When a person completes a rehabilitation program but may not be ready to completely return to their prior living situation, a sober living home can provide structural support with a group of similarly recovering peers. Sober living homes typically have a manager, often someone who has gone through the drug addiction recovery process, and these homes maintain rules that prevent substances of abuse from being on the premises. If the rule is broken, the resident with the substance will face eviction. Additional rules may include required attendance at regular house meetings and attendance at support groups, like 12-Step meetings.
Sober living homes require residents to have greater self-sufficiency than inpatient rehabilitation facilities; for example, residents must pay their rent, cover bills, and buy groceries.
Sober Living Home Requirements
Sober living homes serve diverse populations who are overcoming substance abuse: people who have left residential treatment but need another stepping stone; those attending outpatient rehabilitation who need a different place to live; and those who want to live in a sober environment while they undergo other forms of continuing treatment, like attending support groups or individual therapy. Residents are usually allowed to live in the sober living home as long as they do not bring in illicit substances; however, most stay between three months and one year, as needed for their recovery.
Typically, sober living homes offer rooms for rent, which are at or just below market rate. These facilities may have special rules, but they do not provide a wide range of services. While residential treatment programs provide meals, therapy, sleeping arrangements, and group activities, sober living homes are much more like apartment living. The point of being in a sober living home is that a person can use skills learned in rehabilitation and therapy to create a life free of drugs or alcohol in a setting with reduced temptations to use. With assurance that there will be no intoxicating substances on the premises and fellow residents will understand the recovery process, sober living homes provide important transitional housing, allowing those recovering from substance abuse to become independent.
Sober living homes can be in many residential neighborhoods, often in apartment buildings or large single-family homes with several bedrooms. Some state laws require fewer than 10 residents per sober living home; others have no laws specific to sober living homes, requiring that the facilities only meet local zoning laws. Regardless of zoning, federal requirements do not allow cities or states to segregate sober living homes because addiction is considered a disability, so residents of sober living homes are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar laws.
Although sober living homes provide an important support network for continued recovery, they have not been regulated by local or state governments until recently. Largely, this is because sober living does not provide medical services; medical care is the realm of each individual’s physician and therapist. As a result, too many companies and individuals have attempted to scam those struggling to recover from substance abuse by failing to maintain homes, charging too much for the space, or cramming residents into packed rooms beyond the capacity the space is zoned for. Because of these abuses, it is important to know local laws about sober living homes, what credentials these homes can receive, and how to find the best sober homes.
Substance Abuse in Dallas and the State of Texas
Dallas, Texas, has thousands of residents who struggle with substance abuse. Information on drugs abused in Texas is outlined below.
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) noted in 2015 that methamphetamine was the leading substance of abuse in Dallas and a growing problem in Texas in general in spite of a ban on pseudoephedrine. The DEA noted that this is because illicit meth production in Mexico has increased since 2013 while domestic production even in small labs has decreased. Meth is abused more widely across Texas than cocaine or marijuana.
- Alcohol is the primary intoxicating substance of abuse throughout the state, including by underage abusers. About 51 percent of students in grades 7-12 reported abusing alcohol ever while 25 percent reported consuming alcohol in the past month. About 9 percent of secondary students in 2014 reported that they consumed five or more alcoholic beverages when they drank, and this constitutes binge drinking.
- Although Texas put a Compassionate Use for Medical Marijuana Act into effect in September 2017, the southern state has no other marijuana laws for either medical or recreational use. Marijuana is still considered a substance of abuse by both the Texas government and the federal government. The state shares a border with Mexico, so most of the marijuana in the state comes from that country. Poison control centers in Texas had 483 calls about marijuana abuse in 2014; 67 percent of those people were male and the average age of the person abusing marijuana was 24 years old.
- Texas has banned most of the same chemicals used in synthetic cannabis as the federal government has. About 7 percent of grade school students from grades 7-12 reported using synthetic cannabis.
- Cocaine led to 10 percent of all admissions to Department of Social and Health Services-funded rehabilitation programs in 2014; this was a decrease from 35 percent reported in 1995.
- Heroin abuse and addiction are on the rise in Texas, just like the rest of the country; 59 percent of all admissions to rehab programs run by the state involved heroin addiction.
In Dallas specifically, over 150,000 teenagers abused alcohol in 2009. The Dallas Area Drug Prevention Partnership (DADPP) found that, in 2014, there was a spike in calls to poison control centers regarding synthetic marijuana in Dallas, but not the rest of Texas – 8.1 in 100,000 residents compared to 2.7 per 100,000, respectively. Dallas was comparable to Texas for falling rates of DWI or DUI juvenile arrests: 0.6 out of 10,000 for both. The county and city also saw fewer adult DUI arrests than Texas in general, with 34 out of 10,000 compared to 38.3 out of 10,000. In 2013, DADPP reported that 56.8 out of every 10,000 Dallas adults sought treatment at a DSHS-funded rehabilitation program.
People struggling with substance abuse and going through treatment need ongoing support options once they leave their rehabilitation program. Sober living homes should fill this gap for people in Texas, just like they do for those in the rest of the country.
Paying for a Dallas Sober Living Home
Insurance frequently covers part or all of rehabilitation, both inpatient and outpatient; however, sober living homes are not an official, medical part of this process. Although they have been helpful to many people, sober living homes will not receive insurance coverage because they are a place to live with specific rules but do not provide medical treatment. However, the point of living in a sober home is to become more independent; this includes finding a job or receiving funding from other sources to continue recovery and acquire job skills. Since independence is the ultimate goal, insurance coverage should extend to medical treatment as needed while income from work or scholarships should pay for rent at a sober home.
Some of those entering sober living who do not yet have a job may qualify for government grants or scholarships to pay their expenses until they can find employment or another source of income.
Organizations Listing Dallas Sober Living Homes
Finding sober living options in Dallas, Texas, may take a little research; however, there are many great options available for those seeking this living arrangement.
Most importantly, Texas has its own certification and regulatory agency for sober living. Texas Recovery Oriented Housing Network (TROHN) is a member of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR), which provides certification for sober homes meeting very specific criteria. TROHN’s Region 3 lists four sober living homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. TROHN is also one of the member organizations of SoberHood, a Texas-based group helping people in recovery and their families find and manage resources.
Intervention America, a national online directory for recovery options and sober living homes, reports that there are 35 different sober living homes in Dallas.