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The Importance of the Environment in Addiction Treatment and Recovery

The environment a person lives in has a direct influence on the likelihood of them developing a substance use disorder or relapsing after completing inpatient alcohol rehab. An environment is an important factor in recovery and the conditions surrounding a person at work, home or in social settings have a direct bearing on how they will navigate life when they are substance-free.

How Environment Plays a Role in Developing an Addiction

An individual’s environment accounts for around half of the risk of developing substance use disorder, with genetic factors accounting for the remaining half. The most common environmental risks include:

  • Instability at home
  • Family dysfunction
  • A history of trauma
  • Stress at home, work or school
  • An enabling community
  • Peer pressure

Addiction is a relapsing illness and the same factors that influence a person to develop addiction initially, often go on to present a threat to their sobriety in recovery. This is one of the main reasons addiction treatment focuses on promoting change so that individuals are able to return to familiar environments without placing themselves at risk of relapsing.

The Treatment Environment

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), willpower and a desire to quit are rarely enough to stop a person’s addictive behavior. This is due to the complexities of addiction and the variables of underlying causes and co-existing mental health conditions. No two people are the same when they enter inpatient drug rehab and their individual needs must be addressed in order for them to overcome environmental pressures after attending an inpatient drug rehab center.

One of the most important considerations when choosing an inpatient drug rehab center is the environment it offers. Research shows that it is vital to consider the environment when researching inpatient alcohol rehab options. For many people with substance abuse issues, inpatient drug rehab is recommended as the most effective choice. For the majority of people dealing with addiction, removing them completely from familiar environments is essential for them to focus without distraction on getting better.

There is still a widely held misconception that rehab centers are like prisons, with patients locked in rooms so they can’t access drugs or alcohol. This couldn’t be further from the truth because it serves no purpose to coerce people into inpatient alcohol rehab. One of the most important steps in a person’s recovery journey is to take responsibility for addictive behaviors, which means they have to want to stay in an inpatient drug rehab center for their own considered reasons.

Sober Homes for Early Recovery

Not everyone in rehab comes from supportive home life, with family and friends gathered around to support them. Some people might be being enabled by those close to them who use drugs and alcohol openly, encouraging everyone present to do the same. Others may be in acutely stressful situations or difficult relationships which introduce additional emotional pressures to deal with as well as maintaining sobriety.

Sober homes are like “half-way” houses we people who have completed residential rehab can remain in a safe environment until they are well enough to return home or find alternative living arrangements. Individuals who have worked through their issues in an inpatient drug rehab center will have already faced and overcome many significant challenges. Returning home after rehab should be a smooth transition that is supported by aftercare in an outpatient program. For people who are not lucky enough to be able to return home easily, sober homes offer the best temporary solution.

Sober homes are generally managed by residents and therapists and everyone residing there are at varying stages of addiction recovery. This promotes a household or community spirit as residents learn how to live with each other in their sobriety. There are rules to follow in sober homes and everyone also has duties and responsibilities to take care of. This provides a healthy living environment that many recovering addicts may not have available to them at home. Mutual support and the common goal of maintaining the sober home serve as strong motivation for individuals to continue substance-free living.

Why Environment Matters

As human beings, our environment completely determines our state of mind and behavior. If there is stress in the household or a person with mental health issues, it affects everyone else sharing the same space. This is the main reason why whole families are affected by one person’s substance abuse.

However, it is important for a recovering addict to learn how to adapt to familiar environments from a healthier perspective. It simply isn’t possible to stay in an inpatient drug rehab center or a sober home arrangement for the long term as the most vital aspect of recovery is returning to how things were before drugs or alcohol while remaining substance-free.

Inpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs offer the opportunity to completely alter the environment associated with addiction. While patients are in a sober space where the focus on their treatment they learn valuable coping mechanisms to help them after rehab. When they leave the center, an aftercare program will be offered to enable individuals to adapt to their home environment and put everything they’ve learned in rehab into practice.

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