Aftercare programs for substance abuse are everywhere, and aftercare treatment options are numerous. Getting continued support after rehab, however, might require a little motivation. For many, these programs might not seem necessary. For others, substance abuse aftercare may have simply slipped their mind.
If you’ve been to an inpatient rehab center, you might’ve engaged adventure therapy—or a recovery program based on novel, healthy experiences. You might’ve even made like-minded friends—those who you’ve conquered your addiction with. This method of therapy may not be used in every program, but it’s rather effective when it is.
Did You Undergo Adventure Therapy?
You might not realize it—but your time spent in an inpatient drug addiction center might’ve included the above-mentioned adventure therapy. Adventure therapy serves to create experiences, and these experiences are centered around the Great Outdoors, local exploration sites, and everything in between.
There are a lot of names for adventure therapy, including:
- Adventure-based therapy
- Wilderness therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Outdoor therapy
Sometimes, a treatment center won’t call it “adventure therapy” at all! We feel all patients who’ve undergone treatment should know about it. More importantly: We feel they should understand how to continue their adventures after rehab.
What Does Adventure Therapy Include?
Adventure therapy can include a number of different outdoor adventures. Depending on your program, you likely faced physical and mental challenges which placed you outside of your comfort zone. The goal of adventure therapy, first and foremost, is to build self-confidence. The tasks you’ve undergone might’ve seemed scary, but your self-reliance, inner strength, and peers helped you overcome these challenges.
Some popular types of outdoor adventure therapy programs include:
- Rock climbing
- Rope courses
- Visiting historical landmarks
- Playing a sport
Unfortunately, many recovering addicts don’t think these opportunities exist beyond therapy. While anyone can rock climb, hike or swim, not everyone is supported by a tight, productive network of other recovering individuals.
This can feel isolating, and some recovering addicts seek the experiences which redefined their entire life. In most cases, reintegrating with regular life can be stressful. It can even result in anxiety, depression, and relapse. Eventually, you should strive to engage these opportunities regardless of the community. Until you’re ready, however, you can still re-experience the adventure therapy responsible for your recovery.
Three Ways to Find Adventure Therapy
There are several ways to find adventure therapy outside of rehab. Below, we’ll cover three of the best:
One: Find Adventure in an Aftercare Program
If you take this route, it’s a good idea to find aftercare treatment which offers an environment you’re comfortable with. The global community, The Association for Experiential Education is also a fantastic resource for adventure therapy. Even if you can’t find an adventure therapy program as part of aftercare addiction treatment services, they can provide more information.
The best adventure therapy environment will accommodate for your specific aftercare treatment. Some factors which influence your treatment are:
- The length of your original treatment.
- Whether you’ve engaged inpatient or outpatient treatment (or both).
- The substance abuse problems you’ve suffered.
- Any co-morbid psychological illnesses.
In most cases, practitioners work to create treatment environments which help patients achieve post-treatment goals. Even if you’ve recovered, your personal growth still matters. Aftercare alcohol and drug treatment typically feature adventure therapy options which follow five basic rules.
Rule One: The Program Pays Attention to Boundaries
A good adventure therapy program will honor the physical, emotional, mental and intrapersonal boundaries of its patients. Clients themselves may be empowered to monitor the group’s safety, but an effective program will have leaders which uphold these values.
While adventure therapy may be designed to be challenging, it must still treat its patients with respect. Ongoing health—mentally and physically—is always a priority.
Rule Two: The Program Pays Attention to Values
Similarly, an adventure therapy program will acknowledge and accommodate for each patient’s developmental, social, spiritual, cultural, sexual and clinical values. Because an adventure therapy program is still part of aftercare treatment, the original treatment is still acknowledged.
Rule Three: Adventure Therapy Leaders Work to Grow Values
In partnership with clients, an adventure therapy program’s leaders will seek to grow different values. Every adventure is a new opportunity for self-growth. Some values include:
Speak with your aftercare drug treatment providers about their regular adventures. Ask them about the group’s values, as well as their current plans to nurture them.
Rule Four: Patient Motivation is Used as a Measurement
The best adventure therapy programs put the patient first. Both positive and negative attitudes in any given environment should be used to improve the overall program. Adventure therapy, and aftercare drug treatment, in general, should always put the patient’s comfort, happiness and sense of achievement first.
Rule Five: The Environment Should be Appropriate, Accessible and Positive
When searching for an adventure therapy program during aftercare drug treatment, focus on programs which balance a challenging environment with positive experiences. For example, a hiking trip may be difficult, but its surrounding nature is beautiful.
Two: Find Adventure Locally
You don’t necessarily need to attend aftercare addiction treatment services to find adventure. Either way, it’s important to continue the adventures you’ve experienced in rehab.
At its core, adventure therapy is about finding an activity to replace drug use. It also serves to help recovering addicts find new, sober friends. By using the model of aftercare adventure therapy, we want to help you determine which adventures are best for you. Aftercare programs for substance abuse understand the power of positive adventure. They also understand how adventure, itself, can serve as aftercare addiction treatment.
