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What Is An Oxford House? Clean And Sober Housing. Rules/Living

Updated on April 18, 2012

Recovering from Alcohol or Drug addiction is an extremely difficult task. Many indications show that only 10% of recovering alcoholics or addicts leaving in-patient treatment centers are successful in staying clean and sober for one year. However, moving into a clean and sober living situation such as an Oxford clean and sober house can increase the rate of successful recovery significantly. Up to 70% of those living in an Oxford clean and sober house remain drug and alcohol free for over a year. These success rates are unheard of in the recovery community.

What is an Oxford Clean And Sober House?

An Oxford house is a non-profit, democratically run home in which recovering addicts live, do chores to support the household and support each other’s sobriety. A typical house will be a six bedroom home housing six people in recovery. Standard rent is $350-400 per room. Six members paying $400 for instance generates $2400 in order to pay rent, utilities and household staples such as bathroom tissue, detergent, cleaning supplies and such. Members are responsible to purchasing and preparing their own food.

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How does one get into an Oxford House?

The typical applicant to an Oxford house is someone currently in a treatment facility and close to being ready to leave. Ideally they will transition directly into the Oxford house upon leaving the treatment facility. Although at times people can apply and be accepted into the house without attending formal treatment. Individuals locate Oxford Houses in the area where they wish to live and then call and schedule an interview. As Oxford houses are democratic the interview is done by the current residents of the home. They meet with the applicant, explain the rules and expectations of the house and then determine if the applicant would be a good fit for the house. The members then vote and it takes an 80% majority for someone to be accepted into the house. Typically a person will be accepted if they have the ability to pay rent and show a true desire to remain clean and sober and are willing to abide by the rules of the house as explained at the interview.

How does one get kicked out of an Oxford House?

There is zero tolerance for relapse in an Oxford House. Drug tests and breathalyzers can be required of any member of the house if their behavior warrants it. If someone fails a sobriety test they must leave the house within 30 minutes of failing the test. They can then arrange a date and time to return to collect their belongings. This is not meant to be punitive it is simply a strict rule to hold the person in recovery accountable as well as protect the other members of the house from possible relapse.

Why Do Oxford House Clean And Sober Houses Work?

Oxford clean and sober houses work quite simply due to the support network. One of the most tried and true methods of recovery are 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Living in an Oxford clean and sober house is like living in a AA meeting.

Each member of the house is fighting the same battle, to remain clean and sober. There is always someone in the house who understands what the addict is going through and is there to support them. It is this level of support that allows so many members of Oxford clean and sober house to remain drug and alcohol free where they may have failed before.

That said, living in an Oxford clean and sober house will typically not be enough to keep an addiction at bay on it's own but it is an extremely powerful tool to be used in conjunction with more traditional methods such as attending AA meetings, working with a sponsor and working the 12 steps of recovery.

The Oxford Houses strongly encourages involvement in the 12 step community. Attending a formal treatment program initially, then transitioning into living in an Oxford house in combination with working a traditional 12 step program is a successful recipe for recover for those willing to do the work necessary.

Oxford clean and sober living can help an addict change their attitude, their lives and overcome their addiction that has caused them and those that love them so much pain.


If you or a loved one are in the early stages of recovery, living in an Oxford House can be of great assistance in the early stages of recover. More information can be found here: http://www.oxfordhouse.org/userfiles/file/

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