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March 19, 2004 - Image 99

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-03-19

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Keeping Kids D

Rabbi-psychiatrist blames addiction on lack of spiritual values.

addressed the standing-room-only crowd at the
Jewish Community Center.
The topic, "What Your Teens Know --- And You
Don't,"
was an especially important one to the rabbi
abbi Abraham Twerski, a small man wear-

important
enough to miss the bar mitzvah party
ing a black frocli coat and a Snoopy neck-
of
one
of
his
grandsons.
"For any other topic, I
- tie, stood before/350-400 people in West
would
have
canceled,"
he
said.
Bloomfield and told them to amend their
An
associate
professor
of
psychiatry at the
ways.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Rabbi
"Drugs in adolescence have become an epidemic,
Twerski also is founder and medical director emeritus
said the psychiatrist and Orthodox rabbi, who has
of Gateway Rehabilitation Center. Gateway, a non-
gained the respect of the medical, educational and
profit drug and alcohol treatment system in western
therapeutic communities -- non-Jewish and Jewish
Pennsylvania, is frequently cited as one of the most
— with his spiritually based approach to fighting
effective drug and alcohol treatment centers in the
addiction..
United States.
"Here in the United States, we have had eight
He has written more than 30 books on such
administrations who have fought the war on drugs
seemingly disparate subjects as substance abuse,
with no effect," he said. "Whatever has been done
domestic violence, parenting and losing weight — all
has not put a dent in the drug business."
linked by his thesis that lack
The reason that no exter-
of self-esteem caused by
nal force has been able to
"spirituality deficiency" is at
keep our young people away
the root of most modern ail-
from drugs is that the prob-
ments. His many videotapes
lem is internal, fostered by a
include Animals and Angels:
society that puts the pursuit
Spirituality in Recovery and
of pleasure over any other
Like
Yourself Building Self-
goal, Rabbi Twerski said. To
Esteem
in Recovery.
combat this epidemic, fami-
In
a
lively, anecdote-filled
lies must lead by example,
talk,
Rabbi
Twerski called for
showing our children a life
parents
to
model
for their
based on doing good, not
children the meanings of
feeling good.
wealth, power and wisdom.
Rabbi Twerski was in
"Wealth is being satisfied
town Feb. 25 as a special
with
what you have," he
guest of the Friendship
said.
"Power is power over
Center Counseling Division,
yourself.
Wisdom is the abil-
a Lubavitch-based addiction
ity
to
learn
from others."
recovery program. After a
"You
cannot
scare kids
long day of speaking with
away
from
using
drugs," the
therapists, medical personnel
of Farmington Hills asks
Co by
rabbi
said.
"They
can
see kids
and Jewish spiritual leaders, he Rabbi Tiverski to sign a book for his wife, Susan.

DIANA LIEBERMAN
StaffWriter

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Rabbi Twerski signs a copy of one of his many
g of West Bloomfield
books for Cynthia Steinber

dying of an overdose and they'll say, He didn't know
how to use it.'"
Instead, he said, families must help young people
develop the self-esteem that comes from knowing life
has an ultimate purpose. "And the only way I can
conceive of au ultimate purpose is through God."
After the talk, Susan Goupkovitch of Farmington
Hills, a social worker with the Jewish Family Service,
said Rabbi Twerski was "inspiring."
"I feel that the message of creating meaning in
our lives is profound, and it's necessary to be created
in the home," she said.
"If you focus on spirituality, no matter what is . the
addiction, you become less compulsive," said Wendy
Stone of Farmington Hills. "He articulates this better
than anyone else. Ti

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