Sober Living Homes in Laguna Beach, CA

Sober living homes allow people at various stages of recovery to live in a safe and substance-free environment.

While sober living homes in California do not provide addiction treatment, most residents will engage with outpatient counseling and psychotherapy services while based at the sober living home.

Addiction is a growing concern in the United States, as evidenced by data from NSDUH 2020, SAMHSA’s most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Diagnoses of alcohol use disorder more than doubled, rising from 14 million in 2019 to 28.5 million in 2020. The number of those with substance use disorder also doubled, hitting an all-time high of 40 million in 2020.

More disturbingly, though, most estimates suggest fewer than 10% of those people get any kind of treatment for alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) or drug addiction (substance use disorder).

What is sober living? A sober living home, also known as a sober living community, is a concept intended to provide a supportive and safe setting for those in addiction recovery.

In most cases, residential rehab begins with a medical detox. Detox or detoxification is a process where all the toxins and toxic by-products of the addictive substance are purged from your system. 

When you stop using an addictive substance, this often triggers adverse withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings for the substance. A medically-managed detox provides you with around-the-clock clinical and emotional care. Your treatment team may prescribe medications to streamline the withdrawal process. 

In addition to making detox safer and more comfortable, the risk of any complications is minimized. If anything does go wrong, you are already in the best place for immediate treatment. 

Detoxification typically takes from 5 to 10 days. Now you are no longer physically dependent on an addictive substance, you are ready to segue directly into the main phase of treatment.

Article at a Glance:

What is a Sober Living Home?

Sober living homes are not detox facilities and they do not provide clinical care or medical supervision. You will not receive formal addiction treatment at a sober living community either, so consider an SLH as a base for treatment rather than a primary form of treatment. 

Sober living homes in California may be beneficial in any of the following scenarios: 

  • For individuals who have completed a course of residential rehab, an SLH can make an effective base, streamlining the transition back into day-to-day life.
  • For those who require a short spell in a controlled environment before committing to an inpatient rehab program.
  • For people with volatile home environments full of addiction triggers looking to engage with ongoing outpatient addiction treatment. 

Regardless of the reasons and the circumstances, many people in recovery from addiction find that a sober living community is a natural next step after a successful detox and rehab program. 

California sober living communities are not government-funded, so residents pay rent and bills. 

A sober living home is typically located in a good neighborhood and will have at least four bedrooms. Most sober living communities have between four and twelve residents, depending on the size of the property. The intention of keeping sober living communities small is to foster a closer-knit group. 

If you opt to commence or continue your recovery journey at a sober living home, you will need to remain abstinent from substances. You can expect to undergo random and regular drug testing. You should view this as a positive as it ensures a substance-free environment free of temptation for all residents. 

Sober living homes have a house manager tasked with running the SLH. Senior residents will also play different roles, according to the community in question. 

While you will not receive addiction treatment at the sober living community, all residents will be actively pursuing their recovery. This will often involve attending counseling sessions, psychotherapy sessions, and peer-support meetings, whether AA, NA, or a secular alternative like SMART Recovery.

Unlike a time-limited rehab program, you can remain at a sober living home for as long as it proves necessary, assuming you comply with all rules, remain abstinent, and pay all your dues. You can even find pet-friendly sober living California.

The Evolution of the Sober Living House

In California, the concept of the sober living home goes back to around 1935, not long after the repeal of prohibition. 

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is touted as the original free-standing sober home. This 12-step peer support group was created solely for the purpose of nurturing patients back to sobriety. 

This system remained in place for decades, spreading in one form another to a variety of venues and institutions. California ended custodial care for alcoholics in state hospitals and local jails in the 1950s and 1960s, which left a void of services in its wake. This gave rise to the community-based social model approach to recovery. 

California switched to a system of short-term treatment that paid little attention to housing. As you can imagine, these programs were not very successful. Because of California’s explosive urban development throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, some urban development policies were destroyed. This also impacted the much-needed access to housing for those in recovery. Protections for recovering people’s rights to housing went into place little by little until 1992. 

Eventually, both state and federal support for residential treatment facilities helped. This support spurred explosive growth in the number of these facilities from 1992 forward. 

Today, with support from health insurance providers, state and federal programs and competition among facilities, the situation has improved. In fact, some argue that it has never been easier to find a suitable facility.

What are the Benefits of a Sober Living Home?

The core benefit of a sober living home is the trigger-free environment it provides. For many people completing a course of inpatient rehab, it can be challenging to return to the same environment as when they developed an addiction. Stepping down to a sober living home can provide a welcome continuation of a controlled environment without temptation in plain sight. 

Data indicates that sober living homes are beneficial in all of the following circumstances: 

  1. As a smoother transition to daily living after completing a residential rehab program.
  2. For those attending ongoing outpatient addiction treatment.
  3. For anyone with an unsupportive home environment.
  4. For people reentering the community after incarceration.
  5. As an alternative recovery route. 

Researchers concluded that the optimum route to recovery is detox and rehab followed by a spell in a sober living home and ongoing peer-support group attendance. 

Those who utilized sober living communities remained abstinent at higher rates than those who didn’t use sober living homes. Sober living home residents also reported fewer legal issues and also experienced more success in finding and maintaining employment. 

What will unfold if you opt to use a sober living home as your base for recovery in California?

California Sober Living

Residents at California sober living homes will all be at varying stages on the road to recovery. 

You can start your search for a suitable SLH by asking your healthcare provider for recommendations. Due to the prevalence of addiction in the United States, you may also find that friends or family can suggest appropriate sober living communities near you. 

If you engage with a course of addiction treatment, the rehab center should be able to connect you with sober living homes throughout the state of  California.

Do Sober Living Homes Work?

In this study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, participants showed significant improvements in both primary and secondary outcomes after completing a long-term stay. The data showed improvements in employment, psychiatric symptoms, and arrests. 

The data also showed that residents had greater success if they stayed at least 6-12 months. 68% of residents remained abstinent 18 months after they left. 

While these facilities provide a high level of autonomy for residents, the carefully structured curriculum of activities, living rules and support groups foster personal growth so long as residents stay committed to recovery. The environment fosters sobriety through careful monitoring, random drug/alcohol testing, intensive group therapy, personal goal establishment and accountability. The support system in a sober living environment is further enhanced through peer-to-peer participation.

Start Your Recovery Journey at California Detox

When you are ready to move from active addiction into ongoing sobriety, you can choose from the following treatment programs at California Detox: 

  • Supervised medical detoxification
  • Residential rehab (inpatient programs)
Along with these intensive forms of addiction treatment, we can help you or your loved one get connected with a local IOP, PHP, or outpatient program as well as sober living if that’s what you’re looking for. We know great treatment centers in the area that can provide assistance for all of these levels of care following inpatient and have all the resources to help you know what to bring to rehab.

For those looking with addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders, our dual diagnosis treatment programs offer coordinated and integrated treatment of both conditions.

Whatever intensity of treatment you require, you can begin your sober living journey in California with access to these therapies: 

  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapies like CBT and DBT
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy 

Call admissions today for immediate assistance at (949) 694-8305.


A halfway house in California is a specific type of sober living community acting as a bridge between an institution – an inpatient treatment center or correctional facility – and independent society. Systems and drug tests ensure that residents of halfway houses remain sober as they pursue their recovery in California.

A sober living house or sober living community is a concept intended to provide a supportive and safe setting for those in addiction recovery.


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