Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Sober Living Homes for Teens

Graduating from drug rehab represents a major step in a teen’s life. Although getting through detox and rehabilitation is a personal triumph, facing the realities of the world outside of rehab can be frightening and overwhelming. Faced with peer pressure, academic responsibilities, environmental triggers and family stress, a teenager’s new coping skills will be severely tested. Sober living homes and sober living for teens can offer a bridge between the rehab phase and the real world, so teens can continue to practice their coping strategies in a safe, drug-free environment.

What Is Sober Living For Teens?

Sober living for youth is a way to positively reinforce recovery. Teens who have graduated from rehab often experience difficulties adjusting to their so-called normal life when they return home.  Therefore, a sober living home is a therapeutic way a teen can make the transition easier.  In most instances, sober living provides support and structure as well as 12-step programs that reinforce the value of sobriety and recovery. Sober living should also provide teens the freedom to socialize, make choices, and live independently while still in a controlled, caring environment. Furthermore, sober living for teens is an effective way to ensure long-term recovery and sobriety.

Halfway Houses vs. Sober Living Homes

Sometimes, homes that provide sober living for adolescents are referred to as halfway houses.  While the two share similarities, there are some differences.  For instance, a halfway house typically sets a limit on the length of time a resident may stay.  Alternatively, sober living homes usually do not have a limit on length of stay, provided all residents continue to remain sober, and follow the house rules. In both living arrangements, all residents are required to abstain from using substances or alcohol and stay sober.  Studies show that sober living for adolescents has proven to be a crucial advantage to long-term recovery.  

How Sober Living Programs for Teens Work

When it comes to sober living for teens, there are different home environments and programs to consider.  For instance, some sober homes, such as Muir Wood, offer gender-specific living conditions, while other facilities have mixed gender environments.  Same-gender sober homes are ideal because it eliminates complications or distractions within the community.  

In most cases, residents typically share a room in a sober living home, or they may have a private room and share a bathroom.  There usually are communal areas such as recreational areas, a TV room, dining area, and a kitchen.  At Muir Wood, teens are encouraged to experience life in a controlled community while socializing with other residents. Sober living homes have proven to make the transition from inpatient rehab into daily life easier and more manageable.

Benefits of Transitional Housing for Teens

Research studies indicate that sober living homes for teens can be an effective transition for rehab graduates, giving them a solid foundation for long-term sobriety. A study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs followed 300 adults living in sober housing environments for 18 months to determine their success rates. The majority of study participants showed improvement in these important areas:

  • Alcohol and drug use declined
  • Involvement in 12-Step programs increased
  • Employment rates were higher
  • Psychiatric symptoms were less severe

In sober living homes for adolescents, similar benefits can be gained. These residences provide a secure, supportive setting where teens can continue to be supervised while retaining some independence and flexibility. Teens are held accountable for following the rules and requirements of the home, but they are given enough freedom to go to school, work at part-time jobs or spend time with their families. Some of the key advantages of transitional housing include:

  • The opportunity to develop in recovery without the social distractions or triggers of everyday life
  • The support of other teenagers who are equally committed to the process of recovery
  • The supervision of adult addiction specialists who are trained in the treatment of recovering teens
  • Rules and expectations that help teens develop a sense of responsibility and stay on track with their recovery goals
  • Fellowship with others through group meetings and 12-step programs
  • Adequate time to continue to acquire coping strategies and build self-confidence

Twelve-step programs play a big part in a sober living environment in Sonoma county, such as found at Muir Wood. In some homes, attendance at regular meetings is a requirement; in others, participation is optional. Many of these residences offer on-site meetings, some of which are open to the general public.

Rules and Guidelines for Sober Living for Teens

Sober living homes are more open and less restrictive than addiction treatment centers; however, there are still a lot of rules to follow. Although rules vary from one facility to another, most gender-specific residences for teens follow guidelines like these:

  • No alcohol or drugs are allowed in the home.
  • Residents must follow a curfew.
  • Teen residents may not have guests after certain hours.
  • Residents must behave in a courteous, socially appropriate way.
  • Violence and aggression are not allowed.
  • Teens must attend counseling sessions or community meetings.
  • Teens must participate in house meetings.
  • Residents are assigned chores and household tasks.
  • Teens must go to school or work at a job while they live in the home.

