Many psychologists claim we tend to take ourselves wherever we go, but when the rooms tell you to get rid of your usual "people, places, and things," and leave the state, you do it. Florida has been my home since I was barely old enough to walk, and as I proceeded to get clean, I thought it easier to stay in Florida as they believed it to be the recovery capital of America. When faced with an opportunity to leave my comfort zone, I wasn't initially too keen on the idea. Jersey was never my first choice, and it felt wrong fleeing the only place I ever called home. My therapist said I only needed to stay for one month, and since when did I do more than the bare minimum required of me? Well, this time would be different because moving to Jersey was different, and it honestly changed my life. I finally obtained some courage and surrender! I stayed for over nine months, much longer than required, until I graduated on their terms with completion and full cooperation. I slowly wanted to change, and to think I considered moving there to be the worst idea I ever had.
Geographical changes in recovery don't always work, but when you have those you trust behind you every step of the way, it's a lot easier to succeed. It's not a cure-all, and it won't magically fix you, but it most certainly helps as long as you continue to surrender and put in the work!
Some need to get away from their environment to grow through their uncomfortably. But on the other hand, if you're leaving for all the wrong reasons, like running away from yourself or others, then you will not succeed. I never expected Jersey to be so well-connected in the recovery scene. It was remarkable because I genuinely expected the worst. But, as my fascination grew, I began to put my trust in their meetings and eventually created a reliable recovery network whom I still connect with three years later.
All I ever heard before moving there were the many insulting opinions visitors developed over the years. For example, The Jersey Shore airing created stereotypes which formed a negative depiction of the real natives of Jersey. And just like that, New Jersey became the laughing stock of the decade. "The Armpit of America" and "The Dirty Jerz" were of the most popular amongst the collective. But the longer I stayed, the more I realized how so many people are wrong about this place. It's fantastic if you're looking for a new home for your recovery. New Jersey saved my life, and to my surprise, I loved it there! I fit in perfectly. I honestly had an excellent connection with the people, and that was something I lacked altogether in the Florida meetings. God shows up for you if and when you fully surrender, and at that moment, I knew I was right where I belonged. The only complaint I ever had was that I couldn't pump my own gas! What a bummer, right?
Studies show that if you decide to take the geographical route, make sure where you're going is highly saturated with recovery resources. They have wonderful meetings in the South Jersey area, and most are close by no matter where you live. Whether you're in Cherry Hill or Atlantic City, South Jersey, in general, is highly recommended for your recovery needs, and North Jersey is just as resourceful. The entire state has some fantastic recovery, and I know that for a fact from personal experience!
The bottom line is this: If you're going to leave for a geographical change in your recovery, then I suggest you do it for the right reasons, or it will backfire, and that I can promise you. Despite the lack of confidence people have in New Jersey, it's the best decision I ever made. I'm so glad I didn't listen to the gossip and rumors because I now have full confidence if I were to send someone up there right now. I was never able to last longer than five months during my time in recovery, but that all changed when I moved up there for treatment. Even being away for two years, I still miss my Jersey family every day. I miss the people, the incredible support, and the insane amount of clean time in those rooms. I'll have three years on January 17th, and I owe all my thanks to the people of "The Dirty Jerz!" I'd highly recommend going there if given the option. Happy Recovering Everyone!