Q. What is an Oxford House?
Oxford House is a self-run, self-supported recovery house
concept and system of operation for individuals recovering from
alcoholism and drug addiction. Oxford Houses assure an alcohol
and drug-free living environment. The first Oxford House was
started in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1975.
Q. Who manages an Oxford House?
Oxford Houses are democratically self-run by the residents who
elect officers to serve for terms of six months. In this
respect, they are similar to a college fraternity or sorority.
However, if a majority of residents believe that any member has
relapsed into using alcohol or drugs, that person is immediately
expelled. There are no resident counselors in an Oxford House.
Q. How long can anyone live in an Oxford House?
A recovering individual can live in an Oxford House for as long
as he or she does not drink alcohol, does not use drugs, and
pays an equal share of the house expenses. The average stay is
about a year, but many residents stay three, four, or more
years. There is no pressure on anyone in good standing to leave.
Q. Why is Oxford House self-run?
Oxford Houses are self-run because (1) this permits individuals
in recovery to learn responsibility, and (2) the lower cost
associated with self-run housing permits extensive replication
of houses. Each House is fully responsible for its own expenses
and debts which will not and cannot be assumed by the National
Organization of Oxford Houses.
Q. How can one get into an Oxford House?
Any recovering alcoholic or drug addict can apply to get into
any Oxford House by filling out an application and being
interviewed by the existing members of the House. The
application is then considered by the membership of the House
and if there is a vacancy and if 80% of the members approve, the
applicant is accepted and moves in.
Q. What if there is not an Oxford House in the area or there are
no vacancies in any Oxford House in the region?
Any Group of recovering individuals can start a new Oxford
House. All they need to do is to find a house to rent in the
name of the Group, and apply to Oxford House, Inc., for a
charter. The house must be able to accomodate at least six
Q. Can the new house become affiliated with Oxford House?
Yes, by simply writing or calling Oxford House to ask for a
Charter application. Once that application is completed and
received by Oxford House, Inc., a "Conditional Charter" will be
granted to the house at no cost. A “Permanent Charter” is
granted once the group demonstrates that it understands and is
following the Oxford House system of operation. It is also
granted free of charge.
Q. Can an Oxford House be started without a loan from the state?
Yes, the prospective residents of the House can find a suitable
house, rent it, put up the security deposit and pay the first
month's rent themselves. Oxford House, Inc. will consider
favorably a Charter application whether or not a loan is
received from the State or some other outside source.
Q. Can both men and women live in the same Oxford House?
No. Experience has shown that Oxford Houses work for both men
and women, but not in the same house.
Q. What is the "ideal" number of individuals to make a self-run,
self-supported recovery house work well?
Experience of Oxford House has shown that from 8 to 15 members
works very well. Oxford House will not charter a house with
fewer than six individuals because experience has shown that it
takes at least six individuals to form an effective group.
Q. How much sobriety or clean time is needed before an
individual can be accepted into an Oxford House?
There is no time limit. Generally an individual comes into an
Oxford House following a 28-day rehabilitation program or at
least 10-day detoxification program.
Q. What is Oxford House Inc.?
Oxford House Inc., is a non-profit, tax exempt, publicly
supported corporation which acts as a umbrella organization for
the national network of Oxford Houses. It provides quality
control by organizing regional Houses into Chapters and by
relying heavily upon the national network of Alcoholics
Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups. While Oxford House is
not affiliated with AA or NA, its members realize that recovery
from alcoholism and drug addiction can only be assured by the
changing of their lifestyle through full participation in AA and
NA. In most communities, the members of those organizations help
Oxford Houses get started and report any charter compliance
problems to the national office of Oxford House World Services
with respect to a particular house. As soon as Oxford House
Inc., hears of such problems, it takes corrective action because
the good name of Oxford House is an important factor in the
recovery of thousands of individuals.