Monday Challenge: The Geographic Cure

Eat my dust, old life.

God, the Monday Challenge. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Let’s bring it back, just for funzies.

If you’ve ever read about addiction—or had any experience with it yourself, either first hand or through others—you might have heard of the geographic cure. It’s a theory that changing location can get you sober. Move from the town where all your favourite bars and drinking buddies are, get away from your dysfunctional family or the job you hate, and maybe you can find the will to kick the habit.

I don’t know what the stats are, but I doubt the geographic works by itself. Wherever you go, you take yourself along for the ride, and that’s the part that needs changing. I’d hazard, though, that the geographic cure can help, if you’re using the change in location as a way to change yourself. Especially if it’s a temporary way to kickstart recovery. There can be relief in a momentary reprieve from the daily pressure, which is why vacations are so popular. But sooner or later, you have to face yourself again.

Aside from addiction, though, I think a lot of us secretly believe in the geographic cure. How often have you looked around and thought that if you didn’t have this job, this town, this family, this life, then everything would be different? Who hasn’t felt the urge to just leave, walking away from it all and vanishing without a trace into a new life? Into a new self?

Monday Challenge: write me a character trying to leave their problems behind. How far would one of your characters have to go to try a geographic cure for their problems? And how long would it be before the problems eventually caught up?

One thought on “Monday Challenge: The Geographic Cure

  1. I have one of these characters, in a book I’m still working on. Here’s our introduction to her: “Jade dropped her cigarette half-smoked to the ground, smeared it into the pavement with the ball of her boot. She looked down the long line of passenger cars before moving casually toward the train, hefting her black duffle over her shoulder. She looked too slight to carry the duffle and it made her tilt under its weight. The bird-bone quality of her arms was accentuated by the sharp lines of her black muscle tee and the tops of her black fingerless gloves, cutting off at the elbow. It didn’t help that she looked pasty in black, her hands bluish like the cold kind of alabaster against the purple hue of her black nails. Her slender fingers looked fragile, like alabaster, too.”

    Jade was one of seven kids in a very academic home with a professor dad and a fiery mom. She had a sheltered, happy childhood that never settled with her sense of adventure and her rebellious streak. As a teen runaway, she got hooked on drugs and ended up in rehab a few times. The last time, she decided to settle in a Southern town completely unfamiliar to her, where her older sister had moved. Here, she carved out a space with new friends, house, and career, but she skates a thin line, finding comfort in the familiar surroundings of the tattoo shop, where she becomes an artist. Relative fame on a reality show bolsters her sobriety. But when, a few years later, her mother dies and she returns to the East Coast for the funeral, she discovers that her mother’s life was riddled with inexplicable secrets. Could this unhinge Jade, again?

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