Transitional Housing and Recovery from Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Transitional Housing and Recovery from Drug Addiction and Alcoholism


I myself went into a transitional housing facility immediately after leaving short term rehab, and it was by far the best decision I ever made in my early recovery.  Doing so changed the course of my life and gave me an opportunity at real change.

The reason I know this to be true is because up until this point, I had never been willing to give long term recovery housing a chance.  I was not willing to even consider the idea of treatment and thus I always left short term rehab and relapsed almost immediately.

My main argument was that living in transitional homes was far too drastic of a solution for my problem.  I was simply in denial and not ready to put in the effort needed to change.  I was stubborn and could not see that I really did need long term help.  Instead, I insisted that it was a “waste of life” to live in a recovery home of any sort, and to do so was a colossal ”waste of time.”  This, of course, is a ridiculous opinion coming from someone who is almost killing themselves every day due to binging on alcohol, crack cocaine, and various other drugs while driving on a regular basis.  No, I don’t need long term…..what are you nuts?

Now that I work in a rehab center that sometimes attempts to send clients to these same types of transitional recovery houses, I know that this reaction still exists for a lot of people other than myself.  It seems like overkill to the client in many cases, but of course it is exactly the level of care that they actually need.

This is especially true for younger people who may be surrounded by friends who all use their drug of choice.  How can a person like that possibly maintain sobriety on their own if they leave rehab and go back to their old environment?  The solution is necessarily complex even though everyone wants for it to be simple.  The fact is that sometimes transitional living is the only way to help a person get back on their feet successfully.

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Now in some cases, long term rehab may or may not be the same thing as transitional homes for addicts and alcoholics.  In fact, long term treatment might be quite a bit more focused and intensive, while the transitional living may be much less structured.  The fact is that most people who leave short term rehab do not end up following through with their aftercare recommendation, period.  So regardless of which type of long term care they may be receiving, actually showing up for it and following through with it is going to be at least half of the battle.  Some of the other key points regarding long term recovery solutions include:

1) Success rates for long term solutions are not what you would necessarily expect. For example, short term rehabs can claim roughly 5 percent success rates, depending on how you measure of course.  Numbers that differ wildly from that figure are largely fudged or manipulated quite a bit (such as by discarding people who relapse because they did not do certain things, etc.).  However, what would you expect success rates to be for people who stay in a long term recovery solution for 6 months or more?  Most people would guess a lot higher than 5 percent.  The truth is, success rates reported by the U.S. Government for long term rehabs are not much different from the success rates for short term solutions.  The rates are slightly better but not by a significant margin.  This is a bit depressing in fact, but it does not mean that long term housing has no value.  It can still be the only solution in some cases that will work for a person.

2) What seems like a sign of great commitment might just be the pattern of finding a “flophouse” and resting up for a while before going back out into active addiction again. Many people who attend long term programs have no intention of stopping their drug or alcohol use on a permanent basis, and they are simply there for the “3 hots and a cot.”  They have been drinking and drugging for a long time and their body and mind is tired and worn out so they rest up in long term treatment of some sort.  The nature of denial is such that the person can easily convince themselves without hardly any active thoughts that they might actually be serious and that they “might decide to actually stay sober this time.”  In reality, unless they are 100 percent committed to change then they have no real chance of long term recovery.  They are just stuck in the same old pattern.

3) Long term solutions may be expensive but they are cheaper in the long run than jails.

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