Sober Living House Rules

Sober Living House Rules

As you probably guessed, sober living houses are living environments for those who want to maintain abstinence from alcohol or drugs. Studies have proven that maintaining abstinence following treatment is difficult without a stable, drug-free environment. Sober living homes were designed to be safe and supportive places in which recovering addicts can live while they transition back into society.

A sober living home does not require someone to have completed a rehab program to live there, but it is considered a good idea to have completed detox or rehab prior to entering a sober living house.

Sober living houses first emerged in the 1830s and were often run by religious institutions, such as the YMCA and the Salvation Army. “Twelve step” houses later emerged in Los Angeles after World War II to assist with widespread alcohol-related problems.

Most sober living homes provide more than a transitional living environment; many have their recovery support system centered around sound recovery methodology and 12-step programs.

Some sober living programs in Southern California are also certified by the Sober Living Coalition, which sets a high standard for safety, cleanliness, management practices, and ethics. Residents are typically required to take random drug tests, participate in 12-step meetings, and demonstrate that they are taking the steps necessary to achieve long-term sobriety.

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General Sober Living Rules

Residents of sober living homes are required to respect and adhere to all of the sober living house rules, which are in place to protect all residents and guests and to make the living arrangement more enjoyable for everyone in the house. A list of rules is provided upon admission into the house, and residents are required to sign a contract stating that they will obey all the house rules. Sober living house rules may vary from house to house, but standard rules often include the following:

  • No drinking alcohol
  • No taking drugs
  • Any cigarette smoking must take place in designated smoking areas
  • Must have no sexual contact with other residents
  • Must pay your program fees on time
  • Must not steal from the house
  • Must not destroy house property
  • Must not engage in violent behavior
  • Must be actively involved in self-directed recovery program activities

Some sober living homes have a zero-tolerance policy in effect regarding the above rules. Residents may be evicted from the house for any violation.

Others are a bit more lenient with certain rules and stricter with others. For example, residents may be required to do community service or attend 12-step meetings every day for 90 days following the first relapse. All sober living houses have a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual misconduct.

Residents are typically required to take random drug tests, and demonstrate that they are taking the steps necessary to achieve long-term sobriety.

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Sober Living House Responsibilities

Since today’s sober living homes are not government funded, these houses are sustained by residents who support themselves, pay their own rent, and purchase their own food. Some residents qualify for some type of government assistance that can be used to pay for sober living house fees.

Residents are encouraged to work or actively seek work if they are not employed. Those who are interested are encouraged to continue their education or learn a vocation.

In addition, they have other responsibilities pertaining to maintaining their environment and personal responsibility.

  • Chores such as keeping living space clean including their own spaces
  • No pets or feeding animals
  • Pay fees in a timely manner
  • Take messages for other guests
  • Keep mental health and medical appointments and arrive on time
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Inform the house manager if resident will be out overnight (eligible for a 48-hour overnight pass once per month)
  • No overnight guests

Residents are typically allowed to stay as long as they wish, provided they follow the sober living house rules and fulfill their financial obligations.

Again, residents are strongly encouraged (or mandated) to attend a minimum number of 12-step meetings each week, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous, and some sober living homes also require participation in community service activities.


While sober living house rules vary from location to location, they are generally easy to understand and comply with. A sober living house provides a nice blend of autonomy and support for its residents.

There are many choices for those wishing to achieve and maintain sobriety. The District Recovery Community can answer all of your questions.  Contact Us today if you’d like to learn more about our sober living rules and homes.

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Having a structure in place to focus on sobriety is one thing, but rebuilding your life with a band of brothers at your back is what sets our community apart from others. We’ve proven it repeatedly; leaning on people like yourself in a structured sober living program leads to a more exciting and fulfilling life.

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