Moving to a new city can be nerve-wracking, even if you will be in the same state. International moves or out-of-state moves can bring with them even more significant challenges. Recovery and routines often go hand in hand. The disruption a move can introduce into that routine can increase certain risks. A 2018 study reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that stressful life events like moving could trigger a relapse.
Depending on how far you are moving and the situations surrounding it, you might need to build a new support system by making friends, finding a therapist, and joining local self-help groups in your new city. You can do a few things before and immediately after a move to cope with the changes and keep your recovery moving forward.
Plan Before Your Move
Major life changes are inherently disruptive, but planning ahead of your move can cut down on unknowns and lower the pressure you may feel. Unlike some other stressful life events, moving often comes with a little advanced warning. You can use that time to make plans for preparing and executing the move to keep the transition as smooth as possible. If you have time to sit down and look online for resources in your new city, it can help you know what to expect from your first few weeks and months after the move.
You might find it helpful to talk with your therapist or a close friend and write down a list of things that you will need to consider both before, during, and after the move, including things like the logistics of the move and how you will stay in contact with loved ones you may be leaving behind. Advanced planning can help decrease overall anxiety levels and lower the risk of a relapse. There are plenty of sites and apps you can use to plan for a move but below are a few topics to consider when creating your list:
- Research relevant recovery services and therapy options in the new city.
- Find out if and how your insurance coverage may be affected, and look at alternatives.
- Discover what self-help groups are active in the new city.
- Plan out how you will stay in contact with your sponsor, loved ones, and other members of your support system in the days and weeks after the move.
Finding Local Therapy and Group Options
Community centers, local continuing recovery organizations, and internet support group directories are great places to start looking for new group options. When you arrive in the city, you can try out several different groups until you find one that feels right for you. Being comfortable in the support group or therapy setting is essential and can help make your new city feel a little bit more like home.
Finding a new therapist can be a little more complicated and will likely depend on your insurance coverage. Since you will need to find a new family doctor, you could ask them to recommend a local therapy office. When possible, it is best to see a therapist specializing in recovery and any co-occurring conditions that may apply to you.
Making Social Connections in a New City
Social connections can help you cope with the loneliness and isolation that can often accompany a big move. You should avoid trying to meet people at locations that might be triggering, including bars or public get-togethers that might involve alcohol or other substances. There are ways you can try to develop friendships quickly.
- Look for volunteer opportunities related to recovery organizations. These can be excellent places to socialize and make new friends who understand the challenges of recovery.
- If you are religious, look for churches or houses of worship. These are also great places to find a new peer group for social interactions.
- Find a hobby that interests you, and look for local meetups where you can join a local group.
Stay Connected With Loved Ones Long-Distance
There is no overstating the importance of maintaining whatever connection you may have with your established support system. You may find yourself tempted to avoid doing the hard work of reaching out to get encouragement but staying connected with loved ones, sponsors, and sober peers can lower risks associated with heightened stress. You can stay connected in the following ways.
- Video chat
- Phone call
- Text message
- Sharing dinner and a movie using internet video syncing technology
- If you live close enough to your old home, you can make day trips or spend a weekend with friends and family
- Connect over social media
You can use the encouragement and accountability of your long-distance relationships to sustain you until you have a new support system built in your new city.
Facilities like Everlast Recovery Centers can teach you life skills and healthy coping mechanisms that make it easier to overcome the many challenges that come with major life changes. After moving to a new city or transitioning back after a long recovery program, it is entirely normal to feel a little isolation, loneliness, anxiety, or even depression. A support system can help you keep moving forward with your recovery and overcome those obstacles. Your support system consists of individuals who help keep you accountable for your continued sobriety, and they can help you cope with cravings, triggers, loneliness, or and other aspects of recovery by providing encouragement. If you are trying to build up a new support system, the internet is an excellent tool that can make it easier to find a new therapist, support groups, and social connections. To learn how Everlast Recovery Centers can help, call us at (866) 338-6925.