Author: Justin Mckibben
I know the title sounds crazy, but hear me out. Living in a halfway house was surely a growing experience for me. For someone like me who grew up very fast and started making my own rules at a young age, it was very difficult to consider taking directions from someone else about how to live my life. Not because I was doing such a great job by myself as a young adult who ended up in rehab multiple times, but just because I was used to making up my own mind and manipulating the world to accommodate me. The concepts like a curfew and accountability made no sense at the time, but they are put of what changed me.
I enjoy the freedom of having my own apartment these days, but there are still aspects of the halfway house that I miss, so I thought I’d throw a list together to talk about some of the best parts, to try and show someone moving in that direction to take advantage of these things. These are just 7 things I (kinda) miss about living in the halfway house.
1. The Vans
While not everyone is without e vehicle, I know I didn’t get to the halfway house with a car. It was nice that there were always rides to meetings that were too far to walk to. The big white vans that we in the recovery community recognize immediately used to be the saving grace for a lot of us.
Now-a-days you either get to know the bus route, you ride a bike, or you cough up the gas to drive around. Small price to pay for that freedom, but sometimes you would love to just take a nap in the vans back seat on the way to work.
2. Curfew? (Kinda)
OK, so I know I said I hated the idea of having a curfew, but it isn’t what you think when I say I miss it. As much as I dis-like curfew, I love sleep! The reason I miss it is because it forced me to develop a more reasonable and effective sleeping schedule. I had to learn to give myself a bed-time. Sure, having to be on property doesn’t mean you HAVE to go to sleep, but for someone working a regular 9-5 it gives you the incentive.
3. Borrowing Stuff
You may have your own stories of people stealing you peanut butter or toilet paper. I know I do. But the other side of living in such close proximity with others is that if you can learn some humility, you can actually ask to borrow and barter with these things in order to get by. You have to be resourceful!
I didn’t always have laundry detergent, or cigarettes or bus money. But having so many guys around, it wasn’t hard to find someone willing to loan me some or trade. Especially when they know the struggle is as real as you do.
4. ‘Family’ Dinners
When I was in the halfway house, the guys I lived with or that were my neighbors would often act as a family. We would pitch in on buying a bunch of different items we needed, and collectively plan meals and ‘family’ dinners.
I miss that a lot, because I don’t know how to cook. In that way I remain a man-child who refuses to learn how to boil water. Sometimes it’s awesome when you get home from work, and beyond your expectations there was a full course dinner in the kitchen.
5. Free Cable
Seriously, this is something I took completely for granted while I had it, but looking back I could have taken advantage of it SO much more. Such quality television in the halfway house I lived in. Sure, it , may have been included with the total I paid for rent, but I didn’t notice so in my mind it was free.
Now I watch reruns of old shows or DVD’s, what? Cable is expensive dude!
6. People to keep me accountable
As much as I can rely on certain people in my life to give it to me strait or at least do their best to ensure I’m honest with myself, living in a halfway house added a whole other dimension to accountability by putting me around people on a regular basis who had been there before, and were willing to keep me accountable.
There were rules to follow, and I didn’t always get along with my neighbors. But people held me to that and had to re-teach me to stay accountable to the commitments, and who called me out when I messed up.
7. Starting sober relationships
Probably one of the most influential and under-rated aspects of living in a halfway house that I definitely miss sometimes is the community itself. Sharing experiences on a regular basis is part of most recovery programs, and it can usually be found happening around the clock in a halfway house.
I know the guys I was in my halfway house with were like my brothers. I saw them every single day without fail, and we shared our stories or out troubles, and we took strength from one another.
Not saying this doesn’t still happen. I’m still close with a lot of those guys, and I even live with one now. But back in the day it was amazing walking out the door and being met by a dozen people going through the same thing as you were, and spending all that time learning how to have these sober relationships from each other.
It is almost like being brothers in arms, at war in recovery on the front-lines together. You create strong bonds, you help each other out and hold each other accountable, and sometimes you lose a comrade, someone who is like family, and you’re there for each other. Then once you love, hopefully some of these people in your life stick around.
