Questions to Ask Potential Sober Houses

Sober living houses are the perfect way to prolong the benefits of treatment and to really cement your recovery before you transition back into the life you occupied before treatment. It can be hard to shift from formal, structured treatment and back into life right away and a number of people opt to delay that re-entry by moving into sober housing.

Although, it’s true that sober housing isn’t just for people exiting inpatient treatment. It is just as likely to serve people exiting or still in outpatient treatment, homeless people seeking treatment, and those recently released form the criminal justice system.

These populations can all be benefitted by these houses and studies demonstrate positive outcomes for residents.

If sober houses can be so great, then you think you should get into one, but you might be stressed about finding one and deciding on it. How do you know which one you should choose? What do you ask them? Are some better than others? How do you know? These questions can build up and be quite stressful.

Don’t worry. There are questions you can ask about potential houses. You can also get direction from our helpline if you call 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?), you can have questions answered, resources highlighted, and houses recommended. Call today and ask some of the questions that follow.

What is Sober Housing?

Before you start asking questions, you need to know what sober houses are and what they do.

Potential Sober Houses

You should ask each potential sober house if they’re registered.

Sober houses are residences reserves for people pursuing and maintaining sobriety. They do this by providing a place to live that is completely drug and alcohol free. Under no circumstances are alcohol and drugs permitted on the premises.

Sober housing is funded by the residents, so you will need to pay rent and fees. Provided you follow the rules and keep up with your rent and fees, you can stay as long as you would like.

Sober houses do not offer treatment. So, you can’t expect therapy, medical oversight, or other services that rehab provides. You may, however, be obligated or strongly urged to go to 12-step meetings in order to keep your space in the home. Every home has different rules.


The first thing you will need to know are the proposed rents and fees. The rent may be one required cost for your residency, but you may also have to pay utilities and food costs. It will be important that you fully understand exactly what is expected of you.

Some sober houses charge fines for minor rule violations (others may kick you out, depending on the offense). Be sure to find out if there are financial penalties you may incur.


Because the rules vary so much from home to home, you need to understand what you are agreeing to. In houses that evict you for breaking a rule, you have to keep current on what is expected so that you aren’t forfeiting rent and fees.

Be sure to inquire about common rules like chores and curfew. Although these rules may feel juvenile, they are part of creating a stable, sober living community.

You will be given a copy of the rules to sign when you decide to reside in a home. Be sure to read and review them to make sure nothing changes after you ask about them. Ask questions about anything that doesn’t make sense.

Questions you Should Ask a Sober House before Deciding on One

Length of Stay?

How long you stay will generally be up to you because most sober houses allow you to stay indefinitely, provided you are playing your rent and fees and following the rules. If there is a high turnover, you may need to be concerned. It could mean that the rules are hard to follow or that the conditions are hard to live with and maintain sobriety. Be cautious.


Sober houses typically don’t need to be registered, but certain locales demand it. If your prospective home is licensed and registered, you can find out quite a bit about it. There may be notes from annual inspections you can access. If you are moving into a home that is not registered, but is required to be, think twice. That home may be shut down without notice for failing to remain registered.

For help finding an appropriate treatment program call 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?). Get the help you need and have your questions answered.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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