How To Find The Right Halfway Sober House
A halfway house is a gender-restricted transitional living facility. They are for people in early recovery from alcohol and or drug abuse. Most are considered the next step for those who have completed an inpatient, drug rehab center, or outpatient treatment program.
- Sober living houses are frequently large, converted residential homes.
- They are alcohol and drug-free living environments.
They require complete abstinence from all recreational drug and alcohol use. Most strongly emphasize involvement in 12-step program as well as social support for recovery.
They are structured, closely managed, supportive environments. Each resident is required to stay clean and sober. All residents must live by the house rules set forth by that particular house or face expulsion.
- Most do not offer formalized treatment or therapy.
- Mandate attendance at 12-step meetings.
- The majority require full-time employment.
They are not places to get detoxed, clean, and sober. Applicants must already be clean and sober for some time. The straight requirement is generally a minimum of 7 days and frequently 28 days or more.
Most people do not realize four distinct levels of SLHs as per the National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR).
- Research indicates attending a halfway house will improve the possibility of sustaining long-term recovery.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment clearly states: “Residents of SLHs made improvements in various areas. Results support the importance of critical components of the recovery model used by them;
(a) involvement in 12-step groups
(b) developing social support systems with zero drug abusers.
The study went on, “average lengths of stay in both types of sober living houses surpassed the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommendation of at least 90 days to obtain maximum benefit.”
- Retention of residents in the sober living houses was excellent.
One pattern was that residents reduced or stopped their substance use between baseline and six months follow-up and then maintained those improvements at 12 and 18 months.
A variety of studies showed that halfway houses improved treatment outcomes.
Finding the right one is the most critical factor in its being a successful experience. Currently, to our knowledge, there is not a comprehensive database of all the residential recovery homes in the U.S. Here are four sources for locating one;
- Rehab Referral; When someone has recently completed an inpatient rehab program.
- SAMHSA; The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website has a searchable database.
- Oxford House; Oxford House is a concept in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In its simplest form, an Oxford House describes a democratically run, self-supporting, and drug-free home. It is a non-profit organization.
- NARR; The National Association of Recovery Residences has a list of contact information, in 26 states, on its website.
- We can help anyone who needs assistance finding the right SLH; call us.
- Locally: Check for the state, county, and local assistance. Various locations have resources available.
The top benefit of a sober living house is living in a supportive, structured, alcohol and drug-free environment. In addition, there is usually zero tolerance for relapses.
Residents also benefit from a social model approach. They emphasize experiential learning, peer support, and 12-step recovery principles within a semi-structured, group-living environment.
Learning new ways to cope with drug cravings, such as exercise, stress relief, a healthy diet, and locating and utilizing emotional support sources.
They are making sober friends and building a support network to remain sober.
Getting accepted is usually involves filing an application as well as a face-to-face personal interview. It is common, upon acceptance, for new residents to pay the first week’s or first month’s fees. Some draw residents exclusively from their addiction treatment or mental health program.
They are not free. Rent is generally between $400 and $1,000 a month, sometimes more. The rent usually reflects the cost of living for the surrounding geographical area.
Insurance rarely, if ever, covers this cost since sober living houses are not treatment facilities. Remember, those costs usually cover only rent. Additional living costs will reflect similar living costs to living in an apartment, such as food.
The length of stay in a sober living house depends upon the person and their recovery rate. Unfortunately, not everyone recovers at the same rate. Ninety days is usually the shortest stay, while others can remain in sober living houses for 6 to 12 months.
Once accepted, residents must follow standard house rules, including:
- Stay sober
- Be tested regularly and randomly for drug use
- Contribute to the house by doing chores
- Zero tolerance for fighting or violence toward other residents
- No stealing or destroying another resident’s property
- Adhere to a curfew
- Attend 12-step or other recovery meetings
- They may be required to interview for jobs if they don’t already have one
The National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the availability of well-operated, ethical and supportive recovery housing. They have developed the most widely referenced national standard for the operation of recovery residences.
- NARR provides a comprehensive checklist of Residence Quality Standards.
Yes, Congress recently passed House Bill H.R.4684. It ensures Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2018 directs and funds the Secretary of Health and Human Services. In addition, it intends to identify or facilitate the development of best practices for operating recovery housing and other purposes.