Recovery Pathways: Recovery Environment

Recovery Pathways: Recovery Environment

The environment that a person in recovery is exposed to and surrounded by can play a vital role in the recovery journey. Attempting to heal in the same environment that contributed to addiction or mental illness is futile unless significant changes are made to the environment. A recovery environment promotes healing and wellness in all aspects of one’s life, from the physical environment to the people and circumstances that surround the individual in recovery.

Treatment Environment

Rehab, sober living programs, and mental health facilities are considered treatment environments. These environments can provide a safe space while individuals detox, stabilize, and begin or restart their recovery journey. Stays at these facilities are generally not long-term; rather, stays can range from a few weeks to several months. Once stability has been established, the individual is expected to return to life outside the facility and the treatment environment. The environment they return to can play a pivotal role in the success or failure of recovery.

Home Environment- dysfunctional family dynamics

The behaviors, actions, and reactions of others in the home or family unit cannot be controlled. In the course of treatment, many coping skills can be learned to help manage the individual’s reactions and feelings in response to house members. Toxic and dysfunctional family dynamics can hinder the recovery process, especially if family members have an untreated mental illness or unaddressed addictions. The best course of action in these situations is to leave the environment for a healthier one. Unfortunately, this may not be financially feasible for many. The goal of leaving a toxic environment can act as a motivator, inspiring the individual to obtain employment and change their circumstances. Another option may be staying with a supportive friend or family member or seeking alternative housing programs.


Friends and acquaintances can heavily influence recovery. Cutting out friends that contribute to addictive behaviors and toxic patterns can be challenging and isolating. This step is necessary for sustainable recovery. Surrounding oneself with positive role models and influences can make this process easier to manage. Finding a supportive recovery community can be easier than it sounds. Faith communities, support groups, 12-step programs, workout classes, and schools or recreational classes are all viable options for seeking connection with people who will help contribute to sustainable recovery.


A toxic and stressful work environment can contribute to relapse. Taking a serious inventory of stressors can help an individual evaluate the benefits and risks of keeping a certain job or role. Career changes are common for individuals in recovery. They may present the opportunity for an individual to discover true purpose and direction.

By addressing environmental factors that contribute to illness or addiction, the individual in recovery increases their chances of maintaining health and sobriety.