Common Questions (& Answers) About Sober Living

Young adults congregate around table in sober living home

Dane O'Leary November 17, 2020

Sober living homes afford those in early recovery a supportive environment free from the temptations of drugs and alcohol. Yet some people are leery about sober living, which is often because of the few rotten apples that ruin it for the bunch.

In these instances, we usually see skeptics swayed by stories of illegitimate sober living homes that lure people in with grandiose promises, and then fail to deliver on them. But some people are simply unsure about trading their own homes for a group living environment in which they’ll live alongside people they don’t know.

Whatever the case, it would be a huge mistake to write off sober living homes because of anomalies and misinformation. So to set the record straight, we’re going to answer some of the most common questions people have about transitional and sober living.

Let’s dive in.

Q: Will my sober living home be a dump?

A: With rare exceptions, your sober living home will not be a dump.

The thing that separates the nicer sober living homes from the not-so-nice sober living homes is how the sober living home is regulated. Nicer homes tend to be regulated better, meaning that the homes are monitored, rules are enforced, residents are held accountable, and the company running the home implements routine maintenance, cleaning, and general upkeep.

By comparison, the sober living homes that offer poor experiences are almost always ones with very little regulation. These are the places where stories about keg parties or bed bugs aren’t uncommon. At such homes, the main objective is to make money; your well-being is of very little concern to the owners.

At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, we are committed to providing the best possible experience to each and every client. To do this, we ensure that each of our sober homes offers on-site support and supervision, which is why our homes remain clean, safe environments in which to focus on your recovery.

Q: Does sober living actually work?

A: Sober living homes do help people stay sober. This has been confirmed by numerous case studies.

In a study from 2010, 300 people spent a period of time in sober living homes following their completion of rehabilitative programming. The study authors saw less alcohol and drug use, arrests, and psychiatric symptoms among those who spent time in sober living homes. Many of the participants even found gainful employment.

It’s possible that this correlation is less about sober living and more about the twelve-step programs commonly offered at sober living homes. Because there have been millions and millions of people to achieve great success in recovery by following the twelve-step model of recovery.

Whether or not twelve-step programs are the reason sober living homes are effective, we know that people who live in sober living homes have far fewer opportunities to relapse. Moreover, those with comorbid, or co-occurring, mental disorders often display milder symptoms while staying in sober living homes. 

Q: Will sober living turn into a party?

A: Although there’s an inherently social component to sober living, “partying” in the traditional sense is not allowed at most sober living homes.

There are a couple of important reasons why partying isn’t allowed at sober living homes. First, this minimizes the likelihood of alcohol or drugs on the premises, which, in turn, helps to safeguard the residents’ sobriety. Second, many people associate partying with their past alcohol or drug use. For this reason, partying can be very triggering for people in recovery. But when partying in a sober living home is prohibited, the residents have a better opportunity to distance themselves from destructive lifestyles. Moreover, many people in recovery simply prefer having ample quiet time for reflection or even meditation.

Of course, residents can technically sneak alcohol or drugs into a sober living home with or without the ability to host parties. Although this does sometimes happen, it’s not very common. And when it does happen, these individuals are confronted by the residence supervisor for breaking the rules and putting fellow residents at risk of relapse.

If a sober living home seems to tolerate alcohol and drug use on the premises, then you should move out immediately.

Q: Can I continue to work while living in a sober living home?

A: Yes! In fact, most sober living homes encourage residents to find employment and use their time in sober living to practice balance their sobriety with their responsibilities.

If you’re already employed when you move into a sober living home, then you’ll often be encouraged to maintain your job. However, it’s important that your job doesn’t preclude your participation in group sessions or therapy sessions while you’re living in the sober living home; make sure you can still make time to work on your recovery.

Employment plays a key role in a person’s sobriety. For one thing, it allows you to earn an income and support yourself and your family. Additionally, having a job boosts a person’s self-esteem, which plays a major role in staying sober.

Q: Will I be pampered at a sober living home?

A: Even though accommodations can be quite luxurious at times, sober living homes aren’t explicitly for pampering.

The purpose of sober living is to provide a safe, clean, comfortable environment where you can practice living a sober lifestyle. Having said that, many people do, in fact, feel pampered while living in sober living homes, so there’s a level of subjectivity to it.

At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, you’ll find plenty of amenities and comfortable accommodations. For instance, our Beach House, which is located in Playa Del Rey, has been designed and decorated to emphasize its bright, open spaces. It’s also mere steps from the beach.

Our Men’s Residence and Women’s Residence aren’t to be scoffed at either. Both offer comfortable living quarters with contemporary decor and large rooms for group sessions and social gatherings.

Q: Is a sober living home the same as an inpatient drug rehab?

A: Sober living homes share the same goal as drug rehabs, but sober living homes are not drug rehabs, inpatient or otherwise..

Compared to drug rehabs and treatment programs, there’s very little structure at sober living homes. There are no doctors or nurses on-site to administer therapy or treatments. Instead, the idea is to give the individual time to get acclimated to a recovery lifestyle.

Since the purpose of sober living is very different than drug rehabs, clients in sober living homes have far less oversight. The home-like environment of a sober living home is meant to simulate the experience of maintaining one’s sobriety while living and working at home. So when the client finally does return home, the transition will be much smoother with lower chances of relapse.

Q: Am I required to attend twelve-step meetings while staying in a sober living home?

A: Although it’s not uncommon for sober living homes to have their own recovery fellowships, residents are not generally forced to attend twelve-step meetings specifically.

Because of the inherent similarities between sober homes and recovery fellowships, the residents with more experience often take the less experienced residents underwing. These mentorships are a central component of twelve-step programs, further reinforcing the similarities between sober living and recovery fellowships.

The benefits of twelve-step programs are numerous. Yet participating in these meetings is usually optional rather than a requirement.

Q: How many people are in a sober living house?

A: At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, we can support approximately 10 residents in each of our three sober living homes.

However, there’s no set maximum number of residents for sober living homes because sober home capacity depends on a number of variables, including the size of the home and its accommodations.

Q: How will I spend my time at a sober living home?

A: Residents spend their time on many of the same things they do at home in addition to connecting with fellow residents and learning how to ensure their recovery needs are met.

A sober living home is designed to be much like one’s home environment, but the key difference is that a sober living home is a safer and more controlled environment. Although there’s very little structure, residents of sober living homes are usually expected to participate in some level of counseling and/or group sessions.

Q: Will my insurance cover a sober living home?

A: Most health plans offer some amount of coverage for sober living homes. However, the amount of coverage varies.

Due to legislative changes over the past five to ten years, most government and private health insurance plans do provide coverage for the treatment of substance abuse problems. But since this varies, it’s important to work with your provider to determine (a) which types of treatment/support are covered and (b) how much of a program’s cost the plan will cover.

If you’d like us to work with your insurance provider to verify your coverage and eligibility for our sober living homes, then click here.

Want to Learn More About Our Los Angeles Sober Living Program?

When it comes to our drug rehab in LA, one of our most effective resources is our sober living program. With several locations in and around Los Angeles, our sober living homes are safe places where you can master your newfound sobriety while making new friends and reinforcing positive lifestyle changes.

Whether you’re considering outpatient, intensive outpatient, or detox in Southern California, make our Los Angeles sober living your top choice for post-treatment maintenance.

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