Healing Spaces: The Importance of Environmental Factors in Recovery

Healing Spaces: The Importance of Environmental Factors in Recovery

Recovery is a dynamic process that incorporates multiple experiences to engage in self-awareness and self-understanding. As noted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recovery is a highly personal and holistic process with many different pathways. Through a holistic approach to recovery, healing addresses the whole of your parts, like health, home, community, and purpose. Thus, learning how to build and foster healing spaces throughout your life is vital to recovery.

At Driftwood Recovery, we are a legacy program built on a sanctuary-informed model. Through a sanctuary-informed model, we consider how challenges like chronic stress and trauma impact the parts of the whole. We recognize and acknowledge that real healing from substance use disorder (SUD) and other mental health disorders is informed by the entire system. Recovery is not only about the individual but the community in which they exist. Therefore, understanding the impact of your environment on your recovery is important for maintaining recovery.

However, you may question how healing spaces can influence your recovery after treatment. Looking at the relationship between SUD and environmental factors will showcase the value of healing spaces for sustained recovery.

Understanding Environmental Risk Factors for SUD

According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers have long since identified environmental factors like neighborhood environments as influential. From human development to health, environmental factors can contribute to a variety of poor health outcomes. Further, the influence of environmental factors has expanded to include challenges with SUD. Risky substance use environments can impact the initiation, continued use, and abuse of substances. In addition, the challenge of risky substance use environments also creates barriers to help-seeking behaviors and sustained recovery.

Listed below are some of the risky substance use environments that impair recovery:

  • Access to substances: Easy access to substances lowers barriers to using substances
    • Proximity to locations that sell substances like alcohol and tobacco
    • There is a higher residential proximity and density of stores in low-income communities
  • Disadvantaged neighborhoods: Characterized by low income, low educational attainment, and high unemployment
    • Poor access to economic, pro-social, and environmental resources
      • Libraries, parks, and medical and social services
    • Exposes you to chronic stress that can lead to substance use
    • A history of racism, restrictive land use, and development policies encourage a higher prevalence of racial and ethnic minorities living in disadvantaged environments
  • Neighborhood disorder: Disorder environments highlight a lack of social control over the environment like dilapidated buildings, violence, and crime
    • Exposes you to chronic stress from the trauma of continuous economic strife, violence, and crime
      • Encourages self-medicating with substances

Looking at the risk factors for SUD highlights that many challenges with fostering healing spaces in recovery are tied to other disparities. Specifically, racial and socioeconomic inequality factors have created risky substance use environments that impede healing spaces. As a result, environmental and moderating racial and socioeconomic factors showcase the importance of healing spaces for recovery.

The Importance of Healing Spaces for Recovery

Despite the adaptive strategies and skills you gain in treatment, frequent exposure to risky substance use environments can impede your efforts to heal. Moreover, sustaining your recovery in risky environments is made more difficult when you lack inadequate access to support resources. Therefore, building healing spaces beyond your time in treatment is vital to leading an independent life in recovery.

Important healing spaces are not only where you live but where you work and play, too. According to Global Advances in Health and Medicine, healing spaces make way for cohesion in mind, body, and spirit. Thus, healing spaces can work to reduce stress and harm and create a supportive space where real healing can happen.

Fostering healing spaces in environments like your workplace and neighborhood can feel daunting. However, taking small steps can lead you to the healing spaces you deserve. With support, you can use your home to start taking small steps to build healing spaces in your life for sustained recovery.

Maintaining Recovery at Home With Healing Spaces

A healing space should help reduce stress, make you feel good, and bring your close community together to support health and well-being. Therefore, your healing space will be unique to your needs to feel comfortable and safe in your living space. Listed below are some of the ways you can build healing spaces in your home:

  • Fill your space with meaningful pieces like photos of loved ones
  • Invite nature into your space with plants and nature photographs or paintings
  • Soothing music and soundscapes
  • Natural light or mimic natural light

You can also take examples from building healing spaces at home into your workspace like plants, music, or a diffuser or vaporizer. However, unlike your home and workspace, creating healing spaces in your community can feel daunting.

Ways to Build Healing Spaces in Your Community

Recovery is not something accomplished in isolation but rather a process built on the combined efforts of an entire community. Therefore, access to resources through programs like alumni is vital to dismantling risky substance use environments to foster healing spaces. Some of the ways healing spaces can flourish in communities include:

  • Community partnerships
  • Access to libraries, recreational centers, medical and social services, parks, playgrounds, and other green spaces
  • Greater access to housing, food, education, and employment programs

Looking at the types of community programs that can support healing spaces for recovery showcases the importance of resource access.

Healing Beyond Treatment at Driftwood Recovery

At Driftwood Recovery, we believe access to a peer-driven network in our alumni program gives you the support and resources you need to thrive. With an engaged and supportive alumni program, we can help you reintegrate into your community. Our strong and vibrant community offers the service, accountability, and encouragement needed to foster healing spaces in every part of your life. From opportunities to deepen connections with peers and family to giving back to your community, Driftwood can support you in leading a courageous life in recovery.

Maintaining your recovery after treatment can be disrupted by environmental factors. Factors like racial and socioeconomic inequalities can create risky substance use environments. In risky substance use environments, you may have easier access to substances, exposure to chronic stress, and higher rates of poverty that increase the risk for relapse. However, building healing spaces in your home and community can support reduced stress and sustained recovery. Therefore, at Driftwood Recovery, we are dedicated to providing an active alumni program in which you have access to countless support resources and services. Through a vibrant peer-driven network, you can find the support and connection you need to thrive. Call us at (512) 759-8330 to learn more today.