When I reached out to Makom several years ago, I was in a severe spiritual crisis.
I grew up in a Hasidic household and also had my share of abuse which included emotional, sexual and religious abuse. I so badly felt a need to belong but never had that feeling. My father abandoned me and another significant caregiver abused me. I felt all alone trudging through my young life.
I attempted for years to be perfect in the G-d of my upbringing’s eyes so that He wouldn’t abandon me, only to fail miserably again and again by being less-than-perfect. The G-d as I understood Him was going to punish and hurt me, He was an extension of my caregivers. I loved Yiddishkiet and Torah, on the one hand, but my outlook for my future was bleak, as I had all of these negative ideas and beliefs deeply ingrained inside of my soul.
I did my best, going through life, hoping not to mess up. In other words, I was just kind of getting by in life. I believe that at least to a significant degree, my becoming an addict was fueled by my aforementioned experiences and beliefs. I tried stopping my addiction with my old beliefs, not realizing that that was what got me there in the first place. My addiction almost took my life. And in order to heal from my addiction, I was thankfully and gratefully able to put those negative beliefs aside and allow a gentle, kind and LOVING G-d to do His work in me.
Then I was at a crossroads. A crisis reawakened that old image of Judaism and G-d. I wanted to run for the hills, all of my old wounds surfaced in such an ugly fashion that I was contemplating throwing my religion away. It was a terrifying experience to say the least. I was thinking of my poor wife and children. I loved them so much, yet was feeling this insane craving to run.
Someone had just told me about Makom, literally a couple of days before the crisis. Chazal tell us that Hashem creates the “refuah prior to the makeh,” and that’s thankfully the truth. I reached out to Makom and they were there for me throughout my difficult times. They were true angels in human disguise. I was finally able to honestly express myself without fear of condemnation. I wasn’t punished for expressing my deep feelings and fears. They showed me true compassion and acceptance. They provided me with that sense of connection that I so badly needed. I felt valued.
Words cannot describe the gratitude that I feel for Makom and its staff. I found what I was looking for “over there” in Makom. They were the kindest and most compassionate people that I could have found. They were there when it counted most. So although I’m a work-in-progress, I can say that thanks to Makom, I’m a proud Orthodox Jew. I no longer feel that need to run from Orthodox Judaism, or even from being a Hasidic Jew. Gratefully I’m stable, and my family that I love more than anything else in the world feels safe, knowing that I’m committed to the process.
Thank you Makom, from the bottom of my heart.
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