Sober living houses are sometimes referred to as halfway houses, which can lead to some confusion. A halfway house is generally provided for those released from jail or prison and serves as a reintegration tool. Many halfway houses treat substance abuse, although this may not be their primary focus. Some are reserved solely for those with severe mental disorders. Halfway houses often involve a program of treatment with daily groups and meetings. These facilities are government-funded, and may be free or low-cost.
Sober living houses are private residences, providing support for those struggling with a substance abuse problem. They differ in structure and prices, but generally have less structure than a halfway house. A sober living house is attended voluntarily, and are not usually court-mandated. Provided as a means for reintegration of recovering addicts, a sober living house gives the recovering addict a healthy peer network and model of recovery.