Teenage boys who get involved with drugs or alcohol often have problems with authority and structure. Sober living homes provide the opportunity for them to learn to be accountable to authority figures, family members, peers and themselves. The rules at a sober living house for teens are often strict, and residents who don’t follow the guidelines will be asked to leave. But those who successfully complete their stay will leave with stronger coping skills and greater confidence in their abilities.

Recreational Activities at Sober Living Homes for Teens

At Muir Wood, we provide ample opportunities for our teens to continue to mature and develop in our sober living homes.  Recreational activities are important for teens in recovery because it gives them focus, builds confidence, and encourages social skills such as teamwork, trust, and communication.  Our campuses include volleyball and basketball courts as well as a soccer field which all teens are encouraged to use.  We also have recreational activities such as music therapy, yoga, meditation and other experiential therapies.  Additionally, our campuses reinforce the value of a healthy diet and exercise in our sober living, Sonoma County residential campus.

Finding a Sober Living Home for Teens

Sober living homes are found in a number of different settings. Some of these residences are privately owned and located in mainstream neighborhoods. Others are situated on the campus of an addiction treatment center, so residents can continue to attend counseling sessions and peer group meetings after they graduate. In both cases, the sober home represents a transitional phase from the rehab facility to the outside world.

Comprehensive addiction treatment programs for teens may include a sober living option as part of their aftercare services. After completing rehab, clients can stay in transitional housing for teens for several months, or until they feel confident about their ability to cope with the stress of daily life. When you search for sober living homes for adolescents, California has plenty of options, but not all have the necessary environment your teen needs to ensure full transition and recovery. Look for a facility that stresses family involvement, personal growth and accountability for teens. The home should be located in a safe environment with minimal exposure to triggers and distractions.

The addiction treatment program at Muir Wood was designed exclusively for teenage boys between the ages of 12 and 17. We offer a full range of services for our clients to help them realize their potential and become strong, successful young men. Our award-winning programs have gained national acclaim, and are considered to be the best teen drug treatment program in the area. If you’re ready to find help for your son, call our central intake number at any hour of the day or night.

Is a Sober Living Home Right for Your Teen?

All teens are different, and each one has varying needs.  Sober living homes are an ideal place for your teen to make an easier transition into everyday life after rehab.  If you believe, as we do, that your teen will thrive and flourish in a supportive, caring, structured environment after getting out of rehab, then yes – a sober living home is right for your teen.

Muir Wood Is Here to Help

Sober Living for Teens FAQs

Is Sober Living Necessary?

While it is not necessary, it is highly recommended for teens to spend time in a sober living environment after treatment. The reasons for this are multiple. First and foremost, teens are the most susceptible to relapse within the first 90 days of rehab. A sober living home can provide the environment needed to support and stabilize your child in order to avoid potential relapse after treatment.

Do Staff Live In Sober Living Houses?

At Muir Wood, we have on-site medical, administrative, and mental health professionals, so that care can be administered to your child 24/7 if required while living in our sober living homes.

How Much Does Sober Living Cost?

The cost of sober living homes varies depending on the facility you choose for your teen. The cost can be considered as monthly rent for your teen, which may include meal expenses. At Muir Wood, we provide all the amenities and extra benefits that will help your child during this transitional phase, and we do this while striving to keep monthly costs affordable for you.

What Do You Bring With You to a Sober Living Home?

Unlike inpatient residential rehab, sober living home life affords our teens a little bit more flexibility in terms of items they can have on our sober living campus. Teens must bring clothes and hygiene products. A cell phone is also permitted. Teens are also encouraged to bring personal items such as books, journals, and photos.

Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services is a Joint Commission-accredited mental health and substance use disorder treatment provider located in Petaluma, California. We provide integrated evidence-based care including psychiatry, psychotherapy, experiential therapy, wellness services, and milieu therapy for adolescents and teens, and their family members.