When you’re recovering, having a safe, substance-free place to recover is key.
That’s where sober living homes come in. Sober living houses provide recovering people a place to live free from relapse triggers, harmful social networks, and all the other things which can jeopardize recovery. Living in concert with other people on the same journey as you can help as well — sober living gives you roommates who know exactly what you’ve been going through, and what you’re working towards.
But is a sober home the same thing as a halfway house?
Well…no. While they’re both forms of transitional housing, a sober home is very different from a halfway house.
A Quick Note On Terminology
The term “halfway house” is often used to describe a home for people recovering from drug addiction. Indeed, the term’s been in popular use since the 1800s. In the US, “halfway house” describes a broad range of living arrangements. Some halfway houses are very similar to sober homes; others may have a comprehensive recovery program with a dedicated clinical support team.
Most treatment centers in the US make use of the terms “sober home” or “sober living” rather than halfway house. For the purposes of this blog, we will be treating halfway houses and sober homes as two very different things:
- Sober house: A place of residence for people who are in or recently completed addiction treatment. Residents are there voluntarily.
- Halfway house: A place of residents for people who have recently been released from jail or prison. Residents are often there involuntarily.
The Management Is Different
Sober living homes are usually either run by treatment centers or sober living businesses. They’re designed specifically for people who are either in (or just left) treatment at an addiction center. Sober houses offer their residents a chance to ease into independent living during their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
Halfway houses, on the other hand, are more often run by state agencies. They’re intended for people who have just been released from prison or jail. Many residents of a halfway house are required to stay there for a set length of time. In a sober home, people may agree to spend a set length of time in one, but they’re able to leave if they want to.
The Rules Are Similar … But They’re Also Very Different
Sober living homes have rules which are similar to, but not identical to, halfway houses. In sober living, you’re usually expected to attend 12-step meetings and work a set number of hours per week. You might also be required to submit to drug testing or sign a contract agreeing not to use drugs or alcohol in the home.
In a halfway house, you’re also usually expected to attend 12-step meetings and work a set number of hours per week — or spend time actively looking for work. There are also rules about who does what chores, and governing behaviors in common areas. But halfway houses can also have rules about what times you can be out, curfews, and other restrictions on your freedom.
The penalties for breaking rules are also very different. In a sober home, you might be reprimanded if you forget to wash your dishes or skip out on your chores. Harsher punishments, like getting kicked out of a sober home, are reserved for more serious acts such as assault or drug use. In a halfway house? Most rule infractions will get you sent back to prison or jail.
In Sober Homes, The Atmosphere Is More Relaxed
Sober living homes are known for having more relaxed atmospheres. This is because sober living homes are more often for people who have chosen to be there. They’re not as crowded as halfway houses, and the focus is on recovery rather than rehabilitation. They do have rules, such as drug tests, however.
Halfway houses, on the other hand, are often seen as “dorms with rules.” They’re much more restrictive in terms of what residents can do, and how they’re allowed to behave. The focus is on preparing people for life outside of the halfway house.
Privacy Is More Protected In A Sober Home
Sober living homes typically offer more privacy than halfway houses. This is because sober living homes are often run by businesses rather than agencies. Sober living home residents usually sign a contract agreeing not to reveal the name of the home or its residents.
Halfway houses, on the other hand, are often run by state agencies. This means that their addresses and contact information are typically part of public records. In some cases, halfway house staff might be required to report any rule violations by residents to law enforcement officials.
The Cost Is Usually Higher In A Sober Home
The cost of sober living is usually higher than the cost of a halfway house. This is because sober living homes typically offer more amenities, like private rooms and cable TV. They also don’t have the same level of government funding that halfway houses do.
In most cases, you can only stay in a sober living home for a certain amount of time. This is usually because sober living homes are more expensive to run than halfway houses. After you’ve completed the program at a sober living home, you usually transition to independent living on your own.
That’s not to say halfway houses are free. Most require residents (who aren’t there by choice) to pay a fee consisting of a percentage of their income.
Sober living homes and halfway houses both offer transitional housing, but for very different audiences. For a person in recovery, a sober living home is ideal — there are serious benefits from living in an intentional community when you’re recovering from drugs and alcohol.
Finding a sober living home can be pretty difficult — there are a ton of sober living businesses in the US and being able to sift through each one is a pain. That’s why we created SoberLivingNearYou.com, the web’s leading provider of sober living house listings.
With thousands of listings to choose from, finding your ideal sober living solution has never been easier. Start your search today with SoberLivingNearYou.com today!