What Exactly is a Sober Living Environment?

The Benefits of a Sober Living Environment in Early Addiction Recovery: From San Diego to Los Angeles

When recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, finding the most suitable support network is integral to a whole approach to healing; this means mentally, emotionally, and physically. The right addiction support group can ensure one can overcome the various barriers that come with addiction.

Sober Living Environments: What Are They?

In short, a sober living environment can be defined as a temporary home where several recovering addicts live together under a series of rules that will best prepare them for their journey into a sober life. This type of environment accentuates the vitality of a recovery community obtaining specific responsibilities, achievements, and routines, both as individuals and as a group, to make that transition to sobriety smoother.


Often times, sober living environments contain various structures and curfews with the goal to reduce the chances of relapse. Those in early addiction recovery find that this environment helps keep the focus on leading a drug-free life and grow as individuals over time. While no formal treatment is used in this type of environment, therapist calls and regular meetings may be put into place. Patients often partake in school or work during the day and engage in a variety of entertaining and self-help activities during the evenings and weekends. Some homes may even have residents partake in community service.

These living environments are important in helping patients refrain from their addiction, build themselves emotionally and mentally, emphasize the importance of getting involved in work or school through and after recovery, and even helping patients get in touch with an outpatient program to participate in after staying in a sober living environment. A sober living environment not just helps one get through part of the recovery process but also assists with general living in the real world.

Benefits of Sober Living in Los Angeles

For many, a sober living environment is essential in that it provides a plethora of benefits for a variety of patients, which include:


Addicts tend to feel alone in their usual home environment where their family members or roommates often don’t understand what they are going through, with some loved ones making their addiction journey worse by judging, mocking, or even disregarding the sufferer’s problems. Other addicts live in an unhealthy environment where their family or roommates suffer from addiction or other unhealthy behaviors as well.

However, living alongside an addiction support group through a sober living environment means having the opportunity to build alongside others whose pasts and presents are similar to one’s own. Those apart of this environment desire recovery, and while the journey is not always easy, residents in these environments find comfort knowing that they are not alone and that there are others like them who are going through the same process with the end goal to rise above their addiction.

Some may argue that living with others who suffer from addiction is unhealthy in that it may encourage relapse and toxic behaviors, but a sober living environment provides opposite effects. Studies show that those who recover alongside a group have quicker recovery considering each patient develops self-awareness through listening and supporting others going through similar problems as well as sharing their own. The focus still stays on the independent addict’s road to recovery while also gets directed towards others’ perspectives. Those recovering can share advice and can transform alongside one another. It can be difficult for addicts to see their own personal achievements through their journey; however, watching others in their recovery community develop overtime helps them see what may or may not work for them too; they get a very raw and real experience through their recovery.


Those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction often don’t like structure. They tend to do what they want when they want. Lack of structure is often how addiction starts or exasperates in the first place because the sufferer has the freedom to explore a variety of unhealthy coping mechanisms, all while often having little support in their traditional home setting.

Sober living environments contain a type of discipline that those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction may be opposed to at first but will nevertheless help prepare them for life through and after addiction. As discussed, these homes contain rules, regulations, meetings, and curfews. Participants also often are assigned chores that help build skills, good character, responsibility, and a sense of confidence. The latter acts of discipline are important, particularly because many sufferers have had a shaky past that have made it emotionally and mentally difficult to stick to a routine, obtain by rules or laws, and view themselves as an important, responsible citizen rather than as an incapable individual weighed down with problems.

A disciplined environment is also ideal for those with mental health problems, many of which are tied with drug or alcohol addiction. For instance, those suffering from depression may find it increasingly difficult to study, work, or engage in household responsibilities both physically, emotionally, and mentally. A sober living environment can give these individuals a sense of belonging and importance, that they may otherwise feel they do not have, by helping them build a structure that they may struggle to stick with on their own. Thus, this helps build self-esteem and self-reliance, important factors not just for the general self but also for leading an addiction-free lifestyle.


It should first be mentioned that some patients do best recovering in a familiar environment while others do not. Those who have severe difficulty adjusting may be a part of the precursor while ones who are living in a toxic environment may do best with the latter. In the end, whether one heals better in a familiar or fresh environment is dependent on numerous factors. Setting this aside, a fresh environment provides what one’s original home cannot.

