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Chabad Lifeline blog

The Next Right Thing

My wife and I are both directors of Chabad Lifeline in Montreal. It is a Chabad House that deals exclusively with issues surrounding alcoholism and addiction, serving addicts and their family members. Here we witness miraculous stories of growth. For example, Bob and Esther are both eighty years old, and they have a middle-aged son who is an active drug addict. He was terrorizing his parents - stealing, lying and taking advantage of them whenever he could. When Bob and Esther came to us, we suggested that they needed to learn how to set up boundaries to protect themselves. We taught them simple things like taking back their credit cards. They resisted for a while, arguing that they can't because they have been letting him use their card for 35 years. Well, four months have gone by, and not only have they changed, but they have grown so much that they now help other parents to make changes. When an eighty-year-old couple changes patterns that have lasted half a century, it carries a message of great hope. When I am convinced that I am stuck and that I will stay stuck, then I buy into the erroneous thinking that there is no chance for change.



How did Bob and Esther learn to grow? They had the humility and courage to seek help and do the Next Right Thing (NRT). It wasn't a long-term strategy nor a long distance race, it was like the first steps of a baby. The baby takes the chance, defies the odds and takes the next step. All the parents have to do is hold out their hands so the baby will be reassured that it's not alone. So, at Chabad Lifeline and Chabad centers worldwide, we hold out our hands, open our hearts and make sure no one feels alone.

What gives the strength to that baby or that couple to do what they have never done before? They don't know what the next challenge will bring. The baby can fall, the couple can fail, but they both yearn to be free. Free to grow, free to change, free to do the Next Right Thing. The desire for freedom gives the strength to try the unknown and the motivation to change. The support and the structure of an accepting community allows for the changes to stick for the growth to continue.

Holy Cravings

Praying.jpgI learned one of my most favourite prayers from a recovering crack addict. He told me that whenever he feels the urge to use drugs, he closes his eyes and prays: "Please G-d, help me find in You what I am looking for in the drug."

The Kabbalists teach us that nestled within every created thing is a spark of G-dliness. When the human body hungers for a piece of physical bread, this is but a reflection of its soul's craving for the spark in the bread. The craving is coming from the holiest place within each one of us -- our soul.

The very fact that we have this yearning is powerful proof of how G-dly we really are! Our prayer is a way to ask for Divine assistance; we’re asking to be able to discover what it is we are really looking for.

So next time you feel a pull, an urge to use -- stop, close your eyes, and ask G-d to help you find in Him what you’re looking for in that cookie. Just open your eyes, make a blessing and enjoy. You have just ingested a spark of G-dliness.

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