Special Topics & Resources

EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION ON Non-medical settings designed to support recovery ALCOHOL OR DRUGS

Recovery Residences

(related: sober homes; sober living homes; Oxford Houses; Halfway Houses)

Non-medical settings designed to support recovery from substance use disorders, providing a substance-free living environment commonly used to help individuals transition from highly structured residential treatment programs to their day-to-day lives (e.g., obtaining employment and establishing more permanent residence).

Recovery residences support individuals by providing a safe living environment and readily available community of recovery-related social support.

Virtually all encourage or require attendance at 12-step mutual-help organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, but recovery homes have varying degrees of structure and built-in programmatic elements:

 

 

The degree of monitoring and regulation in recovery residences varies widely from setting to setting. Given that recovery residences do not provide treatment, state regulations applicable to addiction treatment do not apply to them. That said, there are some umbrella organizations (see below) that promote quality assurance and oversight at recovery residences; they may even offer formal certification for residences that meet and adhere to these guidelines. Individuals considering recovery residences for themselves or their loved ones are strongly encouraged to inquire about any regulatory organizations with which a potential residence is affiliated and whether or not it is certified in states where certification is available.

 

PROMINENT ORGANIZATIONS

 

WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY ABOUT MUTUAL-HELP ORGANIZATIONS?

A series of studies on Oxford Houses suggest they promote a host of positive outcomes at substantially lower costs compared to standard continuing care after residential treatment. These outcomes include not only substantially better abstinence rates, but also increased rates of employment and lower rates of criminal recidivism. Less is known scientifically about recovery residences apart from Oxford Houses, though existing naturalistic research (where researchers observe naturally-occurring behaviors and measure outcomes over time) shows individuals residing in recovery residences may experience improved substance use and functional outcomes. Also, among recovery residence members, more 12-step mutual-help participation and lower levels of drinking and drug use in one’s social network predict better substance use outcomes and lower likelihood of arrest over time.

 

KEY READINGS

List of Key Readings

 

 

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