Recovery Housing Guide

Whether you are seeking help for yourself, a family member, or a friend, finding the right treatment for a substance use problem or addiction can be overwhelming and confusing. Facing Addiction designed this Consumer Treatment Guide to answer some of the questions that may come up and help you navigate the process of choosing the path that's right for you.

“Recovery residence” (RR) is a broad term describing a sober, safe, and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from alcohol and other drug use and associated problems. Many thousands exist in the United States that vary in size, organization, and target population. (The exact number of recovery residences is unknown since many recovery residences are not regulated by government or independent organizations.)  At a minimum, recovery residences offer peer-to-peer recovery support with some providing professionally delivered clinical services all aimed at promoting abstinence-based, long-term recovery.  Recovery residences are sober living environments, meaning that residents are expected to abstain from alcohol and illegal drug use. Each credentialed recovery residence publishes policies on relapse sanctions and readmission criteria and other rules governing group living.  Recovery residences may require abstinence from particular types of medications according to individual policy.  

The purpose of a recovery residence is to provide a safe and healthy living environment to initiate and sustain recovery—defined as abstinence from alcohol and other non-prescribed drug use and improvement in one’s physical, mental, spiritual, and social well being.  Individuals build resources while living in a recovery residence that will continue to support their recovery as they transition to living independently and productively in the community. 

Recovery residences are divided into Levels of Support based on the type as well as the intensity and duration of support that they offer. Services provided span from peer-to-peer recovery support (all recovery residences) to medical and counseling services (recovery residences offering higher levels of support).  The NARR Standards define minimum services for each Level of Support, but additional services may be provided at each level. Section 5 of the NARR Standards include details about the minimum required service elements for each Level of Support

To learn more about recovery residences, check out A Primer on Recovery Residences: FAQs from the National Association of Recovery Residences.

A primer on recovery residences: Frequently asked questions. (2012). National Association of Recovery Residences. Accessible at

©2018 by the West Virginia Alliance of Recovery Residences.