By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
In reflecting on the death of Steven R., I am profoundly sad, confused and angry. It does not make sense to me that a young man full of promise who had seen the joys and possibilities of sobriety and decency would choose to play Russian Roulette with Drugs.
I know that many people will say, “Rabbi, it is a disease.” I understand and agree with this. Yet, unlike my oldest brother’s Multiple Sclerosis, the disease of addiction has remission and hope. Steven decided to gamble with the hope, beauty and joy of Sobriety. This is what I don’t understand. A young man who could work with autistic children, a young man who could love music, this young man would laugh at and make mockery of friendship, love, sobriety and God’s call to him? This is what I don’t understand.
I know that Steven must have been tormented. I know that he was unable to really speak about and deal with his demons. Yet, he had a family that loved him. He went to a friend’s house that cared for him. He overdosed and put two families and a community through hell. This was a choice.
Herein lied my confusion, anger and sadness. Steven knew that he had more than one option. He knew that his choices were very plain. Sobriety brought hope and using brought ??? He knew that he had people who loved him, cared for and about him and needed him. He knew that there was a place in the world just for Steven and that he was wanted and accepted. He knew that he was seen for who he was, warts and all. Yet, he made the choice to play Russian roulette with his life and affect the lives of so many other people.
So, yes, I am angry at his choice. I am angry that he hurt so many people. I am angry that he put his family through the worst nightmare possible and made another family have to deal with the aftermath of his overdose.
Yes, I am sad that he snuffed out a beautiful soul and light that God created. I am sad that his place in this world will never be filled and we all lost something precious Saturday night.
Most of all, I am confused. I am confused that friendship meant holding secrets. I am confused that he took kindness for weakness. I am confused that he chose to give in to the demons that called him instead of asking for help to get back to the light. I am confused that he chose possible death over beautiful life.
I ask you, as individuals and community members, to stop the sadness, anger and confusion most of us feel when people give into their demons after they have seen a different way.
I ask you to keep HOLDING ON!! WE WON’T LET GO OF YOU!
God Bless, Rabbi Mark