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What Is Transitional Living?

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Transitional living is for those that have completed an inpatient mental health or addiction treatment program and want to slowly integrate back into their everyday lives prior to returning home. These individuals often participate in an outpatient program while they are in transitional living. They also attend meetings, form peer bonds, and learn valuable life skills while having access to helpful resources in a structured environment. Additionally, transitional living is a valid option for those who have failure to launch syndrome and need time away from their family in order to fully acclimate to adulthood.

What Is a Transitional Living House?

Transitional living homes focus on helping those struggling with addiction, mental illness, or failure to launch syndrome. Sober living homes and halfway houses are examples of transitional living environments. 

Most transitional living residences host those in recovery for anywhere from six to eighteen months, depending on their own personal needs and recovery goals. The vast majority of those who live in these spaces have stepped down into this level of care on their own accord, but some have been referred by their residential treatment program. 

Depending on the house, an individual might have their own room or share a room with a like-minded person. These homes usually offer amenities such as computer access and fully equipped kitchens as well as services such as career guidance and on-site counseling. The rules enforced in transitional living houses give residents a high level of structure and accountability while still allowing them a sense of freedom. 

Why Move to a Transitional Living House?

Individuals should move to a transitional house to solidify a strong foundation in themselves and their recovery prior to fully venturing back to the real world. Spending time in a transitional living house helps individuals to rebuild their self-esteem and inner confidence, as well as start laying out the desired structure for their lives once they leave.

This type of environment also facilitates a sense of comradeship amongst residents. It is common for residents to explore the city around them together and go to meetings with one another. By developing this type of built-in support group, individuals are given a sense of security and contentment while being held accountable by their peers. Additionally, a good deal of transitional living environments are gender-specific, which puts many people at ease.

Things You Should Expect in Transitional Living

Transitional living provides so much more than just a safe, comfortable place to live. When a person makes the decision to go from residential treatment to transitional living, they are probably unsure of exactly what to expect. The following are typical features of transitional living environments. 


Within each transitional living space lies a specific uniqueness in each, but individuals can expect to adhere to a set of rules during their stay. The number one rule across the board is that alcohol and drugs will not be allowed on the premises for any reason. Transitional living homes are drug and alcohol-free and must stay that way. Other regulations extend to limited visitation, curfews, proper hygiene and conduct, and respecting other people and their property.  Additionally, residents are often required to attend mandatory meetings and undergo regular drug tests. Anyone who violates these rules is asked to leave. 


Many people have concerns when it comes to visitation. They do not want to be completely cut off from their loved ones, however, they also do not want family and friends to overstay their welcome. Transitional living homes do not allow visitors, but with certain limitations. For example, they are not allowed to stay the night and must act appropriately while on the property. 

Therapy Options

It is vital to one’s well-being to be mentally healthy. Many transitional living facilities keep therapists and counselors on staff, so residents have access to therapeutic services when needed. Furthermore, most houses are partnered with providers of partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and standard outpatient programs. 


Most transitional living homes are not subsidized by the government, meaning that residents must pay rent and/or utilities in exchange for being able to live there. This means that individuals will have to get a job or determine another way to fund their rent, as well as do things such as keep the lights on, pick up groceries, and keep the home clean. These are responsibilities that are expected of residents in these types of homes, which is dually beneficial because it gives individuals the ability to develop these life skills prior to returning home.

12-Step Meetings

Transitional living homes are usually located near multiple 12-step meeting locations. The 12 Steps are a set of guidelines dedicated to helping individuals overcome an addiction to alcohol or drugs. These meetings are anonymous and are attended by those in and out of recovery. 

Additionally, residents get to know each other on deeper levels when they attend 12-Step meetings together, which only strengthens the bond they may already be developing. 

Benefits of Transitional Living

Transitional living provides individuals with a plethora of new skills and possibilities. For those who take advantage of this step in the recovery process, there are several unique benefits that can improve their success once on their own.

Onsite and Offsite Support

Residents of a transitional living program are constantly in contact with staff who are regularly encouraging them, celebrating their successes, and helping them through the ups and downs that recovery can bring. Plus, these individuals are also among others who are also striving for similar recovery goals, which provides a built-in peer support system. However, residents are not limited to just those who they see as a result of the program they are in. Due to the flexibility that transitional living provides, they can step outside of the residence into workplaces, social gatherings, and any other event that anyone else would participate in. These individuals can start to establish a support system of people outside of their transitional living home who can continue to support them long after they have moved into a space of their own.

Safe Environment

One of the biggest challenges in early recovery is staying sober. When in an environment where others are using or where individuals can easily obtain drugs or alcohol, staying sober can become a much more difficult task. However, transitional living gives individuals the space to solidify their recovery first prior to stepping back out into the real world. All transitional living houses are drug and alcohol-free and have rules that help promote wellness, such as curfews and visitor regulations.

Life Lessons

Transitional living is definitely different than living independently, but in many ways, there are several similarities. Those who are living in a transitional living home receive the opportunity to get a glimpse into what their everyday life will look like when they move home. They will have experience balancing their recovery with things such as going to work, sticking to a budget, and managing a social life. Additionally, the nature of this environment gives people the opportunity to learn and grow as a person. Staff members provide resources and guidance that can help individuals decide on a career path, set goals, and truly understand what it is they want from life. 

How to Cope Mental Illness Within Grown Children

Your child is going to need support while they reside in a transitional living home. Certainly, they will obtain encouragement through our staff and others in the program, but the support they can get from their family is priceless. We understand that the entire process of going to treatment and developing recovery is an exhausting one, despite how beneficial it is. But, the truth is that even though your child has completed a large portion of the footwork, there is still more work to be done. You and your family can work together to be the strong support system that your child needs right now by adhering to a few simple tips.

Empower Your Child

The power of positivity cannot be underestimated in a situation such as this, where your child is working to change their lives for the better. During this time, empower your child by recognizing all of their accomplishments (both big and small) and encouraging them to keep going. Simply telling your child that they can do it can make a world of difference in their recovery. Keep a positive mindset so that you and your child can reach the goal of a happy, sober way of life.

Remain Non-Judgmental 

Early recovery is a very vulnerable time in a person’s life, as tugging on several proverbial strings in hopes of untying a huge knot can be challenging. There are likely going to be times where your child is recounting the many instances where they feel they failed their family members, friends, or even themselves. They may be judging their own past actions and carrying around the shame and guilt that those actions have produced. Therefore, it is critical that you remain non-judgmental during this time. Remember, addiction is a disease and that disease can of course be heartbreaking. But, judging your child on their past behaviors or on what they are attempting to do for themselves now will only set everyone back a few steps.

Communicate Often

Even though you may not be together or even close by, it is important to ensure that you are keeping a clear line of communication open with your child. Of course, this might not be as easy as you would like, especially if you are both working on mending old wounds, but doing so can be beneficial in many ways. Not only are you able to get an inside look into what your child is going through, but your child is able to feel loved and supported by their parent(s) at a time when they need it most. 

Transitional Living in Los Angeles

Whether you are battling drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness, or failure to launch syndrome, your struggle is valid and you deserve help. The only way to improve your life is to move forward in a positive direction. Transitional housing can help you along the way. At Riviera Recovery, your success means everything to us. We want to set you up for long-term improvement and sustainable solutions. To learn more about our transitional living options or to get started today, please give us a call or visit our admissions page.

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