THE BLOG

Walking to Freedom

03/20/2015 07:15 pm ET | Updated May 20, 2015

While there are many who provide insight into the struggles they face as addicts, it's less often that we see the perspectives of the family members who are also emotionally battling the slow loss of losing a loved one to addiction. I do not mean "losing" as in dying, I mean losing as in watching their loved one be imprisoned by something that overtakes them. Not to mention, that this is not a rare occurrence. About 23 million Americans or 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 are addicted to drug and alcohol.

Not only is addiction a personal sickness, but also, like a dark cloud that rains over a person's life, affects everyone around him/her. This is why it is so important to provide opportunities for treatment to those who need help, as well as those who have been emotionally scarred from watching their loved ones lose themselves in this painful downward spiral.

I remember a few months ago, my friend Bobby joined a group of us for dinner one Friday night to share that he had just been searching for his twin brother all day, who he had not been in real contact with for years and was homeless living a few cities away. His brother had been suffering from meth addiction, and they took very different paths in life. Not only was this shocking to hear that Bobby had a twin brother, Chris that was homeless living a couple hours away, but it was more shocking as I had known Bobby for 5 years without ever hearing about his brother. I realized that this was not only something his brother had been suffering with, but that Bobby had also been suffering for years as well, keeping this part of his life hidden, as it was too painful to address.

Bobby refused to accept that this was his brother's fate, and dropped everything in his life to support his brother through his journey. Finally they found each other and together walked that road to recovery. Not only is his brother now in the process of sobriety, but he also is walking across America and asking others who have been clean how they have succeeded to beat this sickness.

When Bobby sent me this compelling video, he also told me that he was going to be walking 20 miles with his brother that day. This is why this story is unique. Yes, the fact that one person is deciding to walk entirely across America is pretty rare, (however, Cheryl Strayed's Wild already covered a similar journey and what it can do to heal your broken heart). I find this story so compelling because Chris is not alone. He is not taking this journey by himself. He has an entire team of people behind him rooting for him, joining him, healing with him. With every step, comes an opportunities to reach freedom, freedom from the pain, the suffering, the deep anguish that comes from a life of imprisonment within your own body. And Bobby is there with him. He is healing in the process as well, and he is stepping towards his own version of freedom.

While there are a lot of campaigns for a lot of good causes, (I support a lot of them), this one is worth supporting. With every story, every conversation, every step, Chris will be showing the 23 million people who are suffering that this is not the end; in fact it's just the beginning of the journey.

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