The recovery process is incredibly personal and there’s no way to predict how long you will stay at your sober living home. However, every sober living resident will eventually move out and live an independent life of sobriety when they are ready.
If you and your treatment team have discussed your discharge from sober living, you may be thinking about your return home and how you will continue your lifestyle of sobriety once you’re there.
A sober living home is a safe and protective haven after rehab and the transition back home can be difficult for some people, especially if they lack a strong support system back home. Whether you’re moving back home with family or you’re relocating to a new place for a fresh start, here are a few helpful tips to help you move on after completing a sober living program.
1. Continue building your support system.
You can never have too much support in sobriety and moving out of your sober living home is a risky time to isolate yourself from others. Moving on after sober living can be lonely and scary, so it’s essential that you have support from your family members, sober peers, and mentors. After leaving your sober living home, you are encouraged to continue meeting with your sponsor regularly, attend local recovery meetings, stay in touch with your sober peers, and make time for sober socializing. As you branch out and start living more independently, you will need to rely on your support system to stay grounded and firm in your decision to remain sober, especially when you are faced with challenges or difficult life circumstances.
2. Practice budgeting while you’re still at your sober living home.
Although living at a sober home isn’t free, moving out comes with a different set of financial responsibilities. Not only will you need to pay your own bills and utilities, but you will also need to be able to manage a budget that will allow you to live well within your financial means. Money problems can be very stressful and reducing stress and anxiety is one of the best ways to prevent relapse. Learning how to save money and budget while you’re still living at a sober home is great practice for the real thing. Ideally, your finances will be in order by the time you move out, you’ll have maintained a stable job for a few months, and you’ll feel confident in your ability to manage your budget and pay off any debts while also saving for future expenses and emergencies.
3. Set goals for yourself.
All Bridge Foundation sober living clients work through the process of setting goals and mapping out the steps it takes to achieve them. This is great practice for doing the same thing on your own! After you move out of your sober living home, taking the time to set personal goals is a great way to achieve personal success in an independent sober life. It gives you purpose, something to strive for, and a reason to get up in the morning and do your best work each and every day. If you want help setting some goals for yourself, ask your sponsor or sober house manager for input. They may be able to help you set realistic short-term and long-term goals for yourself that you can expand upon in the future.
4. Find recovery meetings that work for your schedule.
Attending recovery support meetings while enroled in a sober living programme is easy because it’s required and you always have a sober friend to go with. However, after you move out of your sober living home, it may become more difficult. You may have to attend some meetings alone, your recovery coach won’t be checking in with you regularly, and you’ll have to work around other responsibilities and commitments at home. To prepare for these changes, you may want to locate meetings that are close to your new home and that will mesh with your work schedule, school schedule, volunteer schedule, and any other responsibilities you may have at home. Although it can be tempting to put recovery meetings on the backburner, it’s important to make them a priority and attend one or several meetings each week.
5. Continue your structured routine.
Sticking to a structured routine is a part of residency at a sober living home. However, once you move out and start living on your own, it’s up to you to maintain a routine that is beneficial for your sobriety as well as your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. After you move out, your routine may look a bit different than it did while you were in sober living, and that’s okay. What matters most is that you maintain a sense of structure and balance in your life. This will empower you to stay sober, reduce stress and anxiety, and live joyfully and purposefully in a life of recovery.
6. Opt out of events and situations that could trigger a relapse.
People in early recovery often experience what is known as the “pink cloud,” where they feel invincible and unaffected by the challenges and struggles of everyday life. Once the pink cloud fades and you begin to experience some of the struggles of daily life in recovery, you may find yourself feeling susceptible to certain triggers or situations that make you want to use again. One of the many benefits of enroling in a sober living programme is having a protective umbrella to live under as you identify your triggers and practice the life skills that will empower you to stay sober and prevent relapse. Once you move out of your sober living home and are no longer under that protective umbrella, you may need to avoid certain situations or events for a time until you feel more confident in your ability to stay sober.
7. Volunteer in your community.
If you are a current resident at the Bridge Foundation sober living home, you probably already understand the benefits of volunteering in recovery and why it’s important to continue, even after you move back home. As you transition into a life of independent sobriety, staying involved in your community as a volunteer can help you to draw your attention away from your own struggles instead of becoming overwhelmed by them. It also just feels great to volunteer regularly and help other people, which can improve your mood and help you cope with feelings of loneliness, depression, or anxiety as you transition out of your sober living home and return to a more independent lifestyle.
Moving out of your sober living home is a big step in your sobriety journey and it’s important to prepare for it. At The Bridge Foundation, we help our clients make the transition from rehab to sober living and back out into independent life by providing practical, one-on-one peer support and guidance.