You may have heard of the boot camp programme for young people suffering from addiction and other types of behavioural problems. A close cousin to the boot camp philosophy is the wilderness programme. A wilderness programme embraces some of the same principles of the boot camp but in a setting focused mainly around learning to live in the wilderness.

A wilderness programme might be right for your teenager or adolescent under certain circumstances. These programmes typically take place over the course of 4 to 12 weeks in a rugged environment that will challenge your kids in ways they may never have experienced before.

The philosophy behind a wilderness programme is threefold:

  1. Self-Discipline – In the wilderness, one needs self-discipline in order to survive. For example, when there is an impending storm on the horizon it doesn’t matter how you feel about setting up a tent. You must get it set up if you want shelter from the storm. The self-discipline required to survive in the wilderness can also be applied to overcoming substance abuse and addiction.

  1. Teamwork – Most addicts live under the false delusion that their behaviour does not affect anyone else around them. We know that’s not true. The teamwork necessary to successfully complete a wilderness addiction rehab programme makes it abundantly clear that life is an exercise in teamwork. Addicts quickly come to realise that every word they speak and action they perform affects other people, whether negatively or positively.

  1. Achievement – Another common problem addicts struggle with is their own self-worth. Many believe they are of no value to society as a whole, let alone their families and circles of friends. However, rising to the challenges of a wilderness programme shows individuals they do belong. It shows them that they are capable of achieving whatever they put their minds to.

Wilderness Programmes Are Safe

You may have heard stories about accidents or unsafe conditions in wilderness rehab programmes. Let us set your mind at ease by assuring you such stories are the exception to the rule. Wilderness rehab programmes are safe and effective as long as they are properly certified and accredited.

That said, accidents do happen. Nevertheless, accidents also happen when you’re driving down the road, walking down the street or even doing household chores around your own home. That does not mean these things shouldn’t be done.

Don’t let the fear of a potential accident dissuade you from utilising wilderness programme if it’s determined such a programme is the best option for your child. Believe it or not, children are very resilient creatures who can endure a lot more than we give them credit for.

Perhaps one of the reasons so many kids are struggling with addiction is that we adults make life too soft and easy for them. When things are too easy, kids are not able to develop the self-discipline needed to avoid addictive behaviour.

Wilderness Experience Is Designed to Challenge

So, what types of things will your child experience if enrolled in a wilderness rehab programme? It varies from one programme to the next, but there are some basic guidelines most of them follow. You can expect your teen or adolescent to face challenges like:

  • Hiking and Climbing – Wilderness programmes often take advantage of hiking and climbing challenges. By having the kids experience these activities, they learn important character traits like endurance, perseverance, and mental focus. Spending four hours climbing up a winding mountain trail can do amazing things for a child.

  • Wilderness Cooking – Nothing does more for perseverance than having to learn to cook in the wilderness. When you are hungry, you’ll do all it takes to learn to build a fire so you can cook your dinner. Wilderness cooking also teaches a valuable life skill your child can take with them into the future.

  • Survival Skills – Some wilderness programmes make a point of educating kids in the skills necessary to survive an emergency situation. It’s not that they’re putting kids into such situations, but they are teaching them what it would take to survive in the event if necessary. This is a grade method of instructing kids that a way can always be found to overcome challenges.

Perhaps the most important skill children learn in a wilderness rehab programme is one of facing problems instead of running from them. Why is that important? Because addiction is, if nothing else, running away from problems using a bottle, needle or pill. When kids learn to confront their problems head-on, they can then learn how to overcome them.

Costs of Wilderness Rehab Programmes

A wilderness rehab programme for young people will be run by a private organisation or charity. In the case of the charity, your child may be eligible for free participation if you meet certain guidelines. In the absence of a charitable programme, private organisations offer wilderness rehab on a fee-based model.

You might be surprised to know that these types of programmes can be very affordable. We cannot provide a specific pricing structure for you, due to the variation involved, but we can say that the chances of finding a programme you can afford are pretty good.

Should you decide to utilise a wilderness rehab programme for drug or alcohol addiction, you might also find that your private health insurance pays for such programmes. If not in full, at least in part. If private health insurance is not an option for you, there are other ways to finance rehab treatment:

  • donations from family and friends

  • private loans

  • commercial loans

  • charitable grants

  • credit card accounts.

We understand financing a rehab programme for your teenager can be challenging. However, we urge you not to simply dismiss these programmes just because of the cost. Please get in touch with us so we can discuss all of the financing options with you. If there’s a way we can make it happen, we will.

A teenager or adolescent struggling with substance abuse or addiction is already on a path that will inevitably ruin his or her entire life. In the meantime, it might also destroy your family in the process. A wilderness rehab programme might be just what it takes to break the addiction cycle once and for all.

Our staff are on hand to advise you about treatment options as soon as you call. We are not here to judge you or your family or offer you a lecture over the phone. We are here to assist you in finding the treatment you need. If you are ready, so are we.