Sober Living Options in Mississippi

A complete guide on how to find a sober living home in the state of Mississippi.

10
minute read

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: A sober living home provides a supportive drug-free environment. But where do you start to look for housing? We review your sober living options in Mississippi and state regulations that support your recovery here.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Federal and State Laws

Sober living is supportive housing for people in addiction recovery. The purpose of a sober living home is to provide a support system and a drug and alcohol-free environment. The overall goal is to create a bridge between treatment and everyday life. The idea is that the transition to real life can be smoother … this helps prevents relapse.

In order to best understand your rights, it helps to know some basic federal and state laws. There are two federal laws which pertain to sober living homes. They are:

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1. The American with Disabilities Act, the ADA

This law states that “reasonable accommodations” must be created for those with disabilities (this includes those struggling with drug addiction and mental health) either through the state, city, or the homeowner.

2. The Fair Housing Act , the FHA

This law states that anyone who actively seeks out recovery housing will not be discriminated against based on national origin, religion, gender, family status, or disability. Disability includes those recovering from both mental health problems and substance abuse.

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When it comes to specific laws within Mississippi concerning sober living options, the laws vary from county to county. Even more so, from town to town. For example, in the city of Waveland, you need proper zoning ordinances – especially within single-family neighborhood zoning districts – to propose a sober living home [1]. In other cities throughout Mississippi, there are similar measures which need to be taken under a regulation known as “Adult Care Home” [2]. Additionally, specific licensing is required in order to have a sober living home in Mississippi (see below).

Sober Living in Mississippi

It’s important to note that you don’t need to be leaving a treatment facility in order to enter most sober homes in Mississippi. Most people are eligible to join a drug-free community in the state. As long as you pay the rent and follow the house rules, you’ll be accepted.

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The purpose of this living situation is to help you develop self-discipline and works towards living drug-free on your own.

If you believe you’d like to get involved in a sober living home, you’re going to need the right attitude. Since Mississippi’s law has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drugs, many sober living homes also have strict guidelines. [3] You must be committed to recovering from drug addiction in order to make the most of your experience there. If you’re interested in finding a sober living home within Mississippi, see below for more details.

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Halfway and ¾ Houses

As you search for sober living homes, you’re going to come across homes which identify as either a halfway or ¾ house. It should be noted, there are a number of halfway and ¾ houses which are government-funded. [4] While this isn’t always the case, you may be housing with people who are ordered to be there by the court.

The biggest difference is that halfway houses may require that you’ve completed OR are actively enrolled in rehab. Plus, most people stay at a halfway house for no more than 12 months.

However, there is no official limit set to how long you’re allowed to stay. Since it’s in everyone’s best interest to allow you to transition when you’re ready, you’re allowed to maintain residency until you feel disciplined enough to stay sober in the real world.

When entering a halfway house or ¾ house, you should know there’s less supervision in comparison to a treatment facility. The idea is for you to learn how to discipline yourself while surrounded by a supportive, drug-free environment. This means you’ll have to start seeking out work and get into a schedule you can commit to when you leave the sober living home.

Still, there will still be some supervision, for sure. For example, you’ll be required to submit to random drug tests from time to time. If you fail a drug test, you’ll be asked to leave the home.

House Rules

Each sober living house will come with its own set of rules. In order to get a sense of the particular rules in terms of your sober living home, you’ll want to speak to your landlord.

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In the state of Mississippi, there are common rules which span across ALL sober living homes. It’s important to remember that the state has a zero-tolerance drug policy. So, house rules regarding drug use and possession must be followed strictly.

Mississippi sober living rules often include:

1. No alcohol or drug possession or use is allowed on and off premises. In order to make sure this rule is followed, you may be subjected to take frequent drug tests often at random and, if you refuse to take or fail one, you’ll be automatically discharged.

2. To be 100% drug-free, some residences don’t allow certain types of mouth wash or cooking ingredients, such as vanilla.

3. There will be regular meetings scheduled which you MUST attend. These meetings are made to check in with everyone and work through emotional difficulties anyone may be facing. You’ll also be assigned chores and, if you have any questions concerning the sober living home, you’ll receive answers.

4. There will be a curfew. You’ll need to meet curfew or face warning and then removal. This rule may be waived if a resident has certain commitments to responsibilities such as work or school. However, it’s only waived if the resident has been there long enough. Furthermore, you can expect to receive a drug test if you’re waived from the curfew.

5. A bathroom schedule may be set in place in order to accommodate with everyone. This means you’ll be assigned certain times to shower or other necessities, such as brushing your teeth.

6. You’ll be assigned chores which include cleaning or prepping meals.

7. You’ll have your own personal treatment goals. Most sober living homes require residents to develop a plan and meet with a staff member on the development of this plan. The goal is to evaluate your progress towards this plan over time.

8. Most sober living homes require you to be active in a 12-step meeting. Some will provide you with these meetings within the home itself, while others will ask you go out to the community and become involved with one.

9. Any cigarette smoking or vaping must take place in a designated smoking location.

10. You cannot have sexual contact of any kind with another resident.

11. You will be penalized for stealing from the house or destroying the property. You’ll also face 12. consequences for engaging in violent activity.

12. Rent and other fees must be paid on time.

13. No pets allowed, although some sober living homes allow for self-help pets.

14. No gambling.

These rules will be strictly enforced, but for good reason: to get your body and brain in the right rhythm for the real world.

