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10 Sober Living House Rules To Remember

August 31, 2021

A sober living house is a facility where the patient gets gradually acclimated to normal living. Staying in rehab for a long time will undoubtedly change the patient’s perception of the real world. We’re talking about the very same world in which they were subjected to alcohol or drugs and where they developed a dependency.

Getting qualified for sober living is a sure victory because it’s a step in the right direction. It means that the patient has garnered enough improvement and independence that they can get one step closer to full freedom.

This transitional place is definitely more relaxed compared to inpatient rehab centers but that doesn’t mean it gives the patient their complete freedom right away. There are certain house rules to remember that they must abide by to ensure compliance with the house protocol, which in turn helps them in their recovery.

What Does Sober Living Look Like, Exactly?

The best way to imagine how sober living looks like is to compare it to inpatient rehab centers. In inpatient treatment, the patients are required to be fully immersed in all of the programs. Every hour of each day is dedicated to activities that help them recover. On the contrary, the patients are less immersed in sober living.

Another main difference is that the patients are allowed to come and go at their own will. This is the biggest difference compared to the mandatory in-house living of inpatient treatment centers. However, this does not mean that sober living should be completely dismissed as an option.

This step has shown to be largely beneficial for a patient’s successful recovery. When they are provided with ample time and experience to adjust back to their old life, they can apply the mental tools they’ve learned during inpatient treatment. They can also gradually assume old responsibilities while learning to balance those with continuous treatment.

Remember that it’s very important to make the patient feel safe, comfortable, and confident before they can assume their life before getting admitted to rehab. Any difficulty can cause setbacks which can translate to rehab. 

House Rules In Sober Living

No Alcohol Or Drugs

The residents are not allowed to bring alcohol or drugs in the sober living houses. These substances must be kept off the premises at all times. That’s because the presence of these substances will not only affect the patient but harmful effects extend to the other recovering patients in the house as well. 

Participation In The Community

Living in a sober house means being part of a community that strives to help everyone in the group become better every single day, such as attending 12-step meetings. To keep the community active and inspired, everyone must participate in the community activities. This fosters a support system among the residents which increases the chances of a successful recovery.

Visitation Rules

Visitors are surely allowed. There will be specified visitation days. Additionally, all the visitors must be approved first by the house manager. There are blacklisted visitors, like a previous drug supplier or an alcoholic who isn’t fully recovered yet, or people of the opposite sex.

Visitors and guests are expected to appear clean and sober. They are allowed to meet the patient in the common areas.

Overnight / Vacation

Recovering patients are allowed to leave the sober living houses, but they should always inform the house managers. They are required to inform the manager and ask for permission for leaving overnight or going on a vacation so that they can be held accountable for staying sober.


Curfews are a set standard for the house, i.e. 10 pm on weekdays and 12 am on weekends. Drugs and alcohol are particularly prominent during late-night hours, and a curfew ensures that the patient will be in a safe, alcohol- and drug-free area before then and can be checked to confirm they are abstinent.

Length Of Stay

There is no fixed duration for residents at sober living houses. This really depends on each person. Since progress isn’t always linear, some patients may stay longer than intended. Patients should know that they could always take their time getting adjusted to the norm. There is no need to rush themselves or pressure themselves with a deadline for a full recovery.

Phone Calls

Phone calls are generally permitted unless the client is enrolled in an outpatient program during their stay in sober living which restricts their phone use for an introductory period, i.e. 1 week.

Expected Attendance

If the client is enrolled in outpatient while staying in a sober living home then the treatment is still ongoing even when the patient transfers to a sober living setup. There are individual expectations in terms of attendance to these group therapies, individual sessions, and more. The expectations for attendance are outlined by the general manager of the sober living house.


The patient is required to disclose all information about their medications. These medicines will also be stored and dispensed by the house manager, however, some sober living homes do not offer medication management and in these homes, the use of medication will be entirely up to the client.


Cleanliness is expected out of every resident. Everyone should contribute to keeping the house clean and safe. There will be house chores that will be posted and divided among the residents. The chores may also be rotated. These chores include different cleaning tasks around the property.

The residents are also required to always keep their bedrooms clean. All of these practices are intended to foster a closer relationship with the community. It also teaches the residents about the value of being courteous and respectful to other people. This is major learning that they can apply in real life so that they can coexist with everyone else. 

How Does The Patient Benefit From Structured Accountability?

Sober living has its freedoms compared to inpatient rehab, but there is still structured accountability in the form of regular and random urine samples, curfew, and house rules to reduce high-risk behaviors. 

This keeps the patient in check to lessen the likelihood of a relapse. Sober living homes are also designed to be comforting and supportive environments which help a patient gain confidence in themselves so that they can brace the world on their own.

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