Sober Living Rules and Guidelines

sober living rules and guidelinesNo home is without some rules and expectations, and a sober living home is no different. With the goal of ongoing success in recovery, almost every guideline is designed to provide the structure that the residents need to continue making good decisions. Over time, these rules will open up to encourage the independence of the resident.

Because the ultimate goal is successful abstinence from drugs and alcohol when out “in the world” and on one’s own, sober living homes seek to begin by first providing only slightly less protection than an inpatient rehab center and steadily loosen the rules until the resident feels confident enough to move out on their own and continue their new sober lifestyle.

House Rules

The house rules will vary from program to program, so it is important to ask ahead of time what will be expected of each resident. In most cases, sober house rules include:

  • Chores. Everyone must contribute to the upkeep of the home. This may include cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, outside care and more.
  • Respect. All residents are expected to treat each other respectfully even when there are disagreements or conflicts of personality.
  • Curfews. Most residents – at least in the beginning – are expected to be home by a certain hour each night.
  • House meetings. Usually, a weekly house meeting is required. There are also restrictions when visitors may be allowed.
  • No drugs and alcohol. Obviously this applies to the residents but it also means that their visitors are neither allowed to be under the influence nor to bring illicit substances into the house.
  • Communication. Most sober homes will limit use of cellphones, email, and telephones in the beginning.
  • Car access and outside trips. These too will likely be restricted. Residents may be required to bring a sober companion with them during the initial phase of their stay.

Therapeutic Expectations

The provision of active and ongoing recovery is one of the functions of a sober living home. Patients are expected to pursue their continued growth and healing by taking part in a number of different therapeutic activities. These may include:

  • Checking in with a case manager at the house regularly
  • Attending a certain number of 12-step meetings each week
  • Attending weekly personal therapy sessions
  • Continuing to maintain a mental health treatment plan

The specifics will vary from patient to patient depending upon what they began during rehab and what they determine with their therapeutic team is the best way to pursue their recovery goals in sober living. Most will enter a sober living situation with a recovery plan for aftercare in place. Others will develop a personal plan for their continued growth in recovery when they go through intake at the sober living home.

Preparing for the Future

Another major goal of a sober living home is to help the resident make measurable progress toward being able to function and live independently out in the world with minimal risk of relapse. To that end, many require residents to work on addressing issues and needs that must be met in order to increase their level of stability. This may include the requirement of:

  • Getting a job of any kind even if it is not in the career of choice and attending that job regularly
  • Working toward the career of interest (e.g., by attending classes, applying to college programs, etc.)
  • Going through family therapy
  • Taking parenting classes
  • Addressing legal issues or court requirements
  • Learning about managing a household if necessary (e.g., maintenance, budgeting, bill pay, etc.)

Learn more about how a sober living home can help you or your loved one prepare for a drug-free future when you contact us at the phone number listed above.