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7 Things To Consider When Choosing a Halfway House In Florida.

Addicts And Alcoholics Are Being Victimized

It’s hard for most to imagine that somehow addicts and  alcoholics are victimized.  If you have loved or do love an addict or alcoholic, you have suffered yourself, cunning lies, and bottomless manipulations.  If we are having a fortunate day with the addict we love, they are incarcerated for something minor and safe for the night.  On a bad day we are terrorized with demands, violence, threats of harm to themselves and others.  So this blog is about 7 things to consider when choosing a halfway house in Florida.

Doing Your Research

If you are the addict or alcoholic reading this,  you already know that having any say in where you get your recovery is futile.   If you are doing your research to find the right recovery residence for your loved one, then you also know there endless halfway houses all promising the same things.

Substance Abuse Is Big Business

Unfortunately, the substance abuse industry has become big business.  In some cases it is not even beneficial for the facility or institution to facilitate recovery for the addict.  Some halfway houses have become traps themselves.   There are articles after articles of scam halfway houses.


Ok!  So what is the solution?  To be very clear this blog is about how to choose a halfway house not about if your addict/alcoholic needs a halfway house.

Number 1.  Actually talking to the facility.

Talking to the manager or owner of the halfway house is the most important part of your research.  Addiction has very low success rates.  so beware of large promises.  This is a disease of progress and not perfection.  Actually talking to the facility to discover their path and plan for success is also needed.  A facility that is vague about structure or worse uses a one size fits all “zero tolerance”, method is not what you are seeking.

Number 2 Is the addict or alcoholic compatable with the culture of the halfway house

What you are looking for is a manager or owner that will take the time to listen to the history of your disease or your loved ones disease to see if that facility is a fit.  An honest halfway house has a “culture” of its own that works well with some addicts and not others.  This where you can tell if its a trap halfway house or not.  If they just seem too eager to take your addict regardless of their history, I advise to continue the search.  Talk to the manager about transportation and location to employment.

Number 3 Are they Visible in the community?

Are they visible in the community?  Do they have recent google reviews?   Do they have an active social media page?  Why is this important?  Is it apparent that the addicts in that facility openly engage with the community of anonymous support?  Is the house accessible for tours if need be?  If anonymity is important how will they respect that?  These are all important to know.  Anonymity is important for some but a halfway house that doesn’t actively engage with the community of recovery support to celebrate successes and create connections may have something to hide.

Number 4 How long does the Average resident stay?

Ultimately the goal is independence.  An Addict or alcoholic sometimes have children to return to.  The reality of recovery is that an addict has caused themselves a lot of hurdles to overcome.  Most addicts have legal issues and financial obligations to the courts.  There is also the obstacle of getting driving privileges back as well as a vehicle.  Finding steady employment that will provide for them consistently is difficult when they have scattered work history and criminal backgrounds.  Then ultimately achieving first, last, and security for that first apartment is daunting.

A halfway house that has residents staying six months or less is likely being dishonest or has rules so stringent the addict is rooming with other addicts or worse hooking up with a significant other too quickly because of rigid house rules or worse a halfway house that is chaotic or toxic.  it is not unusual for this phase of recovery to take a couple of years, but on average transitional living should take one year to 18 months.

Number 5 Recovery Centered

Halfway houses are not substance abuse treatment centers.   The addict or alcoholic in this phase is learning to first and foremost treat their disease daily before anything else they do.  Transitional living should be centered around creating lasting habits and connections with local anonymous support groups.

Number 6 Does The Halfway House Have a Plan should an alcoholic or addict relapse?

Relapse is a part of many addicts story but with a solid foundation in the recovery community it does not have to mean “the bottom” it once meant.  It releases family members from co-dependence because now they have other addicts in recovery, a sponsor, and other service commitments that help keep them accountable.  Even better they find connection, friendship, fellowship and support that permanently changes their lives.  Does the halfway house have a “zero tolerance” stance, do they offer detox resources with an option to return, or do they offer other resources?  These are important questions to ask.

Number 7 Trust Yourself

If the halfway house you are considering working with, seems to have unusual practices or seems secretive, consider these flags.  As with any health care situation check for unusual charges for UA’s and other services.

