What is the Difference Between Sober Living and Rehab?

Many people do not know the difference between sober living and rehab. Both sober homes and rehab facilities are very important to a person’s recovery, however, they play very different roles. The main role of rehab is to help the addict initially recover from their addiction. Oftentimes, people go to rehab to detox (or directly after it) and begin learning the basics of recovery. Sober living houses, on the other hand, operate as a sort of bridge between rehab and mainstream society. Sober living homes offer their residents a structured and safe environment to adjust to life without drugs and alcohol.

Rehab and Inpatient Treatment Centers

The primary role of rehab is to help the addict begin recovery from substance abuse. This may be done through a variety of methods, such as medication, guided support, spiritual awakening, and more. The National Institute of Drug Abuse recognizes four approaches to rehab that vary in methodological approach, use of medication, and/or length of treatment stay. 

In contrast to sober livings, rehabs are equipped (for the most part) to deal with people in detox. Moreover, rehabs and inpatient treatment centers are staffed by a clinical team which usually includes medical, psychiatric, and/or a counseling professional. At rehab, unlike sober living facilities, you are closely monitored and have a set schedule for each day. 

Sober Living

Sober homes are designed to help you transition back into regular life while maintaining sobriety. Similarly to rehab, the sober living environment is drug and alcohol-free. Unlike rehab, however, you will have much more freedom to do as you please. Although house meetings and working a recovery program are mandatory in sober homes, you are given much more freedom to do what you want and are monitored much less closely. Moreover, most sober homes are gender-specific, unlike rehab facilities which are often co-ed. Sober living homes bridge the gap between rehab and mainstream society and do have rules to ensure the safety and sobriety of their residents. Some general rules sober living homes impose are:

  • No drugs or alcohol
  • Strict curfews
  • Mandatory chores
  • Mandatory drug tests

Unlike rehab facilities, sober homes do not have a set time limit on how long you can live there. The main goal of these facilities is to help reintegrate you into normal living so there is no rush to leave the sober home.

Moving from Rehab into Sober Living

In many cases, people move from rehab to sober living. It can be difficult to directly re-enter regular life out of rehab without relapsing. Many people’s homes and communities contain triggers that can cause relapse, especially early on in recovery. 

Sober living can act as a buffer between rehab and regular life. Sober homes offer you a safe space to begin using the tools you learned in rehab to stay sober and develop new coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. By going to both rehab and sober living, you will be best equipped to navigate the challenges of daily life while remaining sober.

Sober Living at Design for Recovery

Let Design for Recovery, located in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey, help you transition back into regular life while safe-guarding your sobriety. Through Design for Recovery’s programs, such as one-onone mentoring, weekly house gatherings, employment support, money management, family outreach, and a solid foundation based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, you can regain control over your life and achieve long-term sobriety. Residents of Design for Recovery are offered a safe and structured environment that allows them to develop the skills and tools necessary to remain sober as well as creating life-long friendships with fellow residents. At Design for Recovery, we believe that addiction recovery involves more than just physically abstaining from substances — it involves building a new way of life.

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