Addiction, Substance Abuse, and Surfing

1 min read · 1 sections


An addiction may be hard to explain and even harder for many to understand. It’s a medical disease that’s both treatable and recurrent. It includes complicated interactions between brain circuits, the individual’s life experience, the environment, and genetics. And specifically, substance abuse can be a challenging addiction to face, but with help and treatment, individuals can live a life of long-term sobriety.

According to a New York Times article, referencing Scholar and Poet Thad Ziolkowski’s book On a Wave, “…the most addictive sport can help us understand addiction and recovery.” The piece references surfing as the activity of choice that can offer this insight based on Thad’s life experience and his excursions on the surfboard.

An individual with an addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs may exhibit behavior they have no control over, regardless ofA therapy group working through their addictions. the consequences that may result from their actions. Let’s observe the connections between the behavior of an individual who misuses substances and an individual who surfs, keeping in mind that this is solely one perspective among many.

At American Addiction Centers (AAC), a nationwide leader in addiction treatment, we provide inpatient and outpatient treatment in a supportive environment under the care of a compassionate team and licensed medical professionals. If you’re struggling with a substance use disorder or an alcohol use disorder, please reach out for help.


The Rush of Addiction

Thad Ziolkowski’s book discusses the motivations behind why humans use drugs to cause harm to themselves and offers some solutions that may help them to stop. And when it comes to drug use, Thad said, “Suffering borne of loneliness leads to drug use, which leads to shame, which leads to more drug use.”

Similarities and why individuals use drugs/why surfers surf:

  • Getting street drugs can be thrilling and unpredictable, and so can surfing.
  • Getting high/surfing is “feeling yourself as pure desire.”
  • Personal nature of surfing compares to the privacy required by an individual addicted to substances.

Perhaps there are some similarities, but addiction to drugs should not be taken lightly simply because it’s compared to a fun activity reserved for those who have great balance, acquired skill, and love the ocean. Addiction is a very serious matter. Those that are battling with alcohol or drugs need professional help through treatment in order to get sober safely and responsibly.

Exchanging one addiction for another isn’t a viable solution either. No addiction is healthy because it causes individuals to take actions that aren’t necessarily in their best interest. Outside of the risk of physical injury, surfing is a healthy activity to participate in once the individual has mastered their craft or is surfing alongside a more experienced surfer who may be there to help in a time of trouble.

If you’re struggling with substance use disorder and/or alcohol use disorder, there are resources available to help you achieve long-term sobriety. You don’t have to struggle with an addiction on your own. Getting help will open a door to the support that you need to live your life successfully in recovery. Please reach out to get the help that you need today.

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