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Alcohol Recovery Programs for Jewish People

Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others (JACS)

Alcoholism is a huge plague on families and communities throughout the US, including the Jewish community. Unfortunately, Jewish alcoholics are often afraid to discuss their problems with family members and significant others. 

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Alcoholism and Drug Dependency in the Jewish Community

For decades, a stigma has persisted among Jewish people that alcoholism and drug dependency affect Christian and secular individuals. This has rendered treatment options more scarce for Jewish alcoholics, chemically dependent persons and their loved ones.

There are numerous misconceptions in the Jewish community that have caused many individuals to avoid treatment programs. Common misconceptions include:

  • Jewish alcoholics don’t exist. The Jewish faith protects its adherents from the vices of Christian and secular life.
  • Jewish people don’t drink or engage in drugs. Jewish individuals who do fall prey to these vices have forsaken their faith.
  • Addiction is a sign of moral failure. No person raised in a nurturing Jewish environment would ever succumb to such depravity.
  • Addiction treatment is superfluous because Jewish spirituality renders people impervious to addictive behavior.

These and other misconceptions have created clouds of shame and denial for Jewish alcoholics. This has made it difficult for Jewish people to seek recovery. 

To redress the lack of Jewish recovery options, organizations like Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons, and Significant Others (JACS) seek to help Jewish individuals struggling with addiction.

In Jewish family life, households are typically tight-lipped about topics like drugs and alcohol. It’s often feared that if word were to spread about a family member’s addiction struggles, it would lead to ostracism from the Jewish community.

JACD promotes addiction education in a nurturing Jewish environment. They seek to inform Jewish alcoholics and their loved ones that chemically dependent persons suffer a disease, not a moral problem.

Alcohol Treatment and the Jewish Tradition

Since the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous, people who’ve struggled with alcoholism have had support groups. People from all walks of life attend AA meetings to discuss their alcohol problems. However, it’s often believed that there are no treatment providers for Jewish alcoholics due to the perceived Christian orientation of AA and the like.

AA, in fact, is supportive of anyone who seeks inner-strength in their own faith, be it Christian, Jewish, Taoist, Buddhist, Muslim or other. Overall, 12-step support groups encourage members to pray to a higher power. Jews can apply this principle to their own faith by reciting prayers from the siddur. The Jewish faith stresses three areas of self-development:

  • Physical – Judaism encourages people to be their best selves through health and wellness activities.
  • Emotional – Judaism encourages people to have open hearts and peaceful states of mind, fostered through positive self-image and relationships with family, friends and partners.
  • Spiritual – Judaism encourages people to have faith in a higher power and use it as a guiding light and source of strength.

All three principles are compatible with the 12-step recovery model, which encourages people to focus on faith, physical health, and mental wellbeing. Judaism also stresses three relationships of utmost importance to adherents of the faith:

  • Oneself – Judaism stresses having love, respect and belief in oneself; in taking actions congruent with self-betterment.
  • Others – Judaism stresses having a healthy Connection with relatives, friends, loved ones, colleagues and members of the community.
  • God – Judaism stresses the importance of a relationship with God.

These three relationships are all encouraged in 12-step programs.

Wellness Therapy for Jewish Alcoholics

For Jewish alcoholics, drug and alcohol treatment providers offer therapy designed for self-improvement:

  • Dual diagnosis therapy – This gets to the heart of the patient’s underlying psychological issues that feed addictive behavior. Childhood loss and trauma are two major issues that cause people to drink as adults. Dealing with these issues makes it easier to triumph over alcoholism.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – Self-destructive behavior (like alcoholism) is often driven by negative beliefs that are deeply embedded in a person’s subconscious. CBT helps patients reverse these beliefs, turning “you want a drink” to “you don’t want a drink.”
  • Experiential therapy – Activities that involve healthy physical and intellectual experiences like exercise, yoga, horseback riding, animal care, hiking, reading, writing, music appreciation, painting and drawing.
  • Family therapy – In recovery sessions, counselors bring patients and their family members together to discuss things. Alcoholism often drives wedges between addicted individuals and their loved ones. Family counseling helps mend these gaps.

Alcohol treatment therapy welcomes people of all faiths. The treatment modalities are compatible with the principles of Judaism.

Treatment Programs for Jewish Alcoholics

For people struggling with alcoholism and drug dependency, treatment centers use the following recovery process:

  • Detox – This starts after the patient has his/her last drink and vows to not drink going forward. During days two and three of detox, the patient typically endures cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Treatment staff may administer anti-addiction medication to help the patient through this stage.
  • Residential treatment – The next step after detox is recovery treatment, which usually involves a 30-90-day stay at a rehab facility. Residential inpatient treatment includes healthy meals, group meetings, private counseling, experiential therapy, education and private time.
  • Outpatient treatment – Similar to residential treatment, except the patient lives at home and comes to the rehab center in the daytime for group meetings, wellness activities, etc. This is the more ideal option for patients with ongoing day-to-day work and social obligations.
  • Aftercare – For patients who need support beyond treatment, most centers offer numbers to call for ongoing moral support.

Treatment programs help Jewish alcoholics conquer the problem and achieve long-term sobriety.

Get Help Today

Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call

Get Help for Alcoholism and Drug Dependency

Jewish alcoholics often fear rejection from their communities. Treatment programs are designed to pull addicts from the brink with evidence-based forms of rehab therapy. As intended, these programs work on people of all faiths.

If someone you love struggles with alcohol or chemical dependency, get that person the treatment he/she needs. Contact the treatment centers in your area and ask about their programs. Your call could make a world of difference.

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