Living in a halfway house was an experience that taught me a lot about having to grow up, about having to learn to accept others and take suggestions when I had no idea how to be productive and effective in my every-day affairs. I had some knowledge going in, but soon learned I knew next to nothing in the grand scheme of recovery, adulthood, and life. There were parts of living in the halfway that made life a lot more convenient, and there were some great times I’ll miss a lot. With treatment, and a halfway house I ended up with all the tools I needed to be successful in sobriety. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
Recovery is about healing from your past and learning to take care of yourself. Many of us didn’t know how – or still don’t know how – to have a healthy relationship with ourselves and therefore with others. Here are 19 things you should start doing for YOU.
#1. Surrounding yourself with the right people
The right people are the ones you enjoy being around, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways. They are the ones who love you unconditionally and who inspire you to love others unconditionally.
#2. Facing your problems
Your problems don’t define you; how you react to them does. Life shows up and, unless you take action, nothing will change. It’s all about taking baby steps – when in doubt, just focus on doing the next right thing
#3. Being honest with yourself about everything
Be honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be honest with every aspect of your life, always. Because you are the one person you can count on. This is one way of being accountable for your recovery and for yourself, in general.
#4. Making your happiness a priority
Your needs matter, too. If you don’t value yourself and put your needs first, you’re sabotaging yourself. Just remember, it is possible to take care of your own needs while at the same time caring for others. It’s also important to remember that, once your needs are met, you will be better at helping those who need you most.
#5. Creating your own happiness
If you are waiting for someone else to come along and make you happy, you will be waiting a lifetime. You must realize that your happiness depends on you and comes from you. Once you hone your skills at creating your own joy, that’s when you will be able to create the happy, healthy relationship you have envisioned for yourself.
#6. Being yourself
Oscar Wilde said it best: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
Trying to be anyone else is a waste. Be yourself by embracing the person you are: the ideas, strengths, experiences, knowledge, and beauty that you, specifically possess.
#7. Living in the present
Stop focusing on the past and the future and start living in the present moment. John Lennon put it like this, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” Don’t miss out on today because you’re too busy worrying about the future or else regretting the past. This leads to the next item…
#8. Learning lessons from your mistakes
Mistakes, such as relapse, are okay – as long as you look to these experiences as lessons that you can learn from. They’re the stepping stones of progress. Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again. Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving.
#9. Forgiving yourself and others
Pain from certain experiences is normal; sometimes we relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go. Forgiveness is the key. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
#10. Being nicer to yourself
If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will.
#11. Being grateful for the things you already have
The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy once we get certain things: the relationship, the house, the car, the dream job. But it takes time to get there and, the truth is, you’ll never actually get “there” because you’ll always just want more.
We are convinced that with every new thing that’s invented, we need it – in order to make us happy. So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.
#12. Competing against who you were yesterday
You can be inspired by others but know that competing against them is a waste of time. You are in competition with one person – yourself. Strive to be better than the person you were yesterday and aim to break your own personal records.
#13. Celebrating other people’s victories
Start noticing what you like about others and tell them. Be happy for those who are making progress, rather than resentful. Remember: what goes around comes around, and soon the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
#14. Helping others
Care about people other than yourself. Reach out your hand and be in service to others. Love and kindness begets love and kindness.
#15. Listening to your inner voice
It’s good to get feedback and input from others but, limit who you talk to first, because too much input can cause confusion and second, you should always consider your source. That said, talk to and confide in only the people you know you can trust. But then follow your own intuition. Be true to yourself and do what you know in your heart is right.
#16. Working toward your goals every single day
Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. To achieve anything takes action. You can’t just wish, want, and hope for something. You have to take action in order to make it happen.
#17. Being open about how you feel
If there’s something on your mind or you’re hurting, take the time to allow yourself space and room to think. But then talk openly about it. If it involves something to do with another person, talk to them about it. Being passive aggressive is about the ugliest – and least effective – ways to accomplish anything. And it breeds resentment.
