Sober living houses are not drug or alcohol rehabilitation centers. Sober living houses are safe places that people who have recently finished a rehab center, or people who are trying to beat their addiction to drugs and alcohol after detoxing, can stay during their transition from their old habits to their new way of life.
Sober living houses are structured residences, or structured communities, that establish guidelines, rules, and boundaries to help the newly sober individual adjust from being an addict to living drug or alcohol free.
The sober living houses create a healthy environment for the recovering addict. Studies have shown that living environments influence our behaviors, attitudes, and emotional responses to our daily struggles. A recovering addict that returns to their old living environment before they have enough time sober may not be able to resist the temptation of returning to their old habits, personal issues, and ways of life.
The sober living houses are not in-house treatment programs. Each resident is encouraged to enroll, and actively participate in a recovery program like Alcoholics Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery. Both Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery are twelve step programs that help people to restructure their lives so they do not depend on a chemical substance to make them feel good, or to make them forget pains that they live with.
Some of the Sober Living houses have the twelve step recovery program participation as a rule the residents must comply with in order to remain at the house. The residents of these homes are attempting to turn their lives around, and no one can make all of the changes they would need to make to do this without getting support, help, encouragement, and resources from other people. Recovery is a slow journey, and people who do not have living environments that encourage and support that recovery are likely to revert back to their old behaviors.
Most of the halfway houses that offer in-house drug and alcohol treatment have a very limited amount of time that the people are allowed to reside in them. The Sober Living houses allow people to attend recovery programs that are outpatient, and they allow people to remain at the sober living dwelling for as long as they wish after they finish their program.
As long as the individual is abiding by the rules of the sober living house, and is accepted by their peer group in the house, then they can stay after they finish their recovery program. People can stay until they feel confident that moving away from the house will not interrupt their sobriety and send them spiraling back into an abyss of drug or alcohol abuse.
Sober living houses are more affordable than many of the other halfway house or live in recovery programs. This makes it possible for people with lower incomes to stay at the residences and to maintain control over their lives after they become sober. This is critical in low income areas where drug use and alcohol use are prominent, and most residents would have to return to living with family members who are substance abusers.