By Dan Mager, MSW Senior Staff Writer, Central Recovery Press In the rooms of twelve-step recovery it’s not unusual to hear people share about their attempts to get clean by moving to a different city or state. Invariably, these “geographic cures” failed to work and the individual’s active addiction simply moved with him or her to the new city or state. While people often move elsewhere with the intent of leaving their active addiction behind, when people in recovery move to a different city or state they want to take their recovery with them. As we know, change in any important area of life is hard, and the many changes that go along with picking up and moving one’s life to a new and different place tend to create considerable stress and anxiety—even when the move is planned and for positive reasons such as a new job or to be closer to family. Moving is even more challenging for those in recovery. And the earlier in recovery someone is, the more challenging—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—moving is likely to be. Even when such a move comes with healthy and growth-enhancing opportunities, significantly mixed feelings are entirely normal. I know this from first-hand experience: I moved from Tucson, AZ to Las Vegas, NV with two years in recovery. It’s natural for people who move during recovery to experience fear related to the uncertainty of the future; anxiety about the intensity and scope of the life changes they are making, and sadness regarding the losses of leaving the place they have called home. For those in recovery “home” has meant their literal home, as well as the home base of their recovery, including their home group, service commitments, and (unless they have an out-of-town sponsor), sponsor, and perhaps much, of not most, of their recovery support system. However, even if you’ve only been in recovery for a relatively short time, by getting and staying clean you’ve already demonstrated tremendous strength and courage, along with the skills to overcome considerable challenges. To maintain your recovery successfully when you move, you will simply need to mobilize the same strength, courage, and skills. Moreover, it will be extremely helpful to apply the Steps and their spiritual principles to all of the different aspects of your move—before, during, and after. Many people in twelve-step and other mutual-aid programs have had the experience of moving during their recovery. Talk with those in your recovery support system who’ve had this experience. It’s important to share in meetings about your thoughts and feelings related to moving—both positive and painful, and maintain close contact with your sponsor. Frequently, people who’ve been in recovery for a while know of meetings and have friends in recovery in many different cities and states. Ask people in your support circle and your sponsor if they know members of your fellowship where you will be living so you can contact them, either in advance of your move or when you arrive. When you share in meetings, you can ask anyone who may be familiar with the recovery resources in the area to which you are moving to please speak with you after the meeting. You can get information on where to find NA and AA meetings online at: http://www.na.org/meetingsearch/ and http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-local-aa After you move, it’s strongly recommended that you get connected with recovery meetings and people in your new location as soon as possible so you can begin to build local sources of support. There are often certain differences in twelve-step meetings from one geographic area to another, and adjusting to these (as well as other aspects of your new address) may take a little time. That being said, the similarities among meetings that facilitate the feeling of acceptance and being understood—regardless of where they are located—render these differences unimportant. One of the remarkable aspects of NA and AA is that they are global programs—we can go anywhere in the US and nearly anywhere in the world and find meetings. As a result of these special resources, people in twelve-step recovery have the gift of being able to access familiarity and experience being “at home” wherever we may go. How many people can say that?