I recently told my sponsor that I had contacted a Recovery Rabbi and that I was beginning to do the 11th step as suggested on the Jewish Recovery website. His response was less than enthusiastic: "If you want what I have, you'll do like I do, which is: 1) Read the 3rd and 7th Step prayers. 2) Read Emmet Fox. 3) Read One Day At A Time. 4) Meditate for five minutes." I have nothing against doing all that, but I really wanted to reconnect with my Jewish roots, something that my non-Jewish sponsor couldn't help me with.

So I began to seek out other Jewish AAs. I recently went to my home group, the Bellflower Big Book Group, and began to ask around, stealthily. I found out that one Jew became a “born again Jew” through Christian missionaries selling “Messianic Judaism,” another goes to Saddleback, and the third goes to services, but not much in the way of praying. I really wasn’t sure of what my goal here was, but I figured if I begin the discussion, G‑d would show me the end.

Then the speaker began to speak. Her first drink was Manischewitz plum wine during a Jewish Holiday in Stonybrook, Long Island, NY. My first drink was Manischewitz in the back of a Reform Synagogue during Passover in Stonybrook, Long Island... She shared the horrors of growing up being abused by her father, getting abandoned in a mental institution (notably the one from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest), becoming a prostitute, getting severely raped, not caring about being raped because she wanted to die. Drinking and drugging all the way through — even through pregnancy — to assuage the mental anguish. She got sober, got a job, got a house, raised her child, raised a foster child, raised her sister’s child, raised a friend’s child, got a bigger house and began to help raise abused and abandoned teens. She now runs a non-profit organization, The Teen Project, to raise those children, and has raised 23 children whose stories all end in college admissions and successful marriages.

To make a long story longer, I shared with her about my first drink in Stonybrook and getting drunk on Passover at eight years old, and we both laughed at the coincidence. I asked her which branch of Judaism she belonged too and found out she goes to Chabad. I really wanted to join her so I wanted to know if she goes to a service with both men and women, and she said, “Yes, but it is probably too far for you. It's in Orange County, CA.” I live in Orange County, CA... A few questions later I find out that the synagogue she goes to is a couple of miles down the road from my house...

This Shabbat at 9 a.m. you will find me at Chabad of Mission Viejo together with my newfound friend in AA. I do love the small miracles. G‑d helped me with both the question and the answer one more time. I am excited to see what else G‑d has in store for me.