Sober Living Houses - Rehab Guide

Sober Living Houses

Sober Living Houses

Supported housing during rehab & after rehab

Sober living houses provide a safe and abstinent environment for those attending inpatient rehab treatment.

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They are also suitable for those who have completed a primary care rehab programme. You can enter clean and sober living near the rehab or your local area.

Despite what their name suggests, that they are only for recovering alcoholics, this is not the case. Not in the sober living houses the UK offers, at least.

Sober houses provide supported accommodation for anyone recovering from a drug addiction or alcohol problem.

They are also suitable for those who are recovering from a behavioural addiction such as an addiction to sex or gambling.

If you are looking for a halfway house near you, our team can recommend the most suitable place, depending on your addiction and personal circumstances.

Two types of sober living homes

We will cover two main types of sober living houses on this page.

The first type is a sober house where patients stay overnight whilst attending an inpatient treatment programme during the day.

The second type is often called tertiary care, extended care, halfway houses or sober living communities. These sober living houses offer supported living for those who have already completed an inpatient programme.

Quasi-Residential Rehab Treatment

Quasi-residential rehab treatment differs from residential rehab. Whilst it delivers the same evidence-based treatments, patients do not stay within the rehab clinic outside of treatment hours.

There are both pros and cons to the treatment approach.

Usually, but not always, sober living houses offer accommodation for same-sex patients. They are houses designed to provide a home-from-home atmosphere and are owned by a rehabilitation centre.

Most patients in quasi-residential rehabs will have their own room, although sometimes they can share to reduce the cost of treatment. There will be a living room, dining room, kitchen and one or more bathrooms. Patients will be encouraged to retain independence by cooking and washing their meals.

Sober living houses that accommodate patients in the addiction treatment process should, ideally, have a support worker residing within the property. This helps to ensure the home runs smoothly and is kept safe. However, this is not always the case. Some have support workers on call instead.

The Benefits of Residential Sober Living Houses


They encourage patients to retain some independence whilst undergoing drug and alcohol rehabilitation.


Sober living rehab treatment tends to be more affordable


The rehab can treat large numbers of people at any one time

Real-life living

They encourage real-life living. Their patients have to learn to communicate their problems and forge friendships. Recovery houses discourage isolation and encourage socialisation.

Sober living houses promote life skills. A person will need to cook for themselves and do their washing.

There is less of a reintegration process following treatment at a quasi-residential rehab. Patients already have some freedom and interaction with the natural world.

Length of stay

Patients may be able to remain in treatment for longer because this is the more affordable rehab option.


Drug and alcohol recovery houses offer a homely atmosphere. Some patients benefit from this.

On the other hand, quasi-residential recovery houses benefit many patients. They are not suitable for everyone. There are some substantial risks to consider.

The levels of care within sober living houses vary from rehab to rehab. Please always ensure you ask about the levels of care they provide. UK centres are usually called sober living facilities if you are looking for a halfway house. Halfway houses are generally a term for more hostel-like accommodation provided by charities and religious organisations.

The risks of quasi-residential treatment houses


They are not suitable for a person who is very unwell and unable to look after themselves.

Mental health

They are not suitable for a person with a mental health illness (dual diagnosis), disability or learning difficulties. Anyone who requires high levels of around-the-clock support would benefit from complete residential rehab.


There is an increased risk of temptation to use drugs and alcohol. This is partly because patients have more freedom and partly because disagreements within the house may be a trigger for relapse.

There is an increased risk of patients colluding together. This will breach the treatment contract. One person relapsing in the house can have a very detrimental effect on the others.

There is also a higher risk of inappropriate relationships developing due to lower monitoring levels. This can result in relapse or discharge from rehab treatment. There is an even greater risk of this happening in mixed-sex houses. Although mixed-sex sober houses tend to have a residential support worker


Due to quasi-residential rehabs’ capacity to treat more individuals, the counsellor-to-patient ratio tends to be lower.


If there is a medical emergency, it may take longer to access the appropriate treatment. This is due to not having medical staff on hand.


Nutrition plans are not always factored into treatment, especially if patients buy and cook their food. Nutrition has proven to be an essential aspect of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.


No guarantee exists that everyone within the sober living house will get on. This can lead to increased patient friction, negatively impacting their engagement levels.

Recovery houses for inpatient treatment provide a homely atmosphere where patients can relax after a day of attending a rehab clinic; as with all treatment centres, residential or otherwise, randomised drug and alcohol testing is frequently undertaken. This helps to make treatment as safe as possible.

A person’s suitability for attending a quasi-residential treatment centre must be assessed on a case-by-case, independent basis. Whilst they are the more affordable rehab option, certain patients are only suited to residential treatment.

Call us for a comprehensive assessment before taking that next step. We will ensure that your treatment needs are met and that you are matched with the right rehab programme.

Our treatment experts will ensure that you or your loved ones receive the correct care and treatment you require.

sober living

Sober living accommodation after rehab treatment

Sober houses and supported living are excellent options for those who have completed an intensive rehabilitation programme. Staying within a recovery community in the early months after treatment can boost a person’s chances of maintaining long-term recovery.

For many people who complete rehab treatment, returning to the environment where they used alcohol and drugs can undo all the progress they have made. There are many instances where sober living accommodation can prove to be beneficial. It works as an extension of addiction rehabilitation.

Rehab Guide

Sober living houses suit the following groups of people:

  • Those who are rootless and homeless

Staying within a sober living house will give you firm roots to help cement your recovery. It will also give you time to apply for housing or find work.

