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9 Practical Tips for Moving House in Recovery

Moving house is ‘up there’ on the list of extremely stressful life events.

When you are new to recovery and first establishing yourself in this new way of life added stress, such as moving, can be a potential trigger for relapse or poor self-care. This is why many addiction treatment centres will recommend that you avoid any unnecessary life changes in your first year of recovery.

This first year needs to be all about you. It’s your time to re-focus, refresh and realign.

Of course, the reality is that sometimes moving in early recovery can actually be a necessity. Sometimes it might even beneficial to the maintenance of your sobriety. How so? Well, if you have unhealthy roommate situations, or live where drugs and alcohol are readily available and used, moving will certainly be a better option than trying to maintain sobriety in these environments where triggers are present daily. Other external scenarios including the loss of property / a residence due to financial difficulties, relationship breakdown or even a change in employment circumstances, can also be pre-cursors to moving.

If the reality is that you must move in your first year of recovery, we’d like to share some suggestions for you to help you plan and prepare for this eventuality.

South Pacific Private’s Advice for Moving House 

1. Consider the location of local bars, pubs and clubs – are they close by and a potential source of temptation?

The reality of a local pub within walking distance is definitely not ideal for the newly sober person. If you can – our advice is that you consider choosing a location that offers alternative options for meeting and socialising such as a park, a coffee shop, a library or a beach. Making this decision early on in your search for a new location will help you to continue to work your recovery plan.

2. What type of support will you have in this new location?

Moving is stressful enough, but finding your feet in a new area can be even more so. It can take a few months to feel settled, and part of it all. It can be isolating or even a lonely experience especially if you are moving away from a friendship group or close support network. to choose a place where you know at least one supportive friend or family member or where you know that there are regular meetings available that you can attend to connect and gain a sense of belonging.

3. Are there recovery meetings nearby?

We recommend that you take the time to research this in advance. Perhaps even consider attending a new recovery group before you move so that you can connect in advance and already have a sense of how you will relate to a new neighbourhood.

4. What is your living arrangement?

This is a really important decision. Who you are sharing a home with will greatly impact your recovery.  One the one hand, the presence of a flatmate will remove some financial stress and also help to ward off loneliness. However, on the other hand, the choice of flatmate is critical – as they need to be conducive to your recovery and not a threat to it.

5. Plan ahead as much as possible

Making a to-do list for your move is one of the best ways to get organised early on. It may feel overwhelming to list out everything you need to do, but take a deep breath and know it will help you to manage the stress more healthily.

6. Pack and purge

As soon as you know that you will be moving, start packing! This will be a great time to purge and get rid of anything you do not use or need. The less stuff you have to move, the less stressful it will be. In addition, you might want to consider packing one room at a time and clearly labeling the boxes. Even though it seems faster and easier to just throw things in boxes at random, taking time to properly label boxes with their contents will make unpacking much less stressful.

7. Look after yourself physically

It may be tempting to rely on fast food and sugar-filled snacks when you are busy packing and moving, but eating healthfully will do wonders for managing your stress and helping you to remain focused and clear-headed.

8. Ask for help and be specific

Hiring professional movers will significantly decrease the stress of moving, but if it is not possible for any reason, enlist the help of family and friends. There can be a great sense of camaraderie about moving and having the support of others will make the process enjoyable and help to share the load.

9. Put your recovery first

No matter what, as you prepare to move, your recovery must still come first. Moving can give you a fresh start as long as you keep your commitment to sobriety throughout the process.

If you need support – reach out on 1800 063 332 or email info@southpacificprivate.com.au