Why Transitional Care Matters for Addiction Recovery

Why Transitional Care Matters for Addiction Recovery

Completing a quality addiction treatment program is a great start to recovery. You get away from the stress and bad influences of your regular life, you work with a therapist, you get a chance to recover your health, and you establish new habits in a supportive environment.

You can accomplish quite a bit in a relatively short time during an intensive program. However, it’s also important to have a smooth transition back to regular life.

The protective, supportive environment of inpatient treatment is great for healing but it doesn’t much resemble real life. Too often, people who do well during treatment have trouble once they leave.

An estimated 40 to 60 percent of people who get treatment for a substance use disorder relapse within the first year of completing treatment. Transitional care can help you get back to your normal life with less risk of relapse. Here are some common ways people get tripped up and how to get past them.

 

Support 

 

Perhaps the biggest difference between being in treatment and being home is the lack of support. When you’re in inpatient treatment, everyone around you is either trying to help you stay sober or trying to stay sober themselves.

The staff works hard to make sure there are no drugs or alcohol in the facility, that you’re relatively comfortable, that you have the emotional support you need, and that you’re living a relatively healthy lifestyle. 

 

When you get home, things may be much different. The people around you may not know how to support you. Unlike treatment staff and other people in recovery, they may not really understand what addiction and recovery are like.

Since people in recovery are often encouraged to distance themselves from friends who drink and use drugs, they often feel lonely at first. You may not feel like you have someone you can talk to when things get hard. 

 

For most people, the best way to cope with this lower level of support will be to attend mutual aid meetings, such as a 12-Step group. It’s fairly common for people to attend meetings every day—at least for a while—after leaving treatment.

Another good option, especially for people who have had difficulty transitioning in the past, is to step down to a lower level of care. So, for example, if you have just completed a month of inpatient treatment, you might enter an intensive outpatient program so you can start getting back to normal life while retaining much of the continuity and support of treatment.

 

Structure

 

One thing you can’t help but notice in inpatient treatment is that everything happens on schedule. There’s a time you get up, times for meals, times for therapy, times for activities, and so on.

While this certainly makes it easier to coordinate everyone’s activity, it also serves a therapeutic purpose. When you have a healthy routine, it’s easier to make healthy choices. You are more likely to get enough quality sleep, eat at regular times, exercise, and do other things that promote recovery. 

 

Unfortunately, a month in treatment is typically not long enough to make this routine stick. Research indicates that it takes an average of two months—and often much longer—to make a new behavior automatic.

By the end of the month, you may be pretty used to your regular schedule and so you may suddenly feel pretty adrift when you go home and no one cares what time you get up or do anything else.

 

One thing you can do is to preserve your treatment routine as much as possible. Although it may not be automatic yet, it should be relatively easy if you make a deliberate effort.

Having some firm commitments, such as daily 12-Step meetings or intensive outpatient sessions will also help give some structure to your days. If you’re worried about being at loose ends after leaving inpatient treatment, one option is to enter a sober-living environment.

You will live with other sober people and have less structure than inpatient treatment but more structure than living at home. Typically, residents have a curfew, are required to work or look for work, are assigned chores, and participate in 12-Step meetings.

 

Applying Skills to Real Life

 

Finally, it’s important to remember that there is a huge difference between applying cognitive and behavioral strategies in a safe, controlled environment like inpatient treatment and applying them out in the world when there are real stakes. The hypotheticals and past situations you deal with in treatment aren’t always the same as the challenges you face in real life.

Real life is endlessly inventive when it comes to creating problems and you will inevitably have to face some challenges you didn’t prepare for. 

 

Some of the solutions already mentioned will certainly help with this. Attending 12-Step meetings, participating in intensive outpatient treatment, and living in a sober residence all give you opportunities to discuss new problems with people who have been there.

Many treatment programs also offer follow-up counseling for just this purpose. 

 

Another good idea is to get a therapist who you can see regularly. Most people with substance use disorders have co-occurring mental health issues, such as major depression, anxiety disorders, and others that typically require ongoing, or at least intermittent, support.

A therapist with experience treating addiction and co-occurring disorders can help you manage any mental health issues while also applying your recovery skills to whatever challenges you’re currently facing. 

 

Going from the structured, supportive environment of inpatient treatment to the chaotic indifference of real life is too often overwhelming for people new to recovery. Recovering from addiction is a long process that entails mastering new skills, thinking in different ways, and making healthy lifestyle changes, all of which takes time and support. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that treatment is just the beginning of recovery and we support our clients with follow-up care, including sober living options. For more information, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.


