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Pennsylvania Sober Living Homes

What Are Sober Living Homes in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania sober living homes are group living arrangements for persons recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. Sober living homes provide substance-free accommodation, helping residents transition from rehab to independent living. Pennsylvania sober living homes also offer structure, community, and a supportive environment to maintain sobriety.
Despite these features, sober living homes are not residential substance abuse treatment centers. Residents do not get medicated treatment for drug and alcohol disorders.
All Pennsylvania sober living homes that get referrals from state agencies or receive federal or state funding must obtain a license per state law. The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) regulates most substance recovery houses in Pennsylvania and issues licenses to these homes.

Daily Life in Pennsylvania Sober Living Homes

The daily activities within a Pennsylvania sober living home may vary from one facility to another. However, most Pennsylvania sober living homes establish daily activities for their residents. A typical day begins with house chores aimed at maintaining the facility. After the morning activities, residents who work or school get on with these activities.
Afternoon and early evening activities include exercising, house meetings, group activities, attending a sobriety support group meeting, individual and group therapy sessions, 12-step meetings, and community service. In the evenings, residents are free to relax and may call a loved one, share a group meal, or bond with fellow residents.
Pennsylvania sober living homes encourage its residents to take on activities directed at a goal, such as a new sport or seeking a job during downtime in between these activities. Some sober living homes in Pennsylvania have a resident manager who ensures its occupants follow house rules.

How to Increase Your Chances of Staying Sober While in Pennsylvania Sober Living

Achieving sobriety takes dedication and hard work. Therefore, residents who commit to the sober living home guidelines have a greater chance of avoiding a relapse.
Residents can increase their chances of remaining sober by prioritizing activities that give them a sense of purpose and improve their physical and mental health. These include exercise, healthy nutrition, attending house meetings or therapy sessions, picking a new hobby, and volunteering.
In addition, most Pennsylvania sober living houses encourage their residents to learn life skills, including interpersonal skills, decision making, and self-control. These activities give the residents structure, provide a supportive network, and demand accountability. They aim to increase the residents' chance of staying sober.

When to Move into a Sober Living Home in Pennsylvania

Sober living houses in Pennsylvania are not strict on their admission requirements for their residents. However, they expect their residents to have completed a rehab program.
Sober living houses are not a substitute for a rehab treatment program as they do not provide any form of medical or clinical service to their residents. Therefore, Pennsylvania sober living homes recommend that a person completes a detox program at least before moving in. Still, some facilities may accept persons currently undergoing an outpatient rehab program.

Sober Living Programs vs. Halfway Houses in Pennsylvania

The goal of a sober living program and halfway houses are similar. They provide temporary, safe, and substance-free accommodation to persons recovering from substance dependence. Typically in a supervised, structured, and safe environment. Both programs aim to reintroduce their residents back into society gradually. Also, the resident's stay in both programs is dependent on adhering to the house rules.
The entry requirements and regulations, target residents, length of stay, source of funding, cost, recovery programs, and living arrangements differentiate them.

The Entry Requirements and Regulations

Persons who enter a Pennsylvania sober living home do so at will. Besides entry being voluntary, residents also have fewer rules to follow. In contrast, most residents in a halfway house enter the program following a court order or from a plea agreement. Therefore, the policies and regulations are stricter than in a sober living facility.

Target Residents

Sober living houses serve people in recovery. Persons in a Pennsylvania sober living facility have completed a substance use treatment program. Although halfway houses can serve a homeless person looking for shelter, most residents are persons recently released from jail.

Length of Stay

The courts determine how long a resident may live in a halfway house, and leaving the facility before the court-mandated date can have severe consequences. The maximum time a person may live in a halfway house is 12 months. Residents in a sober living facility may stay as long as they feel they need the treatment program, provided they comply with the house rules.

Source of Funding

Government agencies operate most halfway houses in Pennsylvania. Therefore, funding comes from the government. Sober living homes are either owned by a private individual or by a treatment facility intending to give support to its patient post-rehab.


The cost incurred by residents in a sober living facility depends on the services and amenities the sober living facility offers. The duration of a tenant's stay also determines the cost. Private organizations and individuals own sober living facilities in Pennsylvania.
Therefore, residents cover their food and boarding expenses. Also, health insurance policies seldom cover staying in a sober living facility, making it the more expensive option. However, the government absorbs most of the cost of running a halfway house. Residents may also contribute a token to their rent. The funding from the government makes halfway houses affordable.

