The S.S. Inchulva rests about 500 feet off the south end of Delray Beach public park. Often called the Delray Wreck, the ship went down in front of the beach on Sept 11th, 1903 in a strong hurricane. The S.S. Inchulva lost helm control and was grounded as it wasn’t able to see the shoreline. The 38-person crew was not aware of how close to land they were as the captain gave orders to drop both anchors and remain on the ship. Nine crewmen lost their lives that day and the following morning the remainder of the crew almost literally walked to shore and safety… 

It seems every time I am in the ocean with clients for evolv there is no shortage of learning opportunities. Experiential therapy is just what it sounds like, the chance to not just learn but learn from valuable experiences. When I took several of the clients to snorkel and paddle the shipwreck, I was not disappointed. The 117-year-old wreck was absolutely teaming with beautiful, tropical sea life. It isn’t an easy swim out and clients need to work to get there but their efforts pay off in the long run. I guided the clients around the four main areas of the wreck, the hull pieces, and the two main boiler pieces that have been sitting in place for over a hundred years. Covered in coral and sea life, the wreck was intriguing to the entire group. One client commented that he “doesn’t get to see things like this in Ohio.” We all laughed.

As we got back to the beach, I challenged the group to discuss their experience and share how this related to their personal journey and recovery. I was astounded at the insight these people had.

One client shared that he was “thinking about the wreck and how it happened.” This client earlier in the week was thinking about leaving against medical advice (AMA) from treatment and said that “this really hit him hard.” As I shared with the group the story of the shipwreck and how the captain had set both anchors and assured the crew they would be safe until dawn when the storm passes, several of the crew didn’t trust his judgment and left the ship on a lifeboat. They all perished. This client stated that he “felt like that crew and wanted to jump ship leaving treatment.” Like the crew that survived, he stayed and was walking out the doors completing the program. I am happy to report that he is still doing well (and has taken up snorkeling).

Another client shared that he was “hopeful” that his life could be like the shipwreck. He explained that what was “once a terrible tragedy is now full of life” comparing his past life in addiction to his hopes in recovery.

What evolv does is take clients that are active participants in their own recovery and allows them to take the lessons they learn while in the clinical building all week and apply them to an activity. This outing was special in so many ways and really resonated with the clients.

The take away I want to share with you is this; storms pass, anchor your recovery well and listen to those who have already survived the journey. Be active in your life and recovery and by all means, enjoy the ride.

Click here to learn more about evolv adventure therapy!

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