The Drop

How the Most Addictive Sport Can Help Us Understand Addiction and Recovery

by Thad Ziolkowski

On Sale: 07/06/2021

The Drop

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The Drop

How the Most Addictive Sport Can Help Us Understand Addiction and Recovery

by Thad Ziolkowski

On Sale: 07/06/2021


About the Book

In this revelatory and original book, award-winning author of the acclaimed surf memoir On a Wave illuminates the connection between waves, addiction, and recovery, exploring what surfing can teach us about the powerful undertow of addictive behaviors and the ways to swim free of them.

Addiction is arguably the dominant feature of contemporary life: sex, gambling, exercise, eating, shopping, Internet use—there's virtually no pleasurable activity that can't morph into a destructive obsession. For Americans under the age of fifty-five, the leading cause of death is drug overdose. But there is another side of addiction.

In some instances, the very activities that can lead to addiction can also lead out of it. As neurologists have recently discovered, surfing is a kind of study in the mechanism of addiction, delivering dopamine to the "pleasure" center of the brain and reshaping priorities and desire in a feedback loop of narrowing focus. Thad Ziolkowski knows this dynamic intimately. A lifelong surfer, he has been surrounded by addiction since his boyhood. In this unique, groundbreaking book, part addiction memoir, part sociological study, part spiritual odyssey, Ziolkowski dismantles the myth of surfing as a radiantly wholesome lifestyle immune to the darker temptations of the culture and discovers among the rubble a new way to understand and ultimately overcome addiction. 

Combining his own story with insights from scientists, progressive thinkers and the experiences of top surfers and addicts from around the world, Ziolkowski shows how getting on a board and catching a wave is a unique and deeply instructive means of riding out of the darkness and back into the light. Yet while surfing is his salvation, its lessons can applied to other activities that can pull us free from the lethal undertow of addiction and save lives. 

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“This book is brilliant. You’ve never seen the gorgonian loops and layers of addiction illuminated so clearly and originally.” - WILLIAM FINNEGAN, New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Barbarian Days

“Thad Ziolkowski explores the scientific and spiritual depths of the relationship between addiction and surfing—a sport that’s often portrayed as shallow, but in truth is anything but. As in the ocean itself, the sunlit waves coexist with the profound, and darker, layers beneath. The stories Ziolkowski tells—both his own and those of other surfers—are testaments to how there is much to be learned in the deeper waters, but only if you make it back to the surface. The Drop is a searingly personal, timely, and beautifully written book.” - SUSAN CASEY, bestselling author of The Wave

“I can’t even swim in the ocean without some dread and fear, so surfing is unfathomable to me; with drugs (and their delights and horrors) I’m somewhat more familiar. Thad Ziolkowski has masterfully woven these two subjects together with his own singular but familiar American dude’s story. The Drop is a frank, fascinating, strange, wise, beautiful book.” - KURT ANDERSEN, New York Times bestselling author of Evil Geniuses

“In The Drop, both a vivid personal memoir and a thoughtful exploration of compulsive behavior, Thad Ziolkowski finds an unlikely but sensible commonality between the drives underlying the fervor of surfing and the siren call of addictions. He recognizes the traumatic bases of both yet points to how the sport can ultimately be a force for healing.” - GABOR MATÉ, M.D., author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062965936
  • ISBN 10: 006296593X
  • Imprint: Harper Wave
  • On Sale: 07/06/2021
  • Pages: 304
  • List Price:33.50 CAD
  • BISAC1 : PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
  • BISAC3 : PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / Addiction

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