How Can Connecting With Nature Improve the Recovery Process?

How Can Connecting With Nature Improve the Recovery Process?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Connecting with nature during recovery can be extremely grounding. While in nature, clients can connect with themselves in a new way and regain a sense of control and peace. Connecting with the physical environment away from substances or alcohol can help clients face their inner world head-on. At First Steps Recovery, the staff prioritizes clients becoming more familiar with themselves by taking advantage of holistic care options like trips, outings, and wilderness experiences.

Connecting With Nature to Improve Recovery

Ecotherapy is one effective way to prioritize connecting with nature during the recovery process. This form of therapy uses nature as a tool to help clients heal and grow. Connecting with the natural environment reminds clients of the simplicities of life. For a time, they can remove themselves from their destructive and addictive habits or tendencies and connect to the Earth. This helps people heal their physical and mental ailments and experience mindfulness.

Being confined to the modern, technological world can detrimentally impact one’s mental health, often leading to negative feelings. Reconnecting with nature allows clients to feel free from these technological bounds and find a greater sense of peace and tranquility. More time spent in the natural world away from these addictions, whether substances or technology, helps reduce stress and promotes renewal. Knowing there is a new beginning outside of addiction is important for those in recovery. They can realize that just as they are not bound to technology or the modern world, they are not bound to their addictions.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, reconnecting with nature can lead to physical and mental health improvements. While connecting with nature, people feel less depression, stress, and attention difficulties. They also have more opportunities to be active, leading to better sleep, higher fitness levels, increased motivation, reduced cardiovascular risks, and reduced risk of cancer.

Ways to Connect With Nature for Recovery

Connecting with nature can be as simple as taking a walk outside. Some specific ways to reconnect with nature are:

  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Taking a walk around the community
  • Going for a run
  • Gardening
  • Meditating outside
  • Engaging in physical activity outside

At First Steps Recovery, the staff makes a variety of holistic therapies available to clients. Some of these are based in nature to help clients reestablish a sense of peace and connection with something greater than themselves.

First Steps Recovery and Connecting With Nature

Connecting with nature is part of a whole-person approach at First Steps Recovery. Often when clients struggle with substance use disorders (SUDs) and addictions, there are underlying factors that trigger this usage. A person must uncover and face those factors to achieve a healthier and happier lifestyle free from substances.

Some clients struggle with low self-esteem, a feeling of helplessness, poor communication skills, difficulty with taking responsibility, anger, anxiety, depression, and a lack of leadership skills. It is harder to maintain sobriety later on if these issues are not faced during recovery.

Placing clients outside of the clinical environment helps them learn problem-solving skills and participate in novel self-exploration. They may achieve new insights and feelings of inspiration that they may not as easily feel while indoors. They can begin to understand that they are in control of their lives and decisions. A few of the options at First Steps Recovery that can invite these experiences include field trips and outings and wilderness therapy.

Field Trips and Outings

An important part of the recovery process is to realize that one can have fun while living a sober life. These field trips and outings help clients take the time they need for themselves, develop community among others, and practice skills learned in treatment and clinical therapy. Many clients experience social anxiety, difficulty socializing, and discomfort with trust or security. These field trips help clients rebuild these skills to promote progress in recovery long term.

Field trips and outings include hiking, swimming, social events, movies, barbecues, and other events. Those activities that involve nature can help clients begin to connect to a fun social life without the presence of substances. They learn that enjoyment in life can be found in simple places like mountains or rivers.

Wilderness Therapy

At First Steps Recovery, wilderness therapy is a modality that uses nature as a background for clients’ self-exploration. Through this type of outdoor experience, clients can frame their addiction or SUD through a different lens. Rather than being in a clinical treatment environment or one in which environment where addictive substances are present, clients are exposed to an environment free from these elements.

This group led by counselors will leave the treatment center to explore the natural environment in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Clients have the option to choose where they go, who they are in this environment, and who they were before this experience. Being in this new environment helps clients build community, trust, and dependence. These are things that may have been absent from their lives before treatment. Clients also practice conflict resolution, assertiveness, patience, and impulse control, which helps them have a greater ability to sustain their sobriety.

Here at First Steps Recovery, we encourage clients to take advantage of our holistic therapy approaches. Two of these are lumped into the categories of field trips/outings and wilderness therapy. These modalities use nature to help clients ground themselves and dive deeper into their selves. Nature helps clients remind themselves that they can find enjoyment in life without alcohol or substances. They learn to face their internal struggles head-on in a productive manner, which helps them push past hardships in their recovery journey. These holistic options help clients regain key social skills and other basic life skills they often lose to their addiction. To learn more, please call (844) 489-0836.

Meet Our Team
Meet Our Team

From our certified therapists and nurses to our emotional support animal "Cooper", our entire team is dedicated to the health and success of our clients throughout our program and beyond.

Help Is Available. Speak With Someone Today.

Our admission team is available to help 24/7.
Skip to content