Recreational activities can help in addiction recovery to replace bad habits with healthy alternatives.

Recreation in Recovery

As a Recreational Therapist, my goal is to teach my patients positive coping skills that they can take with them once they leave Arcadia Trails.  Many adults do not take time for play which greatly impacts one’s satisfaction with life.  Recreation and leisure time are critical for de-stressing, proper socialization, having fun, and simply taking time for yourself.  I encourage my patients to explore different outlets that fulfill them mentally, physically and spiritually.  

When working with this population, I consider the 8 Dimensions of Wellness to broaden the spectrum of activities to utilize. I discover what their specific interests and barriers are to develop a plan for ways they can dive into those interests and explore new options.  It is important to note that coping skills are different for everyone; and it is my goal to figure out what works for each individual’s needs.  Our patients at Arcadia Trails previously utilized substances to cope with hardships in life.  Replacing those habits with healthy alternatives is a big aspect in sustaining a sober lifestyle.  Boredom and loneliness are some of the most common factors that open the door for relapse after treatment.  Many patients will need to change their environment and even relationships to maintain sobriety.  When boredom and loneliness creep in, this can be tempting to call up an old drinking buddy or fall into their previous lifestyle.  This is one reason it is imperative to show my patients ways they can have fun without drugs and/or alcohol.  

In our program, we offer fitness groups every day.  Physical activity has numerous positive effects on the body, not only physically, but mentally as well. Exercise can boost self-esteem and confidence, reduce anxiety and depression, and help improve overall mood and sleep patterns to name a few.  Patients set short term goals for themselves that they can achieve while in treatment and longer-term goals to continue to work on after being discharged.  We discuss the many ways they can remain active when returning home such as joining a gym or community center, going for a run/walk around their neighborhood, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.  

Recreational and leisure activities are excellent for improving social skills, communication skills, problem solving, goal setting, self-expression, mindfulness, and many more!  My hope is that our patients will emerge back into the community with confidence in themselves, as well as, the coping tools and resources necessary to enhance their success in having overall wellness.