Surfing: it works as therapy | Photo: Shutterstock

Addiction is a growing concern. It affects the individuals going through it, their work, the people surrounding them, and society in general. The government even spends quite a lot to cover the costs of substance abuse.

Numerous efforts and methods were developed in order to address the issue. For example, the best drug treatment centers in the US offer programs for the specific needs of each person. Gladly, these yielded positive results that are both inspiring and encouraging.

These days, a revolutionary therapy is being used as another method to address addiction. This is in the form of surfing.

Finding Recovery Success Through Surf Therapy

Surf therapy is a new development in psychotherapy treatment. This is utilized to attend to war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, and other life-threatening injuries.

US Army Matthew Doyle is among those who used surfing as a way to return to his normal life. He had been to Iraq and had lost interest in the things he used to love doing after he came back from his tour of duty.

Doyle was among the many servicemen Carly Rogers, an occupational therapist, was able to help through surfing. She was able to reach out to more than 400 war veterans through the program she started with the Jimmy Miller Foundation.

Surfing: it improves our mental health | Photo: Shutterstock

Addiction therapists found that this kind of therapy, which is also known as ocean therapy, is also applicable in treating substance abuse disorders and other co-existing disorders linked with drug addiction.

Its name pretty much tells how this treatment is done. It uses the mental health benefits one can get from the ocean.

Surfing Discipline Used to Address Life's Challenges

Surfing is perceived as a metaphor for balance among those overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. It enables patients to practice balance while tackling the waves and apply the same discipline in cruising through the ever-changing and unpredictable demands of life.

The physical challenges associated with surfing are similar to the mental and emotional affairs patients try to avoid during addiction. Surf therapy pushes these individuals to deal with certain emotional triggers caused by drugs.

The addiction therapist then processes the experience and helps patients cope with failure, disappointment, loss of control, and other related feelings.

Acquiring Beneficial Attitudes

People recovering from addiction find it hard to enjoy momentary pleasures. This is because of the guilt and shame over their past failures. Surf therapy allows patients to be mindful and live in the moment, so they will not fall from their surfboards.

The adrenaline rush stemming from surfing feeds their thirst for thrill and adventure. It makes ocean therapy a healthy and the best alternative to drug-free mechanisms of curbing cravings for alcohol and drugs.

Finally gaining mastery over the sport gives patients a deep sense of accomplishment. And this is achieved without any dull moment.

Waves: the ocean heals everything | Photo: Shutterstock

A sense of self-sufficiency is another area of concern among people suffering from addiction. Taking surf therapy teaches patients to survive by themselves in deep waters leading to an increased self-efficacy. This attitude can then be applied to other areas of their lives.

Insomnia is among the withdrawal symptoms of addiction. This is properly addressed by surf therapy, given how exhausting and physically demanding the sport is. It is guaranteed that the patient will have a better sleep after the sessions.

Real-Life Testimony on Surf Therapy Treating Addiction

Darryl Virostko is a living testament that surf therapy being offered by the best drug treatment centers in the US works. He recovered from alcohol and drug addiction and has chosen the ocean to help him get through the process.

He fell into the trap of substance abuse, but has gained control over his life and decided to become sober.

In maintaining sobriety, he turned to surfing. The idea is to get the high he used to get from taking drugs and replace it with the rush of strenuous physical activities.

He not only surfs but also teaches it and other sports to individuals who are recovering from addiction. This effort is in collaboration with a local drug rehabilitation center.


Words by Charles L. Watson, freelance writer for www.eliterehabplacement.com