Can Relocation Help Me in My Recovery Journey?

Often those in recovery, from addicts to those with behavioral disorders, wonder if relocation is the answer to help their recovery success. For some, it may seem like a daunting to task; others may feel as if it is the be-all, end-all answer to every recovery hurdle. Is there ever a time when it is absolutely imperative to relocate or to stay where you are? Depending on your situation, the answer could be yes to either side of the coin. Knowing how to read your situation and knowing if it would be best served by relocation will equip you to make the right decision regarding relocation.

When Relocation Can Help

There is no doubt that relocation can serve a helpful purpose in helping someone in recovery. Just as survivors of assault can find a new beginning through the means of relocation, a recovering addict or someone suffering with a behavioral disorder can experience benefits from moving. Situation must be taken into consideration when weighing the positives and negatives of relocation.

A recovering addict, for example, may have strikes on record for a number of different things, including DUIs or felonies. These issues can greatly affect the ability to obtain and secure a job, and not only do record requirements vary from state to state, but also from company to company. Relocation may be necessary on an entirely practical level. If you are just reentering the community after rehabilitation and are in the market for a job, chances are you may need to look out of your town or even your state of residence to find employment.

Living conditions can also play a very key factor in establishing relocation or remaining where you are. If you are from a home that enables or is cause for the very situation you are recovering from, it would not make sense to return. This is especially true of dysfunctional homes, in which one or more family members or friends living with a person in recovery is an addict or suffers similar behavioral disorders that have gone untreated. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Publications organization, those in recovery who return to such conditions after rehabilitation are at a much greater risk of relapse than those who do not.

Inevitably, many of those in recovery, especially those recovering from addition, were encouraged in their damaging and harmful behavior because of outside influences. Friendships, acquaintances and even family members who promote the lifestyle you’re recovering from will only hinder you in your life-change goals. Relocation can be a positive tool in removing yourself from the company of these individuals and possibly a community in which your reputation is unrepairable.

Perhaps one of the brightest aspects of relocation is the fresh start that it promises. As with any major personal change, the more complete your ‘new beginning,’ the greater the chances for victory over relapses.

While all of these things can make relocation sound like the absolute answer to recovery difficulties, for some of those in recovery, it can be just the opposite. There are other factors to consider.

When Relocation Can Hinder

Those recovering from addiction are especially vulnerable to depression, loneliness and boredom, and because the automatic, trained answer of an addict is to fill or fix those voids with their addiction, relocation can have a lasting negative affect. Relocation can amplify these negative feelings if a person in recovery is separated from friends and family that are a positive and influential support system for their recovery. Just as escaping from a negative environment can help those in recovery, leaving behind a positive reinforcement can be exponentially damaging.

Just as solid support systems should be embraced, if you are a person in recovery who does not handle change well, remaining where you are should be a priority. Often times recovery in and of itself is an all-consuming focus, especially in the beginning. Throwing a change of location into the mix can alter an already fragile equilibrium; it is essential to grasp onto the stability of your family, home and job if these components are positive and reinforcing to your choice of recovery.

Finally, if you have the support of family and friends, a steady job that provides for your financial needs and a home, if there isn’t a legitimate reason to relocate, it is important to learn to cope with the ins and outs of every day life in recovery. There can be a line between the necessity of relocation and the desire to escape from your situation. If you have no viable reason for relocation, ensure that you have a solid support system behind you, including friends and family who have a positive influence, a therapist and any treatment program sponsors or mentors to make sure that you have every possible avenue to successful recovery.

Ultimate Road to Success

When weighing these points to make the best possible choice for your situation and your recovery, be sure to eliminate as much emotion from the choice as possible. Consult those that you trust, especially those who are helping you through the process of recovery, those who want your success as much as you do. There are times when relocation is a great jump-start to a healthy recovery, but there are times when it can set you back that much further. Carefully consider the resources that exist where you are, what resources you would have if relocation were to take place, and ultimately, do what is best for you and for those closest to you.

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