Outdoor Therapy

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. Choice House, a Colorado outdoor therapy treatment center, provides rehab for alcohol and drug abuse for men in both our residential treatment and intensive outpatient program.

Research has shown that spending time outside is good for just about anyone’s mental health. Additionally, our collective experience and years of wilderness therapy data have demonstrated that the outdoors provides a space for healing, connection, and learning for those in early recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, as well as those struggling with all types of mental health issues.

This is why we’ve made outdoor adventure therapy a core component of the Choice House comprehensive recovery program in Boulder, Colorado. At times, something as simple as a little physical exertion proves to be very effective at moving someone out of the circular confines of their conscious thought and into the present. We know each of our clients has their own obstacles to overcome, and we find that the outdoor experience provides a therapeutic channel for our men.

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Rocky Mountain National park - Choice House Flag

Connecting outdoors

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, a Colorado outdoor therapy treatment center in Boulder, is committed to breaking this cycle of addiction and isolation with rehab for alcohol and drug abuse.
Before our drug or alcohol addiction, many of us loved being outside with family and friends. Before our addiction, we went skiing, snowboarding, hiking, golfing, fishing and all of the other amazing things our great state has to offer to us, and so often our addiction robs us of our pursuits and cherished moments in life.
Everything we do at Choice House is about reclaiming connection, relationships and love in our lives. We believe this is what we need to move forward and progress into our 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.

Benefits of wilderness therapy

Being outdoors provides unique benefits during the recovery process that can rarely be achieved elsewhere. One of the most significant benefits is that getting outdoors and involving yourself with nature removes you from the patterns of everyday life. Reminders of past negative behavior patterns and external temptations are virtually non-existent during wilderness therapy.

Another significant benefit is that participating in outdoor activities is fun, and that isn’t something you can usually say about programs focused on breaking addiction and fostering recovery. This means that someone in our program is a lot more likely to succeed because they enjoy the process.

In addition, nature can have other effects on health and wellness, including:

  • Lowered mortality rates
  • Improved social interactions
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved demeanor
  • Increased mental fortitude
  • Reduced stress and anxiety

It’s also been found that wilderness therapy can help develop traits that are vital components to recovery and long-term rehabilitation success, such as self-concept, hope, internal locus of control and interpersonal skills.

Something for every 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 Winter Park or Eldora Mountain to experience the rush of downhill skiing and snowboarding
  • Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy peaceful snowshoe treks in the trees or some heart-pumping cross-country skiing
  • 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
  • Grabbing water bottles and hiking boots to explore the trails around the Boulder Flatirons peaks
  • Unleashing our inner Frisbee competitors for a friendly game of disc golf
  • Brushing up on our kickball skills or kick back with a more leisurely pursuit like cornhole
  • Learning to fly fish on one of the many beautiful nearby Colorado rivers 

What does the Choice Adventure Program look like?

We offer residential, sober living and alumni outdoor adventure therapy for men dealing with addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions. All of our programs, including the outdoor adventure therapy treatment, are led by our experienced addiction and trauma certified clinical staff. These professionals intertwine traditional treatment modalities like with adventure therapy in order to achieve a more holistic healing program.

Typically, this means the men in our program will spend two days outside throughout the week to help break up some of the monotony of indoor residential treatment. There is also a third optional session on Sunday that participants can choose to engage in. The Sunday outdoor session typically has a couple of different adventures to choose from, so it is an excellent opportunity to get out and change up the scenery and activity levels. 

 In addition to these weekly outdoor days, each of our men will also get to participate in three or four epic excursions during their 90-day stay. We host a quarterly trip for men in our sober living and alumni programs as well. We occasionally take our men on service outings in the Colorado community. The chance to help our fellow human beings and get out of ourselves is a core value of recovery and healing. 

In addition, every other week, we love to visit the Song of the Wolf Healing Center in Bailey, Colorado, a nonprofit organization for abused, unwanted, confiscated, and surrendered wolf-dogs. We find the moments we share with these animals to be incredibly impactful for our men as they have an opportunity to experience the human-animal bond for themselves and face the fear and self-doubt that so many experience in recovery.

Our hybrid model and its advantages

There are certain advantages that come with a residential treatment program and other advantages that come with an outdoor treatment program. But we believe the deepest and most lasting recovery happens when an individual comes when an individual is able to participate in both.

This is why our treatment includes everything you would expect from a residential treatment program such as:

  • Individual and family therapy
  • Psychoeducational classes and groups
  • Chemical dependency education
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • 12-step facilitation
  • Relapse prevention

As well as additional benefits that can only come from outdoor therapy, most of which you wouldn’t expect, like actually having fun during treatment and removing yourself from anything that could remind you of past negative behavior patterns. 

Ideal person for outdoor adventure therapy

If you are a man dealing with addiction and co-occurring mental health issues, have an open mind to treatment, are interested in participating and growing through group activities and like the idea of overcoming your hardships in an indoor and outdoor setting, then you are likely a strong candidate for outdoor adventure therapy.

Patients who have chronically relapsed, feel isolated or stuck in recovery or want to reestablish a mind-body connection are also likely well suited for our outdoor adventure therapy program.

Contact Choice House

At Choice House, we believe that the decision to enter drug or alcohol rehabilitation is a milestone decision that can have a long-lasting and overwhelmingly positive impact on your life. To learn more about our adventure therapy program, give our office a call today at (720) 577-4422 or fill out our online contact form.