Often, people with substance abuse problems are negatively affected by their local surroundings. Leaving those negative influences behind and attending treatment in another state may be the best first step if you are seeking recovery. Rural areas may not have the best addiction treatment program options, and some big cities may be overwhelmed with patients causing a lack of good care. If you are willing to travel to another state for treatment, it opens the door to thousands of qualified rehabs across the country. Traveling helps to develop a “journey” mentality, putting you in the mindset that you are beginning a fresh start in a new environment.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Publications Organization, people in recovery who return to environments after rehabilitation that are enabling to the addiction are at an increased risk of relapse compared to those who do not.
Many people addicted to drugs or alcohol find that by putting some distance between themselves and local temptations, it helps to reduce cravings and prevent relapse. Voluntary treatment is also easier to abandon when you know you are a 30-minute drive back to familiar surroundings – and your drug connection. Being far away from home makes it more difficult to obtain drugs when your cravings arise.
There are some downsides to getting treatment at a local rehab center. If you are in an Outpatient Treatment Program within the community you were using drugs or alcohol, it may be harder to stay drug-free during your free time outside of treatment. Several negative influences may still be present in your life. Drug dealers, addicted friends, and family members that enable your addiction all have the potential to cause setbacks in your recovery. You will be more likely to run into some or all of them after their stay in rehab, even if they are careful. Simply experiencing a feeling, taste, or smell, or being in a place that the brain links with drug or alcohol use may increase the risk of a relapse. While it might not always be possible to control whether one has any of these experiences, the risk is always more limited if one chooses to go to rehab away from their hometown.
Privacy in Treatment
Many people suffering with addiction feel they will be judged by people in their community if they participate a drug treatment program. Traveling to rehab in another state ensures more privacy than attending treatment in or near your hometown. The likelihood that you will be recognized by other people in the program is remote. This helps to reinforce that you are starting fresh, which includes forming new relationships with new people.
A Fresh Start
The main purpose of an addiction treatment program is to change your behavior, enabling you to get a fresh start in life. The process of starting over is therapeutic on its own. Once you realize the endless potential your life could have by starting fresh, it allows the clinical processes used in the treatment program to take hold in your mind. Some people find they are more dedicated to their recovery in a new location. The process of healing is harder when you are exposed to the same environment in which you abused drugs or alcohol.
Considerations When Relocating for Addiction Treatment
The decision to seek addiction treatment is a personal choice you need to make on your own for you to reach your goal of a drug or alcohol-free lifestyle. The ability to choose to go to treatment in a new place is a personal choice. Research has shown that people are more successful in treatment when they do not feel burdened or distracted by outside influences. When attending out-of-state treatment, your only focus is on your treatment and getting better.
Sometimes you must make personal choices based on what you can afford. Whether or not you can afford to go to out of state treatment may depend on your insurance plan. Some insurers may only have to pay for a limited number of days or services. Considering the cost differences between treatment covered by insurance and out of pocket expenses can play a major part in your decision to relocate for addiction treatment. We recommend sitting down and evaluating your options and treatment preferences with someone you trust that supports your goal of relocating for recovery.
Some individuals do better when close to home, while others do better when relocating for treatment. Weighing all your available options based upon privacy concerns, comfort level, and out of pocket costs can help you determine if relocating to another state is the right fit for your personal recovery process. The best decision you can make is a decision which best supports your sobriety.
Not everyone does well in a new environment. Some people need to be close to their children, mother, father, or siblings to feel a sense of wellness. If you feel you will be miserable away from your family, and it will adversely affect your ability to get well, then you need to consider those feelings in any decision you make to travel to an out of state treatment center.
The weather in the US differs greatly from one part of the country to another. In the Northeast, fall and winter months are cold and snowy, while in the South, the weather is considerably warmer in those seasons. Why does this matter in recovery?
- Comfort – Bundling up in the cold, going from freezing cold outside to warm and dry inside is not an ideal climate situation for most people. A warm climate year-round, as found in Florida, ensures you can wear thinner, lighter clothing and enjoy the sun while in recovery. There is a reason Florida is one on the largest tourist destinations in the country during winter. People enjoy getting away from the cold and enjoying the outdoors.
- Outdoor Therapy – A warm climate ensures the treatment program can offer outdoor activities as part of their therapy. Adventure Therapy is a year-round therapy offering at Pride Recovery Center because we can take advantage of Florida’s beautiful beaches year-round. If you were to go to treatment in a cold climate, you would not have that kind of opportunity.
Here are the states to avoid if you want to recover in a warm climate to take advantage of the great outdoors:
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
Finding the Right Program Far from Home
If you have made the decision to stop abusing drugs or alcohol and would like a change of scenery in which to begin recovery, travelling is a practical option. Our treatment center is located just minutes from the beautiful beaches of South Florida. Our caring staff of addiction professionals are able to incorporate outdoor activities year-round, which is extremely beneficial to the physical rehabilitation aspect of our program. We commonly receive positive feedback from clients that have traveled to Florida for treatment.
These clients were aware of their personal preferences, and the benefits of recovery in a warm, tropical-like climate. If you are contemplating traveling for treatment, we recommend you speak to one of our addiction specialists to learn more about how our climate and therapy offerings could benefit you any time of year. Consider all the factors listed here before making a final choice about whether to stay local or start again someplace new.
The Logistics of Traveling to Treatment
What Should I Bring to Treatment?
The most important thing to bring is a sincere desire to make the process work for you. Aside from that, you may want to bring some of the following possessions with you:
- Proof of Medical Insurance – If you have medical insurance, bring a copy of your ID card to ensure the treatment program has the information they need to prevent any unnecessary out of pocket expenses on your part.
