Those who have a substance use disorder and decide to make a change to better their lives by entering an alcohol or drug rehab program have taken a courageous step. If you are making this change, what do you do when you have finished your rehab program? It’s no secret that going from rehab to the real world can be daunting.
The good news is that there is a transitional living program, also known as sober or halfway homes, that allows those in recovery to slowly ease back into daily life. These programs offer a drug and alcohol-free place to live while continuing to work your sobriety.
What is Transitional Living?
Each transitional living program has its differences, depending on the program. However, overall, they are fairly similar. You will stay in an environment with others who are also recently out of rehab and working on their recovery. You will live with supportive roommates who understand the struggles you are facing. Together, you will learn how to be part of a community while sober.
Transitional living programs are not as structured as rehab programs, but you do have rules that must be followed. This is because the program is allowing you to slowly reintegrate into your everyday living environment while remaining sober and using the skills you learned during your time in treatment.
Do Transitional Programs Work?
You might be wondering if transitional living programs work. After being in a treatment center, most people are ready to get back to their families, friends, jobs, and normal life. Because entering a transitional living program may be viewed as adding another step or more time to their treatment, some might think it’s not worth it.
However, statistics show that it is worth it. Transitional living programs aid in making your recovery even stronger. These programs help to avoid relapse, as they are a great bridge between structured rehab programs and the independence of regular life. Living with others who have gone through similar situations allow you to feel less alone during these next steps of recovery. You build on learned skills while learning new ones in a safe environment.
A Comprehensive Support System
During your time at a transitional living home, you will be encouraged to continue meeting with a treatment team. Since all programs differ, each transitional living program will have their guidelines for your aftercare and continuing recovery. You will be encouraged to meet with trained professionals like addiction support professionals and therapists.
Some may also encourage you to attend supportive programs like 12-step programs like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. They may also offer group therapy sessions with others in the program. This is an added step to help strengthen recovery and sobriety.
Many in transitional living programs continue going back to work or school and come back to the transitional home afterward. This allows for an easier transition into what can feel like an overwhelming everyday life. Daily life for those in these programs can change depending on each resident. What you can expect is safety, stability, and support.
A Day in the Life of a Transitional Living Program
Many transitional living houses are in residential neighborhoods. This is because part of the goal of this type of living is to help you feel like you’re a part of society, but still in a safe atmosphere with some rules.
You might wonder what it’s like in a typical day in such a program. Chances are, you’ll have guidelines and rules spelled out for you once you begin the program. This structure is in place to increase your chance of staying sober. You will most likely have some chores, a curfew, some house meetings to attend, and perhaps a support group meeting as well.
When you wake up, you’ll probably make your bed or perhaps help make breakfast. If you have a job, you’ll head off to work, signing out before you go. If you’re unemployed, you may spend learning about, searching for, and applying to jobs. You may also head out to vocational rehab training.
If you’re new to the program and/or fresh out of rehab, you may have a “sponsor” attend any outside events should you have to leave the transitional home. This is an accountability and support aspect, as it can be tempting to give in to cravings when you are new to rehab.
There will also be free time as well. You might watch movies, play games, and have ample time to read, talk to loved ones, and so on.
How to Find a Transitional Living Program
If you are in a rehab program, your therapist or caseworker might have transitional living programs to recommend. They have been working with you for some time and may know of resources which would be most beneficial to you. Ask for suggestions and/or referrals.
Another way to find programs is the internet. Established transitional living programs will have a current and up-to-date website. You can read about their specific programs and see what fits for you. Sometimes you will find reviews from previous residents, which can be helpful. Do not become overwhelmed by the number of programs.
There is a sober or transitional living program that can aid in your continued recovery success.
Things to Consider During the Search
Prior to entering a transitional living home or program, ask what type of structure and accountability the house offers. One aspect that sets transitional housing apart from other options is built-in accountability. In some places, residents are required to get a job and attend a specific number of meetings each week. Know the rules and what the consequences for breaking those rules will help with finding the right aftercare program.
No Alcohol or Drugs Allowed
Transitional living programs are drug and alcohol-free. This environment leads to less temptation while in the beginning stages of recovery. Know that in most transitional living programs, drug tests are required regularly to ensure you are continuing with your recovery.
Transitional Homes That Communicate With Your Treatment Center
A variety of treatment programs work with transitional housing programs to provide direct communication for their clients. Knowing that your treatment center and transitional housing are working together to push for your success will remove a lot of stress during this challenging transition. In addition to this, make sure the transitional housing is certified, so you know there is a high level of quality assurance.
Comfort and Safety
The early stages of recovery are often the most difficult – you are met with new found freedom from addiction that may not have been experienced for years. Despite the lessons learned, it can be challenging to apply those to reality. To be successful, you must be at ease. You need to find transitional housing that is comfortable and safe.
Finding a house that is same-sex or has a small number of clients can help you feel more comfortable. You should be able to get along with the house manager, which impacts the house environment. The manager can change the dynamics of the house. You should also ask how the house deals with conflict. There most likely will be rules about how to handle situations where people don’t get along.
Be Prepared to Learn
Despite how great a fit the transitional housing may be, it won’t always be an easy task. Learning how to coexist with others in this type of environment is key to your recovery, and could be an essential piece moving forward. It is an opportunity to intermingle with others and handle conflict healthily with other people.
Those skills will eventually transition to healthy relationships outside of transitional housing. It is a life skill you must practice, and you must use sober living as an opportunity to live amongst others.
A Slow Transition Can Be Helpful
The future of your recovery success lies in your hands. Make sure you make choices that keep you and your sobriety safe. Transitional living programs allow you continued stability, even though temporarily, while stepping back into the real world and its challenges.
Living with others who are also motivated in their recovery keeps you active in working toward your individual goals. While going home might seem appealing at first, remember that taking this extra time to slowly transition back will be a huge benefit to you and your recovery.