Creating a Home Sanctuary During Recovery

 Holistic health practitioners at Alpine clinic know the importance of outside factors when it comes to overall health. Our mental health is affected by our environment, our diet, and the experiences we have growing up. You can read more from Alpine Clinic about the pitfalls to mental wellness HERE.

Because mental health is influenced by a myriad of factors, it’s important to create a home sanctuary for yourself and your loved ones. Having a safe haven can be crucial when maintaining sobriety, so let’s take a look at what you can do to make your home a place that promotes it.

Creating a Home Sanctuary

Finding Safety at Home

During recovery treatment, patients explore what led them to abuse substances or develop addictive behavioral patterns. That discovery and discussion should help guide a person to create safety at home, free from stimuli that traditionally trigger abuse. Home should be a place that feels welcoming and supportive, offering a reprieve from the outside world. 

Step 1: Reduce Clutter

Did you know that clutter can increase cortisol levels in our brains? Known as the “stress hormone,” cortisol can make us feel anxious and overwhelmed. Excessive clutter can reduce our ability to focus and relax.

If every surface of your home is littered with paperwork, toys, or dishes, the visual clutter can trigger default coping strategies, such as substance abuse. A study published in Sage Journals found that participants with tidy, organized environments were more apt to “conform to expectations,” which suggests that combating clutter can be essential for supporting sobriety. Here are some tips for getting started.


Strategically go through a space and purge items you don’t need. Sell, donate, or trash things that no longer serve you. Tackle one room at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.

Group Things Together

Group like-with-like once you’ve edited your belongings, i.e. art supplies in one place, tools in another.

Contain Everything

Make a place for everything, and keep it there with containers. Bins, baskets, and shelving will help you stay organized. 

Step 2: Out With the Old

There may be a lot of memories of difficult times in your current home. Sometimes moving and starting fresh somewhere new isn’t an option. So, the next best thing may be to redecorate or remodel your house or apartment. Subtle touches can change the look and feel of your home, helping you move past unpleasant experiences you may have had there.

Smitty’s Quality Glass recommends starting with bathrooms, bedrooms, and the kitchen when updating features in your home. Promote feelings of peace and comfort in your home with some of the following upgrades:

  • Paint (or removable wallpaper if you rent)
  • New windows (or window treatments such as blackout curtains or automatic blinds)
  • Mirrors to reflect more light in your home
  • New bathroom vanity
  • Replace or refinish/paint kitchen cabinets
  • Upgrade appliances
  • Swap out the flooring (or put down new area rugs)

Using calming coolers and a variety of textures can make your home an inviting sanctuary that you enjoy retreating to at the end of the day. Studies have been conducted to determine the most calming colors, and cool blues and greens typically top the list. See if there are ways you can incorporate muted, dusty cool tones throughout your space.

Step 3: Bring the Outdoors In

Nature has strong healing power; spending time outside can increase cognitive performance and boost mood. With that in mind, find ways you can bring the outdoors into your home in order to make it a sanctuary during recovery.

The benefits of nature include:

  • Increased and improved sleep
  • Improved concentration
  • Self-esteem boost
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced feelings of loneliness

We can’t always be outside, soaking up the gifts nature has to offer. But, we can bring elements of the outdoors in when we decorate. Biophilic design is the concept of using nature indoors, whether it’s via art or live plants. Here are some tips for revitalizing your space with natural elements.

  • Windowsill herb garden
  • Potted plants
  • Driftwood decor
  • Tabletop rock or zen garden
  • Aquarium
  • Terrarium
  • Seashells
  • Indoor water fountain

Using natural materials, such as wood, stone, leather, clay, and wicker can be other ways to have nature in your home. If you don’t have a great view from your windows, create one with photographs or paintings that depict outdoor scenes. If you can’t have an actual fireplace in your home, flip on a virtual one via YouTube or Netflix to create a cozy gathering place on cool nights.

Step 4: Bring Out Your Inner Chef

Substance abuse can negatively affect our health in a number of ways. In addition to disrupting sleeping patterns and changing how our brains function, addiction disrupts our eating habits. Regardless of how fancy or humble your home kitchen is, bring out your inner chef and get your nutrition back on track by preparing and eating more meals at home. A functional kitchen is one that makes it easy to cook in, and easy to clean.

Establish a “Work Triangle”

The refrigerator, stove, and sink are the three main working areas of your kitchen. Ideally, you walk three sides of a triangle when you go between these three stations.

Smart Storage

Make doing dishes easier by storing as much of your everyday silverware, plates, and cups near the dishwasher or sink. Keep your most-used items on the counter or open shelving so they’re easily accessible every day. 

Maximize Storage

Use drawer and cabinet inserts to maximize the storage you do have. Can you hang pot lids from the inside of a cabinet door? Where can you add a tiered shelf to get more out of a tall cupboard? Look to the walls and the ceiling for more ways to add storage via racks or shelving.

If you don’t like to cook but know you need to get your nutrition back on track, look into delivery services that make it easy to prepare healthful meals at home. All the ingredients arrive on your doorstep with instructions for getting food on the table in an hour or less. Additionally, you can supplement your diet with nutrition shakes, or something such as SOLbriety supplements that are formulated to support anxiety relief, sleep, and brain repair in sobriety.

You deserve to have a home sanctuary during recovery that soothes your body and mind. Implement some or all of these suggestions for enhancing your existing space, or designing a new one from scratch and you’ll look forward to coming through the door each evening to rest and restore.

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