God of Our Understanding
Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction
Twelve-step recovery is not just for goys. Taub, a rabbi in the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and cofounder of a Jewish recovery community in Milwaukee, brings a lens of Jewish spirituality to the 12 steps and finds them not only kosher but also helpful in deepening Jewish spiritual life. Citing Carl Jung, he first analyzes addiction as a spiritual problem of longing for God but substituting alcohol (spirits) for spiritual relationship. From there he goes on to trace and emphasize the God consciousness that the 12 steps advocate, and he then offers a careful theological analysis that finds much consistency between recovery and Jewish teachings about God, prayer, forgiveness, and relationships. The God of our understanding¯ that recovery talks about is also the God of our fathers,¯ he argues. A glossary of rabbinic sources buttresses his own gloss on the 12 steps. This is a thoughtful counter to one criticism occasionally heard - that the 12 steps are implicitly Christian - and a singular and valuable resource for those in need.