For people who have to contend with drug and alcohol abuse, rehabilitation and other treatment centers can be a large step toward recovery. Though such programs can help, patients often run the risk of relapsing should they be placed back into everyday society without any emphasis on how to smoothly make the transition. Halfway houses have proven to be a useful tool in the fight against substance abuse and are vital in helping patients integrate back into the community.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that about 23.5 million people over the age of 12 needed some form of treatment for the abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol. However, only about 2.6 million of those actually received it. Still, that is a significant amount of people who have received treatment, and without guidance after they complete the program, their return to society is daunting - especially with the relapse rate for drug addiction hovering between 40 to 60 percent.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the possibility of a relapse. Some of the most common are being back in the presence of drugs and alcohol, growing feelings of anger and depression and even positive feelings that require celebration. However there are lesser-known dangers as well including everything from boredom to physical pain or injury.
The reason for the high relapse rate is not surprising given the amount of challenges that patients face upon release if they are not transitioned appropriately. For instance, many patients find it easy to stay away from alcohol and drugs while in rehab because there are precautions in place that make it nearly impossible to obtain them. Conversely, on the outside there is nothing stopping patients from taking a step back.
Along with the ease of obtaining drugs and alcohol, many patients may find assimilating back into their family and social circles challenging. Experts say that sometimes family members can be skeptical about the chances of a long-term recovery, while sometimes patients may not be able to fit in with their friends from before their stint in rehab.
Additionally, it may be tough for some people to land a job after they've exited their rehab facility which may lead to a relapse given the stress of unemployment and the lack of structure. Sometimes employers are hesitant to hire someone with a drug or alcohol problem due to the amount of money it may cost them in lost productivity and healthcare costs.
Halfway houses can be a helpful solution for many of the challenges that can arise was one attempts to make the transition from rehab. Though often referred to as a sober house, there is a big difference between such a facility and a halfway house. Whereas a sober house is operated as a means for residents simply to stay clean, a halfway house not only provides continued rehabilitation services but also offers residents the opportunity to establish themselves in society, whether it be through finding a job or housing.
Finding a halfway house presents some challenges as well. Since most of the homes are not regulated by the government the quality can vary significantly from place to place. To make sure that they are headed toward a quality establishment, individuals should look at factors such as clearly-established rules and regulations, regular support meetings, counseling, job coaching and transportation to 12 step meetings.
Though halfway houses will vary from place to place, there are some rules and regulations that all places will have in common. For instance, most homes will require that residents be actively pursuing a living arrangement for life after the halfway house while also abstaining from any substances on the grounds.
Perhaps the most vital aspect of a halfway house is that it places addicts or alcoholics in a welcoming setting with people who are going through the same thing. A good halfway house provides a supportive environment that will be a crucial part in the road to long-term recovery. Furthermore, a growing number of halfway houses are placed in areas that are vital parts of the surrounding community, which makes it easier to fully assimilate. The location of the halfway house is also important not only because of its closeness to the community, but because most facilities are situated in quiet, residential places that are well-suited for the recovery process.
The most important aspect of halfway houses is that they allow residents to regain the skills they may have had before they entered treatment. They do this by requiring residents to pay for rent and food so it is imperative that they get gainful employment to make their stay at the halfway house worthwhile.
Halfway houses also place an emphasis on keeping patients away from friends and family members who may have contributed to their addiction in the first place. They can do this through a number of ways but the most common method is not allowing anybody who is not a resident to step foot on the grounds. By keeping residents separated from people from their past who may have enabled their addiction, halfway houses can play a big part in reducing the chances of a relapse.
Some people may have questions about whether or not halfway houses actually work in practice. Regardless of any skepticism from the public at large most experts will say that the treatment does work if the addict or alcoholic is committed to truly transitioning back into society.