#18. Taking full accountability for your own life
Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them. You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. You must take accountability for your situation and overcome life’s obstacles. Otherwise, you are choosing a mere existence in which you are a victim to other people and circumstances.
#19. Focusing on the things you can control
Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, anger, and resentment. Instead, invest your energy wisely – into the things you can control, like yourself – your thoughts, feelings, and reactions, and then act on them.
Are you always putting yourself last, making sure everyone else is OK? This is known as codependency and it’s quite common among people with substance abuse disorders such as addiction and alcoholism. It also affects their family members and other loved ones. If you or someone you know is struggling, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist. We are available around the clock.
Author: Justin Mckibben
One of the most incredible experiences I have been blessed to have in recovery is to work in the treatment industry. Working in the field of addiction treatment offers so many different variations of opportunity for all types of talents, from work with admission of new clients, to behavioral health professionals, and even the most effective therapists are often in recovery. Even a humble journalist who writes amazing and inspirational blogs while helping to spread the word of recovery and treatment can be someone who maintains sobriety. So many people want to know, how can I get a job in the treatment industry?
Identify the Position
One thing that is important to get started is to figure out which type of work you would like to do in the field of drug and alcohol treatment. Some people are more suited and more interested in positions that don’t deal too intimately with clients, and are more focused on the development of treatment and the technical side of helping develop and refine treatment strategies or administrative methods.
Other people want to work a little more hands on with individuals. I know initially I wanted to work directly with clients as a behavioral health technician in order to make more frequent personal communication with clients and try and be of service to people who have not yet been given a chance to see what recovery is like, because people did it for me and it inspired me to stay sober.
Whatever it is you want to do, make sure to identify your goal in a position and make sure that it is what you want before pursuing it.
Cultivate Your Contribution
In recovery we are taught that our new purpose is to be of maximum use to others. So to better be of service someone looking for a job in addiction treatment should be sure to cultivate their contribution by learning as much as possible about what they can bring to the table for the position they are looking for.
Speaking with professionals and trying to learn more about the position and the training is a great way to get ahead of the game. Once you are aware of the type of contribution you’re expected to make in the job you are looking for, be sure to do your homework. If it is a position that requires schooling, see if there are entry level positions available while you take the necessary classes.
Staying clean and sober is a requirement for people in recovery to get work in the field, because you have to have some time to develop your own program before you can have any productive input on someone else’s who has just arrived to recovery.
Accountability is so important in recovery, and you absolutely have to be an accountable individual in order to work in the drug and alcohol addiction treatment industry, because continued sobriety must be nurtured and promoted, because the best way to work with other addicts or alcoholics is to lead by example and empower them with successes and being dependable.
Also showing your ability to stay active and in touch with the right group of sober and positive people will help you out a lot when looking for work in treatment. When you are active in the recovery community and stay in contact with therapists or administrators you can consistently show you are reliable and ambitious about becoming part of the recovery work-force.
Also being active and accountable in whatever positions you hold while working towards this goal is very important. Any respectable job will want to see that you are able to stay on task, put forth a solid effort and be passionate about what you do. Also, seeking a position at the treatment center you attended may put you at an advantage depending on the company because you are familiar with the philosophy of that entity enough to understand and uphold their system.
Practice Your Principles
Make sure to keep growing and striving for the goal, and to practice your principles of sobriety openly and honestly. If you want to get work in the treatment industry and you’re in recovery it is vital that you stay on top of your own recovery, and again lead by example.
When practicing your principles whether you are training, interviewing or applying for work in treatment is important in order to communicate and express your talents and abilities in the position you’re seeking out. In recovery it is important not to set expectations, but be prepared to set the bar for yourself high so that you can provide a quality version of yourself to apply toward whatever you would do for a treatment facility.
