Those of us in recovery are familiar with the concept of change. It’s not something we look forward to, but we learn that most of these changes end up being positive. As we’ve grown, we’ve put in challenging work. We have been capable of healing rifts with family, working through traumas, and advancing in our careers with new confidence. There are, however, changes that bring new and challenging lessons. Moving is an emotional event for everyone, especially those in recovery. It’s essential to be prepared to navigate the more challenging aspects of these changes. We encounter the joy of new beginnings, and fresh starts in recovery. Keeping that in mind, take steps to ensure you’re able to have the best experience while moving.
Wrapping Your Mind Around the Bubble Wrap
Moving is often the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Perhaps your move was brought on by a job opportunity, a relationship, or a chance at homeownership. Maybe it was precipitated by something more challenging, like a loved one’s illness or financial struggle. Regardless of the reason to uproot, this is an opportunity to practice acceptance. You may have become familiar with the importance of acceptance through treatment or 12-step programs. In times of emotional upheaval, this spiritual concept is paramount. Accepting change leads to open-mindedness going forward. Fear, anxiety, frustration, and uncertainty are all rational to experience when moving. However, these emotions cause stress, which is associated with a motivation to use substances. Turn to your new tools, such as meditation or other spiritual practices. Your new recovery toolkit can help you healthily manage these feelings.
The power of shared experience is something we learned while we were in treatment. Connecting with people who had been through similar situations helped us to identify and build trust in others. That same connection is of the utmost value in preparing for this life event. Reach out to the people around you and get their perspective. Start with your support group and branch out from there. Collect advice from others and keep an open mind. Remember, not everything you hear will apply to your personal situation. Nurture these connections so that after you have moved, you can turn to this group of friends for support.
When Your Feet Touch New Soil
The first order of business upon making a move is to get connected in your recovery. Find a support network and plug into the recovery community in your new home. If you have had the opportunity to visit your new home before moving, reach out upon arrival, and make plans to connect. If you are part of an alumni program, consider reaching out to see if there is a sister program in your new area. If possible, plan to touch base with this program as soon as possible. Taking measures to prevent relapse is the most beautiful expression of self-love we can give ourselves. After all, putting ourselves at the top of the priority list isn’t often something we did before recovery. Take care of yourself by leaving no space between you and your support system.
One crucial reflection is never to underestimate the power of homesickness. Most people have experienced feeling homesick at one point in life or another. Maybe they went camping as a child, or they went away to college. Others have experienced it as an adult, as they navigate the nuances of recovery. There is no way to predict how it might affect one person or another. Some ways you might experience homesickness are:
- Feeling reluctant to put down roots – You may find that you feel reluctant to do things like find a new daily coffee shop, spend time with new friends, or find a new job. Homesickness can often be the barrier that is holding you back. Take small steps to combat this feeling, and celebrate victories like referring to your new city as “home”.
- Being hyper-critical about your new environment – Homesickness might be the culprit if you find yourself disliking everything about your surroundings. Perhaps you moved to be with a partner. Still, you find yourself annoyed with mundane details about them. If you moved for a job, you might find that you are critical of your new boss or co-workers. Awareness helps here. Recognize that the distaste for your new home is simply a byproduct of other emotional factors and try to highlight the good instead.
- Negative self-talk – If you don’t settle in as quickly as you anticipated, you may find your inner monologue to be unkind and judgmental. As with our program of recovery, recognize that your thoughts do not equal reality. It’s essential to express these thoughts out loud to a trusted friend and process them.
- Obsessive worry that you aren’t missed “back home” – Recovery work comes into play here, working to recognize where our expectations are unreasonable and remembering that connection to those we miss is a two-way street.
The most important thing to remember during any emotional process is to be gentle with yourself. There are no strict timelines about how long it should take you to feel settled. It’s okay if you miss home, and it’s okay to allow yourself to feel your feelings. Connection is as vital as ever going forward. Foster connection to new faces in your new home, connections to people who help ground you, and connections to your program of recovery. Practice gratitude for the life you get to have and the adventures you’re able to go on. Staying grounded in your recovery will give you the tools you need to bloom wherever you are planted.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at (800) 799-4673.