Life Contracts and Mission Therapy: How to Heal for the Long Term

Addiction Recovery Publishing Nutrition January 26, 2024

Life Contracts and Mission Therapy: How to Heal for the Long Term

Perhaps the most iconic artist of the 20th Century, Pablo Picasso, once said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Just as this is true in life, this is true in recovery as well. In fact, the importance of setting goals is often magnified in recovery due to its critical nature. This is also why creating life contracts in recovery can be crucial, as well as mission therapy being essential.

The Importance of Setting Goals in Life and Recovery

Iconic ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius wrote, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” This is symbolic of why setting goals in recovery is so important. Without goals in recovery, we can often feel lost, lethargic, and lacking motivation. Also, without goals, we will not know what adjustments we need to make in order to attain the type of long-term recovery that we desire.

Setting goals in recovery also keeps us accountable for our recovery program. This is vital because the sooner we start to slip away from our plan of action, the sooner the potential for relapse becomes, and many people don’t realize how prevalent relapse can be in recovery.

According to the write-up, Addiction Relapse Prevention, by Doctors Guenzel and McChargue, “One primary concern in addiction treatment is the high rate of relapses within a short period after even the most intensive treatment. Many studies have shown relapse rates of approximately 50% within the first 12 weeks after completion of intensive inpatient programs that often last 4 to 12 weeks or more and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.” Now, many of these relapses happen because we lose sight of our recovery goals. One way to stay connected to these goals is by creating life contracts.

What Exactly Are Life Contracts?

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we are big believers in setting life contracts. This is because we are big believers in healing the whole mind-body at the cellular level. Life contracts help individuals attain this optimal level of healing.

A life contract focuses on the four essential “natures” of life. These natures are the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual essences of our being. Creating a life contract helps us to connect with our awareness of these four components so we can begin to find balance among them. Within this balance comes a sense of empowerment over them as a whole. We soon see where we are responsible in our lives and where we need to leave things be and “live life on life’s terms.”

Life contracts remind us that we hold the key to our ultimate destiny. Just as it, ultimately, had to be our decision to enter recovery, it must be our decisions that drive us to our ultimate goals. Creating life contracts ensures that we will take the right actions to attain those goals and grow while doing so. Another opportunity for growth comes from participation in mission therapy.

What Exactly Is Mission Therapy?

Many people find that active addiction and/or untreated mental illness deplete them of any purpose in life. Life simply becomes a day-to-day cycle of doing what it takes to get by and survive. This is, of course, no way to live. Also, in this cycle, there is no chance for personal development.

The renowned Austrian psychologist Viktor Frankl said, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” This is emblematic of the importance of having a life’s purpose or mission in life. Without it, we cannot grow, and most likely, we will even shrink away from any growth potential. Mission therapy can help.

Now, mission therapy is a holistic program that treats mental health disorders and addiction by helping with empowerment, life’s purpose, and personal growth. It is how we create a strong foundation on which our entire recovery structure can stand. 

In very literal terms, it is the act of establishing “mission statements” that help us to attain the goals that we want to achieve in both recovery and life. It also helps us to discover who we were, who we are now (what “self” means to us), and who we wish to become. Also, it helps us to get to the root/core causes of our disruptive and often destructive behaviors so that we can begin to heal at the cellular level.

The Benefits of Combined Life Contracts and Mission Therapy

Many specific benefits come from both the creation of life contracts and participation in mission therapy. Now, while many people may experience a different array of benefits unique to them, there are some universal benefits that tend to overlap among individuals. The following are just a few of those benefits:

  • Creates and establishes one’s essential life purpose
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression associated with mental illness and/or addiction
  • Keeps one accountable to their recovery plan
  • Reduces the chances of a relapse or chronic relapsing
  • Can help establish a beneficial spiritual program
  • Helps with communication skills (both verbal and nonverbal)
  • May help to address underlying traumas and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Helps outside of the recovery center in areas such as career, academia, and family
  • Offers a sense of calm and serenity
  • Motivates and inspires

Creating Individualized and Comprehensive Recovery Plans That Include Mission Therapy

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have found that “one note,” “one-size-fits-all,” “cookie cutter” recovery rarely works. Everyone has a different story that brought them into recovery, so why should their story in recovery look the same? The answer is, “It shouldn’t.”

Recovery plans must be individualized and comprehensive if they are to work at the cellular level. This also applies to plans that utilize mission therapy. In fact, mission therapy can be an essential component of any recovery plan because its concepts can help to boost the efficacy of most modalities, practices, and therapies. These include “traditional” therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), holistic practices like mindfulness meditation and yoga, and experiential therapies like nature immersion and surf therapy.

Adding Surf Therapy to a Recovery Plan With Mission Therapy

There is certainly a very literal mission when it comes to surfing. The mission is to catch the next wave and ride it into shore. It can be as simple as that. Of course, surf therapy is more complex than that (though it is not to be overthought). The mission of surf therapy is to discover more about ourselves as we wait for and catch those waves. 

Surf therapy has been shown to be highly beneficial across many facets. Like the creation of life contracts, it can be beneficial to all of our four “natures.” 

