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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Road To Recovery

Battling-Addictions-logo

Dear Brocha,

Thank you for boldly speaking out about this issue. My name is Leah* and I am an addict. I sat down to write about my struggles, but the pain is still too raw. All I can say is that I am so grateful that there is finally a place in a Jewish publication where this issue is being addressed. 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!”

I received the following powerful and insightful letter at an NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting last night, and I wondered if you would publicize it. I asked at the meeting and they said that it is not a copyrighted letter. When I read it to my mother, her eyes welled up with tears, and she said that it helped her understand my daily struggles. I am hopeful that your readers will understand what addicts face and be able to express more empathy toward us and our struggles. Thanks again, and if only for today, I am grateful that I am clean and sober.

Leah

Dear Leah,

Congratulations on your strength and courage. As with any journey worth taking there will be obstacles. Yet, we must believe that they are always possible to overcome with love and support – and hard work. I am hopeful that the letter will shed a deeper insight into the struggles that addicts face on a daily basis.

Dear Friend,

I’ve come to visit once again. I love to see you suffer mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. I want to have you restless so you can never relax. I want you jumpy and nervous and anxious. I want to make you agitated and irritable so everything and everybody makes you uncomfortable. I want you to be depressed and confused so that you can’t think clearly or positively. I want to make you hate everything and everybody – especially yourself. I want you to feel so guilty and remorseful for the things you have done in the past that you’ll never be able to let go. I want to make you angry and hateful toward the world for the way it is and the way you are. I want you to feel sorry for yourself and blame everything but your addiction for the way things are. I want you to be deceitful and untrustworthy, and to manipulate and con as many people as possible. I want to make you fearful and paranoid for no reason at all and I want you to wake up during all hours of the night screaming for me. You know you can’t sleep without me; I’m even in your dreams.

I want to be the first thing you wake up to every morning and the last thing you touch before you black out. I would rather kill you, but I’ll be happy enough if I can put you back in the hospital, another institution or jail. But you know that I’ll still be waiting for you when you come out. I love to watch you slowly going insane. I love to see all the physical damage that I’m causing you. I can’t help but sneer and chuckle when you shiver and shake, when you freeze and sweat at the same time, when you wake up with your sheets and blankets soaking wet.

It’s amazing how much destruction I can do to your internal organs while at the same time, work on your brain, destroying it bit by bit. I deeply appreciate how much you sacrifice for me.

The countless good jobs you have sacrificed for me. All the fine friends that you deeply cared for – you gave them up for me. What’s more, for the ones you turned against on your own because of your inexcusable actions – I am more than grateful.

And especially your loved ones, your family, and the most important people in the world to you. You even threw them away for me. I cannot express in words the gratitude I have for the loyalty you have for me. You sacrificed all these beautiful things in your life just to devote yourself completely to me. But do not despair my friend, for on me you can always depend. For after you have lost all these things, you can still depend on me to take even more. You can depend on me to keep you in a living hell, to keep your mind, body and soul. FOR I WILL NOT BE SATISFIED UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD, MY FRIEND.

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Battling-Addictions-logo

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!”

Battling-Addictions-logo

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:

Dear Brocha, Hi, I’m not sure how writing to an advice column can help, but I feel so alone and have nowhere to turn. My 25-year-old daughter is addicted to prescription pain killers (Percocet), and so far she doesn’t seem to want help or even acknowledge that she has a problem. About two years ago […]

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