Living Arrangements

Some halfway houses are less private residences. Residents live in a dormitory-like arrangement which is often overcrowded. Also, the amenities in a halfway house are few.
On the other hand, sober living houses offer more privacy to their tenants. Most tenants have their own living space or share with one other tenant. Also, most Pennsylvania sober living homes are fully equipped, offering more comfort than a halfway house.

Recovery Programs

Most residents in a Pennsylvania sober living home are undergoing a recovery process. They attend outpatient programs for substance abuse and 12-step meetings. Occupants in a halfway house may not be involved in any substance recovery program.

Types of Pennsylvania Sober Living Homes

In Pennsylvania, individuals looking for sober living options can choose from the various types of facilities offering different levels of support. Most of these facilities are alike but may vary in structure and assistance.

Halfway Houses

A halfway house offers transitional accommodation for persons determined to rebuild their life after recovering from substance dependence. Residents in a halfway house may come from substance abuse treatment centers, homeless shelters, or prisons.
Halfway houses offer peer support, structure, and routine. The facility management encourages residents to continue with work or schooling. Some facilities may assist unemployed residents in their job search. Residents can also get support by attending counseling and therapy sessions. It is also common for halfway houses to conduct drug screening and random drug testing for their residents. Peer support comes from fellow residents who understand the challenges of sober living.

Transitional Housing

Transitional housing offers affordable temporary living arrangements as a bridge to help stabilize persons with a substance abuse disorder who are homeless. Transitional housing takes its residents from homelessness to permanent living arrangements. The transition period, typically up to 24 months, helps the resident become self-sufficient enough to move towards independent living.
Support services an individual can expect residing in transitional housing include employment counseling and assistance, life skill training, education guidance, house meetings, and support to attain independent living goals.

Recovery Houses

Recovery houses are cost-effective, non-medical living alternatives that provide a safe and healthy environment for their residents to maintain their sobriety. It is a sober space free from drug and alcohol use.
Support services in a recovery house range from peer-to-peer recovery support to medical and counseling services. All recovery residences provide peer-to-peer support. The residents use the experience and knowledge gained from treatment and counseling to support one another.

Sober Housing

Sober housing is a private residence that provides substance-free accommodation for persons to maintain their sobriety. It is challenging leaving a structured treatment program to live independently. Therefore, most persons use sober housing as an interim living arrangement from rehab treatment to independent living.
A resident can expect the facility to support their sobriety through support groups, 12-step meetings, individual and group counseling, and therapy sessions.

The Phases of Sober Living in Pennsylvania

The phase of an individual in a Pennsylvania sober living home depends solely on the individual's progress. Each stage has different responsibilities, activities, and privileges. The levels in a sober living process are:

Restrictive or Abstinence Phase

In this phase, the new resident focuses on the basics of living sober. The sober living facility emphasizes abstinence from drug and alcohol substances and how the individual can avoid triggers. Also, the sober living home withholds certain privileges such as computer or phone access and restricted or chaperoned movement from the new resident. Most facilities discourage their residents in the restrictive phase from returning to work or school.
The sober living facility expects the residents to comply with the house rules such as curfew, attend house meetings and life skills training sessions, and attend health and therapy appointments. Residents can also take up volunteering or fitness activities in this phase. The restrictive/abstinence phase may last a minimum of 30 days.

Reintroduction Phase

Here the sober living home gradually adds responsibilities to the day-to-day activities of the resident. The resident takes on house chores, continues therapy and support group meetings, and attends 12-step meetings. Most Pennsylvania sober living homes encourage residents in this phase to actively search for a job or return to their employment or schooling.
The facility restores some privileges withdrawn in the first phase, such as extending curfew, unaccompanied movement for essential activities, and restoring phone and computer access benefits.

Self-Sufficiency Phase

The ability for the resident to attain self-sufficiency is the last stage in a Pennsylvania sober living facility before the resident is fully integrated into the society. It is the beginning of independent living while still residing in a sober living home. In this phase, the sober living home removes most restrictions. For instance, the individual may board a bus independently and may have their curfew times extended beyond midnight. The resident makes independent decisions while being accountable for their actions.
At the end of this phase, the resident must have completed the 12-step meetings. In some instances, the resident prepares to move into their apartment. However, relapse at this stage takes the resident back into restrictions.

Sober Living Near Me in Pennsylvania

If you or your loved one has completed rehab and need a place to transition back to real life, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline at (800) 662-4357 to locate a sober living home near you.
The helpline is available 24 hours daily, all year round. The SAMHSA respects your privacy, and all calls to the helpline are confidential. Alternatively, you may use the SAMHSA's treatment center locator to locate a sober living home close to you.