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New-Look Addiction Treatment

Adapt or Die. A statement as old as time that has now become a driving force in the ever-emerging addiction treatment arena.

When you think of addiction treatment, many of you probably imagine an all-white room with flickering industrial lights; a soft-spoken, white-haired therapist with thick, dark glasses and a clipboard.  He asks the patient about his/her life story and “how they feel about it.” This process repeats itself every day for thirty days, and then the patient is released into society.

Well, you’re right and wrong.  Traditional addiction treatment still consists of some individual and group counseling sessions in an office setting.  The flickering industrial lights might be a stretch.

But addiction treatment has evolved into much more than conventional therapy to discuss one’s feelings.  Addiction is a disease of the body as much as it is the mind.  As a result, a wholistic approach to addiction treatment has transformed into a popular, yet undervalued approach. The best part?  It’s working. 

Let’s be clear. We are not talking about painting rocks or making bracelets that represent our feelings. We are talking about good ol’ fashioned physical activity. Staying active in recovery incorporates a physical aspect to the recovery process that challenges individuals to expand their own personal limits, therefore learning a tremendous amount about themselves. Experiencing new physical challenges opens up possibilities for various coping skills, emotional processing capabilities, and problem solving techniques that one may not be able to learn in a typical office setting.  Most importantly, these skills are efficiently transferred into real world scenarios that a person in early recovery typically faces.  Not to mention, adventure-based active recovery and action sports in addiction treatment can be a whole lot of fun!

Josh Glawe of the Morris Psychological Group has fully embraced the outside-the-box approach to addiction treatment with his patients.  Over the past several years, Josh and his patients meet twice per month for adventure/action-based therapy sessions to bridge the gap between clinical treatment and real-world skills.  Initially, Josh will meet with a patient in a setting of their choosing- such as a long hike, disc golf, fishing, and rock climbing.  Early in the process, his goal is to build trust and create a foundation for long term progression.  For example, during a rock climbing session, Josh can simultaneously get to know his patient on a deep level while enjoying the outdoors in a low-stress environment.  He can observe how is patient handles adversity and solve problems on-the-fly.  Over time once trust is built, Josh encourages more challenging and fear-provoking activities to really get the guys out of their comfort zone.

Rock climbing and hiking have proven to be valuable tools in Josh’s toolkit, but he also challenges his guys and gals in other ways.  He will meet with patients at the local Staples to purchase organizational materials such as folders and binders.  Instead of talking about how to be better organized, he has found much more success in showing how to be organized.

Afraid of speaking in public?  Josh doesn’t just talk about the tools to become a better public speak.  He forces his patients to get up in front of the group to show them how to utilize public speaking skills.

Doesn’t this all sound familiar?  Isn’t there a program you know that embraces this sort of approach to addiction treatment?

Oh, of course… Surfside! Truth is that Surfside is not “addiction treatment,” but our long-term approach coupled with an integrative life development program creates a unique model that is unlike anything else in the state or surrounding area. On a daily basis, our residents experience sports and activities that are not typically found in sober living homes- and we believe this is a key missing ingredient. Most sober living homes overlook this step in the process… and what happens?  Well, the home forces the resident to obtain a job immediately, they get the first paycheck, and then get high. If you have been through the loop, you know exactly what we are talking about.

Especially in the young adult population, a long seminar on how to improve one’s life can fall on deaf ears.  We have seen time and time again that office-setting therapy can only go so far.  Supplemented with real-world, adventure based activities can give young people the confidence and preparation to face any challenges that will inevitably come along.  At Surfside, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk.

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction and ready to try something new?  Please reach out to our Executive Director who can help point you in the right direction for treatment or recovery based solutions.