For those who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, one knows just how difficult it can be to break those addictions. Many people who find themselves relapsing after going through traditional treatment centers or 12 step programs often turn to therapeutic wilderness programs. These programs are often the solution for people who are really struggling to break their addictive behaviors. Wilderness programs can help addicts in various ways and are an important option to explore.

One of the major ways that therapeutic wilderness programs work is because they remove you from the environment that you are currently operating in. When you are out in the wilderness, you do not have access to drugs or alcohol and you are not surrounded by the negative people in your life that encourage using. Naturally, you will have to learn to not give into temptation when you return to the “real world”. The wilderness can offer you a temporary bridge that gives you the space to get yourself into a better mental state. Of course, doctors will evaluate your health ahead of time to make sure you have been safely detoxed by a medical team.

Some of the major tools people need in order to succeed at long term substance abuse recovery are self-empowerment and personal awareness. Therapeutic wilderness programs are designed to teach these behaviors. When you are out in the wilderness you are responsible for yourself, which helps addicts learn that there are consequences for their actions. For example, if you do not learn to properly set up your shelter for the night and it starts to rain, no one is going to help you and you are going to get wet. If you do not learn how to build a fire, you are not going to have a hot meal.

Years of drug abuse can really take a toll on the body and a wilderness program is the first step of helping to improve your overall health.  These programs have you participating in physically challenging activities that are not only aimed at improving your body but also your mind. The activities are going to push you out of your comfort zone and force you to accomplish things that you do not think you are capable of. This will help build back your self-confidence and sense of personal empowerment that so many substance abusers have lost.

Wilderness programs will also help you start building the valuable relationships with fellow addicts that will help you stay sober when you return home. Recovery from drugs and alcohol requires addicts to build a network of support that one can turn to when the temptation to start using is strong. Many participants in the wilderness programs find lifelong friendships with fellow participants.

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