The type of treatment method and rehab center you seek out for drug and alcohol addiction is important to your long-term sobriety. While one person may benefit from group therapy or 12-Step meetings, someone else may respond better to more hands-on, life enhancement activities, otherwise known as recreational therapy for substance abuse.

What is Recreational Therapy for Substance Abuse?

Recreational therapy incorporates leisure activities into your treatment plan. Over the years, addiction specialists have witnessed the healing power of recreational activities for those recovering from addiction. In fact, many people now seek out residential treatment centers that offer a good selection of recreational therapies.

Types of Recreational Therapy

There’s a wide range of recreational therapies available in the addiction recovery space, such as:

  • Yoga
  • Volleyball
  • Nature Hiking
  • Fitness Classes
  • Corn Hole
  • Ping-Pong
  • Sports (e.g. basketball)
  • Meditation
  • Music therapies (drum circles, guitar, keyboards)
  • Art therapies (arts and crafts, painting) 
  • Animal therapy

How Does Recreational Therapy Work?

It’s one thing to learn about overcoming addiction, but it’s quite another to go deeper and learn more about yourself. When you engage in fun activities, you’re more inclined to reduce stress, let your defenses down and enjoy yourself.  You get to see another side of yourself, outside of your everyday pursuits. Some people who engage in recreational activities report a newfound passion for a hobby. Others felt happier engaging in activities they’d never tried before. 

Recreation can be a path toward further emotional healing, increasing your chances of long-lasting recovery. You’ll learn important life lessons, such as:

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  • Letting yourself try new things without getting caught up in whether you’ll do it right or wrong 
  • Connecting more authentically with others
  • Asking for assistance when you need it
  • Building team and social skills
  • Learning outlets for anxiety or anger issues in a healthy way
  • Learning effective problem-solving skills
  • Giving you a boost of self-confidence

When people think about drug addiction treatment centers, they often picture classes or groups solely focusing on addiction or counseling. While some time is spent on these types of treatment programs, many rehabs offer a wide range of therapeutic recreational activities that add value to both your physical and mental health. 

How Recreational Therapy Can Prepare You For Recovery Success

If you talk to someone who has relapsed before, they may tell you that one reason they fell back into their addiction was because they got bored. Before their addiction treatment, they may have spent time hanging out with their party buddies. However, during their sober days, they may have tended to stay home or isolate. This, of course, can be a trigger.

Recreational therapy is quite helpful at preventing relapse because it can help you see the fulfillment of solo or group recreational activities. When you return home from treatment after participating in various recreational therapies, you’re more likely to continue the activities you enjoyed.

For example, if you attend a treatment center that offers adventurous hiking excursions and you come to love this type of physical activity, chances are when you return home, you’ll try to continue with it.  Having a newfound passion for any type of leisure activity can make a huge difference in increasing your chances at the long-term success of continued recovery. 

Encouraging Fun, Creative Sobriety

Recreational therapy for substance abuse has become quite popular in treatment centers. It helps to remind patients that they can create a sober life that is creative and fun.  In fact, some rehabs employ Recreational Counselors who help patients cultivate their creative spirits through various activities. 

How Effective is Recreational Therapy?

When integrated into a treatment plan that includes individual and group therapy, recreational therapy can be quite effective. In fact, a 2012 study reported that those who completed a rehab program and were moved to housing that offered recreational activities were more likely to maintain their sobriety than those who did not engage in such recreation. The simple availability of recreational activities and leisure education can surely help prevent relapses. 

Here at The Woods at Parkside, we pride ourselves on providing research-based, comprehensive substance abuse treatment, along with a variety of recreational therapies. You’re never forced to engage in these activities, but we do encourage you to try some, as we believe you may just awaken some creativity and/or passion within you as you do. 

We make it our aim to foster a safe environment where you can focus on getting your life back on every level. 

Start Your Path to Recovery

If you or a loved one are ready to start your path toward a better life, The Woods at Parkside is here to help. Call (614) 471-2552 to speak with one of our treatment specialists and learn more about our programs.

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