The resources are limited in rural areas. You are really alone. Most of your friends are using, and you’ve isolated the ones who aren’t using. There’s really no recovery community. It’s lonely.
Overcoming addiction in a rural community presents many challenges. There is often a lack of addiction resources, not to mention the overwhelming stigma that comes with living in an area that lacks a strong recovery community.
There are sure to be many barriers to entering into recovery in a rural area. But with the knowledge of the resources that ARE available to you and even one supportive person in your life, it can be done!
Stigma in rural communities
A huge barrier to recovery in rural communities is the stigma associated with addiction. In general, higher levels of stigma predict lower levels of being willing to provide support. 
Knowing everyone in your small town has its advantages. But it can also be difficult for the person with a substance abuse issue to come forward and admit that they need help. Unfortunately, many rural towns lack the education needed to be able to look at addiction as the disease that it is rather than a moral issue.
Having peer support can greatly help in the recovery process in a rural area. Peers can provide resources, education, and help advocate on your behalf.
Despite the stigma you may be experiencing, you ARE a person who is worthy of the gifts of recovery. Who knows? Maybe one day it will be your story helping to change the lives of others living with addiction.
Take advantage of the resources that are available to you
Oftentimes a person getting into recovery in a rural community may only have access through their local department of mental health or local department of child protective services. These may be scary entities to many people living with a substance use disorder, but they can also provide the life-saving help that you may need. In most, but not all, cases, they can provide case managers, in-home therapists, and other providers that can help provide education on problem areas in life and recovery.
Even if a recovery community is lacking in your rural community, many times, there will be a community mental health center where 1 on 1 and group therapy may be provided. If you are unsure where to find treatment, you can visit this page to find articles, worksheets, tools and other resources. Or you can also use SAMHSA’s treatment locator tool to find help near you.
Another issue many people tend to have is not having access to local recovery meetings. Recovery meetings are very important to a person who is working to maintain their sobriety. Although it can be tough not having a local meeting, there are solutions. Some organizations and programs can help you arrange rides to get to meetings. Another option is online meetings. For example, there are online Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and online Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. And other recovery programs have online options too.
You are never alone
The beginning of recovery can be lonely whether you live in a big city or a small rural community. Either way, you need to know that you are never alone. The Addictions: Answer, Share, Explore tool can not only help you reflect on your experiences with addiction, but see others with similar battles as well. Tapping into an online meeting or googling and reading the stories of other people who have overcome addiction can help you to remember that recovery is possible.
- Indiana University. (n.d.). Stigma around substance use disorder higher in rural areas, new IU study finds. Addictions. https://addictions.iu.edu/news/stigma-rural-urban.html#:~:text=Stigma%20around%20substance%20use%20disorder%20is%20common%20and%20pervasive.,use%20opioids%20for%20nonmedical%20reasons.