Recovery Housing Basics

Defining Recovery Housing:  There are several documented definitions of recovery

housing, and many are provided here for your reference.  According to Ohio Revised Code Section

340.01 (A) (3), “Recovery Housing” means housing for individuals recovering from drug addiction

that provides an alcohol and drug-free living environment, peer support, assistance with obtaining

drug addiction services, and other drug addiction recovery assistance.   [Effective 9/15/2016]
(Read More...)



NARR Levels of Recovery Residences: NARR has established four levels of recovery residences that offer differing levels of care.  Rather than serving as a linear, step-down continuum of services, the models meet the varying needs of people in recovery, allowing them to move in and out of the levels as needed, and as the resources are available.  Each tier delineates the services and supports that are available to residents.

While recovery housing may encompass models outside of NARR’s four levels of recovery residences, this framework is useful for understanding the research base behind recovery housing. Each level of recovery residence provides peer-based recovery support with a varying range of structured and peer support services (e.g., in-residence case management, employment support, or life skills training) to meet the needs of residents.   (Read More...)


Outcomes: Research on recovery housing shows positive outcomes and reflects all of the pieces that are needed to help a person regain stability, and the personal, social, and economic domains that are affected by addiction.  While there are many studies, here are some findings of note: (Read More…)


Costs and Benefits of Recovery Housing: Studies attempting to calculate the economic costs and benefits of establishing recovery homes have overwhelmingly found that the benefits far outweigh the costs.  Numerous other studies have evaluated other tangible outcomes for individuals living in recovery homes.  (Read More…)


Definitions for Recovery Housing

Research on Recovery Housing 

Recovery Housing Environmental Report 2013


Recovery Housing Environmental Scan 2013 Presentation


Recovery Housing Presentation May 2014


Eighteen-month outcomes for clients receiving combined outpatient treatment and sober living houses.

"One of the most frequent and frustration challenges facing clients in outpatient treatment is finding a living environment that is free of alcohol and drugs, and supportive of recovery.  Sober Living Houses (SLHs) have been suggested as one potential solution."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


A Clean and Sober Place to Live: Philosophy, Structure, and Purported Therapeutic Factors in Sober Living Houses.

"The call for evidence-based practices (EBPs) in addiction treatment is nearly universal. It is a noteworthy movement in the field because treatment innovations have not always been implemented in community programs."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


Abstinence-contingent recovery housing and reinforcement-based treatment following opioid detoxification.

"To conduct a randomized, controlled trial of abstinence-contingent recovery housing delivered with or without intensive day treatment among individuals exiting residential opioid detoxification."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


Recovery from Addiction in Two Types of Sober Living Houses: 12-Month Outcomes

"Sustained abstinence for many alcohol- and drug-dependent persons might be enhanced by providing an alcohol- and drug-free living environment that supports recovery. Sober living houses (SLHs) are alcohol- and drug-free living environments for individuals attempting to maintain abstinence. "

[ Read: Full Abstract ]


A Model for Sober Housing During Outpatient Treatment

"Finding a living environment that supports recovery is a major challenge for many clients attending outpatient treatment. Yet it is important because family, friends, and roommates who encourage substance use or discourage recovery can undermine the progress made in treatment."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


What did we learn from our study of sober living houses and where do we go from here? 

"Lack of a stable, alcohol- and drug-free living environment can b e a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence. Destructive living environments can derail recovery for even highly motivated individuals."

[ Read: Full Abstract ]


Recovery Housing: Assessing the Evidence

"Recovery housing is a direct service with multiple components that provides supervised, short-term housing to individuals with substance use disorders or co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. It commonly is used after inpatient or residential treatment."

[ Read: Full Abstract ]


The Role of Recovery Residences in Promoting Long-Term Addiction Recovery

"Addiction and the larger arena of alcohol and other drug (AOD) abuse and related problems exact an enormous toll on individuals, families, organizations, local neighborhoods, and whole communities in the United States."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


How Does a Campus Recovery House Impact Its Students and Its Host Institution?

