Wilderness programs are known to be effective when it comes to helping struggling teens, even those struggling with addictions. Teens who start abusing drugs or alcohol start out thinking that they can control it and stop any time that they want. While it’s true that some people actually succeed in quitting cold turkey, most teens struggle with it until they are adults. Long-term substance dependency often results to changes in the brain function which leads to behavioral issues. People who have substance dependency, over a period of time, lose their control over their impulses to do drugs or drink alcohol.
It may be frustrating for family members to see their loved ones making bad decisions over and over again when it’s obvious what the right decision is. Even after the person stops using drugs or drinking, fighting to regain the control over the impulses will take time to win. Which is why even when a person is “clean”, the struggle with addiction is something they have to contend with over a long period of time.
This is also why most parents who have teens that struggle with drug and alcohol dependents opt to send them to inpatient drug and alcohol facilities. It makes it a lot harder and in many cases, even impossible to get access to the drugs and alcohol that they are addicted to. In treatment facilities that use the wilderness program model, the facilities are set against a backdrop of the wilderness. Traditional drug and alcohol treatment methods are complemented further by this wilderness backdrop. In these programs, the recovering person goes through therapy while experiencing personal victories over daily challenges in wilderness living.
Nature is something that’s relentless and uncontrollable, but there are things about yourself that you can exercise control over. You can decide how to respond to a situation and decide to make the most out of it. Wilderness programs help residents regain a measure of self-respect and self-esteem back.
Without the constant distraction of urban life and without the influence of questionable company, the drug and alcohol abuse therapy could be more successful. For most people who have lost control of their life because of substance dependency, living in the wilderness helps them make sense of an otherwise very confusing part of their life.
There’s really no standard length of stay recommended for all cases. However, studies show that short stays in such facilities often do not yield the desired results, nor would it yield results that would last. If a person stays for less than 90 days, the chances for recovery are pretty slim in most cases.
For people who have family members who are struggling with substance abuse, it would help if they understood what their role is in their loved one’s recovery. In fact, family and friends play a vital role in helping motivate a person to get tratment in an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility, and to stay there. Most wilderness programs conduct family therapy where family members are helped to cope with the situation as well as learn how they can help their loved one reintegrate into normal life when they go home from the wilderness program.
Following through with the right kind of support from the family is crucial in making a more lasting effect on an individual.