By Zoe Ogulnick
I never would have guessed that being a “normie” would cause me to feel like I am less than. The residents and employees (typically) at Beit T’Shuvah have all struggled with addiction. The fact that I never went down that path makes me an instant minority. I worried that my patients and the kids I spoke to would think of me as a phony. How could I possibly understand what they’ve experienced? The truth is, addict or not, we are all a slave to something. We have all experienced traumas and devastation. However, some of us were provided with a different set of tools to make life just a little more manageable.
Since coming to work in the prevention office I have found that I am able to relate to a lot of the daily struggles that inhibit these adolescents’ growth and maturation. You would think that having a Masters degree in clinical psychology would allow me to feel more equipped to help these kids. The fact of the matter is that these kids couldn’t care less about my education. They want to know that I “get it.” They want to really feel like I know what it’s like to sit where they’re sitting. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a battle with addiction to really understand the crux of the struggle. I remember how hard it is to feel left out. I remember the intense pressure to succeed. I remember feeling like being myself wasn’t ever good enough. I hope that I am able to provide these kids with proper tools to deal with this everyday scuffle without falling into the hands of substances that are much more powerful than they will ever be.