If you or a loved one has decided to seek treatment for addiction or mental health challenges, the tendency is often to seek a center close to home. Convenience is of course a big factor, and most of us feel a sense of comfort in familiar places.
When a treatment professional, concerned friend or family member suggests traveling to a more distant location for help, even out of state, the idea sounds like it would just bring more trouble to an already overwhelming situation and you might feel like you’re running away from the very problem you need to address. Isn’t the whole idea to stand tall and face the challenge? Yes, it is; however, many treatment professionals highly recommend traveling elsewhere to find a program that is best for you. Attending treatment “just around the corner” might seem like a great idea but this isn’t about convenience; it’s about recovery.
Addiction in any form is first and foremost a brain disease and recovery requires healing and restoring the brain’s processes. Medical experts agree that rehabilitation in a new environment offers significant psychological and therapeutic benefits to help launch the forming of new neural connections and related associations. Getting away from your everyday problems allows the opportunity to focus on them without distraction. Let’s look at some strong arguments for traveling away from addiction in order to beat it:
In most every life situation, new surroundings infuse a new outlook and this often is what you need to get on a track to greatness. Put yourself in new geography and you instantly have a fresh start physically and mentally. You’re able to move forward without constant reminders, many of them visual, of your current challenging place. And without those reminders—with a blank canvas—you can focus on healing.
As a bonus, if you choose a pleasant destination, it can feel like a vacation. Let’s say it’s January and you live in Minnesota and it’s 40 below zero. A treatment program in Tucson might not sound so bad. It’s a new, relaxing (and warm) environment that can help strike a successful balance of work and recovery, and put more enjoyment than burden into the experience.
Leave the distractions at home
As your brain recognizes and sends signals of a new place, it can also signal that other parts of your life are new or changing as well. At the very least, some people can simply relax far easier when on their own, away from familiar faces.
A simple change of location eliminates a great deal of distraction. If you’re in Tucson, you’re not likely to run into your Minnesota-based neighbor or boss or sibling. It’s also often easier for family members or other loved ones to be a part of your recovery in a less-invasive, organized fashion. Reaching out for help is a potentially life-changing decision and leaving behind your usual, harmful habits is much easier to do with a change in venue.
And the most damaging habit, of course, is the addiction. If you’re far away from customary dealers or liquor stores or other influences; it’s much more difficult to continue on that path.
No more behavioral triggers
One of the most difficult challenges of addiction recovery is resisting behavioral triggers—old neighborhoods, specific locations in town, sketchy groups of “friends.” If you relocate your treatment to an entirely new location, you can’t rely on old friendships or find yourself cruising the places that always lead to trouble.
A new place lets you form new, healthy relationships and you are completely free to focus on new things and your recovery.
Closer doesn’t always mean better
While you likely know of several treatment programs close to your home, it doesn’t mean those particular facilities are best for you. Programs vary widely and offer many different specialties, recovery activities, and treatment professionals. It is important to find the one that fits you, and that place could be in a different location.
Ditch the impulsive behavior
If you’re in a treatment program close to home and things get tough to deal with at the program, it can be easy to give in to the impulse to just get up and leave. This of course defeats the whole purpose, as one of the most critical components of rehab is sticking with it long enough for it to take hold.
In fact, studies show that increased length of stay in treatment has a direct influence on more positive results including kicking a drug habit, improved employment scenarios, and far less criminal tendencies. These are all benefits of traveling longer distance for treatment.
Fight instead of flight
When a person in treatment swells with anger or remorse or resentment, their fight or flight response triggers and a typical result is to flee that place as fast as possible. Well, then what? It’s not easy to run out the door into an unfamiliar town. But in a distant location, it’s far more difficult to shag down a ride or book a flight home than to stay and get yourself better.
Decreased risk of relapse
Some people are heavily influenced by their families, social circles, or habitual situations and these influences are often triggers of addiction relapse. Your treatment outcome can be far more successful in the absence of those influences and learning how to combat or avoid such triggers after rehab.
For more information on traveling-based rehab, contact Restore Health and Wellness at (888) 979-4570.