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A little over 22 million Americans who strive to recover from a substance use problem do achieve their goal. Statistics and news about substance abuse are usually disheartening, but this study has shown that millions of Americans do get better. Substance abuse has long had the reputation of being “a hopeless condition.” But the fact is people can change and better their lives after going through a rehabilitation program. If you have just started your path to recovery and would like to be successful, you might want to consider moving to a new community. But can moving home help someone with a substance use problem?

New Beginnings

Moving to a new place will give you a clean slate especially if your substance abuse problem has led to some detrimental consequences. These may include a negative reputation, a criminal record, or a poor living environment.  In a new town or city, you can redefine who you are and nobody knows about your past unless you let them know. Moving also means that you are taking yourself away from an environment that enables the problem. This may mean places you frequent that always end up in substance use, non-sober people around you who aren’t helpful in your pursuit of recovery, and things that may constantly remind you of old habits. If you have a family, relocating to another community will also be beneficial for them.

Challenging Aspects

Moving homes can be stressful and more so if you’re moving with your partner and children. A survey of 1,000 Americans showed 45% of the interviewees found moving to be the most stressful event of their lives. As a person in recovery, this could mean additional distress for you. If you believe that moving can be positively life-changing for you and your family, communication, preparation, and strategic planning will help alleviate the difficulties.

Better Days Ahead

Once you’re in your new home and away from the past, you can now fully devote your time and effort to your recovery and your family. If you hadn’t done it yet before moving, find a therapist or a support group. You can even try both if possible. Consider family therapy, too. This will substantially contribute to everyone’s healing and rebuild your relationship with them. Create new traditions and discover new adventures. This is the best time to make your new house truly a home. Even if you don’t have a family these will work favorably for you. New hobbies and pursuits will give you a sense of meaning and purpose.

Life does get better for people who have conquered a substance abuse problem. 22 million Americans do say so. It does take hard work, even moving to a new place, but the rewards are plentiful. A reinvented you in a new community can help you build a life without the onus of the past. It can also inspire you to continue to self-improve and reach new heights of achieving a better quality of life


  1. I moved home with mommy in a big mansion with a pool after “college” that was just a six year party as I learned nothing and got a useless degree. Me and my other friends from high school who could not make it in the real world moved home and it was like high school all over.We partied day and night and any money I made from the low paying joke jobs I got went into getting high and drinking.Mommy always had a house full of booze that I could drink and steal anyway as she always entertained guests.
    Our idea for looking for jobs was to roll up some fat doobies, get a few sixpacks of beer and go around filling out job applications with the big companies around town as this city was a large oil and energy center and there were plenty of big companies with good jobs.
    With red eyes reeking of beer and pot we would go to the HR Departments and fill out job application.None of the various Companies we applied to ever called us back for an interview.Moving home just made mommy my enabler.I had no bills and this kept me from growing up and being a man ,as well as sobering up like I should have done.

  2. I really appreciate this article because too often I hear “You can move, but you take your problems with you.” Some parts of that are true, but not 100%. You can reinvent yourself by moving to a new environment and sometimes you don’t take all of your problems with you. I moved to be out of proximity from someone I had a toxic relationship with and given enough distance we were able to disengage from all the bullshit. I also found a more supportive and extensive recovery scene and felt like I didn’t have to live with imposter syndrome making such a drastic life change in front of people who held me to such high party standards. It’s not for everybody, it’s no panacea, but I’ve seen a few people I’ve known where moving did help so I’m glad you gave a more realistic perspective than the old “Wherever you go, there you are” response.

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