Easing the Transition Back to Independent Living After Residential Addiction Treatment
Congratulations on completing your residential drug and alcohol addiction treatment program! You’ve worked hard and achieved an important milestone in your life. You’re ready to start living independently and free of addiction, but how can you do this safely?
Here, we share some tips to help you transition back into independent living without jeopardizing your recovery efforts. If you have any additional questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact our experienced addiction treatment professionals for further guidance.
Make a Plan After Addiction Treatment
Before leaving the treatment facility, it’s important that you make a plan for your life outside of the structured environment of residential care. This plan should include things like:
- Where you will live
- Who will you talk to if you struggle with cravings
- What kind of job or career path you want to pursue
- How you will stay connected with other people in recovery, including your sponsor
- How often you will check in with your care providers
Your care team will work with you to develop a transition plan tailored to your personal goals and connect you with the appropriate community-based resources.
Establish Healthy Coping Strategies After Addiction Treatment
During your time in treatment, you learned healthy coping strategies for dealing with cravings or difficult emotions. It’s essential that these strategies remain part of your daily life moving forward. For example, if you find exercise to be helpful, schedule time for regular workouts as part of your routine. If you find that painting, making music, or engaging in other creative activities is beneficial, set up a space in your home where you have the tools you need readily available.
Strengthen Your Sober Support Network
Transitioning back into independent living may be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming at times. You can cope with the fear of the unknown by surrounding yourself with supportive people who understand the challenges associated with recovery from addiction and can provide moral support when needed.
Your sober support network can include:
- Members of your treatment team
- Friends you’ve made during your time in residential addiction treatment
- Members of 12-step programs like AA or NA
- Family members who want to see you become the best possible version of yourself
- Spiritual leaders
- People who enjoy leading a wellness-focused lifestyle and can help you with activities such as cooking healthy meals, exercising regularly, and finding healthy ways to cope with day-to-day stress
Set Boundaries to Help You Avoid Toxic Relationships After Treatment
Once you leave residential care, it is important to set boundaries between yourself and people around you who engage in harmful activities or toxic relationship behaviors that could undermine your recovery efforts. This includes:
- People who are actively abusing drugs and alcohol
- People who encourage you to have “just one” drink or “let loose” on the weekend
- People who make comments suggesting that recovery isn’t possible or that you don’t have what it takes to make a lasting change
- People who won’t stop bringing up your past mistakes
- People who try to isolate you from members of your sober support network
Television personality and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey once said, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” Use this statement to help you determine who deserves a place in your life as you move forward with your recovery.
Create SMART Goals to Help You Stay Motivated
Having short-term goals (like attending regular meetings) and long-term goals (like finishing school) can help give you a sense of structure and purpose during your transition out of residential care.
The SMART goal framework can help you set effective goals for transitioning back to independent living. The SMART acronym outlines the criteria that you should use to set goals for yourself:
- SPECIFIC: Does your goal involve a precise outcome?
- MEASURABLE: Does your goal have a way to measure your progress?
- ACTION-ORIENTED: Does your goal explain what behaviors you must follow to achieve your objectives?
- REALISTIC: Is your goal reasonably attainable with the tools and resources at your disposal?
- TIMELY: Does your goal come with a built-in timeframe that gives you a sense of completion, such as doing something every day or once a week?
The self-help group SMART Recovery offers a free SMART goals worksheet on their website that you might find helpful.
Take Time to Celebrate Your Achievements
There’s no doubt that life in recovery can be challenging, but you’ve already made impressive progress in your journey of self-improvement. Take some time each day to reflect on how far you’ve come and to celebrate your sobriety milestones. This can help keep motivation levels high even when cravings come calling.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help with Addiction Treatment
Our culture often encourages us to try to solve problems on our own, but asking for help when things get difficult is a sign of strength. It takes maturity and self-awareness to recognize when you’re struggling and reach out for the necessary assistance.
At Waypoint Recovery Center in South Carolina, we understand that the transition back to independent living after residential addiction treatment can be difficult. That’s why we offer a comprehensive range of services designed to help navigate this stage of the recovery journey. We provide ongoing support for our graduates through alumni programs, as well as various continuing care and recovery management services. No matter your challenges, our team is committed to helping you gain the skills and confidence you need to live a successful life free from addiction.