When people abused substances, they often talked about playing sports, going hiking, planning trips, and all kinds of other grand schemes. Those plans rarely, if ever, came to any fruition, because drug and alcohol use took up much of their time, money, energy, and resources.
A newly sober young person usually has a lot of time on their hands, because they are probably not in school or working. Many of their friends are still using. They may be in a treatment program that occupies their days, but their nights and weekends are typically wide open. These young people often complain of boredom and that “there is nothing to do” and that they “are missing out” and many of them proclaim that they “feel like a loser monk.”
For over a dozen years, Frank Greenagel has written and spoken about the importance of having fun in recovery. He made that a crucial aspect of the Rutgers Recovery Program, and he used all of his wisdom and experience in helping create the SOBA College Recovery Cultural Activities and Adventure Therapy Program.
SOBA College Recovery offers at least two organized activities a week to all of their clients. These activities are safe, cultural enriching, and often physically active. Most importantly, they are fun and help these young people to remember what it was like to smile and laugh and play in the sun before the dark days of addiction took the joy out of their lives.
At least two times a month, Rutgers Professor Frank Greenagel takes clients hiking or to plays. In the first three months of 2016, SOBA College Recovery Residents attended three plays: Exit Strategy, Sense and Sensibility, and Dr. Faustus. Mr. Greenagel also led residents on hikes to Mt. Minsi (PA), up to the top of Mighty Storm King (NY) and on the Iron Mine Trail in Harriman State Park (NY). He has over a dozen more hikes in the Catskills planned for residents in 2018. Hiking has proven to be so helpful for people in recovery that there was a movie made about how hiking helped people in Seattle get clean, as well as significant studies that have proven the effectiveness of hiking and other adventure therapies.
- SOBA College Recovery staff take students on a variety of other activities, which include:
- Skiing & Snowboarding
- White Water Rafting
- Beach Days
- Picnics & BBQs
- Sporting Events
- Horseback Riding
- Attractions & Water Parks
- Movie Nights
- Concerts & Performing Arts
- Group Dinners
- Seasonal Activities (Apple Picking, Haunted Houses)