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What is a Halfway House?

Halfway houses are residential facilities that are designed to help people transition from a rehab center into independent living. It is basically a transitional living facility used to help people that are recovering from drugs and alcohol learn to survive in the outside world with the use of their substance of choice. One of the most difficult things about leaving a rehabilitation center is going back into the “real world”. The lack of stability while living in the environment that played a role in your substance use makes it easy to relapse. A halfway house is a drug and alcohol free environment to help individuals refrain from substance use, while focusing on learning to live independently.

What is the Purpose of these Facilities?

Once you have completed the substance recovery treatment plan, the real challenges are going back into the real world, clean and sober. There many different things you’ll need to learn to help you fight the triggers that threaten your recovery, which is where a halfway house is beneficial. These facilities are created to help those transitioning from treatment into life outside of treatment. They help you learn to be a functioning, contributing member of society. The primary goal of a halfway house is to transition recovering addicts from a life of substance abuse to living as a responsible member of society. Unfortunately, for many people transitioning into society means they may not have employment or a play to stay; a halfway house provides these residents with the support they need, until they are fully capable of living independently. 

People start a halfway house under a monitored and organized environment that generally has very strict rules and regulations. They provide a range of support including therapy, counseling, job training, life skills and other strategies to help you function in society. So, the primary purpose of halfway houses is to be a bridge between the treatment center and the outside world. While living in the halfway house, you will receive support from both your peers and superiors in a drug and alcohol-free environment. The goal is to encourage residents to learn life skills that will allow them to be productive individuals. The interactions between your peers in the halfway house allow you to learn how to develop social relationships that don’t involve substance use. All life skills and techniques you need to survive and live a sober life in society will be taught before you move from the halfway house. This form of transitional living is critical because, unfortunately, when recovered addicts go back to their old home and neighborhood, they frequently relapse. The halfway house is a way to prevent this.

How is this Different from a Sober Living Facility? 

It’s common for people to confuse a sober living facility with a halfway house. They both are residential facilities that are designed to make the transition easier for people that no longer require inpatient treatment, but they aren’t quite ready to go home and live completely independently. Both halfway houses and sober living houses provide support and the community that people working on their sobriety require, but there are a few primary differences between the two types of transitional housing.

Halfway houses are typically less structured, and they allow their residents to have more personal freedom, while they are maintaining the necessities of sobriety to remain in the house. A halfway house is usually the last step before living independently, while a sober living home is usually for those that are still in some aspect of their clinical treatment, such as an outpatient or intensive outpatient program. In some situations, halfway houses are designed to be dorm-like, while sober living homes are more like structured private residences. Another primary difference between halfway houses and sober living houses is that halfway houses tend to be less expensive because they have few amenities, less structure, and less privacy. 

If you have completed your treatment program, but you aren’t quite sure that you are ready to live independently, a halfway house is an ideal option. Halfway houses allow you the opportunity to learn the skills required to live safely, healthy, and sober in the outside world.