Sobriety is elusive at best. It’s undoubtedly challenging to live a sober life, and just as hard to maintain for any considerable length. There are a few keys to success, and one of them is undoubtedly changing your environment.
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Relapse Prevention is Key to a Sober Life
Humans are creatures of habit. When we get accustomed to doing things in a certain way, it’s complicated to break the cycle and start doing otherwise, even when we know we need to, like in the case of addiction. One of the number one things that doctors will recommend is living somewhere new when an addict leaves treatment, preferably in a sober living home, to avoid slipping right back into the habits that got you into rehab in the first place. However, leaving your friends and family behind can be challenging.
The Impact of Toxic People Around You
Based on habits formed, specific places and situations in your life can be toxic. Memory and association have a significant impact on how we act and react to a problem. It is easier to change habits when some distance occurs, and we are allowed to grow as people. Thus, at the beginning of recovery, it is crucial to make distinct changes to qualify for this growth to occur.
However, don’t think that merely changing the environment will keep you away from toxic individuals. If you don’t change yourself, you’ll continue to gravitate towards toxicity, no matter where you live. For those who choose to change the scenery, it’s best to stay with a sober friend that can help you avoid situations that interfere with your long-term sobriety, hopefully in a substance-free environment.
Starting somewhere new feels like a blank slate. You don’t have memories and habits associated and can form new healthy ones.
However, when you don’t have a support system around, you’re more likely to relapse. Staying sober is an ongoing process that needs a robust and compassionate support system. Of course, you can always walk into an alcoholics anonymous (AA) meeting, which are great resources to help addicts maintain their sobriety.
But, there are some benefits to changing environment:
- You’ll see the countless opportunities your sober life has to offer.
- It will be easier to break up toxic relationships.
- A new environment gives you a new perspective.
To Achieve Long-term Sobriety More Needs to Change
You cannot rely solely on a change of location to keep you sober. There isn’t a magical geographical area that will help you stay away from substances. Recovery is hard work, and you need to make it a priority to earn substantial sober time. The positive side of healing starts with you, and not your location.
There’s no need to leave your hometown behind to find sobriety. Addiction treatment centers offer various drug treatment programs designed to give you the illusion of a new environment. Inpatient treatments can be helpful for those who need a break from their everyday life. Sometimes having this shock and slowly, with support, go back to home can be a better alternative to live a successful sober life.
Maintaining Long-term Sobriety
In relapse prevention, five different elements remain constant. Whether you’re struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, practicing these long-term sobriety strategies will help you succeed.
- Building Resilience – Turn to your support system, friends and family, sponsors, or group meetings to help you build the resistance you need to avoid temptation.
- Delaying Gratification – Learning to value hard work and the delay gratification that comes with waiting for the things you work towards.
- Finding Hobbies – Discovering healthy outlets to support your mental health and overall wellbeing can be critical for a sober life.
- Volunteering – Giving back to others is an excellent way to practice gratitude and lift the spirit.
- Setting Goals – While most treatment programs have milestones and goals, you should create your own. Having recovery goals will give you a sense of purpose and celebration when you reach these goals.
One last element, think of this as a bonus — be easy on yourself. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. You’ll change your surrounding environment along your journey countless times, but the most crucial environmental change you need lies within you. Adversity will present itself, and you’ll rise to the situation with the tools you gained through your recovery journey. Be humble enough to recognize your mistakes and setbacks, and confident enough to turn those weaknesses into your strengths to keep pushing and continue to evolve as a person.
Continuing Your Sober Life
Close to 85% of addicts relapse in the first three to five years of recovery. If this is you, don’t feel defeated. A relapse doesn’t mean the end of the tunnel. It means you’re evolving, and you’re human.
Our inpatient treatment programs are structured to offer you a sense of change in your environment and your life at the Lighthouse Recovery Institute. If you are a recovering addict struggling to maintain a sober life, contact us today to find the system that works for your unique needs. Whether it means joining group sessions or discussing your struggles with one of our therapists, we’re here to help you.