JACS Support Group Reaches Out to Those in Need

Original Article Published On the Jewish Ledger

ORANGE — A physician, psychologist and a hospital medical worker are meeting one evening in the classroom of a local synagogue. But this 9*attending Al-Anon, which met some of her needs.

“I recently attended a JACS weekend and it was so spiritually uplifting. We were all people who somehow underwent this incredible gift of experiencing terrible experiences: abuse (alcohol, drugs, emotional, spiritual, physical, etc), pain, loss of faith, etc., and yet we found that we were given another opportunity to start over and have the unity, the understanding, the identification with one another. There was a feeling of belonging, and safety within this framework of people who you didn’t even know. I met so many baal teshuvot [sic]…women who were turning their life over to the care of G-d, as they understood him…It was and is very empowering. I always knew that there were people like me somewhere out there.”

Alcohol: Drug of Choice

It is difficult to determine the number of Jews battling chemical dependency. A 2001 JACS study, “Characteristics of a Population of Chemically Dependent Jewish Men and Women,” was published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases. The study, of 379 individuals who were part of the JACS database, showed that while 71% of respondents reported using more than one substance, alcohol tends to be the drug of choice for chemically dependent Jews. Also, the study shows a relatively large proportion of women substance abusers, and the study does not support the hypothesis that alcoholic Jews suffer from lack of education, poor income, alienation, or loss of religious conviction.

While JACS has been a source of support for so many Jews around the world, it is likely that many Jews with chemical dependency issues are still not attending meetings.

The JACS New Haven group meets on Sunday nights from 8-9 p.m. at Temple Emanuel, 150 Derby Ave. (Route 34 and Dogwood) in Orange. Contact jacsnewhaven@aol.com or call 203-988-3601.

Where to Go for Help

There are 64 JACS groups in 21 states, and there are additional groups in Israel and four other countries.

The national JACS organization may be contacted via their website at http://www.jacsweb.org or via email jacs@jacsweb.org or at 212-397-4197.
There is a JACS meeting each week in Stamford [Monday nights at 8:30 n Open “Pathways to Life” at Jewish Family Services – 111 Prospect Street, Stamford n contact Netta Stern at (203) 921-4161 ext. 122 nettastern@ctjfs.org. Congregation BEKI in New Haven hosts weekly AA meetings on Thursdays at 8pm Visit http://www.beki.org

For more details (go to “Tiqun HaOlam n Social Action Projects” and follow the link for “AA Meeting”).

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