Sober Living Califorina

Sober Living Facilities in California—What to Look for and What to Avoid

For people battling addiction, detox and rehab are really just the first steps on the journey to long-term sobriety. Getting clean in a qualified, licensed detox facility starts the process, and then quality in-patient rehab continues it, but often those two steps are not enough. Transitioning into everyday life, away from the 24/7 support of rehab can be challenging, and returning to living situations where drugs and alcohol are present can derail the recovery even in people who are fully committed to staying clean. That’s why sober living homes can be an essential part of the transition into long-term sobriety.

But not all sober living homes are created equal. If you’re considering moving from rehab to sober living in California, here are few things to know in order to make sure you enter into a situation that will support your recovery in the best way possible.


Sober Living Homes are Not Licensed by the State

It’s important to be aware that sober living homes do not have to adhere to the licensing standards that are mandated for rehabs and detox facilities. Because of this, these homes and the quality of their environments are not regulated in the same way.

An article in the publication, CalMatters, investigated the issue of unregulated sober living homes in Orange County, and they found that because of this lack of oversight, the quality of living experience varied dramatically. The publication uncovered incidences where some of these homes were operating to take advantage of medical insurance payments or funding from concerned loved ones, and did not have the stable, drug- and alcohol-free living environment they claimed to provide. In these situations, once the money runs out, the residents are evicted. It’s a practice known as “curbing” and it can result in recovery relapse, housing insecurity, and homelessness.



Sometimes Sober Living Homes are Part of a Referral Network that Does Not Have the Individual’s Best Interest at Heart

Unfortunately, the opioid epidemic has taken its toll on thousands of Americans, and taking advantage of vulnerable addicts has become quite commonplace. Up until very recently, a practice known as “patient brokering” was rampant within the addiction services industry. A USA Today article about the practice describes how brokers look for addicted individuals and lure them into questionable sober living arrangements in return for financial kickbacks. These individuals often never receive the care that they need.

Fortunately, in 2018, Congress passed the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act in order to prohibit this practice. However, it will likely take some time before the worst characters in the industry are identified and put out of business.



How to Identify A Quality Sober Living Home in California

A recent NBC News story puts the number of sober living homes in California at about 2,250, but because there is no oversight, this is just an estimate. Here are a few things to look out for in order to find a home that is truly going to support recovery and is not just in the business of exploiting a vulnerable population:

  • Ask if residents have to participate in a 12-step program and/or life skills classes as a requirement for living there.
  • Make sure the house has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol.
  • Do not agree to the living situation sight-unseen. Visit first, and talk to the house manager and residents to get a feel for the rules and atmosphere.
  • Check to see if any complaints have been filed against the house with the California Department of Healthcare Services:


Recovering from a drug and/or alcohol addiction is difficult and requires a strong support network. Your sober living home should assist in your effort to stay clean as you transition out of rehab and into daily life.

Many of us at Dynamic Transformations, are, ourselves, in recovery and we know that getting on the path to long term sobriety is hard enough without the added hurdles of unscrupulous behavior on the part of people who claim to want to help. That is why our detox facility is part of an addiction recovery network that includes transition to rehab and then transition into aftercare and quality sober living.

We’re here to help every step of the way. Visit our treatment page for more information on the process: Treatment


Dynamic Transformation residential detox is the first step in your recovery journey. Let us help – 24/7 assistance available: 1-800-417-0485


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