kathy ireland® Recovery Centers

Sober Living

The transition from treatment to daily life is an important step on your recovery journey. When you finish a residential treatment program for a substance use disorder, a sober living home (SLH) helps ease this transition by providing a supportive environment and a community of like-minded people all working toward one goal: long-term sobriety.

Experts at the Betty Ford Institute convened a panel close to twenty years ago to formulate a working definition of recovery for the 21st century. They determined that recovery is a voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship that includes three components: functional recovery means the remission of symptoms, personal recovery means participating in daily life, and social recovery means creating a solid, supportive, sober social support network.

A sober living home leverages the progress you make during formal treatment – your functional recovery – and helps you make a solid start on the next two phases of your recovery journey: personal recovery and social recovery. It’s essential to have a practical plan to help you sustain recovery, and a supportive environment to take those initial – and often frightening – steps toward your new life in sobriety.

What Are Sober Living Homes?

Sober living homes (SLHs) are exactly what their name implies: homes where people live a sober lifestyle. More specifically, though, they’re homes for people in treatment and/or recovery from a substance use disorder designed to ease the transition from residential treatment to daily life, support sobriety and recovery, and reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Defining characteristics of SLHs include:

  • An alcohol and drug-free living environment for people in recovery from alcohol or substance use disorder
  • Required attendance at 12-step support meetings such as:
    • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
    • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
    • Refuge Recovery
    • SMART Recovery
  • Required compliance with house rules, which often include:
    • Maintaining abstinence
    • Paying rent and other expenses
    • Participating in chores
    • Attending and participating in house meetings
  • No time limit on residence:
    • In most sober living homes, people in recovery can stay in residence as long as they need support and can follow house rules
    • The average length of residence in a sober living home is around 6 months

The benefits of living in a SLH include:

  • Safety and community
  • Peer support and accountability
  • Sober-friendly social activities
  • Weekly house meetings and recovery support meetings
  • Curfew and check-ins
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Increased self-efficacy
  • Increased hope for the future

One way to think about SLHs is that they’re a soft landing spot after residential treatment. We understand the idea of going back out into the world and living sober – solo – without the support of your treatment team may be frightening. You may not want to do it. But here’s something you need to know: independent sobriety is within your grasp – and it’s what we want for you.

Group of friends hanging out outside

A Safe Place to Start Independent Living

A sober living home helps an individual transition from the immersive nature of a formal treatment program to the next stage of their journey: independent sobriety. This transition is challenging for some people, and scary for most. A sober living home can reduce the challenges and decrease the unknowns that many people fear. When an individual leaves treatment, they often wonder how they’ll manage without individual therapy and without the group counseling sessions that helped them get on the road to recovery. A sober living home helps address these worries. Case managers and sober living home staff help make therapy appointments and offer assistance arranging transportation for mental health and primary care visits, while resident peers offer support during regular house meetings and 12-step meetings.

The Right Amount of Structure

One of the primary things a robust social network can provide is a support system that promotes a recovery lifestyle. Within the system of social support at a SLH or among peers at 12-step support meetings, people who finish a formal treatment program can transition to independent living while staying connected to the elements of treatment that help them maintain sobriety. They can meet recovery peers, practice coping skills and relapse prevention techniques, and gain valuable insight about how to live without alcohol or drugs.

The Recovery Lifestyle

Something people who stop using alcohol and drugs and complete a treatment program learn right away is that in order to maintain their sobriety, they need to find ways to spend their free time that have nothing to do with alcohol or drugs and don’t increase their risk of relapse. The community and atmosphere at a SLH is exactly what some people need when they finish treatment: a group of people pursuing one common goal – recovery. Sober peers help new residents learn to socialize and have fun without alcohol or drugs. This may sound simple to people who’ve never been in recovery, but it’s really a big deal: finding healthy, sober-friendly ways to spend time and get out and about in the world is an important piece of the overall recovery picture. People who find a sober-friendly activity network increase their likelihood of achieving lifelong, sustainable sobriety.

Laconia NH Substance Abuse Recovery

Recovery Role Models

Sober living houses provide another thing people in recovery need: proof that recovery is possible. In a sober living home, that proof appears every day in the form of living and breathing human beings. It’s easy to tell someone sobriety is possible, and a sober lifestyle is attainable, but it’s more effective to show them. That’s what experienced peers in a sober living home do. They show people new to recovery the discipline it takes to stay on their program day after day. Sometimes, people with more time in recovery become sponsors – which is an AA or NA version of a recovery/sobriety mentor or coach – and help people new to recovery manage the challenges of sobriety. These relationships can become essential, foundational components of sustainable sobriety.

People who experience recovery together often form powerful bonds that last decades, and the strength of these relationships is often the difference between staying sober and relapse. The beauty of this process is that it creates a self-perpetuating, virtuous cycle. With very few exceptions, people who receive help and support from more experienced peers early in recovery are willing to share their recovery wisdom when the time comes, and a person new to recovery ask for help. This dynamic is the very definition of what goes around, comes around – and it forms the foundation of peer support in sober living houses and recovery groups around the world.

Evidence-based therapy

The Next Step Toward a Better Tomorrow

We believe in your sobriety – and we know beginnings can be delicate. We also know beginnings can be exciting. Alongside any worries you may have about independent living after treatment, you may be eager and ready to start your new life without drugs or alcohol. This is a time when you build the foundation of your life in sobriety. You have the potential to create the life you choose, free from the cycles of addiction: our sober living homes are the perfect place for a new beginning.

You focus on recovery. We focus on you.

Our sober living homes can help you start life after treatment in an environment defined by the things you need most: compassion, understanding, support, structure, and accountability. The team at kathy ireland® Recovery Centers is here to offer compassionate support and evidence-based treatment. When you’re ready for change, we’re ready for you.

Apply Today