Overcoming an addiction requires real and meaningful lifestyle changes that support a life in recovery. Your living environment after treatment is an important factor in successful recovery, and staying mindful of your home life is crucial in early recovery.
Here are four essential ways to make your living environment conducive to recovery once you return home.
1. Keep it clean.
The old adage is true: chaos in the home is chaos in the mind. Keeping things tidy around the house not only makes your life easier and less stressful, but it also promotes mental clarity and positive feelings.
You don’t have to be an impeccable housekeeper to keep a tidy home. Vacuuming once a week, doing the laundry and keeping the dishes done, the bathroom clean and things picked up around the house is all you need to do to have a neat, clean home. Make a chore schedule, and stick to it to help keep you on track and prevent messes and dirt from accumulating.
2. Make it home.
Relaxation and stress relief is crucial in early recovery. Your home is your haven, and as such, it should feel homey, cozy and welcoming. Surround yourself with things you love so that your place is a positive reflection of you, and make space for working on hobbies, whether that entails a comfy place to read or write or a dedicated space for tying fishing lures.
3. Make sure it’s drug- and alcohol-free.
If you live alone, it will be easy to keep your home free of drugs and alcohol. But if you live with other people, it will be important to get their cooperation in keeping the home substance-free. Easy, immediate access to drugs or alcohol can lead to relapse, especially in the early weeks and months after treatment. If you can’t get your living mates to agree to a drug- and alcohol-free home, it’s probably best to find another living situation.
4. Keep it as stress-free as possible.
Stress is a major trigger for relapse, and keeping your living environment after treatment as stress-free as possible is important both for your sobriety and for your general overall health and well-being. If your home is dysfunctional due to family problems, family therapy can help you and your family members sort through these and improve your communication skills. A tidy environment is important, too, and so is paying your rent and bills on time. The less stress at home, the better your chances of long-term recovery.
Sober Living Homes Offer a Safe, Stable Living Environment After Treatment
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses the importance of a safe, stable living environment after treatment for long-term sobriety.1 If your current living situation is neither safe nor stable, or you don’t feel good about where you live for other reasons, a sober living facility offers safety, stability, structure and support after treatment.
A recent study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs found that a sober living environment improves your chances of long-term abstinence and reduces mental illness symptoms, improves employment and reduces arrests.2 A sober living environment after treatment gives you the opportunity to develop healthy, meaningful relationships with others in treatment and provides the time, space and support to develop healthy habits for successful long-term recovery.