Living in a recovery house is an unusual experience. The statistics indicate that one out of nine people are an addict/alcoholic. So, just with that statistic just over ten percent of the population may ever even hear of a recovery house. And then only less than three percent will ever be a resident of a recovery house.
If you wee fortunate enough to fall on unfortunate circumstances,such as a raging drug addiction or diabolically severe alcoholism, you may have ended up in a recovery house. It’s definitely a bottom that only the most severely addicted come to enjoy.
Support And INDEPENDENCE
I write in jest, but seriously a recovery house is a place where addicts can put their life together again after the devastation of active addiction. It is place where everyone is also learning to incorporate 12 step recovery in their every day life. And because there are others doing the same, there is much support and accountability. Even better, you gain a new set of friends who become family.
Remove the stigma and remove the pressure
My experience with a recovery house was that, I didn’t have to explain my circumstances. I didn’t feel like the biggest schmuck in the house. I was surrounded by other women in different phases of their recovery who wanted to see me succeed and had no judgement for where I was. I met the fiercest friends. Friends who would sit up at night with me and blow up my phone if I was absent. They refused to allow me to go back to my old behaviors. The gave me patience and time to get recovery in my way.
On a winning streak
No one who goes to a recovery house is on a winning streak. But today I am on a winning streak. I could never have achieved five years sober without my fierce friends. It’s a “we” program. I have had so many wonderful adventures with my friends from a recovery house. I most importantly continue to journey with these wonderful women. I will always have them no matter where their journey takes them. And I would never change that I began my recovery in a recovery house.
Addiction is so confusing. If you are the addict, its hard to know how much help you will need to recover. Its hard to know what kind of help you need. More importantly an addict doesn’t know how much they will have to invest in recovery. If these questions are hard for the addict suffering, it is that much harder for the loved one of an addict. This is what it takes to recover from alcoholism.
Make Time To Treat Your Disease
As a recovering alcoholic, I know that faced with the certainty,that I had to do something was overwhelming. Almost all forms of treatment for the disease of addiction require a substantial amount of time away from your children, and the rest of your family. I certainly felt as though I couldn’t afford that time away. If I spent that time away from work,and my kids, surely I would loose everything.
Never Underestimate The Power
I continued to underestimate my disease for four years. I slowly lost everything from my fiance to my children. Eventually lost my freedom. I had been arrested for criminal possession charges. I still underestimated my disease.
Denial Will Surely Make Recovery Longer
If I had read this article before all of this happened to me I would have said, “no way, that will not happen to me.”, but even after it happened to me, I continued to believe that I could manage my life. I was angry at everything trying to keep me from making my own decisions. I just wanted unlimited second chances. I was quite literally insane.
As a result, the drug offender probation, that was suppose to be eighteen months with the possibility of terminating at 9 months, turned into two years. I didn’t know how to live life. I didn’t understand that consequences were static and couldn’t be manipulated. I was unable to outsmart a judge who had worked with thousands like me before.
Lessons That would Help Me
The biggest lesson, I learned was that I was going to have to do more than work on my addiction. I was going to have to work on everything that sabotaged my success as a human being. That meant, I was going to have to take care of those anger issues. I was forced to release my co-dependent nature. Dealing with the grief of loosing my mother and brother, was now something, I could not hide from. Learning that childhood trauma dictated the relationships, I have with everyone, needed to be addressed because failed relationships was a big factor in why I drank. Most importantly, I had to find the courage to face the consequences, my disease of addiction had caused me. To further humble me, I had to own the pain I had caused my children, friends, other family, institutions and my community.
I admit failure but I could not admit defeat
At times it did in fact feel like too much. I felt like I was loosing my rights as a human being. Being honest with someone else was easy. Actually being honest with myself was another story. I could admit my colossal failure but I could not admit defeat.
Halfway house gave me tools and courage
At some point in my probation, the judge had ordered me to halfway housing. Although I was not ready to give up on doing things my way, i did start to learn that it wasn’t hurting me to add something else to what I was doing. I liked the meetings that halfway housing made me go to. Reluctantly, I had to admit that I was enjoying the camaraderie of living with other women who were like me. I also enjoyed the fact that it was easier to be with others struggling to return to normal life.
Trusting other Alcoholics/addicts so that I could be held accountable was hard
It would be quite a few more months before I could completely surrender but the transformation was beginning. I was starting to enjoy my recovery and I was learning to express my set backs and achievements with others that could appreciate it. Other addicts held me accountable in a way that was undeniable because, they knew and experienced the same things.
No more a victim, I was pushed to carry on
I still continued to make mistakes but now I had a support system that loved me through them even when they still held me accountable to the consequences. They didn’t allow me to play the victim but still lovingly encouraged me to continue with my recovery. I slowly made changes.
Self esteem and Support Helped me to continue to grow
Eventually I gained enough self esteem through the love I received from other addicts to make additional changes and let go of things that were harming me and holding me back. Against my best efforts, I was becoming someone who could live life like others with out the use of drugs and alcohol.
