Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Being Around Alcohol

  As you probably know by now, I am a recovering alcoholic/addict who has almost four years of complete abstinence from both alcohol and drugs.
This Sunday night through Tuesday was The special days of 19-20 Kislev. On Monday night I went to a Farbrengen*at which alcohol is served. Another attendee who knows my story asked how I can be around alcohol without needing to take a drink. I did not answer him at the time, However, I would like to answer his question on this forum. I find that a few things need to be in place for me to be able to attend a gathering at which people will be drinking.
Let's first understand better what a Farbrengen is. A Farbrengen is not just another gathering or party. It is where a time that we get together for the sake of encouraging each other in our spirituality.

  Back to the original question. How can someone in recovery attend an event with alcohol? First and foremost, make sure that there is a good reason to attend.  You do not want to be hanging around alcohol for no good reason. After making sure that your motives are clean, Speak to another sober person and mention to them that you will be attending an event with alcohol. Bounce your thoughts off of them as to why you feel it is right for you to be going. And finally, make sure you have an escape plan/idea in case you need to leave.








*A Farbrengen (/fɑːrbrɛnɡɛn/, from the Yiddish פארברענגען, meaning "joyous gathering"; German verbringen "to spend [time/solidarity/festivity together]") is a Hasidic gathering. 





 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I have times still in my life where I feel like I am worthless. I don't think that anyone can do this alone, and that's what makes us stronger. Two hardest things to say are; I Am Sorry, I Need Help. Why? Look around people don't care anymore. We have become so caught up with ourselves that we forgot about our own family. The lies and manipulation we tormented our family with just so we could not feel, and be numb to everything. What's wrong with feelings? Isn't that why we were created to have personal relationships with other people? Yet we are looking for things outside ourselves to fix a problem that deeply embedded in our brains. Than we become just shells of people when we are in an active addiction because we only care about getting that next fix. We are dead in all the ways that matter; emotionally, mentally, spiritually but just not physical death. However, that's what we are slowly doing to ourselves every time you use, because you are playing with something that wants you dead. There is help out there and you have to want it in order for it to work, and most of us are self-sabotaging so when we get a few weeks clean we feel unworthy of the good things that start to happen. So we feel the need to screw things up and it's a vicious cycle. My question is are you going to stay part of your problem? Or grow up and become part of the solution to your problems? I think addicts are people that feel everything and we are very sensitive people in all reality. I know I wear my emotions on my sleeves and go out of my way to help strangers. Why do I do this? I do it because it takes me out of myself and I have learned that it's okay to feel. I am okay today with who I am and if I would allow the wreckage from my past define me I would be defeated. So I think my message is to empty your garbage daily and stop carrying around stuff from your past. We can't take back yesterday let alone the things we did weeks ago. All we can do is the next right thing and try and help someone else out. We can become obsessed with our own thoughts and reality is we have a thought every seven seconds and we choose to turn it into an action. What will you choose?







 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Making Amends

A big part of my journey in bettering myself has been and still is making amends to those I have wronged in any way. This leads me to think about what is a sincere amends.

 We all know that forced "I'm sorry" that we tell children to say.  When we get older we realize that we need to start making real apologies. How do we make a real apology? I would like to share a few thoughts with you.

In my experience an effective way to make a sincere apology is with three simple steps.

1) Express remorseful feelings.  Don't just say "I'm sorry", express your feelings of remorse. For example, "I'm sorry that by acting disrespectful to the bank teller embarrassed you.

2) Admit fault without justifying the hurtful act, and never place blame on the other person. Placing blame on the other person is counterproductive and sounds insincere.

3) Make the situation right. Ask how you can right the situation, and be open to doing what the offended asks of you (within reason). Above all, deliver on any promises you make. When we feel guilty or embarrassed, sometimes we over-correct in our attempt to gain forgiveness. If the person is asking for something that you can’t give, say so, and say that you will give some thought to what you can give to make it up to him or her.

Keep this in mind next time you need to apologize to someone.








 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Self respect

This past week after consulting with others I had to walk away from a job.The reason is that ever since the election there has been allot of abuse. It has been getting worse day by day. My boss saw it as a form of disrespect to him, and I got to double guessing my decision.

You put a frog into a vessel filled with water and start heating the water. As the temperature of the water begins to rise, the frog adjusts its body temperature accordingly. The frog keeps adjusting its body temperature with the increasing temperature of the water. Just when the water is about to reach boiling point, the frog cannot adjust anymore. At this point the frog decides to jump out. The frog tries to jump but it is unable to do so because it has lost all its strength in adjusting with the rising water temperature. Very soon the frog dies. What killed the frog? Think about it! I know many of us will say the boiling water. But the truth about what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when to jump out. We all need to adjust with people & situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust & when we need to move on. There are times when we need to face the situation and take appropriate actions. If we allow people to exploit us physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually or mentally they will continue to do so. Let us decide when to jump! Let's jump while we still have the strength.

I would like to share some wisdom that was shared with me.

Just because you stop talking to or associating with a toxic person doesn't necessarily mean you hate them. It means you respect yourself enough to not put up with their drama, abuse, or be used by them any longer. Don't disrespect yourself by letting others disrespect you. You're worth more than being used as a doormat.







 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Writing inspiration

I was talking to a cousin of mine who mentioned that although I may not always feel a push to write, it is important to continue writing so that others can benefit. In that spirit, I bring back my blog.

A week and a half ago, someone that I know here in Baltimore Shot himself in the head. While talking to the family, I found out that he has been bullied for many years, and judged for his differences. Yes, I wanted to escape the reality of my feelings, but I knew that would not help. After a while, I would feel and it would be so much harder. What I can do is learn and grow from this other person's suffering and give his life, and death meaning.

Just a reminder that not everyone is as you perceive them to be. Maybe our perception is out of ignorance. Perhaps maybe fear of the unknown. But you remember YOUR words and actions could be the reason someone lives or dies, you might just be a little kinder. It is sad that some people expect to be treated better than they treat the others around them. Love truly spreads farther than hate.




 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.
Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.