In terms of a sober living environment, many often heal faster living in a home that is meant as a place for healing. Not only do they view it as such, but any negative ties or bad influences from their previous environment are now out of the picture to ensure the patient can focus on bettering themselves without the added stresses or distractions their permanent home may provide. At first, living in a sober living environment may be intimidating, but in the end, it becomes a place of comfort, recovery, and progress. It is often viewed professionally as well, allowing the addict to see their new environment as a step up through their journey.

Recovering at one’s home not only increases relapse and decreases the chances of healing on a timeline without distractions but can also be more difficult emotionally and mentally as family members or roommates and any other homely aspects one is used to can easily be associated with any rough patches the sufferer may be going through. Please note that this is not the same for everybody. Sometimes healing in a known environment helps one feel comfort and thus be able to move forward while others may find that the environment they once were happy in makes them miserable, seeing that everything and everyone around them is viewed in different light, not to mention the lack of support they may be receiving for their addiction in the regular home setting.

The idea of a sober living environment means one can make new associations quicker, ones that are hopeful and positive. As an end result of those positive associations made that can impact the general mindset and then be applied to other environments, the patient can return to their regular home setting with an increased sense of confidence, happiness, and general well-being.


The switch from inpatient care in a treatment facility, which can be as short as four weeks, to outpatient care in which the individual recovering in placed back into their home environment while still receiving treatment, can be a tough transition. Through the change from inpatient to outpatient, one is at an increased risk of potential relapse. This is because when in inpatient care, a patient is expected to live full-time as part of a residential program while receiving treatment. Going back into their regular home environment provides sudden greater freedoms without providing the adequate struggle for that transition.

While it does not provide direct treatment, sober living environments are used to make recovery more promising as inpatients go from a very structured facility to a home environment that is more lenient, then back to their traditional environment where even more freedom is present. Going from just inpatient to outpatient is not as secure as treatment goes from specific to broad.

However, in a sober living environment, one has the freedom to work out their harmful habits in an accepting group without being tied down the way inpatient programs may. Living environments provide the necessary structure and discipline while also preparing for healthy habits during and after the outpatient program that the inpatient program alone does not provide. Proper preparation after the inpatient program is essential to ensure one can lead the most successful recovery.

Sober living environments, while more lenient than inpatient programs yet more strict than outpatient programs, still provide regular drug testing and ban drugs or alcohol from entering the environment. This is important as not only do inpatient programs do this as well, but outpatient programs have no control over this, meaning that social living environments are a great transitional way for those recovering to abstain from exposure to drugs or alcohol for longer while continuing to build the essential personal characteristics necessary to avoid relapse before entering the less-strict outpatient program.


One of the greatest benefits of partaking in a sober living environment is that one can stay as long as they’d like. This is potent as those in recovery heal at different rates depending on the addiction, how long they have suffered from addiction. The idea of being in a new environment still gives a patient the idea that there is a certain time in which they should potentially be out of the home and back into their traditional environment, yet without that actual timeframe set that may push the individual too hard to recover quicker before they are fully healed to their greatest extent.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, patients do best in a sober living environment for at least 90 days. Any less than 90 days may not provide the adequate timeframe for recovery. However, most patients should expect to live in a sober living environment for a minimum of six months. This gives the patient enough time to transform themselves as a new person, refrain from the distraction of things or people that would otherwise trigger an early relapse, and to receive the emotional support they require from those who know what they are going through and can offer verbal support and physical advice.


Sober living environments are very flexible in that there is a variety to choose from that offer various benefits, rules, costs, and even environments. No two environments are the same. Some may be located out in the country while others may reside in the city. Some of the more expensive living environments may even offer a swimming pool, jacuzzi, catered meals, Wi-Fi, and a game room that are granted access at certain times of the day. One can choose the environment best for them and their recovery.

While there is a structural component as mentioned, sober living environments are versatile to the patient as they give them freedom in how they want to tackle their future treatment and life thereafter. They give them the resources and guidance to seek what they wish to pursue after living in a sober living environment. Additionally, while being involved in a sober living environment, patients have the opportunity in some homes to watch television, play video games, or access the Internet for a given amount of time, getting to choose what to do with their free time.


