The Advantages of Adventure Therapy for Treating Addiction

Addiction is a horrible thing for anyone to have to face, but with new developments, its treatment doesn’t necessarily have to be.

When most people think of addiction treatment they generally conjure up circles of chairs in white rooms where people uncomfortably talk about their feelings. However, now there are many different options for addiction sufferers to consider as they try to work toward recovery. 

One of the newest, most interesting, and fastest growing is adventure therapy. Below are a few reasons why adventure therapy may be a great option for those facing the daunting task of overcoming addiction.

1. It Doesn’t Seem as Bleak as Traditional Therapy
Adventure therapy involves being immersed in the outdoors rather than being stuck indoors in potentially trite feeling sessions and treatments.

Many people who engage in this type of therapy might not even realize that what they are doing is helping and healing them. Adventure therapy gives people permission to be themselves and learn and grow through confidence-building activities instead of tortuous evaluations.

Those who are hesitant to go to therapy in the first place might be more inclined to go to adventure therapy because it is inherently more interesting and exciting and may feel less patronizing.

2. It Gives Participants Real World Experiences
Adventure therapy offers a bit of an escape while allowing people to engage in challenging and unique activities. Instead of trying to hide the fact that one is in therapy, they may be more likely to talk about it because they will want to share the exciting activities that they were able to take part in.

It also allows people to interact with each other in the context of an activity rather than just in sit-down group sessions where that is the only goal and where shame of the situation is more easily felt.

3. It Builds Confidence and Self-Sufficiency
The activities offered at adventure therapy seek to help people to rely on themselves and realize that they can do things that they never thought were possible. Many people fall into addiction because they feel powerless in their worlds. Engaging in outdoor activities helps people to see that they do have control over their choices and their lives.

4. It Allows Participants to Break Out of their Comfort Zones
Many people probably haven’t gone zip-lining or gone camping in the wilderness and those things may be scary to them. However, once someone accomplishes something of that nature they begin to realize that they can do other things that they once thought were impossible as well. Breaking out of one’s comfort zone helps them to realize that the possibilities of their life really are endless.

5. It Might Even Help People to Find New Hobbies
When people leave therapy and go back to their normal lives while ceasing to abuse substances, they might find themselves with more free time than before, especially if they have not yet returned to work.

In this case, it is vital for them to develop and experiment with new hobbies and activities to occupy their time so that they don’t become tempted to return to their previously lifestyle and social group they abused with.

If they engaged in adventure therapy, then they will have been exposed to a variety of outdoor activities that would serve as great hobbies post-therapy. Those who engage in adventure therapy may even find a new life-long love in something such as camping or canoeing that can enrich their lives continually and allow them to form new, healthy friendships. They could even potentially share these new hobbies with old friends and family to help heal and reconnect relationships that may have been damaged by their addiction.

Addiction is an extremely difficult thing to overcome. Although the road of recovery is not an easy one, that does not mean it has to be a boring one. Don’t fall for the common narrative that addiction therapy is strict and soul-sucking. There are many creative and innovative Addiction programs out there that are eagerly awaiting to help people on their journey.

You are not alone. You just have to take the first step.

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