Participating in a residential drug treatment or inpatient alcohol treatment program marks the beginning of a significant change in lifestyle. Further, graduating from these programs is a major accomplishment. Completing these programs does not indicate the end of an individual’s recovery journey. Rather, each person’s recovery journey will continue long after their residential program has concluded. Transitioning to outpatient care is the best way to further each individual’s progress and goals in sobriety. 

However, such a transition can also be stressful and intimidating. Knowing what to expect throughout this transition can help each individual best prepare for outpatient care and life as an alumnus while continuing to manage their sober goals and practices. 

Preparing for Outpatient Treatment

Transitioning to outpatient care doesn’t mean that an individual is done facing stresses and challenges. For many in recovery, this transition is a tumultuous time. Individuals are tasked with continuing to manage their sobriety while also employing personalized strategies in a setting outside of a dedicated treatment facility. 

Often, settings outside of the treatment facility are not curated with sobriety in mind. New stresses can be exceptionally prevalent, from triggers that may influence an individual’s sobriety to social groups, mental health challenges like anxiety and depression, and more that can all try their established coping strategies. 

Entirely new, unforeseen stresses are also common. It is likely that an individual may not have identified all personal stresses while in a dedicated sober environment. Preparing for these stresses – and understanding that experiencing new challenges does not mean that an individual has somehow “failed” in their recovery – is crucial for maintaining motivation and success in sobriety while transitioning to outpatient care. 

Personal and professional stresses and daily challenges will all be prevalent outside of a treatment facility. Each individual will need to employ a combination of new strategies and proven practices to create a healthy approach to life in outpatient care. 

Community-based Recovery Support
Community-Based Recovery Support

Community support for addiction recovery is an important aspect of maintaining sobriety and recovery. For more, call Hawaii Island Recovery at (866) 390-5070.

More info

Prioritizing the Celebration of Accomplishments

While recovery is an ongoing, lifelong journey, that doesn’t mean that each person shouldn’t take the time to celebrate their accomplishments in treatment. Taking time to celebrate accomplishments in residential treatment can set the tone for outpatient life to come. 

Celebrating these accomplishments can highlight all the skills that each individual has picked up throughout treatment. Focusing on what worked throughout residential treatment can create the necessary base on which to build a new lifestyle and routine while transitioning to outpatient care. Using these accomplishments to establish practices and set effective expectations and goals for outpatient treatment can ensure a healthy and smooth transition while changing lifestyles. 

Creating an Outpatient Schedule

Each person’s time in residential treatment is tightly scheduled, with activities, mealtimes, and more all planned out to create a balanced routine. However, these structures may not be inherently in place when establishing a life in outpatient care. Likewise, expecting to continue life without creating a personal structure can be dangerous. The agency to develop these routines will be up to the individual. Utilizing as many familiar structures as possible can be a great way to ease this transition with a degree of normalcy. 

Sticking with similar mealtimes, bedtimes, and self-care opportunities can add a sense of familiarity during this otherwise difficult time. New stresses and routines can be difficult to readjust to, and those transitioning out of residential treatment are at risk of falling back into previous habits, some of which may have dangerous implications for their sobriety.

Using regular outpatient meeting times can also help an individual build a new schedule in their sobriety. By constructing their days around their continued engagement in outpatient programs, those in recovery can continue to put their sobriety and health first while adapting to new stresses and environments. 

Setting Expectations and Boundaries

Moving out of residential treatment and into a home with either family or supportive friends in sobriety is difficult. Expecting families and peers to adjust to a person’s life without making prevalent changes or acknowledging the effects of addiction can lead to miscommunication and dangerous assumptions. 

Learning to set appropriate expectations for this transition as far as house rules, responsibilities, financial obligations, and more are necessary to establish at the beginning for clear communication. It is also important to erect effective boundaries, both for oneself and for those living under the same roof. 

Setting appropriate expectations for continued sobriety and the support, culture, and lifestyle of a home environment is necessary during this transition. Having regular meetings when first creating this new lifestyle in outpatient care can be the cornerstone of effective communication and success for each person’s continued sobriety and sober goals. 

Recovery Isn’t Over

Transitioning from residential to outpatient care doesn’t mean that an individual is no longer going to be regularly engaged in dedicated recovery outlets. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and continued outpatient care are still prevalent parts of an individual’s day. 

An individual should never feel as if they are “on their own” after leaving a dedicated treatment facility. Constant communication with professionals and peers alike, outpatient groups and individual support, engagement in recovery communities, and more are all still available, with professionals still a phone call away during times of difficulty. 

8-bed Residence at Hawaii Island Recovery

Scheduling new routines around scheduled outpatient group meetings and support can continue to keep recovery and sobriety in focus while navigating other stresses while providing an outlet for when personal stresses, professional challenges, and more affect an individual. Knowing how to prepare with personal supports, what to discuss, and to set plans in the event of unforeseen stresses are all part of continued sober life, with professional care still available to navigate these challenges. 

Outpatient treatment is the next step in furthering your journey to a healthy and sober life. Whether you are continuing to overcome the use of drugs or graduating from an inpatient alcohol treatment program, preparing for ongoing outpatient treatment is essential to balance your sober life with your continued success and newfound freedoms and opportunities. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand that recovery is a lifelong journey. We are committed to helping you prepare for the challenges of outpatient treatment while reaping its transformational benefits in sobriety. From continued individual and group meetings to establishing a supportive community, our commitment to your sobriety and recovery doesn’t end with graduation from a program. To learn more, call (866) 390-5070.