Recovering addict practicing Horticultural Therapy

Reaping the Rewards of ‘Horticultural Therapy’ in Addiction Recovery


Sober Recovery Expert Author

Recovering addict practicing Horticultural Therapy

For centuries, physicians and therapists have recommended more time in nature to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and mental/mood disorders. In an age of instant fixes, this is a traditional, possibly even outdated, approach. Even so, no matter how many years pass, horticultural therapy is a proven way to restore spirit and mind since ancient times.

One of the most beneficial things in recovery is being able to connect with ourselves on deeper levels. We have to move beyond the symptom of addiction—substance use, habits, lies, thoughts—and dig deep into our origins. We have to understand the events and feelings that led to addiction in the first place. In a sense, we have to tend to ourselves and pay attention to why we do what we do. What better way to learn how to become one’s own caregiver than by first caring for another form of life -- namely, plants.

Therapeutic horticulture could be defined as the art or practice of garden cultivation and management for the purpose of self-healing.

The Benefits of Horticultural Therapy

Imagine you’re in a beautiful, lush, green garden. You can smell scents of floral sweetness and you see paths in between rows of flowers. And imagine approaching a flower to dig deep into the soil beneath it. You feel the cool earth. The granules of dirt are moist and nourishing. Immediately, you feel a calm reassurance. Being connected to nature has a funny way of reminding us that we are alive, just like the plants we can see and feel.

Horticultural therapy is one of the best initial steps to take towards connection. By nurturing plants, we are also cultivating the following:

  • Accountability for our actions

  • Understanding of how our actions impact other life

  • Compassion

  • Relaxation

  • Peace

  • Rewards of labor and intentional action

  • Sense of purpose

  • Focus

  • Inner calmness and stillness

  • Productive & positive thinking

  • Problem-solving

  • Self-esteem

  • Confidence

Working with plants is also a great way to help transition to a life of routine and normalcy. Since plants are beings dependent on daily care, gardening can help sustain new mindsets of structure and discipline.

For the best results, horticultural therapy should be sought out with the help of a specialist. We recommend finding an American Horticultural Therapy Association registered professional who can integrate this type of therapy into a custom program for you.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.

Stay Connected
Subscribe to our newsletter to get addiction help, recovery inspiration and community tips delivered to your inbox.
No Thanks. I'm not Interested