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Recovery Group Home 101: Everything You Need to Know About Recovery Houses

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

Have you or a loved one completed a substance use disorder treatment program or detox? Looking for the next step in the continuum of care? A recovery group home might be the perfect solution

Recovery homes, and recovery residences, sober houses, or sober homes are all words for the same thing, group homes for those in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Most residents of recovery houses have completed some type of treatment program, but not necessarily. Residents live as a quasi-family unit, follow house rules, and contribute financially to the success of the home (typically by paying rent). Most importantly, residents must stay clean and sober throughout their stay in the home. Living in this type of environment can support sobriety and help alcoholics or addicts adjust to life's freedoms without the temptations of an unhealthy environment. Many addicts use recovery housing to help them transition from rehab to living independently without using drugs or alcohol.

What are Recovery Group Houses?

Recovery group homes are group homes for people with addiction disorders. Most of these homes are privately owned, although some group homes are owned by businesses or charity organizations. Homes are usually located in a quiet area to help ensure a peaceful, residential environment to help those in recovery start living life again.

These types of homes are different from rehab centers which usually offer a more intensive recovery experience and give residents less freedom. People who live in sober living facilities can usually come and go as they please as long as they follow certain rules. For example, rules may require residents to be home by a certain time or to go to work during the day. Residents are also usually subject to random drug tests to prove that they are sober.

People who live in these types of homes are expected to be responsible for themselves. This is an important step in recovery because addiction causes people to act in irresponsible ways, and the friends and families of addicts often enable them by supporting them despite these behaviors. People living in recovery homes usually have to pay their own rent, buy their own food and do the same things they would do for themselves if they lived in a regular home. However, they also have to submit to random drug testing and follow house rules.

What Types of Rules Do Recovery Homes Require?

Rules differ from home to home, but most homes follow certain basic rules, including the following:

zero tolerance for possession or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana zero tolerance for threats of violence or any violent act towards a person or property, covering up for other residents' drug or alcohol use, sign-in/sign-out and curfew rules, timely payment of weekly rent, participation in household expenses and chores

Other rules typically include a list of prohibited items - weapons, substances which look like drugs, drug and alcohol paraphernalia, items which can be used to cover up drug use such as fake urine, and many other items - some seemingly harmless, such as mouthwash and flavorings including alcohol.

Residents agree to all the rules when they move in, and violations of the rules have consequences. Depending on the violation, residents may be put on “probation,” have to pay a fine or make amends to another resident or write an essay about what they did. In cases of serious or repeat violations, residents may be asked to leave the home.

The primary rule in all recovery living houses is that residents must stay clean and sober. They are not allowed to use alcohol or drugs or they will be immediately discharged (in most homes).

In addition to these rules, people who live in these types of houses usually have to work or go to school during the day and must contribute to the home by doing chores. New residents are often encouraged or required to attend daily A.A. / N.A. meetings.

Who Can Live in a Recovery House?

Some recovery houses will accept residents who are new to the rehab process, but most recovery house residents have gone through some type of program before moving in. This makes sense because residents must be able to stay clean and sober in order to live in this type of home. Thus, recovering addicts who already have some sobriety under their belt and some tools to help them stay clean and sober are more likely to succeed at sober living than those who are new to recovery.

Although “program first” is the best path to take, it is not a requirement in some homes. Some sober homes, including Vanderburgh House, will accept residents who are new to the rehab process as long as those residents are willing to stay sober and live by the other house rules. At the very least, however, residents should have already completed any detox program required to cure physical addiction so they are not acutely ill and unable to work while living in the house.

How Much Does a Recovery House Cost?

Most houses charge weekly rent plus a one-time intake fee. Prices vary, but in Worcester, Massachusetts, they typically range from $120-180 weekly, which does include most or all living expenses (except food). Intake fees range from $25-250. Elsewhere in Massachusetts, especially Boston, prices can be far greater. Most of the time it costs about the same as it would cost to live in a modest apartment or home. Vanderburgh House prices can be found on the homes tab.

Living in a recovery house is generally far more affordable than living in a rehab facility. Residents must attend 12-step program meetings on a regular basis and may have to see a therapist while living at a recovery home, but they do not have to attend intensive sessions, and treatment services are almost never offered in the home, bringing the cost to the resident down substantially. In addition, most homes try to ensure that residents can afford to live there so people who desire to stay sober are able to have a safe environment in which to do so.


If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, a recovery house may be the right solution. These types of homes help residents stay clean by keeping expectations high and giving them support while allowing them to resume normal activities such as working or going to school. Residents can also get support from one another in the home and make new friends who are committed to their recovery.

Recovery homes are not for everybody; some people may need to go through detox or rehab before they can successfully live in a sober home environment. Many programs provide a supportive place to transition from the addictive lifestyle to one of sobriety and responsibility, and recovery homes are one of them. People who have already gotten sober and want to stay that way should seriously consider moving into a group home dedicated to living clean and sober. This has been statistically proven to greatly increase the chances of prolonged or permanent recovery.

If you or a loved one is looking for a quality sober living, we are happy to help. Contact Vanderburgh House at (844) 762-3747 for a confidential consolation about your options. Our recovery homes are available throughout Massachusetts, with our home base in beautiful Worcester, Massachusetts.  | Member of MASH, NARR