Happy family


Should I Enter a Halfway House after Treatment?

The drug treatment and extended sober living process should be looked at as an investment–very similar to the college experience. We want the best education; we should also strive for the best long term rehabilitation solutions for our addiction problems.  Studies have shown that the longer an individual is involved with the structure and support associated with an extended care sober living (or “halfway house”) environment, the more likely they are to maintain long term sobriety. Extended sober living environments are truly an investment in your life. Identifying if a halfway house or extended sober living environment is right for you after an addiction treatment program depends on several factors. First, it is important to evaluate whether an individual has past experience with independence in a substance free environment. If the individual hasn’t been able to stay sober while living in the college dorm or at his parents’ house in the past, there is a likely chance of relapse. Another factor to consider, and it’s a major factor, is the idea of how long it takes for the mind, body and spirit of an addicted individual to heal. Each experience is unique. Each individual and family has been through a world of chaos leading up to the entering of the treatment setting. Most treatment stays are 1 month in length. The idea of the “28” day treatment stay came from insurance restructuring in the 1980’s. While some will not return to using, many will when they return to the “old haunts.” For most, the spiral to out of control behavior and using lasted a lot longer than “28” days. In fact, as scary as it is, some substances even take longer than 1 month to leave the system. Include PAWS (post-acute-withdrawal symptoms) and you have a recipe for disaster. Determining what type of halfway house or extended sober living environment is appropriate is another important factor to consider. There are numerous types of halfway houses, and unfortunately not all are created equal. Like with most products on the market, what you see isn’t always what you get. What should you look for? Let’s start with the obvious.   Is there a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy? Is there drug testing? Is the facility recommended by the treatment center? Are they accredited via organizations such as JCAHO or CARF? Do they have licensed staff? Are there family education and resources available? Are there individualized therapy or clinical group processes?   These are the types of questions you’ll want to ask and research when deciding where to enter a halfway house, and you will need to consider what outcome you are looking for. There are also not-so-obvious factors to consider when investing in the extended sober living environment. Will I/ or my child be able to forge positive relationships? Are there activities that will enhance the experience? Is the housing comfortable and have the feeling of a safe home?Will the environment show me/my child how to live? Not just stay sober, but live. Will it truly show him how to be responsible for himself, how to make the best use of his time, and how to engage in the world without the use of drugs and alcohol? The appropriate halfway house environment can do all of this, and hopefully more. Investigate thoroughly. Make sure to ask about staff /client ratios, licensed staff, accommodations, and hidden charges and fees. Ask about average lengths of stay, and if you know professionals in the field of recovery, rely on them for advice in choosing one facility over the next. Meet with the prospective extended care sober living program to ensure that it meets your standards and is as it appears on the website. Studies have shown that longer stays in a supportive environment are the best chance of survival of the addiction process. If you have committed to the process of seeing recovery through, this stage is vital to success. If you or your son needs immediate assistance, our knowledgeable staff at Turnbridge is available to help you navigate the journey to finding an effective and supportive extended sober living environment.   CALL 877.581.1793