Life After Rehab: Sober Housing Or Stay At Home

Do you know that studies show that more and more people are now relapsing due to COVID-19? Since individuals are forcibly staying at home, there is a significant chance that people will pour their boredom and anxiety into a glass of alcohol.

Statistics show that the sales of alcohol increased by a massive 5% in the U.S. in the last week of March. This period was when the president revealed that the coronavirus is getting more deadly. 

However, some people have just finished their rehab amid the pandemic. The question that’s running in their mind is where they’ll stay – at a sober housing or home?


Living In A Sober Housing

Sober housing refers to a substance-free living environment for individuals recovering from either drug or alcohol addiction. Take note that this is different from a rehab center. A sober house acts as a middle ground between the independent sober living and residential treatment. 

Sober housing residents are also required to attend group meetings. These are initiatives to attend their 12-step programs, create a sober fellowship, feel their accountability, and keep on track of their goals. These are strategies to reinforce the will to abstain from alcohol and drugs. 

Other recovery programs include the following: 

  • Finding a job
  • Fixing the relationship with family and friends affected by substance abuse
  • Picking the best housing after treatment
  • Drafting a relapse prevention therapy plan

These are just like an average house located in a quiet neighborhood. The only difference is that these are for both men or women who are still in addiction recovery. Often, residents are in groups, so they’ll have roommates as a company. However, there are instances where they are allowed to have a private room.

Sober Housing Setup

Unlike a rehabilitation center, residents in sober housing are allowed to come and go as they please. The only thing that they have to follow is that they be home by curfew time. They are also sometimes required to undergo random drug tests to ensure that their home remains safe from temptations.

Also, those living here need to take care of themselves – buy groceries for themselves, cook their food, and pay for rent. 

Benefits Of Staying In Sober Housing

  • Strong support group
  • Reliable and like-minded housemates
  • Accountable
  • Regular drug testing
  • Sense of independence
  • Fresh shart
  • Slow yet safe reintegration to society
  • Application of sobriety goals and commitment

Returning Home

The more popular choice after rehab is returning home. Most prefer this option since they’re enthusiastic about the idea that friends and family are waiting for them to return. At the same time, most people feel that this is the best support group that they’ll encounter. 


For other individuals, returning home is a more viable option since they do not have the financial means to sustain a sober housing living. There is an additional cost when for a sober living program that this sometimes hinders individuals from enrolling.

Benefits Of Staying At Home

  • Presence of family, friends, and significant other
  • Pets to cheer you up
  • No need to live with strangers
  • Comfortability of living in the familiar

What’s Better?

Both setups have their pros and cons. Statistics show, however, that more individuals relapse upon returning home. It occurs even more if their loved ones still haven’t accepted their state and are not supportive of their sobering decision. There is also a bigger chance of relapsing given the presence of alcohol and drugs at home as compared to sober housing. 

“If there’s a common concern among those overcoming addiction, it would have to be the fear of returning home. Will you be able to maintain your sobriety? How do you build a routine that doesn’t include buying, selling or using drugs? What should you do if cravings hit again when you face your triggers?” shares Brittany Polansky, LCSW


Some might also question what the better option is amid COVID-19? It will depend on the circumstances as well. It is safer to stay at home, given the control of the people going in and out. There is a slighter possibility of opening your home to the virus, given that it’s a contained environment.

This set up is the opposite of that of a sobering home. Many people live there, so there’s not much control when it comes to housing the virus.

However, as mentioned above, given the anxiety brought about by the pandemic, many individuals are now relapsing. They use alcohol to mask the stress that they’re feeling. Therefore, those at home are more susceptible to this situation due to its availability at home. 

There’s no perfect decision here. The best way to go about this is to carefully weigh your pros and cons and align it with your preference.