Sober House or Halfway House? Understanding the Difference – Many people opt to stay in a group sober living environment following residential inpatient treatment for addiction. While people often use these terms interchangeably, it is important to understand that a sober house is quite different from a halfway or three-quarters house.
One of the biggest hazards that people coming out of treatment face is relapse and exposure to high-risk situations. Sober living homes and halfway houses help protect people in the early stages of recovery by providing an environment of support and accountability. These facilities also usually provide access to counseling, support groups, and employment resources. They hold residents accountable for their sobriety by setting strict rules, curfews, and sometimes requiring drug testing.
What is a Sober House?
After inpatient treatment, it can be difficult to transition to the outside world and continue to commit to a drug- and alcohol-free life. The primary function of a sober house is to help those who need extra security and support in recovery by providing them with a place to live that is free of substance abuse and fosters accountability.
Unlike a halfway house, however, you do not always need to be enrolled in a treatment program to stay in a sober house, and do not usually have a time limit on the amount of time one can reside there. This can be essential for those who are considering long-term options and feel that they would benefit from community support and accountability for a longer period.
Sober houses are often, but not always, run by treatment centers or are closely affiliated with them and can be found nearby and/or offer transportation to and from outpatient treatment and services.
What is a Halfway House?
Halfway houses are sometimes designated for individuals following incarceration who may have also undergone a drug or alcohol treatment program while in prison. This type of halfway house is frequently sponsored by the state to help those newly released from prison to reacclimate to life on the outside.
Not all halfway houses are used specifically for this purpose, however. Some are designed for any person with an addiction who needs further support during or after a rehab program. This environment can be critical to allow people to move forward in life while surrounded by a community who is focused on support as each member transitions from one way of living into another. Halfway houses usually require enrollment in or completion from a treatment program and also tend to limit a resident’s stay.
What is a Three-Quarters House?
A three-quarter house is also transitional housing that offers less supervision than a traditional halfway house. These sober living environments are unregulated, and unfortunately, the term “three-quarter house” has sometimes been associated with corruption in some areas and have been accused of prioritizing profits over people.
Reputable three-quarter houses, however, can help people transition out of treatment, and living in such an environment may be a positive last step that a person takes before the eventual readjustment back to normal life.
While in three-quarter homes drugs and alcohol are still prohibited, they generally offer fewer resources and require less accountability, residents usually aren’t drug tested and support group attendance is voluntary. Moreover, these homes permit residents to have more freedom as they become accustomed to living without intensive support.
The Importance of Aftercare Treatment in Recovery from Addiction
While inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment are fundamental, after treatment is over, a long-term plan is still necessitated. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about half of all people treated for substance use disorders relapse. Therefore, aftercare treatment becomes just as essential to sobriety as the initial investment in addiction recovery.
A long-term plan needs to address the following:
- Holding the individual accountable, ensuring that he or she do not use addictive substances.
- Reduction of relapse triggers in the environment.
- Offering help to the individual for follow through on responsibilities such as paying rent and doing household chores.
- Placement of the individual within a community of support and giving the individual a commitment over time.
These requirements often can be fulfilled by the role that sober living following treatment plays in recovery, and can be the solution that a person needs to remain committed to their new path and make that path easier to navigate.
In addition to sober living, following treatment, most people find it beneficial to continue seeing a therapist and/or counselor in addition to attending support group meetings. Our center offers aftercare planning services as well as alumni activities to ensure that former patients can remain supported and active long-term in their newfound sober lifestyle.
Recovery from addiction is often a lifelong effort, but no one should have to go through it alone. You can regain your life and enjoy happiness and wellness in a way you never thought possible – and we can help you get there!