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Recovering from an addiction isn’t easy when you feel as though you have to do it on your own. Relapse is often a huge problem among recovering addicts, with anywhere from 40-60% of individuals relapsing after they’ve gone through some type of treatment.
There are many different factors that can contribute to addiction in the first place. Sometimes it’s genetic. Other times, though, it’s your environmental factors that can make a big difference. That includes the places you go and the people you spend time with.
Once you’ve gone through a treatment program or you’ve sought out professional help to find freedom from your addiction, your road to recovery is really just beginning. It’s the perfect time to develop a new lease on life. You can keep yourself busy in productive ways by:
- Staying physically active
- Doing things outside
- Growing in your spirituality
- Doing something creative
But recovering from addiction shouldn’t be something you have to do alone. In fact, that often makes it more difficult. It’s important to surround yourself with people who will support your recovery, rather than hinder it. Undoubtedly, some people will understand more than others, and some will be a bigger help to you than others.
Finding the right people to surround yourself with can make the difference between breaking the chains of addiction or slipping into a relapse. So how can you make sure you’re surrounded by the support you need?
Setting Boundaries for Yourself
Setting boundaries is an important part of any long-term recovery. There are personal boundaries you’ll have to set that you may not fully recognize right away. For example, you might not realize something is a trigger until you’re actually in the thick of it. So you’ll then understand that you need to avoid that particular situation as you move forward.
Setting boundaries for yourself also means you’ll need to choose who you spend your time with, including your own family.
For example, if you’re invited to a family function where you know there will be alcohol and you’re not comfortable with it, it’s up to you to either choose not to attend or to put a plan in place that keeps your sobriety secure. Not everyone in your life is going to change their activities or values based on your recovery. Some people will be more willing to. But setting your own personal boundaries with the people in your life will make a big difference.
It’s also important to set boundaries when it comes to the people who can influence you. Maybe you come from a family where drinking is casual but happens often, and it’s encouraged. Maybe your friends’ idea of a good time is heading out to the bar a few nights a week, but it often leads to other types of substance abuse.
It’s appropriate and healthy to express yourself to your friends and family regarding your recovery. Those who are willing to make changes based on your needs can be the people you choose to spend more time with, away from temptation and triggers.
Keeping it Real With Roommates
Whether you’re already living with roommates or you’re moving somewhere new, your living space should also be a safe space for you. Stress can be a common trigger for addiction, so learning how to deal with it, especially in your own home, can make a big difference in your recovery.
If you’re living with others, it’s important to be upfront with them about your recovery process. The people you live with need to be able to respect your lifestyle and the healthy, positive choices you’re making to be free from addiction.
If you’re looking for a new roommate or moving into a place where people are already living together, be sure to have an honest, upfront conversation with them. One of the best tips in finding a good roommate is never to lie about the things you’re dealing with that could impact them, too. They can either turn into a built-in support system or a trigger. A good roommate can actually help you through your recovery journey by:
- Educating themselves on addiction
- Finding new activities you can do together
- Reducing your stress
- Encouraging you to seek professional support if you’re struggling
Feeling secure and free from temptation where you live should be a right, not a privilege. Creating a space for yourself that can help you to combat your triggers shouldn’t be something the people you live with look down on. If your roommates are living a lifestyle that isn’t conducive to your recovery, it could be time to look elsewhere for a place to live.
Where to Turn for Support
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
You’re bound to run into conflict with the people in your life when it comes to your recovery lifestyle. People may be used to you acting a certain way, and now you don’t act that way anymore. Or, maybe they’ll feel judged or guilty because you don’t want to participate in the same activities. That can be a very hard reality for a recovering addict to accept since it can feel as though you’re losing the people in your life who matter most.
Unfortunately, those feelings can be triggering, and lead to a relapse.
If you feel as though you’re not fully supported by the people in your life, you’re not alone. Seeking out help through counseling apps can get you through those triggering times. You can also talk to a therapist or counselor in person, or join an addiction recovery group where you’ll meet others going through the same journey, even in different stages of it. Knowing there are other people struggling just as much can help you to feel better about your situation, so you’ll remain strong in your choices. When you choose to surround yourself with the right people, you’re deciding to be the person you want to be; someone free from addiction forever.