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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Benyamin Bresinger


I will always remember the moment. I was sitting in the Lifeline reception area, awaiting my 15-year-old son's final youth counselling session. I will never forget the feeling of light pouring back into my life after a long journey through a darkness more frightening than anything I had ever known.

I will also remember the anguish that led us here. It began with Jeremy’s descent into a dark world of paranoia, triggered by clandestine marijuana use, and culminating in a terrifying rage-filled episode that landed him in the psych ward. As a parent, you think you’ll know what to do when things get tough, but I was at a complete loss. I felt as though my son was hanging over the precipice of an endless abyss, and I had no idea how to reach him.

I’m a single father, and I dedicated my every waking hour to helping him navigate the maze of the mental health system more than once, each time hoping for a breakthrough, only to find ourselves back at square one.

In what would prove to be an incredibly fortunate turn of events, we found Lifeline. Through their integrated approach to family care, both my son and I found a path toward healing, both through individual sessions and parent-child therapy. And at no charge whatsoever. It wasn't always easy, but thanks to Lifeline’s team, we persevered. I was given both the tools and the grounding I needed to make sense of the situation. It wasn't just about my son; it was also about his environment and his relationships. As the sessions progressed, anger and frustration gave way to more moments of clarity and calm. I was empowered to contribute to his progress in a healthy way. I was no longer a helpless bystander.

And I stood on the threshold of my son’s final session, I was overwhelmed by a flood of emotions. The terrifying uncertainty began to dissipate, replaced by a profound sense of relief. I couldn't contain the overwhelming surge of joy that washed over me. Tears streamed down my face as I looked at my son, no longer in the grip of his demons but whole and hopeful.

In that moment, I flashed back to the moment I first held in him in my arms. Almost unconsciously, I exclaimed, "My little's a miracle." As 15-year-olds will do, Jeremy shot me an embarrassed look, but I could see he was also smiling a little, too.

*Names and details have been changed to protect the anonymity of those involved, as the story was adapted after being told to a Lifeline staff member with permission to share. Additionally, we would note that the reason we were able to attend to Jeremy and Harold immediately is because we are regularly expanding our staff in order to meet the growing demand for our services. As Chabad Lifeline is sustained through private donations, this entails significant fundraising efforts. Making a donation can help ensure that we can continue to provide timely care that can ultimately save a life or set a family on a better course, creating a positive ripple effect on future generations.

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