Sober Living Houses After Rehab

For those with substance use disorders, accessing support and staying at a sober living home can be a critical stage of recovery.

Research shows that residents who stay at halfway houses are much more likely to stay engaged with aftercare and visit rehab clinics more often.

Accessing this kind of provision makes a huge difference to individuals in recovery who require more complex input or who don’t have a full and effective support system in their usual life.

What is supported housing?

Two men talking at a table

Supported housing is where people with mental or physical health conditions live and are supported by a team of staff.

The support staff are there to enforce guidelines around how to keep the environment and residents safe.

As well as this, staff help people with various daily living skills and to focus on whatever goals they might have in relation to their care or recovery.

Sober living homes during and after rehab

Living room

In the addiction recovery field, supported housing includes two types of accommodation;

  1. A sober house. This is the type a person might stay at while receiving inpatient treatment at a rehab clinic nearby. A sober lifestyle is fully supported and overseen by staff on-site who work closely with the staff at the clinic. This is also known as quasi-residential treatment.
  2. Halfway houses. These are for people who have already completed an inpatient rehabilitation programme and are accessing outpatient treatment facilities. Some people require or want to be a part of sober living communities where it is easier for them to abstain from drug or alcohol use. A halfway house offers a step “halfway” between rehab and reintegration into society.

What Does Quasi-Residential Treatment Mean?


Quasi-residential treatment is where people live at a sober living facility (i.e. a sober house) while accessing an intensive inpatient treatment programme.

Residents sleep at the sober house but go into the rehab clinic for full intensive days following a schedule of therapies, group sessions, and other treatments.

Sober houses usually offer same-sex accommodation.

After a day in the clinic, patients go to the house to relax and unwind and have their evening meal before heading to bed. This approach is designed to be more reflective of life outside of rehab, as the house is comfortable and relaxed with all the same facilities (and often more) that people have at home.

Staff encourage residents to cook and do their usual everyday chores.

There are support workers available 24 hours a day, whether on-site or on-call.

Would You Suit A Sober Living House After Rehab?

A man sitting with a female therapist who is holding a clipboard

A sober living house offers a supportive environment after a stay in drug and alcohol rehab. Whilst come people sill require this support, others don’t.

It really depends on your individual circumstances as to whether this is the best option for you.

For those who come from difficult backgrounds where there isn’t a conducive environment to, or much support around, recovery, a sober house is really beneficial.

Some alcohol and drug users, even once sober and after having learned the skills required to stay so, will struggle more because of being exposed to a higher amount of triggers, having ongoing mental health conditions, or perhaps from having experienced severe emotional trauma.

In such cases, ongoing support (i.e. group meetings and counselling) while staying at a sober house makes the transition back to everyday life much easier.

Those who have lived with years of alcohol or drug dependence or addiction are also likely to need support in managing daily tasks. Their road to recovery is made much easier when they’re supported and have ongoing access to rehab facilities.

Is A Sober House Only Suited To People With Alcohol Use Disorders?

Two people holding hands across a table

Absolutely not – people at sober houses are in recovery from all types of substance use disorders.

This can range from illegal drugs such as cannabis and heroin to prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, used illegally.

As well as this, halfway houses welcome people who are in treatment for behavioural addictions such as gambling, and those linked to sex, porn, eating disorders, etc.

What Are The Benefits Of Staying At A Sober Living House?


There are many positive outcomes that can come from staying at a sober house that are largely linked to personal and social development.

All of these help support long-term sobriety.

  • Ongoing easy access to various treatment options. This is likely to include 12-Step meetings, counselling, and other provisions such as the use of gym facilities.
  • More residents are able to be treated and it can make treatment cheaper if funding is difficult.
  • A safe and sober environment where people are supported by staff to remain focused on their healing journey.
  • Sober houses help people to develop life skills and also encourage independence while receiving intensive treatment.
  • Development of healthy social connections and reducing isolation. Both of these are key to a successful recovery as people find value in friendships and learn from social interactions. One study reported, “Abstinence from alcohol was associated with social support for sobriety and involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous.”
  • Appropriate support for mental health and strengthening self-understanding of this and how to manage it.

