“Urge Surfing”

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An important concept the patients learn at Renfrew is Urge Surfing. That is, you ride the wave of the urge to use ED symptoms until it passes. For so many years, I couldn’t see that there was a psychological surfboard on which I could ride the crashing waves of my urges and cravings. I would have a thought to binge or purge and it would automatically send me into the action. As if I didn’t have a choice. I could have saved years of time wasted on the ED if I had been willing to wait out the emotional storm.

Urge surfing takes SO MUCH practice! It is much like real surfing in that when you first get on the board to surf the urge, you feel afraid, uneasy, and off balance for not giving into the ED behaviors you’re so used to. But the more you practice getting back on the board and do the balancing act of recovery, which means resisting those urges, the more steady and grounded you will feel when urge surfing. The waves actually become less intense because you gain confidence in your ability to urge surf the more you do it.

In order to surf your urges, you have to know that YOU don’t have to be defeated by them! It is SO hard to remember in the moment that a thought or an urge doesn’t mean you throw in your beach towel! It means you get on your board and get ready to ride the wave of the urge. It is an OPPORTUNITY to strengthen your recovery. Don’t wait until tomorrow … you may get swept under the wave, never seeing tomorrow. Start to surf those urges TODAY!

One Response to ““Urge Surfing””

  1. Catherine

    I love this. Urges are so strong sometimes, they are almost as painful as if one has to go to the bathroom and yet must hold it back.

    I sometimes take my urges in varying intervals: 30 seconds, 6 minutes, 20 minutes.. whatever seems appropriate.

    Thanks for sharing this!