“Safety” is a word used a lot throughout recovery. While it is undoubtedly an important component of substance abuse or mental health recovery, it can be difficult to define exactly what “safety” means to each individual. Exploring the different definitions of safety can help each person create safe environments outside of the recovery sphere. This will ensure that one’s time at home with family or friends is still a place where one can focus on their recovery, feel vulnerable, or employ therapeutic strategies with confidence.
Exploring the Different Elements of Safety
Safety comes in a number of forms. This word typically evokes images of security from physical harm, such as being in the “safe” part of a neighborhood. However, safety actually contains many more elements, with physical safety being only the beginning.
Regardless, physical safety is still very important. Feeling like one is not in physical danger from roommates or relationships is paramount. Abusive relationships can turn one’s home into a perpetual source of anxiety, compromising many other recovery strategies and progress. Likewise, the foundation of one’s living space can also impact one’s feeling of physical safety. Weakened or broken windows or doors that do not lock properly all can compromise this feeling of physical safety.
Emotional safety is just as important as one’s physical safety. Feeling as if an individual is not supported or allowed to express their emotions can cause a buildup of stress, anxiety, and depression. Feeling secure in one’s ability to express their emotions is a core component of recovery. Emotional safety can also include being free from lies or feelings of deception, as well as free from emotional manipulation tactics such as guilt, blame, gaslighting, and more.
For those in recovery from substance abuse, even seeing posters of Bud Light or other alcoholic products can compromise one’s mental and emotional safety. Their own environment may not be supportive of their sober transformation, ostracizing themselves even while in their own home.
Safety Isn’t Avoidance
Stress is commonplace throughout any kind of recovery. While safety can often be equated with the elimination of stress from one’s environment, this is not entirely true. There can still be a plethora of stressful parts of the day, even while still remaining safe. Maintaining daily routines, coping with stressors, tending to responsibilities, and retaining accountability can all be difficult parts of the day while still remaining safe.
Safe environments can still be challenging as safety is not the elimination of any and all unwanted feelings. Rather, safety is the security of knowing that if stress does become difficult to deal with, there are spaces and supportive people around to help an individual cope with the stress in a healthy way while prioritizing one’s sobriety and recovery goals. Being able to confront conflict and stress with the knowledge that one has access to supportive outlets and a space to retreat or provide oneself mental and emotional respite are the hallmarks of a safe environment.
Creating a Safe Environment of Your Own
While one’s time in a recovery facility can be curated with safety in mind, moving out of these facilities and back to living on one’s own or with family or friends can be difficult. However, using one’s experience within a recovery facility can help an individual structure their own safe environment.
Using Therapeutic Outlets
One’s proximity to therapeutic outlets and practices is one of the greatest assets of a recovery facility, as a person is never left feeling as if there is not a new option to try. Using the most effective therapies at home can continue this kind of support. For some, this can mean setting up a space dedicated directly to one’s art or music therapy, while others may have their own yoga studio where they can practice uninterrupted. Having these outlets around can add a feeling of safety by allowing an individual to utilize their own best practices at even the toughest parts of the day.
Boundaries are an important component of safety. These boundaries are essential for feeling in control, as well as an exercise in trust. Working with roommates and family members to establish boundaries early on can help each person feel safer in their own home as they embrace their personal space and privacy.
Having one’s bedroom off-limits unless absolutely necessary can allow each individual to have a place to retreat and decompress after a stressful day. This agency can also be used to allow an individual to display their own decor, adding a degree of personal interest and control over one’s environment, empowering an individual, and helping to create a more comfortable atmosphere.
Working With Others
Those who share one’s living space are intimately tied to the feeling of safety therein. Relationships of any kind are complicated. Ensuring a degree of emotional safety includes effective communication to avoid misconceptions or conflicts. Having weekly meetings where all are allowed to speak candidly without blame is necessary, as well as directed exercises to help roommates and family members better understand one’s needs and goals in recovery.
Safety is an essential part of the recovery process, and whether you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, substance abuse, or mental health disorders, Everlast Recovery Centers can help you take the first step towards your healthy future today. Our comfortable, intimate, and home-like atmosphere permeate into our communities, creating small groups of understanding peers and professionals who are dedicated to recovery in a safe and supportive environment. This approach allows each individual to challenge their own identity and transformation in a safe way all while embracing new therapeutic approaches, such as art and music therapy, yoga, meditation, and much more. Your time is also backed by education, relapse prevention, and even parenting classes, and a smoking cessation program designed to help you address all of the changes and goals in your life. For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to a caring staff member today at (866) 338-6925.