An addict I know has been unable to change her life for 30 years. It is the same story, use, hit bottom, get in trouble, get clean, get a new job, start in a new apartment, do well, use. The cycle is vicious. What are her options? How does one who is so controlled finally break free? The answer is different for each person, but I think some key issues are at play.
Environment. How important is our environment? Those born in poverty are proven to be more likely to stay in poverty. Your environment is a huge factor in your life. Is it everything? Of course not. You can break free from your environment, but it is harder to climb the ladder than to already be at the top.
As a child we can’t do much about our environment. It is determined by our parents. As an adult however, you can change your environment. It may not be comfortable to do so, but it may be the one key that helps you get on the right track.
The addict I mentioned above finally decided that she had to change her environment. She was facing nothing good at her current location. The same story over and over. I applaud her finally getting the nerve to pack up and move. She moved 1500 miles away and started fresh. That took guts!
Will that be all she needs? Absolutely not! She will face the same desires wherever she goes, but removing all of the bad influence that surrounded her every day at least takes away the ease of the disease. It’s a deterrent. Sometimes a deterrent is all you need. A criminal sees a security sign in a yard and decides to rob a different house instead.
It’s been 3 months for her. She found a job, found an apartment, and is learning to cope without the instant gratification she would search for every time she experienced a difficult issue. She is also experiencing a new set of people around her that are willing to give her a chance. The second side of changing your environment.
When you stay around people that have seen you slip up time and again, it becomes discouraging to have those same people continually judge you and be unwilling to help you in any way. Just another excuse to go backwards. Changing your environment helps you put yourself around people that can encourage and help you because they haven’t seen you mess up over and over again.
If you are an addict who faces a similar situation, consider changing your environment. It doesn’t mean you have to move far away. Sometimes it means you just need to change your friends, change the location of your home (within the same city), or change the places you go for fun. Other times, it may require a drastic move such as the woman I described above.
Search your heart, take away the easy route to addiction and set up a physical deterrent to help you on your path to recovery.