Dear Readers, I do not regret the past, nor do I wish to shut the door on it. I am now able to understand, feel serenity and know peace. No matter how far down the road I have traveled, I now see how my experiences can benefit others. This is part of the Al-Anon/Nar-anon 12 promises that can be achieved by everyone who “works it.” But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning:
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.
Ms. S. is 31 years old and has been hearing voices for the past 10 years. The voices come almost every day and they tell her that she is a failure, will never amount to anything, no one likes her or respects her. Ms. S. was diagnosed with schizophrenia. At the age of 21 she was told she has a disease of the brain and will need to take medication for the rest of her life.
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, 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.
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!”
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, Hi, I'm not sure how writing to an advice column can help, but I feel so alone and have nowhere to turn. My...
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, 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.