The Drug Class Blog

Jul 12

Transitioning Out Of Treatment

Transitioning Out of Treatment

 To many newly sober people the prospect of leaving treatment results in a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand they are eager to get out, as spending weeks or months in the same environment can become tiresome and boring, but on the other hand the idea of leaving the comfort and safety of the treatment center can be stressful and frightening. Adding to these feelings of stress and fear is the fact that many people begin to become semi-institutionalized during their extended stay in treatment, meaning their worlds become increasingly smaller, only existing within the confines of the group rooms and the dramas of the day. This makes the transition back into the world more confusing, and exacerbates the question underlying all of this: can I stay sober once I leave here?


That is the main concern for many people leaving treatment, the question of whether or not they will be able to stay sober once they are discharged. This fear highlights the important step of aftercare planning whether or not your treatment center offers it be proactive and ask for assistance. For some this may be not be their first attempt, which usually results in the question of what is going to be different this time? They may tell themselves I have tried this and failed before in the past, can I do it now? For others this may be the their first treatment stay, they may be in a brand new city, and they may have decided to stay here, far away from their family and any semblance of home that they’ve known. This can cause a great deal of stress on the individual who knows they need to find a place to live and work, while also maintaining their sobriety and creating a sober network. Regardless of whether this is your 1st or your 19th time leaving treatment, transitioning out of a therapeutic setting can be daunting, but by following a few simple suggestions, this transition can be made easier, alleviating the overwhelming anxiety surrounding going back into the world.


Live in Transitional Housing

Depending on where in the country you live, these transitional housing options are called different things. Some places refer to them as ¾ houses, others as ½ houses, and still others as sober living. No matter what they are called, go to one after leaving treatment. There is a reason that this is highly suggested by almost every single treatment center in the country. Living in transitional housing allows for the person who is newly out of treatment to transition, hence the name, back into society in a smoother manner. It allows for someone to not just be dumped back into society with a, “well you completed treatment, now be on your way” mentality. Many transitional houses offer structure that is imperative for the newly sober individual to have in their lives. Few alcoholics and drugs addicts were equipped to take care of themselves when they were using and so transitioning back to being self-sufficient is a process that could take time. Transitional housing allows for this process to occur and offers the needed support in order to catch the alcoholic or drug addict if they are falling. Besides this transitional housing allows for you to make friends outside of your treatment center, which is extremely important, and removes the often stressful experience of having to find a place to live.



Get a job that is not particularly stressful

Having a job is something that is incredible important for a newly sober person. Many times this is often overlooked as something that is necessary for recovery, but if you look at the 12th step in all 12 Step programs, it says to practice these principles in all of our affairs. Well if you do not have any affairs in which you can practice the principles then it makes this difficult, and having a job allows for this to happen. Besides this having a job gives the newly sober person a sense of purpose, filling up their days with work, rather than sitting around doing nothing,but thinking. It also allows for the introduction or reintroduction of managing money, which is an extremely important skill in life. Many people who were addicted were solely depending on another for monetary support and so having a job can allow for the autonomy that they crave, but have never experienced.


The first job out of treatment should be something that is not stressful, if this is possible. There are those who already have a career and when they leave treatment they may be returning to their jobs. If they can find a way to reintegrate back into their previous workforce then that is great, but if they find it to be too stressful then they may want to temporarily change their career path. The reason for taking a non-stressful job is fairly self explanatory, in that taking on too much can often lead an alcoholic or addict back to the drink or drug in order to avoid the stress they are experiencing. So by having a non-stressful job, the newly sober person is able to experience the benefits of having work, without the downside of having that work consume their lives.


Attend as many meetings as possible

Attending meetings in early sobriety, especially when you just get out of treatment, is extremely important. It not only creates a strong foundation for the rest of your sobriety, but it also allows you to create a fellowship. The creation of a fellowship is essential for transitioning successfully back into the world from treatment. This fellowship is one of the best parts of being newly sober and you will find that you experience more fun than you have ever had with these new friends. Early sobriety can often be a trying time, but with sober friends, who are in the same position as you, it is not as bad. You will find that they will be there for you and moving back into the world doesn’t seem as overwhelming anymore. So go to as many meetings as possible and it will pay off exponentially.


Work the 12 Steps

This goes without saying, and without this all of the other actions that you take after treatment will be for naught.It is important to find a sponsor and start working the steps as soon as you leave treatment. If that is the approach that you choose as a 12-step program is not effective without working the steps. All 12 Step programs say that they do not have a monopoly on recovery and that if you can find another way to abstain from whatever was ailing you then that is fantastic, but at our current junction in human history, there is no other way more effective in combatting alcoholism and drug addiction than the 12 Steps. So if you want a successful transition back into the world after treatment, get a sponsor, and get to work on the steps.


Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.


You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram


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