Sober Living Options in Texas

A guide to Texas State laws and operating standards for sober homes. More on how to find a sober living home in the state of Texas here.

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minute read

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: A sober living home is a great way to start addiction recovery. But where do you look? In this article, we review your sober living options in Texas and the state regulations surrounding these homes. At the end, we invite your questions.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:


Federal and State Laws

Sober living homes are designed to offer you a chance to transition into life without drugs or alcohol. [1] Sober homes offer a supportive, 100% drug and alcohol-free environment. But they also promote self-discipline and responsibility. This way, you have a safety net in the case of relapse.

As you go about your search for sober living homes, it’s important to keep in mind both federal and state laws surrounding these accommodations. This will both protect you and make sure you receive the most out of your recovery process.

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Under Federal Law H.R. 4684, recovery housing is defined as a family-like shared living space that promotes sustainability in the recovery process from substance abuse disorder. [2] The two federal laws surrounding sober living homes are:

1. The Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA

This law makes sure sober living homes provide “reasonable accommodations” through the state, city, or homeowner rental agreements for those with a disability. A disability also refers to those struggling with addiction and/or mental health.

2.  The Fair Housing Act, the FHA

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Under this law, you and everyone else in addiction recovery is guaranteed the right to find proper sober living accommodations in any state in the U.S. Those who provide these accommodations are not allowed to discriminate against people for their national origin, religion, family status, or disability. A disability also refers to those struggling with addiction and/or mental health.

Specific state laws in Texas also apply to sober living homes. It’s interesting to note, Bill HB 3969 was recently filed which promotes further regulation and structure at sober living homes. [3] Until then, current regulation includes:

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1. Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 464

This law sets up the administration for sober homes in Texas. Any facility providing substance abuse treatment services must be licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services Department. The only exception is faith-based chemical dependency treatment programs as long as they offer non medical recovery methods, such as prayer or spiritual counseling. [4] This exception further into sober living homes AS LONG AS they don’t offer treatment services which require medical professionals.

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2. Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 448, Subchapter E, Rule § 448.505

This law outlines the requirements sober living homes must maintain in order to remain available to the public. Sober homes in TX must:

Be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Be safe, clean, well-lit, and well-maintained.
Have adequate supplies, such as furniture, and space for appliances.
Issue documentation as required by the city and county government.
Not permit smoking, drinking, or drug use.
Not permit firearms or any kind of illegal activity on the premises.
Vaccinate pets and services animals.

3. Standards Set by the National Alliance of Recovery Residences (NARR)

Though these aren’t laws, all reputable sober living homes abide to the standards set by NARR. For example, the sober living house must be a home with a focus on recovery have a mission statement. The idea is that a sober home should inspire a purpose within its residents, forming a therapeutic community.Homes also must adhere to legal and ethical standards in the industry.

Other standards include:

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Clearly communicates the resident’s rights and requirements upon program entry.
Collects data as a means of improving their home.
Financially honest.
Is a physically, emotionally, mentally, culturally, and socially safe environment.
Is staffed and governed by peers.
Promotes peer support and social-support activities.
Protects residents’ privacy following HIPAA laws.

Sober Living in Texas

It’s difficult to simply start and maintain sobriety all on your own. This is why sober living homes exist. Not only do they help to promote sober living, but they also provide you with a support system. But what can you expect when you enter a sober home in Texas?

To be successful, you must be ready to completely change your life. You need to be prepared to develop responsibilities which you’ll be expected to maintain all while battled urges for relapse. If you believe you have this confidence, optimism, and determination, you’re one step closer to reaching sobriety. In fact, many medical professionals agree the secret to maintaining sobriety is simply having the motivation to do so. [5]

Unlike a rehab, a sober living home doesn’t provide 24/7 medical supervision. Instead, you’re expected to start developing your own sense of discipline and responsibility. This includes total abstinence.

NOTE HERE: Due to Texas’s zero-tolerance drug policy, if you break any of the rules of the sober living home or fail a drug test, you’ll automatically be discharged. [6]

Halfway and ¾ Houses

You might have run across the terms “halfway house” and “¾ house”. It can be confusing to understand the difference. The truth of the matter is they’re almost identical to sober living homes with just two exceptions:

1. You have completed or be actively enrolled in an addiction treatment program in order to qualify for a halfway or ¾ house.

2. Some of these houses are government-funded. Due to this, people are sometimes ordered to reside in on by a court of law. [7]

Besides that, halfway and ¾ houses run exactly the same as other sober living homes. Halfway houses tend to have more supervision than 3/4 way homes. The three-quarter way houses are the final step in achieving totally independent living. Both offer a drug and alcohol-free environment. Other residents form a support system of people recovering from addiction.

House Rules

A sober living home MUST HAVE clearly defined rules. [8] Though the rules might vary, most sober homes in Texas follow a similar set of guidelines. It should be noted here that not every sober living house has the same rules. So, it’s important to review the rules when you enter into a rental agreement.

Common house rules for TX Sober Homes include:

1. No alcohol or drug possession or use is allowed on or off premises. In order to make sure this rule is followed, you may asked to take drug tests. You must pass a drug test when you enter a sober home. Then, staff can ask you to drug test at random is they suspect you’re using. If you refuse to take or fail one, you’ll be automatically discharged from the home.

2. To maintain a 100% drug-free environment, some sober living homes might not allow specific types of mouthwash and/or cooking ingredients, such as vanilla. Gambling is not allowed.  Sexual contact of any kind is forbidden on premises and with other residents. Engaging in violent activity, stealing from the house, or damaging property will all result in proper penalization.

