So you’ve completed addiction treatment, from detox to inpatient treatment — congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment that not only is deserving of praise but one that you should feel immense pride in as well.
However, we wouldn’t be surprised if you admitted to a small lump of anxiety in your stomach. That little gnawing feeling, most likely, has something to do with the future and the looming question of “What next?”
You know that the choices you make from here on out will significantly impact your sobriety and recovery — it’s up to you to make choices that support and maintain your recovery. So what should those choices be? Where should you live? What kind of job should you work? We’re not going to pretend we have all the answers, as only you know your needs best, but we can offer some suggestions to get you started on your life after rehab.
Sober living after rehab
First and foremost, when you successfully complete addiction treatment, your one goal is maintaining your sobriety. How you do it and where is entirely up to you. You know your needs, and you have your goals in mind, so as long as the living situation you plan for yourself allows you to meet those needs and goals, there’s little to stress about.
If you have your goals in mind but aren’t sure which living arrangement can help you meet them, we’ve compiled a list of various options to consider when looking for a sober living environment.
For some people, returning home is automatically not an option — especially if it’s full of triggers. After all, this point in your life is about avoiding triggers, not running headlong into them, especially in your own home.
But not everyone’s home is full of temptations and triggers, which is why it’s included on this list. Some people may have developed a substance use disorder in a city far away from home, and going back to the place where your friends and family life could be incredibly supportive and the fresh start you need. Moving back to a familiar place full of people who encouraged your recovery could be the best way for you to sustain sobriety after treatment.
Consider finding a small apartment, moving in with a friend or even staying in the comfort of your parent’s home for a short while during this transitional time. You might be surprised at how positively impactful building a new life in your hometown could be.
A halfway house
A halfway house gets its name from literally being that — a home that’s halfway between rehab and the outside world. It eases the transition as you move through your journey and gives you a place to stay that both mandates sobriety, and allows you the freedom to seek employment and education opportunities, connect with people who share similar experiences and volunteer in the community.
Most residents live in a halfway house for approximately three months, during which time you will have built healthy habits and perfected effective coping mechanisms to maintain sobriety even after you’ve moved out.
A sober living home
A sober living home, while similar to a halfway house, offers more privacy and professional support than a sober living home. Many residents have come directly from an intensive treatment program and utilize the sober living home as a safe, yet structured environment in which to continue their recovery journey.
Sober living homes offer a community-based environment where you and your peers help each other through accountability and peer-led support groups. As sobriety is strictly adhered to, triggers will be almost non-existent in a home of this kind; for those who cannot safely return to their original homes without putting their sobriety at risk, a sober living home can temporarily provide them respite in the early stages of their recovery.
Maintaining sobriety on your own
It goes without saying that while sober living homes and halfway houses are beneficial options for those who aren’t ready to face the challenges of life outside sober living facilities, they aren’t permanent places of residence.
Eventually, you will need to take on the responsibilities of sober living entirely and begin your own life in your own space. However, this doesn’t mean you’re alone and isolated — far from it! Hopefully, during your recovery journey you have built yourself a community of supportive people — be it your family, a roommate or friends from your sober living home — on whom you can always rely for support.
The best thing you can do when you leave a mandated sober living environment is to create a sober space for yourself on your own. Don’t move back into a triggering environment, but find a new apartment in a new neighborhood or town where you can start fresh; keep your home a sober one, and set strong boundaries on what is or is not allowed into your space; keep up on whatever routine you had while in treatment, and exercise, eat well and get plenty of sleep to keep your physical and mental health at its peak.
Support in sober living
Don’t forget that sober support groups also exist to support those who have completed the residential part of recovery and are now living elsewhere and rebuilding a healthy, happy life for themselves. Recovery is a lifelong journey, and finding programs to partake in can continue to boost your motivation and recovery for years to come.