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New Jersey Sober Living Homes

New Jersey Sober Living Homes

New Jersey sober living homes are residential facilities that provide a supportive, safe, and structured substance-free living arrangement for persons in recovery. Sober living homes help people transition from rehab programs to independent living.
Sober living homes are not substance treatment centers. The recovery residences do not provide medical care and supervision but permit residents to receive addiction treatment from formal rehab programs.
In New Jersey, the Department of Human Services (DHS) regulates and licenses sober living homes per state regulations on recovery residences.

Daily Life in New Jersey Sober Living Homes

A day in the life of a sober living resident begins with house chores and personal grooming. The morning chores may include maintaining the facility and helping with breakfast. Residents may also exercise and attend house meetings or group activities.
During the day, residents receiving outpatient treatment may go to their respective programs while employed residents go to work. The house management also encourages unemployed residents to actively seek employment or other goal-oriented endeavors, like learning a skill or volunteering.
Evening activities include attending support group meetings like counseling and 12-step meetings or sharing a group dinner. At night, residents may relax with a book, or movie, reconnect with loved ones or engage in a hobby.
These daily routines provide structure, help the residents cope with stress, increase productivity, and improve their self-esteem. They help the resident have a sense of purpose and reduce the risk of relapse.

How to Increase Your Chances of Staying Sober While in New Jersey Sober Living

Commitment to the sober living facility guidelines increases the odds of avoiding a relapse.
Prioritizing daily activities such as peer support group meetings, counseling, and therapy, helps residents succeed in maintaining their sobriety while living in a sober living home.
Most New Jersey sober living homes encourage their residents to participate in skills training, pick up a new sport, engage in self-care activities, volunteer within the community, and socialize with family and friends. In addition, some facilities may provide job resources to aid self-sufficiency for their unemployed residents.
The more a resident complies with the facility's guidelines and activities, the greater the chances the resident maintains their sobriety.

When to Move Into a Sober Living Home in New Jersey

While it is not a requirement for living in a sober living home, most New Jersey sober living houses expect persons signing on to either be in treatment in an outpatient facility or to have completed a formal rehab program. New Jersey sober living homes also encourage intending residents to complete a supervised detox, inpatient rehab program, or a short residential rehab program before moving in.

Sober Living Programs vs. Halfway Houses in New Jersey

Like sober living programs, halfway houses provide substance-free transitional living arrangements for persons not ready to return to independent living. Both programs provide a community with a supportive environment for residents to work on their sobriety.
Sober living homes and halfway houses have structures, policies, and responsibilities for their residents. However, persons looking for support to work on their sobriety should understand how both programs differ to decide which program best suits their recovery needs. These differences include:

  • Entry requirements
  • Duration of stay
  • Exit requirements
  • Living requirements
  • Ownership
  • Living arrangement

Entry Requirements

Most residents in a halfway house enter the program through a court order, from a correctional facility, or as part of a plea bargain. In most cases, halfway houses provide substance-free accommodation services for former inmates. However, most residents in a sober living home enter the program voluntarily after completing a substance abuse treatment program.

Duration of Stay

There is no predetermined time limit a person can stay in a sober living home. Residents stay for as long as they wish to. Halfway houses do have a time limit a resident can live in the facility. Halfway houses grant its residents a maximum stay of 12 months.

Exit Requirements

There is no requirement to leave a sober living home. Residents leave the facility when they feel ready for independent living. Contrarily, leaving a halfway house before the stipulated end date can have unpleasant consequences, especially jail time for people in alternative sentencing programs.

Living Requirements

Most persons living in a New Jersey sober living home may not be enrolled or actively involved in rehabilitation. The main requirement for living in a sober living home is to maintain sobriety, pay residence fees, and obey house rules. Conversely, enrollment or completion of a rehab program is a prerequisite for living in a halfway house.


Private individuals and independent substance abuse treatment facilities manage and fund the operations of New Jersey sober living houses. The government owns and operates halfway houses, providing most of the funds needed for its daily operation and maintenance.

Living Arrangements

New Jersey sober living homes are properly structured private residences providing their residents with privacy and comfort. Halfway houses offer dorm-like living arrangements, often congested and lacking privacy.

