October 16, 2017
There are about 800 faith-based drug treatment programs in the United States, but until recently, only one, located in Los Angeles, was explicitly Jewish in its approach to addiction. Now Atlanta’s pioneering Berman Center, offering intensive outpatient treatment for clients ages 18+, joins the list. Partnering with local rabbis, JF&CS counselors and the HAMSA drug education program, Berman Center takes addiction treatment to a higher level. “Addicts are dying in Atlanta every day and more than you’d ever imagine are Jews,” says Alyza Berman, founder and Clinical Director of The Berman Center. She understands the special stigma and shame attached to addiction in our community. “Many Jews function as high achievers and, according to our history, we have always been forced to work hard to rise above oppression. Many people in the community view addiction as a weakness or a choice when, in fact, it is a disease.”
Berman Center has unique Jewish sensitivities. The program embeds Jewish spirituality into treatment. Clients are encouraged to be with their families on holidays and Shabbat. There’s a weekly spirituality group session led by a rabbi that draws on Torah to talk about loss and struggle. “Even if a client is just culturally Jewish, the rabbis can awaken their spirit and crack open their hearts,” Berman says. “We want to communicate that you are loved and cared for, and that recovery is hard but vital work.” Learn more about Berman Center’s approach.