Friday, September 29, 2017

Bleeding Heart

Throughout the course of my journey called life, I learned many things. In the next few posts I hope to share a few lessons that I feel are very important.
I have met people who are ashamed of the fact they go to therapy once a week or every two weeks. What is therapy all about? It is about healing our wounds. 

We all have wounds, some are deeper than others.
Until you heal your wounds from the past are gonna bleed. You can bandage the wounds with drugs, alcohol,food,cigarettes,work,sex,etc. But eventually, it will bleed through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wound, stick your hands in and pull out the core of the pain. Only then you can stop carrying the burden of the past and learn to live just for today.





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, September 24, 2017

Letter to my younger self

I WAS TOLD THAT WRITING A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF CAN BE A THERAPEUTIC WAY TO PUT THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE AND MOVE ON. ANYONE WITH A TOUGH CHILDHOOD COULD PROBABLY BENEFIT FROM THIS AND HAVING DEALT WITH ADDICTION AND BEING A CHILD OF AN ALCOHOLIOC, I THOUGHT THIS WAS PERFECT FOR ME. SO I WROTE A LETTER WITH ALL THE IMPORTANT ADVICE I WOULD HAVE GIVEN MYSELF AROUND THE TIME MY MOTHER PASSED AWAY, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN WHEN I WAS 6 YEARS OLD.

Dear Younger Me,

I know life can be hard and people suck sometimes but learn to forgive and remember no one's perfect. No, seriously you really need to remember that your future relationships will be way more enjoyable if you do. 
Try not to be so angry, Tatti (yidish; faher) really is trying. Forgive God for taking Mommy so soon. 
Learn to say no; you'll be way happier once you do.  Keep in touch with your friends.  Don't give up your social life just because you think you re to busy.  You'll regret it.  Spend more time with your family; you'll miss them once they're gone.  

People care and notice you a lot more than you think. You're a smart, fun person; be more confident and love yourself. 

Finally, don't take any moment for granted. You know all those struggles and difficult situation?  Well, you'll actually learn to grow from them.
PS. Keep this letter with you and read it often.

Yours truly,

Future you ;)







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, September 19, 2017

Mental illness in the wrok place

I chose the topic of Mental Illness in the work place, because it is a topic that hits home for me.

Having a mental illness makes finding work hard. This might sound many things; sad, ridiculous, surprising, frightening, unlikely, justifiable, or understandable. You might secretly feel something you would not publicly air. It's nothing to be ashamed of, we all have overt or latent prejudices, but it is most certainly something to be aware of and to open your mind about.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of 'the glass ceiling' in relation to various forms of discrimination in the workplace, whether it is gender, race or even sometimes religious. The belief, no, the fact, that people are exposed to opportunities they will never be allowed to realize. The employer is seen as blameless as they have complied with anti-discrimination legislation, but the employee knows he or she has been denied the chance, knows he or she has been wronged despite being suitable for the role, purely because of gender, race or religion. There is no way of absolutely proving beyond doubt this is true, but we know it happens don't we?
The term 'mentally ill' covers such a range of individual illnesses from anxiety to schizophrenia, substance abuse to clinical depression, bipolar to OCD that in some respects it is inadequate and an unwitting misnomer. These conditions are vastly different to each other and each complex in their own way. But one thing we all have in common is the conditions are invisible. They do not have a straight forward diagnosis, much less a simple prognosis. This leads in large part to the stigma, which is attached to mental illness.
Socially, this is a problem. Admitting to mental illness is seen as a sign of weakness or inadequacy and commonly engenders a response which is overly patronizing, disdainful or aggressive. The latter is what we depressives call the “pull yourself together" syndrome. If only it were that simple.
Beyond the social stigma is an equally serious and personally crippling problem. Having recovered sufficiently to look forwards in a positive frame of mind, how do I find employment?
If your 'friends' and family fail to understand the condition, how can we expect potential employers to comprehend? With a vast gap on your resume, this leaves the applicant with a potentially life changing dilemma.
The options such as they are. Lie about your condition taking the risk you may lose your job upon the employer finding out or being frank from the outset, risking never gaining employment at in the first place.
Many efforts have been made to accommodate physically disabled people in the workplace. Sadly the same cannot be said for those of us with mental illness. The stigma, borne largely of ignorance, which surrounds mental illness has much to do with this failure.



