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How It Feels To Live In Halfway House?

How It Feels To Live In Halfway House?

Posted on: April 9, 2020

How It Feels To Live In Halfway House?

Halfway houses, as we know, work towards enabling an individual to integrate back into society after having recovered from substance abuse. There are different amenities and services provided across different halfway houses. Knowing what is a halfway house like and how life is in these facility centers can help in having a better image of how it can help you or your loved one transition into a responsible citizen. Why live in a halfway house?

Many factors contribute to what is a halfway house. Some of these are discussed below:


Let us now look at what happens in a halfway house. Recovering substance abusers might find it hard to adhere to a daily routine and maintain healthy lifestyle habits. If a resident is allowed to stay in bed or remain confined to the room, it is highly possible that tediousness and isolation may settle in. This can likely cause the resident to be tempted to return to substance abuse. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the resident remains engaged the whole day while in the house.

Halfway houses provide an opportunity for this by setting schedules for the housemates. Every house will have a routine for its residents. This may include having to wake up at a fixed time on the day, participate in the activities in the house, including chores, and attending group meetings and a fixed bedtime. Routines are established to ensure that the residents contribute to the functioning of the house and at the same time, safeguard their physical health, hygiene, and habits.

A typical routine may look like below, though the time and activities may vary across facilities:

Time Activity
8:00 am Wake up, morning medications (if needed), tidy up the room and personal hygiene
8:30 am Breakfast
10:00 am Individual or group therapy sessions
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Free time
3:00 pm Therapy sessions and activities including fitness, music, and dance
6:00 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Group sessions/ Quiet Time
11:00pm Lights out

For those who are employed, the schedule may be worked around the employment hours and for those seeking employment, activities to help the job hunt may also be incorporated.

Residents may be permitted to go off grounds during their free time to meet friends and family.

By observing a daily schedule, the individual is bound to spend the time that will enable him/her in becoming more responsible with the tasks assigned. Also, sparing time for activities can help improve the health and quality of living. This is critical to paving the path for long-term recovery.

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What is a halfway house like concerning the support provided?

Every halfway house has a substance-free policy that prohibits any residents from possessing drugs or alcohol in the house. Besides, these facility centers also provide support in numerous other ways to ensure success in recovery.

Recovery meetings such as the 12 step meetings are conducted and are usually mandatory. Other meetings are also conducted individually or as a group for discussion that can be used as a platform for deliberating issues or as a model to experience how it is to be inclusive in a community. There are also sessions conducted to educate the occupants about various topics such as respect and forgiveness that will enable them to conduct themselves well once outside the halfway house.

Halfway houses also provide vocational assistance for those seeking employment opportunities. This may include training in vocational and interview skills, life-skill training, career counseling, and help in a job search.

Certain halfway houses are also accommodative of recovering addicts who are parents. Parenting skill classes are offered to them. Houses also provide rehabilitation services for single parents that allow accommodating children. This way they can receive treatment without having to worry about finding help to look after them.

Residents may prefer recovery and therapy via different means. For some, it may be through dance and art whereas for others it may be through spiritual and faith-based meetings. Halfway houses typically try to cover as many activities as possible to ensure that the residents receive the expected support. This ensures that relapse prevention is provided through a plethora of recreation activities.

Some facilities also provide inpatient care as well as drug and addiction treatment program. Residential long-term houses are also present where the residents can stay for longer periods. Aftercare programs are also offered by halfway houses, where tenants can return for additional services if they require it.

There similarly are facilities that have on-premise clinical counseling, anger management classes, and spiritual programs.


Some of the activities listed below give an insight into what happens in a halfway house.

  • Physical fitness activities are ensured in halfway houses that may be equipped with fitness gear such as treadmills or bikes that the residents can use.
  • Most halfway houses encourage residents to participate in volunteering opportunities. These include community projects such as assisting in charities and orphanages.
  • Halfway houses may also conduct outdoor activities and events to encourage the transitioning of the residents. These are sober events and include Sporting Events, Picnics, Hiking, Beach outing, etc.


What is a halfway house like in terms of community?

Halfway houses may be gender-specific or a coed facility. Residents are initially required to reside with a roommate to ensure that those staying together are accountable for each other. Every halfway house will have a House Manager who is accountable for all of the residents in the house.

All the residents in the house are in a similar recovery path and the staff comprises of people who have successfully recovered. Therefore, a newcomer will be surrounded by the support of those around. Being in such a community can help prepare for the real world that lies outside the gates of the house.

The important idea is to prevent isolation. Isolating oneself can lead to laziness and boredom, both of which can cause one to give up healthy lifestyle habits and also tempt one to go back to the old habits. Counselors, fellow housemates, mentors, and the house community, in general, will help avoid being secluded. This will enhance coping strategies and give a sense of the social setting which in essence, is the heart of the transition process.


A common question raised is what does a halfway house look like? Halfway houses are usually residential houses or an apartment complex. However, what a halfway house looks like varies from one facility to the other. Some are privately owned and spanned across acres of land while others are more modest.

Halfway houses have different facilities and amenities. Private rooms are offered by some houses while others have shared rooms or dormitories.  Some facilities provide privacy through doors or curtains, whereas others do not have doors to ensure that the activities of the residents are fully transparent and easily monitored by the staff.

Every house has a standard set of rules that are to be followed to ensure the quality of life for the residents and quality of service for the house. Residents are usually allowed to go off grounds during their free time for either employment or to meet friends and families. Halfway houses may have sign sheets to record and verify whenever any resident leaves and returns the house.

Random drug tests and drug screenings may also be conducted to ensure that the house is indeed a substance-free environment.

Some of the amenities available in the houses include:

  • Wi-Fi – Houses may allow residents to bring their phones and laptops. Computers are also available for use. However, it is highly possible that specific sites may be blocked.
  • Medicines – While medical care may not be available in houses, they might stock up medicines for basic needs which is available to residents
  • On-premise counselors – Counselors are usually available on the premises from morning till evening
  • Transportation
  • Laundry
  • Shared room and private room options
  • Television room

There are numerous halfway houses across the country and therefore, the services provided vary across facilities. While there are basic rules that are common across these halfway houses, every house differs from the other in their own ways. You can explore more about the same in one of our articles- What are the general rules of a Halfway House.

Knowing what a halfway house like, what does a halfway house look like and what happens in a halfway house can help decide on a good halfway house. A good facility not only offers care and support but also offers a high degree of accountability and serves to transition you or your loved one from rehabilitation to being a contributing member of the community.

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