Addiction is a disease that thrives on isolation. Be it physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual (and typically it’s a combination of all of these forms) this isolation- if not interrupted- is crippling and ultimately lethal for an addict or alcoholic. One of, if not the most outstanding qualities of someone who has crossed the point of no return in addiction, is the inability to remain sober without some supportive network of people to aid in the ongoing recovery process. What we’ve seen work best at keeping addicted people sober is when recovering people form a tight knit community amongst themselves, interacting regularly, intensively, honestly and lovingly. Even if addicts aren’t perhaps sold on recovery or ambivalent about sobriety, they tend to improve and get better when surrounded by and connected to other active, sober individuals.

In fact, the main of reason I joined the staff at Purple, as a certified Addiction Counselor, a few months ago, is that I believe, at its best, Purple provides as good a recovery environment for young men as I have seen in my eight years in the addiction treatment world. Addiction and alcoholism are dire afflictions that tend to consume many lives. Some cases are too severe and all treatment efforts end up being unsuccessful, but as we have experienced up to this point the most effective medicine for this disease is what we practice and believe here in our work with the men of Purple. Isolation and loneliness can be supplanted by fellowship, brotherhood, and union. Furthermore a sense of belonging can replace the addict’s long-held belief that they were doomed to be misunderstood and alone. Unfortunately, not every case goes this way, but we see dramatic returns to health and vitality occurring on a regular basis.

So the suffering addict or alcoholic gets support, but what about the family members and loved ones who have been deeply afflicted by this ruinous and dark malady as well? They are typically no less isolated, lonely, confused, and hurt than the addicted person themselves, but what can be done to help in these situations? Again, what we have overwhelmingly found works best is a shift from isolation to connection. The good news is that the possibilities for family members of recovering folks to find support and community have grown in recent years, be it AlAnon, Families Anonymous, religious or faith-based support groups, on-line groups, etc. In the same way the drug- addicted person gets better when regularly connecting with peers, the same is also true for suffering family members. Families ravaged by years of attempting to deal with a growing forest fire of addiction are well aware of the many unique problems, fears, pains, and embarrassing situations these devastating issues can bring about. Nothing we’ve found imparts precious hope in these situations like listening and relating to other people’s similar struggles and solutions.

This is why I love what Donna, Adam, Brett and Joel do here at Purple with the family workshops and programs. If you have not attended one of these sessions, I would encourage you to give it a try. We find them to be very helpful and positive and would love to see you there!