The Great Outdoors and Addiction Recovery

The Great Outdoors and Addiction Recovery
Image via Pexels

By Michelle Peterson

When a person suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction, their substance abuse disconnects them from the rest of the world. People lose romantic relationships, friends, and family. Drugs and alcohol end up wreaking havoc on both their physical and mental health.

 

How to Treat Addiction

Most health professionals now regard addiction as a disease. Like many diseases, there is no cure, but there are ways to treat it and its symptoms. Treating addiction takes a multifaceted approach. First and foremost, a person dealing with addiction must recognize they have a problem. If they are in denial, they will continue using, even while practicing sobriety in front of others. Recognizing an addiction and ceasing all drug and alcohol use are essential to recovery.

Beyond those two things, addiction treatment can vary from person to person. The addict must address the mental and physical health issues their drug or alcohol abuse created. To do so, they must consult their physician as well as seeking counseling. A physician can help diagnose issues resulting from drug or alcohol abuse. Substance abuse can cause illnesses and issues including disease of the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs. They may also prescribe medications that help with withdrawal, cravings, and underlying issues like depression or anxiety.

One-on-one therapy is helpful when it comes to addressing personal triggers and underlying issues, but other types of therapy may be helpful. Family and couples counseling can help with fractured relationships. Therapists may also use specialized techniques such as art or music therapy to help their patient express themselves and come to terms with difficult emotions.

 

Lifestyle Changes for Sobriety

People struggling with addiction must also make serious lifestyle changes to support their sobriety.

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Start a healthy diet full of whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh produce.
  • Exercise helps reverse the neurological damage inflicted by drug and alcohol abuse while reducing pain, cravings, and feelings of anxiety.
  • Hobbies help distract a person from drugs and alcohol while helping to rebuild self-esteem and discipline lost to addiction.
  • Practicing mindfulness through meditation helps turn off the “wanting mind” in order to reduce cravings and negative emotions.

 

How the Great Outdoors Can Help Addiction Recovery

All of the things outlined above contribute to a sober lifestyle, but those suffering from addiction can add to their efforts by spending more time outdoors. Nature is therapeutic. In fact, people have developed a type of therapy — called ecotherapy — that uses nature-based exercises intended to address both mental and physical health.

Being outside provides fresh air and sunshine that help inspire feelings of wellness. Fresh air wakes the brain and improves its overall function. Absorbing vitamin D from the sun relieves feelings of depression and fatigue. The great outdoors also help cultivate mindfulness and exercise, two major players when it comes to healing and addiction recovery.

 

Tips for Spending More Time Outdoors

  • If you have a dog (something to consider for the various health benefits), spending time outdoors together is perfect for bonding and their overall well-being. You can also work on earning a little extra cash by signing up for a dog walking service that connects you with pet owners who need help exercising their pups.
  • Instead of driving or using public transportation, take a little extra time to walk where you need to go.
  • Next time you plan to spend time with friends or family, organize a picnic where you can eat, drink, and play outdoors.
  • If the weather is good, transition your exercise routine to the outdoors. Instead of spending time going nowhere on the treadmill, work your body by going hiking.
  • Instead of pouring yourself another cup of coffee during a long workday, take a five-minute break with a stroll outdoors. The fresh air and sunshine will perk you up better than caffeine.

 

Addiction is a disease with no cure. However, certain treatments and lifestyle changes can help a person maintain the disease and its symptoms. Adding outdoor time to addiction recovery efforts helps improve fitness and mindfulness while inspiring feelings of well-being and promoting healing.

If you enjoyed this post on The Great Outdoors and Addiction Recovery, then click on the related posts below by Michelle Peterson.

Guest Author at

Michelle Peterson is based in Anaheim, California and has been in recovery for several years.

She started RecoveryPride.org to help eliminate the stigma placed on those who struggle with addiction.

The site emphasizes that the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride and offers stories, victories, and other information to give hope and help to those in recovery.

32 thoughts on “The Great Outdoors and Addiction Recovery

  • July 6, 2019 at 8:44 am
    Permalink

    Outdoors is a place that helps my anxiety go away for a bit. I really love going to the park and enjoying the trees and flowers out there. It relaxes me.

    Reply
  • July 18, 2018 at 3:40 am
    Permalink

    That’s a great post. I’m actually reminded of a vlog where the guy took shrooms and went on a hike (with a sober friend for safety). Guess what, the shroom didn’t have any effect on him except a slight giddiness. None of the typical effects were there inspite of taking the usual dose needed to go trippy!

    Reply
  • July 18, 2018 at 12:34 am
    Permalink

    Fresh air truly has such therapeutic qualities! Even though I don’t suffer from mental illness, I find myself yearning to be in nature when I have a stressful day or am feeling down. It truly is a refreshing and beautiful distraction!

    Reply
  • July 17, 2018 at 7:54 pm
    Permalink

    This is such a great reminder! There really is something about being outside that is relaxing- it is like a medicine! Sometimes I need the reminder that my 5-10 minute coffee break really should be a 5-10 minute fresh air break! I’ll do that next time!

    Reply
  • July 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks so much for this post. I lost my mother 13 years ago to alcoholism and I know many people that struggle with addiction. This is a great resource for them!

