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Finding Hope Amidst Darkness: A Journey Through Suicide, Addiction, and the Power of Male Friendship

*Trigger Warning: this blog contains content discussing suicide and drug-related language. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for support today using resources on our Get Help page.

After a spinal injury led to over-prescribed pain meds, my own family labeled me a worthless drug addict. Multiple suicide attempts landed me in a cycle of misdiagnoses and ineffective treatments. One facility after another stripped me of what little dignity I had the privilege of cultivating through my life... until I met my wife. 

She nursed me back to health, offering love, patience, and acceptance when I needed it most. Her support gave me the strength to confront the war raging inside me.

Despite my reluctance, a friend's suggestion led me to consider Fishing The Good Fight. I wasn’t ready for this step for years. The idea of getting together with a bunch of men was a frightening and intolerable idea. Everything inside of me screamed that this was a dangerous step. All I had ever known was a culture of ridicule and demolition in groups of men. I had already decided that my wife was all I needed. I didn’t want or need “friends” anymore. I couldn’t take it; I wasn’t built to take it anymore. 

My wife encouraged me to start with a male therapist. The experience of kindness, caring, and safety when sharing my thoughts and feelings with them allowed me to entertain the idea of FTGF.

I’m ready for it. I’m ready to take this risk in my life. I’m ready for the hope that male friendship can be more than just a torturous and demeaning exchange of insults, under the guise of play and fun. I’m ready to rebuild this portion of my life with intention and sincerity.

It is my fear and my wish that a FTGF retreat will help me create a network of like-minded men who can relate to my struggles and show me that kindness, understanding, and acceptance can exist in a group of men. It is my trepidatious hope FTGF will teach me more about myself and what I want out of my life. It is my prayer and my anthem that FTGF will help me show the world the man I am inside without fear and trepidation.

I am grateful beyond words and measure for the opportunity to take this step by way of the scholarship FTGF has offered me. In my journey, I have lost everything, in terms of resources and relationships (by choice). For this, I have been broken-down and stripped of dignity, seemingly, at every turn. The fact that a group of men would be willing to financially assist me in an opportunity like this without simultaneously stripping me of my dignity and self-respect has become the first pillar in the construction of my new foundation. 

I am excited to see what this new chapter brings. I hope that FTGF will help usher in a spring of friendship, community, healing, and joy; I need joy.

Thank you FTGF for including me when my entire world threw me away. I’m eternally grateful for your humanity. It is my dream to one day pay-it-forward. I’ll see you on the river. I’ll see you on the shore.

— Anonymous

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