Sober Living Programs In Addiction Recovery

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on

After completing an inpatient program, some people transition into a sober living community for continued care. People in sober homes are surrounded by supportive peers and committed to abstaining from alcohol and other substances.

Sober Living

Sober living communities are designed to provide people an in-between option as they transition into society from the highly monitored environment of an addiction treatment program.

People may choose sober living after they’ve completed a residential treatment program and want to start outpatient treatment, or if their living environment is not conducive to recovery.

How A Sober Living Program Works

Sober living homes, also referred to as recovery houses, are communities of people who are all recovering from substance use disorders.

Often, residents have recently finished an inpatient treatment program and need additional support to remain sober. This may include continued counseling and other aftercare services.

In a sober home, people agree to abstain from drugs and alcohol while living in the community and may be required to periodically submit to drug testing.

Additionally, there may be a number of other rules and regulations a person is required to follow while living in a sober home. These may include nightly curfews, daily chores, employment requirements, and more.


Ohio Recovery Center


Plymouth, Massachusetts

Types Of Sober Living Homes

There are a number of sober living programs that operate on different levels of support depending on the needs of the resident.

Levels of support include:

  • Level One — These are peer-operated sober homes with minimal rules, regulations, and requirements for staying.
  • Level Two — These are monitored by paid staff and usually require residents to attend behavioral therapy or a 12-step program.
  • Level Three — Level three homes are supervised by certified staff and require their residents to attend support groups, 12-step meetings, or individual therapy.
  • Level Four — These are service provider sober homes that are managed by credentialed staff. Level four homes may be integrated with clinical facilities.

In addition to these levels of support, sober living homes may offer other specializations.

These may include co-ed housing, sober colleges or dorms, integrated intensive outpatient programs (IOP), and more.

Phases Of Sober Living

Phases of sober living will be dependent on how the community operates and the level of services or support it offers.

Restrictive Phase

A structured program will start residents with “mental detox” which helps people focus on sobriety and avoid triggers to relapse. The restrictive phase may last up to a month.

During this phase, people may not be able to use their phones or computers, will begin household duties such as chores, and may only be able to utilize program-provided transportation.

Reintroduction Phase

After the first month, residents will gradually add more personal responsibilities and activities to their daily lives.

The reintroduction phase will allow residents to start school or work, continue their behavioral or group therapy, and use their own vehicles for transportation.

Some sober living programs may require people to share their location with the household via a mobile app.

Self-Sufficiency Phase

This phase allows residents more accountability as they prepare to transition to complete independence.

While residents may still be required to communicate their activities to the onsite staff, they will be allowed the freedom to make decisions independently.

Features of the self-sufficiency phase include fully independent transportation and preparation to move into an apartment or home of the resident’s choice.

Benefits Of A Sober Living Program

There are several benefits and life skills that residents may gain by attending a sober living program.

Benefits of sober living may include:

  • learning how to live with others and resolve conflict in a productive way
  • learning financial responsibility by bringing in stable income and budgeting accordingly
  • training in how to control behavior and communicate effectively
  • removing yourself from environments and peers that may trigger substance use
  • lower cost of living than a typical apartment
  • exposure to other people in recovery that aids in creating a peer support system
  • easier access to an outpatient treatment center
  • recovery process

A drug rehab program may recommend that clients attend an out-of-state sober living program so that the resident can focus solely on their sobriety.

What To Look For In A Sober Living Program

Not every sober home community is the same. Below are some of the important factors you should consider before opting into a sober living program.

Factors to consider:

  • level of support available in the sober home program
  • nationally recognized accreditations such as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation and other marks of quality
  • specialized sober living programs for LGBTQ people, veterans, or other at-risk communities
  • program size
  • the presence of licensed clinical staff onsite
  • support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, healthcare access, mental health services, and other services offered
  • proximity to the nearest outpatient rehabilitation program

While each person will have different needs in their recovery journey, a sober living program will provide many of the tools required to regain independence and conquer addiction.

FAQs For Sober Living Programs

The commonly asked questions below may help you narrow your search for a sober living program that works for you or your loved one.

While sober homes are designed to help people in addiction recovery, they are not always considered treatment facilities.

Some private health insurance policies or Medicaid insurance plans for substance abuse may cover sober living. You can verify this by contacting your health insurance provider.

While the two are often used interchangeably, there are differences. Halfway houses are typically more strict and limit the amount of time people can stay.

While the two are often used interchangeably, there are differences. Halfway houses are typically more strict and limit the amount of time people can stay.

Residents can usually stay as long as they see fit, provided they are following house rules and attending their outpatient treatment program as needed.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Today

Call our helpline today for more information on inpatient and outpatient treatment services for addiction recovery. Our team is committed to helping you achieve long-term sobriety.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on


Canton, Massachusetts

Bedrock Recovery Center


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Payment Options: Insurance Accepted, Self Pay

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Plymouth, Massachusetts

Ohio Recovery Center


Levels of Care:

Payment Options: Insurance Accepted, Self Pay

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Spring Hill Recovery Center

Ashby, Massachusetts


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