Is the American Dream Achievable in Recovery?

  • Stay where I am because I have strong recovery community here in Hampton Roads, VA.
  • Go to Durham, NC where I have long term friends that feel like family.
  • Pack up car and move with no plan and few resources to chase the American Dream.
  • Move to a particular place, which is known to be felon friendly and a good place to start over. (Please name this place in the comments)

0 voters

So, there is some possibility that I will be off probation and free to travel if it suits me in a few weeks. I am so tempted to just run while I still can.

I have very little really. I am just as fucked on the career front anywhere else at this stage in the game as anywhere else. My apartment always reeks of pot I didn’t smoke. I don’t want to have my kids there any longer than it took to get off probation.

It makes sense to go back to Durham. I never want to see my family again and I have long term friends in Durham that feel like family. I am paranoid it is a step backwards though.

My inner radical wants to pack what I can into my shitty car and start driving. Anywhere. It doesnt really matter as long as it is a new, fresh start. Drive until either the car breaks down or I run out of travel funds and then check into a shelter and then a recovery house to see if the American Dream can work. Can someone start with nothing excepting a history of personal strife and judgement in a place you came from and flourish in a new environment? Do I really need to leave my history to have that? Are there some places that are more forgiving of felonies than others? Anyone have some significant sober time and tried to do something like this? If so, in what direction would you point your car?


I don’t have personal experience with this, but I would say that the circumstances you just described (hardship, starting fresh, uncertainty, American Dream) are the basis of many, many amazing success stories.
So I would say have faith, be fearless, and trust your instincts. You’ve certainly shown that you have the tools, wisdom, and fortitude to overcome adversity and be successful. :blush:


Delaware has no sales taxes and beautiful beaches and relatively inexpensive ! Whatever you choose though, I wish you the best of happiness along the way. It has to feel good to at least have options.:blush:


I have some familiarity of this urge in me to leave it all and start over again I have done it in some form or fashion twice, burning most if not all of my bridges to my past along the way. Only now am I starting to get to a deeper understanding as to why. That being said —

Setting HP and self preservation aside (including sobriety):

Hop in the car and let it ride, let it roll, let it go.

Adding the self-preservation back in:

It doesn’t seem like there is much for you in your current situation – outside of the recovery community. I have heard countless stories here where people have found their next opportunity through a coincidence in the rooms. Durham is large enough that there should be opportunity there and you have a support network already there. Once plugged into the local recovery community, I am sure you will flourish.

Adding the HP back in:

When this urge has hit me before, the last thing I wanted to do was to wait to make a decision after I had all of the data to make a choice. My desire was always to make a choice, douse everything with gasoline, and throw the match over my shoulder as I walked away.

It seems that something has to change – at a minimum with your living environment. My only suggestion at this point would be to try and take your will out of it through whatever it is you do for your Step 11 asking for guidance on what your HP has in store for you on this front and keep at it until you have the answer.


Totally. I actually wanted to do that to my previous apartment while in rehab. I actually said I didn’t want to come back here for any reason than to burn my life down and get far away from the embers. I realize it is weird, but my things bother me. If I didn’t have all the legal stuff I had at the time, I would have stayed in Winchester, VA where I went to rehab at. I was invited to stay. I am sure there are a gazillion recovery friendly places like that where having a felony but not living feloniously is welcomed. Lots of people with records were able to get self sustaining jobs there. I just really feel like I have resentments against VA and would like to change that place (people, places, things) moving forward. I understand my actions have made the weirdness in this place, but still. I am ready to go. Like far, far away.

You are so right! The AA community in Durham is probably awesome. Everything about the Triangle Area was great except this custody thing I left over and now the other party doesn’t even live there any more. The family I moved here to be close to so they could “help” me turned out to not be so helpful. I miss Durham and this whole East Coast SanFran feel it has. People who recycle and use cloth diapers aren’t labeled like a hippy there. The best lawyer I ever had and my favorite pediatrician are there. I regularly rue the day I ever left there.

As great as it is though, I have been there and done that. I want some exotic but will admit that it is selfish and probably not the best plan for my daughter and the new baby.


Can u see the high water mark where your at?


If it will help u and yours, I say go see a different landscape.


lmfao, As much as I love that movie, should contemplations of the biggest substance abuse novel ever really play in to sober choices?

I get what you are saying, but no. I can’t see it, this water mark. Its like I am too close to it to see anything. All I feel like is that someone is going to open the cage door and that makes me want to run. Like a maverick mustang into the sunset and never stop kind of run. No one is threatening to shut this door again. Nothing but my behavior would land me back on probation, but still. I have this sensation like if I stay in the cage with the door open then it could be closed again.


Add your vote, Dude. I just figured out how to make a poll thing and so now you guys just have to vote. Because I’m bossy. And selfish. And alcoholic even though I don’t drink anymore. :smile:


I understand. And yea, now that I think more about that post, maybe it wasent the best. What type of support would u have if u did leave tho?


