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9th of Av-inspired sobriety

obormottel Tuesday, 21 July 2015

I slipped during last summer on a trip to Las Vegas. At every level of this disease, when you fall you fall at a higher level and its easier to cope and get back up. (Sheva Yipol Tzaddik V'kom - a Tzaddik falls seven times and gets up again).

I had stopped going to meetings, did not have a sponsor and my therapist had left town. I contacted a friend who put me in touch with the Experiential Healing Center ( They suggested I go to a week treatment at a facility in Nashville called Onsite. (

The only problem was, it was Tisha B'Av. I told someone I was going and they asked me if I was going to wear my Yarmulke. They said it would be a Chillul Hashem if I did. I decided to go, brought my own Kosher food and got my own private room. I arrived on Friday and just before Shabbos, I thought about what this person said. I said to myself," you're here to be honest, to finally be yourself and discover who you really are." I am an Orthodox Jew and I wear it proudly.

I went to dinner (Shabbos dinner for me). Sitting there with my Yarmulke, there were 10 people in my group, working on Sexual Healing Issues. Two of the participants came over to me and wished me a Good Shabbos. Well they really said, Shabbat Shalom, but that's a different story. They were not religious and were eating regular food, but when they saw my Kippah and the Challah and Grape Juice, they knew I was Orthodox.

Tisha B'Av was on Tuesday night and I invited these two guys to join me in reading Eichah. A Christian fellow was listening and asked if he could join also. What was I going to do, tell him no? The day before we had begun group therapy and got to know each other's struggles. The fact that I was there for Tisha B'Av was enough to bring a constant stream of tears to my eyes for several days. For the first time in my life I cried real tears on Tisha B'Av. I'm surprised I have any left.

We read Eichah together and had a discussion about the Bais Hamikdash, about Teshuvah and our dis-ease.

During the therapy sessions, each person does work where they play a role in reenacting a trauma in their life. The other participants play roles also, like their mother, father, inner child or HIGHER POWER (G-D). Well, out of 7 Christians and 3 Jews, guess who played G-d the whole week? Me. These two fellows became my good friends and they told me what a Kiddush Hashem I had made for them in being their hope and inspiration.

So instead of it turning out to be a Chillul Hashem, it turned out to the opposite on Tisha B'Av, no less.

Don't ever give up hope. This Onsite weekend shocked me into now 9 months of total sobriety. Work the program, read and practice the 12 steps, get a sponsor, call a friend, get honest with yourself and others and you'll heal.