Sober living environments also often provide ‘round the clock support for patients from staff members who are also often recovering from addiction or already have recovered themselves. Many jobs for working in a sober living environment actually require or prefer applicants who have gone through a minimum of a one- to two-year recovery program. Given this, this means patients can receive an even greater sense of support and the care that they deserve.

Staff members are trained to be professional, compassionate, and well-prepared to assist others in their own recovery journeys, from transitional living (inpatient to outpatient) to building the physical and mental stability necessary to move forward. Staff is also typically required to pass a drug test (sometimes nicotine is not even allowed), help with the home cleaning, take patients to treatment, help prepare meals, and more, in return for free living accomodations in addition to pay.


Through any requirements a sober living environment may hold for residents, these individuals can gain the independence, happiness, and self-esteem they need to pick up the pieces before merging back into general society. Through chores around the house, to connections to work or school, and/or mandatory volunteer work or community service enacted by a sober living environment, residents can increase their level of responsibility, desire to work and do good for their community and feel empowered as citizens.

Whether an addict feels stuck in life in terms of unemployment, has difficulty keeping up at work, or has little motivation for employment to begin with, they can achieve what they need resource-, emotion-, mental-, and skill-wise to partake in a plethora of adult responsibilities such as establishing a career, gaining higher education, following the law, helping others struggling in their community, engaging in household duties, and the like.

More About Sober Living Environments in Santa Monica

Before deciding if a sober living environment is for you or for another loved one in need, it is crucial to grasp more information, especially because not everybody will find a sober home the best route through their early addiction treatment.


Based on studies conducted on the authenticity of the benefits of sober living environments, these homes contribute – but don’t guarantee – the following in residing patients:

·         Fewer chances of relapse

·         Increased consistency in work and/or school throughout recovery and after

·         Greater length of sobriety

·         Reduced chances of legal trouble

·         Increased hope in combatting addiction

·         Fewer distractions in recovery

·         Greater overall mental health

·         Development of positive coping mechanisms to apply to numerous situations

·         Improved social skills and responsibilities

These benefits have been discovered as correlations with sober living environments but do not prove causation, however, have been found to be greater in those who choose to live in one of these homes through early addiction recovery than those who choose not to.


When one is going through their early addiction journey, the first few stages can be particularly difficult. When transitioning to a sober living environment, it will not be easy for most but will get better with time. The idea is, is if one is living in a sober home, it will be less likely they will resort to relapsing later. This is because peer pressure and the urge to give in are highly less likely given there are no drugs or alcohol allowed on the premises of sober living homes. Additionally, living with others in the same boat as you is both encouraging and comforting knowing that one is not alone on the struggles they are facing.

These living environments welcome a variety of ex- and recovering addicts. Additionally, many of these sober homes are not co-ed, but there are definitely ones that exist. The latter points may be intriguing for many; however, many feel turned off when they learn that these homes often do not allow visitors – and yes, this means friends and family members. There is a purpose for this. Eliminating visitors means the individual living in a sober home can focus on their success while keeping distractions to a minimum, especially if those distractions are discouraging, non-supportive, and/or bad influences on the one struggling with addiction.


Sober living environments are not designed to feel torturous. Rather, they seek to provide the right amount of structure and stability, while still giving those recovering means of entertainment and the freedom to explore throughout their journey to find what works best for them. Through discovering a variety of activities, addicts can find new coping mechanisms to boost their confidence, resort to when times are tough, to build themselves as a person, and to learn who they are and what they may want to do with their lives after recovery. The idea of having to partake in chores and seek out a job in these special homes mean that the sober living resident is given the resources and encouragement to get back on their feet as a law-abiding, working citizen.


Some sober living homes even contract with therapists or licensed rehabilitation centers to provide stronger care. Generally, sober living environments are accepting, non-prejudice environments geared towards positive healing. Violence, discrimination, and judgment are free among residents and staff members. The goal for these environments is to be open and caring, and most of all, patient in one’s personal recovery. South Bay Sober Livings works closely with Clear Recovery Center for many of these services.


As discussed, violence and acts of discrimination or judgment are banned from the sober living environment. Weapons are also often not allowed on the homes’ grounds. Safety is a primary concern for anyone living at a sober living.