:joy:ok. No problem. Submitting now…


Well, in Durham, very nice public housing is available that I used to live in. I see the waiting list is short. What I was thinking was that as soon as I get the probation discharge papers (assuming I do, the judge could always laugh. I would. I feel like my PO has done this request prematurely) to go down there and put my name on the waiting list (it is supposed to be relatively short right now, it was 6 months when I was on it before and that was long) and switch my license and car registration to down there at my friend’s address so I can get this expensive AF FR-44 form off my car insurance bill. I would see if there is any way to get my prenatal care in at the birthing center I had my daughter at, but it is late in the game. Impending custody crap being possible, it would help a lot of the baby were not born in VA so VA would not have any jurisdiction. Then after that I would come back here to my crap apartment and give my 30 days notice as soon as my name comes up on the housing list and I can move in. Then I’ll have a month of living both places while I move what I want to keep and get rid of the rest.

As far as if I just drive to some place I basically throw a dart and land in by chance, there will be no support. No family, no friends. Only what I can make happen with the local recovery community after having just met them. I feel like that is strong though, if it is like the recovery community in the 3 places I have seen it and the countless places I hear it spoken of on here. I would have the same nothing there that I have here. I want to try to start a virtual bookkeeping service to maybe avoid this whole finding a job with a felony thing and that would be just as possible anywhere as it is here.


Hey my logical side says that you need to have a plan in progress before you take that dive. Absolutely would advise against just going on a whim. You have a life and a routine at this moment. Set one up in a different town and make plans to change your situation. I don’t know how difficult the job market is for felons. But I think it’s possible to start over. But the old saying just pops in my head. We never plan to fail, we fail to plan. In recovery we are thought to live in the moment but that doesn’t exclude us from making plans and having dreams. Just check your expectations at the door. If you are unhappy and Durham is a healthy choice then find some housing and employment and go for it. If you are worried about it being a trigger moving check out the recovery support as well. This is one of those tough situations we have to search within our soul and ask our higher power for guidance. I sure wish you find the solution you seek.


I’m actually thinking about moving home to Ireland. Have been away 15 years, now I’m sober I miss my friends and family there. I’ve made friends with AA and have some good friends but we’re not as social now and I sometimes feel alone. It’d be nice to be able to jump in the car and just visit my nearest and dearest but I can’t.

My other half is a 2 hour drive away so I sometimes feel alone during the week, tonight is one of those nights, but I’m tired so probably not thinking rationally and putting myself on a different island would likely put an end to my relationship. I don’t want to move where he lives and I’m not sure he wants to move here.

It’s a bit of a quandary as I’d need to go to Dublin to keep my career on track, or take a big pay cut and Dublin is a 2 hour drive from my parents so it’s not much different to Glasgow.

I’ve also bought my own home here which I love in September and it’d be a big change in my life but after getting sober and ending a 13 year relationship when drunk which I sometimes regret, my life here has changed. My ex is one of my best friends but has moved on and rightly so, but sometimes I feel like I’m still at his beckoned call.

My other thoughts are move country to somewhere new and see what the adventure brings but it will all take some planning. Need to channel my Higher power on it for a while.

Whatever you do, think it through as it’s not just you but your family who’s life will change and you have to make sure it’s right for your daughter and imminent new arrival.

Wishing you success whatever you do, I’m sure it’ll all work out.


lol, I have been in and out of AA for about 4 years now and I have never heard of this phrase called “pulling a geographic”. I just read a few articles that google turned up and many of them refer to this phrase as well as listing basically the same cities over and over. Delray Beach, FL, The Twin Cities, MN, San Francisco, CA, are just a few of them. My dad is from Minneapolis. It was always cool to visit there. My daughter’s father lives outside of Tampa. I’m sure he’d love it if we were to move closer to him for our sweetie.

Any thoughts on these sorts of cities?


I love a reinvention. It sounds like wanderlust and frankly, if you can go I always say why not. Nothing holding you in place leaves you open to new possibilities. My one hesitation is your daughter and her schooling…you would want a good school system for her…which kind of rules most of Florida out cuz schools here suck…badly…which is unfortunate, because there is no state tax and it is fairly felony friendly, lots of AA…tho not east coast crunchy unfortunately…that is one of the things I miss most about Vermont…very eco conscious and progressive…I really miss that.

My daughter lives in Minneapolis, it is a great city, LOTS of parks and healthy outdoor things to do…some crunch for sure, good healthcare…fairly progressive…sadly winters are WAY too long. Same for Vermont, which is nirvana…especially Burlington area but EXPENSIVE and too long winter.

Asheville NC …a really neat area, gorgeous, crunchy, progressive. Austin TX…same. I cannot speak to felony friendly. Durham sounds like a good thing for you.

We left Vermont after 20+ years for Florida…very different…pros and cons. I left Massachusetts for Vermont many years ago and loved it but it wasn’t a huge geographic move but I didn’t know a soul…just me and my daughter…best move I ever made.

Look around online at local newspapers and such…can often get a feel for places. Even from trip advisor or facebook…follow the info on restaurants, grocery stores, shops, bike paths, co-ops, daycare, social services…it gives you an idea of the place and what they offer.

I have traveled all over the U.S. and there are some VERY special places. You just need to find yours. Is it Durham?


Personally, I’d give the top spot to wherever I thought my recovery options were best!

What do you mean by the American dream?


Rags to riches. Happiness from nothing but hard work. That sort of thing since, supposedly, that is what American greatness started with.


The happiness part is reasonable. Then one just has to decide what happiness looks like!


Which is what the post is for, so vote if one of the options sounds happier in your opinion than the others…