I could not have done it without halfway housing
Halfway housing is not a apart of every recovering addicts story, but I was instrumental in mine. I did more than than just learn life lessons, built a relationship with my twelve step fellowship, and gained a support network that would love and guide me through life’struggles. I had women who celebrated moments that only another addict could understand. I had connection. I will never be alone, ever again.
This is a blog about how surrendering to my addiction saved me. As a recovering addict, i remember not even knowing how to get clean. I didn’t even understand how serous my disease was. I felt all the physical symptoms. I knew how horrific withdrawal from alcohol was. I knew what cravings were. I certainly felt the emotional pain of being trapped in a body that craved alcohol and simultaneously knowing that every drink was going to bring me to devastating withdrawal. The answer seemed so simple. Quit drinking.
All the suggestions to quit drinking seemed so vague and quite frankly not the answer. Go to AA. Go to a meeting when I simply couldn’t stop drinking, didn’t even seem possible. Other suggestions to go to rehab seemed even more impossible. After all, I had a business and children. I had a significant other that i couldn’t abandon. I just had to quit drinking.
I did finally call a hot line. They directed me to a detox. I admitted myself. They were compassionate. I was safely detoxed. The exit planner,asked me how I would continue to treat my disease. I was quite sure, I would be able to continue with sobriety myself. All I had to do was not drink anymore.
Three days later, I was drinking again. Moderation was going to make me normal. Moderation was impossible. Drinking with my boyfriend and singing karaoke was how we spent our free time. That is how we blew off steam. That was the foundation of our relationship. Pretty soon he had to go blow off steam with out me. I could not drink in moderation.
More detox and an arrest
Several more times, I tried to detox. Eventually, I lost my business. Eventually, I lost my boyfriend. Eventually, I lost everything, including my freedom. I eventually turned to other drugs. I was not successful with that either. I was arrested for possession. Now I was about to see what it actually going to take for me to quit drinking.
alcoholism and probation do not mix
Graduating Pasco County Drug Offender Probation took nearly two years. I was suppose to only be a eighteen month probation. I even had to option to early terminate at nine months. Raging alcoholism and and probation do not compliment one another well. I violated probation on June 11th, 2014 for drinking. My clean date is June 12th 2014. One day at a time, providing I maintain my spiritual condition and God will, I have not had a drink since. I have not put any drug into my body period.
A toxic romance makes things worse
I violated probation three more times and was sentenced to house arrest. sober for an entire year, I was feeling defeated. I was working but, I was still living in a sober house. The man I had started a new relationship was not supportive. quite the opposite. He hindered my recovery at every turn. Feeling completely alone, I thought this relationship, was all that I had.
Things get worse
Even worse, I wasn’t making enough money to pay probation, my rent or child support. I couldn’t drive because i couldn’t afford to pay the fines. I wasn’t reconnected with my kids. There was no hope of finding different employment, because of the time demands of court appearances, random drugs tests, and checking in for my house arrest probation.
Giving up was the best decision
Surrender was the sweetest release. I knew there was absolutely no way to make all of my financial obligations. To me jail was a certainty. What ever plans I had for my future, I gave up. There was no point in trying to do things my way. For the first time, I threw myself into recovery, meetings, and my support.
a choice not to suffer
The result was almost instantaneous. Spending my time enjoying all the things I would miss, when eventually I fell far enough behind on my probation and the judge would finally violate my probation. When I wasn’t working and attending AA and NA meetings, I was teaching myself to meditate. Audio books that helped me to find a higher power. Being present was becoming a state of being. I was enjoying my fellowship.
an odd thing started to happen
An odd thing started to happen. Waking up in the morning and setting my intentions to enjoy the day and make the most of it, changed me. Every day I was finding more peace. More challenges would cross my path and because, I already felt defeated, I put only put direct energy toward those challenges. I would share with my support. When help was offered, I accepted it. I was humble for the first time ever. Some how, my challenges were defeated instead of me.
my loved ones started to notice
When, I talked with my children, they noticed a difference in me. I was seeing them. I was able to help them when they needed me. Sharing my new experience with my family and other addicts was restoring my self esteem. I started to feel worthy of a new life. A life that was offered to me. Not a life I was seeking. Feeling awake and able to count my gratitude like resources allowed me to be my most efficient self. I no longer chased what I didn’t have be humbly utilized what I had been blessed with. Armed with gratitude, humility and faith blessings and opportunities came from every direction.
Accomplishments and service
Graduating drug court was the first of my relief. I have since then recieved so many blessings. I remain humble and vigilant. a daily maintenance of my spiritual state of being, is the most important thing I do. Meetings, meditation, step work and service to other addicts, keep me sober and free from my old misery.
Free from the obsession
I am free from the obsession to use. Now I have an amazing life. I no longer see my addiction as a curse but I understand that I was blessed to have had that experience to have a life, I can always find peace with. It required that I let go of everything including the way I always thought. A journey like that has to come with some pain and hard work.
Armed with gratitude and humility
I’m grateful to both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The many people who helped me along the way. Most importantly, I grateful to the higher power of my understanding to bless me with a chance at life that only a desperate addict could appreciate in this way. Surrenduring to My addiction saved me.
Thank you kind reader for taking the time to read this. For more experience, strength and hope, read on.
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.
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.