Before entering recovery, the lives of many residents likely revolved around drugs or alcohol. Adjusting to a sober life can be difficult at first, with pervading feelings of boredom, emptiness and loneliness that can exacerbate mental health issues and make it difficult to commit to the recovery process. Although often overlooked, having fun and connecting to the broader recovery community is an important part of addiction treatment. Recreational therapy and community integration provide numerous benefits for residents in recovery, helping them develop healthy habits, get involved in the rehabilitation process and form strong relationships that aren’t grounded in substance use.

At Alta Loma, we recognize the importance of recreation and community in recovery. We provide residents with plenty of opportunities to get up, get out and have fun on a daily basis to promote greater physical, psychological and emotional health. Recreational activities are an effective, complementary treatment that can help residents regain their self-esteem, improve social skills and build confidence in their ability to live a sober life after treatment.

Recreational Therapy at Alta Loma

Recreational outings are an important part of the Alta Loma continuum of care, helping residents use leisure in beneficial ways to enhance their overall health, well-being and independence. For many who have struggled with addiction, they may not know how to engage in social situations or activities without being impaired. We have found that helping residents discover healthy interests and new outlets for stress management is a great way to promote sober fun and remind them that they can enjoy life without drugs or alcohol.

Throughout our program, residents have at least two structured outings each week. Tuesday evenings usually consist of going to dinner and a movie, while the residents determine outings on Thursday afternoons. Recreational activities in the past have included:

  • Hiking
  • Bowling
  • Biking
  • Sporting events
  • Laser tag
  • Coffee
  • Bookstores
  • Disc golf

Participation in these activities can help residents discover new hobbies and interests or reignite the passions they once had before addiction took hold. The group aspect of the recreational therapy we offer also increases social interaction, encouraging open communication and effective problem solving among peers.

How Does Recreational Therapy Help?

Drugs and alcohol release a large amount of dopamine and stimulate the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. When a person becomes addicted to a substance, the brain “learns” that acquiring and ingesting a particular substance is more rewarding than any other activity and begins to crave it above all else. Over time, other rewarding activities that are more natural, such as exercise or enjoying a good meal, fall to the wayside and it becomes more difficult for an individual struggling with addiction to feel pleasure from healthy sources.

Recreational therapy can promote a positive change in behavior and  “rewire” the brain, helping residents readjust to experiencing pleasure without drugs or alcohol. By engaging in leisure therapy, the neural pathways affected by substance use can be restored and balanced. Recreational therapy also provides residents with numerous other benefits, such as:

  • Improved social skills
  • Rebuilding confidence and self-esteem
  • Symptom management
  • Promoting healthy habits
  • Encouraging regular exercise
  • Discover new hobbies
  • Learn how to have sober fun
  • Team building and cooperation with peers
  • Improved emotional, mental and physical health
  • Reduced stress and isolation
  • Minimizes boredom

Studies are finding that the benefits of recreational therapy improves treatment outcomes and help residents maintain sobriety both during and after recovery. These activities not only help residents relearn what it means to have fun; they are also instrumental in connecting recovery-oriented groups of individuals for support and friendship.

Community Integration

Drugs and alcohol have a powerful, isolating effect that can make it difficult to form new connections. When an individual becomes engrossed in addiction, they often become distanced from their friends, family and loved ones. Recreational therapy at Alta Loma is a way to increase social interaction in an environment free from substance use and encourage group bonding among residents. This promotes open communication that makes it easier to express one’s feelings, thoughts or interests and build a strong support network. As residents transition to more independent living, we facilitate even deeper community integration in a variety of ways.

Employment and volunteer opportunities:

As residents move through the phase system, they will be encouraged to seek out volunteer and employment opportunities for up to 20 hours a week. Alta Loma staff will help with interviews and organize transportation for residents. Alta Loma provides access to higher education options for its residents and even provides transportation to and from school.

Recovery-oriented housing:

The Alta Loma continuum of care includes extended care and sober living options for residents ready to transition back into society. As the least restrictive level of care we offer, residents will be provided with a stable, recovery-oriented living environment in which they can practice the skills and coping techniques they have learned in residential treatment. Residents will support and mentor each other, be encouraged to pursue employment and continue to attend offsite groups and meetings.

Support groups:

Throughout the treatment process, residents will participate in support groups to discuss their experiences and concerns. Residents will become integrated into the broader 12-step community, attend regular meetings, engage in community group and more. We also offer nutritional and psychiatric-focused groups to discuss a variety of issues unique to dual diagnosis residents.

Family, friends and peer support:

Although we focus our care on the individual resident, we recognize that one’s support system deeply influences their recovery. At Alta Loma, we encourage family and community involvement and strive to help our residents build their support network as they prepare to transition back to independent living.

At Alta Loma, we find that participation in recreational and social activities helps residents integrate into the community and contributes to the formation of supportive, healthy relationships. These relationships often become a source of strength and guidance for residents as they progress toward sober, independent living. Community integration, healthy activity and support groups help residents re-engage with the world and provide a strong foundation on which to build a life of recovery.

Contact Alta Loma

Healing on Your Terms

If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental health and substance use disorders, Alta Loma in Georgetown, Texas, is ready to create an individualized recovery program just for you. With recreational therapy, community integration and social involvement, our transformational services facility helps to prepare residents for healthy, independent living free of drugs or alcohol. Contact or call one of our friendly representatives today at 866.457.3843 to find out how Alta Loma can help.