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Can Good Weather Help in Addiction Recovery?

a lady sitting near a lake enjoying the warm weather

If you’re considering going to rehab, chances are, you very quickly come across options that are out of state, based in warm sunny areas, and otherwise set up to be as vacation-like as possible. Why is that? Does good weather help in addiction recovery? Or is there another reason that addiction and rehab centers flock to sunny beaches and beautiful locales? Of course, there are also rehab centers everywhere and most cities have at least one local outpatient program where you can attend rehab and treatment right from where you are, often without leaving your home. But, is there a benefit to taking time off to go to a sunny location for treatment instead?

The truth is that it’s often a bit of both, good weather influences your mood, makes you feel good, and gives you a feeling of relaxation.

It also means you’ll have more freedom to go outside, take part in physical activities, and to be healthy. That’s less possible if you’re rained in all the time or sitting indoors in the winter in Juno. There are a lot of reasons that sunny weather and a beautiful view can benefit your recovery, and we’ll go over those here.


Good weather makes most people feel good. Having a beautiful view can make you feel at peace. It can make you happy. And, it can inspire you to feel like life is good. Putting easy to see and experience reminders that there are good things in life that are not drugs and alcohol within easy reach is often an easy way to add motivation and inspiration to your recovery. Many rehab centers use music, art, pets, horses, and exercise to the same effect. There are great things in life that you can enjoy and they are right there, you don’t have to be drunk or high, and you can start enjoying those things right away, without having to earn them or prove that you’re good enough. You deserve the little things, even when it’s sunshine and good weather.

If you feel good, you’ll feel better about yourself, about your recovery, and about your ability to commit to recovery. Of course, you’ll need more than that to make it through treatment, but every little bit helps.

Boost to Mood

There are a lot of reasons that weather can negatively impact the mood. For example, barometric pressure can directly impact physical health and can cause aches, pains, and mood swings. In addition, many people experience reduced feelings of happiness when the weather is grey. SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder happens when you spend too much time without bright sun and don’t have enough vitamin D. Cold, wet, and grey weather makes us feel down and that can hit extra hard when we are depressed, already dealing with depression, and otherwise feel bad. And, for many of us, wet and cold days are the days we’d normally stay at home, which is likely days where we were likely to use, which means that bad weather itself can be a trigger.

Good weather also has the opposite effect. For most people it means you feel happy, you enjoy the weather, you associate good memories of being outside with friends, of enjoying life. You get to feel good both because the weather is good and because of everything you associate with it. That can provide a powerful boost to your mood, which will help you navigate through recovery.

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Time Outdoors

Good weather means you have the freedom to go outside and to take part in everything from group fitness exercises to hiking, outdoor sports, equine therapy, and much more. If you can go outside you can:

  • Do sports like outdoor yoga or tai chi and enjoy the weather
  • Be more physically active and benefit from that
  • Hike, kayak or do other fun outdoor recreational activities that rely on good weather
  • Do simple activities like gardening or sitting in the sun that will help you to relax and feel good, so you can focus on recovery later
a lady lying on the grass enjoying the good weather

Being stuck indoors for a month or more is no one’s idea of a good time. It’s also not a great way to make sure you have the headspace to focus on recovery. Treatment almost always includes getting outside, going for walks and hikes, doing outdoor activities, and being in the open air. Good weather helps with this. For most people it means you feel happy, you enjoy the weather, you associate good memories of being outside with friends, of enjoying life. You get to feel good both because the weather is good and because of everything you associate with it. That can provide a powerful boost to your mood, which will help you navigate through recovery.

Getting to Relax

Rehab is not a vacation. However, it doesn’t have to be a punishment either. The truth is that, for many people, rehab is a lot of work. Relaxation and recreation around putting in that work can help you to recover and to be able to put in the effort you need to be able to towards recovery. That means having time and space to relax and ways to do so that allow you recover quickly enough to stay on track. Having a warm and sunny climate optimizes that because you have space and opportunity for relaxation, plenty of options that are accessible to everyone, and ways to enjoy yourself that don’t involve anything but being outside. For example, it’s not uncommon for rehab centers to offer swimming pools, gardens, and gyms with partially outdoor areas so you can mix exercise and recreation, lay out in the sun to tan, and otherwise spend the little leisure time you have getting to relax and enjoy yourself. Most importantly, that is good for your mental health as well. You’re here to take care of yourself, and taking care of yourself means making space to do nothing and to feel good.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, there are a lot of choices for rehabilitation clinics. You’ll have to choose between inpatient and outpatient, in-state or out-of-state, and also what the climate should be. Here, rehab centers are clustered around the west coast for many reasons, and that’s often because it’s easier to feel good and to focus on recovery when the weather is good. If you’re looking at a choice of local treatment or no treatment, the local treatment is always going to be the best call. However, if you want to ensure you can get the most from your time in rehab, picking a location where you can relax, where you can spend time outdoors, and where you’ll feel like you’re there for you and not as a punishment will benefit your recovery.

Moving into addiction treatment is a big step for almost all of us. It’s important that you take steps to choose a rehab center that makes you feel comfortable, in control of your future, and ready for treatment. There are dozens of options, but hopefully you can make a choice that’s right for you. Good luck with treatment.

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Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken in place of medical advice. Before making any decisions regarding your health, please consult your doctor. The staff at Stairway Resource Center develops a custom treatment plan for each of our patients. Specific medical advice will be provided to our patients by our professional providers while in our care.