Healing what’s inside, by getting outside
At Choice House, we’re fortunate to have the great Rocky Mountains in our backyard, which gives us some amazing opportunities to get outside for revitalizing fresh air and an abundance of soul-cleansing activities. Our Boulder, Colorado treatment center has made the most of what the area has to offer by integrating outdoor and wilderness therapy into our recovery programming, with adventures that include hiking, rock climbing, skiing or snowboarding, nature excursions and more. Men in both our residential treatment and intensive outpatient program for drug or alcohol abuse will have the chance to participate.
Spending time outside is good for just about anyone, but our collective experience has shown that the outdoors provides a space for healing and connection for those in rehab and early recovery. This is backed by research showing how green spaces can improve mood and reduce cravings, which is critical for lasting sobriety. It seems that something as simple as a little physical exertion and exposure to nature proves to be very effective at moving someone out of the circular confines of their conscious thought and into the present.
That’s why we’ve made outdoor adventure and wilderness therapy a core component of the Choice House recovery program for those with substance abuse and mental health issues. We know each of our clients has their own obstacles to overcome and we have found that the outdoor experience provides a therapeutic channel for our men.
The outdoors also provides a space for us to connect with each other. Drug addiction and alcoholism isolate us from one another, but Choice House is committed to breaking this cycle with fun and experiential therapies that leverage the healing power of nature to help men rediscover hope, healing and camaraderie in Colorado’s scenic Rocky Mountains.
Before our drug and alcohol addiction, many of us were active and loved being outside with friends and family. We went skiing, snowboarding, hiking, golfing, fishing and more, doing all of the amazing things our great state has to offer. But once substance abuse took hold, it robbed us of our pursuits and cherished moments in life, as it so often does.
Everything we do at Choice House is about reclaiming this connection: to ourselves, to others and to nature. Together, we can rebuild our relationships and fill our lives with love and laughter again. We believe this is what we need to move forward and progress in recovery. The outdoor adventure therapy component allows our men one more therapeutic site to build the foundation of their new life and break the bonds of alcohol and drug addiction.
In recovery, you need some forward momentum to enact positive change. But you won’t find it by never trying anything new or getting out of your comfort zone. To provide an opportunity for men to leave their familiar surroundings and participate in challenging activities that fast-track their personal growth, we organize 4-day wilderness excursions every 6 weeks as part of our regular treatment programming. We’ve found this more intensive experience promotes resilience, adaptability and perseverance to help them heal more thoroughly from the effects of substance abuse and trauma.
Wilderness therapy has a long history of use for those with addiction, mental health and behavioral issues. It’s been shown to be a valuable asset to the recovery process by restoring one’s confidence, reducing stress and teaching healthier coping skills. It also allows individuals to build authentic bonds with each other and solidify their treatment goals in an exciting outdoor environment. At Choice House, our wilderness excursions combine a natural setting with the best clinical practices, including a unique blend of experiential and adventure therapies. Some of the activities involved include hiking, camping, team-building exercises, life and survival skills development, expeditions and more.
part of a long-term continuum of care
Even the best wilderness programs fall short if they’re not backed by long-term recovery solutions. Most individuals with drug or alcohol problems also have unresolved trauma or mental health concerns that drive addictive behavior, so it takes a combination of proven, individualized treatments and comprehensive care to achieve meaningful results.
At Choice House, our outdoor adventure and wilderness program is part of our 90-day residential treatment program and extended continuum of care. This gives clients enough time to peel back the layers and examine the underlying factors of addiction, gaining more insight into their behavior. It also ensures that strong coping skills are in place before transitioning into an outpatient or sober living program to minimize the chance of relapse.
Over the years, we’ve found this approach combines the best of both worlds by blending the healing power of nature, the outdoors and Colorado’s wilderness with proven clinical practices. It has helped our clients achieve lifelong success in their recovery and form strong bonds, habits and hobbies that support their sobriety throughout the years.
something for every season
At Choice House, outdoor adventure and wilderness therapy are available throughout the year, no matter the season. During the bright Colorado winters (which include lots of crisp, sunny days with just enough of the quiet, contemplative snow days), you can often find us:
- Heading to nearby Eldora Mountain to experience the rush of downhill skiing and snowboarding
- Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy the nearby hot springs and geothermal soaking pools
- Taking a trip to Estes Park to work on our cross-country skiing technique or join friends for a scenic snowshoe hike in the woods
During the spring, summer, and fall months, we like to:
- Lace-up our climbing shoes to scale some single pitches in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park
- Grab the water bottles and hiking boots to explore the trails around the Boulder Flatirons peaks
- Visit the Song of the Wolf Healing Center for some animal-assisted therapy
- Unleash our inner Frisbee competitors for a friendly game of disc golf
- Brush up on our kickball skills or just kick back with a more leisurely pursuit like cornhole
We offer a little something for everyone and every season, whether or not you’re an avid outdoorsman. Our clients will have the chance to explore new interests and hobbies while building a strong foundation for a sober lifestyle and lasting recovery.