Oxford House Shows Promise in Maintaining Sobriety


Sober living homes don’t require accreditation, a state license or oversight from a behavioral health care provider. The lack of regulation has led to the creation of homes that lack access to support services or strict rules.

  • This principle contrasts sharply with the principle of providing the alcoholic or drug addict with assistance for a limited time period in order to make room for a more recently recovering alcoholic or drug addict.
  • We work with those leaving rehab, healthcare professionals, legal professionals, veterans and parents of addicts.
  • Limited research is also available comparing Oxford Houses versus more traditional recovery homes, which also tend to have supervising staff and less democratic self-governing principles.
  • The term Oxford House refers to any house operating under the “Oxford House Model”, a community-based approach to addiction recovery, which provides an independent, supportive, and sober living environment.
  • These houses are even more problematic because it is almost impossible for providers to determine the health of the house.
  • Individuals early in their recovery or with particular interpersonal characteristics might need more of a structured and professionally-led milieu in order to maintain abstinence given the freedoms that are provided in Oxford Houses.

We believe that there is much potential in the Oxford House model for showing how intractable problems may be dealt with by actively involving the community. Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery.

Wake Network of Care

This was even true despite greater average cost per each participant over 2 years ($3200 more). All told, the net benefit of being assigned to the Oxford House condition versus usual care was $29,000 per person during the 2-year study.

How many Oxford Houses are in the United States?

Recovery Homes for Recovering Alcoholics and Drug Addicts

Today, after 33 years experience, there are more than 1,300 Oxford Houses throughout the United States.

Of course, no one particular type of treatment setting is appropriate for all individuals. Individuals early in their recovery or with particular interpersonal characteristics might need more of a structured and professionally-led milieu in order to maintain abstinence given the freedoms that are provided in Oxford Houses. In the past 90 days, the sample had an average of 1 day of residential treatment for psychiatric problems and an average of 3 sessions with a counselor for psychiatric problems. Certainly, it is clear that the sample of Oxford House residents do have significant mental health problems and that they do utilize mental health services outside of their Oxford Houses. Oxford House residents are often considered good neighbors, and when neighbors get to know these residents, they often feel very positive about these homes.

Halfway Houses

Detoxification program readmission represents a potential indicator that services received have not facilitated sustained recovery. It has been suggested that for a substantial portion of addicted persons, detoxification does not lead to sustained recovery. Instead, these individuals cycle repetitively through service delivery systems (Richman & Neuman, 1984; Vaillant, 2003).

what is an oxford house

Thus, individuals who relapse are usually removed from the sober living home as soon as possible. Many sober living homes refer the resident to a drug addiction rehab center or offer another form of treatment. Halfway houses dedicated to sober living are sometimes referred to as sober houses. Other names include dry houses, community-based residential facilities, recovery residences, transitional living environments, residential re-entry centers, or community release centers.

Types of Sober Living Homes

When we stopped drinking, we began to realize that in order to stay stopped, our lives would need to change. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provided a framework for us to change physically, mentally, and spiritually.

  • Some operate for several years and then, because of expiration of a lease, dissatisfaction with the facilities, or simply the finding of a better location, the members of a particular House will move into a new location.
  • Often, a halfway house will have staff present for monitoring and support.
  • Providers invest significant time and energy in creating a safe, sustainable discharge plan for their clients, only to recommend a home that is peer run, dirty and potentially has people using in it.
  • Flynn, Alvarez, Jason, Olson, Ferrari, and Davis found that African Americans in Oxford House maintain ties with family members yet develop supportive relationships by attending 12-step groups and living in Oxford House.

A city-run Global Information Systems website was used to gather crime data including assault, arson, burglary, larceny, robbery, sexual assault, homicide, and vehicle theft over a calendar year. Findings indicated that there were no significant differences between the crime rates around Oxford Houses and the control houses. These results suggest that well-managed and governed recovery homes pose minimal risks to neighbors in terms of criminal behavior. Results indicated a high sustainability rate (86.9%) during a six year period of time.

Cost of Living in an Oxford House

Moreover, American Indians reported greater disharmony within their recovery residences than Caucasians, but there were no significant ethnic differences in length of stay in Oxford House. Within this large national data set, we also examined ethnic differences. Within our sample, 58.4% were Caucasian, 34.0% were African American, 3.5% were Hispanic, and 4% were other. Flynn, Alvarez, Jason, Olson, Ferrari, and Davis found that African Americans in Oxford House maintain ties with family members yet develop supportive relationships by attending 12-step groups and living in Oxford House. These different social networks are able to provide support for abstinence to African Americans.

what is an oxford house

Erik, in recovery from addiction, discusses his support system and how staying in a sober living environment helped him. One rule of an Oxford House is that the residents cannot drink alcohol or use drugs of any kind. Another what is an oxford house rule is that the resident must pay equal share of house expenses. Instead of staff members to supervise and support recovering residents, the group works together to encourage and support each other’s sobriety.

Second, an Oxford House must follow the democratic principles in running the house. Third, an Oxford House must, in essence be a good member of the community by obeying the laws and paying its bills.