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Ok, maybe our article title is bold, but it’s true.  For our crew at Surfside Structured Sober Living, the 2021 CrossFit Open enhanced recovery from addiction for the 20 guys who signed up, showed up, and competed.  As a goal-oriented and adventure-based program, we’ve been pretty clear that we believe physical activity improves mental health & bolsters recovery from substance use disorders.  We’ve looked at research (like the CDC’s study published in “The Lancet Psychiatry”) that reveals a link between one’s overall mental health and their exercise routine.  And while we acknowledge that CrossFit is a sport that doesn’t appeal to all of our residents, we found that this year’s 2021 CrossFit Open was a fun, powerful experience for the group of young men that participated.


For those who aren’t familiar, each year CrossFit seeks “The Fittest on Earth” through the CrossFit Games, a competition that tests one’s ability to complete some really challenging workouts over the course of 3-5 days.  What makes the sport incredibly unique is that anyone in the world can participate in the first round of workouts, meaning one doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-time athlete to potentially compete in the CrossFit games.  This initial group of workouts is called “The CrossFit Open,” and it’s always a really exciting personal challenge to sign up and participate in the Open.  A handful of our residents thought we were nuts, but they still agreed to set aside any “contempt prior to investigation” (sound familiar?) and give it a shot.  The results were incredible.

We’ve found that Surfside Structured Sober Living’s partnership with Saltwater Athletics (home of Garden State CrossFit) created a healthy outlet for a number of our residents.  To set small goals, reach them, surpass them, and be consistently amazed by what we’re capable of extends far beyond the gym.  The lessons we learn in a 60-minute CrossFit class can be applied to so many aspects of our life and push us to really care about the body we live in.  The 2021 CrossFit Open enabled our residents to root for each other, to attempt new movements, to identify weaknesses that we can target in the future, and to celebrate their wins.  When our lives are ravaged by addiction, this joy is powerful.  When we’re worried about not being good enough, strong enough, fast enough, or smart enough, it’s incredible to silence the inner voice and try new things despite fear of failure.  Was the title of our article bold? I think if you read this far you’ll agree with me…. The 2021 CrossFit open absolutely enhanced recovery from addiction.