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Halfway Houses – 5 Important Differences Between Sober Livings and Transitional Housing

Many people are convinced they are in a Sober Living Home, when according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, they are living in Transitional Housing (aka Halfway Houses). 

With the enormous amount of Sober Living Home options available, there is a distasteful stain on the entire industry because of the lack of regulation, ease of entry, biased opinions, lack of informative resources, and the fatal consequences.

Let’s take a closer look into what defines a Sober Living Home…

(1) An Alcohol and Drug-Free Environment

Obviously, any environment that claims to be a Sober Living Home, must first and foremost be alcohol and drug-free for individuals attempting to abstain from drugs and alcohol. Different Sober Living Homes have differing beliefs as to what constitutes an “alcohol and drug-free” environment. For example, some homes do not allow any form of medication, while others go as far as allowing prescribed marijuana or not being free of drugs and alcohol at all.

How do you know which environment you’re moving into? SLR facilitates anonymous reviews so you can be aware of what a particular experience at a Sober Living Home might be like.

(2) No formal treatment services, but either mandated or strongly encouraged attendance at 12-step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

If you are living in a place where there is any kind of formal treatment services such as counseling, group therapy sessions, or the prescribing of medication, you are not in a Sober Living Home.

(3) Required compliance with house rules such as abstinence, paying rent and other fees, participating in house chores and attending house meetings.

Every Sober Living Home has a set of rules. The extent of these rules varies from house to house. For example, some homes require you to be in or out of the home between a certain set of hours, while others grant you complete freedom as long as you pay your rent. The variability of structure is a factor one must consider when deciding where to live.

(4) Resident responsibility for financing rent and other costs (storage, utilities, etc.)

And here is where a lot of places are getting it wrong. A Sober Living Home provides housing with like-minded people to provide support and fellowship in exchange for a cash payment. It is the resident’s responsibility to finance that rent in the same way one finances a room for rent. Or at least, set up a payment plan with a Sober Living Home. If insurance is paying for your housing, you are not in a Sober Living Home.

(5) An invitation for residents to stay in the house as long as they wish provided they comply with house rules.

Sober Living Homes do not have limits on the length of residence. It is housing, not an “institution” and functions as such. 

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, any residence that does not abide by these 5 characteristics, is not a Sober living Home.

“If I’m Not In Sober Living, Where Am I?”

Sober Living Homes are where people choose to go when they leave their Transitional Housing (aka Halfway Houses). Transitional Housing, as defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, is a separate entity from Sober Living Homes. 

The two factors that make this distinction are: 1) residents are usually required to move out after a certain period of weeks, months, or years, regardless if they feel they are ready for independent living and 2) residents are usually not cash pay clients – this is where government funding, insurance, and scholarships come into play. 

For example, if you’re housing is free as long as you attend an outpatient program, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, you are in Transitional Housing.

When that program is over, or your insurance no longer covers you, you will be faced with two options: 1) pay the expensive costs yourself or 2) find a new place to live.

Here is where your search for low-cost, safe housing options with sober, like-minded peer support begins. In other words, a real Sober Living Home. 

Simplify Your Search With A Central Online Site For Cash Pay Sober Living Homes exists to simplify your search. We aim to be as informative as possible, so that you have access to the options that best suit your situation, while also keeping them accountable by giving you the ability to write anonymous reviews.



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