Sober Living vs Halfway House

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Choosing between a sober living vs halfway house is an important step in recovery.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol has become an epidemic in America. If you or a loved one has battled with any type of substance abuse, you are most likely aware of the various types of treatments that are available in the U.S. You may have heard of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers, as well as halfway houses and state funded sober living homes. While the term “halfway house” has been around for a long time, the phrase “sober living house or community” is relatively new in the grand scheme of substance abuse treatments. So, what is the difference between a sober living vs halfway house? Let’s take a closer look:

Halfway Houses

Halfway houses are institutions or facilities that are typically funded by the government and used to help reintegrate convicts into society. They are considered transitional housing, meaning they help transition inmates from prison back into a world outside of the prison system. While halfway houses typically treat a lot of men and women with drug and alcohol addiction, treating substance abuse and addiction isn’t their primary focus. Most halfway houses concentrate on dealing with mental disabilities, but often addiction and mental health issues come together as co-occurring disorders.

While many halfway houses help prison inmates transition back into general society, not all of its residents come from the prison system. Sometimes a halfway house will take in someone who comes from a homeless situation or from a treatment center. Others are sent to the halfway house as part of a court order.

A common question is when researching these facilities is: Do halfway houses take insurance? Every halfway house differs, and for those that do accept insurance, it is up to your carrier to determine how much of the monthly fee they will cover and if you will have a co-pay.

When someone lives at a halfway house, he or she will typically take part in daily meetings and group sessions focused on addiction, mental health issues, or topics that come along with reintegration into society. Most halfway houses will house an individual anywhere from six months to two years, and it is recommended that anyone who is considering a halfway house to find one with a live-in manager if possible, as they typically operate in a regimented fashion which can help an individual stay on course.

Sober Living Homes

Another option for an addict after a detox and rehab program is a sober living home. You may be wondering, what is a sober living home? These homes are much different than halfway houses. For starters, they are typically privately funded although some are state funded. In addition, they focus solely on transitioning people addicted to drugs and alcohol from a treatment program into the real world, rather than working with inmates. An addict typically voluntarily enters a sober living home, rather than being court ordered. Because it is a voluntary living situation, there are usually less rules and regulations placed on the occupants.

Sober living homes are becoming a popular option for anyone leaving a detox and rehab facility, as it offers them an extended time frame to be surrounded by others on a similar journey. Being around other recovering addicts helps the individual build a strong network of support as they all work together to maintain a sober lifestyle.

These homes are known for offering recovering addicts more freedom while still providing some type of structure to keep the individual on track. Residents are typically allowed to stay in the homes as long as they contribute through chores, respect the curfew (if applicable), and stay sober.

Both sober living homes and halfway houses are located throughout the United States. Which one you or a loved one chooses to enter may depend on the specific addiction, background, finances, location, etc.