Difference Between Sober Living & Supportive Living

Difference Between Sober Living & Supportive Living

Sober Living

Sober living homes simply provide a bed to sleep in, a curfew, and drug testing. Sober living will suit some substance abusers in early recovery. But sober living provides very little support or accountability and does not cater to those struggling with mental health disorders, trauma issues, or addictions other than drugs or alcohol. Sober living is a safe place to sleep for those dealing with substance abuse disorder, nothing more.

Supportive Living

Supportive living is much more than a safe place to sleep. Supportive living homes usually have full-time paid house managers whose only job is to care for guests. Staff is available 24-hours a day and are checking in with clients consistently. At some supportive living homes staff is also available to provide transportation for clients. Sober living home house managers are not paid and work other jobs. They are not responsible for checking in with clients, only with enforcing curfew and drug testing.


Some supportive living homes, such as Saguaro Recovery, are part of their guests’ treatment team. This means assessing each guest and creating an individualized plan of action. Supportive living homes can help guests identify clinical needs and place them with providers. Such homes also help guests integrate into recovery and support communities by introducing them to meetings, sponsors/mentors, and support fellowships. Homes like Saguaro Recovery are in real-time communication with guests’ clinical teams to ensure continuity of care. Sober living homes provide none of this support.


Supportive living homes often support guests struggling with a variety of issues, including substance abuse disorder, mental health concerns, recovery from trauma, and “process addictions” such as sex and love addiction, co-dependency issues, and gambling addiction. A good supportive living home will have the expertise to help guests with each of these specific needs, including providing technology monitoring and restrictions where appropriate. Sober living homes only concern themselves with “sober” living, i.e. drug and alcohol addiction.


Lastly, supportive living homes often provide much nicer and more comprehensive amenities than sober living homes. Supportive living homes are typically spacious with nice furnishings and are located in safe communities. Some supportive living homes include food and house supplies in their price. Some include a gym membership. To keep costs down, sober living homes are usually much smaller with only basic furnishings.  Sober living homes do not provide food, gym membership, or any other type of amenity outside of basic living necessities.

Comparing Sober Living vs Supportive Living

Supportive Living Sober Living
Full-time paid house managers



24-hour a day staffing Y N
Transportation service Y N
Large high-end homes with pools Y N
Food included with stay Y N
Gym membership included with stay Y N
Experience serving those struggling with mental health disorders, trauma issues, and process addictions Y N
Individual assessment and goal setting Y N
Assistance identifying clinical needs and placement with providers Y N
Assistance integrating into recovery community Y N
Real-time communication with clinical team to ensure continuity of care Y N
Communication with sponsors/mentors Y N
Technology monitoring and restrictions as needed Y N
Drug and alcohol testing Y Y
Curfew enforcement Y Y
Make Saguaro Recovery your home and get the support you need to achieve the life you want.