Engagement in fulfilling and pleasurable social activities is an essential tool in recovery because let’s face it…how boring would life be without recreation? At Milestones, we incorporate enriching activities into daily programming as often as possible, along with a weekly, supervised evening outing dedicated to fun off-campus, in real-life environs.
Many clients have never experienced social and cultural activities such as nature hikes, parties, bowling, museums and concerts without the use of drugs and alcohol. Consequently, engaging in these activities can – at least initially – trigger a desire to use. The goal of supervised sober recreation – also known as exposure therapy – is to build the experience, practical skills and confidence needed to socialize and recreate without the use of drugs or alcohol. For example, after small successes and guided practice, clients can plan sober recreational activities themselves, inviting sober friends and others from local sober living houses with which Milestones has an established relationship. These are all relevant and transferable skills that can be incorporated into life after residential treatment.
At Milestones, we have the unique advantage of the natural setting that our beautiful and rustic 120-acre ranch provides. The vast property includes lakes, a cafe, pools, ranch animals, hiking trails, and natural waterfalls. Thus, there are many on-site opportunities for supervised, recreation that aids in skill building for recovery. These events can include musical performances, cooking lessons, dance parties, group artistic endeavors, animal care, and gardening, to name a few. And with the help of our cohesive local alumni network, more events are possible.
Another unique aspect of treatment at Milestones is that therapists are encouraged to think outside the box and get out of the office. When clinically indicated, many individual sessions take place on one of our lovely verandas, beside a tranquil waterfall, out by the garden, lakeside, or in a quiet glen. Sometimes we conduct therapy sessions while walking on the beach…anything creative that is conducive to treatment and makes the day a little more special! Group therapy may begin with a walk to the lake or be held in a shaded, grassy nook outdoors. We also occasionally conduct groups (e.g., yoga, meditation, relapse prevention, process group etc.) at Zuma beach on a beautiful day.
At Milestones we believe that recovery entails finding purpose and meaning, which can – in part – be found through fulfilling and enriching recreation. Through the many and varied experiences we offer, it is our hope that patients realize a sober life does not equate to a “boring life”. Our goal is to help clients begin to build the skills and confidence necessary to engage in sober recreation, and access untapped potential to find purpose and meaning – free from the millstone of substance abuse.