Author and Guest Writer Michelle Peterson wishes to eliminate the stigma surrounding people who struggle with addiction. Her mission is aligned with that of RecoveryPride to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it.
Some experts call the great outdoors vitamin N, which means “vitamin nature.” It's known as wilderness therapy, and it's been used as an effective treatment for addiction recovery. Away from the fast-paced world that's filled with daily demands, chores and all those screens that everyone looks at every two minutes, it's easier to focus on the core skills that assist with addiction recovery. Nature inspires communication, self-sufficiency and independence, as well as teamwork. These are all skills you'll need to develop to successfully recover from addiction, and stay away from drugs and alcohol.
The Nature of Addiction
Many addicts turn to substance abuse because of a need to tune out the world, to escape from their pain and their problems, to be free. Nature can provide these same feelings, but without all the havoc that drugs and alcohol wreck on the body and mind. Going outside can be a perfect escape, a great way to tune out the rest of the world and a way to just forget about pain and problems for a while. Many therapeutic programs use wilderness therapies and the great outdoors to help people with addiction recovery, mental health issues and a variety of emotional problems.
The Health Benefits of Being Outdoors
Getting outside is actually healthy for you, according to the University of Harvard. You'll get a natural dose of vitamin D, which can boost your immune system. Studies show that vitamin D can help fight cancer, heart attacks and osteoporosis. Being outdoors in nature also makes you feel happier and improves your body's natural healing ability, which is highly beneficial to recovering addicts.
More importantly for recovering addicts, being outside can also help fight depression. According to US News & World Report, many recovering addicts struggle with depression. Nature diminishes the symptoms that come with addiction recovery. In other words, nature itself can be like a natural high.
Maintain Your Sobriety
Being in addiction recovery is actually lifelong process. It's something you always want to work at, and you need to develop some healthy habits in order to maintain your sobriety and stay in recovery. One of the best ways to stay sober is to change your environment, which you can do by getting out and enjoying the outside world. Healthy exercise can also help you stay in recovery. Walking for 30 to 60 minutes a few days a week can help you stay sober, according to National Geographic. Do it outdoors instead of on a treadmill, and let nature work its healing magic on you.
Spending time outside can actually decrease your stress. High stress levels and feelings of anxiety can lead to substance abuse. Anything that alleviates stress naturally can help you avoid those triggers that may make you want to use again.
Have a Healthy Recovery
For former substance abusers, natural therapies are all that’s left. It’s not wise to rely on drug therapy to kick a drug or alcohol habit, but it’s always a good idea to just get outside for a little while. Go for a walk and look around. Find a park and sit on a bench. Breathe in the fresh air, and let nature work its positive effects on you. The path to sobriety is a much more pleasant one than the path of substance abuse.
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