While staying in contact and staying accountable to those who work at the treatment facility, let them see how you carry yourself as a sober individual, and emphasize your passion for these principles that have given you this new life of sobriety. One way or the other your actions will always speak volumes, so do not hesitate to volunteer your time to the treatment program, and apply yourself to every opportunity to show you have and learn and will teach from a personal experience.
Working in drug and alcohol addiction treatment is an amazing experience, and I was blessed enough to get a job doing what I love at a treatment center that had a huge part of saving my life. None of that would have been possible without other people in recovery who were working at Palm Partners when I was a client, and what they did to change my recovery is something I could only hope to contribute to someone else, because the disease of addiction is powerful and fatal, but thankfully we are all in this together. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Our emotions are such an important part of who we are and yet they can be our worst enemies at times, especially in recovery. The way we feel can decide how we handle situations and relationships when we don’t have our emotions in check, and the chain of events we indulge in often result from our emotional sensitivity and awareness. In recovery it is important to develop your sobriety, and a vital piece of that is your emotional sobriety. To most emotional sobriety means your ability to properly perceive an experience and how you cope with the feelings created by what happens to you.
Emotional sobriety means a lot of things, and it presents itself in all sorts of ways. It is how we communicate with others, how we treat ourselves, and how we nurture our growth through circumstances while maintaining our principles and doing the best we can to learn from our mistakes. Here are 6 signs of TRUE emotional sobriety, so you will be able to see the change that makes all the difference in your heart.
- Acting on Gratitude
Gratitude is something that we are often reminded is essential to our sobriety. But being truly grateful is not just saying you are grateful, it is acting upon that feeling by contributing to others or remaining accountable to our principles. Gratitude is an action, and a real sign of emotional sobriety because it shows the willingness to step outside yourself and act on a feeling of appreciation.
- Staying Humble in Conflict
It is not easy to consistently show humility, and that goes for anyone, recovery or not. Pride and ego are very tricky, and they have a tendency of showing up when we least expect them to try and protect us from the things that we may disagree with or not understand. To be humble when someone attacks you is especially difficult and shows that you have developed true emotional sobriety, because the ability to set aside pride and anger or fear to remain teachable or tolerant is a shining example of emotional growth.
- Service to Recovery Community
It takes a great deal of selflessness and emotional sobriety to know when you should be doing service, and taking the time out from whatever personal situations you are experiencing to give back to the recovery community. The simple fact that you can recognize when you should be doing service, and how it can change your feelings based off of doing something for the good of the group or other individuals can help you to put more action into emotional sobriety beyond just showing gratitude or even staying accountable. Service can reach into our hearts and pull us up too, whenever we start to feel like we are losing that emotional momentum.
- Staying Accountable when You Don’t Want to
Accountability is not always easy, but for people active in recovery with true emotional sobriety it is easier because it is definitely healthy and necessary when working every day on evolving emotionally. When we pay respect to rules or expectations we don’t always want to, but we make sure to do it because we have made a commitment. It not only supports showing gratitude, but humility because we put our personal feelings aside to follow through. This can be especially difficult if we have to hold ourselves or someone we love accountable when there have been mistakes made.
- Honesty with Apologies and Amends
People in recovery should definitely take into consideration on a pretty regular basis the fact that we are not perfect. We have ALL made mistakes, and we should have at some point in the process of recovery began to make amends for some of our wrongs. With that in mind, true emotional sobriety means we keep that practice alive. We regularly accept responsibility for our actions, and we make apologies and amends when necessary. Emotional sobriety means letting go of anger, resentment, fear, and even in some cases our fondness for others to do the right thing.
- Thriving Through the Tough Times
Some people say life shows up, I personally believe life never goes anywhere! So when you notice an especially tough time in life has started to put added pressure on you, like a bad break-up or a death of a loved one for example, it helps you strengthen your emotional sobriety by maintaining a positive perspective through it. Not letting the things that hurt you, confuse you or break your heart have dominion over your whole world is so important, because it teaches us how to cope with things that hurt the most instead of our happiness falling apart.
