What is Sober Living?

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Sober living is an important part of the continuum of care when someone is overcoming substance use struggles. This also applies when someone is learning to re-integrate into life, and looking to build a strong community. The New Life approach to how sober living houses work is dramatically different from most for a number of reasons. These can include an emphasis on age-specific housing and an active alumni community.

Last but not least, it can include support for developing life skills, as well as vocational and job support to academic guidance. The New Life House model involves the family and helps our residents develop lifelong relationships. They can learn skills that allow them to be successful long after they have left our doors.

What is Sober Living?

A good sober living for young adults will help assist them as they transition into independent living. Having a strong supporting mental health component is crucial for young adults, supported by a knowledgeable clinical team. Next, having a structured life skills component allows for a gradual transition to independence.

Learning to be self-sufficient is a key component of any effective sober living. However, it is important to do this step-by-step while helping people safely practice new skills. Additionally, a strong peer community and staff keep them accountable without drugs or alcohol. They can also help them focus on their mental health and overall well-being.

Sober living is designed for anyone who:

  • Is ready to learn and achieve independent living
  • Stepping down from a intensive inpatient or primary care program
  • Struggles with mental health conditions and/or drugs and alcohol misuse
  • Prefers a peer-specific community designed to meet individual needs
  • Is looking for robust clinical support while building their life
  • Wants to rebuild family relationships
  • Desires personal development, achieve dreams, and find their purpose

Sober living houses are not halfway houses, and are also called “transitional living” or “recovery residence programs.” We are different from traditional sober living due to our approach and services. We work to provide continuing care after intensive treatment programs. New Life House also serves men who have never been to a primary treatment facility. Nevertheless, many families will prefer their sons start with us as they begin their mental health and recovery journey. This is due to our high degree of support, programming, structure, and wrap-around clinical care.

Levels of Support

Different types of sober living will provide different levels of support and guidance for their residents. Many traditional sober livings are simply an environment where someone can go to sleep, live, and get drug tested once a week. This is the most common level of structure but can be ineffective for our residents.

Next, there are a number of sober livings that claim to be “structured sober livings”, where there is some light house scheduling, potentially a weekly house meeting, and some general guidelines that residents are required to follow. While this is a step in the right direction, again, for New Life House residents, this model is generally not sufficient.

New Life House is a true structured recovery community. We focus on developing life skills, guidance, and peer support, and offer relapse prevention strategies. This means addressing their mental health, and engaging in mentorship and programming. All of these are key components needed to overcome anxiety, depression and substance use. As a result, these will allow young men to learn and practice a range of skills for their well-being to live a balanced and healthy life.

How exactly do sober living houses work

How Do Sober Living Houses Work Day-to-Day?

On a day-to-day level, New Life House provides a schedule, programming, and peer engagement. This helps facilitate the development of all of our client’s skills. There are daily chores, therapy, clinical groups, life skills groups, free time, exercise, and recreation. In the evenings, the residents participate in outside events, the local young people’s recovery community, 12-Step meetings, and fun group activities.

Residents also attend to work, school, and other personal pursuits. The goal of New Life House is for sober living residents to gradually become self-reliant, in the safety of a sober environment. Outpatient programs are also part of the equation. Here, clinical treatment services take up a good chunk of time during the early stages of the program.

A Typical Day at a Sober Living House

Mornings at New Life House start with a morning meditation. All of the residents will have breakfast with one another, and begin their day with a lot of support. Many residents will finish chores and other activities, based on their daily schedule. For those in early recovery, they get substance abuse and mental health treatment through the private New Life House program at Clear Recovery Center. This formal treatment is helpful, as addressing mental health is our key focus.

Once house members reach the vocational phase, they’ll go to work as scheduled. They are able to take advantage of the accountability the program provides. Additionally, the staff is aware of all comings and goings, and available to assist with any difficult situations that arise. Our sober living environment provides the benefit of sober housing and an engaged and attentive community providing support and mentorship.

group therapy session discussing how to qualify for and what sober living is

How Do the Rules of Sober Living Houses Work?

