Nov 29, 2012

Feeling Good versus Actually Helping

I'm impressed with R' Shais Taub's approach to addiction.  I haven't read his book but I've see a number of his articles.  In an Ami article he says that addictions are a person's attempt at a solution to his problems.  Therefore, he sees no reason for a zero-tolerance policy against teenaged drinking, for it's not the alcohol that's the problem.

He points out that the government has spent billions on drug and alcohol education and he doesn't think it stopped a single person from becoming addicted.  ""Awareness and prevention" campaigns make people feel good, and they're easy to get funding for, but do they help anyone?" he asks.  He goes on to say, "If someone has the underlying issues that make them feel the need to self-medicate, then no amount of "awareness and prevention" with help.  They will still have the same inner pain.  I think we should focus far more on giving our children the spiritual tools to be emotionally healthy people."

The frum world has latched on to the "awareness" campaign in many areas as can be seen in the subjects of articles covered in frum magazines.  You sense the self-congratulatory spirit in these magazines.  They feel so virtuous for taking tabboo topics out "from under the rug," and for attempting to "debunk stigmas."  They feel even more justified when people write in letters lauding them for being "courageous" in "tackling these painful subjects."  But is this awareness only making us feel good, as though we are helping anyone merely by talking about these problems publicly? If yes, let's see the evidence.

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1 comment:

  1. The frum community may have shot itself in the foot. Most of us older adults have wonderful memories of parents who were very involved and really cared. My father always helped me with my math and my mother worked on my English homework. Together they got me through school and into college. We ate meals together and my father and I ran the dog together (my mother couldn't run). We swam as a family. My grandparents were in charge of the religious stuff like going to shul and the Pesach seder. We knew that the parents were heavily invested in us because they loved us and it mattered little what the outside world thought. We didn't have to shine to improve their image. Frum people today have lots of social outlets, work and communal responsibilities that take away from family time. If the family does go away to a Pesach resort, children and adults have many separate activities. It is not always about connecting as a family and gone is the opportunity to cook and clean together or visit grandma together (although grandma may also be visiting the resort). Kid centered holidays such a Purim might be so competitive and commercialized in some neighborhoods that the true meaning of the holiday is lost on the kids.
    Yes we should be giving the tools to families to raise healthy children. My mother never had a drug problem with any of her children.