Why Might Sober Living at the Beach Work?
Remember the last time you visited the beach? You head down around 10 o’clock in the morning, put your toes in the sand, play some tunes on your radio, and enjoy the smell and scenery of the ocean. You take a deep breath… Ah, life is good. Not a worry in the world! Anxiety? Not so bad. Depression? Eh, things have been worse, but I’m OK today. Well, a new study suggests kicking back and enjoying some time in the sand might be exactly what you need to address some mental health concerns. Consequentially, it might help explain why sober living at the beach has led to some significant positive outcomes.
According to a study published in Health and Place, researchers from Exeter University concluded that individuals who live within a half mile from the coast are less likely to experience significant mental health problems, including depressions and anxiety. The research team analyzed data on more than 26,000 individuals to determine if there is any sort of correlation between positive mental health and beach town livin’.
In fact, people who live within a half mile from the coast are 22% less likely to have significant symptoms of mental health, compared to those who live 15 miles or more away. Some of the critical mechanisms to improve mental health while living by the beach include: reduced stress, improved air quality and immune functioning, and increased opportunities for social contact and physical activity.
If you are interested in reading the full study, you can check out the researchers’ work here.
OK, so how is this applicable to sober living by the beach?
Well, we have come to believe that addiction is a disease of the entire body, mind, and spirit. It is more than just depression and anxiety, but it would be ignorant to claim that addiction is not often coupled with various mental health disorders.
Part of the recovery process addresses the mental health concerns of each individual. Whether that includes medication assisted treatment or active therapy techniques, the goal is not necessarily to change people, but to change the way they view themselves and the world around them. For us, treating mental health, along with addiction, means challenging people to expand what they believe they are capable of achieving.
Surfing, walks on the beach, quiet meditation in the sand… consistent sun-shine and fresh air can contradict the endless days spent indoors- often in uncleanly living conditions- from years of active addiction. Many of those in active addiction simply cannot find themselves outdoors, mostly because they do not know what to do once they are out there! The beach and surrounding areas offer plenty of opportunities to expand one’s connection with nature and increase physical activity.
If you have followed along with us in the last few months, you know that addiction is a disease of isolation. It is quite common for an individual who struggles with addiction and mental health disorders to walk into a large crowd full of people… and feel completely alone. Imagine struggling with addiction… walking around the streets of New York City… and feeling completely alone.
Towns and communities located by the coast are typically much smaller in size and population. OK, so what? Well, a smaller community may make it easier for one who struggles making connections… make more connections! It is harder to get lost in the crowd when you interact with the locals around town, at events, or even better… at the beach. You’ll see familiar faces walking down the street and in the local shops. People can get to know you. You become a part of the community.
Let’s say this: sober living programs can be successful anywhere. But the extensive options for connections to the outside world while in sober living at the beach may be the help one needs in the road to recovery.
As always, if you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our Executive Director is always happy to point you in the right direction for treatment services… whether that is sober living at the beach or elsewhere!