It’s a fairly safe bet to assume that when people picture the City of Angels, they’re not always picturing a paradise of virtue and pleasant hospitality in every alley. Like any major city, Los Angeles is filled with its fair share of flaws to be sure, but not ones that aren’t offset by the positives it brings.
Any big urban center is bound to have a seedy underbelly, but there’s so much more to the body of a great city than the belly. Los Angeles has a rich and varied history, world-famous for glamour and controversy, for countless years of decadence and alluring mysteries.
More than just a place of glitz and glamour, it’s home to an incredibly diverse population of more than 4 million Americans of every size, shape, and color imaginable. Native American tribes lined the shores of California and may continue to work to preserve that heritage to this day, and centuries after the arrival of Europeans on the other side of the continent, LA is a city bustling with countless ethnicities, cultures, and struggles.
What this amounts to is a land changed by generations of violence and progress, and a melting pot of cultures coming together to simultaneously celebrate an American way of life while bringing something unique and fresh to the table. If you can learn to embrace the unknown, LA is one of the best places to be sober and recover from an addiction. But you need help, guidance, and the right treatment plan.
Why Bustling Cities Make the Best Places for Recovery
It’s conventional wisdom that cities are more dangerous than rural areas, as more people generally means more crime, more deviance, more poverty and violence. There is something intrinsic about nature and the great outdoors that make us think that, despite the great opportunities and wonders of the modern urban world, people just live better lives when accustomed to the land and what it has to offer. More to the point, there’s a certain belief that addiction in particular is much more common in cities than it would be out in the countryside.
Regardless of what conventional wisdom has to say, rural areas are not significantly safer than urban ones – at least not for addicts. While a lower population density does generally mean fewer addicts, addiction is far from rare outside of America’s urban centers. With years of economic hardship comes the sad fact that rural America is facing skyrocketing poverty, alongside a bustling and thriving black market for illegal drugs all across the country.
Among the many things this implies, it means being an addict can be just as hard, if not much harder, if you’re living in rural America. Once that fact sets in, all the positives of living and thriving in a bustling city begin to attract attention.
LA is a metropolis, and that alone comes with a fair share of implications. But it also comes with the fact that it’s stocked with countless world-class rehabilitation and recovery facilities, sober living homes dedicated to helping teens and adults struggling with addiction, and a number of local experts and researchers in universities and hospitals taking the time to further study and dissect the nature of addiction, alongside lawmakers and attorneys working together to find ways to help addicts stuck in the system, making the law work for them and society, so they get the help they need while addiction and drugs become less of a menace than they currently are.
It’s not perfect, but it never is. If you’re seeking help – the kind that can get you clean and can help you stay clean – an exciting city with a large local recovery scene is probably your best bet.
It’s Important to Keep Yourself Busy
Anyone who has gone through recovery can tell you that keeping yourself busy is the key to maintaining your sanity, while staying clean. If you’ve spent any appreciable amount of time being high when you shouldn’t have been, you’ll come to realize how difficult it is to not be high for any stretch of time. While “keeping your mind off things” is more or less impossible on some days, especially early on, this advice is particularly aimed at people who have successfully completed a rehab program and are working on pulling their life together outside of a treatment center. Staying busy is key, keeping yourself interested in other things and dedicating yourself to both short-term and long-term goals is a good way to fend off intrusive and obstructive thoughts and memories, and maintain your sobriety.
It’s easy to find things to do in a city like LA. If you aren’t out looking for employment or working a steady job or two, LA always has something going on – and it doesn’t have to involve any booze. Spend your first few months away from places that tend to have a lot of alcohol and be selective with whom and where you party. Better yet, get help from trusted friends or friends from recovery to organize your own parties, and use the Internet to find other sober get-togethers and find ways to actually have fun without a single drop of liquor.
When you aren’t out and about socializing in a sober manner, your best bet is to have fun doing the things you enjoy doing the most. Check out local enthusiast clubs, get into events and competitions, challenge yourself to do things or try things you’ve never tried before, and take the opportunity of living in a large and vibrant city to discover how many large and vibrant things you’ve been missing out on.
You Need the Right Support
No matter where you decide to get sober, it’s always important to have a strong team in your corner. LA is a great place if you’re looking for some of the world’s finest recovery centers and treatment facilities, it’s got a great local sober scene, and there’s plenty of things to do that don’t involve alcohol or drugs. But some days, you might still be feeling the urge to get back into old habits, or you’ve simply had a really bad day/week/month and need help.
That’s where support becomes crucial. Having friends and family in your corner is important, just as it is important for you to be in their corner when they need help. We rely on each other, on communication and healthy relationships, on trust and honesty. Addiction is a chronic illness that can come back, especially in very stressful times, when it feels like the easiest (or only) way out of a problem is to drink or use again. We all need help sometimes, even when we’ve spent so much time being strong alone. No matter where you live, having support is important.