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, September 15, 2017

Stigma about mental health

We share the details of our physical lives so willingly: our latest diet, our kid’s need for braces, maybe a family member struggling with heart disease. But when it comes to mental illness, everything is under wraps. The shame and stigma surrounding mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, are the biggest obstacles when it comes to getting help. It’s time we started looking at mental health the same way we do physical health.
Unlike other health conditions, mental illness is often seen as a sign of weakness. We’d never tell someone with breast cancer to “just get over it” or work on their willpower, but that’s the advice people with eating disorders, substance abuse problems, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues hear all too often. And those suffering from mental illness also often think of it themselves as weakness. I believe the reason is that without experiencing some form of mental disorder, you can not understand what the individual is going through.
Depression affects about 7 percent of the U.S. population, and I am one of them.
Yet despite the obvious prevalence of mental health issues, talking about it often is a struggle.
Mental illness is just like any chronic physical condition. It can be managed with counseling and/or medication, and there will be both good and bad days. As debilitating as mental illness can be, it isn’t–and shouldn’t be–the defining characteristic of a person any more than, say, being allergic to pollen or having high blood pressure should be.  
All that said, things are getting better. There’s more awareness these days about mental health issues and more support groups, thanks in large part to the internet. 
The best thing we can do, at any time, is to talk about mental illness the way we talk about other health issues–openly, with empathy and a desire to understand, and separating what the person is suffering with from the person him- or herself.



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.


Monday, September 11, 2017

9/11 through the eyes of a Seven year old

As I sit here by my computer, I can not help but think back to the day that changed the world forever.
Imagine for a moment what it was like for a second grader. I remember when we were at school, and already before he bell rang at nine O'clock, the word spread that there was a terrorist attack in New York city. Rumors were spreading, yet we did not have facts. No one knew much, but we knew even less. I remember thinking about all the People I know in New York, The friends, the family, etc.(Years later I found out that a cousin of mine was killed on that day.) I was scared. Soon after class started, the teacher told us that as an extra precaution, all the schools were closing. You would think that for a young student at the beginning of the second grade that I would be happy to have a day off school, but no. As my father was at work, I went home with a friend, when his parents went out of the room, we turned on the T.V. and saw the news. After a few minutes of watching the news, his parents walked back into the room. I turned to my friend's parents and asked why can God let this happen. As expected there was no way to answer the question.
When my father came home from work that night, he would not talk about it. He told me to stop thinking about it, let the adults deal with it. I could not let it go.
while it is not much, I hope that this blog post gives you some perspective on what it was like to be seven years old on September eleven,  the day that changed the world forever.





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.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Resentment and Forgiveness

As a recovering addict, I hear all the time that resentment is an addict's number one offender. While this is true for someone in recovery, it rings true for each and every person.
Resentment may feel involuntary, however, the truth is it is a choice, and there is a way to let it go. Feeling resentful has a powerful effect on your physical, emotional and mental health. The effects of resentment are also negative to all other areas of your life. Feelings of resentment affect the choices and decisions you make, the actions you take, the way you communicate with others.

 Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.

So how do you let go of that resentment? Write down who or what you are resentful towards. Then go through and write down what you’re angry about, how does the resentment affect you and those around you, what does it do for you, and then write down what part you played in it.

Here’s an example from my own list (I may regret this later!):
I am resentful at: Sarah (not her real name)
The reason: She did not call when she said she would.
What does the resentment do to me? It makes me feel as though my friends are abandoning me.
What does holding on to it do for me? It helps me feel better than her. “Can you believe she did something like that? I would never do something like that.” (Oh, and that makes me a liar as well!)
My part in the situation: I pressured her into saying she would call when I knew she is very busy with volunteer work and a family.

Some of the most important steps on the road to forgiveness are:
Acknowledge your true feelings
Recognize the cost of the resentment
Focus on the payoff of forgiving
and realizing that you had a part to play in the situation.




 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.

Monday, August 28, 2017

You cannot see the future. It's a blessing that you cannot. You could not bear to know all the future. That is why God only reveals it to you day by day. The first step each day is to lay your will before God as an offering, ready for God to do what is best for you. Be sure that, if you trust God, what He does for you will be for the best. The second step is to be confident that God is powerful enough to do anything He wills, and that no miracle in human lives is impossible with Him. Then leave the future to God.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Gratitude Journal Prompts


In the past, I have written about the benefits of gratitude and writing a daily gratitude list.
Today I would like to share some prompts to help you formalize a gratitude list of your own.

