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How Environment Can Shape Your Recovery

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There are many factors involved in the development and recovery from addiction, with one’s environment playing an integral role throughout both. Understanding the impact of one’s environment, how it introduces or shapes ideas surrounding addictive substances, and how to utilize one’s environment to their advantage are all essential skills. Just as one’s environment can inform the development of addiction, it can also be a tool to take one’s recovery into their own hands throughout detox and future treatment programs. 

How Environment Informs Addiction

Environments consist of more than just a few walls and objects. Rather, they can house entire cultures, expectations, and attitudes, with ideas surrounding the use of addictive substances making up only a part of its influence. 

Addictive Substances in the Environment

For some, environments create direct exposure to addictive substances. Having bottles of alcohol on display, beer in the refrigerator, or prescription drugs left on the counter can influence one’s perspective regarding their use. Friends and family regularly engaging with these substances can further normalize their use, creating unhealthy expectations surrounding the use of drugs or alcohol and making them seem either less dangerous, less addictive, or more acceptable than they may really be. 

Likewise, being around others who regularly use drugs or alcohol can make it difficult to differentiate one’s use from addiction. An individual may not be able to accurately judge their own relationship to these substances when compared to others, with environments creating a warped perspective on the dangers and signs of addiction therein. Even iconography of addictive substances, such as signs sporting logos of alcoholic beverages or photos of friends on vacation with a drink can all further skew these ideas. 

Gauging the Emotional Impact

Environments can also beget the use of addictive substances in more indirect ways. Stressful home atmospheres — such as fragile relationships with family members, being surrounded by work stresses at home, or any other sources of anxiety, depression, or compromised self-care strategies — can all leave an individual at a higher chance of looking to substances as a stress relief outlet. 

In even more extreme situations, the prevalence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, or even living with divorced parents or moving from home to home can all impact one’s emotional health. Traumatic experiences can be intimately tied to one’s environment, further informing the use of addictive substances. 

Digital Environments

Lastly, digital media is a large part of the lives of many. However, this space can be filled with its own stresses and influences. From positive imagery around the use of addictive substances to the stresses of social media, common digital mediums create their own potent environment. Exposure to negative, distressing, or fear-inducing news all carry an emotional weight that can influence one’s decisions and attitudes surrounding drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. 

Using Environment to Your Advantage

Just as one’s environment can influence the development of addiction, it can also be a tool to facilitate the beginning of one’s healing journey. While one’s environment may host stressful connotations to the use of drugs or alcohol, changing one’s environment can be a great way to begin one’s healing by developing new perspectives and attitudes surrounding one’s space. 

Rearranging furniture or repurposing certain rooms where one used to engage with drugs or alcohol can give these spaces a new feel and meaning. Creating a game room or using this space to set up new hobbies such as art, music, or a theatre to explore cinema are all powerful ways to embrace new elements of one’s sober identity while distancing oneself from previous stresses of one’s environment. Others may utilize this space for other therapeutic opportunities, such as yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness practices. 

Changing one’s environment can also mean simply eliminating unnecessary stressors or reminders of one’s use. Taking down anything that may have a logo or photos of one’s time using can all prevent an individual from romanticizing their past use. Replacing these things with new photos taken in sobriety can help reinforce one’s sober decisions. 

However, the human element of one’s environment is commonly the most complicated. Dedicated family programs and establishing new communication strategies can all help create a new atmosphere based on one’s sobriety. Learning to communicate needs, set effective boundaries, and even make cultural adjustments to the expectations around drugs and alcohol are all core skills that need professional guidance to develop. Additionally, dedicated detox and treatment facilities are instrumental in opening these dialogues in a safe and supportive way. 

Lastly, understanding the impact of digital media can also help an individual impose new strategies regarding the use of their phone or computer. Having a set amount of time to spend on media devices, removing social media apps from one’s home screen to prevent compulsory engagement, or even making sure one has a reason to open these devices in the first place to prevent doom-scrolling are critical. These best practices can all help improve one’s emotional state and mitigate the influences these digital environments have over one’s mental and emotional health. 

The environment is an integral part of any journey with addiction, both in how you or a loved one may have been exposed to drugs or alcohol and how one can reshape their sober future. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we embrace the truly transformative effects of the natural environment. We utilize our beautiful and curated iconography of the natural elements of the Pacific Ocean. From your first step into detox, we are committed to helping you shape your own healthy, sober environment inside and outside of our walls to create a sustained, transformed lifestyle. We also employ individual and group therapies to help you establish a new social environment filled with understanding and supportive peers to push you toward your sober goals. For more information on how we can create a program that is right for you, call to speak to a caring professional today at (949) 426-7962.


  • I would just like to share how Grateful I am with my experience through my addiction at this facility. I couldn’t possibly ask to be in such a “SAFE/COMFORTABLE” environment while receiving treatment for my addiction. I would just like to say Thank you sooo much to ALL the staff there from the Nurse’s to counselors and therapist all of you are a True Blessing in helping me through my journey of sobriety. I couldn’t feel more comfortable there on how they monitored my physical health and on dealing with my emotional health with there therapy sessions and groups I truly see them ALL as Family!

    Andrew N.
  • As a professional in the recovery field I have worked with many detox centers and none compare to The this one. Their staff is incredibly attentive and knowledgable regarding the needs of individuals seeking recovery from the very start. Their facility is welcoming and homey while remaining very luxe. I would recommend this facility to any loved one or friend looking to start down their journey of sobriety.

  • This place helped saved my life, and a great stepping stone to get my life on the right track. Was there first client under new management, caring staff and owners, comfortable place to get you on your feet in sobriety.

  • Great Staff. Comfortable Environment. Awesome place to Get Clean and Sober. Thank you guys for everything.


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    1909 W Carlton Pl
    Santa Ana, CA 92704


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