Sunday November 23rd 2014

How to prepare for a miracle in drug addiction & alcoholism recovery

Recovery in a nutshell

So, here’s basically recovery in a nutshell: addict gets tired of trying to make everything work; addict gives up and lets Higher Power take over; addict experiences unusual freedom, happiness, and usefulness as long as and to the extent that addict does not renege on previous decision.

I am sure that people who suffer from other conditions that are also incurable, progressive, and fatal would be thrilled if their diseases could be treated just as easily. It almost seems too good to be true, and it would be . . . if everybody who needed the solution knew about it and everyone who knew about it actually used it. But the irony of addiction is, as many people in recovery are apt to point out, that it is the disease that tells you don’t have a disease.

Another way of putting it is that when you are full of yourself, its very hard to see that you are the problem.

Or, conversely, when you need God the most, God is the last thing you want.

There’s not much more to recovery than that the addict just follows some basic rules of living and is relieved from the obsession to use. It sounds like a neat trick. But as the old slogan goes, There is no magic in recovery; just miracles.

How to prepare for a miracle in recovery

This is a crucial point, one that we need to clarify right here and now if we are to understand how this program works.

People don’t make miracles.

God does.

The addict’s role in recovery is thus really no more than to just get out of the way so that God can make recovery happen.

If that sounds like some kind of voodoo or imaginary magic bullet, just remember how much incredibly hard work it actually takes to get out of the way.

If it were really so easy to let God do His business, then addicts wouldn’t need to resort to numbing themselves into oblivion in a desperate attempt to replicate this effect. Would they? If we could all just snap our fingers and become selfless, we wouldn’t need to follow a program that trains us how to live in harmony with God; we’d already just being doing it. So do not be mistaken: recovery is hard work, just not in the sense that we often think of it.

Photo credit: Bethan

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8 Responses to “How to prepare for a miracle in drug addiction & alcoholism recovery
3:32 pm February 13th, 2011

Rabbi Taub,

Can you share some advice on how someone in need can get fast contact with their local synagogue via the telephone?

Shais Taub
10:43 pm February 14th, 2011

LB — Where do you live?

2:46 pm April 25th, 2011

Can you share some advice on how someone in need can get fast contact with their local synagogue via the telephone?

6:10 pm August 11th, 2011

Do you have help for spouses of those attempting recovery?

6:11 pm August 12th, 2011

Hi Marissa, You might want to check out this post about how Al-Anon works written by licensed clinical social worker, Nachshon Zohari. He outlines what you, as a spouse, can do and expect from 12 step meetings and deal with a loved one’s addiction.

new york
10:13 pm May 17th, 2012

Do you know anything about SHOFAR in Milwaukee? It was recommended for my husband by someone. My husband is in AA. Is this place good for alcoholics?

Shais Taub
1:24 pm May 18th, 2012

No, I do not know SHOFAR in Milwaukee which is funny because I lived there for 6 years and was extremely involved in the recovery community there. Maybe it is something new. That would be exciting. If you find out more, please tell me.

new york
5:13 pm May 21st, 2012

Hi Rabbi Taub,
I’ve found out it’s called “Call of the Shofar”. It’s a sort of therapy shabbaton. It will be held soon in Milwaukee, and next in New Jersey. It is good for addicts or anyone. Thanks for this blog.

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About Rabbi Shais Taub

Rabbi Shais Taub is one of today's most respected young scholars of Jewish spirituality and practice. National Public Radio called him "an expert in Jewish mysticism and the Twelve Steps." He is the author of God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction.