While completing drug and alcohol treatment is a monumental step in getting sober, it is only a first step. After completing treatment, the real work begins once you re-enter the real world and all the temptations that come along with it. While most people simply just return home after completing treatment, not everyone has that luxury.

What Is a Sober Living Home?

Some people might not have anywhere to go once they leave treatment as a result of their addiction. They might have lost their home using the rent or mortgage money to buy drugs or alcohol or they might have been kicked out by a friend or family member and are not allowed to return. For others, a home exists for them to go to but, for one reason or another, is not a good place for them to be as a newly sober person.

For people that fit into either of those categories, there are facilities such as a halfway house or a sober living home that are designed to give someone a place to stay as they transition into their newly sober life. While many people assume that sober homes and halfway houses are the same, they are completely separate and unique settings. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between a halfway house and a sober living home, as well as how they can be beneficial to a newly sober person.

What Is a Halfway House?

Before deciding which option is best for you, it is important to know what exactly a halfway house and a sober living home are. 

Houses and Sober Living Homes

A halfway house is typically a state-sponsored housing option for people who have just left rehab and need somewhere to stay while they either get their life restarted or enter an outpatient program. Halfway houses typically have pretty strict rules and you have to agree to them before entering the facility. Additionally, halfway houses typically have a time limit on the amount of time someone can stay there.

In addition to being a place for someone just leaving rehab, halfway houses are also typically used to house people who have just been released from prison. Typically stays in halfway houses are court-ordered for a designated amount of time.

The concept of a halfway house dates back to England in the 1700s when they were used to house children and young people who committed a crime. It proved to be an effective method of rehabilitation, and the US introduced a similar concept for people who had just come out of prison. Since then, the concept of a halfway house has been expanded to include those who have recently finished drug and alcohol treatment.

What Is a Sober Living Home?

Unlike a halfway house, a sober living home is privately funded and not state-sponsored in any way. As a result, sober living homes tend to be more luxurious and can even be located in regular neighborhoods. Just like in a halfway house, there are rules to follow but you have more leeway as far as coming and going as you please. Often, sober living homes provide peer group meetings such as 12 step programs on the property. Some sober living homes come with a time limit for how long you can stay, but in most cases, people are allowed to stay for as long as they need as they transition into their sober life and look for a home and work. 

Sober living facilities got their start in the early 1800s when they were largely run by religious organizations, such as the Salvation Army. Today, they are mostly privately funded and operated, although some are still run by religious organizations or even the government.

What Types of Rules Do Halfway Houses and Sober Living Homes Have?

While rules can differ based on the facility and the operator, certain rules are universal across the board. Residents agree to all the rules when they move in, and violations of the rules have consequences. Depending on the violation, residents may have to pay a fine, make amends to another resident, or write an essay about what they did. For those who are repeat offenders or break a major rule, they may be kicked out of the facility. Here are some of the more common rules of both halfway houses and sober living homes.

Stay Sober

Staying sober is by far the most common and #1 rule of all sober living home facilities. While you think such a rule might be common sense, it is important to remember that for many people this is the first time they have been out of a treatment facility in weeks or even months and now have the opportunity to use it again. It’s also important to remember that many household products contain alcohol and are therefore not allowed on the property. This can include certain kinds of mouthwash, over-the-counter medications, and even certain ingredients for cooking. 

Mandatory Random Drug Screening

To make sure that ensures is taking their sobriety seriously, many halfway houses and sober living homes require random drug and alcohol screenings as part of their requirements for living in these facilities. Having these random drug and alcohol screenings not only ensures that everyone is maintaining their sobriety, but it also alerts the people who run these facilities if anyone has relapsed so that they can get the help that they need.

halfway house vs sober living

You Are Responsible For Your Bills

Just like you would if you were living in your private residence when living in a halfway house or sober living home you are responsible for paying all your bills on time. Depending on the facility you live in this might just be rent or it might also include other services like water and power. Additionally, you are responsible for providing all your incidentals. This is done so that you can get in the habit of budgeting and preparing you to go back out on your own. 

Support Group Meetings

Many sober living facilities offer to support group meetings to all their residents and, in some cases, the facility might deem attendance at these meetings mandatory. While this might seem like a pain, it is important to remember that it is being done for your good. Support group meetings are one of the key components to staying sober after your time in treatment is done. 

Having a group of people who have gone through the same things you have and can offer support and guidance is vital to being able to successfully stay sober for the long haul. 

Do Your Chores

Yes, it might sound like you are a kid again back in your parent’s house, but completing your chores is a big part of not just the recovery process but the sober living environment.

It’s important to remember that halfway houses and sober homes are communal spaces and they are designed to run a little like a family home. That means, just like when you were a kid, everyone has to pitch in and help around the house. 

Have a Job

If after leaving the rehab you went right into a private home you would be expected to have a job so you can pay your bills right? Well since a sober living facility operates the same as any other home it is expected that you have a job as well. 

Not only does having a job provide you with the money you need to live, but it has also proven to be particularly beneficial to those who are recently sober for other reasons as well. Having a job is a great way for a newly sober person to not only feel like they have a purpose in life, but it is also a sober activity that they can do during the day to keep their mind off the possible temptation of wanting to use again. 

Are You Interested in Learning More About A Halfway House or Sober Living Homes?

Whether you are someone who has left rehab and has nowhere to go or you are just looking for a more supportive environment as you work on getting your life back on track, a sober living home might be the best place for you. At Casa Nuevo Vida we understand the importance of sober living homes in the recovery process. That’s why not only do we offer different sober living homes at different price points, but we also offer sober living designed specifically for men and women.

If you or someone you know could benefit from spending time in a sober living home, contact us today to learn more about our sober living programs.