Gardening for Addiction Recovery

people gardeningHere 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.

Reduce stress.

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.