25 Mar Surfing and Sobriety
As a kid I was always very active, I was always outside involved in some kind of sport with my friends. I grew up loving to skateboard and especially surf. Once I started using drugs though, my love for all these free and enjoyable things rapidly disappeared and I found my love for getting loaded took over everything else in my life.
One of the things that has become very important to me in recovery is my ability to rekindle the love that I have for all the things that I enjoyed so much as a kid. Surfing was one of the most important things in my life. I first learned how to surf when I was about 10 in Hawaii, where my uncle taught me. I still to this day can remember the first wave I rode all the way into the shore. The feeling it gave me is indescribable and I loved it immediately. I spent the next few years going when I could, but it wasn’t until I was about 15 or 16 when I was able to make it down to the beach regularly. I grew up inland a little bit, so it was hard to get down there.
Once I could drive and I was doing homeschool, I went with my older brother and his friends all the time. I was having a blast! The summer I turned 17, I started teaching surf lessons all over San Diego County. At this point as a young adult, I was living what was to me “the dream”. I still hadn’t really used drugs much at this point but, I very much was using a lot of other things to check out from my responsibilities.
I taught surf lessons for about 3 summers and during the off season I had regular jobs, anywhere from restaurants, to painting and other random construction gigs. I lived that way for a few years until I was almost 20. That’s when I started getting high. Almost immediately I was using just about everyday. And immediately I stopped doing all the things that I loved doing so much. I would still surf from time to time when I was feeling up to it or I had nothing else going on. Or id grab my skateboard and go out for a little bit but it lost it’s excitement to me because now I made getting high more of a priority than anything else.
So now at this point I’m in the vicious cycle of my addiction, I’ve lost contact with a lot of friends I was doing healthy things with and I forget who I was and what I loved. I eventually came to New Life for help to get sober and learn about addiction treatment.
One thing I learned was how important it is to have healthy habits and how to balance things in my life. I realized that all the things that I was doing when I was younger that I enjoyed so much, those were all healthy outlets for me to use so that I could feel good and have some peace of mind. I am happy to say that now today I am fully engaged back in surfing and I have found it to be something so much more important to me than it ever was before. I think that life, and getting sober has taught me how to take advantage of the things that I love and to be grateful for all the little things that I have access to.
Not only getting back into surfing, but I have reinstated a lot of healthy habits that I had interest in when I was getting high but never had the discipline to keep, like proper diet and fitness. I think all around I try to do what I can to live a healthy lifestyle. I spent so many years causing damage to my body and mind that it has become so important to me to do the complete opposite of that and live healthy. I try to do what I can as well to help and inspire others to do the same. I feel like it is very important especially in early sobriety to find hobbies and start doing things we once enjoyed so much.
Surfing does for me now more than it ever did before. I think this is because I do it with so much more gratitude. Now its so much more than just something I do to kill time or just an entertaining activity. Now it is something more spiritual, because it allows me to be outside and enjoy nature which is one place that I truly feel at peace. It’s a place I can go and quiet my mind and slip into a very meditative state and just be present to feel my surroundings and be ok in that moment. I used drugs and alcohol because I could never be ok in the moment, I was always wanting to just be numb. But now I can do these thing that are healthy not only for my body but for my mind and spirit. Things like surfing, that allow me to tap into myself more, instead of check out and run away. I’m so grateful to have found what I have in my life today. There are so many things that I am blessed with and surfing is just one of them.
-Josh B., New Life House alumni