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January 30, 2004 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-30

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Special Report

FIGHTING from page 17

hooked, too.'
"You have to have at least a mini-
mum of experience in the field to
be able to give help, not just to the
people suffering the addiction, but
to- the family left in their wake,"
Rabbi Schwartz says.


A Higher Power •

The 12-step program for addiction
recovery puts repeated emphasis on
"a higher power."
'An addict already knows there's a
higher power," says one of the
members of the Friendship Circle
Fellowship Program. 'Alcohol and
drugs are a higher power."
Another, who defines himself as a
very Reform Jew, says, "God can do
for me what I cannot do."
'AA repeatedly says 'God as we
understand him," he explains.
"Basically, what they mean is,
`There is a God, and you [the
addict] are not it.'"
The structure of AA and similar
groups, Surowy says, gives addicts a
new-peer structure — "instead of
Dauch __people who are like me and using,
people who are like me and commit-
ted to recovery."
For some people who have a strong commitment to
beat a chemical addiction, medications such as Revia
and Antabuse that take away the craving for drugs have
proved very effective, he says.
"The likelihood of my being able to remain clean
and sober is greater once I get some meaning into my
life," Surowy says.

For the more than 150 people who have worked
with the Friendship Circle's Rabbi Pinson since he
arrived in Detroit in June 2002, that meaning is form-
ing a connection with God.
"The only true getting-well is spiritual transforma-
tion," said one recovering drug addict. "Working with
Rabbi Pinson allows us to work on our spiritual side."
At the Fellowship Program mysticism class, the rabbi
speaks of the self-esteem that comes from knowing
each of us is part of God's master plan.
"God chose your soul in your body to be born that
day," he says. "This was by design — the world would
not be the world if I were not a part of it. You were
made by God, and so you have worth."

Alternative Therapies

A Southfield clinic founded by Marky and Wendy Bass
of Huntington Woods attempts to provide the fellow-
ship of group meetings and an increase in self-esteem
— but without the emphasis on spirituality.
Marky and his brother Jeff Bass grew up in Oak Park
and have become famous for their work in producing
rapper Eminem's albums. But, although Marky Bass
had shared two Grammy Awards and was a success in
the eyes of the world, his life was miserable.
"That's just the way it is," says the 38-year-old
Marky Bass, who said he had been addicted to any-
thing he could get his hands on since he was in junior
high school. "When I'm using, I isolate. Everything is
Dave Hochberg, Clean House CEO, teaches ceramics.
awful. When I'm not using everything around me is
stay in recovery using the 12-step approach. He decid-
Bass says he tended to use drugs when his mind was
ed to open the kind of place he, himself, would like to
not otherwise occupied.
go to when he felt the need for drugs or alcohol.
"The music business is one of the only ones where
Along with old friend David Hochberg of West
they can know you're addicted and you don't lose your
Bloomfield, he began Clean House, a place where
job," he says. "I was sober for 12 years before I over -
addicts could come to try out new skills and hobbies to
produced Eminem."
keep their hands busy and their minds off drugs.
Marky Bass says he's seen too many people fail to
Clean House, which opened last summer in a 6,000-

Advocate For Healing

Rabbi-Psychiatrist Twerski brought Jewish substance abuse to light.

Staff Writer


say it's all that Twerski's fault ... If
he'd have kept his mouth shut,
we wouldn't have this problem."
It's only a cartoon caption, but
Hershey Worch's words on the Web
site of JACS (Jewish Alcoholics,
Chemically Dependent Persons and
Significant Others) summarize the
ambivalent feelings of America's
Jewish community toward the recov-
ery community — and the impor-
tance of its chief guru, Rabbi
Abraham Twerski.
A psychiatrist as well as an
Orthodox rabbi, Rabbi Twerski
"deserves much of the credit for
bringing the reality of the Jewish sub-



stance abuser out into the open," says
Rabbi Yisrael Pinson, recovery rabbi
of the Friendship Circle, a West
Bloomfield-based communi-
ty assistance program run by
the Lubavitch movement.
"Rabbi Twerski is a phe-
nomenon. Anyone can pick
up his books and get some-
thing out of them," says
Rabbi Dannel Schwartz of
Temple Shir Shalom.
Adds Emilie Dauch, direc-
tor of the addiction recovery
program at Jewish Family Service of
Metropolitan Detroit, "Anybody
who's heard him speak absolutely
doesn't want to leave."
The local Jewish community will
have the opportunity to learn from

Rabbi Twerski on Wednesday, Feb.
25, at the Jewish Community Center
in West Bloomfield.
He'll give three separate
presentations, all sponsored
by the Friendship Circle
counseling division. The first
two are by invitation only:
"Perspectives on Judaism,
Addiction and Recovery," for
therapists and medical per-
sonnel; and "Is There an
Addict In Your Shur for
rabbis, hosted by the Jewish
Chaplaincy Network and the
Michigan Board of Rabbis.
At 7 p.m., he will speak on the
topic "Kids At Risk: What Your Kids
Know and You Don't." This presenta-
tion, which is open to the community

at no charge, is co-sponsored by the
West Bloomfield Coalition for Youth,
the Jewish Academy of Metropolitan
Detroit, Yeshivat Akiva and Hillel
Day School of Metropolitan Detroit.
Rabbi Twerski is founder and direc-
tor emeritus of Pennsylvania's
Gateway Rehabilitation Center for the
treatment of drug and alcohol abuse,
as well as associate professor of psychi-
atry at the University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine. An Orthodox
rabbi before attending medical school,
he decided to devote his career to
addiction and recovery in 1960, when
he was a 30-year-old medical resident
in Pittsburgh.
He was not an alcoholic and knew
nothing about alcoholism — "certain-
ly nothing was taught about it in
medical school or in my psychiatric
residency, and it's not much better

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