Swing into adventure therapy! Recovery is all about discovering new hobbies and enjoying all that this wonderful life has to offer. It is also about breaking down barriers and building up a new, happy you. Doesn’t that sound like an adventure, no matter how challenging?
Allow me to introduce you to the truly thrilling prospect of adventure therapy.
What is Adventure Therapy?
Outdoor and indoor activities, games, and trust experiences are all part of adventure therapy. You’ll join your therapist and a group in swashbuckling ventures such as white-water rafting, rappelling, zip-lining, and spelunking. You won’t begin by hurling across a chasm on a rope; safety is priority, and the level of adventure will grow as you do. As you participate, you will discover nurturing parallels between your life and these therapeutic experiences.
Learn to Respect Yourself and Others
Many addicts I’ve met with struggle with low self-esteem. Addiction shatters the natural, progressive routes to loving oneself and fills that void with a temporary fix. Adventure therapy can help fortify confidence in several ways. By trying new things, you’ll feel more sure of yourself and your abilities. After all, true growth and change happens beyond the comfort zone. You may be given the opportunity to lead and the group will put faith in you; this works wonders for also believing in yourself. Recovery won’t seem so daunting if you feel strong and in charge.
Develop Better Communication Skills
Adventure therapy is all about surmounting fun, exciting challenges alongside a supportive group. Positive, open communication raises everyone up to the very peak of success. It may be difficult at first, but as your group works through obstacles together, trust will blossom and you’ll feel like a team. This is part of the reason why so many say that joining a recreational sports team is their “anti-drug”. You no longer feel alone. It will also be easier to express yourself to your therapist and loved ones, and this can be revolutionary for recovery.
Improve Your Healthy Coping Skills
Emotional suffering and addiction are partners in crime. Unresolved issues and trauma can turn many situations into potential relapse triggers for recovering addicts. Learning to cope and triumph over these pitfalls is crucial to recovery. In adventure therapy, you’ll be immersed in a variety of scenarios; this will sharpen your ability to adapt and roll with the punches. After all, if you can conquer mountains, you can take on recovery with guns blazing! Another perk to adventure therapy is that it generally takes place in the wonderful outdoors, and this is so healing all on its own.
Jump Out of Your Comfort Zone
Old habits are tough to crack. Adventure therapy urges you to dive into new experiences and see life from many new, fresh directions. The laughter, sunshine, exercise, camaraderie and progress of adventure therapy are all perfect for wiping the slate clean and leading in positive behaviors. You’ll have fun and truly realize all that this world has to offer. Some of the most adventurous, free-spirited people I know are recovering addicts!
Confront Your Fears
There are plenty of fears that recovering addicts share. Maybe you’re afraid of relapsing, rebuilding healthy relationships with estranged family members, or branching out into a new career. Daily life can be very intimidating after such a massive change. Adventure therapy is all about courage, shattering emotional prisons and growing strong, supportive relationships with your team. These actions will no doubt help your life beyond therapy blossom as well.
6. Address Your Body, Mind and Spirit
I am an avid supporter of a holistic approach to recovery that nourishes the body, mind and spirit. Adventure therapy is the complete package; it encourages exercise, communion with nature and each other, self-expression and exploration. It is an ideal supplement to the self-reflection that is done in individual talk therapy because it adds an element of action and momentum.
Adventure therapy is all about living in the now, and that is precisely where recovery happens. You’ll break new ground, forge wonderful friendships and discover just how much you are capable of. I hope you consider swinging into adventure therapy!
By Angela Lambert
Photo by: Leonardo Dasilva (Flickr)