Admission Line: 609.709.4205

What is Sober Living and are There Benefits?

We may hear people discuss “sober living,” but it’s critical that we understand benefits of utilizing this essential recovery resource.  The reality is that sober living can be incredibly beneficial to recovering alcoholics and addicts in the early stages of recovery. For people who have been struggling to belong or experience a sense of true “community,” this tool provides many advantages.  Sober living can be a cost-effective option for residents and families, providing the critical “peer support” that we know is an excellent motivator in early recovery. These homes offer people in recovery the ability to relocate and get on their feet without being surrounded by negative triggers, with little hassle surrounding moving expenses and furnishing a home.

Sober living can help create a vibrant recovery community – these sober living homes are mostly guaranteed to be substance free, housing for men and women who are looking to rebuild their lives through meaningful work, which contributes to the overall health of the community.  These homes provide peace of mind to the courts when clients are navigating the legal system, as they offer the insurance that the client is safely living in a substance-free environment, which assists with recidivism rates in the legal system. Sober living also benefits our insurance companies, as research shows that relapse rates decrease when recovering individuals live in a sober environment instead of returning home or the place they were last using.

Depending on the state and specific town zoning laws, Sober Living is a home, apartment, condo or other form of group housing that is provided to recovering addicts and alcoholics as an illicit substance-free living environment. These residences are not licensed treatment facilities nor do they provide clinical and/or medical services. If the resident is found using drugs or alcohol, or violating the other house rules, they may be asked to leave the residence or go to an addiction treatment center.

These residences are usually gender specific, housing between 4-20 unrelated people. Most of the sober living houses offer rooms that hold two people in two twin or double beds. Generally speaking, the occupancy per room is determined by the square footage; for instance, a room that is less than 100 square feet would house one person, 100-150 square feet could accommodate two people and a room over 150 square feet could hold 3 or more depending on the room size.

The homes are often located in a suburban area or city and the geographic location is one of the factors that determines the cost of living.  Many Oxford houses or less expensive sober houses can have a weekly rent as low as $150/week. The lower the cost, the less the resident will receive for services and usually the lower quality the home is.  On the expensive end, one could find houses in prominent areas like Manhattan or Los Angeles for upwards of $15,000 a month. Some houses may have an additional administrative fee or security deposit collected in addition to the weekly/monthly fee. Most houses that have full time staff start in the range of $3000; the cost of operation is very similar to senior living facilities. The rent or program fee of sober living is an out-of-pocket expense and not reimbursable by insurance unless it is a licensed state-run halfway house. If someone is telling you they have free sober living or are willing to reduce the cost dramatically so your loved one can attend a specific addiction treatment center, this is know as an enticement and illegal. Some families have found that they can use their Health Savings Account to cover the cost of these services. 

The operator of the sober living may own the sober living homes or a business may own the property and rent it to the operator.  There are some sober living businesses that choose to rent homes because they are acutely aware that if the community attempts to shut them down, this will cause the least financial strain.

Remember there is a lot that goes into sober living and finding the right option for your loved one. We do not recommend that you hastily react when choosing an option. You can also always go take a tour of the home and get a feeling for yourself. Make sure you fully understand the cost of services provided, amount of support and what the day-to-day schedule is. These questions will help you help others.