Workshop, Seminars & Courses

Senior student in class


The successful operation of sober living requires skill and training. Like many businesses, it’s easy to make mistakes through lack of knowledge and preparation—mistakes that can have serious financial consequences and can cause harm to individuals at risk who are dependent on safe, supportive and well-managed sober living.

The Sober Living Network offers training for operators, managers and those interested in opening sober living homes. Our training offers participants a chance to learn about the best practices employed today, and to interact with others facing similar challenges. Our instructors have extensive experience in the field.

We’re dedicated to maintaining high standards of professionalism, and offer these workshops as one way of promoting excellence in sober living operation and management.

For more information, please contact:

SLN Training Office

Guy Watkins
(213) 435-1637

Developing and Operating Sober Living Housing

This workshop is open to anyone either currently affiliated with an existing sober living home, or who is considering starting one. It fulfills the training requirement for membership in one of the five Southern California sober living coalitions. Participants receive a Certificate of Completion. (Four hours)

Sober Living from its beginnings to the present: Origins as boarding houses serving recovering populations; Twelve Step and Oxford houses; growth in number and popularity of sober living homes; why historical context is important.

Legal framework:
Federal and state fair housing laws; Americans With Disabilities Act; State and local regulations; landlord-tenant law; supportive recovery vs. treatment.

Developing a sober living home:
Location; target populations to be served; costs and resource requirements; skills needed by operators and managers; setting fees.

Levels of service:
Target populations; amenities; household and cleaning supplies; food service; coed homes; social services, mental health and court referrals.

Operating a sober living home:
Informational materials; applications and admissions, resident agreements and residential rules; supervising the residence; management skills; recovery or treatment activities that cross the line; resolving disputes; details—telephone access and use, drug testing, curfews, medications.

Recovery activities:
House and resident meetings; management structures; supporting and encouraging recovery activities; instilling recovery enthusiasm.

Organizing—The sober living and recovery communities:
Quality assurance standards; local coalition membership requirements; the approval process; role of local coalitions and the Sober Living Network; becoming active in the sober living community; making your voice heard.

Legal and institutional framework
The nature and definition of a sober living house; Scope of California and Federal Fair Housing laws; How to respond to city officials and neighbors. Fair Housing protection limitations; State licensing laws and local government code enforcement.

House management, rules, application process
House managers’/leaders’ responsibility and authority; House manager/leader leadership traits; Developing and upgrading house rules and policies; Setting clear and easily understood acceptance criteria; How to conduct a through and personal application interview.

Furnishings and equipment
How to keep houses comfortably furnished and maintained. Assuring ample refrigerator, storage space and eating locations; House telephone availability and usage. Requirements, equipment selection.

Drugs: policies, testing and related
Understanding and identifying licit and illicit drugs; Prescription medication policies and security techniques; Drug and alcohol testing policies and methods; Disposing of illicit and legal drugs.

Home environment
How to assist residents in addressing problems and facilitate solutions; Recruiting, training and assisting resident managers/leaders; House councils and resident-council contracts; Keeping a house healthy, safe and neighbor friendly.

Problem residents
Identifying and re-locating a drinking, using and/or problem resident

Criminal justice and mental health referrals
Criminal justice applicants and background checks; Court referral applications and statement letters; Mental health referral sources and contacts.

Resources (for you and for residents)
Medical and mental health resources; Training, employment and sources of income; Legal assistance and outstanding warrants; Federal and state tax issues and resources; Sources of food discounts and donations; Drug testing – types and test kit sources; Other resource information and referral sources.