Adventure Recovery Coaching: The Mentorship Model

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What is the Adventure Recovery Coaching model?

The Adventure Recovery coaching model is one of mentorship and empowerment. We use the word mentorship because we offer a lifelong commitment. The mentor is a guide, a trusted teacher. AR mentorship is based on technical skills instruction, the community of like-minded peers, and the gift of being immersed in nature. The confidence gained by growing, as individuals and as athletes, creates strength and sustainable happiness. Through education and immersion, individuals learn how to develop a healthy lifestyle they can sustain. Clients experience peer and group support and are able to connect with their inner goals. In addition, Adventure Recovery coaching offers a lifelong love for nature, which feeds the soul and spirit.

Through personal adventures, we learn not only about the rugged beauty of nature, but we come home to ourselves. We grow comfortable and confidant in our own skin. This approach to recovery coaching is a compliment to more traditional paraprofessional support systems like sponsorship, recovery coaches, case managers, or other sober support. We work directly with clinicians and case managers, psychiatrists, and treatment providers to ensure the addiction support and continuing care is comprehensive and fulfilling. What we offer is a way of life.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors and believe in the deeply healing qualities of nature. And I have found this pertinent to my own recovery. Furthermore, Adventure Recovery provided a structure and support network beyond my imagining. I get to meet new people and help them use the outdoors to enrich their lives. This is truly fulfilling work.”—Whitney H., AR Guide.

Adventure Life Coaching

Our positive motivational style resonates with life coaching as it helps clients engage in a wellness-based lifestyle. The Adventure Recovery coach mentoring model matches you with an individual AR Guide and we apply outdoor skills as our tool. Adventure-based therapy and the metaphors we use are foundational learning tools for the client. This recovery coaching may be part of our Adventure Discovery program, in which one is learning how to enjoy time outdoors. Or, it may include mental health and substance use prevention awareness.

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How Adventure Recovery Coaching Works

Substance use prevention is an intrinsic part of our approach. As clients learn to love time in nature, they have less interest in self-destructive behaviors = prevention. Furthermore, one-on-one recovery coaching skills building allows teens, young adults, and adults to build confidence and lifelong abilities. By engaging in these outdoor skills, clients build self-esteem and self-efficacy. And what’s more, they set and attain their goals. Adventure Recovery Coaching mentorship and Adventure Discovery coaching mentorship guides individuals from self-destructive behaviors to healthy lives. These experiences directly translate into the mentoring relationship and build positive rapport, confidence, and clarity.

Learn more about the Adventure Recovery Coaching mentorship model. If you or someone you love is in need of support, inspiration, direction, or just needs to get off the couch, call us. We are here to offer a life beyond your wildest dreams.

The Nature Prescription

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The nature prescription changes lives. It is an intervention growing in popularity for many reasons. Time in nature boosts our well-being both mentally and physically. When we’re in the outdoors, we are more present in our environment. Also, we tend to be unplugged from technology, which studies show is vital for mental health. Nature is a great healer. It’s what we experience when we enjoy activities outside. Hence, the outdoors is not just aesthetically pleasing or entertaining, it is deeply healing for humans.

Studies reveal what we’ve long known—that regular, consistent time spent in nature is powerful for our well-being. And this goes far beyond simply uplifting our mood. Also, the outdoors can directly impact physical health and balance stress levels, ameliorate anxiety, and boost our immune system. Consequently, at a time when we’re spending more time inside than ever before, adventures in nature are curative and necessary.

“The fact that doctors are prescribing time outside is important. Nature is our essence and our essence is to thrive,” says Tim Walsh, founder of Adventure Recovery. The impact of our time in nature permeates all levels of our well-being.

Why the Nature Prescription

When we were children, many of us would stay out until dark. We’d build forts, walk in the woods, play near streams. The outdoors was simply part of our day-to-day experience. But we’ve disconnected from this in today’s technology saturated culture. Nature Deficit Disorder is real and impacting all of us, especially children who are inundated with screens each day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we spend approximately 87 percent of our time in enclosed spaces or indoors. We need to get outside.

Nature brings us into immediate connection with our environment. The seasons, the rhythms of the day, and the balance of being part of a broader ecosystem heightens our awareness. In addition, we’re breathing fresh air, soaking in vitamin D, and moving our bodies. This feels good, naturally.

The nature prescription benefits everyone. And it especially helps those of us in recovery from addiction. In addition, moving our bodies through exercise outside creates a strong sense of self, boosting our self-esteem and happiness. Science substantiates this now more than ever. Furthermore, time in nature or forest bathing benefits our mental health directly. Hence, addictive tendencies generated by isolation come into balance.

How to Use the Nature Prescription

  1. Get outside. It’s as simple as opening the door. Get out there! You can go for a walk, bike ride, swim, garden, or just sit near a tree. It’s all there for you.

  2. Learn a new outdoor skill. Ever wanted to learn how to rock climb? Mountain bike? Surf? Whitewater paddle? The instruction and knowledge is available to all of us. And the more we learn about how to be in nature, the more we can enjoy it. Beginner’s mind allows us to be willing. That’s all it takes, willingness.

