Time To Celebrate Sobriety

The Jewish new year 5774 has just begun.  Jews around the world have gone through the High Holy Day process of tshuvah/spiritual return.  This can also be a time to celebrate the return to a life free of addiction.  If you are Jewish and actively engaged in addictive behavior, or find yourself embroiled in the chaos that a loved one’s addiction creates, how can you return to a life of sanity this year?  Here are some suggestions to make the most of this opportunity to return to the life you were intended to live:

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Ask a Clinician: How Do I Make The Best Out Of An Empty Nest?

It’s been almost a month. Your child or loved one has been off at  college, making new friends, acclimating themselves to the campus and hitting the books hard (hopefully). Maybe they’ve already found a job and moved out.

But you, as their parent or guardian, may have noticed something different in the last four weeks. Something is off. Suddenly, you realize that the loud music that once shook your house has been replaced with silence. The laundry seems lighter. There’s one less person to talk to at the dinner table about their day.You may be living in an empty nest.

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New Beginnings: Jewish Teachings And 12-Steps To Recovery

Addiction is a disease that impacts our community and a disease that can be treated. The Jewish Center for Addiction (JCA) was created to assist those in the path of addiction’s immediate trauma and to help build caring communities that are aware of and responsive to the problem of addiction. Programs offered by the JCA address specific needs of Chicago’s Jewish community, and reflect best practices from across the country.

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Adapting to Change at Any Age

As the old adage goes, the only constant in life is change.   Whether it’s trying something new, going to a new school, or adapting to life changes, change can be both feared and welcomed, anxiety producing and exhilarating.  As summer ends and the seasons change from summer to fall, JCFS clinicians share insights on change at different stages of life.

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Tween Girl Drama: 7 Ways to Support Your Daughter

Parents of 9 to 12 year-old girls know “Tween Girl Drama” even if they cannot define it.  They see it in the struggles their daughters have negotiating friendships, their changing bodies, and their growing desire for independence.  They experience it in the moodiness and seeming over-reactions to the littlest of things. Here are 7 tips for supporting your daughter (or even your son) as she navigates these challenging years:  

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JCFS Launches New Divorce Specialty Center

Sarah, a 44 year old mother of two, is finding herself back in the job market after 15 years, as she and her husband begin the divorce process.  The prospect of finding a full time job in a very different job market than the one she knew, and concern for how the children will cope with the changes, has her feeling anxious and overwhelmed.   And, with 53 percent of marriages ending in divorce in 2012 according to the Centers for Disease Control, Sarah is not alone.

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Friends of Virginia Frank: Reconnecting

Sunday morning came fast, like the rain falling in sheets out the window heralding an early Fall. I had heard about the Friends of Virginia Frank group and knew some of those involved in the group, but I had never attended an event hosted by them. To me, JCFS’s Virginia Frank Center is where I go to do my current job. Virginia Frank Center serves families with young children, providing a wide away of mental health, consultation, and supportive case management services to families who are often encountering difficulties for the first time. I’ve lived many hours within these walls over the past 5 ½ years and hopefully have helped families along the way make positive changes in their lives.

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Pediatric Therapy Stories: Living with Rett Syndrome

“Just before her first birthday we started noticing that Zoe wasn’t reaching the milestones,” said Mike Prask of his daughter, Zoe. “We have an older daughter, and we weren’t comparing the two because every child is different… but we knew at some point that Zoe wasn’t where she needed to be in terms of crawling or talking. If we held out our fingers for her, she would reach out but couldn’t grab them. She wasn’t attempting to pull herself up to stand. We knew something was going on.”

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Graduation: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Graduating from high school is a momentous occasion for both teens and parents.  I would like to first address the parents who are reading this blog.  I want you to give yourself a pat on the back and breathe a sigh of relief!  You have successfully gotten your teen to the age of 18 and graduating with a high school degree!  While your teen may brush this off and say you didn’t help with much, you and I both know that you played a large role in where your teen is today!  Someday down the road, probably when they’re 30, they will thank you for all your hard work!

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Responding to Grief, Loss, and Mourning in Loved Ones

We have all been there.    A family member, friend or close work colleague experiences the death of a loved one.  Now what? What do we say or do?  We may attend the funeral or Shiva and assume we have done our part in being a support, but the mourning process takes longer than most people think.  We may feel overwhelmed with our own feelings and be confused with what to do.  How can we be there for someone who is bereaved?  Although the grief and mourning process is unique to each individual, there are some ways you can be of help.  

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