Thursday, May 29, 2008
[A good start, but not enough.]
I am now in the middle of reading a fascinating book Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff. The author is a professional writer whose son Nicolas became a methamphetamine addict in high school. It’s extremely well written and suspenseful and I can hardly put it down. Perhaps because I am a father myself, about the same age as Mr. Sheff, I find the book so absorbing. (Click here to see Nic and David.)
One interesting point in the book is that Mr. Sheff, although Jewish, is an atheist (at least at the beginning of the book). One of the problems his son Nic has with therapy is that the universally used 12 Step recovery program requires a belief in God - a personal, monotheistic God, whom we can speak to and who will involve Himself in our day-to-day lives. At one point, Nic is upset by this and brushes it off as “bullshit” and goes back to living on the street in drugged semi-consciousness.
Some historical statistics may be relevant. In 1956, there were estimated to be 35,000 drug addicts in the United States. In 2006, an estimated 20.4 million Americans were drug users. This would seem to correspond roughly to the rapid growth of secularism in the United States during those years. I can testify from my own experience that in the Orthodox Jewish community, the usage of illegal drugs is almost nil. Similarly, a higher level of religion seems to correspond to a lower rate of suicide.
My impression is that belief in God gives people greater satisfaction in life which means that they don’t need to escape to cope. God is the real anti-drug.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 4:24 PM