What Are 3 Ways Environment Can Influence Addiction?

What Are 3 Ways Environment Can Influence Addiction?

Addiction is a journey that takes a lifetime. It is not supposed to be easy but it should not be super difficult, either. Meaning: there are outside influences which can get in the way of trying your best to work hard in recovery. Environment plays a role in recovery as much as internal factors like motivation and mental health. With so many factors to consider, it is difficult to figure out how to navigate around them all. Find out how environmental factor influence addiction and how to get around these barriers.

Age Old Debate

When it comes to debates around addiction and recovery, nothing is as ancient as the dialogue (and dissension) around nature versus nurture. Biology and environmental factors play key roles together in how a person experiences addiction or why they use substances. Stress early on in life, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and choices all make up factors that influence addictive behavior. Genetics are also part of this, which may be ‘turned on’ by stressful environments, depending on the research or gene that is being used to identify this factor. You are your own person and can make your own choices, but it is important to know and own the fact that outside factors play a part in addiction as much as anything else.

Environmental Factors

One of the more challenging aspects of looking into environmental influences is trying to understand how and why addiction happens. The following are just a few influences that are environmental in nature to consider:

  • Social circle: friends and acquaintenances play a role in your life more than you realize. Association with people who drink or use drugs can influence your experience with it as much as anything else. In fact, many young teens are introduced to drugs or alcohol by someone in their social circle at a party or when out with friends. People naturally want to belong so they may go along with undue influences, even if it goes against their values or desires. The sense of belonging and feeling connected to others can keep addiction going even after they want to stop
  • Family life: the physical environment where you grow up has a lot to do with how you see your own drug use or that of others. Whether you go to after-work drinks, because the other guys go, may be similar to how your father associated with alcohol. At home, if family or loved ones used alcohol to navigate stressful moments, this can be an indicator of environmental influence in your own addiction journey. Triggers may be stronger when around a place like the one you grew up around or the same town that is associated with drug use
  • Family of origin: outside of the place you grew up in or their behavior, you may also have been influenced by parenting styles, supervision types, and mental health of those around you. How family coped with stress (drugs or alcohol) and behaved in risky ways may have influenced you at a time you were very impressionable. These triggers may show up later in your life and have influenced your decision to drink without even realizing it happened

Knowing there are outside influences at play does not give the okay to continue using substances. The old adage of once you know better, you do better, applies to people who desire to get well and stop the trajectory they’ve been on. You have more control over your recovery than you realize, even if you can’t change the past. To transform recovery from the environmental triggers, you may consider family therapy, working with people in a therapeutic setting just for yourelf, or making it a habit to avoid environments that challenge your ability to stay in recovery. It helps to know your triggers, know what is causing issues for you, and find support to get healing. Treatment is always a great option, along with recovery groups, sponsors, and others who can help you work through the challenging dynamics of your personal recovery journey.  

Knowledge is power. It is important to check yourself to see how you feel about recovery at this time in your life. If you are struggling with addiction but also deny a problem exists, now may be the time to check out a treatment program that can help you break through the barriers and seek help for addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.