Halfway House can be best part of Recovery

In this phase of recovery and addict or alcoholic learns to live life on life’s terms without using drugs and alcohol.  Most importantly this phase of recovery reduces the devastating loneliness that  an addict endures by going through the same struggles with others in recovery.  They are able to celebrate milestones that only another addict can appreciate and learn to laugh, love and loose the shame of the past active addiction.  addicts find support and understanding but even more they live with and see everyday the proof that living a new way of life is possible.  Hope and pride give gratitude that they didn’t give up on themselves.  They become productive members of society and give that back to other addicts still suffering.




Grief And Addiction

Grief And Addiction

My name is Margarida! I’m 30 years old. I have been battling addiction for 15 years. Drinking when I was about 14. I started doing pills when I was about 18 or 19 after my father passed away. That was one of the hardest things for me to ever go through. Grief and addiction were about to destroy me.

I thought Drugs Were A Solution

Drugs seemed to be the answer, instead of dealing with my grief. I then lost my mother four years later, followed by my sister 3 weeks after. Both my mother and sister were in active addiction when they passed.  More reason for me to turn to drugs instead of dealing with my grief. Masking my feeling with dope was the insane idea. Being numb was easier. I didn’t think that I could live without my family or drugs,

I Started To See The Delusion

Perhaps I was slowly committing suicide.  I think I knew I was killing myself, and in some weird way I thought that was bringing me closer to them. I didn’t want a life that didn’t have them in it.  2015 was the first time I tried getting clean.  I quit doing pills cold turkey.No methadone and no suboxone to help ease the withdrawal.  Methamphetamine was the new replacement. In my denial I thought I was successful because I wasn’t using opiates anymore. So I truly only had six months clean.

Drugs Had A Grip On Me

That’s where I completely let go. My sons father was in jail and I felt like he left. So again, I turned to drugs. This January I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and I decided to get myself some help. With a few bad relationships a broken heart and all my grief, I still didn’t want the pain but I didn’t want more pain.  I knew I couldn’t use drugs anymore and I didn’t really want to die. So, I entered myself into a detox center in January. I relapsed shortly after in February.  Quickly, I realized my mistake and started going to AA and NA. This is the first time that I have came to the rooms of NA.


Sharing My Grief With Another Addict

I’m coming up on my 90-day mark. Going through the process of finding a sponsor who I can talk to and a home group has been difficult for me. I try to handle all my emotions and feelings on my own and not really talk to anyone about them. Which is part of how I ended up using in the first place. It’s a daily struggle dealing with my feelings now being sober. I’m learning to set boundaries with what I will put up with. The things I used to pay no mind to or ignore because I was using I turned a blind eye to just to get high are no onger tolerated.  Self-medicating for so long to mask and hide my feelings makes everything seem foreign.

With No Coping Skills And Zero Trust

I’m learning how to deal with them with no buffers. I’ve never really been good at expressing my feelings. I have to relearn how to express my thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. Coping with my past in a new way and not burying my feelings is a daily struggle. Learning to accept the past as the past and not resenting my past mistakes is a long process. I can’t change my past but I can create my future.

Finding Trust In Another Addict

It took me almost three months to ask someone to be my sponsor.  Someone I felt comfortable enough to talk to about personal details of my life. I’ve been doing a gratitude list every morning of what I am grateful for. Besides  just the normal waking up in the morning clean and sober, I find gratitude, Little things like having a bed to make in the morning, is a blessing. Somewhere to shower and keep my clothes is wonderful. Waking up in the morning clean is an amazing feeling. I thank my higher power every morning and every night. I took a lot for granted when I was in active addiction. So I’m learning to appreciate little things. I have really good women in my life to talk to now. Something I’m not used to it. The women here are very supportive. I was unsure about coming to a place like this. But I have been proven wrong.  I’m lucky to have the chance to connect with women and build a good support system in my life.

I Could Not Stay Sober

I Could Not Stay Sober

My story of drinking surely has changed. I started drinking at the age of 40. I started out with having a
glass of wine to relax and that it did. I would have a glass of wine maybe twice a week and enjoyed it. I
started going out with friends on the weekends for dinner and drinks and everyone thought I was more
fun and relaxed and easy going. I started to enjoy life or so I thought.

