recovery care without the stress of cleaning or cooking.

In some areas, sober living homes have been linked to fraudulent insurance scams. This has prompted the proposal of bills that would regulate advertising and require registration for new homes.

Each individual SLH (Sober living) will have different requirements for the residents, but many will have these typical requirements:

  • No drugs, alcohol, violence, or overnight guests
  • Active participation in recovery meetings
  • Random drug and alcohol tests
  • On-time guest fee payments
  • Involvement in either work, school, or an outpatient program
  • General acceptance by peer group at the SLH

Sober living homes have been shown to improve sustained recovery when utilized in conjunction of 12 step programs.  As a whole, experienced addiction treatment providers agree that remaining in sober living/aftercare following treatment can result in substantially improved results. One of the key factors has to do with level of structure, however. Residences utilizing a higher level of structure tend to see dramatically improved results in terms of long-term sobriety.

Sober living

In some cases, sober living homes will contract with licensed drug rehab centers and therapists as a means for providing an even greater level of care. These types of sober livings do tend to charge higher fees, however, they are often able to provide a very affordable alternative to what would otherwise constitute high-priced inpatient treatment.

The first Oxford House was opened in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1975 by Paul Molloy. Molloy had been a Senate committee staff member between 1967 and 1972. He sought treatment at a Sober living home for his alcoholism in a halfway house in 1975. Later that year, the halfway house would close due to financial difficulty, and Molloy and the other residents took over the lease. They chose the name Oxford House in recognition of Oxford Group, a religious organization that influenced the founders of AA.  The goal is the provision of housing and rehabilitative support for the alcoholic or drug addict who wants to stop drinking or using and stay stopped. All houses are run on a democratic basis. Officers serve periods of no longer than six months in any one office. 

No member of an Oxford House is asked to leave without cause following the 30-day probationary period—a dismissal vote by the membership because of drinking, drug use, or disruptive behavior. Oxford House is not affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, organizationally or financially, but Oxford House members realize that only active participation in Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous offers assurance of continued sobriety.  Each Oxford House is autonomous except in matters affecting other houses or Oxford House, Inc., as a whole. Each house is financially self-supporting although financially secure houses may provide new or financially needy houses a loan for a term not exceeding one year. Members who leave an Oxford House in good standing are encouraged to become associate members and offer friendship, support, and example to newer Sober living homes members.