Substance Abuse

What Community Development Can Teach Us About Self-Development

by Yakov Danishefsky, JCFS Chicago Community Services Intern

Leadership, at its best, is fueled by a fervent desire for change and the ardent commitment to a dream. But zealotry, whatever its worth, is not leadership. Leadership consultant, Marty Linsky, writes that “Leadership is disappointing your people at a rate they can absorb.” If the leader expresses too much passion, she loses her people. Too little passion, and she loses herself and her cause. Being passionate enough to dedicate your life to social-change advocacy, and yet patient and even-keeled enough to do so successfully, is not simple.

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Using Medications Safely: Empowering Older Adults

According to a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2012 and 2050, the United States will experi­ence considerable growth in its older population (the report defined older population as age 65 and older). The baby boomers are largely responsible for this increase as they began turning 65 in 2011. By 2050, the surviving baby boomers will be over the age of 85.

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September is National Recovery Month

by Dr. Beth Fishman PhD
Manager, Addiction & Misuse Services

September is National Recovery Month, therefore it seems a good time to ask “what is recovery?”  The addiction and misuse services at JCFS Chicago serves Chicago’s Jewish community by raising awareness about addiction issues, educating on addiction, prevention and treatment, referring community members to recovery resources, and supporting Jews in recovery.  So it is equally fitting that addiction and misuse services would bring this question to our community.

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Raising Mental Health Awareness

Fifteen year-old Anna lounged on the sofa in Robin Stein’s office, sinking into the cushions with her legs folded beneath her. Though her features remained stoic, the cell phone she cradled shook in the palms of her hand as she rapidly swiped at its surface with her thumbs. “Here,” Anna said, and held the phone out to Stein, a licensed clinical social worker at JCFS Chicago. The screen displayed a somewhat pixelated selfie of a very young girl with a gun pointed at her temple. “She talked about dying all the time.” Anna was in grief therapy with Stein; the girl holding the gun was Anna’s younger sister, Sarah, who had taken her life the year before, ultimately overdosing on a relative’s sleeping pills. Sarah was only 10.

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Our Stories Have Power

by Beth Fishman, PhD and Nina J. Henry, LCPC, CADC

Many individuals in addiction recovery struggle with an important question:  Should they tell people that they are in recovery?  The traditional response would be reflected in a quote from the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous:  “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program.” Guarding anonymity in a world full of stigma against people who struggle with alcohol, drugs and mental disorders was a realistic response.  Individuals in recovery had reason to worry about their vulnerability and often only shared their status as a person in recovery with people they trusted to not judge them.

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Children of Alcoholics: Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Victims

by Amanda Platner, M.A.  Psychological Services Pre-doctoral Intern

“Children in alcoholic families suffer trauma as acute as soldiers in combat; they also carry the trauma like an albatross throughout their lives.” –Pamela Weintraub, Author of "A Toxic Brew," Psychology Today, 2007

Like many diseases, alcoholism affects all members of a family. Some of its most vulnerable victims are children. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics reports that approximately one in five adults grew up in a household with an alcoholic family member. Of the 26.8 million children of alcoholics in the United States, over 40 percent are under the age of 18 (NACoA, 2002). “

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The 12 Steps of the Days of Awe

By Rabbi Joe Ozarowski, Chaplain, JCFS Chicago

People actively working a Recovery Program already know the worth and power of the well-known 12 Steps.  But I have always believed that everyone should work a program – there is so much wisdom within these sensible steps that can help all people struggling with challenges.

At the addiction and misuse services, we try to connect the spirituality and practices of Judaism to the Steps and addiction-recovery year round.  The Jewish Days of Awe, often known as the “High Holidays,” offer us the chance to reflect and integrate the Steps with the larger spiritual messages embedded in these special days. 

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Prevention, Help and Hope: We Are YOUR Addiction & Misuse Services

by Beth Fishman, Ph.D

Addiction is a disease that impacts our community and a disease that can be treated. The addiction and misuse services were 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 addiction and misuse services address specific needs of Chicago’s Jewish community, and reflect best practices from across the country.

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Time To Celebrate Sobriety

Dr. Beth Fishman, Manager, Addiction & Misuse Services

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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