In some ways it can sound like contrary advice: should you really relocate during recovery? It’s called “pulling a geographic,” and in general AA wisdom, it’s seen as an escape.
But if escaping means moving to a city with better sober living, it could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Here are 5 of the best sober living cities to start your (new) career.
Not far from Dallas, Texas, but with a personality all its own, Plano, Texas was recently named the best city in the country to try to find a job. The combination of job growth (a 3% increase last year) and affordable housing, make this Texas town a great place to start a career.
In-state tuition in Texas is also one of the lowest in the nation, yet the colleges are some of the tops. So, if you think going back to school is one of the steps on your new career path, after living in Texas for a year, you may qualify for low in-state tuition.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah has a high percentage of teetotalers, which may account for why four of the five most sober cities in the United States are in the Beehive State. If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (AKA Mormon), no need to worry: only about 1/3 of the capital city are (numbers are much higher in rural areas).
What you will find is a healthy economy and plenty of support groups for addicts in recovery, not to mention a desert clime, if you want to go “dry” in that sense.
For a little wetter climate, consider Portland, Oregon. Job growth, high paying jobs, and a lower-than-national-average unemployment rate, this northwestern city is a great place to start your new career. Housing costs in the city proper are kind of high, but you don’t have to travel far to see a steep decrease in costs. And if growing your own food sounds weird, it’s not in Portland, where locals are proud of sourcing food from their own patios.
The “Keep Portland Weird” campaign also spills over into a fun, hipster vibe to recovery. AA groups have names like “Knuckleheads” and “The spillover Meeting,” so if counter-culture is your thing, maybe head west to Portland. Just don’t pack your umbrella. Most Oregonians brave the winter drizzle sans umbrella.
If you value all four seasons, and a low cost of living, consider Nashville, Tennessee. This charming southern town also boasts an active music scene, and the “Pharmacy” is a name for a popular burger joint, not the local drug dealer.
If you’re going to make the move to Nashville, the time is right. The job market is growing rapidly, and with more people moving there all the time, the housing market looks like a healthy time to try to buy.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
You don’t have to leave Michigan to find a city with a hot job market. Several Michigan cities are seeing excellent job growth. Near the top of the list: Grand Rapids. The area has many fields of employment, from healthcare and hospitality to furniture and trucking.
Grand Rapids ranks well on the lowest cost of living index for several reasons that can add up to big savings: low housing costs, lower grocery bills and lower healthcare costs than U.S. average. You’ll also find lots of support groups for every kind of addiction recovery, which all adds up to Grand Rapids being a great place to “pull a geographic.”