According to the 2021 journal Frontiers in Psychology, “Surf therapy is defined by the International Surf Therapy Organisation as an intervention that combines surf instruction, surfing, and structured individual and/or group activities to promote physical, psychosocial, and psychological well-being. In addition to physical exercise, surf therapy interventions typically include individual mentoring, social skills development, psychoeducation, and group discussions focused on increasing resilience and personal growth. Current programs can be found throughout the world and vary in their structure, duration, and content.” One can see how these recovery “intentions” of surf therapy highly align with the goals of mission therapy. 

Surf therapy also offers some very specific and concrete benefits. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Carefully planned water activities tailored to the needs of the individual can contribute to correct psychosocial and cognitive development. The International Surf Therapy Organization summarizes the benefits of adequately indicated surf therapy as follows: improved physical health and mobility; improved mental health, including reduction of specific symptoms, such as posttraumatic stress and depression; improved well-being (strengthening of trust and confidence, encouragement of independence, resilience and protective coping strategies) and improved social skills.”

Also, the good news is that there may be no better place to experience surf therapy than on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. Just mere minutes away from our 30-acre luxury recovery center is one of the island’s most coveted surf breaks called Honoli’i. Here, clients can engage in surf therapy while also connecting to their life’s mission of trying something new and exciting. It also offers both mental and spiritual serenity as one can mediate out in the ocean between waves, as the green sea turtles and tropical fish swim and dance below. Another way to find some serenity on Hawaii’s Big Island is by engaging with its unique landscapes via nature immersion therapy.

Adding Nature Immersion Therapy to a Recovery Plan With Mission Therapy

The mission of nature immersion therapy is to connect with something outside of ourselves so we can better connect to the root/core causes of our problems. When utilized with mission therapy, it can help us discover a sense of “self” through a new sense of exploration.

There are also many other benefits of nature immersion therapy. According to the 2020 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Besides physical health improvements, nature exposure can bring about positive influence upon psychological constructs such as boredom, friendliness, wellbeing, and liveliness.” Also, “Besides improvements to physical and psychological well-being, exposure to natural environments has been shown to bring about positive impacts on cognitive functioning… While cognitive restoration and physiological well-being are the prominent and renowned benefits of nature exposure, there is one important construct that is often overlooked in environmental psychology research studies – that is, the human-nature relationship; also known as connectedness to nature (CN).”

Now, just like with surf therapy, Exclsuive Hawaii Rehab and Hawaii’s Big Island are exceptional places to participate in nature immersion therapy. The Island has some of the most beautiful waterfalls, ocean overlooks, sandy beaches, mountains, and live volcanoes in the world. Engaging in this type of setting can be a spiritual experience and certainly inspire one’s life’s mission. Another way to engage with the next-level landscape of Hawaii’s Big Island is via horticulture therapy.

Adding Horticulture Therapy to a Recovery Plan With Mission Therapy

There may be no better representation of mission setting and mission fulfillment than the process of planting and harvesting one’s own food. From the moment we lay out our setting, cultivate our soil, and sow our seeds, our mission is set: abundance. To complete that mission, we must be engaged and vigilant, and the only way we know that we have attained our goal is to have a flourishing final product. This is both emblematic of mission therapy and what horticulture therapy actually is.

Many other benefits can be gained from engaging in horticulture therapy. According to the article, Horticultural Therapy Program for People With Mental Illness: A Mixed-Method Evaluation, “First, horticulture could have emotional benefits, such as reducing stress, reducing psychiatric symptoms, stabilizing mood, and increasing the sense of tranquility, spirituality, and enjoyment. Second, it could help people to reduce fatigue and restore attention and cognitive ability. Third, it could increase self-efficacy, self-esteem, and quality of life. The similarities between these benefits and those of life contracts and mission therapy are hard to miss. This is why combining the three can be so effective, they boost each other’s positive results.”

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab it is an ideal place to engage in horticulture therapy. Our clients cultivate rows of orange, lime, and longan trees. They also take care of the vast pineapple patches and guava bushes on the property. There are also vegetable beds that regularly burst with abundance. Another ideal therapeutic practice for the Hamakua Coast is yoga.

Adding Yoga to a Recovery Plan With Mission Therapy

Yoga can have many missions, and one does not have to relegate themselves to just one. It can be a spiritual practice, a physical endeavor, an attempt to find emotional serenity, or an act to attain a sense of mental clarity. All four of these things can help balance our essential natures that are part of creating life contracts.

There are also very specific benefits that are associated directly with yoga. According to the article, Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Yoga and Its Ability to Increase Quality of Life, “Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures and practice to the treatment of health conditions. Yoga therapy involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional, and spiritual pain, suffering, or limitations. Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.”

Also, just as all of the other therapies we mentioned here, Hawaii’s Big Island is a perfect setting for yoga. Whether it be one of the amazing beaches overlooking the ocean or our serene studios, clients are sure to cultivate an exceptional yoga practice on the Hamakua Coast.

Healing at the Cellular Level With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, our mission is to help heal at the cellular level and get to the root/core causes of what is distracting our clients from the lives they desire and deserve. That is also part of our life contract.

The renowned 20th-century poet Maya Angelou said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we share this mission, and we share this mission with each and every one of our clients.

Creating a life contract and a mission statement in life is critical. This is especially true for people attempting addiction and mental health recovery. Also, mission therapy has been shown to help get to the underlying root/core issues that are often correlated to addictive and negative mental health behaviors. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or both, we can help get you on the road to successful long-term recovery and healing at the cellular level. For more information about the benefits of life contracts and the efficacy of mission therapy, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.