Recovery Housing 101

What is Recovery Housing?

Addiction is a chronic disease, not an acute health problem that can be cured by a single dose of treatment. With this in mind, recovery residences have proven to be an integral part of effective treatment for hundreds of thousands of men and women throughout the past decades, in the United States alone.

"Recovery residence" is a broad term describing a sober, safe, and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from alcohol and other drug use and associated problems.

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 wellbeing. 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.

Many thousands of recovery residences exist in the United States that vary in size, organization, and target population. (Unfortunately, the exact number of recovery residences is unknown since many are not regulated by government agencies or independent organizations.) At minimum, they 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. Recovery residences may require abstinence from particular types of medications according to individual policy.



The role of state affiliates

NARR partners with many state and national organizations to provide the best possible support to the recovery housing community. NARR has affiliate members from coast to coast. Some have been in existence since the 1970s. Others have just recently formed. This makes for a rich mixture of sizes, experiences, regional environments, and development needs.


The role of housing operators

Recovery residences provide a vital service for initiating and sustaining long-term recovery; many thousands exist in the United States encompassing all levels of residential support.

Based on the national standard, NARR developed a certification program that it licenses to its affiliates.

In turn, affiliate organizations are responsible for certifying recovery residences that meet the national standard. See our state affiliate resources for more details around affiliate requirements and the certification process.

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The role of policymakers and law enforcement

NARR is proud to be the leading industry resource for information to inform policy and public programming. We are proud to partner with policymakers and law enforcement to support quality recovery housing. The NARR support model and our nationwide network of affiliates are geared toward building a better and more effective addiction recovery platform.

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The role of advocates, sponsors and donors

Lend your voice and help us demand funding and sensible policy. Join our conversations about quality recovery housing and we’d love to be a part of yours! Learn more about how you can affiliate with NARR and become a part of supporting quality recovery housing.

NARR relies on support from individuals and organizations that share our mission to provide broad access to quality recovery housing. Sponsorships are key to our ability to further our reach and create programs that might otherwise be inaccessible to the recovery housing community.

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The role of healthcare professionals

Explore our directory and be confident that you’re making good referrals to high quality organizations. Use our resource library to deepen your understanding of recovery housing and it’s importance to the long term success of persons with addiction.


The role of media and press

Support us by providing coverage of NARR’s efforts and events. Utilize our resources to deepen your understanding of addiction and the recovery housing industry. NARR experts are always available to weigh in on issues relating to addiction and recovery, and can lend a balanced, authoritative voice to community conversations about addiction, recovery, recovery housing, public policy.

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The role of the general public

Be a part of the conversation. NARR provides unique resources and a community of those affected by addiction and recovery. Share your challenges and experience support from others like you.