Will Changing My Environment Help me Overcome Addiction?

Perhaps you or a loved one have been struggling with addiction for some time now, but as much as you commit to sobriety during rehab or therapy, as soon as you get back into your “world”, you fall right back into your old ways. Those same friends keep inviting you out, those same sites are calling to you from your browser history, those same bars are still on your way home from work, and so on. 

You’re wondering if picking up and moving to a new place – in town or way out of town  – would make the road to recovery smoother. Will this work? The short answer is “yes and no.” 

Every person and every situation is different, so be sure you are aware of the small and large changes you can makcv                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        se along your journey to recovery.


The people you spend the most time with are inevitably going to influence you. You are likely fully aware of this fact, because perhaps you notice yourself doing and saying different things depending on who you are with. 

If you have a group of friends who you only ever drink or get high with, it is going to be very difficult for you to hang out with them and not drink or get high. Putting yourself in that situation is probably not the best way to pursue sobriety. However, if you find that one or more of those friends are really meaningful to you and you don’t want to sever your relationship entirely, intentionally make plans to hang out with them at a coffee shop, restaurant, movie, or other event where you wouldn’t typically go with them and where it is not acceptable to drink or get high. 

It is also a good idea to seek out new community and spend time with people who support your recovery and with whom you have shared interests. Start going to the same spin class every week, take a SkillPop class that interests you, join a book club at your local library, check out the mountain biking club in your area, take a cooking class – meeting new people can broaden your horizons beyond your current crew. 


This one is simple. Try to avoid consuming media (social media, video games, movies, tv shows, concerts) that display or celebrate the substance you struggle with, at least initially. The more messages you hear or see that normalize alcohol, drug, and sexual addictive behavior, the less you will feel like recovery and sobriety are necessary. 

You might find that consuming these types of media later on in your journey is therapeutic and helpful as you recover, but just take a break for now.


If you pass the same bars and clubs every day and it is a constant struggle to drive past them without stopping or you find yourself stopping without intending to, it might be a good idea to switch up your drive home or even move across town. That might sound like a lot of work, but perhaps a change of scenery is just what you need – whether across town or across the country.

Maybe that isn’t a struggle for you because you always drank or got high at home. Make some changes around the house: paint the walls, move the furniture, switch the rooms around. If it isn’t the “same old basement” then you may not feel as comfortable or tempted to partake in your “same old substances.”


In summary, if you are relying on your new environment to push you towards sobriety so you don’t have to put in the work of changing your behaviors, this is likely only a temporary fix. But if you are doing everything you can to change your ways but your current environment keeps tripping you up, change might be just the thing you need to commit to recovery. 

Just as there is much to be gained from rebuilding your life in a new place, there is also great benefit in overcoming your current environment and rebuilding your life right where you are. It is really just a matter of the development of your attitudes and behaviors. Addiction can find you wherever you are, but so can recovery.

Reaching out to an addiction therapist is an excellent resource in your decision-making process, and they will be able to give you their advice and perspective based on their own experiences as well as your history. In fact, it would be risky to make a drastic life change without professional advice and the resources they could provide you as you start anew.

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