One client’s story…
When I was growing up, my father’s unexplained absences and appearances left me and my siblings confused and hurt. He would not show for a music recital but would appear unexpectedly at a graduation drunk and stoned. He once told us we were going to move across the country. We sold the house, got ready and prepared for the move. Then he showed up to tell us that he was moving without us. There were many times when he would choose favorites among his children and then pit us against each other.
I was 22 when I had a realization: my father was an alcoholic. I wanted to run from the truth. I ignored it for many years, but wherever I went, the truth followed me.
Profoundly lonely, I moved from city to city seeking a place where I might feel comfortable. I was in constant fear of making someone angry, of being abandoned, not perfect, not smart, not attractive and just simply not good enough. The affects of alcoholism are deep and long lasting.
A friend encouraged me to attend a 12-Step group which supports families or individuals affected by someone else’s drinking or addictions – a 12-Step program for family and friends of alcoholics! I cautiously attended. I was worried that I’d be the only Jewish person there. I was very wrong!
Now after several years, I honestly can’t imagine my life without the wisdom, love and support of the fellowship of the 12-Step community. My family has healed and continues to heal one day at a time.
I learned that I can be happy whether the alcoholic is drinking or not. It takes work, but I am a better person for it. I can love my father and forgive him because I now have a better understanding of his illness.
My past burdens are blessings because they led me to a wonderful life in recovery and service. I am no longer lonely. My life is a miracle.
For anyone in the Jewish community who is confronted with addiction issues, the JFCS Klempner Center provides preventative educational programs for children and teens, community educational seminars and workshops on topics related to addictions.
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