The Benefits of the Great Outdoors

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Table of Contents

At Jaywalker Lodge, we take a holistic approach to recovery treatment. We understand the all-encompassing nature of the disease of alcoholism and addiction. This understanding drives us to pursue every effective method of recovery treatment and enhancement. We leave no stone unturned and deny no positive influence. We incorporate therapy (both individual and group methodologies) as well as service to the recovery community and our community at large. We also make sure that our Jaywalker men spend plenty of time in the great outdoors. While nature may not seem directly related to recovery, there are many undeniable benefits that it can provide.

For centuries, humanity has revered nature and capitalized on its positive effects. From healing properties to physical fitness to emotional peace, the great outdoors can just about do it all. Regular exposure to fresh air and sunshine are crucial ingredients for optimal health across the entire spectrum of life. Any person can enjoy these benefits, even if they do not spend time outside every day. Because Jaywalker Lodge believes so much in the power of nature and all that it can do for people, we incorporate the great outdoors heavily into our daily schedule. From our experience, recovery is augmented beautifully by time spent in nature.

Recovery and Nature

Recovery and the 12-Step program involve lots of internal work, growth, challenges, new horizons, surprises, and beautiful victories. We find that they both parallel perfectly with the experience of exploring nature. On a mountain expedition, we are asked to rely on our companions, trust our tools, push our bodies and spirits beyond their normal limits, have faith, and keep moving forward. This is exactly what we are asked to do in recovery as we work the 12-Steps.

Both recovery and the great outdoors challenge us in so many healthy and helpful ways. We are required to step past the familiar and into brave new territory with faith, hope, and confidence. We must be able to count on our abilities, our guides, and our equipment. Both adventures ask that we bring the best of ourselves, just as both activities genuinely bring out the best in each one of us.

Holistic Health

Outdoor activity and recovery also play huge roles in our overall health. When engaged in them simultaneously, the benefits only compound. Recovery helps us improve our health by virtue of abstinence and a new outlook on life. We may begin to consider our physical and nutritional health more seriously. As we do this, the wilderness becomes a welcome ally, teaching us about whole nutrition and the fuel our bodies need.

When we consider the physical side of health, we again see the overlap between recovery and nature. When the 12-Steps ask us to pray and meditate, we can look to many cultures worldwide that make prayer and meditation in the outdoors a daily part of life. Some even make meals a sort of prayer, contemplating the bounty of nature and the healing and support its yield provides our bodies in the form of food.

When we take the ancient practice of meditation outside, its magic multiplies. How often in guided meditation are we asked to visit a stream, forest, or mountaintop in our imagination? Now imagine if we trekked to an actual peak or sat beside a real stream to engage in meditation! How much more peace, clarity, and connection would we access by doing that? Nature helps us connect in a deeper way to whatever we’re doing. The distraction-free great outdoors, filled with fresh air and sunshine, have always helped man root himself in the present and get the most out of each moment.

Fun and Growth

Both nature and the 12-Step recovery process have two very significant benefits in common: fun and growth. Fun is a true must in recovery. What would be the point of a new life if it isn’t filled with fun, laughter, and good times? Recovery is about creating a bright future and a beautiful present while healing the past. As for fun in nature? That is pretty much a given. Snowboarding, skiing, hiking, picnics, camping — the list goes on. We can always find something fun to do in the great outdoors.

Growth is not only necessary, but it is also one of the most rewarding things we can do in our lives. What doesn’t grow will atrophy. This happens to be a law of nature — another point on which nature and recovery agree. We must grow, or we die. In recovery, we are asked to challenge our status quo, perspective, thoughts, and beliefs. As we do this, we grow into the person we’ve always wanted to be. In nature, what doesn’t grow perishes. We are beholden to the same law in our recovery.

With so many similar goals and lessons, it’s almost as if recovery and the great outdoors go hand-in-hand. At Jaywalker Lodge, they certainly do. We are proud to offer a firsthand experience that shows how complementary the natural world is for our recovery.

Jaywalker Lodge makes no bones about our love of the great outdoors. We couldn’t hide it if we tried. Nestled in Carbondale, Colorado, how could we? Some of the most sought-after outdoor recreation areas in the world are right outside our doors. Whether you want to ski, snowboard, bike, hike, run, fish, walk or just sit, you can do it right here, surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural scenery on Earth. Luckily for us, time spent in nature is incredibly beneficial to a life in recovery — so much so that the great outdoors are part of our daily and weekly criteria. From light, fun activities to intense, purposeful excursions, Jaywalker Lodge seeks to capitalize on all the benefits that nature has to offer us. No matter where you are in your recovery, there’s something the wilderness can teach you about yourself. To begin the adventure of a lifetime, call us now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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