Different SLEs have different house rules designed to help residents remain sober. New Life House takes a different approach than other SLEs. Rather than establish a set of rules and expect residents to follow them, we have built a system that teaches residents why certain processes are in place. As well, we explain why each of them is so important for long-term mental health, recovery success, and different aspects of life. Then we provide hands-on guidance to navigate this new approach.

Similarly, we take a gradual approach to re-introducing different aspects of independent living. For example, at the beginning of the program, residents will use a house phone instead of a cell phone to disconnect from digital distractions and social media. They can better focus on their mental health and emotional growth. As they progress through the program, they can use their cell phones to practice balance.

Our recovery housing takes this approach to a number of different aspects of life, which allows the guys to safely achieve independence while practicing the skills necessary for thriving on their own. Over time, they will have a set of responsibilities. From academics to recreation, the men in New Life House can build rich, full lives with improved mental health, free from substance abuse.

Why People Choose a Sober Living Program

Generally, when someone is looking to join a sober living home it is because they or their family want a supportive or transitional environment. Here, they can safely acquire the skills they will need to live independently. While some are just looking for stable housing and a chance to practice ongoing sobriety, families are drawn to New Life House for different reasons.

We specialize in helping young men often classified as “failure to launch“, providing them with the necessary toolset to go out into the world successfully, and refocus the direction of their lives. Addressing much more than just drug abuse or alcohol addiction, New Life House helps young men launch. Last, but not least, they do so in a community of their peers.

Of course, being in this type of environment makes relapse much less likely as well! One of the biggest and most attractive aspects of our program is the huge community and highly engaged alumni that continue to participate in and support the house. The residents can stay engaged with alumni who are out in the world, living successfully, but love to continue to participate in the program.

What to Look For in a Sober Living House

Choosing a sober living environment is a big decision and there a number of key features to consider. Not every supportive environment is going to be the right fit for every person. Thus, a variety of factors should play into the final choice.

Some of the most important things to consider when choosing a sober living house:

  • Structure. Without structure, programming, mental health support and life skills development, the likelihood of successful sober living for young adults is relatively slim.
  • Age-Specific. One of the philosophical tenants of New Life House is the importance of age-specific programming. 18-year-old men are going through very different experiences than 50-year-old men. Typically, many sober livings will have individuals of all ages living in the same home.
  • Clinical and Mental Health Support. Substance abuse does not exist in a vacuum. Taking a mental health first approach is important in order to deal with the underlying causes that lead to unhealthy substance use. New Life House is designed with this in mind.
  • Alumni Community. Pay attention to both the size and the engagement of any sober living’s alumni community. A thriving alumni community demonstrates success, and a program that fosters continued involvement. In contrast, a small or disengaged alumni community can be a red flag to pay attention to. Since 1985, New Life House has kept alumni involvement and support a priority, and enjoys an extremely active graduate community.
  • Family Support. Most check-in and check-out sober livings are not family-first programs. New Life House’s program involves families every step of the way, with therapist-led family support meetings, regular parent communication and updates, and family-specific events that take place regularly.
  • Location. Location is very important for sober living because of the foundation residents are building while in the program. If they can’t create a sustainable community, it is going to be difficult for them to remain connected after they leave. New Life House members enjoy an active recovery community near the South Bay of Los Angeles.

While other considerations can factor into their decision, these guidelines can serve as a starting point when searching for a sober living house. Just like an addiction treatment program, a sober living facility should meet the needs of the loved one someone is wanting to help.

Learn How Sober Living Houses Work in Los Angeles, CA

Hopefully, this helps answer, “How do sober living houses work?” At New Life House we are proud of our sober living homes near the Los Angeles, Carmel Valley, and Redondo Beach areas. Our houses provide a safe, caring, supportive, and structured environment with educational and career opportunities for our residents. We put mental health first and have phenomenal aftercare programming, as well as an amazing clinical wrap-around component providing individual and group therapy, health and wellness education, and more.

To learn more about our sober living homes or how to enroll a resident, feel free to contact us today.


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    Call Us Now: (888) 357-7577