For an individual who is struggling with drug addiction, even one who has chosen to seek help, the idea of enrolling in rehabilitation treatment can be very off-putting. Many drug rehabilitation treatment programs are either delivered in hospitals or in hospital-like facilities. These facilities can be noisy, distracting and generally depressing. The individual may be treated with indifference by facility staff, seen as a drug-addicted patient whose only hope is to perhaps not use drugs quite so much or so often. This is not what is desired by the individual who is trapped in substance abuse – they want to be cared for, supported, encouraged and fully rehabilitated. They know that the journey to sobriety can be long and hard, and are more desirous of a peaceful, natural setting that is distraction-free, calming and relaxing. Wilderness drug rehabilitation aims to accomplish this.
Wilderness Drug Rehab
Wilderness drug rehabilitation, also sometimes called adventure therapy, was first used with juvenile substance abusers. According to studies from the US Justice Department Juvenile Justice Bulletin, those who completed wilderness drug therapy has positive results and were satisfied with the program, including the outdoor setting and drug-free treatment.
There are a variety of wilderness drug treatment programs available, and while their exact programs can vary, here are some program points usually held in common:
– Individual counseling sessions
Counselors meet individually with program participants, discussing the possible reasons behind their initial substance use and addiction. With careful guidance, participants can usually discover what caused them to turn to drugs and how to resolve similar problems in the future without the use of drugs.
– Group sessions
Once or twice a day the entire rehabilitation group meets in various outdoor settings to discuss substance abuse and recovery. Participants can share their stories and views, and are encouraged to talk as a therapy.
– Recreational activities
An individual who is abusing substances is often unconcerned with physical activity of any sort, even those that they previously found highly pleasurable. Sitting in inactivity can allow one to dwell unproductively on unpleasant thoughts or emotions like guilt, shame or embarrassment. Participating in vigorous recreational activities including swimming, hiking, mountain climbing, boating, fishing, white water rafting and more can bring the individual into an awareness of his present environment and the fun that can be had in life with sober activities and with others. It can also help restore their body to better health as it is rid of drugs.
Many wilderness drug treatment programs including camping excursions. Not only does this continue to get the individual outside into the real world, but they must work hard and as a team to set up and take down tents, find and prepare food and learn how to survive in nature. As individuals find solutions to the different problems that may crop up, they get practical experience in solving life problems without using drugs.
– Animal therapy
There are some wilderness drug treatment programs that include working with horses or other animals on a regular basis. While animals can be soothing on their own, this also gives the individual an opportunity to care for and nurture another living thing, much as they are being cared for and nurtured during their drug treatment program.
Additional Benefits of Wilderness Drug Treatment
Usually, wilderness drug treatment programs are holistic in their approach. The individual is healed of their substance abuse problems with vitamins, nature, outdoor activities and professional counseling. Treatment occurs in a natural, peaceful, relaxing setting that is distraction-free and well-designed to aid the individual in achieving sobriety without feeling locked up in a hospital and treated indifferently as a labeled “addict”. The individual works on their skills in building relationships and working with others, and makes many happy memories along the way.
Wilderness drug treatment programs are usually longer than many other treatment programs, which can be of benefit to the individual when considering that the National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that treatment programs that last a minimum of three to six months are often most successful in fully rehabilitating the individual for a healthy, productive, drug-free future.
A wilderness drug treatment program can prove quite challenging, but for many individuals it may be exactly what they need to fully resolve their problems with substance abuse.