Effects of a therapeutic camping program on addiction recovery. The Algonquin Haymarket Relapse Prevention Program

J Subst Abuse Treat. Sep-Oct 1998;15(5):469-74. doi: 10.1016/s0740-5472(97)00222-5.


A group of 13 men and women in substance abuse treatment participated in a 3-day residential program experience based on integrated principles from adventure therapy, therapeutic camping, and relapse prevention. The experimental group is compared to a group of 18 men and women who received the usual and customary relapse prevention program. Both groups completed pre- and postintervention questionnaires. There were no differences in drinking-related locus of control, stress, or problem-solving between groups at postinterview, but there were significant improvements in autonomic arousal, frequency of negative thoughts, and alcohol craving. Participants in both groups were interviewed 10 months after the 3-day intervention. Considering individuals who were unreachable as relapsed, the 10-month follow-up relapse rate was 31% for the experimental group and 58% for the comparison group. These results add to the limited body of research supporting outdoor adventure and therapeutic camping experiences integrated with traditional relapse prevention activities as an adjunct to substance abuse treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Camping*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Problem Solving
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*