Frequently Asked Questions

  • Home
  • >
  • Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Sober Living Home?

A sober living home is transitional living, often between inpatient care and independent living post-treatment. It is considered a “bridge” to ease the individual back into living on his or her own in the “real world.” It reinforces the lessons learned in rehab while providing social support to help remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol. It also serves to help the individual prepare for the daily challenges and stressors of everyday life.

What is a Structured Sober Living Homes?

Structured sober living homes offer more intensive peer support programs than traditional sober living homes. House managers and staff work with residents to help them develop new skills and coping tools that are designed to avert the possibility of relapse. Structured sober living homes are so-named because they provide more daily structure in residents’ lives. Because structured sober living homes offer more resources and one-on-one attention, they are not only safe and trigger-free living spaces for people recovering from substance use disorders, but effective recovery tools in their own right.

Structured sober living homes recognize that long term sobriety depends on much more than just physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol. While living in a structured sober living home, residents not only work to stay sober, but they cultivate new values, including responsibility, honesty, and integrity. Structured sober living homes help residents rebuild their lives from the ground up, often providing guidance on employment, school, and conflict resolution. Like other sober living homes, structured sober livings can function as a “bridge” between a treatment center and independent living, but they are also a very effective first line options to recovery for addiction.

How Much Does a Sober Living Home Cost?

Sober living costs vary independently depending on location, level of structure, and other specific benefits and amenities offered by the program. For example, some sober living homes supply groceries and offer weekly drug testing, transportation to 12-Step meetings, and employment support—potentially resulting in higher costs than a sober living that does not offer added services. However, some sober living homes are more affordable than living independently, since rent is often split between many people.

Design for Recovery offers a range of room and pricing options in an effort to meet the needs of diverse people. If you are interested in living at Design for Recovery and you want to get a sense of what rent would cost for you, it is best to contact us directly so that we can discuss your specific needs. We also understand that people who are recovering after years of active addiction often have complicated financial situations. It is our goal to ensure that everyone, no matter their situation or background, has a chance to recover from alcohol or drug addiction.

Are There Rules in a Sober Living Home?

The most basic and fundamental rule at a sober living home is abstinence from drugs and alcohol—this is often enforced via random drug testing. However, most sober living homes require residents to abide by certain other house rules as well, such as curfew, completing chores, and regular attendance at local 12-Step meetings.

Can I Have a Job and Vehicle at a Sober Living Home?

Rules regarding jobs and vehicles vary independently depending on the sober living home. Since residents often come to sober living at different points in their sobriety, some sober living homes may require a gap of time before the individual is allowed to return to work. However, reentry into the workplace is highly encouraged at sober living homes, with some even offering resume and employment support services.

Rules regarding vehicles also vary depending on the sober living home. Most sober livings allow residents to have a vehicle, although some places consider it a privilege that can be taken away if certain rules of the house are broken.

How Long Is a Normal Stay at a Sober Living Home?

Residency at a sober living home can range from 30-60 days to a year or longer, depending on the specific needs of the individual. Sober living is meant to help the individual build a sturdy foundation of recovery before transitioning to independent life post-treatment. It is a process that depends largely on the behavior, attitude, length of sobriety, and other characteristics of the individual.

When people enter sober living homes, the amount of time they stay can vary considerably from person to person. Individuals who are recovering from severe addictions often have a lot of work to do to ensure long term sobriety. After all, withdrawing from drugs and alcohol for a short period of time is rarely sufficient. Most people who have successfully “quit” drugs and alcohol on their own can tell you that!

Sober living homes generally offer flexible programs that allow people to stay for however long they need. They are unique among addiction resource centers in that they emphasize length of recovery rather than short-term solutions. Most people benefit from staying at a sober living home for a considerable period of time. In fact, research indicates that people who remain involved in a formal recovery program for longer are less likely to relapse in the long run.

Part of the reason sober living homes encourage people to stay on a long-term basis is so that residents have an opportunity to rebuild their lives. Sober living homes recognize that sobriety depends on much more than physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol. In order to remain sober for the long haul, it is important for people to build and develop sober lives that they won’t throw away so easily. While staying at a sober living home, residents have the opportunity to build sober social support systems that will stay with them for life. They work on unresolved interpersonal issues and learn new ways of coping with difficult situations. Residents also work toward new academic or career goals, so that they can stand on their own two feet by the time they graduate. All of this takes time.

