This article is by thefix.com
What’s your environment like? When you were living with addiction your environment might have been filled with people coming and going, so-called friends that you couldn’t actually trust. It might have been loud or unpredictable.
Just like a negative environment can contribute to the chaos of addiction, a healthy environment can help you thrive in recovery. While you’re in addiction treatment, you start learning about the benefits of a positive and healthy environment, but once rehab is over you might need to create one of your own.
Here are 8 steps toward creating an environment that will make staying sober just a little bit easier.
- Find a safe and stable place to live. Knowing that you have a safe, warm and stable place to live removes a ton of stress. Think about where you will live when you leave rehab. Do you have a place to go home to? Would you benefit from the accountability of a sober living house? Do you have a friend or sober family member who would welcome you for a few months?
- Cut ties with the people who enable your addiction. Now that you’re creating a healthy environment, you need to protect it from people who encourage you to use drugs or alcohol. Old friends from your addiction days might undermine your sobriety, intentionally or unintentionally. Changing your phone number or purging your social media is a great way to start distancing yourself from people who are unhealthy.
- Establish your boundaries. On that note, there will be people in your life who might trigger you, but who you still choose to have an ongoing relationship with. Think about what boundaries you want to have with these people. For example, you might ask a family member to not contact you, but promise you will call them once a month. Or, you might be willing to meet someone in public, but ask that they not come to your house. Once you’ve decided what your boundaries are, tell the person. Then, be prepared to stand firm if that person doesn’t respect your boundaries.
- Keep things tidy. Having an environment that is clean and tidy can help you feel that you deserve order and stability in your life. Take a day to organize your space — whether that is a bunk in a sober living or a whole house. Then, each night before bed take 5-15 minutes to tidy everything and reset it for the next day. This simple habit will make your mornings much more streamlined.
- Focus on calm. Once you have a clean space, you can fill it with tools to help you calm yourself. You might want to buy some noise-canceling headphones, for when you need a moment way from the world. A candle, scented spritzer, or soft blanket can all engage your senses and help you feel at peace when you have a tough day.
- Evaluate your digital environment. These days, social media is everywhere. While scrolling can be a great way to zone out, spending too much time online can take a toll on your mental health. If you find that reading the news is contributing to your anxiety, or that looking at Facebook makes you feel bad about yourself, limit your time online. Instead of checking in constantly, limit your media use to ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the afternoon.
- Find a recovery community. When it comes to sobriety, there’s safety in numbers. Having sober friends who you can hang out with or who you can call when you’re having a tough day will help you navigate recovery. Check out a meeting, keep in touch with your treatment program’s alumni network, or join sober social media groups to find like-minded people in your area.
- Establish a routine. In early recovery, you’re trying to do a lot: going to meetings, rebuilding your relationships and career, starting healthy habits. A routine is very useful for making sure you accomplish all you’re trying to do. You don’t have to adhere to a strict schedule, but having a loose routine will provide your days with structure and predictability.
At first, creating your sober environment can be daunting. Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once. Over time, you can create a sober environment that makes you feel calm, safe and centered in order to meet the challenges of recovery.