Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will know our country faces a drug addiction crisis taking the lives of seven people every hour, 175 people per day. In personal terms, it is almost impossible not to know someone who is either in treatment, recovery or has died due to this horrific epidemic. Our family is no exception.
A little over 18 months ago, my wife and I received a text informing us that a family member of ours was in a “life and death situation” and required our immediate attention. We hurried to a horrible scene. Fortunately, we were able to intervene and save our family member. A few hours later we spoke to a substance disorder specialist who directed us to an excellent rehabilitation facility in Pennsylvania called Caron.
Considering how many people suffer from substance disorder, we were surprised to find a space available. Fifteen hours later we arrived at Caron where our family member would be safe and receive the necessary treatment. Two weeks later, we attended Caron’s Family Educational Program known as FEP. Over five draining days filled with education and intense family therapy we became better informed about how to cope with the debilitating and insidious disease known as addiction.
The program began on Shabbat. We arrived on Friday afternoon. I clearly remember thinking to myself, instead of attending shul with my friends and sitting at our usual Shabbat table, my wife and I sat alone in the guest house in Pennsylvania, thinking, “What in the world are we doing here?”