When Should You Consider a Sober Living House for Yourself or a Loved One?

For those working toward a life of sobriety, having an unstable home environment that is full of alcohol, drugs, and other possible triggers can push them into a relapse quickly. Sober living homes provide a safe, clean place to transition between addiction treatment and everyday life for people in recovery.

The Purpose of a Sober Living Home

A sober living home helps provide a balance between structured and independent living for those who are just out of treatment programs for substance abuse and other addictions, mental health disorders, jail, or other circumstances.

The structure provided by the homes comes in the form of rules and regulations that the residents must follow to maintain their place in the house. The rules vary from house to house, but they generally follow the same guidelines:

  • Go through detox and/or rehab, then plan on going to therapy or 12-Step meetings once a week (for potential residents)
  • No drugs or alcohol are allowed (exceptions for specific prescriptions, such as antidepressants, can be made)
  • Be willing to consent to random drug and alcohol testing to ensure sobriety
  • Participate in house activities (weekly meetings, chores, self-care tasks, etc.)
  • Sleep at the house at least five nights a week (occasional exceptions can be made for traveling)
  • Be accountable for your whereabouts at all times, and be back by curfew if applicable

Good Candidates for Sober Living Homes

Those looking to move into a sober living house must take into account the phase of life they are stepping into. Certain qualities and determination are needed to be successful. Individuals who need time to process what they learned in rehab, learn how to use their coping skills, and learn how to be independent are great candidates.

Other candidates who fit these criteria are also typically a good fit for sober living homes:

  • Those who have already been treated, such as in rehab or detox
  • Those who have had time in sobriety before moving in (to ensure they will comply with house rules)
  • Those who need a place to transition from treatment back to their normal life
  • Those with the desire for long-term sobriety
  • Those with high motivation to maintain their abstinence from substance abuse
  • Those who are aware of the challenges to come
  • Those with a proven ability to find a job
  • Those with the ability to budget and manage their own money
  • Those who are familiar with the local recovery community
  • Those with a strong desire to be independent and learn to support themselves
  • Those with the ability to cultivate relationships with others who are also sober, sharing a common goal of sobriety

Candidates Who May Not Benefit From Sober Living Homes

Just as there are those who may benefit from sober living houses, there are individuals who may not find the treatment they are looking for in these environments. This is not to say that something is wrong with them, but rather a sober living home is wrong for their recovery journey. Finding the right programs and resources can make a difference in your recovery progressing.

Those who may not benefit from a sober living home include:

  • Those with no prior job experience
  • Those who are bad at managing money
  • Those with social anxiety (although this can be addressed in therapy)
  • Those who tend to isolate
  • Those who are moving from far away and are not familiar with the local recovery community
  • Those who are looking to a sober living house as an alternative to a professional recommendation for a higher level of care

Sober Living Homes & Recovery

Sober living homes are good options for those in recovery because they provide a safe and secure environment without triggers like drugs and alcohol. These residences help hold you accountable on your road to sobriety by providing community support to stay abstinent.

The recommended stay at a sober living house is ninety days, but many patients stay longer. Studies show that the longer one stays in a sober living house, the more likely they are to fully recover. It is best to stay longer than you think than to leave before you are ready.

Many treatment centers have patients leave after ninety days, meaning they have to deal with everyday life on their own without acclimating to life outside of treatment. This often results in relapse. Sober living houses combat this issue by providing a safe place to continue progressing one’s recovery.

How to Find the Best Sober Living House for You or a Loved One

There are steps you can take to find the best option for the person in need. The best sober living home will depend on the addict’s needs and preferences in their sobriety. Here are some things you can do to find the perfect home for you or your loved one:

  • Do your research
  • Contact the homes
  • Visit the homes if possible
  • Understand the independence involved
  • Seek out support and community

One of the most important tasks is to make sure the residence is legitimate. Pay attention to red flags such as:

  • “Free“ programs
  • No admissions requirements
  • Building not up to code
  • No records on the premises
  • Doesn’t require abstinence
  • No safety or privacy rules
  • No clear house rules
  • Lack of obvious ethical and moral standards
  • Untrained/uncertified employees
  • No regulatory inspections

Sober living homes are a great option for those who are looking to become independent after going through treatment for substance abuse and other personal concerns. There are multiple sober living options for men and women to choose from. Remember to take the responsibilities of a sober living home into account when deciding if it is the best option for you or your loved one.

Camelback Recovery is a transitional living home in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson, Arizona. We provide a structured and supportive environment that promotes long-term transformational changes. Find out if a sober living home is right for you. Call us today at (602) 466-9880.

