Dare to Dip by Sam Phillips

You may have seen a group called Dare to Dip, or even seen these awesome swimmers out and about, we reached out to Sam for an article about his group. Over to you Sam 😊

My name is Sam Phillips and I am one of many people who has suffered with anxiety and depression. 

Ever since I was young, I over-obsessed about my health. I was basically a hypochondriac. It was ruining my life, which led on to severe depression and panic attacks.

I then found alcohol and cocaine and thought I'd discovered the magic cure that took away all my anxieties, fears and pains. 

But self-medicating only masked my problems and eventually made them ten times worse. 

Like a helicopter blade, my life was a vicious circle but I was spinning out of control. 

I lost my best mate to suicide, the mother of my kids moved out with my children, I couldn’t hold a job down, I lost my home and I completely lost who I was. 

I was at rock bottom, but rock bottom is a great foundation to build upon.

It took time but I’ve got myself out of the dark. I’m clean and sober today and mentally stronger than ever! 

I accepted the fact that I am an addict: I am an addict today, I will be an addict tomorrow and one day I will die an addict. But I refuse to die from addiction. That's the difference today.

I’d like to share with you something that has changed my life in the hope it will inspire someone else who needs it: cold-water therapy.

Cold-water therapy has been the major tool to get me back on track. In 2021, I set myself a 30-day cold shower challenge and realised afterwards that - both mentally and physically - its benefits are incredible. So I upped the ante and in March last year I set myself the challenge of going into the North Sea every day for a year, calling the challenge ‘Dare to Dip’. 

I completed the year-long challenge on 15th March and what a journey it was!

When I started, I had no idea it would inspire so many others. On day one, I dipped alone. On day two, someone joined me. On day three, more people joined it grew and grew. 

By the end of the 365 dips, hundreds of people had got involved in the challenge, helping raise hundreds of pounds for Anxiety UK and awareness for mental health. 

I got an award for outstanding contribution in my community and I was a Pride of Britain finalist, which still hasn’t sunk in. But I know it’s made my daughters proud, which is what I set out to do! 

My girls are my world! They’ve taken the blue out of the skies and put it back in my eyes and I am forever grateful. 

Because I personally know how effective cold water therapy can be and I’ve seen it help so many others, I came up with a new challenge: Dare to Dip December.

People all over the UK got involved and even people in the USA and Canada accepted the challenge. A big group of us dipped in the North Sea in Felixstowe every day in December.

Cold-water therapy has improved my life massively and it could do the same for you. 

Pretending I was okay, seemed easier than explaining why I was not for so long. But the truth is, when I got real honest with myself, then my loved ones I felt the weight of the world come off my shoulders. Sharing how I was feeling and admitting I’d been self-medicating. Put me on the path to recovery. Everything has just fell into place since I took them first steps. It was scary but it was so worth it. If I can change my life around then so can you. 

Sometimes when you are in a dark place you think you have been buried, but you have just been planted. Now is your time to grow.

The Dare to Dip group go in the water weekdays at 6:30 and weekends at 7:30 next to the pier. For any information please follow us on instagram @dare_to_dip or request to join the Dare to dip Facebook page 🙏💙

For anyone struggling right now, come and join us. 

Sam x

Don’t forget to share & rate our app 😊💭

*all photo credits to Sam Phillips on the group*