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Surfer Surfing at Sunrise on a perfect wave

‘Surf Therapy’ Used To Treat Addiction

We are all certainly blessed to live close to the beautiful SoCal Pacific Ocean. But what if the water was more than just a gorgeous tourist attraction? What if it could actually help heal people battling an addiction? That concept is starting to gain traction as counselors and treatment experts have begun incorporating Surf Therapy into their recovery regimens.


The site Surfer Today wrote up a piece on this unique treatment. In their article, they described the many benefits that accompany a day in the waves. They also profiled some success stories; sharing some actual testimonials from people who have used their boards to help beat addiction.


For the record, surf therapy has already been incorporated into treatment plans for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and even traumatic brain injuries. Several war veterans have found it to be a soothing exercise as well, bringing clarity and serenity to darker feelings they may have experienced.


Part of the reason surfing works so well with addiction treatment is because it uses both mental and physical traits. Mastering the currents requires balance and strength, creating a physical discipline for the body. There is also a large emotional component that revolves around focus, determination and synchronicity with the water. Not surprisingly, all of those qualities can be utilized in the recovery journey (particularly the “reward” element that goes along with catching a spectacular wave).


Other benefits that have been listed alongside surf therapy include confidence building, mindfulness and natural elations (as opposed to those that come from substance abuse). It has even been touted as a relief from insomnia (something many people in treatment suffer from), as a day in the water can tire anybody out.


One former addict turned surf instructor is Darryl Virostko, who was featured in the article. He finds the practice to be incredibly therapeutic and has turned to helping others with his unique recovery classes.


“I recovered from alcohol and drug addiction and chose the ocean to help me get through the process,” he explained. “I fell into the trap of substance abuse, but now have gained control over my life and am completely sober. The high I used to get from taking drugs has now been completely replaced with the rush of these strenuous physical activities.”


Indeed, at Valley Recovery Center we embrace all of these innovative treatment practices. Not only do we support surf therapy, we also have regiments that incorporate horses, archery and wolf sanctuary work. Click here to learn more.