sober living

Sober living homes are safe places where those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse can go when transitioning from a substance abuse rehab program to life in society.

A sober living home is a great place to start if you or a loved one has attended an outpatient program and are hoping to stay sober after recovering from substance abuse.

Living in a sober residence can offer numerous benefits for your mental health and provides an effective way to cope with drug or alcohol addiction, ensure long-term sobriety, and resume your normal life.

In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need about living in a sober living facility.

What Is Sober Living?

A sober living house is exactly as it sounds—a place to reside where you can get a fresh start without drugs or alcohol while being surrounded by a friendly community.

Sober-living house residents commit to staying clean from drugs or alcohol while enrolled in outpatient substance abuse programs or after completing inpatient therapy.

Sober Living Gives Residents a Chance to Form New Habits

man exercising

Becoming a resident at one of these facilities allows you to create new routines and habits to ensure future success by applying the teachings you learned in drug or alcohol rehabilitation to your everyday life while living in a sober environment. 

Consider sober living as your safety net while you develop new skills and perspectives, and create your new life in sobriety alongside others who may be going through similar struggles.

12-step Program

Many sober living homes use a 12-step support group-based program that often includes:

Sober Living Helps in Many Ways

man working on laptop

According to research, living with other sober people can help you keep your job, stay clean, and stay out of jail. It can also help people to develop good communication skills, coping mechanisms, and self-confidence.

Sober living houses are places where those who have received addiction treatment can form meaningful relationships with other residents.

This creates a support structure that can be effective long after leaving the sober living home. It also makes the transition from substance abuse treatment centers to everyday life.

Legal Requirements and Definitions

Sober living houses need to be licensed in many states. Not all states have that requirement though.

The Arizona Department of Health Services requires the owner of a sober living home to apply for a special license.

A sober living home is defined legally in Arizona under A.R.S. 36-2061(3) as any property, location, or structure that offers drug- or alcohol-free habitation and that:

  1. Encourages the development of independent sober living, and basic life skills.
  2. Might offer activities to aid in the rehabilitation from substance abuse problems.
  3. Offers a group of unrelated people in early recovery from drug and alcohol use problems in a supervised environment.
  4. Does not administer medication or offer any specialized clinical or medical treatments on site, apart from verifying sobriety through drug and alcohol testing.

What Is a Sober Living House Like?

sober living house

There are several different types of sober living homes. Some are autonomous homes, condos, or apartments, while others are located on the property where addiction treatment is offered.

The occupancy will vary depending on the size of the house or the number of permitted beds.

Shared or Private Living Quarters

Although bedrooms are typically shared in sober living situations, some do offer private accommodations. Senior citizens may occasionally be given solitary rooms. The rules may be organized differently in each facility.

There are usually guidelines on shared living arrangements, personal room upkeep, visiting hours, mealtimes, curfews, and necessary attendance at 12-step meetings.


These facilities do have structure and the goal is to provide transitional housing for those who have been through an addiction treatment program.

The 12-Step program is used in many sober living arrangements and is an example of the structured approach these sober living homes use. Local meetings are recommended, and attendance can even be a requirement for access to the facility.

To help occupants stay sober, every home has its own unique rules and restrictions.

Tranquil Settings for Focusing on Recovery

Sober living houses are often privately run residences typically located in tranquil, serene settings where occupants may unwind and concentrate on their development and recovery.

If you stay at one of these facilities, you will receive encouragement and assistance from community leaders and peers.

Increased Independence

When receiving treatment for addiction in inpatient treatment facilities, patients are focused on their addiction treatment program and spend most of their time during the day in counseling. What they can and cannot do and where they are allowed to go are severely restricted.

People in recovery gain more independence while living in a sober living environment. Residents are not restricted to the property’s boundaries and are allowed to come and go at their discretion within reasonable limits.

They have the option to resume their prior career or studies, submit a job application, or start earning a new college degree if they want.

Those in recovery can gradually transition to a new, healthy way of life, free from drugs or alcohol, in this way.


Continual accountability is another benefit of sober living, both personally and communally. This accountability is encouraged through adhering to the sober living home’s house rules.

