Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Halfway House Business

A woman who wants to help others asks about starting a halfway house.

She wonders how to do it?

So I give her some ideas about where to begin.

First, one acquires a house. Puts beds in it. Finds addicts and alcoholics who want to live there. And that's pretty much it, isn't it? What's so hard about that?

If only it were that simple.

But many don't take into account the hours it takes.

One must consider everything from bedding to bus passes. Do we feed them? Do we make them buy their own food? And what about laundry? Do we provide a machine for them? Or send them to the laundromat? What about pillows? Towels? Toilet paper?

Then there's the thing about services. What about groups? Do we send them to 12-step meetings? Provide in-house groups? Or both?

There are myriad questions when one wants to operate a business dealing with people. Zoning considerations. What if they get sick? Do we help them find jobs? How do they get to work? The list goes on and on.

This is where I begin to lose many people. Because they wanted to talk about noble actions. Doing good for others. About sharing their philosophy about how others might live their lives and stay sober.

The things I'm telling them sound like hard work. But that's the helping business. It's about doing a lot of nitty-gritty work for sometimes unlovable people.

When I get to this point their eyes usually glaze over and they thank me for the information.  So I wish them good luck and move on.