Factors to take into consideration when thinking about how long you want to live in a sober living home include:

  • The severity of your addiction
  • Which substances you are addicted to
  • Whether or not you suffer from polysubstance dependence
  • The presence of comorbid mental health conditions
  • Your level of social support in the outside world
  • Whether a case worker or legal authority has asked you to attend a sober living for a specific amount of time

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Some people live in sober living homes for several months, while others stay longer than a year. While living in a sober living house, you’re investing in your life. It is important to remember that getting sober is a process, and one that it is best not to rush.

Why Do I Need Sober Living After Rehab?

Sober living provides a safe and stable living environment to ease the transition from rehab to the often chaotic real world. It builds on the foundation of recovery learned in an inpatient program, thus improving the chances of sustained sobriety. Some sober living homes also offer added benefits of employment support, money management services, and one-on-one mentoring to further improve the chances of long-term success.

Sober living homes that are 12 Step-based—meaning they encourage or require attendance at local Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings—often provide transportation to meetings. According to a study by the Journal of Addictive Disorders, participation in a 12-Step group or peer-support group doubles the likelihood of remaining abstinent in early recovery

What Are the Benefits of Entering a Sober Living Home?

Sober living homes can improve the chances of remaining abstinent following inpatient treatment. It provides social support among individuals with similar goals. It is a safe and structured environment that nurtures and prepares the individual for reentry into the real world. Some of the most important benefits that residents receive in sober living homes include:

  • Constant guidance and support
  • A strong sober social support system
  • Improved life skills
  • A smoother transition to independent living
  • Lowered risk of relapse
  • A safe, trigger-free space to pursue recovery
  • Help finding employment
  • Improved relationships with friends and family

How Do I Get into a Sober Living?

Most inpatient treatment programs offer placement and/or resources for transitioning to a local sober living home. They can provide phone numbers or even offer transportation to tour a specific sober living before the individual leaves the rehab facility.

There is also an abundance of resources online. Most sober living homes have a website that provides details regarding the specifics of its program and how to become a resident.

If you want to enroll in a sober living home, the first step is simply reaching out. Before making any commitment, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your needs and particular circumstances with the director and staff of the sober living home. Most sober living homes ask specific questions to determine the individuals needs when people enroll. These questions help staff determine your situation, so that they can be prepared to address specific needs the potential residents may have. They will ask questions about your addiction, how you used, and which substances you used. They will let you know what the house provides and ask if you have any questions. If you do decide that a particular sober living home offers what you need, the next step is simply moving in!

How Long Will I Stay in Sober Living?

When people enter sober living homes, the amount of time they stay can vary considerably from person to person. Individuals who are recovering from severe addictions often have a lot of work to do to ensure long term sobriety. After all, withdrawing from drugs and alcohol for a short period of time is rarely sufficient. Most people who have successfully “quit” drugs and alcohol on their own can tell you that!

Sober living homes generally offer flexible programs that allow people to stay for however long they need. They are unique among addiction resource centers in that they emphasize length of recovery rather than short-term solutions. Most people benefit from staying at a sober living home for a considerable period of time. In fact, research indicates that people who remain involved in a formal recovery program for longer are less likely to relapse in the long run.

Part of the reason sober living homes encourage people to stay on a long-term basis is so that residents have an opportunity to rebuild their lives. Sober living homes recognize that sobriety depends on much more than physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol. In order to remain sober for the rest of their lives, it is important for people to build and develop sober lives that they won’t throw away so easily. While staying at a sober living home, residents have the opportunity to build sober social support systems that will stay with them for life. They work on unresolved interpersonal issues and learn new ways of coping with difficult situations. Residents also work toward new academic or career goals, so that they can stand on their own two feet by the time they graduate. All of this takes time.

Factors to take into consideration when thinking about how long you want to live in a sober living home include:

  • The severity of your addiction
  • Which substances you are addicted to
  • Whether or not you suffer from polysubstance dependence
  • The presence of comorbid mental health conditions
  • Your level of social support in the outside world
  • Whether a case worker or legal authority has asked you to attend a sober living for a specific amount of time

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Some people live in sober living homes for several months, while others stay longer than a year. While living in a sober living house, you’re investing in your life. It is important to remember that getting sober is a process, and one that it is best not to rush.

Can I Have My Pets in Sober Living?

Sober living homes vary when it comes to pet policies. Some sober living homes do allow residents to bring their pets with them, as long as the pets are not disruptive. Other sober living homes have a no pet policy, partly because it is important for people to be able to focus on their own recovery before becoming responsible for another life! However, some sober living homes have a policy somewhere between these two extremes.

In fact, pets can help people a lot during early recovery. Research has repeatedly shown that dogs help people recover from a wide variety of conditions, including cancer and depression. Dogs and other pets are unconditionally loving, which can help residents learn to love and accept themselves. When residents work together to collectively take care of an animal, they also learn important skills and values, including responsibility, empathy, and teamwork. These are all important aspects of maintaining sobriety in the long run.

