Getting Back to Nature to Support Addiction Recovery
February 3rd, 2016
The fresh air, the natural light, the breeze, the stillness, the sounds: There’s a sense of freedom that comes with being outdoors. Self-reliance and a connection with the earth can bring a sense of peace like no other. And best of all, nature is all around and available to everyone.
Since the beginning of time, people have tapped into the healing qualities of nature. However, between electronics, smart phones, and technology – it seems as though our society has drifted further from our roots. Nature can provide a balance to the fast-paced lives that we inevitably lead. For this reason, nature provides a balance for our minds, bodies, and spirits – and is one of the most powerful assets in healing from addiction.
Nature Benefits Addiction Recovery.
Spending time outdoors restores our psychological well-being. Over the years, numerous studies have found that people feel energized and invigorated after spending time in nature – and that the energy boost is equivalent or greater than what one might get from drinking a cup of coffee.
While nature has positive benefits for overall health, it specifically can help in supporting addiction recovery. Outdoor therapy, also referred to as wilderness therapy or adventure therapy uses nature to help treat individuals struggling with addiction to drugs such as heroin, painkillers, and even alcohol. Wilderness therapy is especially successful in treating those with underlying causes of addiction – such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.
For many people struggling with addiction, physical therapy in the outdoors doesn’t just promote healing of the body – it also helps to promote healing of the mind and spirit. Addiction recovery programs that incorporate adventure therapy often set the foundation for people to build and learn how to live healthy and balanced lives.
Nature and Renewal after Addiction
Spending time in nature can yield a fresh start; a renewed life. Think about the rising sun, with each day as a brand new day and a clean slate. No matter what the previous day brought – storms, fires or floods – nature finds a way to restore itself and to rebuild.
We often hear that addiction recovery is to be taken one day at a time. Just like the rising sun, no matter what the previous day brought, we have the chance to renew our lives and rebuild.
Nature and Self-Sufficiency
The unique environment provided by nature can be the perfect atmosphere for healing. The outdoor-setting has proven to lower stress levels, provide a greater sense of self-awareness and self-sufficiency, a greater level of responsibility towards others, group cohesion, and boosted self-esteem. Learning the skills to build fires, fish and climb to new heights leads to a sense of achievement – encouraging those who have relied so long on drugs and alcohol, to realize their own self-worth. Wilderness therapy programs have been proven to build personal responsibility, and a solid foundation for achieving long-term recovery.
Nature and Continuing Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery doesn’t stop when you leave our Treehouse program in Scurry, Texas. Addiction recovery is a long-term process and a lifetime journey. Your recovery starts with our rehab program and continues through your life through personal effort. We encourage our clients to find positive activities and behaviors to incorporate into their lives beyond our program in order to help them in staying on the path of recovery. While we recommend things like working with a sponsor or attending meetings, working with a therapist or counselor – we also recommend incorporating nature into your daily life. Whether you take a trip to the lake, your local park, or just spend some time relaxing in a hammock in the backyard, nature will continue to benefit your recovery long after you leave our Texas rehab program.
Our wilderness therapy programs
At The Treehouse, our program right outside of Dallas, Texas – we pride ourselves in providing unique opportunities for personal growth. Our adventure and nature therapy programs are continually expanding, but includes:
- low ropes course adventure
- a network of ziplines
- 40 scenic and serene acres near Dallas Texas
- a peaceful treatment sanctuary in the woods (our treehouse)
- military-style climbing walls
- survival tasks:
- building a fire and shelter
- water purification and filtration
- identifying plant and animal life