The first time I heard the word â€œalcoholicâ€, my mother was talking with a friend. I asked what this word meant, and part of the explanation included, â€œbut donâ€™t worry because Jewish people donâ€™t have this problem.â€
As I grew older, I noticed that when I drank there were problems. One drink was too many and dozens of drinks were never enough. Once I started drinking I could not stop! I was experiencing black-out drinking and shaking hands in the morning so severe that I needed two hands to apply make-up and to sip coffee. Yet, I still could not admit that I might be an alcoholic.
I had this image in my mind of what an alcoholic looked like. It would be a man in a dirty raincoat living under a bridge, holding a paper bag with a bottle in it. But I was wrong. An alcoholic or addict can be anyone â€“ man, woman, rich, poor, any ethnicity, any religionâ€¦ including Jewish.
I am now a sober woman thanks to the wisdom and power found by working the 12 Steps. I attend several weekly meetings, have a sponsor and work with other alcoholics.
I am also a mother, wife, sister, friend and active member in the Louisville Jewish community. There is a wonderful Jewish fellowship within the awesome kinship of the recovery world.
In the beginning of my sober years, I had so much shame about being an alcoholic. Now I know that alcoholism is a disease and not a failure. Today I am so proud to carry a message based on spirituality, love and service.
A Jewish Women in Recovery group meets regulary at Jewish Family & Career Services. It is not an Al-anon group nor a 12-step program, but if is a fellowship group for women who participate in a recovery program. For more information, contact Judy Freundlich Tiell at 502.452.6341, ext 224.
If you are Jewish and are worried about yourself or a family member because of possible abuse of alcohol, drugs, gambling or other addictive behavior, JFCS offers an anonymous phone line, which is answered by a Jewish person in a 12-step recovery program, who will direct you to a program that might provide help or relief. Call 502.727.9287 and leave a message. Your call will be returned quickly so you can get help for yourself or a loved one.
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