Chris Porkka had been through the same treatment facility four times in a year and a half when he turned to The Family Restored for help fighting his addiction to alcohol and opioids.

“My family had kind of cut me out, and I needed someone to take a chance on me and give me an opportunity,” Porkka said. “The Family Restored did just that.”

Sober for more than eight months, Porkka was wearing a “Recipient” button at the sixth annual scholarship fundraiser for The Family Restored June 8 at Congregation Bet Ha’am in South Portland. The event raised $60,000.

“The roots of The Family Restored go back to 2007, when three recovered addicts launched Addict in the Family support groups to help families understand why their loved ones behaved the way they do,” said Executive Director Tom Mahoney. “Families were struggling to get their loved ones into treatment because of the costs. So, in 2014, a nonprofit started raising money to send people to recovery programs and to treatment residences.”

The Family Restored has given more than $447,000 in scholarships to 340 people in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

One of the first to attend Addict in the Family meetings was Karen Walsh, who is now board president of The Family Restored.

“My husband and I have two children in recovery,” she said. “One is approaching five years, and the other is approaching five months. We are very proud of both of them. Providing opportunities for recovery for family, friends and strangers is why we are here today. We have the potential to change lives.”

“Recovery is possible,” Mahoney said.

“In 2010, my family was annihilated by this disease,” said Julie Gregory, explaining that her parents died in quick succession and she became an addict herself. In 2018, she got a scholarship from The Family Restored and went into treatment.

Nine months ago, she was offered the opportunity to co-manage The Family Restored House, the first nonprofit women’s sober house in Maine.

“I found family through the house and the whole community,” Gregory said. “The ability to guide women with insecurity with honesty has allowed me to makes amends with my family. I’m able to help girls with things I’ve handled wrong in my family. I never thought the healing process could be started, and that’s where I am today.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected]


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