Difference Between Sober House and Halfway House

One of the biggest challenges that someone new in sobriety faces is finding a living arrangement that will enhance recovery, not derail it.  The early phase of recovery is particularly fraught with potholes that can quickly trigger a relapse, thus the importance of planning for a stay in a drug and alcohol free environment.  Once this wise decision has been made, the next step is to decipher the differences between the various forms of substance-free living.

The two most common types of drug and alcohol free residences are the sober house and the halfway house.  While there are certain similarities between the two classifications, there are distinct differences between the sober house and the halfway house.  Similarities include a list of rules of conduct as well as an expectation that the residents will share the chores and duties of the household.  Understanding the unique traits between the two forms of sober housing will help determine which is a good fit for you, so it is important to understand the difference between a sober house and a halfway house.

What is a Halfway House?

While a halfway house can be housing that has been set aside for mandatory transitional housing for individuals recently released from jail or prison, or for the chronically mentally ill, halfway houses can also function as sober living residences.  Generally, a halfway house that has been established for sober housing requires that the residences have completed, or are in the process of, drug or alcohol rehabilitation.

Halfway houses are federally funded, so the costs of staying in one can be minimal or none at all.  Based on this, these homes offer the bare essentials for room and board, and usually little or no therapeutic support or treatment.  Because they are federally funded, halfway house boarding can be of a very limited duration and subject to federal or state budget cuts.  Most halfway houses that exist for the purpose of sober living will offer groups and meetings that help reinforce recovery.

What is a Sober House?

A sober house is a privately owned residence or group of homes that are operated for profit, and people who reside in them are there voluntarily.  There is a wide spectrum of options within the sober house category, from Spartan accommodations to luxurious.  Because a sober house is in business to make a profit they can design and market their sober living program in a variety of diverse styles, from 12-step oriented to holistic to faith-based and more in order to attract clients.  

A sober house will usually have a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use or possession, as well as regular drug testing.  A client is not required to have been in an addiction treatment program, although most do come to sober living following completion of an inpatient program.  Participation in a 12-step or non 12-step program is usually required, as is participation in weekly house meetings.

Riviera Recovery Offers High-Quality Sober Living

Once one understands the difference between a sober house and a halfway house they can select the living environment that best fits their needs and their budget.  At the higher end of sober living residences is Riviera Recovery in Malibu, California.  Riviera Recovery is devoted to helping its clients grow to appreciate and enjoy their newfound sobriety by placing an emphasis on healthy, rejuvenating sober activities.  This pet friendly sober housing center places individual attention on each resident, tailoring the recovery experience.

Riviera Recovery offers a long list of holistic therapies that foster renewed health and self-awareness, including yoga, Pilates, meditation, infrared sauna, and a diet rich in organic foods.  Surfing, paddle boarding, pool and spa, and road trips round out and enhance the recovery experience.  For more information about the program, please call us today at (866) 478-8799.

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