Ten Minutes With Tim Walsh – Founder of Adventure Recovery
Tim Walsh was swimming before he could walk, jumping off ten-foot diving boards at the age of four, and climbing 50-foot-tall trees daily as a kid. By the time he was 11, he says his adventurous spirit and “try anything” attitude led to substance abuse. After going to a recovery retreat more than 25 years ago, Walsh found his passion. Using the power of nature and adventure, he now supports others through his organization, Adventure Recovery.
How and why did you create Adventure Recovery?
Adventure was a huge part of my early recovery. Any chance I had, I would bring someone along on a snowboard trip, hike, kayak, or mountain bike, and teach them what I was learning as a budding outdoor educator. It provided us with the opportunity to become one with nature and ourselves, free from distraction, and to connect with our truths. I started this organization to create a pathway for other people in recovery to become adventure guides themselves and to get as many people outside as possible.
What inspired you to make a career out of helping others?
I was fortunate to go to a recovery retreat in 1992 and stay there for my first year of recovery. The program was based on the philosophy of the 12 Steps and every member of the staff was on their own personal recovery journey. They taught me the value of being of service to others and the power my own individual experience has in helping others.
In your opinion, how does nature heal us?
There are many studies emerging proving the healing and transformative power of nature. My own direct experience—and that of the many people I have worked with—proves to me that this incredible power heals and transforms. For those seeking healing and transformation, one simply must go out there, into the woods, into the wild, and become a part of it themselves.
What types of adventures do you take your clients on?
We offer many types of adventures and outdoor skills instruction in multiple disciplines: climbing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, river surfing, canoeing, rafting, hiking, backpacking, camping, bushcraft, caving, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing—you name it.
What types of clients do you typically work with?
Anyone seeking a connection to nature, to a deeper understanding of themselves and where they fit in the natural order. Anyone seeking to recover their spirit of adventure. But most important to me, any person in recovery from substance use and mental health disorders.
What do you hope your clients leave with after experiencing an adventure with you?
A sense of wonder and awe for the natural world, the technical skills to keep them thriving in the outdoors, and the realization that they can each live an extraordinary life.
What do you love most about living in Litchfield County?
We are surrounded by terrain, forest, rivers, springs, cliffs, vistas, bountiful flora, and fauna. We experience the wisdom of the seasons. The land is protected and fiercely defended by generations of stewards. It is my home.