Finding Your Interests
You should start by pinpointing your interests. If any particular activity in rehab stood out to you—start here. What made the adventure fun? Was it the outdoor exploration? Or, was it because it challenged you physically, mentally or emotionally?
Adventurous activities like fly-fishing, rock climbing and canoeing are perfect for adventure. They require time, dedication and skill to master. Whether your chosen adventure is adrenaline-filled or not, it should still expose you to outdoor environments. Every new activity should push you to your limits.
Check Out Meetup(dot)Com
Meetup(dot)com is the perfect place to seek out your adventure. It’s packed with information about local events, sightseeing destinations, hobby groups and more. Whether you’re seeking a thrill, a chance to hone your skills or nature’s true beauty, Meetup(dot)com is one of the best resources around.
Ask Your Aftercare Providers
Substance abuse and recovery aftercare programs can also give you information. Most can even connect you with local exploration groups, destination hotspots, and hobby opportunities. Remember: Your aftercare addiction treatment providers want to help you. They understand how important adventure is, long-term, to recovery.
Socializing is one of the most important aspects of adventure therapy. Unsurprisingly, aftercare addiction treatment services normally prioritize a socially healthy environment. Substance abuse and recovery aftercare, however, might not be the best environment for networking—post-care. Even if you haven’t figured out what adventure you’d like to go on, you can still find others to inspire you.
Join a Club
Clubs are all around your area. Once again, Meetup(dot)com is a fantastic resource. If you don’t want to use Meetup(dot)com, however, you can browse for local clubs on Google. Pick a club which interests you, even if the interest is casual. You can always attend a club meeting, gauge the situation, and leave if you’d like to try something else.
Local libraries, community colleges, and even businesses offer free classes. If you’d like to learn how to paint, sculpt, play guitar or sing, you can ask around town about free education options. Or, you can check Google for your area’s free educational options.
Attend a Job Fair
Job fairs are constantly occurring. You can find them on campuses, near your city’s capital, near libraries and around parks. Even if you’re not ready to pick up a job—or if you like your current job—job fairs are still great for networking. By meeting more people, you can increase your opportunities.
Three: Find Adventure by Traveling
If you can’t find your preferred adventure locally, traveling for adventure might be better. Some substance abuse aftercare programs include long-distance adventure opportunities. Meanwhile, local resources can help you find an adventure which isn’t too far away.
It’s possible to find amazing adventures within two to three miles of your home. While local adventures might be better suited to those pursuing self-made aftercare alcohol treatment—or even addiction treatment—traveling out of your city is an adventure all by itself.
Check Out Your State’s Tourism Website
Many programs for aftercare alcohol treatment and drug treatment give patients website resources to explore. As a rule of thumb: Your state’s tourism website is a great source for state-wide adventures. You can also check online for Top 10 tourism lists.
Try a New Outdoor Activity
If you’d like to stay local and eventually want to travel, get involved in a new outdoor activity. Horseback riding, rock climbing, and snorkeling can be done locally—but they can be pursued well beyond your familiar area. Many substance abuse and recovery aftercare groups engage these types of activities, too, for the same reason.
Check Out Instagram
While Google and Meetup(dot)com are good resources for clubs and directions, Instagram is a good resource for visual inspiration. Substance abuse and recovery aftercare rely on personal attachment and inspiration. Instagram can give you snapshots of the adventures awaiting you. It can also help you find adventures within your travel radius.
You can also find amazing adventure opportunities by networking. Ask your family and friends about interesting trips they’ve been on. Or, reconnect with your substance abuse aftercare group. Aftercare alcohol treatment and drug treatment typically establishes a network for patients to socialize in.
If you’d like to network away from your aftercare alcohol and drug treatment group, try networking with sober friends and family members. In doing so, you’ll access a proactive, healthy group of people to travel with.
Staying Healthy Throughout Adventure
Regardless of your adventure group, it’s important to prioritize your mental, emotional and physical health. Aftercare alcohol and drug treatment prioritize the recovery process—and your adventures should, too. Whether you’re learning to play a new instrument, are exploring a nearby park or are exploring outside of your state, you can still make it part of your aftercare addiction treatment process.
The world is big, and it’s packed with new, exciting experiences. Between unique places, people and events, you have a lot of adventure opportunities to choose from. You also have many opportunities for new friendships. It’s never too late to rebuild your life, and it’s never too early to seek adventure. In many cases, a new adventure can spawn an entirely new lifestyle. Or, it can fortify your character for the better.
If you’re ready to network, try some of the resources listed above. Or, talk to your addiction aftercare providers. Once you’ve connected with like-minded adventurers, you’ll find that adventure itself is always right around the corner. Take care of yourself, and put your safety first. Finally, always know it’s never too late to begin a new life. You always have options, and there’s always an adventure just waiting to be found.