  3. Set outdoor goals. When we explore new things, we build our resilience. Be willing to get out of your comfort zone and set new goals. Learning means letting go of what we believe we already know. We are willing to listen and evolve. The challenge can simply mean getting outside for a minimum amount of time each day. Maybe it’s a walk at work or a hike at the end of the day? Your nature prescription should include activities outdoors that you love. Perhaps it’s a swim at your local beach. Commit to a goal and notice how you feel after a week or two.

  4. You got this. It can be our tendency to be hard on ourselves. It’s one thing if you feel you’re challenging yourself and striving. But, if you’re just browbeating yourself, you gotta stop. Time in nature teaches us to be present for ourselves and our surroundings, with awareness and compassion. We build skills and efficacy through this deeper knowing. Practice brings ability. Stick with it and know you got this.

If you or someone you love is in need of a nature prescription, we are here to help. You are not alone. Contact us! You deserve to live a healthy life beyond your wildest dreams. What we’ve learned, through years of experience, is that the best way to truly thrive is through nature. It’s one thing to be outside a couple of hours a week; it’s another to get out every day, doing what you love. Off that couch!

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The Magic of the Fire Ceremony

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by Josh Flaherty, AR Guide & Director of Business Development at Adventure Recovery

I am out in the field, backpacking with a fellow guide — my mentor in fact — and receive a call with news from my past that I thought and hoped was out of my life. Instinctually, I reel with anxiety and fear. In addition, my brain quickly spins hundreds of nightmare scenarios in a matter of seconds.  “Build a fire,” my mentor tells me, “right there on the ridge line.”  Still in a bit of an anxious daze I take out my starter kit and begin to work. I separate the lines of rope twine into a nest of singular strands, whittling tiny pieces of birch bark, adding the charcloth to the nest. Finally, when my bundle is ready, I strike the flint on steel to catch the spark to start the fire. Without realizing it, the attention and focus I use to start the fire has taken my mind completely off of the phone call and I have come back to a place of relative calm. 

Being in nature and employing primal tools (such as calling fire) have the unique and unparalleled ability to bring calm and focus. Be here now — be in this moment, in this place, at one with the outdoors.  Beyond that, the power of fire has the ability to provide relief. The cleansing flames relieve us of whatever is poisoning us in the moment. And then, flames reignite our spirit and drive to move forward.

Fire Ceremony: The Ritual of Letting Go

In ceremony, I place a small piece of wood in the fire and I offer up, speaking aloud, my fear, my anxiety, my need to control, and my pain from this past situation. Letting it all go. The act of offering my worries to the fire is a willingness to trust beyond my control. Furthermore, I am relinquishing my need to know. In offering, we are willing to go with the flow of universal order. Fanning myself and covering my body in the fire’s smoke, I again say aloud that I am taking with me wisdom, courage, and serenity from the ancestral wisdom of the fire. In this simple ceremony I am healing. I am tending to myself, nurturing my well-being. This is nature at work.

We hike out and I bring with me the knowledge fire provides. The ability to be in the moment, with the ebb and flow. The wisdom of letting go and offering pain to the fire, the power greater than myself. I dive into dealing with the situation at hand, and hardly if ever worry or waiver in the belief that all would work out for the best.

Fire Ceremony … at the Office

The truth is, it is rare that our problems arise when we are physically out in the woods and have the ability to use a literal fire ceremony on the spot.  Most of the times we are at the office or at home and that nightmare email or phone call comes along. What do we do then? We can’t build a fire in the office, er at least we shouldn’t (we’ll save that for the zombie apocalypse). However, if one has the experience of being out in nature and participating in a fire ceremony, one can internalize the ceremony and connect back to its power at any place or time. Slow down, come back to focus, being in the moment. Cast into the fire that which damages us, and then take what is needed to successfully move forward. This practice can all be done anywhere. It is a mental and spiritual practice. But the connection to the original ceremony is crucial. Therein lies one of a thousand examples of how a connection to nature and the outdoors can solve whatever situation modern life throws at us. It’s simple and it’s all around us.

Everyone faces times and situations in life when a problem (often something from the past) rears its head from out of nowhere and throws a thunderbolt of havoc into the seeming serene present day. This can happen in our personal or professional life and both carry their unique set of terrifying consequences as we play scenarios out in our heads of what the future might bring. It can create a level of anxiety that shakes us to our core. What do we do?  How do we handle this? Will we get through it? It is in times like these that I turn to the tools (both physical and emotional) of the fire ceremony; in gratitude. Get outside.

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Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Very early in my recovery, someone challenged me with this statement: "Face your fears and live your dreams." For whatever reason, that statement became a driving force in my recovery and my life as a whole. Today is my 22nd anniversary in recovery. I could think of no better way to celebrate this milestone than by facing many of my fears and manifesting a 20 year old dream- Adventure Recovery!