Are There Sober Houses for Sexual Minorities?

Sober Living Houses (SLHs) are meant to provide a safe space for individuals to live while pursuing recovery from a substance use disorder. Certainly, the fact that they are drug- and alcohol-free spaces makes them safe in one respect. But, how safe does a person feel when there is the possibility of homophobia and discrimination.

Statistically, LGBTA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and asexual) people have higher incidences of addiction than the general population, but they also access health care with less regularity. This means that many LGBTA people suffer with untreated substance use disorders and that’s unfortunate.

Having a sober living house dedicated to sexual minorities can provide them with a way to feel protected and to further their recovery.

But, do such places exist? The answer is “yes.” There are SLHs that are reserved for sexual minorities.

But, if one of them is not available to you, it is worth noting that sober houses don’t tolerate discrimination or bullying, so you may feel just as secure in a traditional house. You shouldn’t let fear prevent you from researching homes.

If you are ready to live in a supportive drug- and alcohol-free environment that can help you to maintain your sobriety, you are ready to live in a sober house; we can help. can answer questions, connect you with resources, and direct you to a perfect sober living situation. Embrace this opportunity and call 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?).

The LGBTA Community and Addiction

Sexual Minorities

All sober houses have a nondiscrimination policy that residents are expected to follow.

Substance use is actually a pretty big problem in the LGBTA community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in comparison to the general population LGBTA individuals are more likely to:

  • Engage in alcohol and drug use
  • Have a high rates of substance abuse
  • Not abstain from alcohol and drug use
  • Prolong heavy drinking into later life

For example, studies on alcohol use in the lesbian and bisexual community reflect this. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports:

  • Lesbians are significantly more likely to heavily drink than heterosexual women.
  • Completely heterosexual women lean towards having lower drinking rates than all other women.
  • Bisexual women report more dangerous drinking than either heterosexual or lesbian women.

Barriers to Treatment

You may be wondering why high rates of substance abuse in the LGBTA community aren’t being addressed. Part of it comes from a history of oppression and discrimination in health care services.

Gay and lesbian adults are approximately twice as likely as the general population to live without health insurance coverage; and those numbers are even higher for bisexual and trans people.  Because health care has traditionally been extended through employment, workplace discrimination has, by tradition, barred them from seeking help via an employer. This is also a problem for same-sex partners who may not be eligible for coverage.

For trans people, things are even more complicated. Most insurance programs specifically deny coverage for transition related care and some providers extend this exclusion to deny access to even basic health care services.

Even if they can gain access to insured care, many LGBTA people find themselves in the hands of a provider unequipped to serve their health care needs. Quality of care is negatively impacted.

Are there Gender Specific Sober Living Homes?

The Role of a Sober House

Because sober houses have but a single function—providing housing to people abstaining from drug use—they are home to a diverse population.

Occupants may be undergoing outpatient treatment, recently finished with inpatient treatment, recently homeless, recently exiting the criminal justice system, or substituting the SLH for traditional treatment. The homes are designed to serve all of these people equally.

And SLHs can be especially valuable to homeless LGBTA youth with addiction problems, as they have higher rates of both homelessness and addiction than the general population. They also have higher rates of suicide. A supportive housing arrangement may provide necessary solace and space to heal.

However, a general population of occupants may still make LGBTA residents feel like outsiders. SLHs specifically for LGBTA inhabitants can be the answer because staff and residents have more experience with the community and are less likely to operate from internalized homophobia.

For help finding a treatment program that will make you feel comfortable, give us a call. We can be reached at 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?) anytime.

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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