1.List five small ways that you can share your gratitude today.
2.Write about a person in your life that you’re especially grateful for and why.
3.What skills or abilities are you thankful to have? (You communicate well, you’re a good cook, you have an uncanny ability to dominate in Fantasy Football. Hey, it’s your journal).
4.What is there about a challenge you’re experiencing right now that you can be thankful for? (This is a tough one, but you have learned something or grown from the hardship—how?)
5.How is where you are in life today different than a year ago–and what positive changes are you thankful for?
6.What activities and hobbies would you miss if you were unable to do them?
7.List five body parts that you’re grateful for and why. (Those long legs help you reach items on the top shelf … don’t forget the little things.)
8.What about the city you live in are you grateful for?
9.What are you taking for granted about your day to day that you can be thankful for? (Can’t think of any? Your alarm clock, your coffee machine, the paperboy who delivered your newspaper, your friendly neighbor who always says good morning … and that’s before you even leave the house.)
10.List 5 people in your life who are hard to get along with—and write down at least one quality for each that you are grateful for.
11.What materialistic items are you most grateful for?
12.Write about the music you’re thankful to be able to listen to and why.
13.Who has done something this week to help you or make your life easier and how can you thank them?

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, August 22, 2017

Failing health

Unfortunately I spent more time than expected trying to get my health stable. In addition to not being able to continue writing my blog, I also was not able to work.
A few months back someone reached out to me to fill out a profile for an interview on a recovery website. After a long time they finally are sending my profile to the editor. I look forward to sharing it with you all when it is ready.
For today I would like to share my gratitude list for the day.

1)good coffee
2)Computer 
3)eggs     
4)my desk

5)a growing relationship with 
6)God
7)my bed
8)toast
9)windows
10)clean clothes
11) a gas stove
12)fresh fish
13)my car
14)music
15)Job
16) Electricity
17)2nd chances










Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wrote this a few years ago... was kinda in my feelings a bit.
Thought I would share.

The nameless faces.
The forgotten places.
Time wasted.
Death tasted.
Forgetting what it was to enjoy..
A beautiful life so quickly destroyed.
The Pain I was feeling used as my compass.
The drugs and blast...
comfort in numbing...
Using to bypass.
My life, and all that's in it, quickly slipping through my fingers like sand.
Lost to the nameless faces.
The forgotten places.
The time wasted.
The death I tasted.
Losing myself... Living a lie.
Scared and alone...I left to save my life.
Seeking my soul and searching for strength through my travels many.
As weeks went on happiness and hope were felt once again!
Surprising me, for I had been convinced happiness was no longer in my plan.
Thrilled to Reveal the me I found within while travelling the land. .
I had fallen once more to that demon I chose to cater.
After having endured the miles in distance
And heart longing pain...
Now proving I had done so in vain.
All those tears that had been shed
For what?! For NOTHING!
Never had I felt so much shame.
Much deeper and darker I fell into the depths of my hell.
Isolation and self hatred...
No reminisce of self, just an empty shell.
Didn't know who I was anymore. Sobriety and my life...
Why wasn't I choosing what I longed for most?
Who i was...
Who I had been...
Had vanished in anguish..
As if a ghost.
Hitting my knees
Asking for strength
But praying even harder that my life He would take.
Utterly desperate to end the pain. For if losing what mattered most didn't make me change...
I was certain then, my soul it had claimed.
Exhausted by my walk through hell.. Sick of being Sick!
Instead of pushing me forward these feelings only kept me an active addict.
Not understanding.
Now barely crawling... lucky at times to be standing.
Those forgotten places.
All the time wasted.
And longing for the death I tasted.
Pain used as my compass...
And the drugs used to bypass...
Now my trials and pain exponentially larger all while thinking i was coping...
When in reality, these were the cards I was dealing.
Choices made.
Morals shifted.
Friendships severed.
Tough Lessons given..
Second chances not always a given to make things right..
The hands of time don't turn back for my loss of sight.
So much time spent in a daze... final goodbyes said, regretfully in a dope haze.
Only hoping now to find myself which seems a distant dream.. By far the hardest battle I've ever fought, by all means.
It's difficult to find strength when all one feels is pain and shame...
But life worth every damn strain.
I am determined that I will be whole again someday.
Everyday learning to love myself more...
In hopes that my broken heart will be mended where now torn.
For now it's life I've tasted!



 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.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Update (Health Struggles)

As you probably have noticed, I have not written a new blog post in a while. You may be wondering what has happened? Is everything OK?
 A little over a month ago, I went to the doctor for frequent and persistent nosebleeds. After running some blood work, he found that I had critically low platelets in my blood. For those who may not know, the platelets are one of the major cells in the blood, that help a healthy person's blood clot properly. If a person does not have enough platelets, they can bleed out, sometimes even internally, without knowing.
 I spent a few days in the hospital, where they ran many tests, and concluded that I have a condition called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura or ITP for short, and they do not know the cause.
Among the many symptoms are fatigue, low energy, easy bruising, and pain.
  While doing further research into my condition, I have found that some of my favorite foods can have negative effects on my platelet count, while other foods can have a very positive effect. I now understand more than ever, how diet can be instrumental in one's health.
  I hope that now that I have learned how to manage my physical, mental and spiritual health, I will be able to start posting regularly again.

