Halfway houses (also known in the UK as ‘dry houses’) are a good option following rehab. Giving up alcohol or drugs can be very difficult for those who have abused these substances over many years. The benefit of a halfway house is that it provides the individual with security and support as he or she adjusts to this new life away from addiction.
What is a Halfway House?
A halfway house is a type of supportive housing for those trying to break away from addiction. The people who stay here will have far more freedom than they did during rehab, but they would be obligated to behave in a certain way during their stay. One of the main requirements is that the resident does not use alcohol or drugs during their stay – breaking this rule usually leads to immediate removal from the house.
A halfway house can share a number of similarities to a rehab, such as:
- residents will be expected to attend group therapy sessions every day (Monday to Friday) in the house
- a therapist will be responsible for the smooth running of the facility, and this person will usually be in house on weekdays between 9 and 5
- residents will have regular (at least weekly) one-to-one sessions with the therapist
- it is usually not possible for residents to have overnight guests
- there are rules for expected behaviour in the house
- drugs and alcohol are banned
- residents are usually not allowed to accept full-time work while in the programme.
A halfway house differs from a rehab in some important ways, including:
- these facilities usually look like a normal house
- the residents stay alone at night in the house
- residents have their own key and they are usually allowed to come and go as they like during the day
- it is usually possible for clients to engage in voluntary work or return to night school
- residents usually have their own room in a halfway house.
Who Needs to Stay in a Halfway House?
There are many reasons why a person may decide to enter a halfway house. Some people need this option as a matter of urgency because they have no safe housing to go to following rehab. It is possible to stay in a dry house for a year or longer. In many areas of the UK, people who manage to stay sober in the programme are offered council accommodation; this can be a strong incentive to stick to this type of aftercare.
Another reason why a dry house can be such a great option is that some individuals are just not ready for life back in the community. By staying in this type of facility, they will be supported as they make this adjustment. Rehab allows people to pick up important coping mechanisms for dealing with day-to-day living, and a dry house allows individuals to use these strategies while benefiting from a safety net.
Entering a halfway house can greatly increase the likelihood of breaking free of addiction and achieving long-term sobriety. Once a person makes it past the first year, their odds of being successful are much improved. The individual has a precious opportunity to turn his or her life around and entering this type of third-stage programme increases the likelihood of success.
A halfway house is not a practical solution for everyone, nor is it always needed. It is most useful for those who have been trapped in addiction for a long time, or do not have a secure home to return to following rehab. In some instances, the person can stay in this type of facility using housing benefit, but there are also private options as well.