When Were Sober Homes Invented?

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The earliest models of sober living homes, known as “dry hotels” or “lodging houses” began in the 1830’s, and evolved out of the Temperance Movement. This social movement sought ways for individuals to overcome social pressures to drink alcohol by promoting moderation and encouraging complete abstinence from drinking alcoholic beverages. The early versions of sober living homes were typically run by religious institutions (e.g., YMCA, Salvation Army, etc.), where residents were required to participate in religious services. 

As time went on and societal needs shifted, the 20th century brought both the post-WWII era and an exponential increase of alcohol addiction. The need for additional support arose, and in 1935, in Akron, Ohio, Bill W. and Dr. Bob founded Alcoholics Anonymous, also referred to as AA. It is an international fellowship of men and women who self-identify as having a drinking problem. According to Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. it is “nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.” Not long after the development of AA, followed the current version of sober living homes that we know today. A manuscript published in the International Journal of Self Help and Self Care asserts that “Sober living houses fit readily into the social model system of care that was emerging in the 1970’s. Many alcoholics who successfully completed social model detoxification or residential recovery programs needed to protect their sobriety by living in clean and sober housing in a safe neighborhood.”

Sober living facilities are group homes that offer drug and alcohol-free transitional residence to individuals that have completed a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program. Residing in a sober living home inherently removes many of the potential trigger’s individuals may have that could threaten their sobriety and provides additional opportunities to navigate triggers in a semi-controlled environment. Sober living homes each hold distinct characteristics, are in different geographical areas, offer a variety of wide-ranging amenities, and many specialize in accommodating individual’s nuanced needs. Most sober living facilities are privately owned, and as such will have a distinct set of house rules and regulations as well as corresponding consequences for violations. Most sober living facilities do not impose a time limit for its residents, enabling them to stay for as long as they need, provided they are able to pay for their stay and adhere to the rules and regulations of the facility.

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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