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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. For some, moving to a new location to go to treatment can be just the change of environment needed to start and support effective recovery. For others, staying close to home while getting help can allow for a smoother transition and a more comfortable experience. It’s important to note that whether you stay in place or seek treatment elsewhere, the true work begins when you honestly address the roots of the issues that you’re facing. Many recovery programs and fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) offer national and international services that you can join and access at any time, no matter where you are.

The Geographical Cure

Some who struggle with addiction find themselves drawn towards the idea of the “geographical cure”–the concept of rolling up your sleeves, leaving your problems behind, and making a new start in a new place. Starting fresh may be the right decision at some points in your life, but when it comes to overcoming addiction for once and for all, chances are that simply moving to a new place and starting over without addressing the root of your problems will only serve to worsen your dependency and delay your recovery.

It’s not uncommon for some people suffering from addiction to move from place to place in a continuous effort to seek fresh starts. Without extreme caution or support from those with your best interests at heart, it can be too easy to slip into a cycle of moving to a new place, relapsing, creating an enabling environment, making destructive decisions, burning bridges, and moving again. Unless you do the hard work of treating your addiction properly, simply changing your location will only lead to the same behaviors you were trying to leave behind.  As the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are.”

Moving Away From Recovery

Although solving your problems is never as simple as packing up and moving, there are decided benefits to removing yourself from your current surroundings to focus on your recovery. The difference is all about whether you take the chance to disconnect from your old habits and surroundings to fully tackle your addiction head-on. If you move away from a toxic environment and put in the work to get help for your addiction, you may be invigorated by the fresh-start energy of a different city or a new social sphere.

In contrast, some people may find that moving away for recovery makes them feel isolated and disconnected from reality. Spending time in treatment in an unfamiliar place could lead you to feel removed from your life and the people you know like you’re waiting in some sort of limbo. Moving may lead you to make commitments to the concepts of sobriety in theory, but can cause a delay in your ability to put them into practice in the environments that were once difficult for you.

Getting Treatment Near Home

Some people find it much more helpful to undergo treatment close to home. Depending on your local environment and support network, sticking near to the people who can encourage you and hold you accountable can provide major assistance to your progress.

On the other hand, some people might find that their home environment is too fraught with risk and the temptations to make serious changes. Confronting addiction requires you to be honest with yourself, and as long as you have the chance to blame your bad habits on external factors like friends, family, or familiarity, you may not be able to look your shortcomings in the eye and commit to making the changes needed.

“To Thine Own Self Be True”

In contrast to the grass-is-always-greener approach, it’s generally recommended that people in their first year of committed recovery avoid making any significant changes to their lives beyond recovery work. Moving to a new location is stressful even in the best circumstances and can make it harder to stay on track. Keep in mind that recovery is a difficult, gradual process, and you’ll be best-suited to take it on if your mind is sharp, your emotions are stable, and the influences around you are intentionally supportive and encouraging of your recovery.

The important thing is to know yourself. Be honest about what will work for you and what won’t. Whether you think you could benefit from treatment in a new location or think that moving would make you feel too displaced from the world you know, trust your gut and always consult with a treatment professional and the people you trust most.

Simply picking up and making a fresh start often isn’t enough to address addiction at its source, but key changes in your environment and social surroundings can make a significant impact on your path to sobriety.  As you consider your options for treatment, be honest with yourself and your loved ones about what changes you need to make in your life, and plan accordingly. At Cornerstone Healing Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, we understand the importance of being in the right environment for kickstarting your recovery. Whether you’re coming from out-of-state or from down the road, we’re here to help. At Cornerstone, we provide personalized, evidence-based treatment practices that put your recovery first. Reach out to us to discuss the different options available to you or your loved one for creating the right path out of addiction and towards a brighter future of lasting sobriety. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.

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