Is It Possible To Be Kicked Out For Missing Rent Once?

A sober living home, like any other home, requires people to pay rent. When a person enrolls in a sober living home, they will have an opportunity to discuss their financial circumstances with the program director and staff. Most sober living homes understand that people are generally not in the best financial shape after years of substance abuse. While they are generally not able to let people in for free, they are often able to make individual arrangements to accommodate people in specific circumstances. For instance, a sober living home might devise a payment plan. Sober living homes can help you figure out your specific situation or help you get financial support via other sources. If you’re open and honest about your financial circumstances, sober living homes will work with you — because their goal isn’t to profit, it’s to help you get sober.

However, if you simply stop paying rent, few sober living homes will allow you to continue staying there. If something happens that temporarily limits your ability to pay, the best course of action is simply having a discussion with the staff of your sober living. They can help you figure out the next steps, so that you won’t have to be on your own in early recovery.

Will I Be Drug Tested in a Sober Living Home?

Yes, you will be given random drug testing at Design for Recovery sober living homes.  The reason for this is to ensure a safe and sober environment for all residents living at our sober home. 

What is the Difference Between a Sober Living Home and a Halfway House?

Sober living homes and halfway houses are similar in that they both are residences for people who are recovering from drug and alcohol use disorders. Both sober living homes and halfway houses have a long history dating back to the 19th century. At either residence, people are living in safe and trigger-free environments. People who are looking for support while rebuilding lives in the outside world can benefit from either type of home, though sober living homes offer more structure and long-term support.

The primary difference is that sober living homes generally offer specific structure geared toward helping people develop new tools and coping skills. Residents at sober living homes can also generally stay for however long they like. Halfway houses, in contrast, tend to be funded by the government and they are generally only able to admit residents for finite amounts of time. As such, halfway houses have fewer amenities and can sometimes have a more institutional feel, while sober living homes function in many ways like private residence.

Do Sober Living Homes Have House Managers?

Most quality sober living homes have staff available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Even at night when people are sleeping, it is essential for residents to have access to essential recovery support should the need come up. Well run sober living homes also generally have one or more live-in house managers. These staff members live on-site. This allows them to understand the unique circumstances and needs of all the house residents and to be involved in problem-solving if the need arises. House managers also generally coordinate the staff of the house in general. As such, a sober living home house manager functions as a mentor and supervisor for residents, a director for staff, and an excellent resource for parents and family members who have questions or concerns.

Do Sober Living Homes Require Residents to Attend 12-Step Meetings?

The vast majority of sober living homes are based on the principles of recovery as originally devised by 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. However, 12-step programs are designed to be nonprofessional organizations with no institutional affiliations. For this reason, no sober living home has an official relationship with any 12-step program. However, many sober living homes do operate on the same philosophy as 12-step programs. This philosophy can be stated simply: individuals with addictions cannot recover using their own willpower, but they can manage their condition if they admit they have a problem and learn to rely on other people who suffer from the same problem.

Many sober living homes encourage or even require that residents attend daily or at least regular 12-step meetings. Some sober living homes even hold 12-step meetings on-site. The specific 12-step program that a sober living home recommends can vary. Some require that members attend one program, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), while others make individual recommendations based on the specific substances a person was addicted to. Attending daily meetings is a great way to develop new tools and coping skills in sobriety. It allows sober living home residents to learn from the experiences of people who have been sober for long periods of time. Moreover, it provides them with an opportunity to build their sober social support systems. While sober living homes provide a social support network as well, 12-step meetings allow residents to expand the scope of their network. It is excellent preparation for life outside of a sober living home, during which it is essential for individuals to remain involved in recovery.

However, it is important to note that the programs and resources offered at sober living homes goes beyond that which is offered at 12-step meetings. Sober living homes provide a variety of services, from mentoring to helping people find employment. 12-step meetings are considered just one element among many others that work synergistically with sober living homes to help individuals recover from substance use disorders and rebuild their lives.

Can I Leave My Sober Living Home?

To lessen the chances of a relapse, we encourage residents to leave after having developed a strong program of sobriety. Sober living home staff work with residents to ensure that by the time they graduate they have a strong support system, a job, and other important resources conducive to long term sobriety. As such, it is best to stay for the entire duration of the sober living program and coordinate your graduation with program staff.