Yes, halfway houses are the same as sober living environments. Often times, there are government funded halfway homes that can also have limitations on when a resident needs to leave. The time frame is usually 12 months or sooner while sober living homes allow one to stay, and even return after moving out, as they wish. However, sober living environments are not funded by the Government and do require that residents pay their expenses on time to continue living in that home.

Halfway houses also vary drastically. Some of these homes are designed for those recently released from jail or prison, for those with chronic mental health problems, or for those who deal with substance abuse problems. 


Sober living environments can work for the majority of individuals who are suffering from addiction, particularly those who have already gone through initial treatment and/or detox. These environments are clean, friendly, and organized.

Individuals who may specifically do best living in a sober living environment include the following:

·         Those who have completed inpatient care and are on their way to an outpatient program

·         Ones who have a poor living environment at home

o   Bad influences

o   Other addicts at home

o   Unsupportive families/friends

o   Little routine, rules, or structure

o   Negative home environment (e.g., violence, abuse, fighting, risky living situations)

·         Individuals who have a high relapse rate and/or have relapsed in the past

·         Long-term addicts

·         Ex-users of highly-addictive drugs

·         People who have difficulty saying ‘no’ or are quick to give in

·         Dependent individuals (e.g., physically, mentally, emotionally)

·         Ones with difficulty holding down a job, getting through school, or taking on general life responsibilities

·         Individuals with busy lives preventing them from consistency engaging in the correct at-home or outpatient treatments

·         People who are vulnerable during their recovery

·         Those who have had a particularly rough past or recently dealt with a traumatic loss

·         Individuals who desire to make positive life changes but have difficulty doing so alone

·         People who need a strong support network alongside combatting their addiction


It’s not just “everyday” individuals who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction. Celebrities do and have as well, including:

Bradley Cooper:

Bradley Cooper has been sober from an alcohol and painkiller addiction since age 29, now age 43. Cooper worried that his addictions would hamper his health, career, and eventually, his entire life. He mentioned that he would not be who he is today without combatting his addictions.

Keith Urban:

After dealing with an at-first not-so-successful music career, Keith Urban dealt with alcohol, ecstasy, and cocaine addiction. Urban explained that his “will to live was low.” However, marrying his now-wife Nicole Kidman in 2006 changed things. Through her love and support and through his final rehabilitation treatment in that same year, Urban found the strength to part ways with his addictions for good.

Jodie Sweetin:

Sweetin struggled with a cocaine and crystal meth addiction around high school when the show she acted on, Full House, came to the end of its final season. In her younger years, she also dealt with alcohol dependency, admitting that she probably had “two bottles of wine” in one sitting at the age of 14. To become a better person and mom, Sweetin has been sober for over six years and counting.

Demi Lovato:

After punching a fellow backup dancer for mentioning her Adderall usage on the set of the movie, Camp Rock, Lovato sought out treatment for her addiction at the young age of 18. She describes her life before her journey to becoming clean as either “craving drugs or on drugs.” Lovato also struggles with Bipolar Disorder and has had a past eating disorder but now is both a mental health advocate and a supporter of loving your body the way it is.

Gerard Way:

Gerard Way has struggled a long addiction to alcohol, relapsing multiple times. Several videos surface the Internet of Way drunk before and after shows to combat his chronic depression and life stresses. Way discussed that the end of his band, My Chemical Romance, happened in part due to his addiction. He explains that not just his band but his ability to adequately parent his daughter were at stake, making breaking the band a safer option than to continue the addiction that hurt him significantly.

Miley Cyrus:

Most are aware that Cyrus had a marijuana dependency after her Disney years. However, now Cyrus is quickly changing for the better as she quit smoking and drinking, allowing her to evolve into a better, more stable individual and even re-earning her fiancé, Liam Hemsworth, back into her life in 2016. Cyrus explains that as part of her recovery, she had to surround herself with people who wanted her to better herself as a person.

Michael Buble:

Addicted to cocaine and marijuana, Buble found himself only interested in drugs, women, and food. Stopping drinking and using drugs cold turkey, however, almost jeopardized Buble’s singing voice as he had to have vocal surgery. Nevertheless, Buble has made a dramatic recovery and has found happiness and stability since marrying his encouraging wife, Luisana Lopilato, in 2011.


