How Is Sober Living Different From Residential Treatment?

How Is Sober Living Different From Residential Treatment?

Starting the road to recovery from a substance use disorder is a major accomplishment that deserves recognition. As you or a loved one transition from a rehabilitation or detox program, you may wonder what the next step should be. Two of the main options after rehabilitation are sober living and residential treatment. Both choices are highly effective, and the best choice for you will depend on your treatment goals.

What Is Sober Living and How Does It Enhance the Sobriety Journey?

Sober living is often the next step after completing rehabilitation or a detox program. Some people move to a sober living home immediately after rehabilitation, while others start in residential treatment and then transition into sober living. The goal of sober living is to serve as a place to ease back into the rhythms of life outside of rehabilitation while building a community of other individuals on the recovery journey. 

One of the main differences between sober living centers and residential treatment centers is sober living homes offer limited intensive therapy and medical services. The main focus of a sober living house is to provide a supportive environment for individuals as they begin to construct what they want their lives to look like without their addiction.

Sober living enhances the sobriety journey in a variety of ways.

Meaningful Relationships

For many individuals struggling with addiction, their addiction is the main relationship in their life. Choosing a sober living home for treatment provides a safe place to focus on creating meaningful relationships with other residents. Each resident likely understands what you went through and the different aspects of the recovery process, making them great resources to learn from and connect with on your sobriety journey. As you spend more time in a sober living home, you may feel that your housemates have become your family.

Ongoing Structure

Creating and following a structure is one of the many things that aid in sobriety. At a sober living house, you'll find rules and guidelines to follow to provide the structure you need to avoid reverting to destructive habits.

For example, if you break curfew, you may lose some privileges, such as computer or phone access. Establishing this structure can help all residents realize that their actions have consequences.

Opportunity to Learn Life Skills

When individuals are struggling with addiction, aspects like keeping obligations and maintaining their health often become a low priority or neglected. During your time in sober living, you will learn or relearn many common life skills, including:

  • Doing laundry.
  • Going grocery shopping.
  • Consistently going to work.
  • Finding and keeping a job.
  • Exercising.
  • Practicing good hygiene.

As you learn these skills, you will also understand how to incorporate them into your daily routine so you can continue to practice them after you transition out of sober living.

What Is Residential Treatment and What Are the Benefits?

Residential treatment is an inpatient program that provides 24-hour care in a home, apartment or farm setting. It can last 28 days to over six months and is ideal for individuals in the early stages of recovery. Most individuals immediately enroll in a residential treatment program after completing rehabilitation.

Residential treatment programs provide intensive addiction treatment services as well as therapy. Here are some other benefits of a residential treatment program.

Individualized Care

Since residential treatment provides around-the-clock care, there are more opportunities to customize the recovery process. The residents are also in constant contact with their recovery team, which makes it easier to adjust a treatment plan or realign goals.


Leaving rehabilitation or a detox program and trying to go back into your everyday routine can be difficult. A residential treatment center allows you to ease back into your routine while still having access to care at any time.


Residential treatment programs have more options than outpatient or day programs because clients spend all day every day with the program. This enables individuals to have more treatment options and the freedom to try a few different therapies to see which is most effective for them.

How to Tell if a Sober Living Program or Residential Treatment Is Right for You

Deciding whether sober living or a residential treatment program is right for you will ultimately depend on your recovery journey. Some signs you may benefit from a sober living program include:

Some signs you may benefit from a sober living program

  • You completed inpatient treatment: After completing treatment at a rehabilitation or detox facility, you may be unsure of your next step. Sober living homes are a safe place to transition and establish and build successful routines you can use outside of treatment.
  • You don't want time limits: The length of your stay in a sober living home will depend on your needs. This means you can stay at the sober living house for one month or six without feeling rushed or like you need to speed through the recovery process.
  • You need a support system: The recovery process may mean cutting ties with family members, friends and acquaintances who are not supportive of your recovery journey, leaving you without a network. Luckily, in a sober living program, you'll find plenty of individuals on their sobriety journey who can provide the support and friendship you need to get through this transitional period.

If you are still unsure if sober living is right for you, you may want to consider residential treatment. Some of the major signs that residential treatment would provide the most benefit to you include:

  • You need 24-hour care: If you require 24-hour access to care or supervision, a residential treatment program may be your best option. During residential treatment, you will live at the facility and have continual access to the care you need at each stage of recovery.
  • You've had a relapse: If you had a relapse after leaving the detox program or an outpatient recovery center, you might not have had access to the right level of treatment. The structured support of a residential treatment program can help prevent future relapses.
  • Your environment does not support your sobriety: Leaving a detox center and then immediately returning to an environment with drugs and alcohol present puts you at a higher risk of relapse. Staying at an inpatient treatment center provides a safe environment, allowing you to place your focus on recovery.

Why Trust Us

At Diamond House Detox, we understand that the path to sobriety is a highly personalized experience that involves many different aspects of the body and mind. That's why we offer a holistic approach to care. Many of our clients have been able to take control of their recovery and reach their sobriety goals under our experienced medical professionals and psychological support.

When you choose us, we will continue to support you through our alumni program. After you leave one of our programs, you can continue to turn to our alumni services for support at any stage of your recovery journey. We invite you to view our testimonials to learn more about how we help our clients achieve their recovery goals and make long-lasting positive changes.

Find a Treatment Option That Works for You at Diamond House Detox

Recovery is possible at Diamond House Detox. We offer residential and sober living treatment programs to provide comprehensive recovery options. We understand the recovery journey looks different for everyone, which is why our sober living program features some of the same elements that helped people begin their recovery journey, such as peer support and relapse prevention. 

We invite you to complete our online contact form to learn more about our sober living program or our full range of outpatient and inpatient services. Let's take the first step on the road to recovery together.

Find a Treatment Option That Works for You at Diamond House Detox

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet