The Rules of a Sober Living Home

Two women talking over coffeeFor newly recovering addicts working towards rejoining the community, sober living homes offer a safe and supportive atmosphere. After completing a drug or alcohol treatment program, you may feel that your sobriety is shaky. Suddenly surrounded by many of your old triggers, you feel vulnerable to a relapse. According to a recent U.S. News article, a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 40 to 60 percent of people treated for addiction relapse within one year.1 And people without a strong support system who try to return to regular life too quickly are at the greatest risk. At a sober living home, you or your loved one can continue to work, attend support groups and participate in healthy activities in an environment that promotes abstinence. Rules, regulations and individual responsibly protect this environment by creating the structure you need to stay on track with your rehab program.

Rules for Admission

Sober living homes are a form of transitional housing that provides a bridge between rehab and community life. Located in residential neighborhoods, these homes typically look different from the surrounding houses. But there are specific requirements you must meet in order to be accepted into one of these settings. These requirements vary from one location to anther, but in general people applying for residency at a sober living home must:

  • Be clean and sober for a specific period of time.
  • Pass a drug screening test and agree to be tested at certain intervals.
  • Agree to attend 12-Step meetings or other community recovery programs.
  • Be medically and psychologically stable.
  • Agree to observe the house rules and regulations, including maintaining your sobriety while you are living in the home.

Life in a sober living home is less restrictive than residential rehab but more structured than the real world. Most importantly, everyone who resides in the home is expected to share a commitment to a healthy life that is free from drugs and alcohol.

Daily Requirements

A study reviewed in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs supports the validity of the sober living model. A six-month follow-up study of 130 residents in a sober living home found that 40 percent were still sober. Another 24 percent reported that they had abstained from drugs and alcohol for the majority of that time, while 56 percent left the home during that period.2 While staying in a sober living home, residents are typically required to observe the following rules:

  • Remaining clean and sober
  • Submitting to drug tests
  • Attending house meetings
  • Doing chores around the house
  • Spending a certain number of nights at the house each week
  • Doing community service or working in the community

Most sober living homes do not allow pornographic materials, drug paraphernalia, or clothing that promotes drug or alcohol use. Stealing and fighting are prohibited, and sexual activity between residents is often forbidden.

The goal of a sober household is to support your recovery as you re-establish your life outside of rehab. Residents get together at regularly scheduled meetings to discuss sobriety strategies and coping techniques. Allowing a sober living home to play an active role in the early days of your recovery dramatically increases the likelihood of addiction treatment success.3

Finding Help for Alcohol and Drug Addiction

At The Oaks at La Paloma, we can help connect you with a sober living program as part of our commitment to your continuing recovery. During sober living, you’ll have the opportunity to apply the coping skills you’ve learned in a supportive environment that requires accountability. The house rules ensure that you’ll have the security you need to reach your recovery goals.

Sobriety doesn’t end when you complete a detox or treatment program. Sober living homes can help you take the next step on the road to recovery. To learn more about how an aftercare program can support you or a loved one, call our admissions coordinators 24 hours a day.


1 Castaneda, Ruben. “Why Do Alcoholics and Addicts Relapse So Often?” U.S. News and World Report. 24 April 2017. Accessed 15 Dec. 2017.

1 Polcin, Douglas L., et al. “What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?Journal of psychoactive drugs, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2010. Accessed 15 Dec. 2017.

1Principles of Effective Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, Dec. 2012. Accessed 15 Dec. 2017.