Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma around addiction and in the Jewish community it can feel even harder to seek help. According to the Jewish Addiction Awareness Network, “while battling addiction, Jewish individuals and families must also confront the stigma and shame associated with a disease so misunderstood. The myth that Jews do not suffer from addiction as much as other groups often leaves families and individuals feeling isolated and disconnected from their friends, congregations, and communities.”
As a Jewish man who suffered from drug, alcohol and gambling addictions for many years, I know how tough it can be, but I want to encourage anyone struggling with addiction to be brave and commit to making a change. I am 35 years clean, sober and without any form of gambling, and I am so grateful for every moment that I am free of addiction. I urge members of the Jewish community to face addiction head on and starting living the life they deserve to lead.
What help is out there?
There are many different options for people ready to seek help. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) help people through their 12-step programme and meetings. Therapy and treatments such as CBT and EMDR have been shown to be highly effective for getting to the root of the problem and offering coping mechanisms to deal with cravings and temptations. There are also daycare programmes and online addiction treatment options, depending on your needs and commitments.
Inpatient rehabilitation centres offer residential programmes to provide a safe place, away from the temptations of the outside world, with 24/7 care. This is a good idea if a person’s drinking or drug use is out of control and could put them at risk of harm. It is also recommended for those people who have physical and mental health problems, and need trained specialists to help them through the process of getting clean, or detoxing, in a safe way.
The family disease
Addiction in any form is a destructive illness and affects everyone in the family. If you have a loved one who is abusing drugs or alcohol, or gambling, it can put a huge strain on the family and it’s hard to know how best to support them. It can lead to financial difficulties, a neglect of family duties, lying and secretive behaviour. Children of alcoholics or addicts often feel guilt or anger about their parent’s behaviour and don’t get the attention and care that they need. This causes a lack of trust, anger and resentment, which can make recovery harder and is painful for the family too.
The family needs and deserves support too and family therapy is a wonderful tool. The therapist offers a safe, neutral environment for communication and helps the family and the addict to get their point across and share deep seated hurt, resentment or issues which have been caused by the addiction. The therapist will also try to manage emotions and help everyone to find a positive way to communicate on these tough topics, rebuilding bridges and laying the foundation for a better family dynamic.
Protecting your career during treatment
Many people in high-flying jobs are managing to hold down a successful career while addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling. They live in constant fear of discovery and failure, and without help the problem only gets worse, putting everything they have worked so hard to achieve at risk.
However, our experience is that by speaking about issues with addictions, companies will be supportive and offer time off, or flexible working to fit around treatment. This honesty and openness also puts an additional safety net in place when they return to work.
You are not alone
If you can relate to the issues in this article, believe me, you are not alone.Change is possible with the right support and residential rehab offers a place where you are protected, supported and where you can take the first steps to changing your life around.
Please don’t let shame stop you from getting the support you, or your loved one needs to break free from addiction.
Howard Silver is co-founder of The Bridge Marbella, a private rehabilitation centre offering discretion, privacy and luxury, with bespoke programmes to treat addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling and eating disorders. With only two or three clients at any one time, clients receive intensive and personalised treatment which prioritises lasting change and sets them up for success in their lives beyond rehab. Find out more at thebridgemarbella.com