Primarily known as a top destination for the college spring break scene, Fort Myers is also home to an extensive and growing sober community. Harmony America House—a halfway home with locations in Florida and New York City—has transitional housing for men and women seeking structured support in which to continue working their recovery programs.
Located in Southwest Florida where the weather is ideal year-round, HAH offers six sober living homes accommodating both men and women with a variety of housing options. With a no-nonsense approach to recovery and an emphasis on 12-step philosophies, HAH residents are given the opportunity to change their lives and build a strong foundation for recovery.
Accommodations and Amenities
HAH has six homes available for recovering substance abusers, each accommodating six to eight residents in five shared bedrooms with two or three twin-sized beds. Private rooms with full-sized beds are also available by request. Residents share three bathrooms and linens are provided. Clients are guaranteed enough storage space for personal belongings as HAH considers this an important component in a peaceful living environment.
The living rooms in each house are spacious with comfortable seating areas and ample natural light. Cable TV and a telephone landline is provided and the kitchens have all appliances and cooking supplies for residents to prepare their own meals. A computer is provided for conducting job searches and sending emails for employment inquiries only.
Houses are surrounded by large yards with plenty of shade and trees for outdoor living and exercise. Many local bus lines are within walking distance, ideal for residents commuting to and from work and meetings. Many job opportunities through the local businesses and the Edison Mall are also within walking distance or a short bike ride.
Rules and Regulations
HAH has a zero-tolerance policy in relation to drinking and narcotics in the house—this policy extends to paraphernalia, stealing, acts of violence and abusive language. Random drug testing and breathalyzer tests are enforced to maintain accountability in residents. The consequence for not abiding by the rules is immediate eviction and a forfeiture of rent costs.
Understanding that relapse is sometimes a part of recovery, staff will refer individuals to detox programs or inpatient facilities as needed. If a client who relapses completes the recommended treatment, he or she will be considered for housing in another HAH home.
All house members are expected to completely dedicate themselves to the 12-step way of life through AA/NA. All house members primarily attend “stag meetings”—gatherings that are gender specific. Once a week, house members can attend co-ed meetings.
In addition to AA and NA, the women’s homes also host one CODA meeting per week to address codependency issues. All homes host three meetings per week including AA, NA, CA and CODA formats. Residents must attend 90 meetings in 90 days, get sponsors to guide them through the 12 steps, seek home groups and take on commitments at meetings. After 90 days, each resident is responsible for making his or her own meeting schedule and continuing their relationship with their sponsor.
Curfews in all HAH homes is 10 pm during the week and midnight on weekends. Some flexibility is allowed for residents who have jobs that keep them late. Finding a place of employment is a requirement at Harmony House as the management considers employment an integral component in building self-esteem and creating a sense of purpose in recovery. As opposed to doing job searches online, staff encourage residents to “hit the pavement” and physically go to local businesses daily until they get a job. For residents having difficulty finding employment, they are allowed to volunteer hours at the Thrift Store that helps to support the home. All residents are expected to volunteer at least four hours per month to maintain the thrift store.
Harmony House believes in the 12-step way of life, including the concept of not being a “glum lot,” therefore, having fun should be a part of recovery. Residents are encouraged to be active in the social aspect of recovery and attend sober picnics, dances, physical activities and to go out to restaurants or movies with their fellows in recovery.
HAH is dedicated to helping recovering addicts and alcoholics by following a formula for success; enforcing rules and expecting residents to live their lives according to the 12-step recovery model. Surrounded by the sober-friendly community of Fort Myers, HAH is a great opportunity for individuals who need affordable sober living, structure and a new foundation for life.
16283 South Tamiami Trail
Fort Myers, FL 33908
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Photo courtesy of The Atrium