People who struggle with addiction have many triggers that they learn to cope with as they stay clean for a length of time. When a person goes to treatment, they’re in a safe space where they can feel free to explore their addiction and find a path to recovery. Treatment centers are without judgment, and the environment is supporting and welcoming. Unfortunately, that’s not always true with the rest of the world. Not everyone accepts a person’s newfound recovery, and this can be a problem for people who just got clean.
3 Ways Returning to Your Old Environment Can Be Stressful
A lot of the stress some people face is induced by their environments, which can be a trigger for people in recovery. If you live with somebody who uses drugs or alcohol, does not support your recovery, or is verbally abusive, it will be tough to stay clean.
What kinds of stresses do people in recovery face when they return home from treatment?
- Family dynamics and interactions: Many people return home to live with their family. This may mean their mother and father or their wife and kids. If somebody is using or there are frequent arguments, this is not the healthiest place to start your new life in recovery. Recovery is about improving your life and learning new behavior patterns, but you can’t force anyone to grow with you.
- Friends: Is your old home sharing a house with friends who use? Do you live too close to your old hang-out spots? People who you used to use with can be a huge trigger for relapse, especially if you are feeling frustrated, lonely, or overwhelmed.
- Social media: We’ve talked about returning to your old social ties, but what about returning to your old social media accounts? People use social media to keep in touch and show off their current life. Social media can be a trigger if you’re friends with people who are constantly glamorizing their drug and alcohol use or seem to be “great” even if they’re using heroin secretly on the side. Social media isn’t the real world, but it can be toxic just the same. People usually only show the “good side” of things, and if you’re social media “friends” with people who are using, this can mess with your head. Stay off Facebook, Twitter, etc. until you’re ready to do a purge of those old friends or start over with a new account.
These influences can be triggers, but they don’t have to make you risk your sobriety. Some people find that going home is painful and dangerous to their recovery, and they choose to return to a different environment once treatment is over.
Knowledge is power, and knowing that these things are triggers can help you avoid them or learn to cope with them. You can leave the house when somebody is using and go to a meeting instead. You can ask your sponsor to help you decide what you want to do about your social media accounts. Today, as a sober person, you have many choices. You’re not stuck anywhere unless you choose to be.
Consider Sober Living
What if you think that your home situation is too hard to handle as a person new to recovery? The good news is that there are sober living situations available to you, and you can plug into the network pretty easily. Some people choose to live in sober homes until they are ready to return to their family, while others use sober homes as a building block to a new life and don’t return to their old environment at all.
If you’re interested in sober living situations, please take the time to look at our directory or give us a call at 760-402-5682 for help.