Transition Housing Program
The Hader Clinic Queensland’s Transition Housing program is our second phase of residential treatment for recovering addicts.
The transitional housing program provides a continuation of a therapeutic community environment, support and monitoring, while also allowing recovering addicts to reintegrate into society with the freedoms and responsibilities of everyday life.
The support given to recovering addicts with counselling and guidance in navigating the outside world and the frustrations and stress that go with it, reduce the risk of relapse.
Olivia Jurcik, Hader Clinic Queensland’s Counsellor explains that the Transition Housing program is structured to ensure that all household members are currently doing the steps as part of the 12 Step Recovery program and learning to become accountable to themselves.
“The first month is fairly structured. It’s about learning how to implement the tools and skills they have learnt in rehab out in the real world whilst being supported and kept accountable. This can be overwhelming at the start so having a good routine and structure in place is key.
It’s about slowly adding regular living back onto your plate whilst being responsible for the running of the household. For example, setting a budget, learning to set boundaries and communicate assertively and improving life skills such as shopping, cleaning and cooking.
Everyone also has to attend check ins groups, counselling, 12-Step education groups and psychoeducation at the clinic as well as attend NA/AA meetings within the area. Of course, COVID19 has affected this, so we are using Zoom and participating in meetings online where a face-to-face meeting is not possible.”
The Hader Clinic Queensland caught up with five current members of the transition housing program to hear firsthand to hear how the transition housing program is helping them with their recovery.
Meet Mac, Greg, Julie, Grant and Paul, who all have a Defence Force background. They have grappled with addiction to amphetamines (ice) and alcohol and have been living in the transition house for varying periods of time. Some of them attempted rehab prior to arriving at The Hader Clinic Queensland and relapsed shortly after their treatment.
“What is making a difference to me,” says Julie, “is doing the step work, meetings, and being part of a therapeutic community. The previous rehab I went to didn’t have this aspect. When I left, I felt like I had nothing to guide me, and then, bang, I relapsed”.
All of the housemates have credited the Transition Housing Program for keeping them abstinent from drugs and alcohol. They explain that the program has given them a good balance of accountability and freedom.
Paul shares that he feels that he could have relapsed easily – “I like that the transition house has provided me with accountability, and also support, as addicts tend to isolate as they go back into their old behaviours. Here, I have support from others in the house who have been caught in the cycle of addiction and are trying to stay clean”.
Julie believes she would be “back home using” if it hadn’t been for the Transition Housing Program, sharing that she didn’t feel ready to leave the structure and safety of the residential rehabilitation program to transition back to work and living.
“I don’t think that going back to my old environment would have helped me,” she shares, “all the old triggers and stressors are there and I think that I could have picked up and used if I was feeling vulnerable or stressed.”
“I was feeling a bit wobbly and nervous about everything,” she continues, “it took me a week to settle in to the house. Plus, it’s been hard with COVID19. It’s made face to face meetings and getting a sponsor hard.”
Paul faced his fears head on and got out of his comfort zone. “When in doubt, have a massage,” he shares. “This was a big step for me as I traditionally don’t enjoy being touched. But I did it. Initially I was dead set against transition. However, one day while the other guys were listening to the radio, I picked up a pen and just started writing about anything and everything. What came out from that was that I knew that I couldn’t do rehab on my own.”
Greg, who faced up to his addiction to amphetamines credits the Transition Housing Program for helping him to change and put his recovery first. “I’ve been in the house for three weeks and I have found the structure and connection great.”
When asked further about support in the program, Greg said, “we support each other, we’re honest with each other. It means that we’re learning to keep an open mind and stay connected”,
“I’ve learned better communication,” chimes in Mac, “’think before you speak!’ is my personal favourite!”
Grant, who has been part of the program for a long time, initially found the Transition Housing Program daunting. He moved out, relapsed, and used for five months before reaching out to the Hader Clinic Queensland for help. “This time around in the house, I am more comfortable,” explains Grant, “as I know what it means to be part of this program.”
“We encourage each other to live the program, we keep fit together, we go shopping together. We don’t live in each other’s pockets, but there is always someone there to keep you company should you need it. The transition house has given me the accountability I need to stay clean”.
Mac, who has been living in the transition house for six months feels that the process has worked well for his recovery. He shares, “it’s different compared with residential rehab. It still retains some structure, yet gives you a strongly supportive environment with freedoms as well.
“Addiction took away my ability to perform various life skills like doing bank transfers or sending a text. Now I do all these things and the Transition Housing Program has been about slowly adding things, like life admin, into our repertoire. For example, performing life skills such as cooking, cleaning and doing the washing feel good, as does being in a routine and setting a budget.”
Greg is finding that learning to slow down and reflect, as he had to in rehab, is helping him in transition. “There’s a good balance here, between being busy and being quiet, I realise that I need down time to reflect on things”.
Paul states that accountability is the most important part of the Aftercare program. Everyone agreed that their recoveries have been helped along by a strong “staying connected to the pack” concept.
Mac elaborates further. “Transition is great, because I live with like-minded housemates who have been in addiction. Often people on the outside don’t understand how an addict can change. It’s been a real opportunity for emotional growth. My housemates understand me better than my Mum does! She tries to understand of course, but sharing lived experience cannot be beaten. Transition has provided me with fellowship, mateship and understanding.”
He adds, “we all go up to the rehab to do what we call “giveback”. It’s a way of sharing our experiences and helping others who are in the residential rehab program who may be feeling overwhelmed by it all.”
Olivia adds, “once a client finishes the 90-day residential rehabilitation program, they are highly vulnerable and often underestimate the challenges that are ahead of them in recovery. The Transitional Housing Program offers a step-down approach to life, so they are supported through such a big change.
Applying the tools and skills they have learnt in the supportive rehab environment is one thing, but when they leave there and are exposed to their triggers which can be anything from a song to a person or even a whole suburb, it can be easy for some to revert back to their old maladaptive coping strategies without the right support around them.
Each day I see tremendous growth in my clients, and it is such a pleasure to watch them flourish and go on to live happy and healthy lives in recovery, some of which never thought possible.“
While in the transition house, the housemates are planning ahead and taking important first steps in securing new futures. Paul is planning on becoming a counsellor for the Department of Veteran Affairs and is organising the coursework required to qualify him for such a role.
“I’m looking forward to being able to give back and help others,” says Paul. “I want to help veterans who are in the same position as I was. There is always hope.”
To conclude, the Transition Housing Program plays an integral role as part of The Hader Clinic Queensland’s Aftercare program. To find out more about the Transition Housing Program and other forms of aftercare, please contact the clinic on 1300 856 847.
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