My purpose in writing this is NOT to educate the masses, nor is it to get something off my chest, air my dirty laundry! While it would be nice to give people a little insight, my only purpose in writing this is to help the alcoholic or addict who feels there is no hope. I want to get across to you---there IS hope, there are people who have been in that place of utter despair and are now living a sober HAPPY life!! While OP-ED pieces that are unsigned may detract from their validity, out of respect for my parents and family I will not sign my name. However, I can be reached directly by e-mailing me at ChabadGirl.Addict@gmail.com.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am a girl in my twenties, I was born and raised in Crown Heights. I went to Bais Rivkah for elementary and high school, followed by a good Lubavitch seminary in Israel. I went to college and then started a very satisfying teaching career. Sounds pretty good doesn't it? If I go into details it would sound even better.

I am someone that got a really good B.R. education. I got good grades, enjoyed learning and had a good time at school. I am a girl that was always surrounded by lots of friends. I had my “group” but I really was friends with all types of girls. I wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I did what was expected of me and tried to have fun doing it. Seminary was much of the same, I “made my trouble” but I was basically a good kid.

By now you are probably wondering about my family. I mean everything seems fine school wise, so that's not the problem. It MUST be her parents that caused her to drink and use drugs. WRONG!!!! My family is not ”dysfunctional“. My parents are not ”too strict“, nor are they ”too lenient“. I've read lots of comments about ”Baal Teshuva“ families. Well, my family has been Lubavitch since the Alter Rebbe. I always had what I needed, and mostly got what I wanted. Again not all roses, but a pretty darn good childhood.

Crazy Isn't it. All these positive things in my life and yet, I AM AN ALCOHOLIC and an ADDICT!!!! I started drinking when I was 13, at first to experiment then because I liked it and then because I NEEDED it. I added drugs into the mix when I was about 15. I foolishly thought (or convinced myself) that if it's a prescription it's not drugs. Well, those pills weren't prescribed to me and I most definitely did not take them as prescribed. Before too long I wasn't able to get thru a day without booze, pills or both. The more I drank and drugged, the more I needed.

I ”had everything going for me“, and yet I was so sad and empty inside, and the only way I knew to mask that was by ”using“. As my body built up resistance to the effects of drugs and alcohol, I needed to take more and stronger just to get a tiny bit of relief. After a while the relief I got from drugs & alcohol, was no longer coming. I was using so much and I was still so depressed. I just wanted to stop feeling everything and anything, and I didn't know how. I didn't want to die but I didn't want to live either. I just wanted to be numb.

About 18 months ago I started to really begin to realize that this way of life could not go on. This whole time I held down a job (I never used when I was with the kids), but even that job which I loved so much, brought me zero happiness and fulfillment. I desperately needed help but I didn't know where to get it. Every time I mentioned rehab I was shot down. ”You're a GIRL from such a good family“, ”you're not really an addict“, ”what will people think“, are some of the things I heard. I overdosed 3 times in a very short time, and I realized I NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!!! It was get sober or die.

Through amazing circumstances (thanks to my mother), I met a wonderful therapist who Introduced me to Alcoholics Anonymous. I was resistant at first, thinking I was different, but when I fully accepted my disease, yes DISEASE, I really began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The people there got me, they understood, and really helped me.

This month I celebrated one year sober, and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am. My life is completely different and I am genuinely happy. There are hard times, but I know I am not alone and I always have someone to reach out to who accepts and understands me. My only regret is that it took me so long to find that help.

One of the most amazing gifts of sobriety is the love and acceptance I feel from everyone in Alcoholics Anonymous. People I never in a million years thought I'd speak to, have become dear friends. During the winter we even had Friday night AA meetings in someone's basement. It wasn't just young people, or ”at risk" teens. Grown men, with families left their homes after the Shabbos meal to help themselves and another addict/alcoholic to get and stay sober.

If you or someone you love suffers from any type of addiction THERE IS HELP. I beg you, don't wait another second, you never know when those seconds are up. If you think you need help, or just want to talk please E-mail me ChabadGirl.Addict@gmail.com.