What Are The Different Types Of Sober Living Homes

What Are the Different Types of Sober Living Homes?

Also known as a sober living environment, a sober living home is a structured living area for people who have just finished alcohol or drug rehab. Usually patterned around the 12-step program, it aims to create a drug- and alcohol-free environment for those who wish to abstain from them.

Sober Living Homes

While a sober living house usually serves as a transitional place between the treatment facility and the society, it also caters to individuals who have not undergone treatment.

Sober Living Home Categories

Sober living environments are categorized according to the support they offer.

Level 1: Peer-Run

This democratically-run sober living home has few requirements for its transients. However, they are still subject to the regulations of the house manual.

The home, which is usually a single-family residence, has no paid staff. Despite this, it offers basic services such as self-help groups (encouraged), house meetings, even drug screenings.

Level 2: Monitored

This type of sober living home has a house manager who implements the place’s policy and regulations. Here, participation in self-help groups is required – as well as that of in-house meetings and drug screenings.

Compared to a level 1 facility, a monitored environment has at least 1 paid staff member to oversee the place. It usually takes residence in an apartment-style building, though it can occupy a single-family home as well.

Level 3: Supervised

As the name suggests, this type of sober living house is staffed by a facility manager as well as a case manager.

Here, self-help group meetings are required – apart from routine drug screening and house meetings. At the same time, it also focuses on the development of life skills that the patient will need after exiting the home.

Level 4: Service Provider

Staffed by a facility manager and credentialed professionals, a level 4 sober living home offers more than just self-help groups and drug screening. It also provides in-house services and programming in its institutional-type facility.

Sober Living House Specializations

Apart from the type of support, sober living homes may be grouped according to their specializations.

Types of Sober Living Homes

Below are the different types of sober living homes that might be instrumental to your recovery:

1. IOP

IOP stands for intensive outpatient program. When paired with a sober living environment, it can help prevent relapse – as well as encourage the person to be sober and accountable. At the same time, it motivates the addict to develop the skills he/she needs to be free of alcohol or drugs.

Due to its intensive nature, an IOP readily provides the patient with help from a counselor or therapist, who can help him/her work on certain issues. Because of this, IOP provides tailored, individualized care that helps the patient avoid the temptation of alcohol or drugs.

While most individuals can go to an IOP house, this program is for:

  • Successfully finished detox and inpatient rehab
  • A stable home environment
  • Previously suffered a relapse

The usual IOP stint typically lasts for 8 weeks.

2. Oxford House

The Oxford House is a sober living home that follows the same-named model. It first came into being in 1975, many thanks to Paul Molloy, who suffered from alcoholism issues.

From then until now, the Oxford house focuses on a community-centric approach to recovery. It does so by providing a supportive yet independent environment.

The Oxford house adheres to three rules, which are:

At the Oxford house, transients need to attend a certain number of 12-step group meetings every week. They also have to participate in weekly business meetings regarding house issues, as this is the time when they pay for their financial contributions.

The average stay at the Oxford house is 175 days, with 69% of the interviewed participants stating that they left the home on good terms.

3. Florida Association of Recovery Residences

Also known as FARR, this organization oversees the services provided by sober living homes in Florida.

As a member of the National Alliance of Recovery Residences, FARR follows its standards – which are based on the Social Model of Recovery Philosophy. As such, it helps ensure that the sober living homes in the area adhere to the regulations of both entities.

4. New Jersey Association of Recovery Residences

Just like FARR, the NJARR oversees the certification of sober living homes in the area. Its standards include the following:

  • Drug and alcohol-free environment
  • Screening tests
  • Self-help support services
  • Confidentiality laws
  • Business license or incorporation documents
  • Mission and vision
  • Code of ethics
  • Identification of the responsible person
  • Accounting system
  • Post-emergency procedures

Phases of Sober Living

No matter what sober living home you choose, you are sure to undergo these 3 phases:

1. Restrictive Phase

Also known as the period of mental detox, it focuses on removing the patient’s triggers for drug or alcohol use. As such, he/she can’t use the phone or the computer. This usually lasts around a month.

2. Reintroduction Phase

Here, the patients slowly undertake more life responsibilities. Apart from going back to school or work, he/she is now free to use transport for essential activities – as long as he/she shares his location through an app.

3. Self-sufficiency Phase

Here, the resident is more accountable as he/she works to go back to society. While residents can take transportation independently – even move back to their own homes – they still need to follow the sober living environment’s regulations.


A sober living house is an alcohol and drug-free place that provides structure and support. They are grouped according to support levels – as well as their specializations. Types of sober living environments include Oxford houses, IOP houses, as well as state recovery residences (i.e. FARR or NJARR).

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