Alcoholism Was Sneaking Up On Me

After a year two nights became into every day. I would get home from work to cook dinner open a bottle
of wine. I would cook and drink and before I knew it I was in bed by 8:00 every night. I worked until 5:00
each day. Pretty soon I noticed that I could not wait to get home to open my wine. I started to think about
drinking throughout my day. I would look at the clock and count the hours to 5:00.

The Obsession Was Taking Control

I worked for a family business so I started leaving an hour early to get home to drink.  I always made dinner
sipped on my wine. When the kids would go to bed, I started on my second bottle. I was now drinking two
bottles of wine a day.  My wine intake was increasing but still I thought it was normal not a big deal. I notice
I was getting up later for work feeling awful. This is when I started having a glass of wine before work to
make myself feel better. I knew that was not normal but it got me started into my day.
Alcoholics anonymous
It took nine years of coming and going from the rooms of alcoholics anonymous to finally come in for the right intentions.

I Created Ways To Drink Throughout The Day

At work I started to offer to go pick up lunch for everyone at work just so I could have a glass of wine. I though;
“Ok. Now I only four more hours till dinner and wine.” This was definitely not normal but I ignored it. After a year
of doing this and drinking almost all day I realized I have a problem. I confide in my husband.  I have a problem
with drinking.

I Still Was Not Sure I Was An Alcoholic

My husband told me not to tell anyone not to put a label on myself. I was scared because I knew I could not stop.
I decided to go to an AA meeting. I went and could not say I was an alcohol. I said I’m Denise not sure if I’m
alcoholic for about 3 months until I started identifying with everyone’s stories in the rooms. I was an alcoholic
for sure. I went to the noon meeting for four and half years.

I Did Not Make An Effort To Treat My Alcoholism

I would go late and leave early with no sponsor. Certainly, I was not doing my step work. I was miserable.
Wishing each day away, I was 45 and not happy. I was dry of alcohol but empty. We all know what this got me.
Yes I was drunk again and in relapse. I could not stay sober.

I Justified, Rationalized And Denied My Alcoholism

I thought it’s been a while I can drink. It was ok for about two weeks. Then I was right back to drinking
everyday morning, noon, and night. I did this for a year. My family and friends started questing my drinking.
I would deny it and started hiding bottles around the house so I would never run out keeping my drinking
under control in front of friends and family. I thought I had them fooled. The only one I was fooling was myself.
After another year or so back to AA I go.  I could not stay sober.

I Made Dishonest Efforts

This time with a sponsor that I lied to. I would go to AA and tried “controlled drinking”. My daughters were
getting angry they were older know and noticing I was not working the program. My life was spinning
out of control. I went from a 5-day work week to a 4-day work week so I could have another full day of
drinking.  The kids were at school I thought I can sober up before they get home, well that never happened.

My Life Became Unmanageable And I needed To Make Excuses

My life became unmanageable.  I was lying. I was skipping from one liquor store to the next. I would make up
stories and tell people I was overworked tired and stress. Sickness was showing all over me.Keeping up with my daily
activities was impossible. There wasn’t an hour of the day that I wasn’t drunk. No longer caring about my home or work
because I was a drunk. I could not stay sober.

I Went Back To AA For The worst Reasons

Bad intentions set me up for failure once more.  Only going to AA to make my family happy all the while I was still miserable,
We know what happened,.I drank.  In my insanity, I thought a change in location would work. My family lived in Florida.
My oldest was married and one in college. It was just my youngest and me. We moved to Florida in July 2016.
I said to myself, “When I get to Florida and I am settled, I will go to AA and stop drinking.”  Less than twenty-fours hours in florida and I was off to the wine store..

I Was Not Going To Let Alcoholics Anonymous Work

One month is all I could hide it from my family. Family came over for the talk. I was busted.  The talk stared out with;
“You need rehab”. I was so against that a 30-day program.  “I’m not that bad!”, I proclaimed. The intervention was
intense.  Pressure to go, I went to Rehab..

