The importance of a good support system cannot be overvalued. When you connect, you are less likely to relapse. Connecting requires true connection, not superficial talk or the elements of comparing that you find on social media. True connection requires vulnerability and a give and take to the relationship.
In life, jobs change, families shift, opportunities move — and sometimes, you are required to move, as well. Moving is stressful for everyone and brings with it a need to develop a new support system. Yes, there is social media, and almost everybody has a cellphone now, but those connection options do not eliminate a need for face-to-face connection with eye contact and real conversations.
Moving requires an almost equal element to seeking out support, as does leaving a treatment placement. While “90 meetings in 90 days” is the standard when leaving treatment, there is no ideal protocol when moving to a new city. However, the need for support and building that support system remains. Consider going to as many meetings as possible.
The Value of 12-Step Meetings
There are 12-Step meetings in almost every city, so you have options for group support immediately upon arriving in your new home city. However, you will need to make new friends and identify the people, places, and things that will be safe for you to encounter in this new locale.
One source of help will definitely be found in a 12-Step meeting. Make a point to introduce yourself to people at the meeting and share that you are new in town. Ask for guidance on places to go for support and areas of town that might trigger someone with a history of using alcohol or other substances. The key thing to remember is that you are not alone in recovery, not even if you have moved to a new town.
Options Outside of 12-Step Meetings
In treatment and in your first few months after leaving treatment, you became aware of new and old interests that did not involve alcohol and other substances. Interests like sports, books, photography, being outdoors, and others can be found on a variety of websites. Meetup is an app that will connect you with other people interested in the same things. You can join a Meetup group and have an instant group gathering relative to a shared interest.
There is a myriad of opportunities to meet new people. While social media allows you to connect online with people, it is important to connect with people in an immediate face-to-face setting. Often online encounters are superficial, if not falsely maintained, and rob you of the ability to really connect with other people. Make time and space to meet up in real life.
Do Not Abandon Old Supports
Do not let go of former support systems just because you moved. You need to have a fully-developed support system in place before you allow yourself to let your old support systems go. Continue to check in with your old sponsor until you find a new one. Continue to reach out to old friends regularly. You still have those friendships and they will not be eradicated by distance. Continue to reach out to old friends while searching for new ones.
While you have your old support system, you still need to build a new one. Make goals to find a new sponsor and a new homegroup. As stated earlier, you are not alone in your recovery. However, if you refuse to be proactive, you will find yourself feeling alone, which lends itself to compulsive behaviors and relapse.
Even if you are further along in your recovery, attending 90 meetings in 90 days when moving to a new place could prove more helpful than you might expect. When you are fresh out of treatment, you use these meetings to stay on track and to help you find a solid support system. With moving, you need to stay on track in the midst of the stress and lack of readily available support. So, consider 90 meetings in 90 days once again.
Relapse is more apt to happen in stressful situations, and there are very few events in life more stressful than moving to a new area. Understanding your stressors and making a plan for the move will eliminate some of the stress; however, navigating life in a new area brings its own elements of stress. The best way to help yourself navigate this stress is to reach out to a 12-Step group or find a mental healthcare provider in your new city.
Building a solid support system is difficult in any stage of recovery. When you move and have limited sources of information about the area, finding support is even more difficult. Remember, you are not alone and support is available. Use the internet to find meetings and other opportunities for meeting new people. At Renaissance Ranch, we offer support for every stage of recovery. We offer outpatient treatment both in-person and online. As part of discharge planning, you are connected with the Band of Brothers with members all over the United States willing to help you find the support you need, through a listening ear or even by connecting you with other supports. When you leave treatment or move to a new area, you must have a solid support system as soon as possible. If you or someone you know needs support in recovery, call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898. You don’t have to be alone.