A Jewish Perspective on Addiction & Recovery

A New Jewish Perspective on Addiction And Recovery
A New Jewish Perspective on Addiction And Recovery

The science that supports successful addiction recovery is generally very well known, and the same basic steps are followed in virtually every reputable addiction recovery program, wherever it may be.

There is much more involved in the process of healing and restoring an individual than only going through a physical and psychological detoxification and recovery support process. A thoughtful, compassionate kosher addiction recovery program should also address a vitally important facet: that of the human soul.


From both a religious and cultural perspective, a key aspect of the way we care for others is embodied in the commandment to observe the sanctity of life. And life, in its fullest, deepest sense, means more than just the necessary physical health, prosperity, and happiness that we each strive for: it also means a joyful reconnection with our own nature, with others who share our beliefs and traditions, and with the Divine.

Life, fully lived, also centres around common compassion, and the consideration of human dignity, displayed sincerely and practically. These qualities are what unite families and communities and give us our deepest sense of identity and belonging.


Typically, most addiction recovery programs place great emphasis on helping recovering individuals to change their lifestyles in order to avoid addiction triggers, create positive habits, and promote progressive recovery – and this is a good thing.

At first glance, to the general public and even perhaps families affected by addiction, the underlying assumption is often: addiction is bad, sobriety is good. And the substance itself, or behaviour pattern, is identified as the “bad thing” to be avoided at all costs.

However, this neglects a very important point. If we look at it from the perspective of the person suffering from addiction, we begin to realize that it is not the actual substance or behaviour that is the root of the problem. Rather, the addiction itself is the problem – the substance is just a way of satisfying it. The addiction, deep-rooted in the individual, is a means of coping with fear, uncertainty, or trauma, and the substance (or behaviour) is actually the very thing addicts believe provides comfort and familiarity.

So, to a person suffering from addiction, the substance of choice is not the root of the problem – for that person, it is the perceived solution – to discomfort, disorientation, and disconnection.

There is an old Jewish saying which you may likely have heard: “Knowing the disease is half the cure”. And it’s absolutely true. By establishing a clear understanding of what causes the inner pain in the first place, makes it much easier to deal with the external addiction.

For this to happen, an empathetic, hands-on approach is best, coupled with the insight of expert therapists who know how to gently and expertly treat the causes of the addiction, as well as the addiction itself.

The Author is marketing direcor for Freeman House Recovery, a Kosher Rehab Centre in South Africa.

About the Author
Joshua Maraney is the CEO of who handles the marketing for hundreds of clients worldwide.
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