Here at Renaissance Ranch, we believe that learning and mastering basic life skills is vital to sobriety. That is why as part of our comprehensive residential treatment program, all residents explore group therapy, experiential therapy, nutrition and exercise, job skills, gardening, and so much more.
Gardening in particular can offer a variety of benefits to those who are recovering from addiction—probably even more than you think. Here is a look at how gardening can strengthen your recovery from substance addiction.
Learn to be patient with growth.
Gardening is a practice of patience, and it takes time to see the fruits of your labors. Though you may spend every day watering a plant and adjusting its surroundings to let in ample sunlight, several weeks may pass before you can observe any sign that your efforts are working. Recovery from addiction can feel very much the same, as a successful recovery involves making small, daily decisions to stay committed to your sobriety. The more time you spend gardening, patiently waiting for your plants to sprout and grow stronger, the more you’ll recognize the importance of diligence and being patient with yourself during recovery.
Focus on something positive.
It can be easy to dwell on cravings, hardships, and trials you are facing in your recovery, and gardening is one of the many things you can do to stop looking inward and instead focus on the beauty that’s surrounding you. Many individuals who try gardening during recovery report that it helps them forget their problems and notice less readily any cravings they might be experiencing.
Gardening is also known to reduce stress, and it may even reduce stress more than other leisure activities you know of, such as taking a nap or reading. This is likely due to a variety of factors. Some find that there’s just something elemental about putting your hands in dirt after a long day of work or schoolwork. Others enjoy getting to focus on something menial in silence. Others love being surrounded by nature and listening to the sound of leaves gently brushing in the wind around them.
Replace old habits.
One central tenet to leading a successful recovery from addiction is being able to replace old habits with wholesome new ones. With its stress reducing effects, gardening might be the very thing that becomes a new hobby in your recovery. You might decide to start an indoor herb garden, a vegetable garden in your backyard, or a rose garden along the side of your home. Since gardening is such a diverse hobby, chances are there’s at least one type of gardening that speaks to you.
Real Stories of Recovery
As soon as I walked through the doors of the Ranch I felt hope. My life had spiraled into depths of shame, misery, guilt, depression, sadness, and suffocating darkness prior to reaching those front doors. The 2 months that followed would forever change my life and provide a foundation within that is unshakable.
I had a head full of gospel knowledge and a heart full of shame. I felt like a failure. I hated who I was. That all changed during my stay at Renaissance Ranch. I quickly realized that I wasn't alone and that there were others who felt the same feelings of self-hatred, failure, and shame. This realization, coupled with the nonjudgmental environment of the Ranch, I was able to be completely honest and open for the first time in my life. From the guidance and empathy of my counselors and brothers, I learned it was okay to feel and I started to believe that there was hope.
Renaissance Ranch gave me a gift that no amount of money can ever repay. Through their unique, caring approach I learned how much I was loved, and that I never had to feel alone every again.
Renaissance Ranch will always be a special place to me and will always have a special place in my heart. I had already attended one rehab facility. The Ranch truly saved my life by teaching me and allowing me to understand and love who I am.
I have been called to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in the Fort Collins, CO mission. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices and love of everyone at The Ranch. I attribute my recovery to God, hard work, and the things I learned while I was there. I am so excited to go serve my Heavenly Father, it has been a long hard road to get here but I know it is what he wants me to do. My heart is full of gratitude and love for those who have cared for me... Thank you for all you have done for me...
My sobriety date is July 15 2008. And for that I am very grateful. The ranch has given Me the tools to live a life I never thought was possible. I have never forgotten the feelings I felt when I was there in treatment and that's what gets me through the day, is the feelings and brotherhood that I was so blessed with while I was in the ranch.