Inpatient treatment is a great start to recovery but it’s only a start. Treatment is an opportunity to get away from negative influences, break old habits, learn new coping skills, and begin a healthier way of living. However, it’s unrealistic to expect you can change a lifetime of bad habits and unhealthy coping mechanisms in 30 to 90 days. Recover is an ongoing process that requires continued care and attention. The first weeks and months after leaving treatment are when you have the highest risk of relapse. Making the transition from the structured, supportive environment back to daily life can be tricky and stressful. A successful transition requires both solid plan and support to carry it through. The following are some things you should do as soon as possible after coming home from treatment.
Clean the house.
The first thing you’ll want to do after you get home from treatment is to clean the house. Ideally, someone will have already gone through your living space and thrown out any alcohol, drug, or paraphernalia. However, for whatever reason, this might not have been possible. It’s essential to make sure there’s nothing in your house that will tempt you or cause cravings. Even if someone has already thrown everything out, it doesn’t hurt to double check to make sure they didn’t overlook any jacket pockets or hiding places. It’s a good idea to have someone with with when you do this. The first few days are a vulnerable time and you don’t want to succumb to “just once more” thinking. A personal recovery assistant can help you do this cleaning and keep you accountable.
It’s also a good idea to clean up in general. Addiction can lead you to neglect your health and hygiene and your house may be in about the same shape you were in when you entered treatment. Cleaning your house can make you feel like you have a fresh start. Get rid of things you don’t need and give everything a good scrub. A clean house also harbors less bacteria, mold, and allergens, so cleaning up can make you feel better both mentally and physically.
Manage your contacts.
If you’ve been in treatment for a while, you’ve likely been out of contact with most of the people you know, with the exception of family and close friends. Be selective about who you renew contact with after you get home. Delete your drug dealer’s number from your phone, as well as drinking buddies and anyone else you primarily associate with substance use. Don’t go to places where you are likely to run into those people. A period of 30 to 90 days is a pretty long time without contact, so make the best use of it.
Start building a sober network.
A strong sober network is one of the best predictors of a strong recovery. Having people you can rely on reduces stress and gives you additional resources to deal with life’s inevitable difficulties. Having a network of people who are also in recovery gives you the additional advantage of talking to people who understand what you’re going through and who can give you advice and support. Attending mutual-aid groups like 12-step meetings is a great way to build a sober network quickly. Find a meeting to attend regularly and start as soon as possible–within the first week if you can. This will help ease the transition from treatment to daily life by reinforcing your commitment to recovery and putting you in contact with an established recovery community, some of whom have probably had to make the same transition you’re going through.
There are other opportunities for building your sober network beyond mutual aid groups. For example, you probably made some pretty close friends during treatment. Make sure to stay in contact with those people, even if they don’t live close. Many quality treatment programs also maintain alumni networks and host alumni events that may allow you to become acquainted with other people in your area who completed the same treatment program. Make sure to use all the resources at your disposal.
Adapt your routine.
Treatment life is highly structured and typically includes not only therapy and group sessions, but also exercise, regular sleep times, and regular meal times. This regular schedule isn’t just convenient for an institutional setting; it also simplifies making healthy decisions in your daily life. You go to bed at a certain time, you get up at a certain time, you eat a certain, you exercise at a certain time, and so on. The more you can preserve this routine in your daily life, the easier the transition will be. As much as you may want to exploit the freedom of living on your own again, sticking to the routine you’ve established over the past 30 to 90 days will be much easier for you in the long run.
Keep your appointments.
Treatment doesn’t typically end after you leave the treatment facility. There are often follow-up appointments, phone calls, online check-ins, and alumni events that are all part of aftercare. Make use of all these resources. They will make the transition to daily life easier and they are also a valuable source of feedback that treatment programs can use to improve their services for other clients. So by participating, you are not only helping yourself but you’re also helping other people starting out in recovery.
Also, keep in mind that treatment is only the beginning of recovery. Beyond the follow-up care, make sure to keep your appointments with your therapist, doctor, or mutual-aid group. Sometimes these can feel unnecessary, but it’s important to check in regularly, especially early on. This helps you reinforce positive habits and it helps you spot problems and correct them much more quickly.
There’s a lot to think about when making the transition from treatment to daily life. This is a vulnerable time for anyone in recovery and it’s ok if you need a little help. Our personal recovery assistants can help ease the transition by providing accountability and coaching life skills in real time to make the task feel more manageable.
Hired Power is a transitional service offering individualized addiction recovery assistance from crisis intervention to the first year of recovery and beyond. Some of our services include getting clients into detox and treatment, finding an appropriate treatment center for a client’s specific needs, helping clients transition from treatment to daily living, providing mentorship, sober assistance, and other services. Explore our website or call us at 800-910-9299 for more information.