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Halfway Houses are transitional living places for those in recovery from drugs or alcohol. In some states, because of legal requirements, the term “sober living house” is used. Some people go to halfway houses from a treatment center, prison, or a homeless situation, while others go there to be in a sober and clean environment to begin the recovery process. Some residents are in halfway houses due to court orders.

Most halfway houses require residents to pass breathalyzer and drug screening tests as they aren’t equipped to deal with withdrawal symptoms from drugs or the DT’s (Delirium tremens, which are associated with severe alcohol withdrawal). If you can’t pass these tests, a treatment center might be your best option.

How a Halfway House is Managed

Many halfway houses are run by people who themselves were at one time a halfway house resident. The houses accommodate either men or women.

Most people who don’t seek recovery from alcohol or drugs will end up on “skid row,” in jail, an insane asylum, or dead. If you are concerned about a friend or family member, an intervention can be the best help for them if they are not yet in recovery. The good news is that 85% of interventions that are properly carried out result in the person seeking some kind of help. Most interventions carried out without help from people well versed in addiction fail.

Determining the Primary Addiction

In seeking recovery from drugs or alcohol, it is important to identify which is the primary addiction — alcohol or drugs. Due to economics, halfway houses are set up to house both alcoholics and drug addicts. In order to obtain optimal results, the person in recovery should focus on either the program of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, depending on what the primary addiction is. A person who is addicted to alcohol will relate better to AA and the person addicted primarily to drugs will relate better to fellow drug addicts.

How to Choose a Halfway House

In choosing a Halfway House, ask around local AA or NA meetings about those with good reputations, or check with a respected treatment center. Also, choose one that is reasonably near the meetings you will be attending. Most halfway houses accommodate residents until 6 months to a year or two of continuous sobriety or clean time. Houses that have a range or recovery time for people currently residing at the house, such as someone with one month, 90 days, and 6 months are preferable to one with all residents with under 30 days in recovery. Also, those with a live-in manager are generally better choices. Some houses have a democratic process, in which the residents choose who will be coordinator or manager.