Treatment is the first step to getting sober, but for many, leaving treatment presents another significant challenge—where to live? Many people who exit treatment find themselves virtually homeless and in need of a safe, sober place to stay. For some, the best option for continued sobriety is to relocate, but the decision depends on a variety of personal factors including your ability to adapt to change.
If you’re wondering if you should relocate in order to get (or stay) sober, consider the following:
- If you have an addiction, you must not run away from the problem—addiction, like other problems in life, should be addressed head on. Relocating will not solve the addiction nor will it prevent you from using drugs or alcohol in the future.
- Relocating by itself is not enough to prevent relapse nor will it help you learn how to live sober.
- Relocating will not “MAKE” you quit using drugs or alcohol—if you still want to use these substances, you will find a way no matter where you live.
- Relocating without a plan for support is not a good idea—period.
Just as there are many reasons why you shouldn’t choose to relocate, there are a number of benefits associated with relocation. People who struggle with addiction often make friends who share similar struggles. Family members may also abuse drugs and alcohol with the individual. All of these factors can make quitting and remaining abstinent from the use of such substances difficult. When your friends and family members are also substance abusers, you may find that relocating to get sober is a promising step in the right direction. You have to want to get sober; you have to commit to getting sober, and you have to be willing to do the work necessary to achieve sobriety.
During an extended stay from home, you can make choices that matter most for you rather than focusing on your friends or your family members. Going into a rehab facility or sober living program for a period of six months or more will help you to achieve sobriety no matter where you are, but taking these steps on your own can help you to feel more confident and in control of your recovery.
Learning how to live sober away from your comfort zone can help you to focus on the true work involved in recovery and healing, but don’t think that just because you move away you will magically get sober! Relocating is only one piece of the puzzle—treatment, support and quality care are also required to ensure your success in recovery.
Time to Get Sober
Deciding whether you should relocate to get sober is ultimately up to you. There will be challenges with remaining close to your old home, family and friends, such as the temptation to use with others whom you have used drugs or alcohol with in the past. There will also be challenges associated with moving away, such as the apprehension that comes with a complete change in routines. Only you can decide if the benefits of moving away to begin your recovery outweigh the potential challenges of such a big move.
Don’t be afraid if you decide that the time to get sober begins with the decision to start over and permanently move away from where you currently reside. The best option is likely to relocate temporarily while you adjust, work toward recovery and make sure you are comfortable with the changes that you have made. Like other decisions in recovery, the decision to relocate to get sober is one that should be taken one step at a time.