Adventure Therapy for Substance Abuse

front of a kayak in a river surrounded by mountains

As you’ve probably heard, again and again, addiction is a disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit of those who suffer from it. Adventure therapy for substance abuse is one way you can address all these elements at once and get your recovery off to a healthy start.

In this post, we’ll examine just what adventure therapy for substance use is and how it can help you make the changes necessary for an authentic recovery.

What Is Adventure Therapy For Substance Abuse?

Adventure therapy for substance abuse uses a combination of nature, fellowship, and personal challenges to invigorate your spirit and increase your feelings of self-worth. Its purpose is to address multiple aspects of your well-being simultaneously and help you access internal recovery resources you didn’t know you had.

While every adventure therapy workshop is a little different, most use some combination of the following methods to promote trust, psychological well-being, and a feeling of community:

  • Kayaking, rafting, and other forms of team boating
  • Rope climbing
  • Skiing
  • Camping
  • Rock Climbing
  • Trust falls

Adventure therapy employs a team approach to problem-solving, thus setting a precedent for the healthy group dynamic that’s so necessary for recovery.

The Benefits of Adventure Therapy for Substance Abuse

Adventure therapy is a fun and challenging way to start off or enhance your personal recovery. Here are some of the benefits clients gain from participating in it:

  • Increased feelings of self-esteem and accomplishment
  • Heightened sense of community
  • A deeper connection to nature and an enhanced spiritual life
  • The formation of trusting, supportive relationships
  • Increased ability to handle stress and frustration
  • Improvements in physical, mental, and emotional health
  • Learning to rely on others and the value of being reliable

Obviously, this is a partial list. Typically, clients all reap a different set of benefits from the activities involved in adventure therapy. However, almost every client emerges from the experience of adventure therapy with a new perspective on themselves, the natural world, and the unexplored ways they can interact with others.

The Value of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

True recovery requires you to make profound internal and external changes. This is an accepted fact in the recovery community, but it’s a statement that might seem vague to many people. That’s why it’s important to be specific when discussing the merits of this or that treatment modality.

At some point, it becomes clear to most people with a substance disorder that their current way of life isn’t sustainable. In other words, they come to realize that what they’re doing just isn’t working. This is when the question of what to do inevitably arises. Obviously, the answers to this question will be a bit different for everyone. However, there is one thing that most recovered people have in common– they worked diligently to change their habits and consistently get out of their comfort zone.

This is one of the main reasons that adventure therapy for substance abuse can be so beneficial. Addiction is a disease that thrives on isolation and inactivity. Adventure therapy goes a long way toward eliminating these enabling conditions right from the start. No one’s saying that a few days out in the wilderness will change your life forever all by itself. However, evidence-based adventure therapies can definitely help create a renewed self-worth.

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