More than 40% of our clients have addiction issues which often overlap with mental health issues.  We counsel these clients weekly and in addition if necessary refer them to various support agencies and counseling services.

In particular, we collaborate with the addiction counseling services of Abridgeback (see resources section). They are a licensed substance treatment facility and the counselors empathize and understand our clients' challenges.

Understanding the Issue

·         More than half of prison and jail inmates have a mental health problem.

·         About 42% of inmates in prisons and 49% in jails had both a mental health problem and substance abuse issues (About 24% of inmates in prisons and 19% in jails had substance abuse issues only).

·         The death rate from drug overdoses is about 21% in Illinos.

·         Mental health issues and addiction issues increases recidivism.

Hinda Heroes

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  About ten years ago, L spent 16 months in Cook County jail for a DUI. It was his fourth time in jail as he was battling a heroin addiction. L says; "What the drugs did was fill a void inside of me, and once they were gone, I filled that void with staying busy and achieving goals," he said. "As I was building all this, I was OK. Once the goals were achieved and I got what I wanted, I was empty again."

In jail, he encountered Rabbi Scheiman who helped him to grow spiritually.  In jail, once he began rehabilitation, he said, he realized why he couldn't overcome his addiction for good. "The one thing I left out would be the spiritual because I never found a spiritual solution," he said. "And because I didn't think I needed it, I thought that I could do it." So once inside, he slowly began to pray. Short, intermittent prayers have grown into 10- to 20-minute prayers three or four times daily. What he once thought cumbersome, he now finds integral. "In addiction, you have to have faith in something other than you in order for you to be able to stay clean because you are the one who got you into this situation." R. Scheiman said that connection with spirituality could have prevented many of the imprisoned Jews he counsels from arriving in the correctional system in the first place. "When somebody is leading a life with their core values and meaning, they don't feel that emptiness as much," he said.

After, he got out L began extensive research which eventually led him to a degree in clinical psychology at Roosevelt University and allowed him to pursue his dream to become a licensed counselor. His passion was discovering how to help people who struggle with addiction reduce the relapse and fatality rates. 

L has become a very intuitive counselor with innovative solutions and a spiritual guru in his own right. After being praised by clients about his effectiveness while treating them, L realized how much of a disservice it is to people who struggle with addictive and mental health disorders to be denied the opportunity to work with a clinician who understands them. One who has the knowledge and life experience to be the proponent of positive change for those who are at risk of becoming engulfed in the vicious cycle of recovery and relapse unnecessarily. This is what L brings to each and every client, in each and every group or individual session that he facilitates. L said he has no illusion of his past failures. He feels his faith, not just his willpower, may be the key to staying sober.