Sober Living or Halfway House? What's the Difference?

Sober Living or Halfway House? What's the Difference?

What is the difference between a sober house, sober living home, recovery residence, and halfway house?

What is sober living, and how does it work?

Sober living homes, sober houses, and recovery residences are all similarly named. They provide aftercare for people who have completed addiction treatment. Residents are housed in a supervised sober house. They both want to achieve full independence after demonstrating consistent sobriety.

Sober living assists people in making the transition from rigorous treatment to self-sufficiency. Residents in sober houses have complete autonomy while being held accountable by peers and/or supervisory personnel. Clinical supervision may be available in some long-term sober living homes, but not all of them.

Sober living is for individuals who:

  • Require more accountability in their sober journey.
  • Are completing an intense inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
  • Are moving into a more structured but self-contained environment.
  • Do not currently have any drugs or alcohol in their system.

To be admitted, residents must be “clean” and working toward self-sufficiency.


Halfway Houses vs. Sober Living Programs

Sober living and halfway houses are similar in that they both demand sobriety, but they differ in a few ways:

  • Residents in sober living homes are not expected to have completed or be actively involved in formal rehabilitation.
  • Residents are also not limited to a set period of time.
  • Residents are merely required to maintain sobriety and make regular payments on their residential fees by the sober house.

Residents of the halfway house must complete or be enrolled in rehabilitation. Many of these homes will also reject individuals with a criminal background. Residents are usually only allowed to stay for a maximum of 12 months once accepted.

Other variances between sober living homes and halfway houses may exist based on the programs:

  • A residential inpatient program is not the same as any other sort of treatment.
  • Pre-entry detox and counseling may be required, as well as relapse treatment if the applicant relapses.
  • It’s possible that referrals to therapeutic services will be made.

If the candidate requires sober living, it may be the best option.

  • Living with assistance for a long time.
  • Housing that is unaffected by government funding cuts.
  • A non-traditional approach to therapy.
  • Reduced out-of-pocket living expenses.

Halfway House may be the best option if the candidate:

  • During an inpatient or outpatient transfer, you may require temporary housing.
  • Have completed or are currently completing an addiction treatment program.
  • Can pay for both treatment and living expenses at the same time.

For early recovery support, sober living homes are more adaptable than halfway houses.


What Makes Sober Living Work?

Applicants should be aware of how sober living homes are structured and how independence fits into their daily lives. Sober houses for guided independent living is provided through sober living programs. However, because high-quality sober houses are still somewhat supervised, you must adhere to the sober house’s basic regulations.

  • Applicants must detox and work toward long-term sobriety in order to be accepted.
  • To stay, each resident must complete all home responsibilities, including paying rent.
  • All house meetings and support group meetings need attendance.
  • The intensity of the program normally starts off high and gradually decreases as the residents progress.
  • A minimum of 90 days is recommended for your stay.

Most sober house residents, however, stay for 6 to 9 months before moving on to full independence. Some people may stay for a year or more. Of course, there are a slew of additional factors that influence the overall quality, effectiveness, and fit of a sober living program.

If you are interested in finding a sober living home for you or a loved one, we encourage you to visit for more information. If you have an interest in starting a sober living home as a business, please visit