Ever noticed that in music and film, California is synonymous with good vibes and hopeful new starts? There’s a reason California has such a dense population. People across the board LOVE what California has to offer. That said, addicts play at higher stakes, so those seeking recovery reap particular benefits.
Atmosphere of Acceptance
There’s a running joke that California is “the land of fruits, nuts, and flakes.” Gender normative presumptions aside, Californians are proud to own such an inclusive mindset. Our progressive political and social atmosphere is the perfect incubator for recovery. Addicts enter a judgment-free zone as they seek help and a return to normalcy. The average “stranger” here becomes no stranger at all when the subject of addiction comes up. Battling this disease is a bond rather than a barrier. After all, most of us have loved ones who needed help at some point.
The difference is that California residents actually believe in the right for those people to actually GET help. Not “access to help.”
The stigma of addiction runs deep in America. It’s the major driving factor behind the opiate epidemic in the Midwest. There are many reasons for this, but two major ones are:
- Attitudes about social welfare. The Midwest generally sees addiction as a personal choice (it’s not).
- Market-driven healthcare. This basically translates to: people who need help don’t get it.
Fortunately, the American Care Act has herded private insurance companies into covering detox and residential care for recovering addicts. The disease of addiction has been more widely documented and studied in the medical community than ever before. The cultural attitudes on the west coast definitely reflects these advances; that is, addiction is neither (a) a choice nor (b) something to hide. People in recovery are, therefore, branded by bravery rather than shame.
Floppy Hat and Sandals Weather
For most of the year, California weather is pleasantly sunny and stays within ten degrees of 75. The Pacific Ocean’s effect on California’s atmosphere doesn’t stop at the beach. SoCal lies at a unique intersection of global air masses: maritime polar from the north (think Oregon) and maritime tropical from the south (think Gulf of Mexico). Read more: Air Masses on the Pacific Coast.
This temperate environment naturally improves mood on the down low. This has HUGE implications for addicts seeking to start their recovery. Feeling good in your own skin without having to layer up or sweat through your clothes counts for a lot. Recovery is hard enough as it is, particularly in the detox stage.
That change is more likely to stick if it starts in a good place.
This is a particular highlight for addicts seeking detox and residential care. Getting well is extremely uncomfortable, so safety and comfort really makes a difference as addicts go about their daily routine.
Orange County is perhaps the most ideal part of California to go through these intensive phases of in-patient recovery. It has all the benefits of Coastal California without the urban noise and pollution of Los Angeles. OC also offers some of the best beaches in the world; even within California, the sand’s fine grain and year-round warm shoreline temperatures put Orange County a cut above San Francisco.
Shinrin-yoku: Nature’s Majesty
Did it really take this long to mention palm trees? They’re everywhere here! Coastal California is famous for its sandy beach access, including tide pools and wetlands for the casual weekend getaway. We promise: You’re never too old to poke a sea anemone. By the way… Laguna Beach is a great place to start.
It’s easy to dismiss nature’s tranquility as frivilous. You have more important things to do than take a stroll around outside, right? But when it comes to recovery, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that translates literally to forest bathing; that is, being surrounded by nature. This effect of decreasing stress and naturally elevating mood is not limited to forests; although California offers bountiful forests as well, its beautiful beaches and palm trees also offer the shinrin-yoku effect. This is one of the only places in the world where you can start the day snowboarding in the mountains and end it surfing into the sunset. Obviously not all of these options are plausible at once, but California offers the opportunity to pick and choose these majestic experiences in nature. What more could an addict in recovery ask for?
A Change of Scenery
California is a truly remarkable because of its intersection of culture, nature, and people. Part of recovery is rediscovering that the world is pretty amazing even without being high or drunk. With its great access to beach culture, art galleries, museums, and other experiences you don’t have to be wasted to enjoy, the golden state is the ideal place to begin your recovery.