Early addiction recovery can be challenging in many ways–and finding stable, sober housing is often the first obstacle people need to navigate after rehab. Those with a history of addiction, homelessness, incarceration, or lack of employment need access to community support and resources that help them stay committed to sobriety. Without the solid foundation of a safe, sober living environment, even the most dedicated people will struggle to avoid relapse.
Sober living houses provide a bridge between the structure and safety of rehab and their return to regular daily life. Residents pay rent and cover expenses during their stay, which can be as long or short as they choose. A sober living home is a safe, drug and alcohol-free living environment where people can find peer and professional support, structure, and the freedom to work, attend school, and socialize.
Not all sober living homes are created equal. It’s essential to look for signs of quality–and to recognize red flags. This article will explore some of the signs to look out for as you look for a sober living home.
Sober Living Homes: Signs of Quality and Red Flags
Many facilities claim to offer a safe, sober environment for people in addiction recovery. But in most places, sober living homes operate outside government support or supervision. This means some sober living homes offer exceptional amenities and services, and some are subpar or even hazardous.
It’s important to know what to look for in a sober living home–and what to avoid.
Red flag: A rundown facility
Before agreeing to stay in a sober living home, take a tour in person if possible. Pictures on the internet may be inaccurate, staged, or outdated. Speak to other residents about their experience living in the facility if you can.
A high-quality sober living home should be spacious, clean, and well-maintained. Watch for:
- A clean interior
- Well-maintained lawn or landscaping
- All bedrooms should be inside the house–not in a garage or exterior building
- No signs of pest infestation
- Adequate lighting in all bedrooms and shared spaces
- Working kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures
Seeing overgrown grounds, broken windows, or a dirty home should send you packing. If the house is not properly maintained, other aspects of the sober living home will likely be neglected, too.
Red flag: Free housing
Some sober living homeowners try to lure residents with free rent. This may sound enticing, but it is often a sign of a scam. Staff may use residents’ insurance information to submit made-up insurance claims–then pocket the cash. This is an illegal practice that could have long-term financial and legal consequences.
A sober living home should be a safe, comfortable place with homelike amenities and a supportive staff. You must pay rent to help maintain these services, just like renting an apartment.
The cost of rent in a sober living home varies from place to place. Make sure you understand what fees and expenses you will need to pay each month before submitting an application.
Red flag: Does not require abstinence or screening
The most important aspect of a sober living home is that it provides a place for residents to live without exposure to drugs and alcohol. A high-quality sober living home will have rules and structure–and require you to abstain from drinking and using drugs. Regular drug screening is a critical aspect of ensuring a sober house is drug and alcohol-free.
Typical drug screening requirements may include:
- Regular drug and alcohol testing completed in the sober living home
- A disciplinary process for residents who test positive for drugs or alcohol
- All prescription medications are approved and managed by staff
These and other rules must be in place to keep residents safe and secure while staying in the sober living home.
Red flag: No admission requirements
A sober living home should have a standard admissions process that makes sure all incoming residents understand the rules and expectations of the community. The sober living home staff should also keep thorough documentation about residents.
All residents should be able to comply with rules and regulations, which may include:
- Attending a certain number of 12-steps or support group sessions each week
- Managing mental health and medical conditions
- Working or attending school
- Taking care of personal hygiene and tasks like getting dressed and eating meals
- Doing chores and contributing to the household
And most importantly, residents of a sober living home should be in active recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and aim to maintain a safe, sober living environment.
Find a Sober Living Home Now
If you or someone you love need the supportive community in a sober living home, reach out to the team at New You Sober Living today. Our clean, comfortable sober living homes in Broward County offer the perfect place to stay while moving forward in your recovery.
Call us today to explore your options or schedule a tour.