Summer Outside in the Wilderness with Triple Divide Lodge
Summer is a time to get outside, enjoy the sun, connect with nature, and unplug from our usual lives. This is exactly what Triple Divide Lodge capitalizes on with summer programming. The summer wilderness offers so much for mind and body. We strongly believe that fresh air, exercise, and experiential learning outdoors are just what the doctor ordered to help our clients heal and move toward the future.
Connecting with Nature
Simply being outside in nature is therapeutic in its own right. The fresh air and sunlight provide vitamin D and endorphins which make you happy, and the activities and education you get while outdoors promote self-esteem, a healthy lifestyle, and fun hobbies. However, did you know that studies show that hugging a tree, or connecting with nature in such a way, can help manage anxiety, depression, and stress?
At Triple Divide Lodge, we firmly believe in the healing aspects of nature. We focus on this connection through Plato’s Theory of the Soul. This divides the Soul into three parts: the logistical (mind), the thymocytes (spirit), and the epithymetikon (body). Our clients stay active through outdoor activities and adventure both on and off campus. This helps them connect with nature and understand their intrinsic value and contributions to the world around them. Our 338-acre property in Montana provides the perfect environment for adventure and plenty of opportunities to connect with nature.
Our wilderness expeditions provide the perfect setting for internal reflection, team-building skills, fellowship, service, and purpose. Sometime in the final third of our program, clients head off into the great outdoors on a backpacking trip—hiking and camping in the wilderness of Montana with our staff. On these expeditions, it is very important to work as a team to set up and break down camp, cook the food, and get through the unexpected obstacles nature can present. This develops teamwork, leadership, and a sense of purpose that you are a necessary support for the group.
In the backcountry, a client’s perception of their abilities gets challenged. When faced with these challenges, clients start seeing themselves as capable of more than they ever thought. For instance, if you have never hiked to the summit of a mountain, you may not believe in your ability to do so. Upon completing that summit you are emboldened with a sense of strength that you have done something you once thought impossible.
Stress and discomfort are leading factors for relapse, so our wilderness treatment model is designed to support clients to face these challenges before leaving. By overcoming these challenges and the discomfort in the wilderness, clients learn to believe in themselves and their abilities—recognizing they are capable of more than they believed they were. This is also very important for our clients to push through the temptation to use again in a safe, controlled environment where they can direct this desire into something more constructive with the nonjudgmental support of their recovery community.
Activities at Triple Divide Lodge and Experiential Learning
We offer many activities at Triple Divide Lodge that aim at getting our students outside, active, and experiential learning. Activities such as: fly fishing, frisbee golf, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, rappelling, hiking, and other sporting activities.
Outdoor activities help our clients realize that they can have fun while in recovery. They see that trying new activities and getting out of their comfort zones will earn them the confidence to grow and explore a creative and adventurous sober life. Our staff as well as fellow peers provide a supportive environment for clients to have this time for exploration and learning, a place to try, fail, and try again or try and succeed.
Individuals afflicted with substance use disorders believe giving up drugs equals giving up fun. At Triple Divide, we show them Recovery is Fun!
Triple Divide Lodge brings together the best of residential care, outdoor learning, and adventuring. Getting out into the wilds of Montana with our various activities, adventures, and learning opportunities gives our clients the support and recreation they need to overcome anything.
AJ Frithiof (pronounced Fritch-off) is a licensed clinical social worker and is the clinical director of Triple Divide Lodge. She began working with adolescents and young adults in 2006 and has held a variety of clinical and programming positions in residential and wilderness treatment settings. During her career, she has focused on working with clients with dual diagnoses.
AJ has extensive training and experience with clients with high-acuity mental health disorders, trauma, attachment injuries, and dual diagnosis. She believes in looking at addiction through an attachment-based lens. She supports clients in uncovering the root of their difficulties, detaching from their addictive substance, and finding healing through healthy relationships.