Home or Recovery House? It’s Not an Easy Call

An Allies in Recovery member is fortunate to have a loved one she feels perfectly safe with, but the stress of living with him post-rehab still feels overwhelming. What’s the best housing choice for their situation? Both living at home and living in a recovery house come with their own unique challenges. Either way, the best chance for success is to be as informed as possible.

This question originally appeared on the Alliesinrecovery.net member site: 

“My partner is home from one month in rehab, and I would like help figuring out how to either convince him to go to sober living or maybe to go away for the sake of my own mental health. I am definitely safe with him (he’s incredibly kind and gentle) but I am very stressed and uncomfortable that he is not doing what the professionals recommend (continuing his recovery in sober living) because he almost died from very long-term alcoholism. I’ve taken time off work next week to figure out what to do, and I’m very interested to know all recommended resources, and how to best use this time.”

Before we talk about next steps, is your partner participating in any recovery activities? Is he using outside help to stay abstinent? Is he attending self-help meetings, or seeing a therapist or a recovery coach? Is he exercising or doing anything that can help settle his mind? Has your partner looked at psychiatric medication that can discourage drinking, such as Suboxone (or Vivitrol, a monthly shot that can help precent relapses into alcohol or drug use)?

Recovery housing is indeed critical if your partner has nowhere safe to stay. And by “safe,” we mean both safe from physical harm and a safe recovery environment.

Time to learn about recovery housing

Recovery houses are safe, inexpensive places to live with others who are at a similar juncture as your loved one. The most common requirement for admission to a recovery house is 30 days of abstinence  (which, by the way, is a major barrier for those who are not safely housed). For reference, here is a primer on recovery residences from the National Association of Recovery Residences.

The quality of recovery houses varies greatly and is time specific. If you can, always visit the house first. You’ll want to look for a clear management organization in the house, and, if self-run, rotation schedules for tasks posted. Is the home clean? Where are the residents in the middle of the day when the house is empty? Membership to our site, Alliesinrecovery.net, offers unlimited access to a variety of member discussion blogs, a treatment resource blog, and more on the topic of recovery housing. 

You have some big decisions ahead 

If your main source of stress about your partner is that he’s at home rather than in a recovery house, I think you can let that worry go. A recovery house would ask of him the same as you can – to sample from the many services and programs listed above. He would be asked to choose from what’s available in the community and to make this a practice of recovery he adheres to every week.

So, if your home can be that safe recovery environment and you’re willing to create it, then living a recovery lifestyle from home is fine. Those who argue against long-term inpatient treatment or recovery houses argue that the person still must come back to the community eventually and plug into a new configuration of services, with new practitioners, new meetings, and new connections.

The call is yours to make. The first step is for you to size up what you can do, and what you need to have to stay calm and in your corner. If having him home disturbs your peace too much, if you find yourself eagle-eying him or over-focusing on his recovery, you may want to wait a while before he comes home. Let the trust first start to rebuild over some time.

The forgotten family

When the family member is included in the equation, we see the gap that exists in aftercare planning. CRAFT, however, reminds us to consider the social unit, the family, into which the loved one is returning. If you keep CRAFT principles in mind – including self-care – you’ll have a more holistic view of who and what is needed to maintain your loved one’s recovery.

Dominique Simon-Levine


With a membership to Allies in Recovery, you will have access to this article – and hundreds of others – in full. Allies in Recovery members have access to all of our blog posts including the ability to search a variety of topics such as those mentioned in this blog post. (e.g., Recovery Houses, Aftercare, Family Members Doing CRAFT, Home/Homelessness, Suboxone, etc.,)

If you’re an Allies member, check out the member site for our “10-day Challenge” to claim your reward of a FREE One-Day CRAFT Workshop – just for finishing half the modules!

If you’re not yet a member of Allies in Recovery but want to join us TODAY to get trained on how to reduce the chaos of addiction in your family and in your lifeclick here.

A membership at AlliesinRecovery.net brings you into contact with experts in CRAFT – the proven, most successful method for getting your loved one into recovery. Our unique, award-winning learning platform teaches you CRAFT, so you can play an important role your loved one’s recovery journey.

With Allies, you’ll get information critical to understanding your loved one’s alcohol/drug addiction; you’ll learn the strategies and skills you need to engage your loved one onto the path to recovery; and you’ll get guidance on how to identify and cope with the flood of emotions you are feeling – because when you are coping better, you can better help your loved one.