The Secret’s in the Silence: Tips for Maintaining Your Recovery in a Small Town
Anyone who’s spent time in a small town has run into one of addiction’s greatest catalysts: boredom. Whether you’re looking for a way to pass the time or a way to escape the city limits, rural drug abuse that started at a party can easily spiral into a full-fledged addiction and cost you the ultimate price.
But while some may see a city population under 1,000 as an incentive to use drugs, many people use the extra space and time to build a particularly meaningful life in recovery from substance abuse and addiction. If you’re beginning a new path without your drug of choice and are considering a move to upstate Maine, a small cabin out west or the Alaskan frontier, here are three tips to building your healthiest life in recovery away from big city lights.
One of your first and most important tasks when moving anywhere in recovery will be to find a therapist or addiction treatment professional you trust, accessible to you in your new home. It can be especially hard to find quality mental health professionals in rural areas, making your job of finding and securing an ideal service provider as soon as you arrive that much more crucial. If you’re not sure where to look, try searching your area for providers via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national directory of treatment providers. Your local hospital should also be able to recommend a few outstanding local medical providers, even if you have to drive a few dozen miles to get there.
Now that you have a treatment provider on hand if you need extra professional support, you can begin to enjoy the broader natural world you’ve moved to. Don’t be afraid to get physical! Activities like hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, and even just walking outdoors all have proven benefits for your mind and body that can only help center you and strengthen your recovery.
Living in a sparsely populated area can fill you with peace as you enjoy wandering great open spaces or dense hillside forests without anyone else around. But if you have a bad day or get some unexpected bad news this feeling of freedom can backfire on you and make you feel more isolated and alone than you really are. If you’re planning a move to a rural area with few other residents, make sure to consider who your social supports in that area could be. As beautiful as the natural world is, sometimes there’s no substitute for a warm hug and shoulder to cry on.
Once you’ve mapped out the things you need, like a local treatment provider, your circle of friends and confidants, and a short list of ways to enjoy your natural surroundings, you’ll probably notice something: silence. Away from the hectic commuters of the suburbs and frantic city dwellers you’ll find there’s a lot less to distract you from this moment. Relish the quiet moments. Now, in recovery, in a small town away from it all, you can experience the true freedom of presence.