After completing any extended-stay inpatient treatment program, a comprehensive aftercare program will be necessary to continued success in recovery and maintenance of prolonged and meaningful sobriety. Committing to several months at a halfway house may seem like the last thing you want to do after completing residential treatment, though if you are serious about your recovery it is, without question, the best option. You may have several ideas in mind regarding what exactly attending a halfway house might entail based on media portrayals or your experiences in sobriety so far. The reality is that you most likely have no idea what to expect, and every horror story you are imagining in your head is probably pretty far from the truth. Here is a list of several probable situations and circumstances that will help you to better prepare for the journey ahead. And don’t worry! No matter what, as long as you stick it through and put in the work it will be a good one.
What To Expect From Sober Living
- Expect a “zero tolerance” policy
A “zero tolerance” policy entails absolutely no use of mood or mind-altering substances of any kind. Stay away from everything and you’ll be fine. If you have to ask, just don’t do it.
- Expect inconvenient house meetings
You will be asked to prioritize weekly “house meetings” above literally everything else. Make sure your schedule is cleared on Sundays at 5 (or whatever) so you won’t have any issues. Meetings are mandatory. Make them.
- Expect missing (stolen) food
Your housemates will not feel badly about eating the last slice of bread, nor will they replace your peanut butter. Accept this and move on. Handle situations with grace and remember – it is just food. If things get too out of hand, buy a lock for $5 at Walmart.
- Expect chores, chores, and then some more chores
Be prepared to get down and dirty. The best way to go about completing your assigned chores is very simply to grin, bear it, and don’t miss any spots!
- Expect attitude from the higher ups
If your house managers are easy to get along with, you really lucked out. Don’t expect to be buddy-buddy with the men or women in charge – expect a little attitude and a lot of compliancy on your end. Again… grin and bear it. Keep in mind that being yelled at by a 21-year-old about leaving a mug on the dresser is only temporary.
- Expect regular drug testing
You will be drug tested on a very regular basis. So don’t do drugs, and stay hydrated.
- Expect to go to a meeting every day
You will most likely be asked to attend a 12-step meeting every day, and to have a sheet signed by the chairperson. Avoid having your friends forge signatures, despite how convenient that may seem. You will ultimately only be cheating yourself.
- Expect a crappy job
You won’t land a brilliant job on Wall Street while living in a halfway house. In fact, your days may be filled with serving chimichangas to obese Americans or spinning signs advertising super deals on used mattresses. But hey, you have to start somewhere. Again, this job is only temporary, and as you save up money for future endeavors you will learn more about where your passions truly lie and what you want to do with your future.
Overall, expect that if you dedicate yourself to further self-discovery and stay uninvolved in the drama, you will reap amazing benefits from your stay at sober living.