When we hear about addiction and recovery, most of us might think of the incredibly difficult journey to achieve and then sustain sobriety. For certain, this is one reality.
That said, it’s one thing to refrain from using, and quite another to rebuild one’s life. One of Jewish Addiction Community Services’ clients told us that, although they have been in recovery for three years, they felt that their life had little meaning. Working together, we uncovered the “missing link”: their prior lifestyle had damaged, and in some cases severed, many of their connections to family and community. More importantly, that insight led to building some practical plans for reconnecting. They now report that they feel like they have turned the corner – rediscovering motivation for work, life, and being an active member of our community.
Another client, who had been using drugs for over 25 years, is now seven months sober. They recognize that Judaism’s role in their early life was important, and reconnecting to some aspect of that former life is comforting and familiar. This client attended a seder for the first time in many years and looks forward to the High Holidays.
It is no secret that community plays a crucial role in sustained recovery. The harder part is to operationalize the insight. Our role at JACS is to meet people where they are, help them find treatment, if needed, work with them to rebuild their lives, and be a link to the greater Jewish community. At the very practical level, we have helped clients connect with Tikva Housing, access the Jewish Food Bank and get financial help from Hebrew Free Loan Association. As well, working with rabbis and other agencies, we are helping individuals find ways to reconnect with a Jewish social network, support systems and the community at large.
JACS is proud that we are here to help our community. It is gratifying to know that, through education, counseling and connection, we are making a difference for those who need to know they have value and do indeed belong.
For more information about what we do, visit jacsvancouver.com.
Shelley Karrel is manager of counseling and community education at JACS Vancouver. She can be reached at [email protected].