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Recovery, the 12 Steps and Jewish Spirituality


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Table of Contents

Foreword xi Preface xiii Introduction xvii Part I A Judaism of Experience, Strength, and Hope: A Rabbi's Journey through Alcoholism 1 1 Understanding Addiction, Jewish Spirituality, and Medicine 7 Addiction and Choice 8 Treating Body and Soul 10 Personal Reflections 11 2 A God and Religion of Recovery 13 Discovering God 13 Discovering Religion 18 Personal Reflections 20 3 The Dignity of the Self 23 The Dignity of Infinite Value 24 The Dignity of Equality 27 The Dignity of Uniqueness 29 Embracing Dignity 32 Personal Reflections 35 Recovery 4 The Evil Inclination 37 The Origin of "Evil" 37 Outside the Garden 38 Suppressing versus Repressing the Yetzer Ha-Ra 40 Identifying the Yetzer Ha-Ra 42 Elevating Evil 46 Personal Reflections 48 5 Judaism and Alcohol: A Complicated Relationship 50 A Source of Depravity 53 Getting Loaded on Purim 57 Personal Reflections 60 Part II The Covenant of Recovery-Spirituality in Action: Aligning Jewish Spirituality with AA 63 6 Study-Talmud Torah 67 Torah Study as a Spiritual Practice 68 Study and AA 71 7 Prayer-Tefilah 74 Connecting I, You, and Us 76 Prayer and AA 78 8 Repentance-Teshuvah 81 The Process of Spiritual Transformation 82 First Comes the Awakening 83 Teshuvah and Steps 4 and 5 84 Teshuvah and Steps 8 and 9 86 Teshuvah: An Everyday Occurrence 87 9 Service-Tikkun 89 Healing the World's Brokenness 90 Broken Open 91 Service and AA 95 Part III 12 Texts for the 12 Steps 99 Step 1 103 Step 2 105 Step 3 107 Step 4 110 Step 5 113 Step 6 115 Step 7 118 Step 8 120 Step 9 122 Step 10 125 Step 11 127 Step 12 130 Gratitude 133 Glossary of Jewish Terms and Thinkers 135 Notes 143 Suggestions for Further Reading 149

About the Author

Rabbi Paul Steinberg is a nationally renowned Jewish educator and a professional staff member at Beit T'Shuvah, the acclaimed recovery center in Los Angeles. Previously a rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom congregation in Encino, California, his books include the three-volume series Celebrating the Jewish Year, which won the National Jewish Book Award. Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, MD, a psychiatrist, rabbi and frequent lecturer on a broad range of topics including spirituality and self-esteem, is author of over fifty books, including Happiness and the Human Spirit: The Spirituality of Becoming the Best You Can Be; A Formula for Proper Living: Practical Lessons from Life and Torah (both Jewish Lights); Waking Up Just in Time; The Spiritual Self and Getting Up When You're Down. He is the founder and medical director emeritus of Gateway Rehabilitation Center. For more information, visit www.abrahamtwerski.com. Harriet Rossetto is the founder, CEO and clinical director of Beit T'Shuvah. She is the author of Sacred Housekeeping: A Spiritual Memoir.


"One of the important similarities between AA and Jewish spirituality is the statement in Step 12, 'to practice these principles in all our affairs....' There is no dichotomy of sacred versus secular. Jewish spirituality applies to how we eat, sleep, work, socialize and recreate. There is nothing that is external to the relationship of human being to God." -from the Foreword This easy-to-read exploration from a Jewish perspective is the first comprehensive approach to successfully integrate classic Jewish spirituality with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other recovery resources. With clarity and passion, Rabbi Paul Steinberg masterfully weaves traditional Jewish wisdom with the experience, strength and hope of AA. He draws on Jewish resources-theological, psychological and ethical-that speak to the spiritual dimension of the disease, and shows how the principles of Jewish spiritual recovery directly align with those of the AA 12 Steps. Along the way, he courageously shares his own personal struggles with alcoholism and addiction in a way that will help others find guidance and a new life path-and stay on it. -- ETherapy Centre * ETherapy Centre *

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