Addiction treatment for substance abuse is a comprehensive program of detoxification, individual counseling, group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and relapse prevention training. Even with these therapies, the transition from full-time treatment back to independent life can be difficult, with stress, frustration and setbacks. Sober living facility options such as halfway houses and transitional living facilities provide a supportive environment that allows these individuals to have additional time and therapy to deal with the issues of building a sober life.

Who Benefits from Sober Living Facility Options?

Halfway houses, sober living houses and other transitional living facilities exist to bridge the time between completion of a treatment program and living independently.

The fundamental premise of all types of transitional living arrangements is a peer-supported environment that allows individuals to continue their addiction therapy as they begin to rebuild their lives. This environment serves to hold individuals accountable for their actions and their choices, while still allowing a measure of freedom for them to make decisions as they would if living on their own.

The right type of transitional living situation can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to begin rebuilding their lives after addiction to alcohol or drugs. Individuals should consider the pros and cons of each type before deciding on an option.

A number of situations may indicate that a halfway house or transitional living house would be beneficial:

  • The individual has had a negative experience in treatment and would prefer a different type of environment that still provides therapy for addiction, but with a less structured atmosphere.
  • The person does not have a home environment that would support recovery from addiction. Studies have found that the home environment after addiction treatment has a significant impact on the ability to maintain sobriety. Transitional living offers an alternative for these individuals.
  • The individual has been in treatment previously and has relapsed. These individuals benefit from the extended therapy and support that transitional living can provide to help them remain sober over the long term.

Features of a Typical Halfway House

Halfway houses are often utilized as part of court-ordered treatment for individuals who have been in the criminal justice system. Psychological and addiction counseling is available for the residents. The system relies heavily on peer-support for encouragement of continued sobriety.

The houses generally have a time limit on how long a resident can stay, typically limited to a few months. Halfway houses often rely on government funding, which makes them vulnerable to budget cutting.1 This reality can impact whether residents can continue to live there for a sufficient amount of time for their needs.

Features of Other Sober Living Facility Options

Other types of transitional living are available to those who have completed an addiction treatment program and who prefer to continue therapy and support to help them maintain sobriety. In many cases, the resident is required to hold a job and contribute to the support of the facility. They are often assigned chores to maintain the facility. They must attend group meetings and are encouraged to attend 12-step support groups to help support their recovery from addiction.2 They can generally stay for as long as they feel the additional help in the sober living program is benefiting their sobriety.