Sober Living Vs. Rehab

Key Differences Between Sober Living and Rehab

Rehab centers and sober living programs are two important but different levels of care for addiction treatment. While they can both be considered residential treatment programs, they’re quite different in terms of support, structure, and the level of independence that is allowed. Here’s a comparison to break down the differences between sober living and rehab.

Is Sober Living the Same as Rehab?

No, sober living and addiction rehab are not the same. The differences between sober living and rehab are vast. They are two different programs that offer differing levels of care and support. When looking at the continuum of care for addiction treatment, drug and alcohol rehab ranks as a higher level of care. In comparison, sober living programs provide a lower level of care for individuals who are near completing their drug addiction treatment plan. 

What Is an Alcohol or Drug Rehab Center?

Alcohol or drug rehab is a common starting point for individuals seeking help for an addiction. This can include people who are seeking help for the first time or those who have a history of addiction treatment and have relapsed. 

Rehab is the next step after drug or alcohol detox. Some addiction rehab centers offer a detox program on site so that detox and the first stages of recovery can take place in one location. Some people are able to enter rehab on their own without going through a medically supervised detox program. 

There are both inpatient treatment and outpatient addiction rehab options. Inpatient rehab is a complete, structured, and supervised approach to addiction care in a residential setting. Residents must follow strict rules, which usually limit outside exposure and interactions with family, friends, and loved ones. 

During inpatient rehab, days are scheduled around multiple treatment sessions, which can include physical and mental health assessments, individual and group therapy, and other appropriate therapies. 

Outpatient rehab is slightly different. Outpatient rehab isn’t a fully residential program. However, it can be offered in full day, as with a partial hospitalization program (PHP), or partial day with an intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP)

This treatment option offers structure and support through addiction treatment while still allowing the individual the freedom and flexibility to return home in the evenings and be present for home, family, and work responsibilities. 

What Is Sober Living?

Sober living is a transitional residential program, sometimes also referred to as a halfway house due to the program being the halfway point between high-level addiction treatment and independent living. 

Sober living facilities provide a safe and supportive environment for people in early recovery. These individuals have either completed inpatient or partial hospitalization programs. While still receiving support from outpatient therapies, they are beginning to transition back into fully independent living. 

Sober living homes offer on-site support without a rigid structure. There’s a peer environment which can be beneficial for accountability and building supportive relationships. Individuals also receive life skill training while in sober living environments. 

This may come in the form of job training or job assistance, help in receiving continual physical and mental health care, learning how to cope with stress and substance use relapse without using drugs or alcohol as a crutch, and solely acclimating to a life that they have full control over.  

Transitioning From Rehab to Sober Living

Completing a drug or alcohol rehab program is an important accomplishment, but it’s important to look at what comes next in terms of long-term recovery. The transition from rehab into independent living is one that is challenging for many people. Sober living programs make this transition easier and more successful. 

Choosing an addiction treatment center that offers a continuum of care that includes rehab programs, such as PHP and IOP, along with sober living, will provide the smoothest transition for you as you work toward freedom from addiction. 

Massachusetts Center for Addiction offers accredited addiction treatment programs. We are one of the few MAT friendly sober living programs in the area. We’re available to answer your questions and work with you to develop the right addiction treatment plan for your needs. Contact us today at 844-486-0671.

MCA Staff
Written By

MCA Staff

The Massachusetts Center for Addiction expert staff is dedicated to helping individuals overcome... Read More

Contact Us



1515 Hancock Street, Suite 300
Quincy, MA 02169

Phone Number

24/7 Support

Start your recovery with
Massachusetts Center for Addiction

Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today and begin your journey toward long-term recovery.

MCA Contact Form