What Is a Sober Living Program?

addiction recovery support group

A sober living program teaches those struggling with addiction to take care of their body, soul, and spirit through peer support (receiving support and encouragement from others who have been in their shoes), prayer, exercise, and group activities.

Sober living can take place at the same time as an outpatient program, or it can take place after an addiction treatment program has been completed.

Residents may also benefit from friendship, character growth, and accountability. Living in such a setting can have a favorable impact on relationships, lifestyle choices, and overall health.

Those who spend at least a year at one of these facilities often have improvement in mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Additionally, it can lead to better relationships, improved productivity, and overall well-being.

The Skills You Can Expect to Learn While At a Sober Living Home

man smiling in sober living home

Sober living teaches several life skills and coping mechanisms. Here are some of the skills you will learn at a sober house:

Types of Sober Living Homes

drug free zone

The National Association of Recovery Residences outlines four distinct types of sober-living settings and the level that a sober living home falls under will determine the type of sober living program you can expect.

We’ll discuss them in the section below.

Level One – Peer Support-based Facility

These programs are typically democratically administered in single-family sober living homes, usually with an older resident holding other members accountable. Generally, there are drug tests and sessions but no paid clinical responsibilities.

Level Two – Monitored Approach

Level two sober living homes are generally apartments or single-family dwellings. An experienced resident or a house manager with a minimum of one paid post can run them.

The focus for the residents is personal responsibility and holding each other accountable.

House meetings, peer-run programs, drug tests, and house regulations are all common in these facilities.

While in this type of program, you can expect to have freedom to work, use your own phone, and drive your own car.

Level Three – Supervised Facilities

Although there are many different kinds of level three sober living homes, most of them have licenses, organizational hierarchies, administrative monitoring, and rules and regulations.

The development of life skills is prioritized, and therapeutic therapies are offered apart from sober-living services. Drug tests are routine, and staff members are qualified.

Level Four – Integrated Supportive Environment

These homes typically offer transitional services for those who have completed treatment programs and are typically provided in a more institutional setting.

Internal clinical services are offered with a focus on improving life skills. Staff members have certifications, and drug testing is commonplace.

Sober Living Homes Using the Florida Model

When combined with an outpatient rehab clinic, a sober living home often has the following too:

Common House Rules in a Sober Living Home

men playing basketball

Sober living homes have house rules for a number of reasons. These include:

Staying sober is the foundational element of sober living, as one might expect. The most crucial house rule is abstinence. Therefore, anyone who drinks or does drugs while residing there risks being forced to leave.

However, if residents are transparent and honest about relapsing, they may be given another chance. If they sincerely want to be sober and clean, they could be temporarily suspended and then permitted to return.

In the section below, we cover some of the fundamental house rules of many sober living houses.

Although rules differ from one sober living home to another, the rules below are typically implemented at most facilities. To receive residential treatment at a sober living home, residents must:

The sober living facility or management will determine the particular details of each rule. Ask every potential home what their policies are as you look for the setting that is best for your recovery.

Usually, you can stay in the sober living house for as long as you like, provided that you abide by the rules.

Who Should Live in Recovery Housing?

Anyone who wants to quit using drugs or alcohol should consider moving into a sober living environment. First, residents often attend a treatment program, but it is not necessarily a requirement.

This kind of facility can be the perfect fit for you if you’ve already gone to rehab but aren’t quite ready to live on your own.

Completing a Rehab Program Isn’t Usually Required, But It Is Recommended for Early Recovery

Even though it may not be necessary, completing a rehabilitation program for substance abuse before moving in can help you maintain your sobriety. It is helpful because you’ve already gone through physical recovery from the substance.

However, occupants should feel free to apply, provided they are prepared to maintain sobriety, adhere to all house rules, and ensure their medical stability.

If You Choose Sober Housing, Prepare to Take Your Recovery Seriously

People who reside in sober living homes take their rehabilitation seriously. They desire accountability and the encouragement and support of their housemates. Transitioning to an independent lifestyle free from drug use and addiction is the driving force for those who reside at these facilities.

Who Will Benefit from Sober Living?

