The Machine Gun Preacher actor was briefly hospitalised last month after being knocked over by a giant wave and dragged over a reef while filming On Men and Mavericks in Northern California.
Appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Butler confessed that he was anxious to return to the water directly after the incident, despite it being a "close call".
"I was going to go back that day. I was actually in the ambulance and wanted to go back, which was a little crazy, but it's pretty addictive," Butler recalled.
"This was maybe one of the few times that the reports were not exaggerated. It was a pretty close call... [The waves] just took me and I couldn't get up. It was pretty hairy.
"In the movie, I put in a scene about a 'two wave hold down', when you are down for so long that the next wave comes over before you get back up, and that's what happened to me."
Butler added: "They finally grabbed me just as another huge wave was coming in. It was just like a movie! In fact, everything I talked about happening in the movie happened to me."
Of Men and Mavericks opens in US cinemas on October 26, 2012.
The Graham Norton Show airs in the UK on BBC One tonight at 10.35pm.
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