The Natural Difference

Table of Contents

When addicts and alcoholics seek help for their disease, they likely expect the Hollywood movie depiction of sterile hospitals and cold, clinical settings. In a lot of cases that is what help looks like. Such settings can be tremendously helpful, especially for those who are suffering acute physical symptoms. Then there are those who have tried staying in such places but slipped after a bit. A less stereotypical setting may prove effective in helping many of those who slip through the cracks in other types of treatment settings – and that is where Jaywalker Lodge comes into the picture.

The Role of Mother Nature in Recovery

Fresh air, beautiful scenery, and open spaces make a natural difference in the recovery process. In fact, embracing and incorporating the peace and power of nature can have reverberating positive effects on an individual seeking to recover. The disease of alcoholism and addiction plagues people bodily, mentally, and spiritually – therefore, recovery must be a holistic solution. The whole individual must be treated bodily, mentally, and spiritually.

Research studies have proven that being in nature can help us do all three. In a 2014 study conducted in Japan, participants were assigned to walk the same length and difficulty level in either a forest or in an urban center while having their heart rate and blood pressure measured. The participants also filled out questionnaires about their moods, stress levels, and other psychological measures. The results showed that those who walked in forests had significantly lower heart rates (indicating more relaxation and less stress) and reported better moods and less anxiety. This type of healing is exactly what Jaywalker Lodge strives to accomplish in the 12-Step process of recovery.

Healing the Body

During the recovery process, mental health issues and emotional wounds must be treated and addressed, and coping skills must be explored and practiced. That leaves us with the body. For many people, getting in better physical health is something they constantly desire to do. What better time to begin or rededicate a commitment to physical fitness than when we are learning to be healthy in all other areas of life? It may seem like a lot to take on at once, but it isn’t. Just like working the 12-Steps, we do one thing at a time. Consistent small steps equal huge progress over time.

Bodily health has a direct impact on our mental and spiritual health. People early in recovery often have issues with their bodily health – as it has likely been neglected – and active alcoholism can wreak havoc on our mortal vessels. As the recovery literature says, any depiction which leaves out the body is incomplete. But physical exercise is not the solution – it is part of the complete picture in helping addicts and alcoholics recover and thrive.
Connect with Nature

As research confirms, having the opportunity to participate in healthy physical activities like exercise, hiking, sports, and the like can help alleviate the effects of stress, anxiety, depression, and more. Simply walking in fresh air can lift the spirits almost instantly. Experiencing the clean peace of open nature can spiritually ground people, and help with mental clarity and calmness.

Easy access to nature and the activities associated with open space can provide numerous benefits to anyone, but especially those in recovery. Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Jaywalker Lodge combines a rigorous clinical curriculum with a variety of mountain-based activities that immerse participants in nature.

The increase in overall mental, physical, and spiritual health that comes from participation in outdoor activities is almost impossible to quantify. The benefits spread across such a wide spectrum, touching and improving nearly every area of life. There is a very clear increase in happiness when we’re given access to experience nature.

A Holistic Recovery Program

What does all this amount to? Someone who experiences the added benefits of a truly holistic recovery program has a much better chance of long-term recovery. For someone who has had trouble making recovery last with other kinds of programs, one that includes the myriad benefits of nature like Jaywalker Lodge may provide the necessary edge that was missing before.

There can be no doubt that the root of recovery is the 12-Steps. This is everything. Mental health must also be treated. Trauma must be healed. Now add the additional impact of the great outdoors, and the whole individual begins healing at once. The benefits compound and build as health and healing take place bodily, mentally, and spiritually. Feeling better physically helps one feel better mentally and spiritually. Feeling better mentally helps one take better care of the body and spirit, and so on.

When all areas of the hurting individual are addressed at once through proven methods of recovery and healing, there can be a synergy and symbiosis which may provide the missing piece of the puzzle for chronic stumblers or those who have yet to really get excited about their recovery.

Make Nature Part of the Recovery Process

Nature has always been a grounding force for humanity. People seek the peace, clarity, and connectedness that only Mother Nature can offer. When the benefits of nature are incorporated into treatment, holistic healing often begins. In guided meditations, people may be asked to find a clear mountain stream, a quiet riverbank, or a bright forest in order to calm themselves and free their spirits. Imagine how much more positive impact can be garnered from actually meditating beside a cool mountain stream or walking through the forest with your sober friends.

Nature makes a huge difference in recovery because it can simultaneously address multiple areas of the human body, mind, and spirit. These positive effects can lay amazing groundwork for the spiritual healing of the 12-Step recovery program. Experiencing nature alongside the 12-Steps can be a powerhouse combination, reaching some individuals who might not have “gotten” it before.

If you or someone you know is ready to experience the pure difference Mother Nature can make in the process of recovery, Jaywalker Lodge is here to help. Through education, individual and group therapy, mountain expeditions, and daily 12-Step meetings, our clients engage in a vital spiritual experience which is indispensable to personal growth and long-term sobriety. If you have an honest desire to recover, but haven’t been able to get there yet, 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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