Around the recovery community we often hear the expression “geographical cure.” This refers to the seemingly obvious fact that regardless of where we go, we take our personalities, problems, and the ways we cope with issues right along with us. In fact, “geographicals” are a physical expression of denial.
Addiction is a disease. As such, it does not depend on the presence of drugs or behaviors of choice for its existence. While long-term removal from people, places and things complemented by abstention from drugs and a program designed to re-orient our thinking away from our old habits can be critical to our recovery, simply leaving our problems behind doesn’t cut it, because it never works.
No matter where we go, there we are, and if we have managed to leave specific problems (wives, husbands, police officers, jobs, pimps, connections and so forth) behind, we will surely keep developing new ones. In fact, it’s rare for the old ones to go away.
As a wise recovery saying has it, “If you keep on doing what you used to do, you’ll keep on getting what you used to get.” Unless we change the ways we look at and cope with our lives, we will really change nothing in the long run. In order to be successful, the first step is — literally — to admit that we have a problem and can’t manage our own lives.
You see, addicts’ problems are highly portable. We don’t even need to pack.