"This is a literature review about a growing trend in meeting the needs of students in recovery who wish to attend an institution of higher education. The trend is campus-based recovery community programs and, more specifically, campus-based recovery houses."

[ Read: Full Abstract ]


Alternative Families in Recovery: Fictive Kin Relationships Among Residents of Sober Living Homes.

"Sober living homes are group residences for people attempting to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs in a mutually supportive setting. Residents typically develop strong psychological and economic ties and have been referred to as “alternative families,” thus evoking the anthropological concept of fictive kinship." 

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


Housing Preferences and Choices Among Adults with Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders: A Qualitative Study

"Housing is a crucial issue for adults with severe mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders, as this population is particularly susceptible to housing instability and homelessness."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


Sense of Community within Oxford House Recovery Housing: Impact of Resident Age and Income

"The experience of psychological sense of community (PSOC) can play an important role in the substance abuse recovery process. This study explored the relationship between PSOC and setting level variables of age and income among residents living in Oxford House, a communal, self-governed recovery housing model."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


Sober as Deviant: The Stigma of Sobriety and How some College Students “Stay Dry” on a “Wet” Campus

"Social scientists have conducted numerous studies on college students’ binge drinking behavior. They have not, however, conducted any systematic studies of nondrinkers on college campuses. Our study focuses on the everyday experiences of nondrinking undergraduates who stay “dry” while living on “wet” campuses."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


What about Sober Living Houses for Parolees?

"High recidivism rates for parolees might be reduced with the provision of a stable, drug-free living environment. This paper suggests that Sober Living Houses (SLHs) have been overlooked as housing options for alcohol and drug abusing parolees."

[ Read: Full Abstract ]


Therapy or Threat? Inadvertent exposure to alcohol and illicit drug cues in neighbourhoods of sober living homes

"Alcohol retail outlets and other environmental cues can contribute to relapse among individuals recovering from substance abuse. Sober living homes are residences designed to strengthen abstinence from substances, in part by helping residents develop skills for coping with cues and other stressors."

[ Read: Full Abstract ]


Community Context of Sober Living Houses

"The success or failure of programs designed to address alcohol and drug problems can be profoundly influenced by the communities where they are located. Support from the community is vital for long-term stability and conflict with the community can harm a program’s reputation or even result in closure." 

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


Perceptions of Sober Living Houses Among Addiction Counselors and Mental Health Therapists: Knowledge, Views and Perceived Barriers

"Affordable alcohol- and drug-free housing that supports recovery is limited in many areas. Sober living houses (SLHs) offer a unique living environment that supports abstinence and maintenance of a recovery lifestyle."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]


From Personal Tragedy to Personal Challenge: Responses to Stigma Among Sober Living Home Residents and Operators 

"Sober living homes for people attempting to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs can act as a buffer against the high rates of substance misuse that are endemic to many urban environments. Sober living homes and other group homes for people with disabilities have faced persistent opposition from neighbourhood associations, which raises the question of stigma."

[ Read: Full Abstract or Full Article ]

Sample Forms and Templates

ORH is working on developing sample forms and templates.

Helpful Links

Recovery Housing in the State of Ohio: Findings and Recommendations

from an Environmental Scan.

Authors: K. Paquette, Neil. Greene, L. Sepahi, K. Thom, L. Winn (2013).

Source: The Ohio Council, Center for Social Innovation


Recovery Housing in the State of Ohio describes various historical, national, state, and local

contexts that contribute to the findings and recommendations. As a source for long-term recovery

supports and affordable housing—along with several other social, relational, and economic benefits—

recovery housing sits at the intersection of several converging systems and ongoing national

dialogues. Many of these systems bring their own histories, terminology, and contexts. While these

factors will be discussed in various ways, the authors wish to acknowledge several key issues. This

report does not attempt to endorse one perspective over another, nor to propose singular solutions.

Rather, the findings and recommendations are intended to contribute to an ongoing dialogue and

inform future discussions of research, policy, and practice. 


Click here for the full-text article.


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614-453-5133 |  info@ohiorecoveryhousing.org