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Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Summer for Recovery

Today is the summer solstice or estival solstice! The days are longer this time of year in general but on June 21st we experience the most prolonged period of daylight. Hopefully, the sun is shining wherever you find yourself living these days. Anyone working a program of recovery may want to use this opportunity to get outdoors and think about where you are at mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Many people who are working a program of recovery draw strength from their connection with the great outdoors. For some, nature is their “higher power!” Choosing the Earth as one’s higher power makes sense, after all, it is hard not to see the environment as something humbling and worth marveling over. In any case, whether nature is your spiritual guide or not, every individual in recovery benefits from spending time outside on a regular basis.

We spend much of all our lives indoors, and the majority of us spend an extraordinary amount of time on computers and smartphones. While technology isn’t inherently bad for your program, using devices can have the unintended effect of cutting you off from your peers and your higher power. Life is busy, and everyone has responsibilities that can negatively impact a program of recovery; however, continued progress requires balance, those determined to avoid relapse must do everything they can to keep an even keel.

Going Outdoors Provides Inward Clarity In Recovery


recoveryWith summer in full swing, we all have a perfect opportunity to be active outside; hiking, swimming, surfing are just a few of the activities that the warmer months afford. In California, we have hundreds of miles of coastline to explore and some of the tallest mountains in the country to hike. Each summer, a good many people in recovery hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail; some even endeavor to complete the entire 2,659 mile hike.

When people get involved in outdoor activities there is no need to check one’s timelines to live vicariously through the experiences of others; you have an opportunity to create new memories for yourself. When you step out into the wilderness, whether you are surfside or mountainside, it puts things into perspective for you; people often find that that which bothers them no longer seems as important. It is a valuable opportunity to look inwards to gain insight about your place in the world.

A big part of recovery is the human connection, the act of bonding with peers who share similar goals. Every summer, recovery-related retreats take place that you can take part in; going to meeting in the forest is a remarkable experience. You can find out more information about such events online. Even if you can't make an event, you can still find time to go for a stroll along the boardwalk or hike among the hills with people in your support group. Doing so allows for candid talks about recovery that you may not have had inside the rooms.

Please take time this summer to embrace the great outdoors and foster your relationship with the environment. Those who are struggling with certain aspects of recovery may find clarity and serenity from being away from the noise of everyday life.

“When the seasons shift, even the subtle beginning, the scent of a promised change, I feel something stir inside me. Hopefulness? Gratitude? Openness? Whatever it is, it's welcome.” —Kristen Armstrong

 

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