Rules & Expectations in Sober Living Homes
A sober living home is technically not an addiction treatment program. There are no counselors or licensed mental health professionals in most sober living homes. In most cases, these are homes that are run by people who are also in recovery. They will be your peers, and they can model recovery for you.
But a sober living home can also provide you with a template you can use at home in order to preserve your sobriety. Sober living rules play a large part in that learning.
What Are the Rules in Sober Living Homes?
Typically, common rules for sober living homes include the following:
- You are expected to pay on time every month—When you enroll with a sober living home, you are expected to attend to your adult responsibilities. This means paying your bills on time, every time.
- Substance use is not permitted, no exceptions—A sober living home is designed to be a safe place that allows people to avoid the temptations of drugs and alcohol. Many sober living homes require routine drug and alcohol tests, including tests in a laboratory, and failed tests can be grounds for expulsion.
- You must complete your chores on time—Sober homes are communal spaces, and they are designed to run a little like a family home, chores included. These tasks can help you to stay connected to the home, and they can help you remember the rhythms involved with keeping a house up and running.
- House meeting attendance is mandatory—Maintaining a communal living space involves communication, and many houses enforce open communication through the use of house meetings. Meetings can help you learn how to resolve conflicts with the people you live with, which can help when you move back home with family.
- AA/NA Meetings might be required—In a sober living home, you might be required to attend 12-Step recovery group meetings in the home, or you might be required to show proof of attendance in community meetings. Both 12-Step and non 12-Step recovery programs can be a vital part of your recovery and relapse prevention.
- Counseling/therapy sessions may be required—If you’re still working through an outpatient addiction program when you are living in a sober home, you might be required to show proof that you are attending meetings with your counselor. These check-ins can ensure you are following through with your recovery.
- You may be required to maintain employment—In a sober home, you might be required to get a job, so you can earn income, feel a sense of purpose, and discover sober social activities. If you cannot find a job, you might be asked to volunteer in the community instead.
- You will have a set curfew—When you are not in counseling sessions or at work, you might be required to be on the grounds of the sober living home. At night and on the weekends, you might not be allowed to leave at all.
- Visitors must be approved/allowed—You might feel quite open about your recovery and the steps you have taken to make a recovery come to light, but the people around you might feel the need for privacy. As a result, visitors are rarely allowed in a sober living home.
- Respect other residents—Communal living with strangers is easier when everyone makes a commitment to get along, and there are rules that people must treat one another with kindness and respect. This can help you to retain new friends who you can lean on if your sobriety is challenged.
- Travel may be limited—A sober lifestyle begins with a solid routine, and nothing disrupts a routine more than travel. As a result, it is not at all uncommon for sober homes to place restrictions on your ability to visit other communities, whether they are close by or far away.
- There may be pet restrictions—Although you might love your pet dearly, an animal could trigger allergic responses in other residents, and some animals become aggressive with strangers. As a result, your sober living home might ban all animals, including those you already have.
- There might be daily routines you need to follow—A sober home might have rules about “quiet hours,” which could mean that you are required to lower lights and keep your voice down between a certain time at night and a certain time in the morning. This tranquil environment could help to reset your sleep/wake clock, and that could help you handle life’s responsibilities a little better.
Following sober living rules can clearly help you develop sober habits, but they are not just guidelines for sober living. Breaking these rules can mean losing your place in your sober living home. You could be expelled right away, or you could be expelled when you break the rules more than once. It pays to know what the sober living rules are, and it pays to follow them.
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