What Sober Living is Really Like

Sober living is like dormitory style housing with strangers who are on a similar path to recovery. You’ll live with people of the same gender and get to know them really well. You go to sleep and wake up at the same time. Often, you’ll share meals together. And you might even go to group therapy with your roommates or housemates.

A sober living home provides you with a set of rules but and a rigorous schedule. Though there are many difficulties when residing in a sober living home, there are many more positive outcomes. You’ll learn to develop new habits and hobbies which can help you beat drug addiction for good. [5]

Upon entering a sober living home, you can expect to continue making the change you started in treatment. The change of living a sober, drug-free life. And you can expect to learn to do so through such the guidelines and expectations of the sober living home. If things ever become too difficult, you’ll be surrounded with supportive people, many of who are in the same boat as you.

Day-to-Day Life

The day-to-day life in a sober living home varies from house to house. Just as with the house rules, no two homes work equally and, therefore, you’ll want to ask your landlord to learn more about what to expect on a day-to-day basis.

EARLY MORNING: Upon waking up in the morning, you will have to complete one or more chores you’ve been assigned. This can include anything from cleaning to preparing breakfast. You’ll want to make sure you’re always on top of your chores and be aware if any new ones are added to your list.

LATE MORNING: As the morning comes to an end, you’ll be expected to go to work. If you don’t have a job, then you’ll be required to actively seek one. Not only is this to make sure you can provide for your rent but also to get you in an active mindset. It’s been proven that activity such as a job is a key factor in preventing relapse [6].

AFTERNOON: You’ll probably spend the afternoon at work. But if you have a doctor’s appointment, counseling meeting, or community service to complete, you’ll also be expected to do so at this time.

EVENING: By the time you return home in the evening, you will find yourself in a self-help meeting – either as a group or on an individual basis. Afterward, you’ll have various social activities to participate in. The evening can also include a communal dinner.

As nighttime approaches, you’ll have the opportunity to indulge in some entertainment. This is YOUR TIME and you can do with it as you please – whether it’s watching a movie, listening to some music, or jotting down thoughts in a journal. The time is up to you! Most sober living homes will have a time for when lights go out. This tends to be around midnight.

Finding a Sober Living Home

There are a number ways to find a sober home in Mississippi. A quick Google search of your specific area will give you plenty of options alone. However, it’s important to make sure you discover a reputable sober living home which is just as concerned with your journey to sobriety as you are. In order to do so, you may want to look towards the following resources:

1. Non-profit organizations

The website ProjectKnow is a search engine for sober living homes within various states across the U.S. It’s a trustworthy source which features reputable homes for your convenience. You can view Mississippi Sober Homes or look to this non-profit for more info on Mississippi Transitional Housing. Throughout your search, you may be suggested the organization known as the National Alliance for Recovery Residents (NARR). It’s important to note the state of Mississippi is not currently an affiliate of this organization.

2. Oxford House

Oxford House is a self-run, self-supported recovery house program for individuals recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction. The program provides sober living homes which assure an alcohol and drug-free environment. Within most houses, you’ll find between 6 to 11 individuals – either all men or all women. There are even houses which accept women with children. For a list of Oxford Home vacancies, visit their website.

3. Request a Referral

Your rehab or addictions counselor may know of reputable sober living homes in your area. Ask for a referral. If you’d like more information, you’ll want to talk around. Make sure to do so BEFORE leaving the treatment facility as you’ll want to make sure there’s room in the sober living house the day your treatment ends.

Licensing

Are sober homes regulated in Mississippi?

No. Currently, there are no licensing regulations when it comes to running a sober living home in Mississippi. However, licensing laws are on the horizon.

Early last year, the Scottsdale Independent reported of many sober living homes are getting away without a license due to the fact they aren’t a “health care institution”. [7] Due to this, there talk about the necessity of a license in order to provide such accommodations to recovering people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

However, when it comes to zoning for a sober living home, certain licenses are required. [1] There are specific cities which require zoning ordinances within single-family residences in order to provide the accommodations of a sober living home. If you are seeking to start a sober living home, you’ll want to check out your local ordinances.

How to Report a Sober House

You may be suspicious of your sober living home committing a crime, fraud, or having improper management. If so, there’s a toll free hotlines available under the Mississippi Office of the Attorney General. [8] To report a sober house in Mississippi, call:

1-800-281-4418

You may also visit the official website for more information: http://www.ago.state.ms.us/

Your Questions

A sober living home is a great way to make sure you stay on track in recovery. It’s a bridge which helps you transition from addiction recovery back into everyday life. But to get into a sober living home is a big decision. And you may have more questions before you make such a commitment.

If so, we invite your questions in the comments section below. We also invite comments which provide more details on sober living homes in Mississippi. We try to reply to each legitimate question in a prompt and personal manner.

Reference Sources: [1] Zoning Ordinance of the City of Waveland, Mississippi: Ordinance #349
[2] City Council Report: Item 27
[3] Mississippi Department of Mental Health, Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse: FY 2011 State Plan
[4] J Psychoactive Drugs: A Clean and Sober Place to Live: Philosophy, Structure, and Purported Therapeutic Factors in Sober Living Houses
[5] J Psychoactive Drugs: What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go From Here?
[6] Yale J Biol Med: Relapse prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery
[7] Scottsdale Independent: Scottsdale dips into sober home regulations through new spacing requirements
[8] USA.gov: State and Local Consumer Agencies in Mississippi
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.

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  1. My daughter is getting out of prison in June and is looking for a halfway house to attend that teaches the A & D program!! Or is there one outside the halfway house she can go and attend??

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