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Information about Sober Living Environments

Sober living environments, also called SLEs or SLH for sober living habitats, are alcohol and drug free environments created for those who wish to abstain from alcohol and drugs. These environments are not created in order to provide treatment, but are often part of 12-step groups and therapy-based environments.

The Difference Between Halfway Houses and Sober Living Homes

Halfway houses should not be confused with sober living environments, even though both houses are similar. Halfway houses are also available for substance abusers, however, the difference is that the sober living environments are sustained by funding from the individuals and the individuals are only able to stay for a particular amount of time. Sober living environments are also not monitored by the state or formal services because the home does not offer treatment to the individuals who stay there.

Many sober living environments become part of sober living coalitions, which monitor health, safety, adherence to a 12-step or therapeutic philosophy, and the quality of the facility. There are a number of coalitions around the United States, including the California Association of Addiction Recovers Resources, or CAARR. To find out more information about the sober living environment associations located in your area, call 1-888-512-4610.

Initially, sober living environments had been run by religious groups, such as the YMCA, YWCA, and the Salvation Army, although this is not currently the case. Other names for sober living environments include dry hotels and lodging houses.

Sober Living House Models

One of the most common forms of sober living houses is based on the Oxford House model. Residents are not required to attend 12-step programs, however they are encouraged to visit the programs necessary to obtain sobriety. Oxford house research shows that about 76 percent of the residents do attend 12-step programs weekly. Other models of houses may require each resident to pay utilities and rent, and when one person cannot pay, strongly suggest that he or she attends a 12-step program. It is normal to have approximately 90 percent of the residents paying their rent with their own funds. The Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agency, or SASCA, pays the remaining 10 percent in most cases. This agency covers those who have graduated from substance abuse programs in the California Department of Corrections.  If you would like more information about fees and items involved with sober living environments, call 1-888-512-4610.

Programs Implemented During Sober Living

Who Needs Private Addiction Treatment

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Many sober living environments implement something called a phase program. This program helps individuals moving into the sober living environment by phasing them into responsibilities. At first, for example, the house may only require a portion of rent or utilities. Other methods give new members of the household less freedoms and less responsibilities, gradually allowing them to gain more responsibility, and with it, the freedom to do as they please. This slow increase of responsibility has been found to work well with new members of the household and helps them merge into the new way of life much more easily.  As stability is reached in the household, a person moved from phase I to phase II.

For example, in a phase I house, all rent, utilities, and family style meals are covered. This may cost around $700 per month. This house might try to minimize isolation by allowing only shared rooms with one or more roommates. A main phase I house may also provide room for workers’ offices. The phase II house, in comparison, allows either a shared or private room. The shared room may be $400, while the private would be $500. The shared room and private room would both include rent and utilities, but would then require residents to make and find their own meals.

Entering sober living environments can be extremely helpful to those trying to gain and maintain sobriety and for those who have completed detoxification treatment.

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