10 Sep 8 Incredible Benefits of Wilderness Therapy For Recovering Addicts
1 in 7 Americans will face a substance addiction in his or her lifetime. Unfortunately, only 10% of addicts receive treatment according to the Surgeon General’s report.
Addiction affects people from all walks of life. In fact, more than 75% of individuals with addictions are employed. Addiction is a chronic disease that is plaguing millions of people in the United States.
Read on to learn all about wilderness therapy and the benefits it offers.
What is Wilderness Therapy?
Wilderness treatment programs treat individuals struggling with addictions in a natural, outdoor setting. Being in the outdoors nurtures both physical and mental health.
Most people believe that being in nature has health benefits. Yet, the extent to which being outdoors is not always understood.
Studies show that spending time outside increases our happiness levels. It also boosts our feeling of connectedness as well as our general wellbeing.
Just noticing a tree fosters mental wellness according to the Journal of Positive Psychology.
Wilderness therapy uses time spent in nature to foster rehabilitation and addiction recovery. Being in nature fosters healing – of both the mind and spirit.
Here are 8 incredible benefits of wilderness therapy for recovering addicts.
1. Increased Inspiration
Wilderness rehab allows people recovering from addiction to find inspiration. For some, it may be a whole new experience.
During a wilderness treatment program, participants can turn to nature like Van Gogh did to create. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something artistic.
Being outdoors revitalizes our senses and helps us tune out the noise of the world. In these empty moments, ideas often strike. Poetry, art, and even goal-setting becomes intuitive when spending time in nature.
2. Restores Attention
Harvard Medical School published a letter stating that spending vast amounts of time indoors leads to lack of focus. Spending time outside improves our attention and ability to focus.
After spending time in nature, people are better able to perform on cognitive tests. For recovering addicts, the ability to focus on things that are most important is crucial.
3. Skill Mastery
One of the best outcomes of wilderness drug rehab programs is the newfound skills participants gain. Setting up tarps, building fires, cooking, and tying knots are all life skills that participants master.
Failing to work on improving these skills will lead to real and immediate consequences. For example, if someone doesn’t bother to set up a tarp and it rains, their tent and belongings will be wet. Learning about natural consequences is an integral component of wilderness therapy.
On top of their new skillset, these individuals leave with the deep sense of satisfaction at their accomplishments. Addicts often struggle with feelings of inadequacy. Mastering skills is one way they are able to rebuild their self-confidence.
4. One Day at a Time
Many addiction recovery programs talk about taking things one day at a time. Spending time in wilderness rehab drives that point home.
It’s clear to see that each day is a fresh start. As each new rising sun emerges, participants feel their fresh start. No matter what happened yesterday (fire, flood or storm), each day is a restorative day to begin again.
Being in the wilderness gives individuals an ideal environment to rely on themselves. When people have used drugs or alcohol as a crutch for years, it is important for them to learn to be self-sufficient.
There’s no better place to learn that than the great outdoors. As they learn skills and succeed in implementing these things, they begin to become responsible for their own selves. This is an important step in full and enduring recovery.
6. Change in Perspective
At wilderness rehab, participants are completely taken out of their usual surroundings. This change of scenery allows for a change in perspective.
Being in a calm, nurturing environment allows addicts to ponder the changes they need to make to live a fulfilling life. Read more about how getting in touch with nature helps rehabilitation.
7. Learn How to Slow Down
We live in a society that moves at lightning speed. From self-serve checkout lines to instant downloads on our mobile devices, we are used to getting things right this second.
In nature, people have the opportunity to learn how to slow down. Surprisingly, it is difficult for many people to learn how to do this.
Without modern conveniences, everyday living takes more time. From cooking to bathing, at wilderness rehab, guests are forced to move at a slower pace. Once people slow down, it’s amazing to see the transformation in their attitudes.
Best of all, this newfound skill is something they can bring home with them.
8. Continue Wilderness Therapy at Home
Addiction recovery is a lifetime journey. Wilderness therapy allows individuals to continue their recovery at home.
There are many nature experiences that can become part of people’s lives even after they have left the program. Individuals can harness the strength they tapped into at wilderness therapy anytime, anywhere.
Nature will be a steadying, healing source for those who are recovering from an addiction.
We hope you found these benefits of wilderness therapy insightful. More and more research is coming out that reinforces that nature is the best way for us to become whole.
Real, physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual changes are possible through wilderness therapy.
The Seven Ponds Wilderness Program is led by a former Army Ranger and professional wilderness guides. Participants will experience daily activities that refocus their value system and self-perception. Contact us for more information.