Recovery looks different for each individual walking the path. Some enter detoxification and find they are equipped to maintain their sobriety and move forward with their lives. Many enter detox and then inpatient treatment care, finding that transitional housing is an important phase as they move on from inpatient to outpatient treatment services. Let’s dive into this resource and learn more about what to look for in transitional housing.
What is transitional housing?
Transitional housing provides an opportunity for individuals in early recovery to begin a new phase of their lives, allowing them to become more responsible, build their self-esteem and regain economic self-sufficiency. Transitional housing, often referred to as “sober living,” provides safe, semi-structured substance-free living environments for those working to sustain their recovery long-term.
Successful transitional housing for ongoing recovery establishes and reinforces healthy lifestyles, provides a safe and stable place to live, facilitates meaningful activities, and builds relationships and social networks for support.
What makes transitional housing a crucial part of the recovery process?
Transitional housing is a good step towards recovery in that it provides a safety net for individuals emerging from detox and inpatient care. Transitional housing removes these individuals from the unsafe environments where they might have been living previously, separating them from potential triggers for continued substance use.
By the time an individual has reached transitional housing, they are at a post-detox level of care at which there is a greater understanding of why they misuse substances to cope with mental health issues, trauma, grief and more. By this phase in one’s recovery journey, they will likely have worked with their care team to understand the behaviors and unhealthy relationships that have led to substance misuse thus far and identify the types of environments and relationships that are productive and conducive to their recovery.
There are varying levels of supervisory and nursing care in transitional housing, but typically, sober homes have a house manager who has been through a treatment program and is in recovery themselves, and those living in the sober home are responsible for their own medication management, are able to work and pay rent. They can start using the tools they learned during treatment to cope with cravings and avoid personal triggers while continuing to receive medication for substance use disorder, if appropriate.
Individuals with SUDs must replace substances with something positive to be able to maintain recovery. You cannot simply remove a coping mechanism for someone and not replace it with something healthy and sustainable and hope for the best, nor can you replace someone in the environment they left to seek help and recovery care. Transitional housing or sober living affords individuals an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned during treatment in order to maintain good, healthy habits conducive to their physical and mental wellbeing, such as exercise, work and more.
What should people look for in reliable transitional housing?
In 2007, eight sober home operators established the nonprofit Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing (MASH). Legislation in 2014 created voluntary certification of Massachusetts sober homes, and MASH began managing voluntary statewide sober home certification in 2016. MASH’s recovery values emphasize health, home, purpose, and community. Through its network of certified sober housing and empirically based recovery principles, MASH’s goal is to help create and foster these safe living environments for those with substance use disorders.
NERC offers separate residential programs specifically geared to the unique needs of men and women. In each program, clients participate in a structured weekly schedule consisting of individual, group and family counseling, recovery groups, relapse prevention training and recreational activities. All clients develop a comprehensive continuing care plan to help them sustain their recovery following discharge from the program. Length of stay in our residential programs is variable based upon individual needs.
Once clients are ready to move to a lower level of supervised housing, NERC always encourages clients to ask around for recommendations on transitional housing and refers clients to MASH-certified sober living establishments. For those in Massachusetts seeking sober living resources, the first step is locating a MASH-certified option.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or co-occurring disorders, call the New England Recovery Center today at 1-877-MyRehab.