    Reply
  • July 16, 2018 at 1:05 pm
    Permalink

    My friend went through this so I really appreciate this post & the message that is motivating. Thank you for the tips and info shared.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2018 at 7:43 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for pointing out the importance of fresh air in this post and it’s contribution towards solving addiction. Very useful info that can help solve my own addiction.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2018 at 5:16 am
    Permalink

    Here I found many helpful tips. This is a unique post, I have not read anything about this topic. We have to know the benefits of travelling outdoors. Here your information and guideline help us in leading toward a healthy life and its an inspiration for us. I will share this important tips with all of my friends. 🙂

    Reply
  • July 16, 2018 at 3:52 am
    Permalink

    I agree. There is much freedom when you are outdoors because of the big space. You feel unconfined. It’s easy to let out your pent up emotions and also ceremoniously let go. When you are hiking and get to reach the top, you can shout your lungs out and nobody will know except you. And it is good and refreshing, as this will aid you in recovery.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2018 at 1:21 am
    Permalink

    This a great article. It is true that the best way to get over an addiction is to escape or have limited access to what people are addicted to and nature is a great way to get away from it. Great article!

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 9:31 pm
    Permalink

    Love this post! I think we all have people in our life’s that struggle from addiction and this article not only helps educate anyone that is suffering from this disease but also helps educate those around them!

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 8:11 pm
    Permalink

    This is such a useful post for people suffering from addiction, I really do think that getting outside and being one with nature is medicine for any disease!

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm
    Permalink

    Even if you aren’t fighting addiction, everyone should try to get outside to reset and recharge. I know I often feel way better when I take a weekend off to go hike or bicycle.

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 1:12 pm
    Permalink

    This is such a helpful post for the ones suffering and dealing with addiction. In fact it’s a very good idea to use outdoor and travel as a means to get over addiction in life.

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 9:20 am
    Permalink

    This is an amazing post, and so beneficial for people with all sorts of addiction. The outdoors is definitely a great way to help recovery and kickstart it in the first place.

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 8:45 am
    Permalink

    I have seen people grappling with addiction in my own family and I can relate to everything you have written about in your post. Apart from sleep routine, healthy eating, outdoor time definitely adds a great deal in helping someone overcome. Of course, one needs to first acknowledge that they have a problem and then really WANT to get out of it, to be able to take these not-so-easy steps towards recovery.

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 8:36 am
    Permalink

    Such an informative post. Addiction can definitely be treated effectively while engaging in outdoor activities.

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 7:10 am
    Permalink

    Being out amongst nature, in a small corner of the wilderness, is such a healing thing. Whether that’s for those recovering from an addiction, from mental health issues, or simply from stress or exhaustion, the reconnection with nature is so effective.

    Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 3:11 am
    Permalink

    Spending time outdoors is fun and therapeutic. It’s a great bonding opportunity for families.

    Reply
  • July 14, 2018 at 9:05 pm
    Permalink

    Being outside always makes me feel better. I love this advice especially the tip about getting a dog. Having one will force you to get outside and exercise more!

    Reply
  • July 14, 2018 at 7:56 am
    Permalink

    Being outdoors is a healing process to every disease. I bet it helps with addiction too!

    Reply
  • July 14, 2018 at 7:36 am
    Permalink

    I totally agree that outdoor activities can be somehow therapeutic in a way. Especially when it comes to the great nature like forest or beach, I suppose it’s because that’s the place where you can actually ‘breath’. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
  • July 14, 2018 at 7:14 am
    Permalink

    That’s a nice post. Poor people who can’t handle their addiction but I also believe good hobbies and nice people around would help as well! Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  • July 14, 2018 at 6:27 am
    Permalink

    Its really great that they have a place for anyone that needs recovery. I like that its not traditional place which is great.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 9:59 pm
    Permalink

    I have noticed that when I don’t feel good about myself and I go out and hike I feel so much better after a while. So I couldn’t agree more with this article! Thanks for reminding me to do it more 🙂

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 5:51 pm
    Permalink

    This is such a powerful post, and I’m so glad you wrote about it. Addiction of any kind is hard to break, but especially of the drug/alcohol kind. Getting outdoors really does the mind and body wonders. I don’t have a dog (sadly) but being freelance, I make sure I get out every single day for a walk. The vitamin D is great, and I come home feeling recharged and productive 🙂

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 4:45 pm
    Permalink

    Outdoors is a great recipe for pretty much everything. I truly believe nature can heal us on its own.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 3:53 pm
    Permalink

    Some great ideas here. I want to exercise more and eat healthier but I find I am always stressing out over little times and then I eat sweet things to make me feel better. I must get outdoors more to chill 🙂

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 3:50 pm
    Permalink

    sleep is so true and also being in nature too! taking on a hobby can also help and i love these ideas to help you with addiction!

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm
    Permalink

    Some great tips! Everyone forgets that you can’t cure it – you have to treat the symptoms. A change of pace is a great idea.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Getting back to nature is something that also helps me to release my stress, and gain my energy. The nature can heal us because we are part of it.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 10:54 am
    Permalink

    It is so true that nature is the best medicine! It teaches you to disconnect from the craziness of the world and appreciate the beauty of what’s out there. Taking up a hobby of some sort is also a way to distract your mind from the cravings related to addiction and keep it busy with something more constructive.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: