The prescriptive use of adventure experiences by health professionals has shown to result in significant improvements in the regulation of emotions and behavior. Numerous studies point to the many benefits of outdoor experiences including self-disclosure and awareness and enhanced attention span and problem-solving skills, as well as many brain functions important in the acquisition of a balanced life.
Invigorated by the beauty of nature and the challenges it presents, many develop a lifelong interest in hiking, fishing, bird watching and other outdoor-oriented hobbies. The weekly outdoor adventures of Back2Basics serve the purpose of keeping the men engaged while testing and challenging them to work as a team in the majesty of varying natural settings, building their curiosity about the world around them and stimulating problem-solving and confidence as they master new skills.
As these young men open up to the new experiences around them, they in turn begin to open up to those around them. And, when they are able to share their experiences and issues and hear those experiences and issues mirrored by the group, they begin to feel less self-conscious about joining in the discussion; freed by the realization they are surrounded by others who relate to them.
As time passes, this newfound freedom to express themselves develops into trust and they begin to thrive on the positive feedback that results from their willingness to share the intimate details of their experiences; the depth of their disclosures available now to be explored in their individual therapy sessions.
During these outings, participants are always observed by trained staff, creating opportunities for in-the-moment therapy as the professionals continually assess how the young men are managing their experiences and intervening when appropriate. With the opportunity to talk through issues in real-time, they develop strategies for problem-solving and learn how to rely more on themselves, as well as seek out appropriate help from peers and staff when necessary. The experiences are not always easy, and progress is not always linear, much like life.
TIME magazine named nature No. 1 in a top ten list of things to do daily to improve life, citing its many benefits including fitness, spending time with others, physical and mental challenge, as well as feelings of awe and gratitude. Furthermore, moving closer to nature through outdoor adventure enhances mental, emotional and physical well-being in several ways:
By easing brain fatigue and daily stress;
Boosting cognition and creativity;
Improving mental health; and
Bolstering safety and security.
Additionally, researchers indicate participation in nature programs help build success-oriented identities through the process of overcoming fears, facing new challenges, mastering new skills, and improving social skills, thereby creating a pathway to greater self-concept and actualization.
Back2Basics is located in breathtaking surroundings offering space to connect with nature – in the real world, in real-time – through adventure and exploration. Our location provides the opportunity for connectedness to all the great outdoors has to offer, through all seasons, year- round. Nature awakens all the senses, preventing boredom, depression, loneliness, isolation and overall unhealthiness, further highlighting why individuals recovering from addiction truly need to spend as much time as possible outdoors improving their mental health, promoting healing, increasing mental alertness, reducing stress and increasing their mental and physical strength.
Back2Basics incorporates a whole host of outings, from mountain climbing and kayaking to river rafting and surfing, all designed to increase personal growth and confidence through discipline, survival skills, teamwork and skill mastery. Participants learn the importance of conditioning, preparation, planning, taking responsibility for accomplishing assigned tasks, self-reliance, cooperating with others to accomplish a common goal in a timely manner, how their words and deeds affect others, as well as an appreciation for the power and beauty of nature.
Most forms of real knowledge, including self-knowledge, come from the effort of mastering new skills. Mastering mental and physical activities requires knowledge both about the outside world and reality, as well as an understanding of one’s self and the limitations of that self. Interacting with nature is the perfect platform to initiate skill mastery because it requires that very same intuitive knowledge that can only come from effort and experience and repeated encounters with challenge and failure. Growth gives human beings agency over their lives. FBN
Roy DuPrez, M.Ed.
Roy J. DuPrez M.Ed. is the founder of Back2Basics. Back2Basics is an adventure recovery program, up to six months, for young adult males from 18-30, with substance abuse issues looking for a positive and meaningful life. In our program, clients are exposed to a weekly combination of both wilderness adventures and residential programming. Now accepting insurance.
Contact 928-814-2220, Rduprez@b2badventures.com, or visit back2basicsoutdooradventures.com for more information.