The Types of Recovery Homes

Brad Belcher
3 min readNov 24, 2021


Relapse is not uncommon in individuals receiving treatment for substance use disorders. The individuals in early recovery often have to abandon everything they know because familiar people, places, and things may put them at risk of relapse or prolonged use. The early stages of recovery can be difficult and solitary. These high rates of relapse emphasize the importance of peer-run, recovery-oriented housing to fill an important need.

Recovery homes provide a secure and supportive atmosphere for men, women, and women with children. They are committed to fostering a supportive environment that enables clients to succeed in their recovery while reestablishing a stable and self-sufficient lifestyle.

The houses are a feasible and cost-effective alternative to conventional systems of care geared toward recovery. They offer a space where people feel at ease, share everyday experiences and aspirations, and can be themselves without having to justify their addiction or recovery needs.

Recovery houses are distinct from halfway houses. They are independently owned and operated, whereas a halfway house is a state-funded facility that offers more than just a place to stay while people work to become sober.

Recovery houses are classified according to the type, intensity, and duration of help they provide. The title and description of each level is straightforward, descriptive, and intuitive, and the higher the level number, the better standard of service and facility.

Level one recovery houses provide supportive living in a peer-based communal setting. These recovery residences, sometimes referred to as sober homes, are most frequently located in single-family homes. Residents supervise each other, self-monitor, and are accountable to one another. The fundamental criterion for acceptance into this living environment is a desire to abstain from mood-altering substances. Self-help meetings and other forms of recovery support are encouraged or required. Weekly home meetings are mandatory, and include discussions of residents’ duties and the overall running of the house.

Level two residences have a communal feel with a senior resident, house manager, or staff member responsible for monitoring operations and residents and enforcing structure through house rules. There is a strong emphasis on community and accountability. Some “programming” is provided internally, and frequently with external service providers such as outpatient programs. The model is attractive since it enables greater access to services over a more extended period due to the affordability of service models.

The practical, rehabilitative approach of level three houses is well-known. They add structure and oversight and frequently include a clinical component, such as outpatient or aftercare services provided by a collaborative organization. Guidance is offered to develop life skills and activities that support rehabilitation, such as employment, self-help, and physical health. Case management and clinical services are contracted from other sources or made available through referrals.

Level four housing provides peer-to-peer services in addition to therapeutic and life skills training. It is frequently affiliated with or related to a licensed treatment facility and is overseen by a management team with the proper credentials and qualifications. This level is defined by a high degree of daily organization. Staff members that are licensed and accredited provide in-house program services.

Typically, the residential facility is part of the continuum of treatment provided by the supervising rehab center. The average length of stay varies from several weeks to several months, depending on the individual’s acuity level. The emphasis is on preparing the individual for the next step of rehabilitation, whether that is another residential level or self-sufficiency.



Brad Belcher

Brad Belcher — Dedicated to His Marion, Ohio Community