Catholic Support Group Helps Young Adults Suffering From Addiction

A Catholic-sponsored support group for young adults with addictions has been helping young people in Denver since opening in April 2019.

Known as Full Circle, this twelve-step program is rooted in the philosophy of enthusiastic sobriety: encouraging young people to adopt healthier behaviors through nurturing and educational programs. Services are offered free of charge to families.

Bonavitacola. (Photo: Full Circle website)

Full Circle is a God-centered support group for families and their children who engage in self-harming behavior, defined by the program as “substance use, self-harm, eating disorders, promiscuity, and drug addiction.” pornography”.

Founder, Father John Bonavitacola, who is from the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, described the Church’s role in an interview with Denver Catholic: “We help [these young people] to form that relationship with God as the foundation of their new way of life… using truly positive peer support.

Fr. Bonavitacola added that Full Circle does not only serve individuals within the Catholic community. Families of various religious and spiritual practices seek the program’s support, “even an atheist family, believe it or not,” he said.

“There’s a common belief, obviously, in God, and we respect that,” he told Denver Catholic. “We’re not trying to make them Catholic, we’re trying to heal their family, so they in turn can build on that in terms of living their faith.”

Bonavitacola, who appears to lean to the right politically, added that working with young people is “much needed outreach to the church in general.”

Colorado program director Ben Stincer stressed that Full Circle does not provide treatment or therapy for people with addictions.

Instead, the program provides a space where individuals can receive peer support and refers patients to specialist clinicians within their community.

According to the program, Full Circle has a 70% success rate over 90 days, measured by a period of abstinence. Full Circle provides support for two years or more and includes programs that help young people in their transition to college.

Full Circle currently serves more than 175 families in the Denver metro area with children ages 13-25.

The support groups are divided into two categories, with young teenagers aged 13 to 17 meeting staff members – the majority of whom are young people themselves – on Mondays and Wednesdays, and people aged 18 to 25 meeting with staff. meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Parents and families usually meet once a week.

On weekends, Full Circle organizes activities to create a safe place for young people to bond with each other and have fun in a sober environment.

The annual operating budget for the Colorado branch is $400,000. It currently employs five employees and one intern.

Like the people Full Circle serves, staff members are young people, usually between the ages of 18 and 26, who are recovering themselves.

“The staff demonstrates a constant dedication to their own personal and spiritual growth in order to maintain their own sobriety, which enables them to be examples of enthusiastic sobriety for the young men and women who attend Full Circle,” explained Bonavitacola at Denver Catholic.

According to Stincer, hiring staff who share common experiences with the youth they serve strengthens the program and fosters greater member engagement.

Meetings are held at Full Circle’s office in Denver.

To learn more, visit their website or sign up by calling the Colorado branch at (720) 531-3716 to schedule an initial appointment.

Full Circle is part of a Tempe, Ariz., nonprofit called the Full Circle Program, which receives major support from Catholic donors, according to tax records, and is not officially associated with the Archdiocese of Denver.

Virginia S. Braud