What Are The Risks of Sober Houses?

Group Therapy

While sober houses are great for some, the negatives do have to be considered

Firstly the risk of relapse might actually be increased at a halfway house.

This is linked to various factors such as the influence of others who are struggling with similar cravings (i.e. two people might relapse together) and conflict with others which can be triggering to both parties.

There is reduced direct support compared to full inpatient treatment. so this option isn’t an appropriate option for those with severe mental health conditions.

Where there are medical emergencies, it can take longer for the person at-risk to be treated. It also means that all residents have a reduction in patient-staff time.

Staying at a sober house can also mean residents meet others and enter personal or romantic relationships. This isn’t always conducive to recovery, especially in the early days when much self-focus and healing in essential.

What’s The Process I Need To Go Through To Get Into A Sober Living House?

Sober houses are generally available to people who have stayed as an inpatient at a residential rehab clinic.

The individual will have completed their programme successfully and have remained sober throughout with the intention of staying abstinent for the rest of their life.

A stay at a halfway house can be arranged as a basis from which an aftercare plan can be built.

An extended stay at a sober house is often discussed when a person first contacts the rehab they’re interested in going to.

What’s The Length Of A Stay At A Halfway House?

As you might expect, the longer a person stays at a sober house the higher their chances of a successful long-term recovery.

Both drug and alcohol addiction usually last a long time before a person is ready for and then enters treatment.

It takes time, effort, learning and ongoing practising of new skills to really ingrain new lifestyle behaviours and patterns.

It’s usually advised that a person stay at a halfway house for three months, but it’s actually common for people to stay for as long as a year.

What Type of Rules Are There At Sober Houses?

Doctor writing notes, with a laptop in the near field

Like all treatment centres, sober houses have rules to live by and requirements that must be met. All of these are put in place to promote successful ongoing sobriety.

In relation to daily life, there is obviously a sobriety requirement. No residents are permitted to use alcohol or drugs.

Having guests over to stay is banned, as are acts of violence.

Every day, residents are expected to keep on top of their chores such as cleaning, washing, and cooking.

The recovery journey will include an aftercare plan. Residents must attend and participate in weekly meetings.

To ensure sober housing and safe environment, and to guarantee that  people are taking their life in recovery seriously, residents are subjected to randomised drug testing during their stay and on return from any trips away.

How To Find A Sober House That Suits You

Women talking 1-1

To ensure you have a successful recovery, finding the most suitable sober house can make all the difference.

It’s really useful to speak with staff at your rehab clinic to get advice on local halfway house options.

You want to ensure the house offers a healthy environment that also helps you to thrive. This might include having facilities that that support interests you’re particularly interested in.

Some might offer daily group meetings and in-house counselling or therapeutic groups. Perhaps you’ll want a house that is well-staffed and that offers you a very structured routine and support path towards regular daily life.

The Financial Cost Of A Halfway House


Recovery houses obviously come at a cost.

The amount can increase with the more intensive an aftercare programme is, or depending on where you go, and your in-house options (i.e. sharing a room with another person can make it cheaper).

The usual amount you can expect to pay at a halfway house is between £800 to £1,000 for a week. Some people are self-funded, others through family, health insurance, or through government funding.

Final thoughts

A woman holding a mobile phone

The journey to recovery takes a huge amount of effort and commitment.

There are many challenges along the way, but when you get the right support, healing is always possible.

For some, a stay at a sober house makes recovery much easier to manage and adapt to.

This is because of all the regularly practised new and healthy behaviours, the encouraging and safe environment, as well as the ongoing support of rehabilitation staff.

If you’re interested in this type of support following a rehab stay, you can call the team at Rehab 4 Alcoholism on 0800 111 4108 and we’ll be happy to tell you more about it.