A teaser from our winter newsletter:
Before he got to Back2Basics, Tyler had been out of the country only once before, on a family trip to the Caribbean when he was 10 years old.
So he was taken completely off guard by an invitation earlier this year from Back2Basics Founder and CEO Roy Duprez and Director of Admissions Adam McLean. “It was very out of the blue,” Tyler remembers. “I had no idea they would ask me to go.”
Just a few days later, Tyler arrived in Mexico along with Duprez, McLean and a handful of other residents. They’d be spending their time in the area of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. “Ixtapa was touristy part, but mostly Mexican nationals, whereas Zihuatanejo was more locals,” Tyler explained. The residents immersed themselves in the local culture, took Spanish classes nearly every day, and attended 12 Step meetings every night. But whenever they could, they surfed.
“I had surfed a very small amount,” Tyler said, adding that at first, “It was hard to get out past where the water was breaking.”
Despite some frustration in the first couple of days, Tyler caught a couple of waves straight towards the shore, and he remembers thinking that by itself was amazing.
“… learning to support myself would be the next step in recovery for me. From what I’ve learned at Back 2 Basics, sobriety has to be first, or everything I want to do won’t work as well.” – Tyler
“I remember being out at Sala Dita and I caught this wave and I was riding it. I was just in shock that I was actually staying up on a wave. I ended up falling, but it was a good feeling,” he said. “The next day I actually caught one really good wave where I was riding it for a while and the wave would start to flatten out, then go right again. That’s when I got the feeling like, ‘yeah, this is awesome.’”
And from there, he was pretty much hooked. Tyler says surfing brought him an “awesome feeling of accomplishment… I guess from there I just kept trying to push myself surfing-wise, go for bigger waves than I was before. I started really looking forward to going surfing.
I could completely understand why people spend their whole lives surfing.” He says the experience beat out anything he did when he was using drugs.
“I thought that when I got sober, the fast-paced lifestyle would disappear,” he said. “It’s kind of a reminder that you can have a ton of fun and still get these naturally high feelings in sobriety.” Tyler said Duprez and McLean wanted him to go to Mexico in the first place so he might break out of his shell: “I was pretty lazy. I slept a lot and was somewhat withdrawn. The first two months I was here I was thinking about leaving, sort of fighting the process. In Mexico I realized, ‘I’m going to be here at least six months. If I surrender to the process, I can learn to enjoy my life as sober young man.’”
These days, Tyler is contemplating what life will look like after his stay at Back2Basics. He’s thinking of staying in Flagstaff, partly because of a strong recovery community in town – although he’s feeling pulled toward finishing a music producing and audio engineering certificate he’d started under a cherished mentor in Philadelphia.
“I’d like to get a job and support myself,” he said. “I’ve never done that before. Learning to support myself would be the next step in recovery for me. From what I’ve learned at Back2Basics, sobriety has to be first, or everything I want to do won’t work as well.”
Call Back2Basics at 877-399-4222 for a complete copy of the Back2Basics winter newsletter!