Shoshana Schwartz

Shoshana SchwartzCommunity Contributor

Shoshana Schwartz is a published author and a therapeutic horseback riding instructor in Retorno, a Jewish addiction rehab center in the bucolic foothills between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Summer Is The Time To Escape From The Bondage Of Addiction

Summer is not only a time of more “light” but also more “lite.” Along with the shedding of layers there is also less structure, less supervision and less accountability. Students in particular transition from intense study to absolute freedom, with hours and hours of nothing productive to do. But instead of enjoying the freedom, all too often it’s this freedom that lures people to engage in dangerous behaviors. Once these behaviors get a foothold, they can be nearly impossible to shed.

Over 20 million Americans suffer from some kind of addiction, whether it be drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, “recreational” substances, or other dangerous behaviors. It is impossible to exaggerate the devastation addiction can wreak the lives of the addicts and their families. Opiate related fatalities have quadrupled since the turn of the millennium. This is one of the main reasons that life expectancy has stopped rising and may even be on the decline.

Families are key

The first step in beating addiction is usually for families to acknowledge the problem and decide to solve it together. Often, families feel ashamed and do not want the addiction to come out into the open. We can all empathize with this feeling. Addressing the issue openly is hard, but no less essential for that.

Family gatherings provide an effective platform to discover and discuss difficult issues. When a family reunites over the summer, relatives often notice changes in a family member. Sometimes, when families spend real time together, they recognize that a problem they were dimly aware of is worse than originally suspected. Freed from the distractions of work and school, buried issues rise to the surface.

This can create a catalyst for families to realize that outside help is needed. It is no surprise, then, that during the summer there is an upswing in the number of people seeking addiction treatment for themselves or their family members.

After admitting the problem, families should collectively brainstorm the best course of action for their loved one. There are several programs in America and Israel designed to help Jewish youth and adults recover from addiction. At Retorno, our addiction treatment and recovery facility in Givat Shemesh, Israel, we have been privileged to watch hundreds of souls free themselves from addictions of every kind.

This summer, it’s time to take action. If someone in your family is suffering from addiction, address the problem now. Use the family unit to collectively come up with a plan of action. Help your loved one escape from the burden of addiction and taste the freedom that comes from making healthy choices.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Summer Is The Time To Escape From The Bondage Of Addiction

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