Four Common Misconceptions of Sober Living Homes


Choosing a good sober living house is an important step for those that are in early addiction recovery.  Many of the individuals/families we speak with come to us with many misconceptions regarding sober living homes and the services they provide.  Finding the correct level of care can be a challenge with the staggering number of companies out there to choose from.  Our desire with this document is to clarify the top four areas of misunderstanding that we regularly deal with during the selection process.  Here are four common misconceptions regarding sober living homes:

  1. Sober Living Homes Are Just Like Rehabs

Rehabilitation centers perform a very specific service for their patients.  They are generally staffed by treatment professionals, which include doctors and therapists.  Rehabs generally provide 24 hour care with the patients remaining onsite for most of their stay.  By having doctors on staff, they are able to prescribe and modify medications for their patients.  Many rehabs also have the ability to medically detox patients from the substances that have been abused.

Sober Living Homes are designed to provide transitional care once an individual has been detoxed and received some of the treatments available at a rehab if possible.  The main purpose of sober living is to be that next logical step in an individual’s recovery process.  The home should provide a safe and structured environment for its residents to be able to do the work needed to maintain their sobriety.  This could include returning to their jobs, going to school, doing outpatient therapy or volunteering their services with a worthy organization.  Good sober living homes require that their residents attend 12 Step meeting daily and work with a sponsor.  The combination of these activities will help to build a strong foundation for long-term recovery.

  1. Coed Sober Living Homes Are A Better Option For Residents

Early recovery can be a very confusing time for individuals trying to stay sober.  These first few months can be filled with both anxiety and a range of raw emotions which can make for some uncomfortable moments.  Recovery is work and some people struggle with the amount that is required each day.  Having individuals of the opposite sex living in the same house can quickly become an unnecessary distraction from early recovery work.  Getting caught up in any type of relationship with the opposite sex during this time will usually have disastrous results for both parties.  A good sober living home will provide a gender-specific environment for the safety of their residents.  There is plenty of time in the future for new relationships.  Gender-specific sober living homes care enough to protect their residents from these types of relationships in the early stages of recovery.

  1. Sober Living Residents Should Prepare Their Own Meals

During addiction, nutrition was not an area of concern for most addicts.  Unhealthy eating habits were established and maintained during this time.  Recovery is a time to start learning new healthy habits that will benefit the individual.  Many sober living residents do not have the knowledge or skills to be able to buy and prepare nutritious meals.  Most will simply return to a daily diet of fast food.  Quality sober living homes not only provide meals for their residents, but are very aware of the nutritional benefit of the food that is prepared.  Recovery requires that old habits be broken and healthier ones put in their place.

  1. Living In A Sober Living Home Is Like Living In A Sober Hotel

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The objective of a quality sober living house should not be to do everything for its residents similar to a hotel.  Individuals come to a sober living community to do the work required to support their recovery.  The key word is ‘work.’  Addicts have spent their time in addiction being accountable to no one.  Real recovery is all about acceptance and accountability.  The best way to teach an individual to be accountable is place them in a structured environment where they have a schedule and tasks to complete.  This is no different than what the outside world is going to expect from them.  Each day should start with something as simple as being up at a certain time and making sure your bed is made.  Becoming a responsible adult has to start somewhere, why not with making your bed each day?  Sober living homes should strive to prepare their residents to become self-sufficient during their stay.  Homes that claim to pamper their residents are really doing their clients a disservice.  Structure and accountability are key building blocks to long-term recovery.


There are no Coincidences

Be grateful for where you are now.

“It doesn’t take as much faith to believe that everything happens for a reason as it does to embrace the belief that I am who and where I am now, today, for a reason – even if I don’t know what that reason is and even if I don’t particularly like who or where I am today,” a friend said to me.

“When I can take that in, my dissatisfaction and negativity disappear, and I can proceed calmly and gratefully with my life. To me,” he said, “that’s what spirituality is all about.”

Faith and hope aren’t just for the future. Try using them on today.

Could it be that you’re who you are and where you are now for a reason? Thank God for your life, exactly as it is, right now.

God, give me enough faith to believe in today.

I agree with this 1000%! Everything happens for a reason and everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to. There are no coincidences. A gentleman moved into our sober living home yesterday, and it turns out that his girlfriend was the listing agent for the office that I leased several years ago. I was at the sober living house today, and the owner of the office building that I leased road by on his bike. I have not seen him in years. I’m not sure what that means, or if it even means anything. I leased out one of my homes to a couple of women a few years ago, and it turned out that they were in recovery. Shortly after that they turned my home into a sober living home for women. That was about the same time that I was getting out of the vacation rental business and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do next with my life. That is what opened up my eyes to the possibility of getting into the sober living business. Now I own my own recovery business. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and there are no coincidences. I am grateful that I have the faith that everything works out the way it’s supposed to.