Many sober living homes and treatment facilities for addiction recovery may limit or restrict the amount of time that clients can access television. Some places may only allow the television to be turned on during certain times of the day. Others may limit the total amount of time that a person can watch television on a daily basis. Some of us may enjoy watching television to relax or catch up on current events. We may have shows that we want to watch as part of a series that we follow and might be upset by this restriction. However, treatment centers are strict about television access for many reasons that can be beneficial to our overall health and wellness. Changing our relationship to television might even help us find more fulfillment when we leave our treatment center.
Television as a Sedentary Activity
Recovery from addiction involves adopting healthy habits to replace unhealthy ones. Recovery involves looking at our whole-self health and wellness, which might include changing some other patterns that are not directly related to our addictions. Television can eat up huge parts of a person’s day. Our brains and bodies are wired to attempt to gain the most stimulation for the least amount of effort. This adaptation made sense in primitive times when food and other resources were scarce. We now live in a world where most of our necessary resources are accessed with ease. We no longer need to walk or run several miles to get a change of scenery or see new people. We can simply turn on a television and gain these visuals. Unfortunately, we advanced in technology and resource allocation quicker than our bodies could adapt to the change. Therefore, we still require exercise and movement to maintain our physical health. Television can take away time that we could otherwise use to engage in more meaningful and healthy activities.
Distracting Effects of Television
Television can also be distracting us from our recovery. Even if left on in the background, we might find it challenging to focus with too much noise or stimulation going on around us. By keeping televisions turned off during the day, sober living homes can set up a quiet and distraction-free environment. We can then focus on our recovery and learn the new skills needed to cope with life when we leave treatment. Television can also distract us from learning new activities that we might enjoy more. Many programs will introduce us to new ways of living during treatment, which involves more than just coping skills! We might learn new hobbies or divisionary activities that can bring value to our lives. Recovery is really about enhancing our overall quality of life–when has television ever improved anyone’s quality of life? We may feel that television can help us to socialize. To a degree, television can give people something to talk about. However, when joining a new recovery group, people may benefit from activities that focus on one another instead of a screen. Television can deprive us of the focus that we need to be successful in our recovery from addiction.
Television as an Addiction
Addiction can take many forms in different vices. Overall, addiction occurs when we gain a high reward for a meager amount of effort. Substances, like cocaine, can quickly hijack our brain’s natural reward system. At the same time, we have done nothing to gain such an extreme and unnatural high. Television can be similar in that we get a lot of stimulation for a very low amount of effort. Any substance or activity that has such a disproportionate effort to reward ratio can be addictive. We may spend hours in front of the television as our brains do very little work to gain a high reward for stimulation. Recovery treatment facilities are actively focused on steering us away from quick-fix solutions to boredom or loneliness. Television can easily replace other addictions with its allure and ease of access. We can easily fall into the trap of disconnecting with our loved ones at home or escaping from our lives by watching hour upon hour of television.
Recovery is about learning to appreciate healthy habits that might require more effort while helping us to grow as individuals. Television, while providing us with information and new, does little in terms of helping us grow. We can start by taking the hours we may be spending in front of the TV and putting that time to something of value.
Sober living homes create a healthy, safe, and supportive environment for people needing recovery from addictions. Many of these homes have guidelines and rules that may seem restrictive or unreasonable at first glance. Many treatment programs restrict the amount of time people spend on devices, like cell phones, tablets, and laptops. They may also enact strict television watching policies, like limiting the number of hours that a TV can be turned on or restricting television to specific times of the day. Recovery from addiction involves making lifestyle changes for the better. Recovery is about more than just remaining sober. Recovery is about adding value to life, finding purpose, and connecting to ourselves and others. At Camelback Recovery, we believe that our residents can focus on their recovery with much more clarity by minimizing distractions. We offer plenty of activities that will enhance your life and help you find healthy ways of coping when out of treatment.
Call us at (602) 466-9880 to discuss our sober living programs!