This is probably the most difficult, but the most important, because this is when true emotional sobriety truly pays off. Sobriety can seem easy when we are on top of the world. When there are no trials or tribulations, no depression or stress, then we can feel safer and more confident. When the rain clouds roll in, things like a strong footing on our principles and spiritual conviction will help us thrive, and emotional sobriety helps us to do so without misery because we are able to appreciate the opportunity to grow and to better understand the world we find ourselves in.
Our hearts and our minds are exposed a great deal in recovery, and when our empty solution to cope with the tragedy or the stresses of life has been removed we find ourselves more sensitive to the emotional compromises that tear us down in active addiction. Emotional sobriety is how we fit ourselves to feel for the first time with wisdom, understanding, and an optimistic perspective that allows us to be of service to others and to growth and become empowered within ourselves. Knowing that pain will come, and accepting it as a part of the human experience instead of hiding from it or numbing ourselves helps us to rediscover ourselves again without fear, and to let more of that life experience into our hearts. Drugs and alcohol hide us from feeling, and from who we are. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
When someone is spiritually fit, it means that they take the time to center themselves in this crazy, hectic world by building a deeper connection with something greater than themselves. These people tend to be well-adjusted, kind, and congenial. So, it’s no wonder that others are drawn to them – as friends, lovers, business partners, and so on. Here are the 9 most attractive things spiritually fit people do.
1.) They smile
When I think of a spiritually fit person, I picture someone who tends to smile a lot, even at strangers. People who walk around with a scowl on their face may not be doing it intentionally (sometimes known as ‘B!tchy Resting Face’) but, there is such a strong connection between mind, body, and spirit that, if you have a tendency to frown, chances are you’re not in the best place, spiritually- and emotionally-speaking.
2.) They laugh
Likewise, people who are well-adjusted and who take the time to cultivate their spirituality tend to laugh often even when times are tough and it’s not so easy to do so. Spiritually fit people look for the humor in almost all circumstances and add levity to situations that could use it.
3.) They don’t talk trash about people
Let’s face it, gossip is very hurtful. A great lady famously said, “Great Minds Discuss Ideas, Average Minds Discuss Events, Small Minds Discuss People.” That great lady was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and she epitomized the spiritually fit person.
4.) They manage their expectations
People who are doing well in the spirituality department are good at managing their expectations – of others, of situations, etc. They remain realistic while at the same time they are optimistic. Managing expectations and simply bracing for the worst are two very different ways to live and people who are spiritually fit know the difference.
5.) They don’t judge
We’re all human and thus, we have a tendency to pass judgment on others. However, spiritually fit people are aware of their judgments, keep them to themselves, and allow for the person to be themselves – without making them conform to these preconceived expectations.
6.) They don’t complain
OK, it’s normal and healthy to vent from time to time but, spiritually fit people draw the line at complaining. They look for solutions rather than dwell on the problems. In fact, they might not even see problems as ‘problems,’ rather as challenges. They remain optimistic in order to give insight into the meaning of their lives and to find solutions to their problems.
7.) Take responsibility for themselves
One of the most attractive things that spiritually fit people do is that they hold themselves accountable and don’t blame others for their mistakes or misfortunes. They see their part in it and then take the necessary steps to rectify the situations and/or move on.
8.) Practice random acts of kindness
Another one of the most attractive things spiritually fit people do is they think of others. Whether it’s sending off a “just thinking of you” text to a friend who’s going ‘through it’ or simply holding the door for a stranger, people who possess inner peace and joy seem to constantly think of others and show it in their actions.
9.) The carry themselves with confidence
Being spiritually fit also brings with it a certain air of confidence (not to be confused with cockiness) and this, perhaps is the most attractive thing of all. Someone who believes in themselves, is willing to take a leap of faith and bet on themselves – whether in a business venture or when asking the person of their dreams out on a date – and maturely deals with rejection: by dusting themselves off and getting back on the horse, are super totally attractive and a person you’d want in your corner in life.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.