Sober living environment
Sober living environments (SLEs) are facilities used by addicts recovering from substance abuse, which serve as an interim environment between rehab and a return to their former lives. SLEs grew out of a need to have safe and supportive places in which people could live while they were in recovery. They are primarily meant to provide housing for people who have just come out of rehab (or recovery centers) and need a place to live that is structured and supporting for those in recovery. However, it is not necessary to come from rehab.
The SLE (sober living environment) movement began on the West Coast in the United States and has spread around the country. SLEs provide much more than other transitional living environments. Many of them are structured around 12-step programs and sound recovery methodologies. Many are also certified or governed by Sober Living Coalitions or Networks. Residents are often required to participate in 12-step meetings, take drug tests and show demonstrably that they are taking important steps to long lasting recovery.
The concept of sober living reached a wider audience during the 2008 VH-1 series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, whose eighth episode discussed the concept extensively. Sober living is seen in greater detail in Sober House, a spinoff of Celebrity Rehab, which documents alumni of Celebrity Rehab as they enter such facilities. VH1, which airs both shows, describes sober living thus:
A sober living house is an interim step on the path to sobriety where addicts can live in a supervised and sober environment with structure and rules, i.e. mandatory curfews, chores and therapeutic meetings. In this show, celebrity addicts, most of whom have spent the better part of their lives in the throes of addiction, will learn how to essentially start their lives over from the ground up. In many cases, successfully maintaining sobriety requires patients to alter everything about their previous lives when they were actively addicted to alcohol and other drugs. This could include changing jobs, eliminating friends and even abandoning loved ones who are deemed toxic to their sobriety.
Most sober livings are not co-ed, though plenty do exist. And some SLE's are Sober Colleges, which means they are centered solely around helping young people recover, and operate much like a sober dormitory. Many sober livings are also intensive outpatient treatment centers; which means that they provide a degree of medical care on-site. Often these homes are staffed in shifts by psychiatric nurses and licensed clinical social workers so that the residents (guests) can have 24hr supervision and centralized recovery care without the stress of cleaning or cooking.
Each individual SLE will have different requirements for the residents, but many will have these typical requirements:
- No drugs, alcohol, violence, or overnight guests
- Active participation in a 12-Step Program
- Random drug & alcohol tests
- On-time guest fee payments
- Involvement in either work, school, or an outpatient program
- General acceptance by peer group at the SLE
SLEs have been shown to improve sustained recovery when utilized in conjunction of 12 step programs. 
Many people who have lived in SLEs find that their stay has been an important part of the recovery process. They provide the support and understanding that many people need to stay clean and sober. For addicts to other drugs, abstinence-based recovery works with varying degrees of success, most effectively for cocaine, amphetamine, and cannabis addicts.
- Rosenblatt, Susannah (2008-05-22). "Newport Beach sober-living homes scramble to complete city's permit process". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
- Celebrity Rehab, Episode 8
- "Sober House 2 With Dr. Drew - Peep the Cast" vh1.com, February 25, 2010
- "Sober living houses for alcohol and drug dependence: 18-month outcomes" J Subst Ab Treat, March 29, 2010