Once you have completed your formal rehab experience, you have a choice to make. You can try to do it on your own and move on to living a life completely reintegrated into regular society, or you can go on to a halfway house. If you have been diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, it is a good idea to explore your halfway house options so that you make sure your mental health is in check as well as your addiction recovery before you go back to being completely on your own. Dual diagnosis halfway house living is designed to help you work toward being self-sufficient. While every situation is going to be different, there are some universal things that you can expect from a sober living situation.
Abstinence from Substances of Abuse
Clearly, a halfway house is designed to be a sober living community. It is possible that you have been prescribed some kind of medication for your mental illnesses by your doctors, but these are the only kinds of substances that you should be taking while you are in a halfway house. It is likely that your medication will be controlled at least for a while. Any of the kinds of illicit substances are forbidden and, if found, can cause you to be ejected from the halfway house. You are expected to remain free from addiction as long as you remain in the halfway house.
Participation in Aftercare
In most halfway houses, particularly those for people who have been dually diagnosed, residents will be expected to participate in aftercare. There are lots of kinds of aftercare. Some halfway houses will require that you go to twelve step meetings between once a week and twice a day. Others will require you to make and keep appointments with your therapist regularly to keep up on your mental health and to keep sight of your sobriety goals. You may have regular house group therapy sessions that you are required to participate in as well. The goal of a dual diagnosis halfway house is to help you adequately deal with both your former addiction and your mental illness.
Staying Busy With Work and Other Responsibilities
In some halfway houses, it may not be a requirement that you work, but it is a good idea either way. While you are in a halfway house, you should and may be required to work, volunteer, or further your education in some way. This is the perfect opportunity for you to start working your way back into the world. Take some time while you are near the end of your formal rehab or when you first go to the halfway house to think about what you want to do with the rest of your life. When you have figured out what you want to do or have an idea about what you might like to do, talk to your therapist about it and make a plan for making it happen. Your program might be able to offer you some assistance with getting a job or finding a volunteer opportunity that will further your goals and help get you where you want to be. Asking your program for help could be a boost especially if your mental illness limits your abilities in some ways.
A halfway house is not a free ride. You will be required to share in the household duties such as cooking and cleaning. You will always be responsible for keeping your personal space and your personal belongings clean and tidy. You will be expected to clean up after yourself as well. Some halfway houses will have a rotating list of household chores to be done each week. There will always be something for you to do to be responsible for the smooth function of the home.
At least in the beginning, you will likely need to sign in and out of the house and give facility staff an account of your whereabouts. You will be expected to go where you say you are going and return when you are expected to return. If you cannot be accounted for, your facility will likely put out the alert and someone will come looking for you. They want to be sure that you are safe and that you are not having a problem related to your addiction or your mental illness. If you are found to be fine and simply late, there will likely be some consequences related to your continued stay in the halfway house.