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Are Halfway Houses for You?

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With the opioid epidemic still raging throughout Massachusetts, halfway houses and other similar facilities are starting to see a resurgence of interest as a way to further improve the outcomes of previous residential treatment for substance use disorder (SUD).1,2,3

While not generally used as the only means of treating individuals with SUD, many halfway houses offer a viable way for individuals to continue recovery in a safe environment.1,2,3

Below we’ll explore the intent and benefits of halfway houses and other similar facilities. Contact Boston Drug Treatment Centers to find halfway houses in Boston suited for your unique recovery needs.

What Are Halfway Houses Intended For?

Halfway houses, transitional homes, recovery houses, sober living houses, and other similarly named facilities are, with few exceptions, intended for recovering individuals that have finished rehab or completed time in a correctional facility.1,2,3,4,5,6

As most of these names suggest, they are meant to be drug and alcohol-free places where individuals can safely continue recovery and learn how to better reintegrate into society, usually without the level of enforced discipline typical at a rehab center or prison. In contrast to most rehabs and prisons, residents at these facilities are usually allowed or encouraged to find employment outside the facility.4,5,6

Additionally, not all these facilities are intended for the same types of recovering individuals, as well. Some only accept people from the correctional system or people without access to housing while others only take on individuals that have completed specific kinds of residential programs or those with a specific SUD. This allows facilities to better serve the residents by offering specific services such as skills training or only certain types of continuing treatment such as opioid replacement therapy or psychotherapy.4,5,6

Many of these facilities are intended for individuals with limited income with some allowing residents to stay for free or for a nominal fee, provided they are actively looking for employment.2

Benefits of Halfway Houses

While not all halfway houses are the same, broadly speaking, they provide a similar set of benefits. Some of these include:1,2,3,4,5,6

  • More time to recover. Many residential rehab and treatment programs do not meet the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s recommend three-month minimum period. Even fewer last long enough for the more comprehensive recovery period needed by many patients.7 A halfway home may allow recovering individuals, not just the time they need to recover, but the means to earn an income as well.1,2,3,4,7
  • Better trigger and relapse management. Residents of halfway houses can be assured that their exposure to drugs and alcohol would be at a minimum, aiding in early relapse prevention. By contrast, recovering individuals who are immediately exposed to real-world conditions may find it difficult to stay clean, especially if they remain in an environment where exposure to substances is likely.1,2,3,4,7
  • Professional training in some programs.The ability to land a stable, productive job can vastly improve long-term recovery outcomes for individuals with SUD and other mental illnesses. Having access to specialized professional training that enables this can empower recovering individuals and help them retain their earlier gains in recovery.1,2,5,6
  • Can safely improve a resident’s emotional control and accountability.As discussed earlier, recovery from SUD takes time. Until then, many people with SUD and other mental health issues may find it very difficult to maintain the type of emotional control necessary to safely reintegrate into society. The additional therapy, workshops, and time done at a halfway facility may allow one to safely hone the soft skills needed to maintain personal and professional relationships in the real world.1,4,6,7

What Rules Can I Expect at a Halfway House?

Not all halfway houses are the same. However, some rules tend to be found in most of these facilities. Not following some rules and guidelines can result in penalties or even expulsion.2,6

Some rules found in many halfway houses include the following:

  • Curfew hours
  • Mandatory job hunting
  • Enforced sobriety through random drug and alcohol testing
  • Assigned chores
  • No theft or physical arguments with other residents
  • No bullying of other residents
  • Mandatory group workshops or therapy

Find Halfway Homes in Boston, Massachusetts

The Greater Boston area is home to some of the country’s best halfway homes and recovery facilities. Call Boston Drug Treatment Centers at (617) 517-6448 to find halfway homes and other recovery facilities suited for your unique recovery needs.



  1. Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R., Bond, J., & Galloway, G. (2010). What did we learn from our study on sober living houses and where do we go from here?. Journal of psychoactive drugs42(4), 425–433. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2010.10400705


  1. Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R., Bond, J., Galloway, G., & Lapp, W. (2010). Recovery from addiction in two types of sober living houses: 12-month outcomesAddiction research & theory18(4), 442-455.


  1. Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R., Bond, J., & Galloway, G. (2010). Eighteen-month outcomes for clients receiving combined outpatient treatment and sober living housesJournal of Substance Use15(5), 352-366.


  1. Morris-Newsom, C. (2018). Impact of Time Spent in Halfway Houses on Residents’ Self-Efficacy (Doctoral dissertation, Grand Canyon University).


  1. Wong, J. S., Bouchard, J., Gushue, K., & Lee, C. (2019). Halfway out: An examination of the effects of halfway houses on criminal recidivismInternational journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology63(7), 1018-1037.


  1. DeGuzman, R., Korcha, R., & Polcin, D. (2019). “I have more support around me to be able to change”: a qualitative exploration of probationers’ and parolees’ experiences living in sober living housesTherapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, July 10). Treatment and Recovery.

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