There is no question that different environments have a direct effect on one’s well-being. In relation to recovery, the environment can refer to a specific place or any other factors surrounding an individual during their journey. Particular settings can influence the likelihood of developing an addiction, relapsing while in recovery, or building a successful path to sobriety. While being in a more positive atmosphere can help produce better thoughts, being in a more negative atmosphere produces more challenging thoughts.
Some examples of environmental risks while in recovery include peer pressure or living in a non-sober environment, unresolved trauma or family trauma, inability to find sober hobbies or peer groups, or ongoing stress from work or school. Finding supportive environments and positive environmental factors can help decrease potential risks and find solutions that lead to a more successful recovery.
Finding Support in Different Environments
Whether someone has just begun their recovery journey or has been in recovery for a while, a supportive environment is crucial in moving forward with their journey to sobriety. There are numerous treatment programs surrounding mental health and addiction, where support can be found from professionals and others who have been through recovery. Outside of treatment, support can be found in a variety of ways.
Examples of a supportive environment include:
- Feeling comfortable discussing mental health challenges and showing authentic emotions
- Living with individuals that understand addiction and recovery as a journey
- Surrounding oneself with individuals that seek out sober interactions
- Continuing outpatient treatment or therapy to encourage a healthy mindset
- Utilizing resources that foster empathy, compassion, and love
- Engaging In extracurriculars that increase personal growth
Supportive Home Environment
An individual’s home environment plays a pivotal role in acknowledging their addiction and maintaining recovery. Having a supportive home environment may be one of the most critical factors in reaching sobriety. It is crucial that family or roommates understand addiction and keep the home a sober environment. This alleviates any pressure for the person in recovery to think about drinking or using, and instead, can find safety from these pressures while at home.
External environments are more unpredictable and can foster pressure and anxiety. This helps to understand that the home environment must be, and should be, a safe space for those residing there. A supportive home environment may look like authentically sharing thoughts and emotions, being able to ask for help when needed, and showing forgiveness when necessary.
Supportive Peer Groups
Having a supportive peer group helps an individual to feel connected and loved, which fosters a more positive recovery experience. After an individual experiences treatment, it will not benefit them to stick with the same crowd that was drinking or using with them before. They must seek out support from other peer groups, perhaps ones that are experiencing recovery themselves.
Group therapies or sober hobbies help deter the mind from intrusive thoughts and create empowering peer groups with individuals experiencing similar temptations. Having relationships with other sober people is not only encouraging but sheds a new perspective on how to be fully present in a given moment.
A supportive peer group could look like building genuine friendships, replacing challenging temptations with healthier habits, spending time together on personal growth, and using the opportunity to create new connections and relationships altogether. Whether someone is returning from inpatient rehab or a therapy session, it is crucial that they have peers outside of the home to help them integrate back into society. As mentioned previously, external environments are unpredictable. It will always help to have a supportive friend that encourages avoidance with temptations and pressures.
Locating and Participating in Uplifting Hobbies
Another important environmental factor that plays a role in recovery is having healthy and uplifting hobbies. A hobby is something that an individual does for pleasure during their free time. Filling this free time with positive hobbies can help keep the mind occupied from thinking about the addiction at hand.
There is a range of possibilities for engaging in a healthy hobby. Participating in club sports, working out, meditating, journaling, and volunteering are just a few examples of uplifting hobbies. Finding a sober activity can also help foster connections with individuals throughout the community. Having hobbies that one is passionate about gives them something to look forward to every day. It helps them acknowledge that although battling addiction is an intense challenge, everyone needs something to bring purpose to their day. Participating in a passionate hobby gives something positive to look forward to.
While some environments are hard to change, it is essential to acknowledge the consequences that some environments have over others. Bringing awareness to the environments and groups that bring support can help individuals identify where to focus their time and energy during recovery. Support systems can be created just as easily as they can be found. Supportive environments are created through empathy and education and influence how individuals personally feel about recovery.
The impact that a supportive environment has on your recovery journey is crucial. A supportive environment creates the framework for personal growth, leading to a more positive mindset about recovery. Supportive home environments and peer groups help us to feel validated and reassured, with less pressure to act as if everything is okay when it may not be. Whether you have just left residential treatment or have not yet started recovery, locating supportive environments can make all the difference in feeling worthy and loved. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we encourage finding supportive, sober hobbies and treatment options that best fit your recovery experience. We are passionate about building an intimate recovery community, so no one is ever lost in translation. Our team values a deep connection with you, and we are honored to walk alongside you as you step towards sustainable recovery. For more information about the resources we offer, call us at (760) 492-6509.