However, you are free to move out of your sober living home at any time. We do prefer that you give notice ahead of time and think over your decision carefully. Nonetheless, no individual can be forced to stay in a sober living home. If a person chooses to leave early, they may be at a higher risk of certain consequences. These include a higher chance of relapse. Individuals who were attending a sober living home for legal reasons may also suffer criminal consequences. In some cases, family members may be unlikely to offer support or financial resources to individuals who have stopped pursuing recovery at their sober living home.

Ultimately, we recommend that you stay until your life is better! The process of recovering from a substance use disorder and rebuilding your life can sometimes be challenging, but we promise it is well worth it. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

What Will Happen if I Relapse While Living in a Sober Living Home?

When a person relapses while living in a sober living home, it is generally handled on a case-by-case basis.

At Design for Recovery, we understand that for many people, relapsing one or more times does not mean that they can’t get sober. In fact, many people who successfully develop long-term sobriety have many relapse stories to tell. While relapsing is never a positive event, it can sometimes be a learning experience that allows a person to understand the nature of their addiction with more clarity.

Ultimately, however, it is important to understand that a sober living home is by definition a place for sober people. By moving into a sober living home, residents are agreeing to remain sober while living there. This agreement is important not only for that particular resident, but for the safety of all of the other residents who are hoping to live in a supportive and substance-free home. When a resident relapses, they are not only demonstrating a lack of commitment to their own sobriety, but they are violating the trust of other residents who depend on them.

In some cases, when a person’s relapse is a threat to the sobriety of other members of the home or if they seem uninvested in their own sobriety, we will ask them to leave and help them find another source of support. However, if we determine that a person’s relapse is simply an unfortunate slip and they are still committed to getting sober, we will allow them to continue to live at Design for Recovery. However, they will likely have to start from scratch and demonstrate a renewed and strengthened commitment to their recovery process.

Will I Have a Roommate in My Sober Living Home?

Sober living homes offer a wide range of accommodations for guests. Some sober living homes offer private rooms. However, the vast majority encourage residents to live in rooms with fellow residents. Having a roommate has a number of benefits for people trying to get sober. It helps people develop bonds with other residents, allowing them to build and reinforce their sober social support systems. Having a roommate also encourages people to take responsibility for their own actions and behaviors. While living in a private room, it is often tempting to leave beds unmade, throw trash on the ground, and other careless behaviors. While getting sober, it is important to learn self-care practices, and sometimes the best foundation for self-care involves first learning to care about other individuals.

Do Sober Living Homes Help Residents Find Employment?

Yes! The purpose of a sober living home is to help residents rebuild their lives in sobriety. At Design for Recovery, we recognize that achieving long term sobriety involves far more than merely abstaining for drugs and alcohol. To stay sober for the long haul, it is essential that people build lives for themselves that are fulfilling. As such, we encourage all of our residents to take steps forward so that by the time they graduate they can stand on their own two feet.

Design for Recovery actively supports residents as they seek employment. Our vast alumni network is often a helpful resource. Many of our former residents have gone on to start successful businesses, and they are often more than enthusiastic about employing residents of Design for Recovery. Design for Recovery helps individuals develop strong values that improve their prospects for employment. These values include responsibility, honesty, and integrity. As such, even non-affiliated businesses are generally enthusiastic about employing Design for Recovery residents.

Many people come to Design for Recovery after spending years unemployed or partially employed in dead-end jobs. While living at our sober living home, residents have the opportunity to consider — often for the first time — their actual goals in life. Sober living home staff help residents devise both short term and long term goals so that they can realize their ambitions. This can mean starting a new career in an entry level job or even beginning an academic program at a university in order to learn a new skill set.

At Design for Recovery, we help and encourage residents as they begin new careers. Not only is doing so an essential component of a fulfilling sober life, but working a job in early recovery teaches important skills that can be brought to bear on many other aspects of a person’s life.

Are Visitors Allowed in Sober Living Homes?

Sober living homes are designed to be safe and trigger-free spaces for residents. However, it is important for residents to be able to maintain their relationships with family members, since social support is an essential component to long term sobriety. At Design for Recovery, we regularly host events during which family members are invited to congregate with house members. At barbeques and holiday dinners, Design for Recovery can feel like one big party. Close family members are also free to visit at any time, though it is recommended that they contact the house in advance to discuss their visit with the house manager.

Are Cell Phones Allowed in Sober Living Homes?

Sober living homes vary considerably in their cell phone policies. At Design for Recovery, we believe that it is important for people in the initial days of recovery to be grounded in the world around them. While cell phones and internet access can be useful tools, for vulnerable people who are trying to become more clear-headed, they can pose distractions. A sober living home is a safe space that is designed to be free of triggers to drug use. People who have cell phone access can more easily be triggered or confused when it comes to their own recovery. They may reach out to former toxic companions and be tempted to relapse. For these reasons, we limit cell phone access for residents in the early days of their recovery. This gives them the opportunity to focus on their present circumstances and the present moment, to cultivate real relationships with fellow house members, and to look inward.

