A Sober Sukkos Retrospective 



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    A Sober Sukkos Retrospective 

    “Sukkos has always been a time in my life that I looked forward to…” Mendy Schusterman a recovering alcoholic, shares. “Once I got sober, I had no idea what I would do on Sukkos, my only concept of what Sukkos was like, was drinking and partying.” • Full Article

    By Mendy Schusterman

    Sukkos has always been a time in my life that I looked forward to. Most people look forward to Sukkos for an uplifting, meaningful, and inspiring month. I always looked forward to Sukkos because this would be one of the few times a year I would fit in.

    All year long most normal people stay sober and go about their normal functional life. During Sukkos, the normal gets reversed most people are getting sloshed, staying up late, and all around being dysfunctional. I lived my whole year like this and I finally felt like I fit in during Sukkos. I would go out every night drinking and causing chaos, but this was what everyone else my age was doing so I felt normal.

    Once I got sober, I had no idea what I would do on Sukkos, my only concept of what Sukkos was like, was drinking and partying. So, my first year sober, on Sukkos I ran away. I did not want to have anything to do with a holiday I felt I could not take part in. I thought the holiday of Sukkos had nothing in it for someone who was sober.

    This year I vowed something would be different, I committed that I would find something in Sukkos for a sober guy. So that’s what I did, I spent all 8 days wholly engaged in the holidays. On the first days when my shul was missing a rabbi, I was able to step in and share a speech after Kriah.

    On chol Hamoed I went to Crown Heights. (The area where for many years, the most severe of my drinking took place). For the first time ever on Sukkos, I chose to farbreng and dance instead of party and drink. And on the last days of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, I was back at my shul helping out and trying to make it a beautiful Yom Tov for my community.

    This Sukkos I chose to not just stay sober but to enjoy Sukkos the way it was intended. This was the most beautiful Sukkos of my life and for the first time I can say I truly experienced a meaningful Sukkos.

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    Mendy Schusterman is a recovered alcoholic and addict who is currently working as a shliach in Bais Menachem Wilkes Barre.

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    A Sober Sukkos Retrospective 



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