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Rabbi Menachem Schoenes

Losing his mother at a young age, Schoenes dulled his grief with alcohol. “The bottle became my friend,” he says. Drinking led to other pain-numbing drugs, and by 19, he was homeless, struggling with multiple addictions, and suicidal. “My turning point was when I was ready to jump off of a five-story building in Brooklyn, New York,” Schoenes says. Instead of ending his life, he began the hard work of recovery – immersing himself in treatment, and the fellowship of a 12-step program. Today, Schoenes is nearing five years of sobriety. “I am okay today with who I am, and if I allow the wreckage from my past to define me, I would be defeated,” he writes on his recovery blog. “So I think my message is to empty your garbage daily and stop carrying around stuff from your past. We can’t take back yesterday, let alone the things we did weeks ago. All we can do is the next right thing and try and help someone else out.”

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