Almost 21 million Americans struggle with addiction, and the effects of this epidemic are devastating. Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1999 and attributed to more than 700,000 deaths across the nation. While these numbers are scary to read, there is hope. With treatment, people suffering through addiction can recover and lead healthy lives. Christopher Ferry, the founder of the Boca Recovery Center in Florida, knows this better than most.
Christopher Ferry had your typical American middle-class upbringing in New Jersey full of possibility, but addiction doesn’t discriminate. Addiction can affect anyone regardless of economic or social status. A dedicated athlete, Chris had a promising hockey career and enrolled at Stockton University but dropped out due to his addiction. “I loved sports,” explains Chris. “The problem for me is I was always chasing a high, and when sports couldn’t do it for me, unfortunately, I turned to drugs.” Chris understands how that constant need for a high can push anyone over the edge.
It wouldn’t be the first time Chris would face this difficult journey, and it certainly wasn’t the last. Chris would relapse three times until he finally had enough and knew there was more to life than constantly seeking that false high drugs gave him. “The last relapse was exceptionally hard,” states Chris. “At that time, I had a family and built a business, but it all came crashing down. I had truly hit rock bottom, and sometimes that is what it takes.” Committed to sobriety, Chris worked hard to build a better life for himself and, in turn, began building better lives for others.
“When it comes to sobriety, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall. What matters is how many times you get back up,” states Chris. “Every time you get back up, you are stronger than you were before.” Powered by the strength and resilience it took to commit to sobriety, Chris saw purpose in his life and the inspiration to maintain his sobriety. “For me, it was about helping others and supporting them in living a sober life.” Chris would go on to open the Boca Recovery Center, one of the nation’s top rehab centers and Clean and Sober: Addiction Recovery Group, one of the most extensive social media support pages for those suffering from addiction.
Chris states that addiction is a disease, not a choice. He explains that, as per various studies and research, many neural pathways in the brain become diverted due to substance abuse, which leads to change in the functioning of the mind and body. Addictive substances like alcohol, release high levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which are linked to feelings of pleasure and reward. With prolonged use, the addict experiences intense cravings for addictive substances and establishes a dependency to feel normal. The individual may lose interest in usual activities, healthy pastimes, and other routine jobs. As per Chris, the ability to choose is gone when substance abuse becomes an addiction.
As a Certified National Master Interventionist (C.N.M.I.) from the National Association of Drug & Alcohol Interventionists (N.A.D.A.I.), Chris opines that family support is the foundation of the road to recovery. It is essential for the family first to understand the neuroscience and psychology behind addiction to comprehend the situation without judging the addict. Once the family is ready to accept and aid the person, the next step is to help the addicted loved one to realize his addiction and make him speak his mind. It is crucial here to convince the addict to undergo rehab to pave the way for sobriety. A successful intervention can be life-changing for an addict and can turn the lives of those around him.
Chris recommends the families of recovering addicts to keep the faith, attend Alcoholic-Anonymous (A.A.), or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) meetings, or go for therapy to recover from the impact of addiction on the family, children, spouse, et al., while the loved one is getting treated.
Staying sober is a journey, and Chris works hard to make sure no one has to walk that journey alone. “Recovery is 100% possible, but no one can do it alone,” says Chris. “It’s about finding the right support group and envisioning a better life. It keeps me sober, and I know it can keep others sober too.” Inspiring and admirable Chris Ferry’s honest take on sobriety is shedding light onto the road to addiction recovery in ways never done before.
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