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Scuba Diving is a GREAT form of Therapy – just ask this addict! contributing writer Lisa Mongy recently went through a major family loss. She explains that scuba diving served as a major outlet for her as she overcame her pain and loss. Here’s her story:

Hello, my name is Lisa and I’m a dive addict. It’s been 24 hours since my last dip/fix. This started in jest as a joke at my local dive store when I went in for cylinder fills. Typically on Mondays after a weekend in the water, and on Thursdays after a mid-week night dive. While the Nitrox was mixing, we’d all exchange stories of who went where and saw what. The owner, my dive buddies, and I often bantered about how many logged dives we have for the year and laugh as if it’s some type of competition.

Recent life circumstances have had me re-evaluating my nickname and the implications. My 20 year old niece died from an accidental drug overdose. When most people hear that they automatically think “drug addict,” however in this case it was confirmed she was not. She got involved with the wrong people who convinced her it was okay, and the night went horribly wrong. Suddenly the jesting “H2OAddict” didn’t seem appropriate. At the memorial service I started questioning what it meant to be an addict.

According to the dictionary:


1. Noun; A person who is addicted to an activity, habit or substance. 2. Verb; To cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on an addictive substance.

I never considered water as an addictive substance. From my earliest memories, I’ve been drawn to the water. It didn’t matter if it was a river, lake or the ocean, but does that make me an addict? No. In the last few weeks I’ve realized that being around a water environment was actually more like therapy.


1. Noun; The treatment of disease or disorders. 2. Verb Any act, hobby, task, program, etc., that relieves tension.

What I like most about aqua therapy is that it awakens the senses: smell, touch, sight, sound, and taste. It begins with the smell of fresh air by the lake side or as the breeze is blowing across your face on the ocean. Then the adrenaline rushes as you take the initial plunge, dipping below the surface, feeling the liquid embrace you. Excitement takes over on the descent, hovering in a three dimensional world to explore a wreck that went down 100 years ago or one that was sunk for an artificial reef and is bustling with life. Or you may witness the harmony of the various eco-systems interacting together on a reef that’s millions of years old. Your ears tune in to listen as parrot fish crunch on the coral for a snack or at night you can hear the frog fish calling a mate. When you surface your taste buds are more awake from the exposure to dry air, ready for hydration, fresh fruit and snacks.

Today I was in the Florida Keys with a group of my regular dive buddies. Between the six of us, we averaged 20-plus years experience each. This morning’s conditions weren’t pretty but they were safe so we went. With an overcast sky, choppy seas and milky visibility, many divers would have bailed. We on the other hand didn’t mind, we were just happy to be on the water.

During our surface interval I asked everyone why they dive. The common response was that it keeps them “sane” from the stresses of their everyday lives as bankers, CEO’s, company presidents/owners and managers. They, like me, consider diving “aqua therapy”. We all know divers who enjoy the water not only as a break from suits, cell phones and laptops but also as a challenge to experience something new or to join family and friends who are already divers. It’s relaxing and rejuvenating.

Do I mind being known as a Dive Machine or Dive Queen? Not at all, I embrace it. And when I’m referred to as an H2OAddict, I say a silent prayer for those who do struggle with true addictions and am thankful mine is a dip in Planet Ocean.

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