5 Misconceptions of Sober Living Homes

  1. They are all in bad neighborhoods

While sober living homes can range in locations usually matching an individuals budget, they are not all in bad neighborhoods. Some do resemble the dark and dilapidated areas addicts turn to when they are getting high but the majority are in stable and comfortable areas. People may be surprised when driving through nicer communities in their local town to learn that the well kept home down the street actually houses a group of men or women looking to better their lives.

  1. The homes are run down and poorly kept

This goes hand-in-hand with the idea that the homes are in questionable neighborhoods. The aim of any reputable sober living home is to provide the same or better quality and comfort than the addict had at home. Imagine trying to begin a new chapter in your life and better yourself only to call a place home that resembles the condemned house that you used to pick up your drugs at. For this reason and many more, sober living homes make it a special point to provide homes with amenities and creature comforts found in higher end homes today. It is not uncommon to be greeted by hardwood floors, Travertine tile, marble counter tops, and plush leather furnishings.

  1. Sober Living is not necessary after treatment

On the contrary, sober living is one of the few ways to set up an individual in recovery for success. It is still up to the individual to do the leg work but sober living homes provide the stable and structured environment one needs to successfully transition back into their day-to-day life. While a 30, 60, or 90 inpatient program would represent the triage and emergency services a patient would receive after a horrible accident. Sober living is akin to the follow up visits and continuing care after a patient has been stabilized. A sober living home allows men and women who are still in a critical early point of recovery to rejoin life while still having the accountability needed for long term success.

  1. They are unregulated

Many people believe that sober living homes are unregulated, or even worse, fraudulent money making schemes. While a simple Google search can reveal the dark side of “sober living homes”, it is important to remember that the true facilities are operating to help those suffering from addiction. Yes, they are businesses and need to make a profit to continue to help the future recovering alcoholics and addicts, but they do not do so at the sake of their current clients. Sober living homes, depending upon the state they lie in, are subject to regulation through zoning laws, state housing departments, state and municipal healthcare regulations and regulation specific to sober living communities and homes. While it would be nice to say every home is operating for benevolent reasons, it is important to research the home your loved one chooses to continue their journey in sobriety. The best place to start is the inpatient treatment facility your loved one is currently undergoing treatment at; the counselors and staff will know which places have good or poor reputations.

  1. They are havens for continued drug use.

Like most things in life you get what you pay for. If it is cheap, it is cheap for a reason. A sober living home is exactly that; a home where each of clients is guaranteed to be able to come home and not be tempted by the same environment they had just left. Each home has their own rules for what happens in the event of relapse and be sure to discuss this with the director of the home. Rules can vary from speaking with their counselor to ensure it does not happen again, to being asked to leave the home temporarily until the individual is able to test clean of all drugs, to asking any individual to leave the home in the event of any drug use.  Companies that have been in business even for a short time will have seen cases of relapse and will have plans to handle each case accordingly.

More importantly, if a sober living has a good reputation, it enjoys it for a reason. They have built it over time and through the ability to foster success stories. They work with people from all socioeconomic backgrounds in the toughest and most mentally challenging moments of their lives to show them a better way to live. One of the reason they are so successful is because the best homes are truly that, a safe home for your loved one.


The first time I took an inventory of myself, it was because I had to. I was in a treatment program. A judge had sentenced me there “for as long as it takes.” The treatment staff wasn’t going to let me out until I sat down and took a look at myself.

“A searching and fearless moral inventory” is what Step Four of Alcoholics Anonymous recommends. I was over- whelmed by the process. All I saw was this big blur of myself. I started writing about one small aspect of myself that I was able to recognize. Within minutes, I saw more. This inventory process took on a life of its own.

What was I aware of about myself that was a problem? What was bugging me most, the thing about myself I least wanted any other human being to know? What was the thing I least wanted to admit to myself? What did I fear and whom did I resent?

We were supposed to also inventory the good qualities about ourselves. I couldn’t find any of those.

“You’re persistent,” the clergy person at treatment said. I hung onto that asset for years. I thought it was my only good quality.

It’s an interesting phenomenon – how quick and easy it is to see qualities we like in other people. It’s also a snap to see what we don’t like in other people, qualities that we think they should change. Taking other people’s inventories is a breeze. Taking our own is hard work.

The year was 1982. My husband (at the time) wanted to go to Las Vegas. I wanted him to stay home, but I didn’t know how to express how I felt. About the third night he was gone, I felt that anxiety in my gut. I knew he was out of control, drinking again. I had a party planned for the next morning. I was throwing an open house for a neighbor graduating from college. Eighty people were due to show up. My husband was supposed to be home to help.

I didn’t clean my house. I didn’t prepare the food. I sat calling him in Vegas, dialing a number over and over again for eight straight hours. “What he’s doing is crazy,” I kept thinking. “What he’s doing is wrong and nuts.”

About ten o’clock that night, I saw the light. “Eighty people are coming to my home tomorrow, and here I sit, dialing a number that will not be answered? He might be out of control,” I thought, “but what I’m doing is crazy.”

Sometimes we need to take our own inventory to get out of an uncomfortable stuck place, to look at patterns and see what’s going on. Other times, looking at our own behaviors gives us the freedom to finally have and live our lives. Taking our own inventory doesn’t have to be a big gruesome job – although sometimes it is. Rather, it can be a way to stop pointing our finger at others and take responsibility for ourselves.