  • Those who are in a toxic relationship

Many people who have an addiction inadvertently find themselves in very unhealthy or dangerous relationships. If your home environment has someone who abuses substances or who will try to sabotage your recovery, you can find safety within a recovery house.

  • People who have limited life skills and social skills

Living in a recovery community will teach you how to socialise and learn life skills alongside others. It will also help you to stay focused on recovery and give you the space and time to do this.

  • Those who have no support network or family back home

Returning home to living alone can be all too easy to start isolating again. Recovery begins when you step outside of your comfort zone. It is so important to have the proper support during the early months of overcoming an addiction. Besides, recovery houses can be a lot of fun as you share a common interest with your housemates

  • Patients who do not feel ready to integrate back into society fully.

It is expected to feel fearful of returning home, newly clean and sober. Whilst you will look and feel much better, your vulnerability can be authentic. Many people struggle to transition to a life without substances. Staying in sober living accommodation will provide you with the opportunity to implement the skills you have learned in rehab. It will also encourage you to develop new skills. It’s okay to take additional time out to focus on yourself. It is strongly recommended that you do.

  • Those who are not ready to rejoin the rat race

For many people, work and home life can be a massive source of stress. Stress is recognised to be a contributing factor for addiction relapse. Sober houses allow you to explore options and take stock of life before deciding on your future.

  • Those who lack discipline around their recovery

If you struggle with discipline, recovery can easily fall by the wayside. Having a group of people around you who will inspire you to invest in recovery can make all the difference in staying clean and sober.

  • Where ongoing support and therapy would be beneficial

Many people who have a substance use disorder require ongoing support after their initial period of treatment. As recovery progresses, awareness around personal issues becomes more profound. Staying in a halfway house will give you direct access to the rehab you underwent therapy with. They will already understand the problems you need to work through. They can support you further with therapy and keywork sessions

A proportion of people who undergo detoxification develop PAWS. This syndrome can be complicated to live with and can last months after the initial detoxification process. PAWS is most common in alcohol, opiate and benzodiazepine users. The symptoms of PAWs can include lethargy, continued cravings for substances, depression, anxiety and insomnia (amongst others). Living in sober housing can provide a person suffering from PAWs the extra support and care that they need.

Rehab Guide

A Clean and Safe Transition

The most significant benefit to staying in a halfway or sober living house is that it increases well-being and reduces the risk of relapse.

A study conducted by the Alcohol Research Group found the following benefits for patients residing in sober houses:

This was based on clients remaining in sober living houses for at least three months. The longer they stayed, the more benefits increased.

Further benefits to sober living accommodation include:

  • Better mental health
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Better socialisation and living skills
  • Helps to prepare for independent living
  • Bridges the gap between inpatient treatment and community living
  • Higher levels of support from peers and the associated rehab
  • More likely to engage in recovery meetings with peers
  • A safe space in which to implement skills learned during rehab
  • Space and time to sort out employment, education, housing, finances and difficulties with the law
  • Support is on hand in the form of peers who are housemates
  • The opportunity to implement change, work through issues and establish long-term recovery without added stress
  • Living in an abstinent environment, with regular drug and alcohol testing to act as a deterrent to use
  • Evidence supports that sober living housemates attend more 12-step mutual aid support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

How Long Should a Person Stay in Sober Accommodation?

Therapeutic communities consist of sober living houses where the focus is on continued recovery. How long a person should stay within supported housing depends on their needs. However, statistics show that the best long-term recovery outcomes come for those who remain in treatment longer.

At a minimum, we recommend at least three months to reap the benefits of sober living houses. Many of our clients remain in our sober living houses for up to a year or more.

A person who uses sober living as part of the reintegration process must have a stable place to stay upon leaving. They also need to ensure that their recovery is on firm ground. Leaving too soon can put their recovery in jeopardy.

Sober Living House Requirements

Just like all treatment centres, drug and alcohol transition houses also have a set of rules that residents are required to abide by. These rules help to keep the household safe.

Standard rules for recovery house residents include:

  • No overnight guests
  • No drugs or alcohol
  • Agree to randomised drug and alcohol testing
  • Drug and alcohol testing on returning from a period away from the house (i.e. visiting family, holiday or training)
  • Housemates are required to keep their rooms clean and contribute to household chores
  • To attend 12-step meetings and be active in their recovery
  • To have completed at least a primary care rehab treatment programme
  • Being respectful towards housemates and rehab staff
  • Not to be involved in any criminal activity
  • To not obstruct any inspection the rehab wishes to conduct within the house

Paying for Supported Living After Rehab

Most people who wish to stay in a sober living house do not have an occupation or the means to finance it. Where they do have the means, the rehab will require payment at an agreed rate or for the cost to be covered by the appropriate health insurance.

For those who are unemployed or too sick to work, housing benefits can be claimed for supported living. The treatment centre you attend will be able to advise you on a claim and help you with the forms should you need them.

Looking for Sober Living Accommodation?

Only specific rehabs have sober living communities. So, if you wish to undergo long-term addiction rehabilitation with a transition period in supported living, please call us. We can help you to locate the perfect rehab that matches your requirements.

The rehab you attend must be able to meet all of your treatment criteria. For some, that includes long-term care within supported housing following inpatient treatment.

For more information on our therapeutic living communities and recovery houses, call and speak to us for a free and confidential treatment assessment. We will be able to answer any questions you or your family may have and ensure you access the best addiction treatment possible.

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  1. The importance of nutrition in aiding recovery from substance use disorders: A review –
  2. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) -
  3. What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go From Here? –
  5. A Clean and Sober Place to Live: Philosophy, Structure, and Purported Therapeutic Factors in Sober Living Houses –


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