September 25, 2020

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What are the General House Rules of a Sober Living Home?

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Most sober living homes have a similar set of rules while there may be others that deviate from these specific procedures. However, when an individual decides to move into a sober house, they can likely expect a number of rules to be strictly enforced.

The General Rules of Sober Houses

According to a study on sober homes from the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, many of these facilities are associated with Clean and Sober Transitional Living in Sacramento, California. “CSTL was founded in 1986 by a recovering alcoholic and addict who had lost a brother to addiction and could not find affordable housing that was conducive to recovery,” causing him and his roommates to open their own sober home and others after. These facilities contain the essence of most sober homes and require residents to follow seven general rules:

sober house rules

Most sober houses require 12-step meeting attendance.

  • No drinking alcohol.
  • No using mind-altering substances.
  • Attend five or more 12-step meetings each week.
  • Obtain a sponsor in that 12-step program and be active in it.
  • Attend the Sunday Night House Meeting.
  • Sleep at the facility at least five nights a week.
  • Be accountable for whereabouts and actions when off the facility property.

These are some of the most common conditions associated with sober living, and most facilities that utilize the CSTL philosophy require residents to follow these rules. There are also a number of other rules that, while somewhat more self-explanatory, are just as important:

  • Residents must treat other residents with respect.
  • Residents must keep their rooms and the house tidy.
  • Residents must pay rent on time based on the specific home’s requirements for due dates.
  • Residents must not bring drugs or alcohol onto the premises.

Do All Sober Homes Follow These General Rules?

For the most part, yes. Some facilities may be stricter in nature and require residents to do more around the house, to stay at the facility more than five nights a week, or to follow other rules not specified here. Others may also be more flexible. But these are the common rules associated with almost all sober living homes.

Most sober homes also require residents to attend 12-step meetings, and participation in these programs has been found to “be the strongest predictor of… primary outcomes” (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs). But the 12-step model is not right for every individual addict, and “some houses will allow other types of activities that can substitute for 12-step groups, provided they constitute a strategy for maintaining ongoing abstinence.” Certain rules can be stricter or more lenient from house to house.

Recognizing that Sober House Rules are Meant to Help You

How Do I Know What One Home’s General Rules Are?

The best way to find out is to choose a home in your preferred location that seems to fit your needs and call. Ask questions about the rules of the house, and ask if you can visit before you decide to live there. Certain rules are the same across the board (ex. No drinking or substance abuse at the home) but others can depend on the specific house as well as your needs as a resident. If you are looking for a sober living home in which to begin your recovery, call 800-373-1667. We can help.