The word “uncomfortable” is defined as, “feeling unease or awkwardness.” The majority of addicts and alcoholics are all too familiar with the feeling of discomfort. Before our sobriety we drank and used drugs to mask our discontent. We have been consistently running from our conscious of stress and strain with substances. When you take away the drink or the drug all of the distresses don’t disappear, it’s as if while using all of our issues stocked up and come flooding back when our masks are removed. For me, once my head cleared, I was unable to process my feelings properly still. I wanted to run. Why was this? Where can I go? Geographical change was my solution to my issues because my problem isn’t me, it is everyone around me. It is Philadelphia, it is the suburbs, it’s the weather and scenery. I am here, and if I go there I will be better.
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Moved to South Florida for Sobriety
If only there were palm trees around me and the closest beach wasn’t the Jersey Shore. I felt awkward, the fight or flight instinct kicked in. I choose the latter and ran. I was in my third rehab in the past year and had two weeks without a substance. I knew what was best for me and I had the solution. Leave the northeast and move to South Florida. I refused to go to treatment or detox, if I escaped my bleak, cold surroundings I would be happy. I flew out to Philadelphia Airport and arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport in October 2013. It was a warm beautiful night with a cool breeze that was wafting in my face. I could feel how the air was heavier and less dry. This was exactly what I needed, I thought to myself. I was at ease for 10 seconds then immediately followed by nausea.
After waiting thirty minutes I was picked up by the driver for the halfway house I was going to and had a silent ride. It was okay, though; I was busy fanaticizing about my future Floridian boyfriend. I had never been to Florida, never been to a halfway house, I had never been this physically far from my family. I had been mentally and emotionally detached from them for a while but didn’t know what it meant to be without them near me.
A New Zip Code for Sobriety
As we pulled up to the complex of the halfway, there were people everywhere. It was a large group of young adults standing outside and sitting at picnic tables. I remembering thinking it resembled a sleep-away camp. I hadn’t been to a sleep-away camp but I did see, “Wet Hot American Summer” and I imagined it was going to be fun. I could make so many new friends and become a different person. Finally! A new zip code a new me!
The place ended up being nothing like I had imagined. I lived there for close to six months and in that time I made countless friends, sat at coffee shops, went to the gym, shopped, got a job on Atlantic Avenue and made sure to make no strides to work on myself. I worked on relationships with men and my appearance. I stayed close with my unhealthy outlets and still felt dissatisfied with my life. I made sure on the outside I looked okay. I was so miserable and covered up the pain with makeup and new clothes. I thought the Northeast was my problem. Why was I still like this?
After the half year of being a cranky dry drunk, my pain met a climax and I drank. I no longer could push my feelings down, my discomfort was erupting and before I could spew the hurt out, I suppressed it more with a substance.
I Traveled 1152 Miles for Sobriety
I thought I was cured, how could it be that I am back to square one? My inability to change my inward issues or face my issues, I inevitably reverted back to active addiction. Although I traveled 1152 miles away from home base, it didn’t solve my spiritual malady. I still held tight to my resentments and character defects because it was comfortable to me. A geographical change didn’t resolve anything. The harsh reality was that I was my problem. It is true wherever you go there you are. I suffer from a spiritual malady, in order to have a happy sober life I needed to clean house and grow closer to a higher power. I had to walk through the fear. I couldn’t run again.
Although it was much trial and error, I stayed in the same place physically this time. I learned it’s not where I am it’s who I am. If progression is not made on the inside, if I am not constantly trying to improve myself simply as a civilized human than bad things happen. If I don’t walk through feelings and get uncomfortable I will not have peace.
In history, geographical changes have been made to improve living conditions. For example, if the area was no longer farmable, the people moved to a place where they could receive nourishment from the land. But even with moving to a place with more nutrient rich soil or suitable for farming, they worked to receive the nourishment. Since I moved and did no work on myself to change my thinking I stayed stuck. I am grateful I moved to Delray Beach and through this experience, I learned that changing locations does not dissipate with location change.
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Freedom From Addiction
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