3. There will be weekly or daily meetings that you must attend. The purpose of these meetings is to check in with everyone’s recovery progress. These meetings are similar to group therapy. A reputable sober living home will also ask its residents to develop a list of personal treatment goals. You will then meet with a staff member in order to make sure you progress towards these goals.

4. There will be a strict curfew you must follow. Though this curfew can be waived in case of certain responsibilities, such as school or work, you will need to take a drug test upon your return. A common curfew for sober homes is 11 PM to midnight.

5. Sometimes, sober living homes develop a rotating bathroom schedule which offers everyone the opportunity to shower and brush their teeth. Plus, you’ll be assigned chores which you must follow. These can include cleaning the house or prepping meals.

6. You’ll be required to be active in 12-step meetings or similar support groups. Though some sober living homes provide these meetings, you may need to go out into the community and become involved in one.

7. In Texas, smoking cigarettes and vaping is not allowed on premises of a sober living home. There may be designated smoking locations near your sober living home.

8. Pets must be supervised and maintained.

9. You must pay your rent and other fees on time.

You may find these rules to be strict. However, rules are a part of getting back into real life. With this initial supervision, the rules help you develop a sense of self-discipline and responsibility necessary for preventing relapse.

Day-to-Day Life

So, how does this day-to-day life work?

Though it depends on where the home is located, many sober living homes work in similar manners. Common daily life follows are regular routine. The idea of the routine is to get you into regular sleeping and eating patterns. Sometimes, it can takes months to get your natural rhythms back. So, a daily schedule in a sober living home is as follows:

EARLY MORNING: Upon waking up, you’re expected to get ready for your day. This includes using the bathroom and completing chores around the house. Your early morning usually end with breakfast and getting out the door to look for work or go to work.

LATE MORNING: From here, you’ll be expected to go to work or to a volunteer job. If you don’t have a job, you’ll be required to actively seek one. This is a key element in preventing relapse. [9]

AFTERNOON: Most people usually complete work by afternoon or evening. If you have any other responsibilities, such as classes, doctor’s appointments, or counseling sessions, you’ll want to complete them during this time.

EVENING: Upon coming home, you’ll be expected to eat dinner and then participate in a meeting. This is a good time for meetings as everyone will have gone about their day and, if anything has come up, they can discuss it here. You may also have a social activity during this period. Evening ends with meeting curfew and staying in for the night.

NIGHT: As it gets dark out, you’ll have the freedom to do as you please with your time. Whether it’s watching a movie or diving into a good book, this is YOUR time. Most sober living homes have the lights go out by midnight.

Finding a Sober Living Home

The best way to find a reputable sober home or halfway house in Texas is to ask for a referral. Treatment professionals, case workers, and recovery coaches know which homes have a good reputation, and which do not.  Still, finding the RIGHT sober living option can be difficult. In order to narrow your search, you can seek out Texas sober living through the following organizations:

Search the database at NARR. NARR has set standards for sober living homes which much of the nation incorporates. It’s goal is to provide safe sober living for anyone seeking recovery. Texas is a current affiliate of NARR and many sober living homes in the Lone Star State. For more information, you can contact Texas’s Recovery-oriented Housing Network at (512) 981-5372 or email at jason.howell.soberhood.org. You can also visit the NARR website.

Oxford House. Oxford House is a recovery housing program designed to fit the needs of a sober living home. They’re across the nation and have high reputability in terms of helping people recovery. Furthermore, they always follow federal and states laws, as well as NARR’s standards, and tend to have a license. For a list of Oxford Homes in Texas, visit their website.

Request a Referral. Are you currently in addiction treatment? Do you have an addiction counselor? Have you been seeing a mental health professional regularly? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you’ll want to ask these resources about any sober living homes in your area. Often, these resources have connections to reputable homes and can offer you a referral.

NOTE: It’s important to ask about your sober living options BEFORE you leave addiction rehab. This is so you can guarantee yourself residency right when your treatment ends.

Licensing

Sober living homes in Texas DO NOT need a license in order to run. Only drug treatment services which provide professional medical assistance do. [10] However, it’s important to note that Texas sober living homes must follow a set of rules and regulations in order to run. See the section on laws for more details.

How to Report a Sober Living Home

If you believe your sober living home is committing a crime, fraud, or has improper management, there’s help available. You’ll want to reach out to Texas’s Office of the Attorney General. [11] If you feel you’re in need of consumer protection, you can reach  the office’s hotline at:

(800) 621-0508.

If you are the victim of a crime, you can reach out to receive help from a CVC staff, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am and 5pm Central Time, at:

(800) 983-9933 or (512) 936-1200.

Or, you can visit their contact page for more options.

Your Questions

Still have questions or concerns about sober living options in Texas?

Feel free to ask them in the comments section below. We also invite comments with more information on sober living options in Texas. We try to reply to each legitimate comment in a prompt and personal manner.

Reference Sources: [1] HHS Public Access: A Clean and Sober Place to Live: Philosophy, Structure, and Purported Therapeutic Factors in Sober Living Houses
[2] Congress.gov: H.R. 4684 – Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2018
[3] Texas Legislature Online: Bill HB 3969
[4] Texas Department of State Health Services: Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities
[5] NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)
[6] Driver License Division: Texas has tough alcohol related laws for minors
[7] U.S. Small Business Administration: Starting a Halfway House or Transitional Housing Facility
[8] CCAPP: Standards for Sober Living Environments
[9] YALE J Biol Med: Relapse prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery
[10] Texas Department of State Health Services: Licensing Requirements – Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities
[11] Ken Paxton: Attorney General of Texas: Liberty and Justice for Texas
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. I would love to open a 3/4 sober living facility or a drug free home. Can you please provide information or first steps in getting started. I am located in Fort Worth, TX

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