This is truly a question that has to be assessed based on an individual’s willingness. Even if someone has a record of relapse, with the right attitude and a willingness to do things differently most people can succeed at being sober. 

There are some situations where mental health considerations have to be taken into account however, when choosing the appropriate living situation.

Tips for Living a Sober Life in Pasadena

Whether one decides that a sober living environment is suitable for them through their addiction recovery or not, it is potent for every individual recovering to engage in the following:


A sponsor is a mentor who a recovering addict can call whenever necessary to offer guidance. Other peers going through similar life struggles are also potent in helping one recovering from an addiction get back on their feet. Having this type of support system can help one healing to heal quicker and reduce the chances of a future relapse.


A 12-step program consists of a support network of other individuals also combatting (or who already have combatted) addiction who can provide their support and feedback for other group members trying to achieve a long-term sober life. In early addiction treatment, one may find it very useful to attend a 12-step meeting on a daily basis. One recovering should never have to feel like a burden or someone who is not worthy of being helped. An addict can never have too much support.


There’s no doubt that anyone going through a rough patch in life will often be hesitant to reach out for help. Some give off the impression that someone who is an adult needs to fend for themselves and take care of their own problems. However, this is false. As social creatures, it is potent that we seek out the help and support we need to get through the things that are difficult for us to go through alone. A true adult knows that being able to ask or reach out for assistance is a mature act. This can mean asking a friend or family member for help or contacting a national helpline.

Whenever necessary, give the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline a call at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)SAMHSA is available 24/7, 365 days a year and is confidential and free, both available in English and Spanish.


Healing from addiction is never just giving up alcohol or drugs; it’s healing the mind and body physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Getting involved in exercise helps release endorphins to make one feel happy. In turn, the release of endorphins can also make one feel accomplished and generally feel virtuous having done something good for both their mind and body.


The right nutrition means a healthy body, and thus, a healthy mind. When one is well-equipped with the right vitamins, minerals, and fats, one can lead a healthier journey to recovery –  physically, emotionally, and mentally. The lack of three daily nutritious meals can increase one’s chances of exasperated or nutrient deficient-causing mental health problems, sluggish body systems, and a difficult time for one’s body and mind to heal over time.


One of the most important things of any type of healing is to find the things that make you want to wake up in the morning and say, “I can’t wait to do that today!” Without having the right interests, one may feel useless, jaded, and unhappy.

Whether this is partaking in sports and exercise or engaging in arts and crafts, finding and engaging in a hobby often allows an individual to find not just what they are good at, but also potentially pave the way for a future career or type of volunteer work. Hobbies are also important in that they can act as a positive coping mechanism for when things seem difficult.


Sober living environments are a great step for those going through early addiction treatment as they help act as a bridge between inpatient and outpatient care. Whether one is hoping to gain a positive support system or to temporarily live in an environment that will provide a safe, clean, and sober living situation that their traditional home environment cannot provide, these types of sober homes ensure one can learn essential skills; gain confidence; develop new relationships; and engage in work, school, and/or volunteer work to get back on their feet. While they provide specific rules and limitations, sober living environments are crucial in that they provide more freedom that inpatient programs yet still provide structure and balance that an outpatient program struggles to give. They can provide the resources and positivity one needs to feel physically, mentally, and emotionally well again.

As a result of living in a sober environment, one can be free of any distractions, bad influences, or toxic behaviors and learn to build the confidence and stability necessary to increase their shot at long-term sobriety. Many residents in these disciplined, alcohol- and drug-free environments find that they have quicker recovery, decreased chances of relapse, and great self-confidence in the support and regulation they receive from loving-yet-zero-tolerant sober homes. Through a series of activities, rules, and requirements, those apart of a sober living home can prepare not just for long-term sobriety, but also for life after such. They are a great environment for anyone struggling with any kind of drug or alcohol addiction, whether that be a few month-long addiction or a several-year-long addiction. These environments at first can be hard to adapt to and may feel like a step down from recovery, but in actuality, a sober living home provides benefits in terms of learning new essential skills and gaining adequate support through their healing.

Are you or someone you know in need of transitional living through fighting drug or alcohol addiction?