Choosing Recreation Therapy
By Will Lindsay Joseph Campbell, a writer whose work covers many aspects of the human experience, has a famous quote that states, “I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life, as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” These words have been important in many aspects of my life and are a big reason why I chose Recreation Therapy as a field.
My life from a young age was filled with adventures; I started skiing with my dad at the age of 4, rock climbing at the age of 6, and spent nearly all of my childhood in the woods. These adventures taught me more about life than any other experience, things like learning how to plan ahead, the value of determination, self-reliance, an all of the other psychological skills associated with a full life of experience. I started working in the outdoor sports industry at age 14 and always found ways to teach not only the physical skills of skiing and snowboarding to others, but those same psychological and emotional skills I had learned to appreciate. My students weren’t just learning to ski, they were learning how to live. [dt_quote type="pullquote" layout="left" font_size="h2" animation="none" size="4"]Recovery is a lifestyle, not a life sentence.[/dt_quote]After I moved to college I found myself struggling with the transition into young adulthood. I grappled with the stress of paying for school, working full-time while attending classes full-time, and much more complicated social situations. I found an escape in recreation and leisure, but also found that I could apply the same lessons to my life outside of those activities. It wasn’t until I was much older and working in the mental health field that I found Recreation Therapy. Suddenly I knew what my path was in life and how I could make a difference in the world. When I started working at Brighton Recovery Center, all of my life’s experiences suddenly coalesced into a perfect recipe for the type of Recreation Therapy program I had always wanted to be a part of.
Recreation Therapy is More than Having Fun
I have always seen Recreation Therapy as capable of much more than teaching people how to have fun or simply distract themselves from life. Rather, the aim is to get participants to engage in an activity that shows them how they can face life on their terms and construct the tools to get through the tough times. Recreation Therapy is much more than just showing someone they can have fun sober; it is showing them that they can be present in their life despite the unpleasant times, and that those unpleasant times are important to growing.