 Thank you all for your patience while waiting for an update, and hope to continue sharing my experience, strength and hope with you all.





 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, January 25, 2017

Acceptance

Accepting reality enables us to live in reality.
What does this mean? When life pleases us and flows in accordance with our needs and desires, we don’t think about acceptance. But when our will is frustrated or we’re hurt in some way, our displeasure causes us to react, ranging from anger to withdrawal.
We might deny or distort what’s happening to lessen our pain. We might blame others or ourselves or we try to change things to our liking and needs.
Most of us alter our reality to some degree by perceiving reality with our personal biases. We sometimes use denial unconsciously to make reality more palatable.  A few such examples are:
  • Minimizing
  • Rationalizing
  • self deception.

Why do we do this?  The reason is that it helps us cope with some uncomfortable feeling or fact. Although denial may be an easier way to cope with stress, suppression is far better. For example, a cancer patient may decide not to think about dying in order to muster up the courage to undergo difficult treatment.  This does not mean to bottle up the feelings and never talk about them, as that will have negative psychological effects in the long run, rather do not dwell on the feelings to long, and find a time and place to talk it out. That may be with a close friend, a therapist, a school counselor, etc.
Denial is a core symptom of codependency and addiction. We have a distorted relationship to reality often acting against our best interests. Addicts and codependents use denial to continue addictive behavior.
Paradoxically change can only begin with acceptance of the reality, including those that are painful. 
Many of us when we here the word acceptance, we think of submission, but acceptance can also be an expression of will, a conscious decision that some things we can not change.  New options present themselves as we shift our focus from changing the impossible to changing what we can.
I wrote that acceptance can be an act of will. It may take the form of a positive a change of attitude. Sometimes, that’s all we can do. There may be nothing on the outside that we can change, but acceptance of a situation brings peace of mind and allows us to enjoy the moment. 


 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, January 17, 2017

Grattitude

 I was starting to write about this topic, and then had an experience that made me decide to start over.
As a volunteer roadside responder, we also occasionally receive an emergency call for a child locked in a car, a bathroom, etc. Today I was sitting at my computer writing my thoughts to share with you, and a call is dispatched for assistance changing a flat tire about 15-20 minutes away. Before I left the house, the caller called back and canceled the call. A few minutes later, the same person called once again to say that we were needed.I was en-route approximately five minutes away from the location of the flat tire, and dispatch notified me that once again the caller canceled. We all have our own lives, jobs, family, etc. and volunteer our time to assist others. A short while later, an emergency call is dispatched and while en route I hear over the radio that there was another potential emergency call approximately one minute from my location. As multiple others were responding to the first call, I went to check out the closer location and found no such emergency. Not only was there no emergency, there was no one needing assistance.

  You are probably thinking what does this have to do with gratitude?  If you appreciate what others do for you, you will treat them with respect. If the first caller, was grateful to us for giving our time, they would not have had us schlep most of the way to them, and then cancel the call one last time. In the second case, if there was a feeling of gratitude either they would not have called in a fake emergency, or would have let us know that they found a way into the car.

  Why be grateful? There are any reasons, however, I will only share a few of them with you.


  1. If you appreciate what you have you will be happier. 
  2. Gratitude makes people like us. Studies show that people who are more grateful than average had more social capital.
  3. Gratitude makes us healthier. In 2012 a study was published showing that grateful people take better care of themselves. They work out more and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors. Furthermore, gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions. 
Gratitude is no cure-all, but it is a massively underutilized tool for improving life-satisfaction and happiness.


  I was not always this grateful person, however, I managed to transform my life, and so can you.
I start each day writing down 10 things I am grateful for. They can be small things or big things. Throughout the day, I add to that list and read it over before going to bed. At first, it may be hard but over time it gets easier and easier.





 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.






 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dealing with crisis.

It has been a few weeks since my last blog post. The reason for this is, that I had a fire at home.
Recovery does not promise a perfect life. This raises a question, How does one deal with life, on life's terms?
I would like to share some tips and ideas that help me handle difficult situations.
First and foremost do not try to ignore the situation at hand because if you do, they will get the best of you.
Now, some of the many ways that you can handle difficult situations, no matter how big, or how small:
Stop and take a deep break (think before taking action).
Take deep breaths (pay attention to your breathing. This will help you think more clearly).
Observe what is happening in the situation (pay attention to whether you are thinking positively or negatively).
Call someone else to talk in order to get feedback.
These are just some of the many ways that can help you handle whatever situation you may find yourself in. Through using tools such as these, you will find that many situations can turn out better for you.






 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.