Essential Life Skills For Lifelong Recovery

Empathy and Compassion: Living with compassion and empathy is not something many would call an essential life skill. However, in order to be a good human who does good things on earth, empathy and compassion is a must. We are tasked in recovery to always reach out our hands. As the saying in Alcoholics Anonymous goes, “love and tolerance is our code”. We are inherently self centered human beings. After developing an addiction, we tend to be even more selfish. Empathy and compassion are the ways in which we connect with others and step outside of ourselves in order to connect with someone else. Our relationships and connections with people are made deeper by practicing empathy and compassion.

  • Time management: Change is the only constant, it is said, and time is constantly changing. We only have so many waking hours in a day, days in a week, and so on. How we use our time is incredibly important because we’re either wasting it or making the most of it. Learning how to use a calendar, schedule appointments, prioritize activities, and make enough time for self-care in a day are essential life skills.
  • Asking for help: People who have had to make the decision to ask for help in finding treatment understand how life saving this life skill can be. We can’t possible know it all. In order to get things done, we often have to ask for help. Help you help yourself by feeling no shame when it comes to asking for assistance with something.
  • Active listening: We can go our entire lives without really listening to what someone has to say. From instructions to suggestions to someone's expression of their needs, if we don’t actively and reflectively listen we miss out on what is being said.
  • Meditation: Taking time to quiet the mind is more than calming- it helps grow new brain muscle memory, reduces symptoms of stress, reduces intensity of mental health disorders, and radically improves health.
  • Financial Management: Some people never learn how to manage their money. Living in chronic debt or without any money can lead to stress and hardship which could eventually cause someone to relapse. Money comes and goes. Learning how to manage finances for the long term and the short term are essential for reducing stress and creating a sense of security.
  • Healthy Living: Eating organic, having a balanced diet, staying nutritionally well, and having basic cooking skills are all a part of healthy living. Your long term future depends on your physical health as much as it does your mental wellbeing.
  • Communication: communication is a part of everyday life >learning how to communicate honestly, tactfully, and articulately is helpful in every single area of life.

Enlightened Solutions believes that people entering recovery for an addiction are in need of developing or redeveloping essential life skills for life after treatment. If you or a loved one are ready to learn a new way of being, call us today for more information, 833-801-5483.


The Everyday of Treatment

In addition to individual therapy, group therapy, and experiential therapy sessions such as art therapy or yoga therapy, are daily tasks that are meant to enhance recovery. Life skills are necessary to develop in order to ensure long term and successful sobriety. Developing routine and habit are helpful in the treatment process for recovery from addiction.

The Everyday of Treatment

Addiction causes the wiring in the brain to go a little haywire. Most everyday tasks go unnoticed and neglected. Addiction causes the brain to hyperfocus on pleasure and pleasurable experiences As a result, it becomes highly uninterested in performing mundane tasks that everyday life demands. Consequently, it builds unhealthy and unproductive habits. Reprogramming those habits not only corrects the specific situation of the habit itself, but helps the brain heal. Creating new habits through repeated action causes neurons in the brain to fire at the same time, causing a recognition. Overtime, practicing new habits becomes rewarding-in a healthy way.  

Making Your Bed

Each morning at Enlightened Solutions, you are expected to make your bed. There has been great debate as to how important it is or isn't to make your bed in the morning. While some science has indicated that bed making does not equate to success at all other research has shown it’s critically important. Making the bed indicates discipline and ritual.

Cleaning Your House

Feng Shui is the zen practice of creating flow in the home. A clean home is a clean mind. We pay honor and respect to the higher power working in our life by participating in facility cleaning days.

Cooking Food

Some treatment centers have meals catered or privately prepared. While it is helpful to take the stress cooking out of the equation in early days, it is important to teach cooking as well. Once a patient leaves treatment, they are on their own including making sure that there is something to eat.

12 Step Meetings

Going to meetings is  a perfect way to meet other people like yourself who are struggling and getting through recovery. Here the message of how important it is stay sober.

Have FUN!

Treatment at Enlightened Solutions provides holistic healing for mind, body, and spirit. Our programs of care for men and women seeking recovery for alcoholism and addiction are spiritually based. There is a solution for the problem of drugs and alcohol. Find it with us. 833-801-5483.