Why CCSA decided to start a blog...and what's at stake in continuing these conversations
We are incredibly excited to start our new CCSA blog and are focusing our first post on explaining what it is, who it's for, and why it matters...
The Importance of Ongoing Conversation
“One type of barrier that is believed to be particularly impactful for those in need of treatment for addiction is stigma. Stigma is a complex construct that can come from many sources and may manifest as a barrier in several ways”
Since CCSA was founded three years ago, we have attempted to quite literally pry open the doors concealing the taboo topic of addiction. Why are we so passionate about our work?
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 21 million Americans were diagnosed with a substance use disorder in 2018. However, only 10% of people with an addiction received any formal treatment, and 60% of those who perceived a need for treatment made no effort to get treatment. *
Imagine if we saw those statistics about any other disease! For example, imagine if that sentence read, "60% of people who wanted treatment for their cancer didn't feel able to reach out even though their life was at risk." We would all be shocked, encouraging sufferers to get help rather than suffer in silence.
Yet with addiction, our community still tends to get quiet. There is a lack of understanding around addiction as a disease; stigma persists in social settings, the media, and even among medical professionals. This creates and increases the shame and isolation that sufferers and their families feel.
What we hope to accomplish, not only through our ongoing community programs, educational events in schools, and faculty/parent trainings, but also through our newest initiative - this blog - is to break that deadly stigma. Our vision is to eliminate the stigma around addiction that enchains families and sufferers, and ultimately save lives.
Amplifying Voices, Shattering Stigma, Sharing Hope...
Every week, we plan to post an engaging blog post on one of four topics:
Stories/Thoughts from People in Recovery
Jewish Youth and the Impact of Substance-Use/Addiction/Stigma
Education and Awareness on Addiction-Related Topics
Current Events that Affect this Work
Through this blog, we hope to amplify voices within our Jewish communities, let others tell their stories, share valuable information, and quite literally, continue these life-or-death conversations.
A Collective Problem Requires a Collective Solution
“As long as we continue to believe this is not "our" problem, we will do nothing.”
A central impetus for CCSA's mission is the phrase, "kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh" or "all Jews are responsible for one another."
We are constantly receiving new requests to join our support group for loved ones of those suffering from a substance or alcohol use disorder. We keep hearing heart-breaking stories of members in our Jewish communities who are afraid to speak up about what they and their loved ones are going through. We are not immune from this disease. Which is particularly scary considering that every week, an average of 1,500 Americans tragically lose their lives to a drug overdose or alcohol-related death. We must do everything in our power to help and support those in need.
Addiction is lonely. Addiction is isolating. Addiction is deadly. And addiction is happening in our Jewish communities.
People don't choose addiction. Similarly, addiction doesn't discriminate who it afflicts. Addiction doesn't care if you went to an Ivy League college or failed out of high school. Addiction doesn't care if you pray 3 times a day or not at all. Addiction doesn't care if you're young or old, if you're Jewish or not, if you're a parent or child (or grandparent), if you're wealthy or poor, or any other marker someone might use to distinguish themselves...addiction is a chronic disease that can and does afflict people from all walks of life. It happens to "us." And as long as we believe this is not "our" problem, we will do nothing about it.
This blog is for anyone who has suffered from an addiction, anyone who knows someone who suffers/suffered, and for every member of Klal Yisrael who requires the education, awareness, and empowerment to understand this disease and help save lives.
This blog is more than just a place for us to voice our own opinions. We want to amplify other voices in Jewish communities and continue conversations that go beyond our family's narrative and experiences.
If you are interested in sharing a personal story in an interview format (anonymously or not), have topics you feel might benefit this blog, or want more information on contributing, please reach out to Elana (Ellie) Forman at firstname.lastname@example.org with "CCSA Blog" in your subject line.
*Statistics taken from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables, Table 5.37-5.39.