Sober living homes or SLHs are intended to provide optimal living conditions for people in drug or alcohol treatment. Reputable sober living homes have rules, regulations, and an established structure that are designed to provide an environment that is conducive to recovery.

These spaces are communities where people can support and motivate each other to achieve sustained sobriety. In fact, a sober living home can equip its residents with the necessary tools they need to become self-sufficient before fully reentering society as functioning members.

Still, the length of stay for someone in a sober living area will vary by person, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends a minimum stay of 90 days in drug treatment, which can include a stay at an SLH. This maximizes the effectiveness of treatment, especially in cases of severe addiction.

What Exactly are Sober Living Homes?

Sober living homes are transitional and are meant to be temporary residencies that help people who are working to overcome their addictions before they return home. While staying at a sober living facility, residents get jobs and attend outpatient drug or alcohol treatment program where they receive therapy and counseling.

Sober homes typically use the 12-step program model for onsite meetings and participation

Without the safety net of an SLH, people in recovery will go from the structured environment of drug treatment to the unsupervised, relatively chaotic world of regular life, a disastrous prospect for recovery.

What sober living homes are intended to be is perhaps best exemplified in a statement outlined by the Sober Living Coalitions or Networks, an entity that that certifies and governs SLHs:

Sober housing clusters will be recovery-promoting incubators. … These clusters will become islands of sobriety in our alcohol and drug using society. Sober housing and community centers will become continuously available as a recovery assistance resource for alcoholics, addicts, and family members.

For people who are returning from inpatient drug treatment, sober living is a vital bridge that provides the support and services necessary to reinforce the therapy they have received thus far.

A reputable home will be staffed by a team that operates the facility. They will also have an established set of rules for residents that resemble the following:

  • Strict no tolerance policy with drugs and alcohol
  • Curfews
  • Finding and maintaining employment
  • Remaining active in your recovery
  • Keeping the house clean and neat
  • Cooking and shopping for yourself
  • Being a respectful roommate and neighbor

What’s more, sober living homes are intended to be gender-specific, meaning that facilities should be strictly male or female. These rules are in place to establish the best conditions for recovery and to allow individuals to stay sober and grow as people. Relationships in early recovery are discouraged because they can trigger a relapse. This necessitates the need for gender-specific sober living quarters.

A sober living home is also a group home, where residents can expect to have multiple roommates. In some cases, multiple residents will even share a room. This allows them to develop the skills necessary to peacefully coexist with different — a crucial life skill that is applicable to recovery and the real world.

Perhaps the most important rule for all reputable SLHs is a strict no-tolerance policy regarding drugs or alcohol. It means that, under no circumstances, are drugs or alcohol use permitted on premises. Violation of this policy means immediate eviction from the property.

What Sober Living Isn’t

Halfway houses fall under the SLH designation. However, a sober living home is different from the popular perception of a traditional halfway house. Halfway houses can host people returning from prison or those with mental health issues in an arrangement similar to an SLH. They also provide these populations with transitional support before the re-enter normal life.

Though oversight of the drug treatment industry has increased in recent years, some not-so-reputable operators have been allowed to open spaces that have not served the best interests of residents.

For instance, there have been incidents where SLH operators have cared more about the rent being paid than a resident’s actual recovery. In fact, some have gone as far as to allow drug use on premises, essentially making them flophouses for users to continue feeding their addictions.

What’s more, a number of SLH and rehab center operators have participated in the corrupt practice of “body brokering,” where they dole out kickbacks for clients with good health insurance. Those operators, in turn, run up charges on insurers and pocket the money, billing tens of thousands of dollars for a single client, if not more.

In Palm Beach County alone, a task force arrested and charged more than 30 addiction treatment center and sober home operators of engaging in this brokering practice.

A 30-year-old owner of a rehab center was arrested for billing insurance companies in excess of $58 million in bogus treatment and tests. A report from NPR stated that the owner bribed prospective residents — people with active addictions — with drugs, gift cards, and visits to strip clubs.

A South Florida man was also imprisoned for more than 27 years for leading an extensive fraud ring out of the drug treatment and sober home facilities he ran in South Florida. According to one report, the man “billed for unnecessary tests and procedures, forced some patients into prostitution and encouraged others to continue using drugs so he could bleed their insurance plans dry.”

This clearly isn’t what a reputable sober living home is about.

What Professional Treatment Has to Do With It

When you start a professional treatment program, you are afforded access to the full continuum of care, depending on the severity of your addiction. A clinical team will also develop a unique treatment plan that best addresses your needs.

In addition to medical detoxification, residential, and outpatient care, professional treatment can provide a stay at a sober living facility that is safe, secure, drug, and alcohol-free.

At the Defining Moment Recovery Community, you will be equipped with critical life skills for living on your own as a sober person. You will also be connected to a recovery community that will provide the necessary support that serves as a hedge against relapse. Plus, our sober living facility overlooks a picturesque beach in South Florida.

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