Planting the seeds of your recovery

Anyone who has ever done gardening will tell you that it is one of the most relaxing activities. Not only does it get you outside in the fresh air, gardening just calms your mind. By digging in the dirt and planting something, you connect with nature. Not only does this relieve stress and provide exercise, but it can help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, reduce anxiety, and assist in your Boulder addiction treatment simply by making you happier.

Professionals call this type of recovery treatment horticulture therapy, and it’s been around since the 19th century. Visit the American Horticulture Therapy Association website for more details.

A history of horticulture therapy as part of recovery

“In the 1940s and 1950s, rehabilitative care of hospitalized war veterans significantly expanded acceptance of the practice. No longer limited to treating mental illness, horticultural therapy practice gained in credibility and was embraced for a much wider range of diagnoses and therapeutic options. Today, horticultural therapy is accepted as a beneficial and effective therapeutic modality. It is widely used within a broad range of rehabilitative, vocational, and community settings.”

How you can get started

The great thing about horticultural therapy is that you can get started right away. Begin with something as simple as a pot of herbs or flowers. If you have access to a yard, clear out a small spot and start with just a few vegetables, or add some flowers by your front door. Not only does the act of gardening relieve stress, but having brightly colored flowers around your home is always a mood booster. And because your garden will need regular tending throughout the season, it’s another way to develop good habits and give you a sense of purpose that can aid with your drug and alcohol addiction treatment at our Boulder rehab center. Gardens grow one day at a time, just like you do.  

If you can’t garden where you live, look around your neighborhood and see if there is a community garden. Or maybe a neighbor needs help with their garden, especially an elderly neighbor. In exchange for tending the garden, most people will share the fruits of it. If those don’t pan out, visit the botanic gardens in your area — they are almost always looking for volunteers, and you don’t need a horticulture degree to work there. Lastly, churches often have community gardens where they are willing to trade produce for help with the work. And in addition to the health benefits of fresh produce, volunteering is a great way to give back as part of your drug and alcohol addiction treatment at our Boulder rehab center.  

For more information on horticulture therapy and recovery, check out these resources:

Can Gardening Help Troubled Minds Heal? (NPR)

Therapeutic horticulture programs at Denver Botanic Gardens

Growing Gardens, a Boulder nonprofit that cultivates community through sustainable urban agriculture

Table of Contents

Questions About Treatment?

Choice House is your comprehensive guide to lasting sobriety and wellness. Reach out to us today to see how we can support you on your journey toward sustainable well-being.