It’s very hard to transition into normal society after addiction. Addiction melts rules and breaks inhibitions and can often force a person into a position wherein they act on their whims. As much as we dislike rules growing up, as adults we eventually realize that they are necessary for upholding order and civility, for remaining decent and for promoting decency in our fellow people.
Yet addiction often does away with all that, as the brain struggles to think beyond the short-term, and begins to prioritize the next high over other things. The first victim of addiction is rationality, and after that, it all goes downhill.
Bringing rules back into a former addict’s life is difficult. Especially so if an addict is thrust right back into their old life after a severe addiction. It takes time to adjust to rules, even if they seem quite simple. Someone in recovery doesn’t just have to deal with all the other things adults deal with, but they must adjust to ignoring temptations and cravings, remaining sober in the face of the smoking, and drinking around them, and staying strong despite the pressure imposed by high stress in a new environment. That is why transitional living homes and communities have enjoyed success as a place for recovering addicts to stay while they adjust to the rules of sober living, without a risk for relapsing.
What is Transitional Living?
Transitional living or sober living is a form of addiction treatment. All transitional living facilities follow a strict set of rules, while providing recovering addicts with an environment that is conducive toward their recovery: amenities for hobbies and stress relief, regular social events to encourage coming together as a group, and individual rooms to offer privacy and time for self-development.
While every transitional living facility has its own set of specific rules, there are a few individual rules that most facilities agree on:
- Absolutely no drugs.
- Absolutely no violence.
- Strict curfews.
- Timely payments.
- Work and/or school is mandatory.
- Keep your place clean.
- Commit to shared chores.
Transitional Living is Still Treatment
One thing many people are confused on is whether transitional living still counts as treatment, or whether it is simply a complex housing arrangement. While transitional homes and communities are essentially residential areas for people with addiction troubles, they are a form of treatment.
It’s generally recommended that people go through an inpatient or outpatient drug recovery program before they enter a transitional facility, but it is possible to go from treating withdrawal at home to going straight into a transitional living community.
One major difference between most treatment facilities and transitional living is that there is no program end. A tenant can stay in a sober living community as long as they want to, provided they stick to the rules and continue to pay their monthly rent. In fact, many are encouraged to stay if they need to, rather than stick to an arbitrary time limit.
Transitional Living and Other Modalities
Transitional living pairs excellently with other treatment forms. In fact, many transitional living communities necessitate that their tenants attend at least one form of group meeting or step-based treatment outside of the community.
Transitional Living for Relapse Recovery
Relapses are terrifying, especially for someone on the heels of an addiction recovery program. Many addicts don’t realize this, but relapses are common in treatment, and don’t have much to do with an individual’s willpower. They happen far too often to be tied simply to individual differences and are more than likely simply part of the treatment process. Ideally, however, relapses become less and less common, until they eventually vanish completely. The key is to learn from each relapse and look back on it as a learning moment rather than a point of failure. Failure, in recovery, lies in giving up completely. A relapse, on the other hand, is just a clue that something has gone wrong, and you need to recommit.
Transitional living is perfect for recommitting to sobriety and recovery, and by spending some time in a transitional living community, you can get yourself back on track to be an accountable sober member of society.
Learning to Be Back in Society Through Transitional Living
Addiction can rob individuals of their ability to be trustworthy. While it is a misconception to believe that all addicts lie – in fact, many do their best to remain honest despite their behavior and the stigma attached to it – it remains a fact that it is incredibly difficult to uphold promises and responsibilities while living through the haze of addiction.
Many lose their jobs and families because of the severity of the problem, and often that is because they are no longer accountable. Transitional living helps remedy this by helping newly sober addicts get used to a more rigid and structured lifestyle. But beyond that, this new sense of responsibility and heightened accountability comes with the boon of allowing a person to form stronger bonds built on trust and clarity. With addiction out of the way, former addicts will be able to salvage old relationships and seek out new ones, creating healthy bonds that help them uphold their sobriety by striving to remain accountable. Transitional living communities also work hard to incentivize sociability and encourage tenants to communicate, work together, discuss personal interests and struggles, and forge bonds not just through group therapy but through codependent living. These communities rely on tenants to perform chores and work hard to keep their homes clean, drug-free, and safe – fostering such an environment together can build long-lasting friendship and bring about a sense of social responsibility that is often lost through addiction, and hard to regain upon reentering society.
Feeling like we truly belong is something every human strives for, regardless of what position we try to achieve among our peers. We want to be a part of something greater and work hard to keep it safe and wholly good. Transitional living is the perfect place to regain that sense of community and belonging after recovering from addiction and going from a sober living community back to your old family or a new neighborhood will help prepare you for reintegration and a new, accountable, and sober lifestyle. In other words: it’ll help you get back on your feet.