Surf Therapy Recovery
Surf Therapy Recovery is a safe, secure, and non-judgmental living facility bridging the gap between completion of an in-patient alcohol/drug treatment program and the individual’s return to home and family. Our transitional setting provides an opportunity for those in recovery to refine and utilize the skills they learned during treatment in order to prevent behavioral relapse.
Each staff member of Surf Therapy Recovery has lost a loved one to either alcoholism or drug addiction. We have experienced first-hand the torment and heartbreak accompanying addiction, relapse, liver disease, and death. As a result of these experiences, we are committed to doing something about it. Our goal is to help those individuals who want to live.
The concept for Surf Therapy originated with Holly Baker, our founder and director, when she went to the beach to recuperate from surgery. The injuries that precipitated her surgery left her addicted to prescription opiates; she spent a month in rehab in order to confront that issue. In addition, she was recuperating from the loss of a life-long friend who, after battling alcoholism for many years, had succumbed to liver disease. As Holly swam in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, she recognized the great healing properties in the relaxed setting of sand and surf—both physically and emotionally. She was able to take the lessons from rehab and integrate them with her daily activities. She began to bounce back from her surgical procedure and successfully phased out her pain medications. She also began to recover from the tragedy of losing her best friend. Holly’s circumstance was very similar to my own—I lost my wife to alcoholism and liver disease. We shared not only a sense of insurmountable loss, but the exhaustion which comes with being the caregiver in a battle that in most cases can never be won. Our first thought was to try to help people with liver disease secure the treatments and transplants necessary to save their lives, but the reality of the situation is that once an individual is diagnosed with End Stage Liver Disease, the available options are limited and the chances of a successful outcome are very, very slim. The logical alternative is to address the issue before the liver has deteriorated past the point of recovery. This goal can only be achieved through taking alcohol and drugs out of the picture permanently.
We are all aware that one of the biggest obstacles to a successful recovery from alcohol or substance abuse is behavioral relapse. All the hard work of the rehabilitation facility, the doctors and staff, and the patients themselves can be very quickly undone when relapse occurs. While a majority of patients do well in a structured twenty eight day treatment program, an alarming number of them are unable to fully implement what they have learned when faced with the responsibilities, pressures, and temptations of “Real Life”. Many individuals need to remain in a supportive and understanding environment before returning home to the stresses of career and family. Surf Therapy Recovery’s program is designed to help ease our residents into the process of re-establishing positive and healthy ties with loved ones and business associates. We work with the originating rehab center to continue the methodologies which have proven most successful for the resident. With our assistance the resident develops a recovery plan that is unique to his own experience and situation; that plan includes reliance on traditional AA as well as cognitive based programs. Their individualized plan is something that they can carry with them forever and update as their life conditions change. We help these people build the confidence and self-reliance they need to stay clean and sober before they go home.
Many people think when a person has completed a residential treatment program they should be “cured”. I used to have the same opinion until I learned the hard way that the deep seated causalities of addiction cannot be erased quickly or easily. Twenty eight days of sobriety and therapy is an excellent start, but rarely is it the “quick fix” so many people hope for. It is practically impossible to change the patterns developed during years of substance abuse and addiction in so short a time frame. Taking a person from the sheltered and structured environment of a rehab center and immediately throwing them back into the toxic soup that sent them there in the first place is an invitation to disappointment and failure. Almost every patient leaving rehab is still fragile and vulnerable; their addiction usually stems from long buried emotional trauma that a month of treatment cannot fully address. In the final analysis it is up to the individual—call him or her the patient, the addict, the spouse, the parent, the child, or the friend—-to do what is necessary to save themselves, but they cannot do it alone; their thought process is no longer up to the task. They have usually become very short sighted and are focused on masking their emotional pain. Years of addiction have altered their brain chemistry to the point where they may not be able to make the logical deduction that continued use of booze and dope will inevitably result in their death. It is up to us—all those who care about them and love them—to guide them towards the path that will be most beneficial for their long term survival and recovery.