When you have to live someplace else – by Gayle S.


Occasionally situations arise in our lives which necessitate living with other people. Examples include job loss, extreme financial debt, dangerous living conditions, or simply starting a new life. When these events occur, we may need to live with strangers, family, or friends. At this time, the boundaries that have been learned in ACA meetings will become extremely useful. There may be bumps on this new road; however, sustain faith in God, continuously seek His guidance, and remember to be good to yourself! This will provide peace and palatability as you continue on the journey of your life.

One of the first matters that should be addressed after you have gotten settled is how to interact with others in the environment. There may have been a past with these individuals, but everything has changed. You are not the person that you used to be. New understandings need to be reached and new boundaries need to be set. It is an excellent idea to determine what type of interaction is desired. You may wish to engage in activities together or you may need independence. Possibly a mixture of both is workable. Now, deciding whether living “with another person” or living “in another person’s home” becomes critical.

Examples of situations that may arise include maybe you have special dietary preferences, and the host family prepares a meal, calls you to the table, and you are faced with food that is outside of your choices. What options are available? Or, you need to be up, showered, and out by a certain time. Arising early to avoid conflict, you find that another person in the home appears to have the same situation. How is this situation handled? Remembering boundaries, and developing strategies incorporating them, becomes pivotal in tactfully handling these and other types of situations.

Below is a list to review regarding what it means to live with someone as opposed to living in their home. Each of these lifestyle choices has strengths and weaknesses. Whichever selected, ensuring that choice is maintained will preclude conflict.

-Living With Another Person Embraces: -Living In Another Person’s Home Embraces:
*Participating in activities together on a scheduled basis. *Keeping your own schedule and engaging in activities alone.
*Spending holidays and other special occasions together. *Planning your own activities for holidays and other special occasions.
*Sharing the same goods and services. *Procuring your own goods and services.
*Occupying the same space simultaneously i.e., den, living room, and kitchen. *Being mindful of where others are so as not to infringe on what they are doing in that space.
*Pervasively doing what one needs and desires in a free and relaxed manner. *Attentiveness to others habits and schedules so that there is no overlap or interference in activities. Conducting oneself with a higher sense of awareness.
*Sharing general and personal information. *Limiting the amount of information that is shared and about which you inquire.
*Engaging one another in emergency situations. *Handling emergency situations primarily on your own.

-Be grateful for everything to include having a roof over your head. Express gratitude to your roommates/housemates in words and actions.

-Remember those with whom you live on birthdays and holidays.

-Perform tasks that are obvious and general in nature that are helpful, such as putting dishes away, taking out the trash, handling recycling, replenishing commonly used items, and ensuring that things are left in a tidy fashion.

-Organize possessions so they are not scattered throughout the home. Keep them in the space that was allocated for you.

-Develop an exit plan early and let those with whom you live know when you hope to be able to leave.

-Ensure that the space occupied is clean and neat at all times.

-Alert everyone when significant changes in your schedule occur.

Living in another person’s home can be very beneficial as it can help you get established again; however, it should be carefully considered. Additionally, it may promote emotional support and some consistency during times of change in other areas of your life. With effective communication, sensitivity, and thoughtfulness, who knows, the arrangement could even turn into a great situation that becomes permanent!

Email: gaysmps@aol.com
Telephone: (310) 849-7972