Local nonprofit FleaHab hosted an open house last weekend to thank its sponsors for the donations that facilitated renting a six-bedroom Capitola house, the organization’s long-awaited dream. The house has served as a sober living environment for recovering addicts since February 2014.

“I want to help people find the passion they had before drugs and alcohol came into their lives,” says Darryl “Flea” Virostko, founder of FleaHab and three-time Mavericks champion. “And that’s about helping them find their own routine.”

Whether participants in the program find balance on a surfboard, bike, or out hiking in nature, Virostko says physical activity is a reliable way for clients to chase sustainable thrills and build confidence. The FleaHab house is stocked with wetsuits, bicycles, weights and other equipment donated by community members. “Whatever they need to get tired,” he says. And he speaks from experience.

“When I decided to get sober six years ago, exercise was the only way I could do it,” says Virostko, who struggled with alcohol and methamphetamine addiction during the peak of his career. In 2007, he suffered severe injuries when he fell down a 50-foot beach cliff—an accident that catalyzed his recovery process. He established Fleahab seven years later.

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“I’ve seen him rebuilding his own life, and he’s done it with integrity,” says Jay Pruzansky, a Santa Cruz-based surgeon and donator at the open house. “Some people have trouble becoming successful once in their life. He’s doing it a second time.”


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