Making the Home a Relaxing Environment for Recovery
If you have a loved one recovering from addiction at home, the one thing you must do to support their recovery is to turn the home into a relaxing and healing environment. Many people who have gone through treatment relapsed because they experienced too much stress at home, whether it is due to family conflicts or chaotic schedules. Not every home is ready to be recovery-supportive, so some work may need to be done.
The Relationship Between Recovery and Stress
Quitting drugs or alcohol is not the end of recovery. One must also learn to manage cravings for substances despite triggers in life. Among everyday triggers, stress is one of the most common types. We all experience stress; it is the human reality when facing demands and uncertainty. However, some sources of stress can be avoided, which is particularly important for people in recovery.
For people in recovery, there might be different sources of stress, including uncertainty about what the future holds, uncertainty about how long recovery takes, family tensions, job loss, financial stress, and broken relationships. These different stresses can manifest in several ways in the body, including headaches, insomnia, irritability, and stronger cravings for drugs and alcohol. Because substances are used as self-medication to soothe the mind, which can be overloaded with stress, unmanaged stress can directly trigger using drugs and alcohol.
Potential Stressors in the Home Environment
When your loved one returns home from a treatment center, they have fought a tough battle to regain sobriety. As a supportive family member, you would not want to sabotage that effort. The first thing you need to do is remove all drugs and alcohol from the home. Do not reserve some in a place where you don't think your loved one can find. Doing so is like saving a ticking bomb in the home. The home has to be absolutely substance-free for someone newly sober.
Secondly, create an uncluttered and quiet space for your loved one to rest and connect with themself. Add some lush green plants to the room, which can significantly reduce stress. Help them live daily routines according to a consistent schedule. You have to be proactive in making this happen. Talk about the new schedule and ask your loved one to be on board as a kind of new resolution or commitment. A regular and unbusy schedule can de-stress from the potential daily chaos in eating and sleep times. There must be a visible break from their early habits.
Overusing TV or social media can be another stressor. Replace these activities with healthy rituals, such as walks in the park or cooking together with good music on. If your loved one still spends too much time on the smartphone and engaging in social media content, there needs to be a conversation about how social media produces stress, which can negatively affect someone in early recovery.
Creating Boundaries at Home to Destress
The most challenging task at home is to make changes in family relationships. Every home has relationship tensions. It is time to work on them by setting new boundaries. In some homes, this might show up in reducing parental arguments in front of your recovering teenager. In other homes, it may require you to change old communication habits by saying more praise and affirmation than words of criticism.
When your loved one is recovering at home, other family members also need to use this time to learn how to become recovery-supportive. Everyone plays a role in stress reduction at home. Like noise reduction or carbon footprint reduction, there are practical strategies to reduce stress at home and enhance positive feelings among family members. One key is to keep healthy boundaries in communicating and acting toward each other with an awareness of how much stress that might produce.
Helping Your Loved One to De-Stress Proactively
The entire family also needs to examine their food intake to see if it can be healthier. Unhealthy food can be another stressor on the body, although the effects do not immediately show. Learn about foods that can help boost one's mood, and commit your family meals to be more mood-boosting. Preparing healthy diets for your loved one is a way to show love and care.
As the biggest advocate for your loved one, you can also try to get them moving, as exercise is the best natural stress reliever. Try to go outside every day for a long walk or biking. Cut down on indoor gaming time for your loved one. It may be beneficial for both you and other family members to join a support group, whether in-person or virtually. Make the above suggestions into proactive goals for the entire family.
If you have a loved one who has completed treatment and returned home to recover, do you know how to best support them? A relaxing home environment is essential for people who are newly sober because the home can have many triggers that might potentially trigger a relapse. However, you can work with a professional interventionist to prepare your home. At South Florida Intervention, our trained interventionists have helped many parents and their young adult children achieve long-term recovery. Apart from recovery coaching and parent coaching, we also offer detailed case management. We can also provide a sober escort service for people who are in early sobriety. With our support, you can prepare your home into a most relaxing and trigger-free place for your loved one to recover. You do not need to do it alone. Help is here. Call us at (202) 390-2273. We will walk alongside you every step of the way.