Overcoming Your Addictions – Chassidus vs. 12 Step Program

Overcoming Your Addictions – Chassidus vs. 12 Step Program

This class by Rabbi Manis Friedman was given in Crown Heights.

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2 thoughts on “Overcoming Your Addictions – Chassidus vs. 12 Step Program

  1. You can be the biggest Torah scholar in the world, but if you don’t live a Torah-observant life, there will always be an aspect of understanding you’re missing.

    You can be the biggest addiction specialist in the world, but if you have never suffered addiction, there will always be an aspect of understanding you’re missing.

    If we could’ve gotten sober by ourselves, don’t you think we would have? Our best thinking got us to the point of addiction. I’m grateful for being able to retrain myself how to think.

    I’m also grateful for the Friendship House of West Bloomfield, Michigan. With the 12-step complementary Jewish meetings and support staff, I have become a ba’alat teshuvah. I also have three years and counting of sobriety.

  2. Dear Rabbi,

    You did not explain how a person is to overcome an addiction using Chassidus. An addiction is by definition beyond the “beginning stages” you refer to in your suggestions. An addiction is a harmful behavior that a person a person does over and over again, and all attempts at ceasing the repeated behavior, fail.

    You quote the people of AA saying that “You cannot overcome your addiction unless you join us.” The 12 steps and any program that follow them make no such claim. Steps 1 and 2 combined read as follows:
    “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (narcotics, gambling etc) – that our lives had become unmanageable.
    Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

    The 12 steps are about one thing only (done in 12 steps): opening oneself entirely to living a G-d connected life ALL THE TIME. And this has kept people off their addiction where all else has failed. Remarkably, these steps have allowed millions of people the world over to overcome addictions that were not stopped by the worst consequences, even, in many cases, the threat of death. These steps are 100% not religion specific. They are singularly about, as stated clearly in the Big Book, G-d the Creator removing addictions.

    בכל יום ויום יצרו של אדם מתגבר עליו ומבקש המיתו ואלמלא הקב”ה עוזרו אינו יכול לו. ועי’ תניא ריש פרק י”ג ביאור על ממרז”ל זה

    Each of the 12 steps can be found in Judaism. In other words the 12 steps are merely a systematizing of elements that are found in Torah. A person well grounded in Torah and Chassidus who needs to overcome an addiction will find more ways to spiritualize his journey of the 12 steps than someone without that knowledge. Examples of these are clearly laid out at jewishrecovery.org

    In conclusion, the title “Chassidus versus 12 Step program” is already an error.

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