Treating addiction is perfectly normal. Everybody slips. Everybody has a monkey on their back. Seeking treatment for any disease or disorder is one of the first few steps towards making a recovery. When it comes to addiction, there are a lot of negative feelings associated with it. Most of it is neurochemical fluctuations due to a variety of factors. But some of it can be cultural. Most people are not aware that there are guidelines and professionals in every faith and culture that deal with things such as addiction within the value sets of said culture. Not only is it just as effective, but there are also plenty of cases in which the personalized touch—the feeling of home and belonging, lends a dimension to addiction treatment that secular treatment just can’t provide as well.
This is especially true of those seeking help through Jewish values and teachings.
The Precedent and Guidelines
To err is human. That is one of the fundamental humanistic teachings of the Torah. It goes on in lesson after lesson about “the gluttons” and “the drunks” often putting a humanistic spin on these self-perpetuating loops like addiction, as often portrayed by the “rebellious son.” It teaches us not to judge. The Talmud expresses the pitfalls and the dealings of all addictions, even an addiction to studying the Torah. In the infinite wisdom given to us, the recognition of human pitfalls is often repeated. Because of this, we have a clear path on how to go about recovery within our faith. It’s a misconception that the pious and the old teachings do not account for our modern problems. Many of what we face today is a rebranding of the very same issues we faced 5,000 years ago.
Treatment With Jewish Values
Being a practicing Jew has a few guidelines to it, as does any faith. Because of this, it may be difficult to find a place that can provide help within the cultural bounds and guidelines of Judaism. Today, the Kosher recovery center is becoming more and more prevalent. This is in response to the growing need, especially within densely populated cities and urban environments. When we think of “specialized” recovery, we think of far-off Malibu facilities for movie producers and the famous Florida treatment centers. Not many of us realize one can find help just across the Lincoln Tunnel. There are Jewish recovery centers led by faith through modern science. Because of the “hush-hush” nature of addiction and recovery, it gets difficult finding a place close enough to us. Fortunately, we have the internet. Finding the right fit for us is just a search away. You’d be surprised how many facilities are right around the corner. Even more surprising is how attentive and tailored treatment can be.
Before the health and wellness industry was pushing the notion of meditation and self-care, there was shavat va’yinafash. One needs to rest the soul. One needs to give themselves time to unload the troubles of the week, month, years—and give time to Hashem. This is effectively a detox period. Detox, as lined out by many facilities, is the time in which compassion and anchoring beliefs are most needed. It’s the time of healing that is most anticipated when seeking treatment. As Jewish values dictate, the importance of community and togetherness is stressed. Remember: you are one of The Tribe. You have a home. You have a community. As much as the disease may leave you feeling isolated and ostracized, there are people within the faith to help.
As stated before, modern healthcare practices are used in conjunction with the guidelines of the faith. Board-certified physicians are always present in the process. Jewish and secular counselors are available for you to engage with. There is a myriad of options within a Kosher treatment plan. Physical and psychological well being is the most important thing that we all have to ensure while seeking treatment. Some of us may need a bit more medical attention than others. This is especially true with alcohol addiction. All illicit substances affect the liver, making it more difficult to synthesize and process proteins—the building blocks of all things in our body. This assessment, although objective, is factored into the mental health aspect of your treatment as well. We all have a different path to health, but our body remains the same. The beautiful thing about applying Jewish values to physical recovery is that our treatment is never outside of context. It’s never just a cold, clinical application of medicines. It’s all wrapped in the context of we seek.
Diet And Clinical Nutrition
The more obvious kosher aspect of the wellness plan is diet. Not surprisingly, practicing Jews often see treatment facilities as a place that cannot possibly stick to the Kosher guidelines. “What would they know, they have blanket-statement nutritional practices!” Fortunately, facilities that offer services to Jewish people always have a Rabbi or two on call. They not only guide individuals in their spiritual journey towards recovery, but they also advise and inspect all the food and drink that gets to you. It is 100% in their standards and practices to have things inspected and pre-approved to give to Jewish patients. This way, you and your family can have that peace of mind during the recovery period. Training and handling are also updated as needed so that everything that gets to you is approved by the appropriate certifying body, much like National Jewish Health’s Clinical Nutrition Services. In short, your food and your treatments pass the test. You don’t even need to worry about it.
Follow up is a massive part of one’s road to recovery. Even after you check out of the facility, some resources and rabbis are trained in this aspect that will guide you whenever you need it. Systems and networks are put in place so that you’re never alone in this. The people you need are just a phone call away. It’s comforting to know that your confidante on the other end of the line knows your set of values. Do not hesitate to seek help if you’re in a crisis. They’re always available for you.