Off To Rehab

Rehab was 30 days.  It seemed to go well. I came home sober stayed sober for 4 months. Again I  started drinking.
I though[ “What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I get this?”  Going through the motions when I got out indicated
that,I was not ready. They say, “When the pain gets great enough we will change.”  The pain was not great enough.


My family gave up on me.  My daughter moved in with her sister and I was off to sober living. I have never
felt so lonely and like a complete failure in all my life.  Disappointment, pain and same seemed to be all that
was left of my life.

I Am Back To Alcoholics Anonymous For The Right Intentions

This time, I got sponsor and I work my steps and stay in recovery.  I must this for me and my girls. This is the hardest
thing I ever had to do,  I will die. There is no choice. The guilt and remorse I feel is unbearable. The pain and heartache I
have caused is disgusting. My girls need their mom back and I need to find myself.

Recovery Must Come First

Recovery must come first.  Putting it  second never worked. I’m taking care of myself with the support of my girls,
I’m finally ready.  We all are ready.  Praying to my higher power every day to guide me in my journey is my only hope.
At forty-nine years old, enough is enough. Nine years of in and out of AA must stop.  Support and friends in AA is wonderful.
The beautiful women in sober living with offer great wisdom on sobriety. They have something I want.

Sober Living Is Key To My Recovery

The wisdom in the house is incredible.  Sitting back and just listening to the suggestions, stories to gain the knowledge
from the experienced women made me realize I was finally having an open mind.  This is a new beginning for me that I’m taking seriously so I can pass the message on to other women who need help and are still suffering.
Today with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the women of Da Vinci Home LLC, I can stay sober.

Unlock Hope

Unlock Hope

Unlocking Hope with An Autistic Child Requires Acceptance

Unlocking hope with an autistic child sometimes requires giving up hope and accepting the the gains your child makes. Allowing your child’s accomplishments to be be their success. This allows you to live in the beauty of their own expression.

My Youngest Hope Was Born

My dear Luke was born April 12, 2006 at nearly 10 pounds and arrived a very healthy baby. He is the youngest of my three boys and developed quite normally in his infancy, reaching all the expected milestones in his growth and development. Having been a mother to two other children to compare my experience, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. At around 18 months Luke was beginning to speak, I remember the day clearly when he had sang the word “Dorothy” mirroring the children’s band and television show from Australia called “The Wiggles”. He would occasionally say the word “Dada”, and I had hope his first “Mama” would surely come in short order.

A Suspicion That Something Was Dreadfully Wrong

  Around 20 months I began to notice something peculiar. He was not making eye contact as frequently, and seemed obsessed with turning door handles and flipping light switches on and off in rapid succession. I also became greatly concerned that he not only did not develop new words in his vocabulary but the two that he had just two months prior were no longer being said. Luke’s father and I have been in the medical profession for many years, we both intuitively knew that something was dreadfully wrong with our child. We had hope that this could be simply speech delay, but I had a strong suspicion that was not what we were dealing with. We made an appointment with a developmental pediatrician and were seen within weeks. That was a day that I will without a doubt remember always.

Diagnosis Of Autism

The doctor had a kind disposition, and a gentle nature as he placed Luke on his knee to gain an attentive audience from my son. He waved his hands slowly in front of Luke’s face to see if Luke would look up and into his eyes. He did not. Instead he pushed off his knee and went to the closest light switch and began his ritual of turning it on and off. Then Luke twirled in circles and did the excited arm flapping motion that I noticed was a new habit as of late. The doctor reached into his desk and pulled out printed off literature and I saw the heading even before he handed it over to us. Autism. It was what I feared and yet expected. My hope was dwindling.

What Does This Diagnosis Mean?

The literature bore a bold dark font for all to see. So impersonal and cold. Those six letters changed the course of our family’s life. He began going over the statistics, my then husband asking if he was certain of the diagnosis, and in the middle of this discussion I asked abruptly “What do I as his mother need to do to give my son a chance at normalcy doctor?, that is what I am most concerned with, not the statistics at this point”. This interruption was curt and I instantly felt badly for doing it in such a fashion. 


