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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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Road to Recovery

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In 2009, nearly a quarter of surveyed students in grades nine through twelve had been “offered, sold or given an illegal drug by someone on school property,” as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While it is true that this number is still not that high in our community, baruch Hashem, this does not negate the fact that it is growing alarmingly higher every year.

Teenagers and young adults will become involved with alcohol and drugs for many reasons:

• Curiosity: They want to know what it feels like to get high or be drunk.

• Peer pressure: Their friends are doing it.

• Acceptance: Their parents or role models are doing it.

• Defiance: They want to rebel against societal rules.

• Risk-taking behaviors: They need to send out a call for help.

• Thrill-seeking activities: They want to experience something other than numbness.

• Boredom: They feel they have done everything else exciting.

• Independence: They want to make their own decisions.

• Pleasure: They want to feel good.

While the first few instances of alcohol or drug use may seem exciting, the behavior can quickly spiral into substance abuse and addiction, and ultimately may even necessitate intervention or even rehab. Teenagers rarely ever consider the long-term damage they can do to themselves, their families and their communities.

Despite new laws, zero tolerance policies and stronger community education programs, teen exposure to drugs and alcohol is still on the rise. These substances are seen at social gatherings, in shuls and at friends’ homes. They routinely play a pivotal role at our simchas.

At almost any age, individuals desire to be liked and accepted by the people around them. They want to be part of the popular group. Teens especially crave this approval because it makes the difficult teenage years a bit more bearable. This desire to fit in forms one of the key issues for teens. The question that really needs to be considered is how can our bachurim be made to feel like they belong without the drink? How can we teach our children to enjoy life without numbing themselves? Unfortunately, it is apparent that a strong relationship exists between alcohol use amongst teens and many social, emotional, and behavioral problems.

That being said, I would like to offer some practical advice. Your son still seems to think that his drinking won’t develop into a larger problem. Although, given his history of “hanging with the wrong crowd” it appears that he is heading down a road to bigger problems. You should take the time to sit down with him and be open and honest about your fears. Perhaps he will open up as to why he is unhappy with himself and feels the need to impress “the guys.” I would also try positive re-enforcement. You might want to offer to take him on a Father-Son trip if he makes the responsible choice to be alcohol free on Simchas Torah. Allow him to choose something of value. If he chooses the reward, chances are he will be more likely to earn it.

Wishing you much hatzlacha and a Chag ‘Ach’ Somayach!

Please let me know how things turned out.

Take care,
Brocha

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2 Responses to “Road to Recovery”

  1. Stacy Wexler says:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
    RECOVERY ROAD EXPANDS TREATMENT SERVICES TO HELP THE COMPULSIVE GAMBLER.
    Two of the country’s leading experts in treating compulsive gambling join the organization to help combat the progressive addiction that impacts millions in the U.S. today
    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., Oct. 5 — Recovery Road has announced its expansion to include treatment of gambling addiction, providing those living with the illness an opportunity for recovery. Recovery Road has leveraged its current model for addiction treatment and services and added key personnel, including Arnie and Sheila Wexler, two of the country's pioneers in treating compulsive gambling.
    The Wexlers bring more than 40 years of experience working with compulsive gamblers and their families to Recovery Road. Both are Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselors (CCGC) and will be instrumental in the success of Recovery Road’s gambling addiction program, as well as in the hiring of other certified gambling counselors, therapists and staff.
    “Our approach to treating various forms of addiction has garnered the accolades of both our clients and addiction professionals, and we now have an excellent team in place to provide the best treatment for the compulsive gambler,” said A.J. Schreiber, Recovery Road CEO. “The Wexlers, along with the other certified professionals who have joined our team, bring a wealth of experience and expertise, as well as the right tools, to Recovery Road, so we can deliver the most effective treatment of this insidious disease."
    Gambling addiction, or pathological gambling, is a serious and progressive mental disorder that affects approximately 2 million adults in the U.S. alone, according to the latest reports by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), and continues to spread rapidly with the increase in online gambling. The NCPG also reports that one in five pathological gamblers attempts suicide, a rate higher than any other addictive disorder.
    About Recovery Road.
    Recovery Road (www.recoveryroad.com) is a treatment facility for those who are struggling with addiction and substance abuse. Recovery Road’s customized, multidisciplinary treatments launch individuals on a lifelong road to recovery and ensure they possess the skills needed to live full, healthy, enjoyable, and sober lives. Recovery Road is located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
    # # #.
    Contact: Hal Pastner.
    888-899-8301
    info@recoveryroad.com
    For more information regarding the treatment of the compulsive gambler and our treatment facility, contact Recovery Road at 888-899-8301 or info@recoveryroad.com.
    Gambling problem call — 888 LAST BET.

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I feel so much shame about my disease and the pain I have caused my family and friends. I am trying to make things better now, and hopefully I will be able to beat this disease for good. As they say in the meetings: “One day at a time!”

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Dear Brocha,

Hello! My name is Dovid* and I am a Gambling Addict. I am 37 years old, with bli ayin hara, three wonderful children, and a special wife who is the source of my strength and recovery.

Dear Brocha,

Thank you so much for your column and for shining light on this matter.

Addiction has been gnawing at the souls of our community for a long time. Yet, it still remains a disease that is swept under the table.

Dear Brocha,

As I write this letter I am overcome with emotions. Relief, fear, trepidation, elation…the feelings are all jumbled up inside of me.

Please allow me to back track.

My daughter, who recently turned 20, just left to rehab. After four years of denial, lies, manipulation, anger and chaos she finally admitted she has a problem with alcohol.

Dear Brocha,…

Today, I am a father of six bochurim b”ah. While I love and appreciate all of my children, unfortunately the Yomim Tovim aren’t filled with the good memories as in the days of yore. You see, one of my sons got involved with the wrong crowd, and at 16 he looks forward to Shabbos and Yom Tov as simply another opportunity to drink. Now that Sukkos is almost upon us, instead of joyfully anticipating, I am cautiously fearful about what Simchas Torah will bring.

Dear Brocha,

I am married for 5 years and am unsure how to proceed with my husband and his behavior. Our religion incorporates alcohol throughout the year and during life cycle events. Purim, Pesach, bar mitzvahs, weddings and every Shabbos kiddush (not to mention the kiddush club) all seemingly require alcohol as an integral and necessary ingredient. For my husband, it seems like there is always a “good reason” to make a l’chayim.

Dear Brocha,

Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your story. I am getting chizuk just from reading about your journey. I know my husband and I need to go to a meeting, and we will. Let me tell you my story:

After listening with an empathetic ear for about an hour, he asked me if I went to Nar-Anon meetings. “Me?!” I responded. “Maybe the Rabbi didn’t understand me. I’m not the one who needs help! I’m here seeking how to fix my addict!” “Well,” he replied softly, “You need to go to the meetings. It […]

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