Is a Halfway House the Same as a Sober Living House?

Men playing game outside sober living house in Dallas, TX.

Within the recovery space, a halfway house shares similar goals to a sober living house; however, there are some key differences. If you find yourself looking for a halfway house near you to aid in your addiction recovery and help you get sober, keep these differences in mind:

  • Some halfway houses are designed to house recently released criminals

While a halfway house (also known as a residential reentry center) can be designed to house inmates once released, a sober living facility is not contracted through the Federal Bureau of Prisons to help transition inmates. Rather, private citizens and/or their families independently seek out a sober living facility to provide structure and support in early sobriety.

  • Some residents may be court-ordered to stay in a halfway house or enter after inpatient treatment

Not all residents of a halfway house are former felons, though. Some residents are ordered by law to stay at a halfway house for a set period of time following a stint in a rehab center. Whatever the reason for enrollment, the goal of the halfway house is to provide a safe, structured living situation free from drugs and alcohol.  Unlike a halfway house, residents in a sober living home enter voluntarily and individually commit to the program.

IOP Program Benefits


We employ staff specializing in a wide range of modalities, allowing us to provide a more comprehensive approach. These modalities include, but are not limited to: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT), and Eye Movement Desensitization, and Reprocessing (EMDR).


Our highly trained staff work intensively with clients to address core issues. Every IOP session is aimed at reducing negative behaviors by addressing the emotions and thoughts that are often behind them. We work diligently and compassionately to make clients feel safe and understood.


Our flexible programming allows clients to continue to live at home, go to work or attend school, and still get the therapeutic support they need. The average intensive outpatient program lasts eight to twelve weeks and combines three group therapy sessions and one individual therapy session per week. We offer night groups and telehealth options for those with busier schedules.


Depending on the severity of the client’s case, programmatic therapy can be dramatically more cost-effective than a standard Inpatient Treatment program. We work with most private insurance providers to offset the majority of programming costs.

Insurances We Accept

Lighthouse accepts 100+ private insurance policies and offers cost-effective private-pay plans.
  • Many halfway houses are government-run

Unlike Lighthouse Recovery and most sober living homes, which were started by sober living experts, halfway houses are often government-run. This might make them a little more affordable, but a lot more crowded.

  • Halfway houses may feel more like a dorm than a private residence

Usually halfway houses house more residents per house, and more residents per room than a sober living home. They have less structure and formalized programming than a sober living home. For example, at Lighthouse Recovery in Dallas, we allow just 8 residents per home and only 2 residents per room in our beautiful, spacious homes. We also offer extensive programming including 6 therapy sessions per week, a combination of group, individual, and family therapy. We also offer twice monthly recreational activities and plenty of in-home programming like life-skills, sober living, and “Job U” where we focus on resume building, interview skills, and more.

  • Halfway houses often cost less than a sober living home

Because halfway houses are government-run, and pack more residents and fewer amenities into a home, they can be less expensive. They certainly have a place within the recovery community, but we encourage our potential residents to remember you get what you pay for. Our sober living homes are designed to provide tailored structure and support for men in early sobriety, and that is our focus! We keep our house sizes small and have the lowest resident-to-staff ratios of 3:1 that we’ve ever seen! This is so we see and know each of our residents, allowing us to notice subtle changes that might indicate a relapse is coming, or to know them well enough to dig deeper in therapy. We create a tight knit community and have fun, spacious homes where our residents want to spend time. Our focus is not just staying sober while living at the house, but staying sober in the long run.

Not all recovery homes are created equal; when you consider a halfway house, we urge you to look at sober living homes as well. At Lighthouse Recovery, we have a nationally recognized sober living program with a 78% success rate for residents who complete our program. All of our clinical therapists are licensed, carry a Master’s degree, and are experienced in sober living and addiction. We create a completely personalized, progress-based approach to our sober living program to achieve long-term success. Give us a call today to find out if Lighthouse Recovery is right for you!

Why Choose our Dallas IOP?


Lighthouse IOP

Standard IOP

Program Philosophy
and Structure

  • Individualized, custom-built, and holistic curriculum

  • Maximum of 8 persons per group

  • Each client is matched with a Recovery Coach who can provide support outside of clinical programming by setting goals, building engagement in outside recovery groups, and creating accountability

  • All Lighthouse Therapists are Masters-level clinicans with a wide range of experiences so we can best match client to Therapist

  • Both in-person and Teleheath attendance options available

  • Both day and night groups available

  • 24/7 access to support plus 12 months of extended support

  • Standardized programming (usually an "off-the-shelf" curriculum)

  • Up to 30 persons per group

  • No Recovery Coaching i.e. program is limited to only hours spent in group and individual therapy leaving significant "gaps" in coverage

  • Experience of Therapist varies from company to company as does the ability to "match" a client with the most applicable Theraupetic experience

  • Attendance options vary from company to company

  • Group options vary from company to company

  • Extended support varies from company to company

Additional Program Features

  • Lighthouse is in-network with the most common insurance policies and accepts 100+ policies on an Out of Network basis

  • Preferred Access to our Recovery Coaching Program

  • Robust Network i.e. psychiatrists, neurofeeback specialists, etc.

  • Beautifully designed, private office building centrally located in Dallas, TX

  • In Network benefits vary from company to company

  • No access to in-house Recovery Coaching offered

  • Referral Network for Auxiliary Services varies from company to company

  • Condition and privacy of office varies from company to company

IOP Frequently Asked Questions

What is IOP?

Intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a lower level of care on the spectrum of treatment.  It usually consists of three 3-hour group sessions a week with a licensed therapist and at least one 1-hour individual therapy session. IOP is perfect for those stepping down from a Residential or Inpatient Treatment Center, or those that are unable to commit to going away for a minimum of 30 days. IOP is often a good alternative for those with families or careers that they are unable to take too much time away from.

Is IOP right for me?

An intensive outpatient program is suitable for most people at some point in their recovery journey. Although we like to be able to help as many individuals as possible at Lighthouse, some clients require a higher level of care initially due to the severity of their addiction and are later suitable for the IOP level of care. We offer a free assessment for everyone who calls needing help with no obligation to enroll in our programs. Let one of our trained professionals help you make the determination.

How long does IOP last?

Typically, an IOP lasts 8 to 12 weeks. There are a number of factors that help determine the intensive outpatient program length, such as insurance benefits, medical necessity, and engagement.

How much does IOP cost?

Treatment can be expensive, but IOP is often on the lower end cost-wise when comparing it to Residential or Inpatient care. We’re able to work with most private insurances to help offset the cost of your treatment with us.  If for some reason your insurance doesn’t cover our program or you don’t have insurance, we can always discuss our Scholarship Self-Pay rates. Our finance team may be able to help you set up a payment plan, if you are unable to come up with the full cost upfront.

What happens if I relapse in an IOP?

As unfortunate as it may appear to be at the time, every experience can be turned into a positive lesson, if you are honest and seek immediate help. For some people, relapse is part of the process and it only has to be a negative if you don’t work to get back on track. It’s hard for some people to come to terms with being addicted to alcohol or drugs, so a relapse could be the motivation to focus harder on their recovery. If one does occur, call your support system and your program contact immediately. One mistake does not have to derail your journey to lasting recovery and happiness.

Contact Us for a Free and Confidential Assessment