When you are undergoing treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab center, you put in many hours addressing the deepest underlying roots of your addiction and coming face-to-face with what has kept you stuck in the vicious cycle of substance abuse. Through the frustration, uncertainty and pain you have eventually learned to overcome your addiction and are feeling the positive changes that are taking place. As the days count down to you leaving treatment, you look at life with optimism and excitement in starting this new chapter in your life.
While you feel ready to tackle the world as a recovering person, you are aware that the real work in recovery will begin once you leave the safety and security of drug treatment and enter the fray of the real world. You realize that you must protect your sobriety at all costs and must take many means necessary to maintain the recovery you worked so hard to achieve. While you have many life and coping skills at your disposal, you may feel that your home environment may not be conducive to sustain your recovery.
In those instances, a change of scenery may do the trick. There are those in recovery that will leave their hometown behind and head to locations where there is a substantial population of people who are in recovery. Called sober cities, these places have plenty of 12-step groups and meetings, sober living homes, recovery-friendly businesses and a wide range of activities that promote sobriety.
“Pulling a Geographic”
The prospect of pulling up the proverbial stakes and planting roots in another state or part of the country may seem very extreme. In 12-Step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, this is often referred to “pulling a geographic” and it is a phenomenon when people move from place to place to try to escape or run from problems or circumstances. In early recovery, making such a large decision is highly discouraged since it can add undue stress to your newfound sobriety.
However, if you don’t feel that you have the support and encouragement in your hometown and from family and friends, changing zip codes add finding a more sober friendly location may provide a more appealing option. In the following article, we will share the nine most sober friendly cities in the United States
1. Delray Beach, Florida
Located in between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in southeastern Florida, the city of Delray Beach, Florida as long been recognized as one of the most sober friendly cities in the country. Known by many as The Recovery Capital of the World, The New York Times had dubbed Delray Beach “the epicenter of the country’s largest and most vibrant recovery community.” Delray Beach features a high concentration of high-quality drug treatment facilities, and it is estimated that more than 5,000 people attend 12-step meetings each week. Additionally, Delray Beach features its own recovery-based radio station, a recovery-oriented motorcycle club, and even a coffeehouse that boasts its own therapy group.
2. Los Angeles, California
While Delray Beach and the communities that dot the Florida coastline boast a long-standing and thriving recovery environment, the sprawling city of Los Angeles, California and neighboring Orange County have long been considered to be the sobriety headquarters of the west coast. According to the Huffington Post, Los Angeles county boasts more than “3,100 meetings per week.” The greater Los Angeles area is known as one of the best sober cities because it boasts some of the best known and world-renowned drug rehabs, and the favorable year-round climate provides those in recovery with endless recreational and cultural activities to pursue and enjoy.
3. The Twin Cities: Minneapolis & St. Paul
For those in recovery who live in America’s Heartland, you don’t have to travel far to find some of the best sober living communities in the country. The “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota are also known in the larger recovery community as the land of 1,000 treatment centers. The area is home to Hazelden, which is considered one of the best drug and alcohol treatment centers in the world. The Twin Cities is also home approximately one-third of the nation’s recovery high schools. With its unique and long-standing infrastructure of education, medical help and legal system, Minneapolis and St. Paul have long been known for their general knowledge and acceptance of the disease of addiction.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston/Cambridge, the home of Harvard and MIT, is generally known for its academic culture–and it also has a reputation for being one of the drunkest cities in America. However, many people may not realize that Boston also has a thriving recovery community. There are over 2,000 AA or NA meetings in the greater Boston area, and the city’s AA community features a unique “commitment exchange” program which allows members to speak at other meetings.
5. Houston, Texas
In the southern part of the country, Houston, Texas has emerged as one of the best sober living cities. Houston is known for its many 12-step club houses, where recovering alcoholics and addicts can hang out, attend meetings, share meals and engage in fellowship. Collectively, Houston is home to almost 600 AA groups that hold approximately 2,400 meetings a week.
6. New York City
It’s no surprise that the largest city in the United States, “the city that never sleeps,” has a vibrant recovery community. According to the Fix, New York City is “home to a massive, dynamic sober network — and an infinite variety of activities to keep boredom and cravings at bay.” There are 4,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week in the five boroughs alone, and there are a wide variety of meetings that cater to diverse populations–especially in the LGBT community. New York City also boasts hundreds of other 12-step meetings.
7. Portland, Oregon
Portland is known for its colorful, alternative and eccentric environment, and it provides the perfect environment for recovering people of all backgrounds to pursue a life of recovery. Because of their eclectic and often eccentric population, many meetings have colorful names such as the “Knuckleheads” and “Bill’s Angels”. While this free environment get be unsettling to some who are new to the 12-step scene in Portland, the recovery community and meeting culture are well-known to have a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.
8. Nashville, Tennessee
Known as the bastion for country music, “Music City U.S.A.” also is known as the most sober city in the United States. According to information compiled by The Daily Beast, citizens consume just under 9 drinks on a weekly basis. The city’s mild climate and a wide variety of outdoor activities make it ideal for relocation. Home to many treatment centers and halfway houses, Nashville’s bustling 12-step community features 280 AA groups and a wide variety of other 12-step groups.
9. San Francisco, California
The City by the Bay’s recovery community reflects its diversity. There are 588 meeting that cater to the LGBT community, every week. There are also more than 500 Spanish-speaking meetings per week. The city’s open-minded environment is conducive to newcomers.
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