Joe Ferko

Hello to every who reads this. My name is Joseph Ferko and I suffer from addiction and depression. I'm a very fortunate person who even in the best of times has had a hard time seeing how blessed I am as an individual.

When I was a kid I was small and I moved around alot. I had a tough time adjusting to new schools and new people. I was regularly the new kid and often an outcast because I had a tough time being someone I wasn't for people I didn't know. I've always been eccentric, loud and outspoken. It got me into alot of trouble. When I was about 10 I moved to oceanside. I didn't have what most of the kids around here had growing up and as one of 4 kids we all had to do our best to get by. I was lucky enough to meet some great people starting in elementary school but moving around made bit hard to maintain friendships. When I was about 13 I picked up smoking cigarettes. They made me feel lightheaded and relaxed and as anyone who knows me would tell you, I am one obnoxiously hyperactive individual. Shortly after that I started drinking because other kids were doing it but while they were doing it to fit in with each other I started doing it on my own by ways of a liquor cabinet in my house. My parents didn't really drink at home but there was always some for guests. I liked the way it made forget how to feel things. A few years went by and though I wasn't drinking daily, even drinking a little for that reason is the wrong reason to do it. When I was 15 I started smoking pot. It gave me that feeling again without the nausea with the added benefit of relaxing me and calming down the constant flow of thought. Before long I was abusing cough medicine for the high it gives. It wasn't until I was 18 that I got into the rest of the world of drugs. Fortunately I was aware of the dangers of crack, heroin and other lethal drugs but my desire to get away from myself was surely there and at an all time high. I started experimenting with other things and though they brought me new highs they showed me new lows. They took me to depths I've never fathomed. Though I don't personally believe the use of certain things is the end of the world, I believe abuse of anything can be the end of one's world.

What saved me ultimately was empathy.

I've had suicidal thoughts. I've made people hurt the way I hurt. If I didn't have a sense of humor and the desire to make others happy I would have ended it a long time ago. What saved me ultimately was empathy. Thinking about how what taking my own life would do to those I loved. It's not an easy thing to see and although life is incredibly difficult I chose to fight on and suffer so those I loved wouldn't have to. I can understand why those who haven't chose not to. To those who have lost a loved one to depression, it's not your fault. You know how overwhelming life can be.

I've battled with sobriety before but I wasn't ready to give it a real chance because I didn't think I had a real problem. It wasn't until it was present to me in such a way to help me realize I was running from myself that I could accept it and work to better myself. Today im one week shy of 5 months without alcohol and 3 months without drugs of any kind. Except for excedrin because again, being alive hurts! I am so fortunate and with clear eyes I can finally see that and with a clear mind it's easier to accept that I deserve this.

We all do.

Thank you so much to whoever reads this and whatever you do, be there for the ones you love. Force pushes people away but guidance allows you to walk with the ones you seek to help.

by Joe Ferko

Joe Ferko

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