Do Sober Living Homes Provide Food for Residents?

Most sober living homes do not directly provide food to residents but at Design for Recovery we do!  Residents of sober living homes are expected to cook for themselves. At Design for Recovery, we encourage residents to eat the food provided and cook meals for themselves. It is our belief that this habit is essential to developing autonomy and a healthy lifestyle. We do, however, help people who need it with money management as well as meal planning for residents who would like to purchase their own food. We also hold regular group dinners during which house residents eat together as a community!

Is Transportation Available for Sober Living Homes?

Quality sober living homes ensure that residents are able to access all of the resources they might need outside of the house. Some sober living homes, though not all, allow residents to continue using their personal vehicles. Design for Recovery is conveniently located only a short walk away from grocery stores, parks, and other important city resources. We also provide transportation to 12-step meetings outside of the house, as well as any essential services, like medical appointments, court hearings, and counseling sessions.

Can I Smoke Cigarettes While Getting Sober?

The vast majority of sober living homes allow residents to smoke. While the nicotine in cigarettes is certainly an addictive drug, it is not intoxicating the way alcohol and most recreational drugs are, and sober living homes therefore consider nicotine addiction an outside issue. In fact, most sober living homes discourage people from quitting smoking in the first few weeks of sobriety, since the act of quitting can be emotionally disorienting and lead to relapse.

At Design for Recovery, residents are not permitted to smoke within the house itself. They are, however, free to smoke cigarettes in designated outdoor areas. Residents are responsible for disposing of cigarette butts and ash in a responsible fashion.

Do Sober Living Homes Provide Medication Monitoring?

Yes, quality sober living homes do provide medication monitoring. Sober living home staff members keep a detailed account of the medications that each individual resident needs, and they help ensure that residents take the proper dosage of their medications on time. For individuals in early sobriety, keeping track of medications can be difficult. Many people are so distracted by their newfound circumstances that they simply forget to take their medications. Sober living homes provide medication monitoring so that residents do not jeopardize their physical health, mental health, or sobriety.

Sober living homes do not have physicians or psychiatrists on-site and they are not qualified to give medical advice, but they respect professional medical advice and aim to support it. Sober living homes recognize that many people entering sober living homes suffer from undiagnosed and untreated physical and mental health problems. Getting treatment for these ailments is often an essential component of getting sober, since many people turned to addictive substances in the first place to obtain temporary relief from symptoms. As such, sober living homes work to connect residents with any resources they might need, ranging from medical to psychiatric treatment.

Is Sober Living Right for Me?

Sober living homes are designed to help people get sober, stay sober, and build new lives in sobriety. They can be effectively utilized by people who have finished a formal addiction treatment program, such as an inpatient program or intensive outpatient program. For these individuals, sober living homes provide both a transitional environment and a long term source of support as they begin to rebuild their lives in the outside world. Sober living homes are also often recommended as a first-line approach to addiction recovery for individuals who have never attended any formal recovery program. Sober living homes provide a safe and trigger-free environment where individuals can develop the skills and coping tools they need to stay sober over the long term.

Sober living homes allow people to receive support and guidance for a longer period of time than treatment programs. Research shows that individuals who remain involved in recovery programs for longer have statistically lower rates of relapse even three years later. Part of this is due to the social support systems that residents are able to build while living in a sober living home. These relationships remain intact long after graduation, helping people remain supported throughout their lives as well as providing them with work connections, joy, and meaning.

What if I Have Questions About Sober Living Homes?

If you have any questions or concerns about sober living homes, the best thing to do is to reach out to Design for Recovery. Our program director and staff are more than willing to provide clarification about any of our services and policies. Even if you decide that Design for Recovery is not the place for you, we are more than happy to discuss your needs and point you in the right direction.

Top-Rated Sober Living Home In Los Angeles CA

Located in the heart of West Los Angeles, our residences are centrally located near the beach, downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and LAX international airport. It provides a safe and comfortable base for men to involve themselves in the community and to thrive as new and growing individuals. Our central location allows easy access from the 405, 105, 10 and 110 freeways. We cater to men who are looking for a sober living home on the Westside of Los Angeles County.

Reach out to us today.

Design For Recovery is committed to helping you or your loved one live a fulfilling life free from alcohol and drug addiction. Below you can find out what to expect when you contact us for help.

Call us at (424) 327-4614 or fill out the form below and we will be in touch with you soon.

Send us a message below.