Adventure Therapy in the Mountains
Spirituality is integral to the recovery process for many people struggling with substance use disorder (SUD). Many aspects of treatment, including the 12-Step philosophy and experiential therapies, provide an opportunity for spiritual healing. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in one program that utilized The Twelve Steps, “21% of the participants said that ‘faith in a higher power was the main path to overcoming their addictions.’”
Spending quality time out in nature can help us connect more deeply with others and grow spiritually. Spero Recovery offers a wide range of experiential activities, including adventure therapy, to support clients in their recovery journey.
Adventure Therapy and Spiritual Recovery
Spirituality doesn’t have to involve any religion or structured belief. The Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine describes spiritual health as “the connection with self (personal dimension), others (social dimension),” and “nature (the environment).” Adventure therapy is an excellent way to engage all three of these aspects of spirituality. Spero Recovery offers many experiential activities, including hikes into the beautiful mountain near our facility. Every day we incorporate some form of nature-based activity into our program to improve self-awareness and encourage mindfulness.
Adventure therapy usually consists of the following:
- Outdoor group or solo activities
- Goal-oriented outdoor sessions
- Teamwork and peer support
- Skill development
Adventure therapy compliments other treatments and offers an exciting change of pace that encourages creativity and curiosity. Our residential programs use outdoor activities to facilitate positive peer interactions and help people feel more comfortable sharing their experiences with others. In addition, some activities include real-world examples of concepts discussed during group or individual therapy.
Spending Time in Nature Revitalizes the Mind, Body, and Soul
Going out into nature allows us to enjoy crisp, clean air, brilliant colors, and a variety of other sensory experiences. The environment naturally grounds us within the moment, and we can feel closer to each other and more open to positive experiences. Whether you identify as a “nature person” or not, exploring the nearby mountain area can improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Observing or interacting with trees, plants, and natural water sources increases a person’s overall well-being. According to the Forest Service (FS), “Studies have shown that being in nature can restore and strengthen our mental capacities, increasing focus and attention.” Many people also find a natural environment facilitates meditation and mindfulness-based exercises. Spending time outdoors lowers stress and can help you feel more connected to your recovery.
Additional Benefits of Adventure Therapy
Adventure therapy sessions always have a goal that encourages peers to work together as a team. In some cases, the goal will involve subjects discussed during group therapy. However, at other times it may be a much broader goal of working together or practicing effective communication.
Individuals who participate in adventure therapy often experience the following benefits:
- Development of a healthy self-identity
- A change in priorities and focus on positivity and self-growth
- The ability to identify and overcome obstacles
Recovery is a journey filled with emotional ups and downs, challenges, and unexpected detours. Adventure therapy plays that out on a small scale in a controlled environment where people can learn to identify problems and find solutions. Often, peer support and teamwork are integral parts of the process. In addition, adventure therapy highlights the benefits of trusting others while relying on your inner strength. People in recovery can translate these skills and techniques into everyday life.
Spiritual Healing, Nature-Based Activities, and the 12-Step Model
At Spero Recovery, we use a 12-Step philosophy to encourage spiritual healing during rehabilitation. According to the Journal of Religion and Health, “84% of scientific studies show that faith is a positive factor in addiction prevention or recovery.” Spirituality and faith don’t have to involve religion in any form. Nature-based activities like adventure therapy can help people better connect with the idea of a higher power, whatever that form takes in their life. Making that connection can improve the effectiveness of 12-Step methods.
How Does Adventure Therapy Affect Long-Term Recovery
Adventure therapy can support long-term recovery in various ways, including:
- Improved self-efficacy and self-esteem
- Decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms
- Greater trust in peers and authority figures
In addition to feeling more comfortable relying on others, adventure therapy also shows us the well of inner strength that we can draw on during moments of adversity. Spending time in the mountains focusing on the external beauty of the environment provides a break from the internal struggle of recovering from substance misuse. The more comfortable you feel during treatment, the easier you will find the transition to ongoing recovery. Adventure therapy is essential to the services we offer at Spero Recovery. We use it to engage people and help them prepare for a lifetime of successful sobriety.
Spero Recovery is located near a beautiful mountain area that boasts gorgeous views, hiking trails, and areas for communing quietly in nature. Most people who participate in rehabilitation benefit from a connection with nature. We use adventure therapy and 12-Step methods to encourage greater self-awareness, self-confidence, and personal growth. Science has proven that interacting with or observing nature can significantly increase physical, mental, and spiritual health. At Spero Recovery, we ensure everyone can engage in nature and take advantage of its many health benefits. We offer various classes and outdoor activities, including mountain hiking. To learn more about our programs and the services we offer, call our office today at (303) 351-7888.