The Pros and Cons of Halfway Houses

When you have completed your initial rehab treatment for substance abuse or addiction, it is common for many young men to consider transitioning to a halfway house or sober living facility. However, they are often not ready to return home and face their daily routines and the added stresses that could affect their sobriety. To help you decide where you should take your next step, let’s look at the pros and cons of halfway houses.  

What Is a Halfway House?

Like sober living homes, halfway houses provide residency for people who want to maintain a structured routine while they continue to work on their recovery. They can look for work, volunteer, or return to the job they had before addiction treatment. There are both pros and cons of halfway house residences.

Typical Rules in a Halfway House 

The rules residents must abide by in a halfway house can seem rather strict. However, all residents have to follow the same rules to help ensure a stable environment for everyone, including:

  • Mandatory Drug/Alcohol Testing
  • Everyone Contributes to Maintaining the Home
  • No Violence or Fighting Is Tolerated
  • No Stealing
  • Curfews Are Enforced
  • Every Resident Must Attend Group Meetings
  • Must Work, Volunteer, or Actively Seek Employment

In the event a resident violates the halfway house rules, they must move out, sometimes immediately, or return to detox if they lapse or relapse. The consequences of rule violations are usually included in the terms of the residency contract which all residents sign when moving in. 

Pros and Cons of a Halfway House 

When considering whether a halfway house is the right choice for you, it is recommended to weigh the pros and cons of halfway houses before moving in. 


  • Having a transitional residence to move into while in the early stages of recovery can help young men achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.
  • Provides an alcohol and drug-free environment for residents to practice sober living.
  • Provides structure to help maintain regular routines and avoid temptations that could cause lapse and relapse. 
  • Encourages residents to attend weekly outpatient programs.
  • Residents are held accountable for their actions to help reduce the risks of lapses and relapse.
  • Many halfway homes offer short-term lease options as short as a week. 
  • Some houses provide flexible payment plans to help young men with financial difficulties. 
  • It helps make it easier to gradually transition from a rehab program to be able to return home and live a sober and independent lifestyle. 
  • Some homes offer age and gender restrictions. 


  • Some halfway houses are used for homeless people and can house recently released criminals. 
  • Some homes may be co-ed, meaning both men and women live in the same house. However, men and women have separate sleeping areas.
  • Some residents might have been court-ordered to reside in the home for a set period. 
  • Halfway houses can be government-run facilities.
  • Halfway houses do not accept insurance since they cannot be accredited or certified by the state. 
  • They can have overcrowding issues in certain cities. 
  • They are often set up dorm-style with bunk beds and up to 4 people sharing a single bedroom.
  • Amenities and options beyond residency requirements can be rather limited. 
  • Psychiatric or medical staff are usually unavailable at the home.
  • Inability to deal with lapses and relapses.  

How Is a Sober Living House Different? 

A sober living environment offers a wider range of structure and support options and ongoing recovery programs for its residents. In addition, residents are not limited in the length of time they can remain. They can live in the home for as long as they desire until they feel ready to transition to independent living.

Another difference from a halfway house is that a sober living home is usually not co-ed and can be further segmented by specific age groups. For example, here at New Life House, our homes are designed for young men in specific age ranges. We find that providing age requirements in our homes helps our young men form better bonds and friendships with their peers and further reinforces their desire to live sober lifestyles.

In short, sober living houses contain all of the “pros” of halfway houses, without most of the “cons”. For example, New Life House provides structure, community, and treatment. New Life House partners with a local treatment center that offers dual-diagnosis treatment programs. Services include group and individual therapy, psychiatric help, and case management for each client that moves through the program. Plus, New Life House is a long-term sober living facility, so by the time you are done with sober living, you’ll have a much great chance of staying sober. In fact, over 80% of recovering addicts who complete the program at our sober living home remain sober at the 5-year mark.

Which Is Right for Me?

Both halfway houses and sober living homes provide transitional residency for young men who have completed rehab but are not year ready to live independently. Additionally, both types of homes have structured environments and the support many young men need in early recovery. 

Deciding which is right for you depends on your specific needs and the severity of your addiction. It would be best to consider your goals and expectations and what you hope to achieve during your time in a sober house. 

Most importantly, think about what options are available, such as job placement assistance, educational assistance, and access to ongoing outpatient recovery programs. Then, choose a home that provides exactly what you need and want

Sober Living Houses for Young Men in Los Angeles

When you are ready to transition from rehab and are not prepared to live fully independently, you are invited to move into New Life House’s sober living homes in Los Angeles and Redondo Beach. Our goal is to help young men struggling with substance use disorders prepare for independent living while providing a structured environment with access to ongoing recovery support, career opportunities, and educational opportunities.

To learn more about our sober living houses and partnering treatment center and how to kickstart the journey to recovery, please contact our admissions team today.

Last Updated on May 31, 2024


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