Types of New Jersey Sober Living Houses

After completing an inpatient rehab treatment, patients can access various types of residential living support in a peer-related community. These support facilities offer similar services while helping their residents maintain their sobriety.

Halfway Houses

A halfway house is transitional living accommodation for persons in recovery. Most individuals enter a halfway house after completing an addiction treatment program, probation center, or prison. In some instances, a court may order an individual to live in a halfway house for a predetermined period. Most halfway housing encourages its occupant to continue with work or school while residing in the facility.
There are rules, regulations, structures, and policies for halfway houses to ensure their residents maintain their sobriety. For instance, some halfway houses may have curfews, while others mandate attendance of 12-step meetings and conduct random drug testing for residents. Some halfway houses may provide medical and mental health care services for residents.

Transitional Housing

Transitional housing provides temporary but safe and supportive accommodation for homeless people or persons with substance abuse disorder. Transitional housing bridges the gap between homelessness and independent living.
Residents can live in a transitional home for up to 24 months. During the stay at transitional housing, residents can address issues that lead to homelessness through education, house meetings, counseling, therapies, and life skill training offered by the facility.

Recovery Houses

Recovery houses are short-term, peer-based, substance-free residences where individuals can continue their sobriety goals. Services in a recovery house include counseling and communal support.
Residents within the recovery housing community use the skills and knowledge obtained during inpatient treatment to navigate, motivate, and support each other to sustain their sobriety.
Recovery houses do not provide medical treatment for substance abuse. Instead, it offers safe and supportive addiction-free living by providing a community focused on recovery through mutual help.

Sober Housing

Sober housing is a facility that offers substance-free living arrangements where persons recovering from addiction can live. Sober housing also provides a safe place for persons to transition from residential rehab treatment to living independently.
Most sober living homes have structures and regulations such as therapies and mandatory curfews to prevent residents from a relapse. Sober living homes equip their residents through life skills training, accountability, therapy, and counseling sessions. They aim to ensure residents maintain their sobriety while transitioning to independent living.

The Phases of Sober Living in New Jersey

The purpose of a New Jersey sober living house aims at increasing its residents' independence. There are three phases to attaining independent living:

  • Restrictive/abstinence phase
  • Reintroduction phase
  • Self-sufficiency phase

Restrictive/Abstinence Phase

The restrictive phase in a New Jersey sober living house focuses on the principles of living sober while adjusting to living with people. The resident focuses on sober living by adhering to the facility's regulations. Such rules may include attending therapy and peer support sessions, being involved in household chores, taking up fitness activities, or volunteering.
The sober living home places restrictions on the new resident to avoid substance use triggers. Restrictions could be no computer access, no working or schooling, restricted movement, or a strict curfew. The restrictive phase can last up to a month.

Reintroduction Phase

In the reintroduction phase, the sober living home relaxes some earlier restrictions and adds to the resident responsibilities to build stress tolerance. The lift-in restrictions allow the resident to experience the sober living community and use the skills learned during treatment.
The residents start work or school and continue with therapy and support group sessions. Also, the individual can run errands, ride the bus for essential activities, and have their curfew extended.

Self-Sufficiency Phase

A resident comes into the self-sufficiency phase after exhibiting a history of being sober. The self-sufficiency phase involves the individual taking on more responsibilities like mentoring new sober living residents. The resident is responsible and accountable for all decisions made in the self-sufficiency phase. Most persons in this phase transition to independent living as the resident is confident in their coping skills in the real world.
To attain self-sufficiency, residents must attend therapy and counseling sessions, complete the 12-step program, and must have been in the reintroduction phase for at least 30 days. The individual can move into their residence after completing the self-sufficiency phase. If the resident relapses at this phase, the sober living home places the individual back on restriction.

Sober Living Homes and Substance Abuse Treatment Near Me

If you or a loved one needs a drug-free place to transition after rehab, call the SAMHSA's helpline at (800) 662-4357 to find a sober living home in New Jersey. Likewise, the New Jersey Alliance of Recovery Residences also publishes a directory of sober living homes in the state.
Meanwhile, you can locate a rehab treatment using SAMHSA's treatment center locator if you wish to complete a formal rehab program first. The locator provides access to a rehab program that has been assessed and rated by independent specialists. You will find the facility location, contact information, amenities, therapies, and payment options.