Individuals in sober living homes are required to remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol, and often required to attend meetings, counseling and therapy sessions, and other aftercare programs. Sober living homes are populated with groups of people all in recovery and striving for abstinence. They provide a peer-support network of individuals all with similar experiences and goals.
These homes may be actual family homes, apartments, condos, etc. Depending on the size, there may be a wide range in the number of people who live in each particular home. Each sober living home may be structured differently, although individuals are typically expected to contribute to the maintenance of the house, and there may be a chore schedule or even a democratic voting system or hierarchy in place. There may be rules on guests, set mealtimes, lights-out times, or curfews in place in some sober living homes. The rules are often set at the discretion of the people living in the home and always stipulate complete abstinence from drugs or alcohol. Sober living homes may be tied to local treatment programs. Substance abuse treatment providers may provide oversight in some instances, although this is not always the case.
Sober living homes may not require residents to participate in formal treatment programs; however, they may strongly recommend participation in a 12-Step program. Oxford House is a nonprofit and self-sustaining type of sober living home, and studies published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs report that more than three-quarters of individuals in this type of transitional residence attend 12-Step meetings at least once a week. While it may not be a requirement, this type of peer support during recovery is often strongly recommended while living in a sober living home. Individuals in sober living homes may also attend regular counseling and therapy sessions as well as receive treatment for mental health disorders or medical conditions while in residence.