Patrick Murphy (co-founder) on Surfing and Recovery

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Surfing is a transformative experience. In many ways it has saved my life and has kept me grounded throughout my recovery. It requires focus, patience, determination and self-discipline; all are important principles that I try to practice in my life and that we hope to instill in the lives of our residents. What is often unexpected about the nature of surfing, especially to someone who is completely new to it, is that it inadvertently forces one to be present. Most of the anxiety, frustration, depression and fear that is experienced can be rooted in ones inability to remain in the here and now. Being in an ominous environment like the ocean can be a humbling experience. Surfing draws upon all the senses at once and leaves little to no room but to be in the present moment. In many ways, surfing is very similar to meditation and can have the exact same effects.

Exercise has been shown to be one of the more effective methods of relapse prevention and surfing can certainly be a great work out. Surfing can be both calming and exciting. Sitting out in the water during a sunrise or sunset, while waiting for the next wave and then catching and riding that wave allows someone to feel an array of feelings; from a peace and calm to excitement and adrenaline. It’s that up and down that recovering addicts and alcoholics often sought when they were out drinking and using.

Here are some reasons why surfing is a great vehicle to inspire recovery and why it’s a highlight of Rise Sober Living

Wax smells good
Humans love water
It’s a great way of living life
You’re alone with everybody
Surfing makes you feel alive
You can go anytime you want
Only a surfer knows the feeling
Every wave is a different feeling
The first wave ride is unforgettable
Each ridden wave is a personal story
It is best way to forget your daily problems
There are waves in every corner of the world
There’s always the next surfboard to be bought
Oceans have a positive impact on human health
Adrenaline injections pump our heart and blood
You’re compelled to surf better each time you go
The drive to exploring and discover new surf spots
Gods seem to be around in the best waves of your life
No session is the same, everyday is a different experience
Riding a wave is a breathless experience unlike anything else

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