The doctor smiled and had a look of empathy and compassion in his eyes. He seemed to understand that this is the reaction of a mother that just received devastating news, and I just wanted to hear solutions, if there were any. Even as he continued discussing the diagnosis, I began thinking about Luke’s future. Will he be able to attend a normal school? Will he have friends? Or willhe drive? Can he have a career? Is he denied falling in love? Surely he is not robbed of marriage and children. Will I ever hear the word “Mom” come from his lips?

Living In All Possible Solutions

We were told that after the age of five if the child has not developed speech then they likely will not. Intense early intervention was of paramount importance, and thus began my quest to “fix” this “problem” and give Luke a chance. I began taking my son to therapists (speech, occupational, and physical therapist respectively, along with other modalities of care employed in his treatment plan) spread across the valley. We rose at 6am and did not return home until 5pm,  We did this Monday through Friday.

Moving And The Toll On Our Family

This took its eventual toll on the family and I began to look into consolidation of his services within one entity. My then husband and I could not find such a place in our city or the surrounding area so I researched out of our state. I found a private school for children with autism. It seemed to be the solution and the key to unlocking my son’s mind. We made the decision to move across the country to enroll Luke. The move was a challenge for all. My then husband only visited once monthly as he had to sell the medical practice and continue to see his patients until the practice exchanged hands.  Luke began school immediately.

Results And Acceptance

Progress was slowly coming along, exceedingly slow. His fifth year of life came and went. No speech had developed. I began the process as a mother of accepting that my son would not mainstream into a class with normally developed children.  Speaking may never come to Luke. Once I came to accept this, I began to appreciate what Luke could do.  I no longer compared him to other children. My son was successful with toilet training. He learned how to use eating utensils. Luke began communicating with an iPad with software that allowed him to make requests. He even formed full sentences.

Decreased Frustration Created Better Connections

These tools greatly decreased his frustration, and made life infinitely easier for all that cared for Luke. I also accepted that I may not hear my son verbalize the words “I love you Mommy”. His non verbal communication was just as effective in conveying love.  We shared love when I held his hands. Luke and I swayed and danced. We shared connection when he ran over to kiss me. He would get almost nose to nose and look into my eyes.  All of this and so much more spoke volumes of his ability to connect and show love. Only when we let go of what we feel life should be, we can simply appreciate all the beauty and love that presently is before us.  We let go and allow the fears to fade.  This allows the pain to cease.  Freely loving to unlock hope.
I dedicate this blog to my precious Luke David. I love you with everything that I am baby.

Working The Steps Has Helped Me In My Recovery

Recovery Beyond Meetings

Working the steps is the difference in my recovery today.  What keeps me clean is far more beyond myself and my own choices. I used to think that to stay clean all I had to do was go sit in the meeting and come home and that was it. It is far more beyond that. I’ve been in the rooms quite a few times and I’ve learned that my way is not the way to keep me clean.

Working The Steps

The first suggestion that I took this time around coming into the rooms is to work the steps. I never thought that working the steps would help me at all. I mean why would I want to dig up Old Wounds? But as I have started working the steps and I’m currently on step 6 I have begun to learn a lot about myself. Yes there’s a lot more work to do on myself but I got to dig deep in the fourth step and uncover issues that were affecting me that I thought I had gotten rid of. Currently I am on step 6 and facing my Character defects which seems to make them all come out at once.

Meeting Makers Make It

Another thing I heard is meeting makers make it. Anything that I put before my recovery I will lose. I learned that when I’m too tired or don’t want to go to a meeting that’s when my ass has to get to a meeting. I may not always hear something in a meeting but I may just be helping another addict by being at that meeting.

Service In Sponsorship

I just celebrated a year clean and my sponsor told me that it’s time for me to start sponsoring.  She suggested this since I have worked my fourth step and have a year clean now. And within the same week a girl that just moved into my house, who I’ve known for a very long time, asked me to sponsor her. I told her to give me a gratitude list every day for a week, and then I would sponsor her. The type of happiness I got when she asked me is unexplainable. I believe this will definitely help me in my recovery and help me stay clean.

Giving Back

Giving back what was given to me. Without recovery today I’d be that hopeless helpless girl out there searching for more ways and means to get more. Today I found the light at the end of the tunnel. I love my life and myself today. My name is Lauren, and I am a grateful recovering addict.

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