When a person first steps out of a rehabilitation program, the world can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s often not easy to get readjusted to daily life. The temptation to use again exists, and people who are newly in recovery often need additional support during this sensitive time. That’s why places like sober living houses exist.
What Is a Sober Living Home?
A sober living home, also known as a halfway house, is a residence where those who suffer from addiction may live after completing an inpatient rehabilitation program. These homes are designed to bridge the gap between the constant monitoring and supervision of inpatient treatment and a return to the “real” world where people are essentially on their own. Sober living homes aim to accomplish the following:
- Provide for a more complete recovery
- Reinforce what was taught in a rehab program
- Give support when people need it the most
- Give clients freedom with some boundaries
- Supply residents with ways to cope in the “real” world
- Help residents form friendships with sober individuals
Daily Life in a Sober Living Home
A sober living home differs from inpatient rehab, where clients have to remain at the treatment facility at all times. Instead, residents are able to come and go as they please for the most part, although curfews are generally enforced. Residents slowly begin taking on tasks and responsibilities as they acclimate to live in the outside world. While most sober living homes don’t offer treatment, they do offer a supportive environment and 12-Step meetings may be held on the premises. Residents are required to perform chores and maintain a healthy, sober lifestyle that fosters good habits.
There isn’t any designated time a person has to stay at a sober living house. The length of the stay is solely based on when the individual feels ready to resume daily life outside of the home. For some, the stay is relatively short and only lasts a month to a few months while others stay six months or even a year or longer. There isn’t a standard or rule that states how long a person must stay since each person’s journey to recovery is different.
Not everyone who attends a sober living home is there because of a conscious decision on their end. Sometimes, as noted by an entry published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information from the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, a person may be referred to a sober living home by the criminal justice system or an inpatient treatment facility. In fact, 25 percent of individuals surveyed cited the criminal justice system as their referral source, and 12 percent stated they were referred to the sober living home by an inpatient treatment facility. Only 20 percent sought out the assistance of a halfway house on their own.
Generally, sober living homes will only accept individuals who have already undergone medical detox or another form of treatment.
What Expenses Are Involved?
Just like standard apartments or homes, residents of a sober living home are required to pay rent each month. Depending on the home, residents may have private rooms or share a room with another individual, but the price to have a private room is a bit higher. Utilities are generally included in the rent price. Houses are fully furnished, and residents are responsible for paying for the cost of their own food.
Average rent at a sober living home is usually less than paying rent at an outside apartment or house because the expenses are shared among a group of individuals.
Does Insurance Cover Sober Living?
Insurance doesn’t cover the expenses of a sober living home in the majority of cases. Although some people may find their insurance policy covers some of the expense, this is very rare. Since a sober living house isn’t considered part of a treatment program and instead classifies as aftercare, it’s technically not required for the person’s overall health, wellness, and recovery; therefore, it is generally not covered.
What Other Payment Options Exist?
Learning to manage one’s living expenses is part of the process of recovery, as one regains responsibilities and resumes “normal” life. Many sober living homes require that residents have jobs if they are not in school. Regular employment provides a set schedule and responsibilities, which offer structure that is crucial in early recovery, as well as income to cover the cost of rent.
Government assistance is limited for those who need help covering the expenses of a sober living home. Certain states offer funding for sober living homes. Although it varies from state to state, some rental assistance programs work through government-funded programs, such as those dedicated to those suffering from addiction or a disability.
To lessen the financial obligation a person has when living in a sober living home, the person may apply for food stamps from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. The program allows the person to purchase food from grocery stores, convenience stores, and possibly farmers markets. Individuals who qualify for monetary assistance from welfare, SSI, or SSD may find their monthly check adequately covers the costs of a sober living house.
In other instances, a person may be able to borrow money from family and friends to fund the first few months in a sober living home. It’s important to have a third party draw up an agreement regarding the loan, and the money should be given directly to the facility versus to the person who is newly sober.
In some instances, banks offer personal hardship loans and other personal loans that can give the person money to live off while they search for work. Once the person finds employment, the individual may pay off the loan in small increments. Oftentimes, a cosigner or some kind of collateral is needed to secure this kind of loan.