The stigma of addiction is real. So many images come to mind when we think of the word, none of them particularly pleasant – loss of control, loss of family, friends or job, crime, prison. Lives destroyed or outright ended. The terrors are many, and they are also not inevitable. That is what Christopher Ferry wants people who struggle with addiction to know.
Ferry is the founder of Boca Recovery Center in Florida. An Addiction Recovery Advocate, and like many working in the universe of recovery, someone who has struggled with addiction. “When you’re addicted, whether it’s drugs or alcohol, there is some part of you that feels hopeless, like you’re not good enough,” he says. “Drugs and alcohol feel like they’re paving over that hole. But the more you rely on them, the less effectively they pave it over. Pretty soon you’re just facing all those feelings of worthlessness, and ultimately they feel even worse.” Ferry knows this first-hand. He was a star athlete in high school, a varsity ice hockey player who was invited to try out for the US National Development Team. Not long after, however, his drug addiction got the better of him.
In a recent article for Thrive Global, Ferry said that the endorphin rush he used to get from sports had ebbed over time. Drugs helped him find it again. For a time, anyway. He turned his back on ice hockey and let go of his dreams. He dropped out of college and went to rehab several times and relapsed.
After being sober for six years, Ferry founded Boca. The institution’s philosophy is in many ways much like his own: that who you were during your addiction does not need to be who you always are. Rehabilitation requires a multi-faceted approach in which willpower to become sober, participation in support groups, and a constructive routine are crucial for effective recovery.
Ferry knows there is no “cure” for addiction, but he also knows that it is possible to move forward and find a future beyond it. When he and his team members at Boca talk about ‘living an addiction-free life,’ they are talking about this ability – the ability to become someone new through radical self-acceptance. “The challenging part about recovery is finding ways to address that hopelessness, to not rely on the drink or the drugs to numb it, because you’re going to start getting diminishing returns on that anyway,” says Ferry. “At the heart of it, you must believe that you’re the same person, and that’s good enough. That whoever you’ve been before doesn’t have to dictate who you will be in the future,” he adds. For Christopher Ferry, everything looked dismal a few years back; however, he’s been living the best of his life now by helping others who are facing the issues that haunted him years back.