By Ben Spielberg
My first few weeks in Beit T’Shuvah I was very disenchanted with everything going on. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be in rehab, I had nothing but contempt for Alcoholics Anonymous and I couldn’t quite grasp why everyone around me seemed so happy, dancing and smiling all the time. So I wanted to leave. In fact, I tried to leave… and then again… and again. I packed up my belongings maybe ten times in the first week I lived here. However, I kept talking to other residents and they would convince me to stay for maybe a few more hours, or at least another day. Then came my first Sunday as a resident. A counselor came up to me and asked if I wanted to come to the movies. Yeah, like I had any money. “No, no, the house pays for it,” the counselor said.
So I went to the movies in a van full of about 15 other new Beit T’Shuvah residents. I had barely been outside in almost a week and I was so excited I couldn’t sit still—the surge of energy was almost overwhelming. While I was only outside of the house for a few hours, I realized that I hadn’t thought about getting loaded for the first time in 6 years. It was at this moment that I began to understand, in fact, yearn for sobriety. During the van ride home we all cracked jokes and there was a lot of laughter on everyone’s part. Until then, I had been under the assumption that recovery and sobriety in general, was completely monotonous and utterly boring.
It was a slow process and that day was the beginning for me. It was hard to recognize that a lot of what I assumed of the world was actually wrong—for instance, I can have more fun in sobriety than when drunk or high! This is the reason I decided to open up rather than pack up, this is the reason I stayed at Beit T’Shuvah. I realized I didn’t need to have alcohol, a line, a joint, or a needle to have a good time. Good quality laughter and an open mind were the beginning of a process that has inevitably helped me feel good about myself. And before I knew it, I became one of those residents smiling, dancing and happy most of the time.