- A Government ID, Driver’s License, or Passport – We all know traveling requires identification, especially if you are flying. Make sure you have a valid form of ID needed for your method of travel. If your ID is expired, make sure to renew it before you go.
- Any Necessary, Legal, and Properly-Prescribed Medication – Bring a supply of any medication that has been legally prescribed to you by a doctor that you take for a medical condition. A 10-day supply is recommended to ensure no doses of medication is missed during your transition into treatment.
- Your Mobile Phone – Obviously you will use the phone to communicate and find your way as you travel. However, depending on the level of care you are going to participate in, you may not be able to possess your phone once you get there. In some cases, you may access information on your phone while accompanied by treatment staff. This can be helpful to provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your primary care physician, family members, referrers, or anyone else you want to authorize to know about or involve in your treatment.
- Clothes, Including Exercise Clothes – Comfortable casual clothes that are appropriate for the environment you will be in are best. No need to be formal in recovery. It is best to focus on your treatment in clothing you are comfortable wearing.
- Sneakers – Almost all treatment programs integrate a physical rehabilitation component into their therapy. Sneakers will ensure your feet are comfortable while you rehab your body.
- Personal Hygiene Products – These can include hair shampoo and conditioner, sunscreen, body lotion, body wash or bar soap, and deodorant. You cannot bring any products that contain alcohol into a treatment center so always read the ingredient list to avoid it being discarded at the center.
Driving to Another State for Treatment
We do not recommend driving yourself to another state to go to treatment. Consider asking a sober friend or family member to drive you instead. You will have time to relax in the car during the trip, and time to “say goodbye for now” to the person you trust and care about. Let’s face it, if you need help for substance abuse addiction, you probably have drugs or alcohol in your system. Driving while intoxicated is never a good option. You should never operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if “nothing has ever happened” in the past, it doesn’t mean something bad can’t happen.
Treatment centers often offer transportation services while you are in their care. Therefore, you may not need a car while you are in treatment.
Flying to Another State for Treatment
Flying to treatment isn’t much different than when you went on your last vacation. The same basic rules apply. However, the last time you went on vacation, chances are you were abusing your drug or drink of choice before or on the way to the airport. Heading to the airport with cravings to abuse drug or alcohol can severely raise your stress levels. Here are some pointers to help prevent unnecessary stressful situations while traveling by plane. After all you, you will have a lot on your mind as you embark on the travel phase of your recovery journey.
- Check-In Online 24 Hours Before Your Flight – Checking-In to your flight gets you a boarding pass. The boarding pass shows you which gate the flight is leaving from. If you do this electronically using your phone, you won’t have to carry a paper boarding pass. All this ensures you are accounted for, authorized to board the plane, and informed on where to board.
- Triple Check Your Flight Time and Status – All airlines have a way to check if your plane is on time. Start checking your flight several hours before your boarding time to ensure you can make alternate travel plans in the event there is an issue with your flight
- Arrive at the Airport At Least One Hour Prior To Boarding Time (Not Liftoff Time) – Being early ensures you have enough time to get through long security checkpoints, deal with any overbooking or seat issues, and not have to rush through it all.
- Carry-On Your Bags (If Possible) – Nothing makes people angrier than lost luggage. If possible, try to fit your possessions into carry-on bags. This ensures the airline won’t lose your stuff right before you are about to get treatment.
- If You Check Bags – Wrap a unique, bright colored tag or piece of cloth to the handle of your luggage. A Lot of luggage looks the same. The bright color will make your bag stand out ensuring less stress at the baggage claim carousel.
- Review All Connecting Flight Information – If you do not have a direct flight, make sure you consult with the airline if your first flight is delayed, or you are not familiar with the airport layout. When in doubt, talk to an agent of the airline (gate attendant, pilot, desk agent, etc.) and communicate any challenges with your connecting flight.
- Charge Your Mobile Phone – You can accomplish a lot with your smartphone, including keeping yourself entertained while traveling. Heading to the airport with a charged phone will prevent stress, especially if you are accessing your boarding pass using your phone.
- Wear Comfortable Clothes and Sneakers – No need to be formal on an airplane. Use your time on the plane to get rest and reflect on why you are traveling to treatment in the first place. Think about the positive change you are making, and how it can benefit your future.
- Chew Gun on The Plane – This can help with adjusting to altitude changes and your “ears popping”.
- Bring Ear Plugs – Planes are noisy, and rest is easier with earplugs. A nap on the plane will help ensure you are rested when you land and ready to begin your journey.
- Communicate with Your Treatment Provider Before and After Your Flight – Some treatment centers arrange for transportation to and from the rehab center. Staying in contact with the center will ensure transportation is waiting for you, making your travel from the airport to treatment easier.
Our Final Thoughts on Relocating for Rehab
Getting help by seeking treatment for your substance abuse addiction is critical to improving your future. If you can remove yourself from a negative environment by traveling to rehab out of state, we recommend you give it a try. No two people are alike. Everyone has different requirements and personal needs when it comes to addiction rehab and treatment. If the best place for you to recover is out of state, you should seriously consider traveling to that rehab center. At Pride Recovery, we have had clients from across the country come to us because of our reputation for ethical, individualized, cutting edge addiction treatment services. Always do what is best for you when it comes to breaking free from an addiction. There is no “one size fits all” approach. Do your homework on the center you are thinking of traveling to and make sure their therapy offering and treatment methods are what you need to learn how to maintain lasting sobriety.