The Importance of Your Environment During Recovery

“You cannot heal in the same place you got sick.” If you are a part of the mental health or addiction recovery community, you have most likely seen this quote before. It is shared so often because it is so true - your environment plays a crucial role in your overall healing and development as a person. When you are recovering from addiction, you cannot expect to hang out in the same places, spend time with the same people, and practice the same routine and expect to recover fully. Your environment plays a vital role in recovery because it can promote healthy living and help you avoid triggers. Understanding this will help you maintain long-term sobriety and learn how to change your environment for the better.

Defining ‘Environment’

Your environment in relation to recovery is a general term that refers to the circumstances or conditions that surround you. Your environment includes the people, places, and things surrounding you and influences your thinking, behaviors, and decisions. It typically includes your family, home, work, and social environments and can consist of your treatment environment if you have entered into treatment.

Impact of Environment on Addiction

Your environment plays a significant role in your risk of developing an addiction along with your genetics. It is worth noting that the same environmental factors that can cause addiction can also cause relapse if you have already gotten sober. Knowing what to look out for in your environment will help you avoid potential dangers to your sobriety and make the necessary changes to improve it.

Potential environmental risks include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Family dysfunction
  • Unstable home life
  • Unsafe community
  • History of trauma
  • Stress occurring at work or school

The Treatment Environment

You cannot heal in the same place you got sick. Willpower alone will not help you get sober. Instead, entering into a treatment facility will give you the best chance at recovery. Ensuring that you choose a facility that meets your individual needs and has a suitable environment for recovery will provide you with the best chance at long-term sobriety. 

It is essential to think about the location, treatment modalities, and programs offered by the facility. Getting treatment in a big city may not be the best place to heal due to the constant stressors surrounding you. Instead, a facility nestled in a more tranquil and quiet area, such as Northstar Transitions, can provide you with an oasis for healing. Northstar is settled in Boulder, Colorado, amongst the Flatirons rock formations and offers various treatment modalities to help you heal. Programs offered include residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment. Modalities offered include but are not limited to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), family therapy, somatic therapy, motivational interviewing, experiential therapies, mindfulness, and more. Finding what works for you will put you on the right track to a happy and sober life.

Changing Your Environment After Treatment

Going through treatment does not mean you are forever healed from addiction. You will repeatedly need to fight for your sobriety and utilize the various coping methods learned in treatment to cope with triggers. However, you will also need to make changes to your environment to support long-term recovery. 


Once you are navigating the real world outside of treatment, you cannot go back to hanging out at the same places you did while you were using. These may serve as triggers and can lead to relapse. Instead of going to the bar, go to a coffee shop or park with some friends for your Friday night get-togethers.


The individuals that you used drugs and alcohol with will most likely be the ones to drag you down into relapse if you allow them. Cutting out friends that are bad influences in your life can be difficult, but it is necessary for recovery. Surround yourself with positive influences that support your sobriety and won’t tempt you.


You may not be able to control how others behave at home, but you may be able to control where home is. Try to remove yourself from toxic family situations if possible by staying with a friend or getting your own place to live. It is also not wise to have drug paraphernalia at home, as this can serve as a trigger. Remove any drug paraphernalia before returning home by asking a friend to help you prepare for your arrival.

Your environment plays a significant role in the things you do and how you feel. It is extremely common for one’s environment to play a role in addiction development, as peer pressure and other factors can push them towards drugs and alcohol as an escape. This is why one’s environment must change when one gets sober. Changing your environment includes your home life, friends, and even places you go to avoid potential triggers. Your treatment environment is also crucial, and great care must be taken to ensure a facility is right for you. Consider the programs offered and what modalities are used to see if the place is a right fit for you. Luckily, Northstar Transitions offers various treatment programs and modalities tailored to each client’s individual needs in recovery. The NorthStar difference is clinical excellence, evidence-based therapeutic modalities, personalized treatment plans, and our location in the serene and majestic setting of Boulder, Colorado. You can find healing amongst our expertly trained staff who will help you navigate real-life recovery. Call us today to learn more at (303) 558-6400.

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