They are environments free of substance abuse where individuals can receive support from peers who are also in recovery. There is no time limit on how long someone can live in a sober living house. While meeting attendance and household duties may be required, there isn’t regimented treatment programming present in the home. Also like other sober-living environments, halfway houses generally have systems in place to keep residents sober, and drugs tests are usually administered to monitor for any substance use. They also often come with additional mental health, medical, recovery or educational services that help people get accustomed to their new lives. A sober living home is a residential facility that provides a drug and alcohol-free environment for individuals recovering from addiction.

Going to rehab first and sober living second gives you the best of both worlds. Due to how interchangeably these terms are used, it is important to ask questions about expectations and structure to determine which home is the right fit for you. Julia Childs Heyl is a clinical social worker who focuses on mental health disparities, the healing of generational trauma, and depth psychotherapy.


We offer structure, community, and support in our home-like setting that equips our residents to live a meaningful sober life. The purpose of rehab centers is to provide their patients with as much support as possible on their journey to recovery. The long term goal is to equip those individuals with the skills they need in order to maintain long term sobriety.

Weekly house meetings are a standard component, where chores and overall house functioning are processed within the community. Ultimately, these homes offer individuals a supportive space to rebuild their lives and work towards a future free from the grip of substance abuse. Before transitioning to a sober living home, many individuals undergo a structured rehabilitation program. These programs, which are typically 1–2 weeks in duration, provide intensive substance abuse treatment. They lay the foundation for recovery, introducing residents to 12-step meetings and providing medical support. In contrast with halfway houses, where court mandates or program guidelines may dictate stays, sober living homes offer flexibility.

Healthy Living In Recovery

We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. NARR has emerged as the unifying entity long needed in a field that lacked professionalization and standards for residential programs. The primary role of rehab is to help a person understand the root causes of their addiction so they can develop skills and strategies for managing those triggers.

You sign into a program at a treatment clinic, living there and partaking in a preordained schedule, going through different treatment modalities based on what you respond to the most. Some facilities require a minimum number of days of sobriety from substance abuse, but many will work with you to determine if you’re a good fit. Sober living homes cater to a diverse population, from young adults to older individuals, and can be particularly beneficial for those who may not have a supportive environment to return to post-rehab. If you wish to contact a specific rehab facility then find a specific rehab facility using our treatment locator page or visit Specific schedules will vary from program to program and according to individual client needs, but there are some consistencies between most rehab programs.

The Difference Between Sober Living and Inpatient Rehab

These are fixed for a certain number of weeks, working through a set program with a group of individuals. These programs represent timelines rather than strict guidelines, and individuals are still treated in a unique fashion corresponding to their needs and circumstances. Sober Surroundings is a sober home only and we do not provide addiction services or addiction treatment of any kind. By Julia Childs Heyl, MSW

Julia Childs Heyl, MSW, is a clinical social worker and writer.

They provide an increased level of structure and oversight and often utilize a clinical component of some kind, i.e. outpatient or aftercare services from a collaborative entity. This level offers life-skill-oriented programming in-house or in cooperation with other service providers. Guidance is provided for the development of life skills and recovery-sustaining activities, such as employment, physical health, and self-help. Case management and clinical services are contracted in, or accessed in the outside community.