If you have made it through detoxification and inpatient rehabilitation, you are already successful in starting your sober journey. But if relapsing is a big concern, then transitional living is the next step.
In this article, we’ll dive into the key reasons why and how sober living homes provide so many positive benefits.
Your counselors at the inpatient facility inform you discharge is near, so why aren’t you feeling excited? You notice your anxiety has kicked because you will no longer be surrounded by support staff, peers in recovery who get what you are going through, and immediate access to a doctor or therapist if you need help.
Instead, you are going back home, back to the place where you last used drugs. You may even be going to a place where drugs are still hidden. Because your family has not gotten help, you are going back to enablers that you can easily manipulate when you want to get high.
It can be terrifying returning to your home environment after only being sober for a few weeks.
Overnight you can go from a drug-free, safe environment set up for sobriety to an environment filled with triggers and temptations.
You may have even been there and done that and found it too hard to resist a relapse. This time can be different. All you must do is continue to make sobriety a top priority in your life. To do this, consider transitional living or spending time living in a sober house.
The positive impacts of transitional living can strengthen you to re-enter society as a sober person, confident you can sustain your recovery.
What Exactly Is Transitional Living?
Transitional living has been given different names: Sober living, sober homes, and any other form of step-down programs. It is the place you live right after inpatient rehabilitation for substance abuse and right before returning to your home environment or moving to a new home environment.
Transitional living has many benefits that make staying sober a more realistic goal. It positively impacts many areas of life, like the ones listed below.
Helps Build Purpose
Before getting sober, your primary purpose was to get high. The process of getting high could take up 20 hours out of a 24 hour day. It was a job in itself that involved many negative behaviors.
Once you get sober, you need to fill all those waking hours with something other than getting high. It would help if you had a sober purpose. But what?
That’s where the transitional living can help. While living in a sober home, you have the time and resources to develop strategies for filling your time, so you don’t fall back into the rut of addictive behaviors. Staying in a sober home, you have the time to explore ways to volunteer in the community, start a career, take care of others, and participate in activities that will help you maintain sobriety.
Transitional living helps you learn to make commitments and follow through with them because you feel a sense of purpose and belonging.
Helps Extend Practice
To be good at anything, you need to practice your skill. Professional athletes must practice. Musicians, teachers, mechanics, and every other trade requires working experience or practice before you become an expert.
The same is true for becoming sober. Sobriety is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced.
It is unrealistic to think anyone can detox, spend a few weeks in rehab, and return home without relapsing. This is likely why most people find themselves re-entering treatment multiple times until finally finding a way to maintain sobriety.
With each re-entry into treatment, they have learned new tools and get a bit more practice of living a sober lifestyle.
Why not take the time in the beginning to gain the practice needed for success?
With sober living, you can stay for a year or longer, depending on the time you need to transition back into society full-time.
Helps You Heal
Addiction wreaks havoc on your mental and physical health. It can cause dehydration and malnourishment, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, memory damage, etc.
The brain needs significant time to recuperate. It has become dependent on substances to do the work it should have been doing on its own, like communicating with the rest of the body.
The brain on drugs is too deceptive. For example, happy chemicals, like dopamine, are produced in excessive amounts. Once your mind is free of drugs and alcohol, it needs time to learn how to build the right amount of chemicals on its own again.
Even your organs, like your kidneys and liver, need time to regain functioning without filtering substances.
Helps You Build Support
Before getting sober, your relationships were not healthy. The people who showed support were the people who helped you stay trapped in your cycle of addiction. Now that you have made it to sobriety, you must eliminate negative supports and replace them with people who value your sober journey.
Building a positive support system means first learning positive social skills. Healthy relationships consist of meeting the needs of others, as well as having your needs met. You must learn to set boundaries and make decisions based on your goal of sobriety rather than please others.
Support can come from people who have achieved sobriety for many years, members of support groups, therapists, and especially from peers living in a sober home.
Transitional living is where you can learn and practice how to stay in recovery with positive communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution skills.
The best part is that you don’t have to take any of these steps alone. In transitional living, you can access mental health and medical professionals, job training and search programs, and peers who can provide honest feedback. You can even help others. The positive impacts of transitional living can help you reach your goal of staying sober.