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man standing with widespread arms

It was strange saying out loud and even stranger to be writing about the 6th Annual Real Recovery Polar Plunge.

The first time we did the Polar Plunge, we had cabin fever. Real Recovery’s founder had the bright idea to take everyone to go jump in freezing cold water at Triple Falls as a way to wake up our souls after a long winter. Since that first experience that I was a part of six years ago, I have never missed the Polar Plunge.

Every year we choose the warmest day in January; there is always at least one day in the high 50s or low 60s. We all head to Triple Falls in DuPont State Forest, strip down to our bathing suits and jump in water that is so cold it takes your breath away and makes you forget how to swim for one seemingly long moment.

Triple Falls is also one of our favorite swimming holes during the summer. Anyone who has seen Last of the Mohicans or The Hunger Games has seen Triple Falls, and it’s just one of the amazing spots we are blessed to experience as residents of western North Carolina. I could not think of a better place to carry out our vision of showing young men that life is not over, but only just beginning, with sobriety.

Looking back on this experience makes me think about the traditions that are a major aspect of life at Real Recovery. In my opinion a tradition is an idea, not just an action, that connects the vision of an organization to the day-to-day aspects of life. At Real Recovery, the annual Polar Plunge is just one of many traditions that we hold dear to our hearts. Walking up the chilly trail, knowing how painfully the cold water is initially going to be, speaks to the intense but amazing journey that sobriety has to offer for anyone willing to follow the footsteps of those who have laid the path.

Zach Miller, BSCSAC Program Director