sober living

Achieving long-term recovery from a substance addiction is dependent on many factors. Some people may have a supportive home life and family that can help nurture the recovery process. Others may find that life outside of rehab is simply filled with more temptations and stress than they are ready to face upon leaving intensive addiction therapy. Sober living communities are ideal for recovering addiction sufferers because they are designed specifically to support recovery. Whether to reside at one of these communities on a short-term or long-term basis is based on several factors.

Support System

People who are not surrounded by healthy relationships or who do not have a supportive family may wish to lengthen their treatment with a stay at a sober living facility. The weeks and months following intensive addiction therapy can be especially challenging for someone who may still experience cravings or have difficulty coping with their new life changes.

Returning to a non-supportive setting too early in recovery could have negative consequences that result in relapse.1 Because there are counselors and other people working hard to live sober lives at sober living communities, a support system exists there to help and nurture the recovery process.

Your Commitment to Sober Living

Every road to recovery from addiction is different. Some people suffer from bouts of relapse and remission, while others are able to embrace their new sober life more successfully. Someone who has relapsed before is an ideal candidate for a long stay in a sober living community.

However, someone who has doubts about their ability to abstain or is fearful may already be in the early stages of emotional relapse.2 A long stay is ideal for these addiction sufferers too. If you are fully committed to your newly learned coping skills and know you can manage your triggers on your own, you may find that just a short stay at sober living community is right for you.


Many addiction sufferers are still obligated to work or seek employment in the weeks and months beyond their initial rehab stay. While some sufferers may find a long stay at a sober living community to be out of their reach, others may find that even a short stay is well worth the investment. It’s important to discuss the financial arrangements with your sober living facility ahead of time so you can plan accordingly. If you can afford to stay, it will be money well spent. A sober living community’s healthy environment can set you up for recovery success.

Comfort Level

Finally, it’s your own comfort level that can help determine the length of time you spend in a sober living community. You may find that living near others who are battling addiction in healthy ways is inspiring to you. On the other hand, you may be ready to transition back to your home community to live among familiar faces.

The key is to determine your comfort level and stay as long as you feel you need to. Leaving too soon can set back your recovery, while staying longer can provide you with further growth and a stronger skill set for coping with triggers.

Living in a sober community is a largely personal decision, but addiction specialists can help you evaluate your situation so you can make the best decisions for you. All things considered, the longer you can reside in this type of community, the more practice you’ll have at living the sober life you want.


  1. A friend of mine is really struggling with a few things, and we weren’t sure what to do for him. I really like that your comfort level can actually determine the length of your stay. It would be nice if they could get help as long as they needed.

  2. My son has been struggling with opioid addiction for years. We have done a lot to help him recover and we might be seeing the light finally. I want to be sure that we keep him clean and sober when he leaves the program. I like that you mention using a sober living community to help with this.

  3. Participants were interviewed within their first week of entering a sober living house and again at 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow up. To maximize generalization of findings, very few exclusion criteria were used and very few residents declined to participate. Primary outcomes consisted or self report measures of alcohol and drug use. Secondary outcomes included measures of legal, employment, medical, psychiatric and family problems. Some measures assessed the entire 6 months between data collection time points. Others, such as the Addiction Severity Index, assessed shorter time periods of 30 days or less.

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