TKO: Totally Knocking Out Addiction

Issue #24

By M. Alexander

Seven months ago, I started a weekly newsletter to be handed out during Shabbat services at Beit T’Shuvah.  I called it Tikkkun Olam, meaning “ to repair the world.”  We are now on the 25th issue.

It started much like my sobriety, an idea, unformed and shapeless.  I did not know whether it would last or it would die.  But when I started hitting the keys on the keyboard, when I started asking residents, parents, board members, and temple members to contribute—I knew that I would keep it going.  When I started awakening to all the harm I had caused while I was shooting heroin, when I started realizing that I could only repair my corner of the world if I remained sober—I knew I would keep it going.  I would put out an issue every week and I would stay sober.

Each issue has a theme pertinent to sobriety and pertinent to Judaism.  Tikkun Olam has featured the themes of passion, community, courage, humility, and expectations.

The first issue was an introduction.  It highlighted resident stories, a drash on the haftarah, and a creative writing piece.  I loved doing it.  I loved figuring out how to format the paper, I loved looking for relevant cartoons, I loved getting other people involved—and I didn’t do it myself.  I asked for help when I needed it.

Since then, there have been times that I haven’t loved what I’m doing.  I get frustrated, I get bored, I get depressed.

I have come to terms with many “isms” I never thought I had—workaholism, perfectionism, and pessimism.  Through all of the issues, I have produced, I have kept to my commitment, and I have helped it grow. I have watched my sobriety, once shapeless and unstable, grow along with Tikkun Olam.  I have watched parents cry after reading about an addict still going through the depths of addiction, I have seen residents awaken to their long lost passions for writing and for life.

I now send Tikkun Olam via email every week to those who would like to receive it.  If you would like a weekly copy, you would just like a single issue, or you would like to make a contribution—please email me at This week’s theme is Sarcasm.  Where does sarcasm come from? Is it insecurity? Is it a power struggle? When is sarcasm appropriate?  When is it harmful?  If you would like to make a contribution, please send me an email.  I would love to expand my base of writers, painters, and drawers.

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