Halfway & 3/4 recovery houses – 5 things any sober living facility MUST have

Halfway houses can help get you clean and sober – or they can trigger a relapse. Learn the five (5) things that any half way house or 3/4 recovery house should have in place to support addiction recovery.

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What is a halfway recovery house?

Halfway houses are like “assisted living” facilities for addicts and alcoholics in recovery. Halfway houses facilities vary, but are most often a group of housing units (such as a group of apartments, condos, or multiple bedrooms within the same house) managed by an individual or company that recovering addicts and alcoholics rent. The management SHOULD provide tenants with support and help in recovery. Some do. Some don’t. But most people would agree that the purpose of a halfway house is to provide a safe and supportive environment for people in early sobriety who are not quite ready to live completely on their own.

Why stay in a halfway or 3/4 house?

Sometimes a person in early recovery needs extra help to get back on their feet, or it is not good to return “home” where friends or family are still using. Other people spend the first months of sobriety in a halfway house because they have been recommeded transitional housing by a treatment center or drug court. Either way, THE MAIN IDEA is that by sticking with other newly clean and sober people and by following management suggestions, recovery is easier than on your own. So what should every sober living facility have?

5 things every sober living facility should have

1. Structure – Halfway houses need guidelines and rules so that everyone living in the community agrees to certain expectations as a condition for continued rental. If rules are not in place, move on and find another housing alternative. Some things that help addicts and alcoholics in early recovery include:

  • bans on alcohol or drugs
  • bans on overnight guests
  • cleaning standards
  • evening curfews
  • shared responsibilities
  • wake up times

2. Safety – Any half way or 3/4 way house needs to be safe. Housing capacity should not exceed local jurisdiction law. Neighborhood safety should not worry you. Fire alarms and electrical outlets should be up to standards. And physical threats from other residents should not be an issue. Be sure that the halfway house that you are considering feels and seems safe before entering into a contractual agreement.

3. Drug testing – Halfway houses need to identify drug users from people in recovery and should actively use drug testing to protect its sober community. If the halfway house that you have chosen does not implement regular drug tests, or random drug tests, or drug tests when residents leave the facility overnight…keep looking.

4. Support staff – Sometimes, half way houses are operated by people who mean well, but who don’t quite know what they’re doing. Opt for a halfway house that hires full time manager(s) to handle day-to-day business, and to keep the community accountable. If youfind a halfway house that is run by an owner who lives out of town…look for another or ask a local treatment center for a referral to halfway houses with a good reputation. You want an active and helpful staff that can implement the structure and safety that you need.

5. Personal accountability – The best halfway houses look to support you in your recovery by requiring certain actions. These actions are not only healthy for you, but they are required in real life. Look for a halfway house that requires the following actions and keeps the community accountable to them:

  • attendance at daily 12 step meetings
  • attendance at halfway house meetings
  • part time work (at least)
  • volunteer work (if you’re retired)
  • working with a 12 step sponsor

If you have something to add to this list, please do so at the bottom! Or if you are thinking about going to a halfway or 3/4 way house, and wonder what it will be like, or just want to ask a question…comment here. We answer all comments and feedback personally!

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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