“I’ve gotten very close to them. We have a sense of love and trust for each other,” Adam Y. shares. 

Born in Queens, New York in 1991, Adam’s parents divorced when he was six, but not before they gave him a little sister born two years after Adam on the same day. “My childhood was pretty good for the most part. As a single mom our mother really provided a loving and caring home for me and my sister,” Adam relates. And even though his father was very busy, he did get to see him regularly on the weekends. His childhood progressed fairly typically up until the age of twelve when, as he describes, “I started goofing off and also began experimenting with weed and alcohol.” 

As high school began, Adam’s partying and drinking began to escalate. He had also added cocaine and opiates to his teenage repertoire of alcohol and drugs by this time. From age fifteen to sixteen, “I began throwing parties at my house. They would get out of control, fights would ensue and then the cops would show up,” he explains. It got so bad that many times he wasn’t allowed to stay at the house and ended up couch surfing at various friends’ places. With his grades slumping and on the verge of being kicked out, Adam’s mother tried sending him to summer school as well as a Wilderness program in Minnesota. But after thirty days he left the program and resumed his partying ways. 

“Then one day two big dudes showed up at the house and escorted me to a teen rehab facility in Utah,” Adam recalls. An extremely intense program, for the first two weeks Adam couldn’t speak without raising his hand, had to sleep on the floor, ate literal slop, had to wear orange shirts and desert hats and was forced to carry jugs of water around. However, after that initial shock and awe experience, Adam progressed. He joined the football and basketball teams, began working out in the gym and eventually became a mentor to the younger kids coming into the program. “I found something in myself through this process,” he remembers. After eight months Adam graduated from the program, received his G.E.D. and at age seventeen returned to New York. 

And upon his return, he began working at Starbucks and going to fashion school in Manhattan. But despite all the progress he had made, he eventually reverted back to his old ways of partying, drinking and doing drugs and ultimately dropped out of school. Over the next three years Adam immersed himself in the club scene. “I began using mushrooms and went back to using coke and stealing opiates,” he recounts. He had also added psych meds to his drug maelstrom and this combination of illicit and prescribed narcotics cratered him and he ended up having a mental breakdown. “I was paranoid, anxious, agoraphobic and began having panic attacks. I wouldn’t leave my room and I couldn’t work,” he painfully says. 

Fed up with his behavior his family had had enough and told him to get a job. He began work at a boutique real estate firm but the drinking and drugging persisted. Unstable and unreliable, Adam bounced from job to job, including being an assistant to a film producer and working customer service at Burberry. But the partying never stopped. “I was doing coke at work, showing up drunk, sleeping at the office and missing days at a time,” he describes. Then he took a complete right turn and began attending the Kabbalah Center in Manhattan. He met an astrologer there who told him his main purpose was to grow up and become the man he was always meant to be. His life then began to turn around. He went back to Burberry and started to excel. “I also got deeper into Judaism and even got involved with Chabad,” he recalls. 

He then decided to leave his job, at the behest of a Rabbi at Chabad, and go to Yeshivah in Jerusalem for five weeks. He continued his Judaism study and was able to extensively travel around Israel. Simultaneously inspired and confused, he contemplated staying there and joining the army like his father had before. However, following a call with his dad, he returned to New York and began working again. After his return, Adam also tried to resume using psych meds but his partying ways had never subsided, even during his spiritual awakening in Israel, and he suffered another breakdown and was unable to work for the next year. Plagued by panic attacks and still self-medicating he was on the verge of suicide. “Finally my mother and a friend staged an intervention and suggested I check into a treatment center in Thousand Oaks, California,” he recollects.  

However, after only thirty days, he got involved with one of the women at the facility and was asked to leave. He bounced around from one facility to another and then met another girl. The pair lived together for a year, first at a sober living facility for couples and then separately back at his first treatment center in Thousand Oaks. After much emotional and relationship tumult, the couple eventually broke up and Adam found himself living in Dallas, Texas with a friend he had met during one of his rehab stints. From there he took a job with Christian Dior on the east coast. But after moving to Jersey City, New Jersey to start work, he once again succumbed to his demons of alcohol and drugs and spiraled for a final time. He wanted to return to California and had remembered hearing about Beit T’Shuvah. 

He called and spoke to Lysa H. and began his journey of recovery at BTS on September 2, 2021. After leaving his two-week quarantine, “I was very reluctant to be here. I was calling other places. I didn’t really know what this place was,” he recounts. But as time passed and he settled into his new environment he began to make friends and build a community. And as mentioned earlier that bond helped Adam see the true value of the BTS experience. “I got involved with the music scene here and started collaborating with other residents,” he shares. 

He started feeling better, attending outside meetings, working out, eating better and he even resurrected his beloved yoga practice. But there was still something missing. “I was still reluctant to admit I was an addict,” he recalls. But then a close friend came to town and he hung out with him and other friends. “They were drinking and I felt very triggered,” he says. It was at that moment that Adam finally admitted to himself that he was, in fact, an alcoholic and addict. Now ensconced as an integral member of the BTS community, Adam is the chip person at in-house AA meetings, a front desk intern and he recently began singing at Shabbat services. He concludes by saying, “I now feel like I have a healthy and sober plan for re-entering society and the workplace.” A sensitive and thoughtful gentle giant, Adam continues to evolve. And as he does, he truly is becoming that man he was always meant to be. No need to look to the stars anymore Adam. The truth and beauty of your purpose shines through your heart, voice and healing soul. And it magically illuminates all those who get to bask in its light and love.  

Spotlight on Adam Y. by Randall S.

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