SHOWS + PODCASTS

‘Adventure therapy’ is a new form of therapy helping recovering addicts in Utah

Apr 15, 2020, 12:59 PM

recovering addicts...

Burke Priest (president of Adventures Anonymous) stands with two dirt bikes in southern Utah. (PHOTO: Adventuresanonymous.org)

(PHOTO: Adventuresanonymous.org)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new program is innovating the way recovering addicts can stay sober with the use of ‘adrenaline adventure therapy’.

Adventures Anonymous is a three-day program. In it, participants will test drive various pieces of equipment, hike to a hot spring and a natural stone arch. They’ll also participate in rock climbing and rappelling in southern Utah.

Burke Priest is the president of Adventures Anonymous. He believes this style of adrenaline therapy can greatly help recovering addicts stay on track.

As a former alcohol addict himself, Burke understands just how impactful this type of therapy can be.

“When you are pulling the throttle on a jet ski, on a snowmobile, on a motorcycle …  You can’t think about your past. You can’t think about what you did wrong,” Burke says. “When those things are happening and rebuilding new neural pathways your old ones are closing. Your guilt, shame, bad past is disintegrating,” Priest said.

Rebuilding neural pathways to help recovering addicts

Research on neuron morphology shows that with help from the continuous practice of new behavior, the brain can create new neural pathways. Studies show that the brain can also lose pathways that are no longer used.

Dr. Matt Woolley, a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah, describes neuron morphology as “cutting a new path in the forest.”

“Strong emotions, strong experiences, adrenaline, intoxication, these sorts of things can really quickly build [neural] pathways that are negative and take us to negative places,” Dr. Woolley said. “Being fully focused in the moment is a wonderful way to start rebuilding neural pathways.”

The success behind Adventures Anonymous

The program has been operating for less than a year. But it has already been successful.

“We’ve been in business less than a year now and I have successfully put fourteen people through the program,” Burke said. “Quite a few of the people who have gone through it had previously relapsed and tried several different recovery techniques and to this day … they’re all sober.”

The company currently has a 100% success rate with its participants. But, Burke understands that he’s not going to be able to completely fix someone’s addictive behaviors in three days.

“My goal is, I want to reset your compass,” Burke says. “If you’re in an airplane and you change your compass even one degree before you know it you will be going a totally different direction.

I’m not going to change everything about you in three days. I’m going to reset your compass.”

To learn more about the program and the work that Burke is doing, you can visit the Adventures Anonymous website here.

Listen to the podcast

For more information on addiction or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, or from Use Only as Directed. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Shows + Podcasts

pay gap...

Curt Gresseth

Why is the gender pay gap not closing?

The gender pay gap in the U.S. and Utah is not closing. A Utah financial planner details the impact that wage shortfall can have on a women workers over a career.

4 days ago

There’s not a lot of options for dwarf fruit trees out there, but there’s enough in apples and ...

Michelle Lee

Growing dwarf fruit trees

One of the topics the KSL Greenhouse show has been covering a lot these past few weeks is gardening in small spaces. Last week, Hosts Taun and Maria decided to continue this discussion, with the focus on dwarf fruit trees.

4 days ago

KSL Movie Show Review of "Perfect Days." This is one of those “art house films” that mainstream...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘Perfect Days’ is an exceptional effort

"Perfect Days" is one of those “art house films” that mainstream audiences can’t understand why anyone would want to sit through -- I’ll try to explain why in this review. 

4 days ago

steve salles next to a poster for ordinary angels...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Ordinary Angels’ is a feel-good movie worth watching

In this KSL Movie Show review, Steve Salles says to bring tissues to the theater if you go see 'Ordinary Angels.'

5 days ago

a hockey stick shown, utah may get a nhl stadium...

Adam Small

Utah lawmaker asks for $1 billion for an NHL stadium in Salt Lake City

To fund an NHL stadium in Utah, Salt Lake City's sales tax rate would go from 7.75% to 8.25% if the bill is approved.

5 days ago

crime Ballpark...

Curt Gresseth

Cop talks knocking down violent crime in Ballpark Neighborhood

Violent crime in the Ballpark Neighborhood of Salt Lake City is down. A deputy chief details how the SLCPD achieved the results.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

‘Adventure therapy’ is a new form of therapy helping recovering addicts in Utah