How Can Gardening Help Me Maintain My Sobriety?

How Can Gardening Help Me Maintain My Sobriety?

Several realizations can come to light after you have achieved newfound sobriety; these can be both small and large in scale from realizing you have been parting your hair on the wrong side to coming to grips with the emotional trauma that has fueled your addictive behavior. Once the cloud of confusion from the veritably constant misuse of illicit substances has been lifted, the relief individuals with addictive disorders feel from what was once a mind in constant disarray is on its own enough of a revelation to forge ahead in the addiction recovery treatment process. These revelations will, of course, vary greatly by each individual, but one constant that the majority of addiction recovery patients realize is the amount of free time that sobriety has afforded them and in contrast how much time their substance misuse and addictive behaviors consumed in their daily lives. 


Recognition of how much time was spent on addictive behavior and substance misuse can be a lingering regret and many will find themselves wrestling with the emotional consequences as they contemplate their past actions and work to resolve and eventually accept the limitations of their crippling disease. This is the downside to such a revelation, but, thankfully, there is always an upside in having such a realization in addiction recovery treatment — a positive outlook that can be accomplished through a simple shift in perspective. This upside or positive effect from having more free time in newfound sobriety is that you now have a huge amount of free time at your disposal with a significant amount of energy to explore it. There are plenty of dangers that can come from too much free time — idle hands are the devil’s playground. However, we feel the positives far outweigh any potential negative consequences as long as you fill that free time with rewarding activities


Newfound sobriety is all about beginning again, change, and learning new things about yourself. This includes finding new hobbies that you may have never tried or only half-heartedly attempted while actively misusing substances. One such hobby that can be rewarding both mentally and physically to the addiction recovery process is gardening. Gardening in the outdoors keeps minds and bodies active while also achieving a goal-oriented, tangible, and evidence-based result, plants grow, and flowers bloom. Healthy plants will continue to grow and patients will be able to tangibly view and in some cases eat the fruits or vegetables of their labor.


Outdoor Plant and Herb Gardens


Starting with flowers or even a small herb garden is an easy way to get into your gardening hobby. Most nurseries provide starter plants that simply need to be repotted or put in the ground. The hard and oftentimes frustrating aspect of nursing your seedlings to a full plant can be avoided by purchasing these starter plants. Purchasing these pre-grown plants allows gardening to be an enjoyable and fruitful hobby taking up enough of that extended free sober time without dominating your time with the time and anxieties that can occur from growing plants from seed. Gardening should be relaxing and for the uninitiated or those without a green thumb, here is a list of potential easy-to-grow flowers for beginners.

  • Zinnia
  • Marigolds 
  • Pansies
  • Impatiens
  • Begonias
  • Snapdragons
  • Daffodils
  • Cosmos


For the more experienced or enthused gardener, planting a garden of fruits and vegetables can be attempted for a more time-consuming process and rewarding gardening experience. These require a little more effort and knowledge of particular plants and grow seasons. However, you will probably have the free time, so if you find yourself enjoying the initial attempts at gardening, you may want to move into a more vegetable-driven garden. As mentioned, this will involve more effort and know-how, but the delicious results will prove rewarding as you get to grow your fruits and vegetables. As far as a summary of what to grow and when, the early spring months are more suitable for planting lettuce, greens, peas, radishes, carrots, and broccoli; the hotter summer months are more inclined toward planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and those herbs we briefly mentioned earlier; and with the chillier fall months, you can start with some root vegetables like potatoes and even plant some heartier greens like cabbage and kale.


If you live in a city and/or do not have a yard, community gardens are usually available for a nominal or no fee. You simply have to provide your own. The community garden aspect almost surpasses home gardening in its benefits by giving addiction recovery patients a social outlet in combination. Finding like-minded people willing to participate in sober activities can be difficult for those in addiction recovery and community gardening manages to accomplish both the social and sober needs of what can otherwise be an isolating time.


Indoor Alternative Gardening Options

Indoor house plants are an easy, year-round alternative that can also be a part of your new gardening hobby. Here is another list of some can’t-kill indoor house plants:

  • Mother-in-law’s tongue
  • ZZ plant
  • Peace lily
  • Air plant
  • Philodendron
  • Aloe
  • Boston Fern
  • Calathea


For the more enthused gardener, winter months do not have to deter the growing efforts of your new hobby as you can easily set up a micro-green growing kit indoors. With just a few basic supplies and a little counter space, you can start your own indoor, micro-green garden which is perfect for the colder winter months spent indoors. There is little mess and also, conveniently, not too much attention or care is needed to help these miniature plants grow to full bloom. 


Some more common microgreens include salad greens, leafy vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, and even root vegetables. The relatively quick turnaround of 2 to 3 weeks makes growing micro-greens even more conducive to individuals just starting with gardening. Either way, you look at it, returns will be quick on your gardening investment. A successful grow kit means you have tasty, nutritious vegetables to add to salads and other prepared dishes after only a few weeks, or if nothing sprouts in 2 to 3 weeks, you can easily start over and try again with little to no wasted time in between. Micro-green kits are sold online, but you can also easily make one from scratch by purchasing seeds, soil, and a grow light from your local nursery. Here are some easy to grow seed choices for the novice micro-green grower: 

  • Adzuki
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Chard
  • Chickpea
  • Cilantro
  • Collard Greens
  • Dill
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Kale


If you or someone you love needs treatment for an addictive disorder with co-occurring mental health issues, then Choice House has the dual-diagnosis program of treatment services to help. Through a variety of therapeutic modalities, we offer men the opportunity to build a new foundation of love, understanding, and empathy as they achieve and begin to learn how to maintain long-term sobriety. At our facilities located in the Boulder County area of Colorado, we offer addiction recovery services that include a 90-day inpatient program, an intensive outpatient service, as well as the chance to take up residency at our sober living campus. Ideally situated between the Rocky Mountain National Park and the bustling city of Louisville, we take full advantage of having the Rocky Mountains in our backyard by providing a unique outdoor wilderness therapy modality. In this outdoor therapy, men are afforded the chance to reconnect with themselves, nature, and fellow recovery patients through physical activities like hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking. We firmly believe that the bonds of friendship you will make here at Choice House will last a lifetime and prove vital to the recovery effort long after you have left treatment. For more information regarding Choice House facilities and addiction recovery treatment services, please give us a call at (720) 577-4422.


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