Illicit Drug and Alcohol-Free Living Environment

Recovery Housing Basics and Definitions > Illicit Drug and Alcohol-Free Living Environment


First and foremost, recovery homes are illicit drug and alcohol free.  Many individuals seeking recovery housing are interested in recovery housing because they know that the environment will be free from these substances.


This policy must apply to the entire property, including outdoor areas.  It is not possible to have one recovery housing “bed” within a larger housing property where there are no restrictions on drug and/or drug use.  All residents in the property must maintain the recovery housing property and support each other in their journey to recovery.


There also must be defined processes and policies in place to maintain the illicit drug and alcohol-free living environment.  These include appropriate screening protocols, resident application and evaluation criteria, and policies regarding house code of conduct.


Recovery homes must also maintain a policy where any disruptions in recovery are addressed immediately and appropriately.  When a resident does not uphold this policy, it does not necessarily mean the resident has a relapse or is an emergency.  It is not about controlling resident behavior but empowering them to achieve their recovery goals. This may mean that the resident violating the policy may lose certain housing privileges.  In addition to the resident knowing why a loss of privileges occurred, the resident needs to know how to have the privileges reinstated.