In a way, recovery is all about the six inches between your ears: your mindset and mental determination are your biggest tool in achieving success in sobriety. That said, your physical environment as you move through the recovery process can make a big impact on your progress.
The people you interact with on a daily basis will form your casual social network and you want to make sure to populate that network with people who will be positive influences, or at least won’t be negative ones. You also want to set yourself up for success by placing yourself into an environment that gives you access to recovery resources like therapy and 12-Step groups. As always, be sure to consult with your support network on the best options for this new chapter of your life.
- Should I Stay or Should I Go?
One of the key decisions you must make as you plan your recovery is whether you should go back home to wherever you were living before you decided to change. It’s possible that home, for you, is a place of support and emotional stability. Maybe it’ll put you close to the friends you trust or the family who want to help you through this next stage in your life. In such a case, going home might be a good thing.
For others, the temptations of home may simply be too great. If your old living space will put you near people who will pressure you to use, let you be too close to old hangout spots for comfort, or is even in a metropolitan area with several liquor stores–know yourself and what will and won’t help you in your recovery. What’s right for someone else may not be right for you; there’s no universal rule here. Consult with your treatment professionals and support system to determine the best place to start over.
- Location, Location, Location
Another way in which your environment can affect your recovery is by having access to resources you can use. Living in the heart of the city might offer advantages in location, such as being close to a park, a gym, 12-Step meetings, and friends you can rely on, but might come with drawbacks like a plethora of bars, a harder-partying social circle, and a fast-paced atmosphere which could work against mental calm or meditation. In contrast, a more remote location might foster the peace of mind and tranquility you need to develop inner fortitude, but may be lacking in some other resources that would fill your daily life with more opportunities.
Survey your options carefully when considering where to begin this next phase of your life. It may sound obvious, but you want to put yourself in a position to have access to recovery staples like therapy, a 12-Step program or support group, and your sponsor. Many find a change of scenery can be helpful in hitting the emotional reset button, though some prefer the familiarity of their hometown.
- Roommates in Recovery
One tactic taken by many people in recovery is to pair up with one or more roommates who are also in recovery. This has its clear advantages: you can hold one another accountable, share resources and social connections, and you know you don’t have to worry about your roommate bringing a party home behind them (hopefully!)
On the other hand, living with a stranger can be difficult for some people who are already trying to make big changes. Alternatively, you might get mileage out of living with a trusted friend who you know will support you and keep your sobriety a priority in your shared space.
- The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Besides your living space, another environment that can affect you is your professional situation. Depending on your job, you might work around people who you don’t wish to open up to about recovery. You may be surrounded by people who openly drink or use drugs and give you opportunities to do the same. You may also be affected by intense levels of professional stress or pressure, coming from demanding supervisors, a high-energy work environment, or tall standards for success.
Remember that while work is important, it isn’t everything. When planning your recovery, make sure to factor in what your job is like and, if necessary, make changes to your professional situation or approach based on your needs. Your recovery is a vital part of your life right now and many employers will understand if you need to adjust to this new reality. Depending on your job, you may be entitled to changes in position or circumstance that will keep you and your sobriety out of harm’s way. Know your options.
- Going Residential
Many people find it helpful to spend the earlier part of their recovery living in a residential center or program designed to help them through this critical phase of their journey. These programs offer comprehensive services from therapy to medical treatment, peer support groups, and 24/7 presence to ensure you have the emotional assistance and behavioral accountability to keep you on track.
People who choose residential programs generally retain a higher rate of sobriety after one year than people who recover at home or on their own. Consult with your treatment professionals about whether a residential program would meet your needs.
Your environment can make or break the success of your recovery. Surround yourself with people you can trust, a support system that will hold you accountable and offer your emotional guidance, and activities and programs that will lead you to complete your transformation into a healthy, sober person and make your wellbeing a priority. At Everlast Recovery Centers in Riverside, California, we provide a safe, comfortable environment designed to encourage you and push you to succeed in overcoming addiction, making progress in recovery, and building the life you want for yourself. We offer a combination of physical and mental exercises, therapy, peer support groups, medical treatment, and long-term life counseling. Staying in a treatment center can kickstart your recovery in a way that goes far beyond what you could do for yourself at home. How you choose to embark on your journey of recovery is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make–don’t go it alone. Call 866-DETOX-25 to learn more.