If you meet the following criteria, you can certainly benefit from living in a sober living house:

The Difference Between Sober Living Homes and Halfway Houses

The notion of “Sober Living” is referred to by a variety of colloquial names, including “Recovery Housing” and “Halfway Houses.”

“Recovery Housing” is the word used professionally to define establishments that support and encourage sober living, even those that self-identify as “Sober Living” since they have received state license approval to run such a facility.

It’s hardly surprising that people frequently mistake halfway houses for other sober-living facilities, given their close resemblance.

Residents of halfway houses typically come from either penitentiary or inpatient treatment centers, acting as a bridge between the institution and independent society.


Similar to other rehabilitation and sober-living facilities, halfway houses aim to gradually reintegrate their residents back into society by removing them from the stresses and temptations of a potentially hazardous home setting.

The majority of halfway houses, like other sober-living settings, have policies in place to keep occupants clean, and drug testing is commonly conducted to check for substance abuse.

Also, they frequently include extra mental health, medical, rehabilitation, or education programs that aid people in adjusting to their new lifestyles.


The differences between halfway houses and sober living homes can be subtle.

The main distinction is that halfway houses are designed more for people being released from jail or prison, and sober living is usually more for people coming from detox or a rehab program. Regardless, the purpose is the same: accountability and getting ready to live life independently, while staying sober.

Sometimes, people will go to either type of facility as their first attempt to get clean. Often this is a requirement placed on them by a judge or probation.

Choosing Sober Housing

People should search for drug-free, secure sober housing that will support their rehabilitation if they want to have the best chance of successfully overcoming their addiction and maintaining long-term sobriety. Living in a toxic setting can be a slippery slope to relapse very quickly.

Find a Home That Has Good Staff and a Good Environment

What Is Sober Living Like

If you are looking for the best facility, you should consider residences with staff that really care, a stable living environment, and a positive atmosphere. Those things sound obvious, but they can make or break your recovery, and they’re not as common as you might think.

You may also want to choose a place that has a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere that isn’t busy and loud, as these kinds of distractions can cause stress, increasing your chances of a relapse.


Because you might spend several months at the facility, it is important to ensure that it is located close to amenities. Check that it is close to a college, laundromat, groceries store, public transport, and healthcare provider.

It is also a good idea to choose a facility that is far away. Moving to a sober house in another state can have benefits, including:

Red Flags

In the section below, we’ll discuss a few red flags to watch out for when choosing a facility. Don’t apply if:

You shouldn’t immediately choose the first recovery housing facility you find online. Do your research to ensure that you choose a reputable and reliable sober house committed to your well-being and sobriety.

Frequently Asked Questions

In the section below, we’ll take a look at some of the most-asked questions about sober houses.

1. How Long Do Most People Stay in Sober Living Houses?

According to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the average stay for those in addiction recovery is 166 to 254 days.

2. What Is a Sober Person Like?

A sober person will know how to care for their mind, body, and soul. They do this through prayer, exercise, and the support of others.

3. How Long Can I Stay at a Sober Living House?

Unlike other treatment facilities that limit a patient’s stay, there is often no limit to the time you can spend in a sober living house. Make sure you ask the facility before applying.

4. What Do I Need Before Contacting a Sober House?

You will need to have the following:

Miracle Recovery: Men’s Transitional Living in Prescott Valley, Arizona

Arizona’s Miracle Recovery is a sober living facility for men. Our goal is to promote long-term sobriety by fostering a welcoming environment where residents encourage one another’s healing.

We urge everyone to maintain healthy lifestyle changes through challenge, encouragement, and peer review.

At Miracle Recovery, we believe that addiction is not an incurable disease. We believe that Jesus Christ can help you overcome addiction, no matter how hopeless your situation may seem.

You can expect to attend weekly meetings and “family” dinners and participate in regular activities to foster a sense of unity.

The family setting and church support empower everyone to overcome challenges with the tools they need. At Miracle Recovery, we adopt a non-denominational Christian approach to help people learn valuable skills and coping mechanisms.

To find out more about our sober housing, get in touch with us today by dialing (928) 379-5090.

We look forward to helping you through your journey to recovery!

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