If you are a recovering addict, there are many forms of therapy you can use to aid in your sobriety. This includes individual and group therapy, holistic therapy, and other mindfulness practices. One form of therapy that one can also use is adventure therapy. This type of therapy is also referred to as wilderness therapy, and it allows recovering individuals to connect with the outdoors for positive treatment outcomes. This type of therapy is most common in the early stages of recovery as this is such a vulnerable time for an individual and the risk of relapse is higher.
How Adventure Therapy Works
Adventure therapy combines community, nature, and daring activities for therapy purposes. The goal is to help recovering individuals develop their social, mental, spiritual, and physical health through fun activities and adventure trips. Adventure therapy is often done in a group or family context. It uses nature to elicit change through games, problem-solving activities, wilderness expeditions, and outdoor pursuits. After each activity, the adventure therapist helps the participants internalize the experience and relate it to their recovery goals. It is humanistic and solution-focused.
In early recovery, individuals tend to be sensitive mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. During this period, one wonders what they should do next. They might feel untrustworthy with low self-esteem. This is normal. On the other hand, some people feel invisible, as if this is the easiest decision they have ever made. Such grandiosity feelings usually fade quickly. Adventure therapy helps combat such emotions. Common activities in adventure therapy include:
- Rock climbing
- White water rafting
- Equine therapy
How Adventure Therapy Helps
Activities like camping and hiking can encourage the growth of self-awareness. For instance, when you are hiking, you can learn more about yourself physically. You get to know how far you can push yourself and what your body is capable of. After the exercise, the therapist can encourage individuals to talk about how the exercise made them feel or how it challenged them. All this is part of increasing your self-awareness.
Some activities like white water rafting happen so fast that you do not have the time to start doubting yourself. This encourages you to let go of any doubt you are feeling towards yourself. After exercise, people often feel confident in themselves when they realize they are able to take the plunge. That rewarding feeling you get is what helps build your self-esteem.
Understanding the Benefits of Support
All adventure therapists involve groups of people where participants are encouraged to support each other. As the exercises continue, one gets to see how they can draw support from people around them. In addition, when other people are encouraging you to keep going forward, you are motivated to keep doing exercise. This goes a long way even when you are done with therapy. You learn how to build relationships with people around you and ask for help when facing challenges.
Most types of adventure therapy like canoeing need participants to communicate frequently in order to complete tasks. If the group members are not communicating, they cannot complete an activity successfully. Being able to communicate effectively comes in handy in real life.
As Pinnacle Recovery Center explains, when one is dealing with addiction, it is important to get treatment. But even after coming out of a recovery center, your recovery journey does not stop. Things can actually get harder as no one is monitoring you anymore. That is why you need to find all possible ways to stay sober.
Opting for adventure therapy is one of those ways. It comes with many benefits, as seen above. The important thing is to participate in activities you enjoy that support your sobriety.