The Life of Purpose Story
Andrew Burki, Founder and CEO of Life of Purpose, spent his late adolescence at a number of substance use
disorder treatment facilities, which encompassed various approaches to recovery from chemical dependency. Consequently, his substance use derailed his education.
Having highly-educated parents who studied at Harvard and MIT, the interruption of Andrew’s education was a source of tremendous shame and distress for him and served as a barrier to ongoing recovery. After treatment episodes at multiple institutions, he arrived at a highly-regarded extended care facility in Boca Raton, Florida. Having entered long-term recovery in 2001, it was this South Florida program that
provided him the clinical care necessary to produce a successful outcome. Unfortunately, it was also there that his parents, then weary of their son’s many failed attempts to recover, were advised by a therapist not to support his college attendance until he was continuously clean and sober f
or five years.
Although this recommendation may seem outrageous to those unfamiliar with traditional substance use disorder treatment, those of us who are familiar know that it is all too consistent with conventional industry wisdom. More often than not, people in early recovery are advised by professionals to delay their education for one-to-five years. Desperate to save their son, Andrew’s parents followed this clinical recommendation. After witnessing firsthand the depression that stems from stagnation and lack of upward mobility, Andrew’s parents encouraged him to return to school just shy of five years into his recovery.
Since that time, Andrew has dedicated his professional and academic career to developing the Life of Purpose model, based on research that supports the integration of higher education and treatment services. In 2013, one year after receiving his Masters degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University, Andrew opened Life of Purpose Treatment.
Life of Purpose is the first substance misuse treatment facility on a university campus in the United States.