Jewish Journal


March 20, 2013

Things I’ve Noticed at BTS



By Ben Spielberg

I’ve been a member of the Beit T’Shuvah community for over two and a half years. We do a relatively good job of showing the online community what Beit T’Shuvah represents, but there is some information that is missing. Do you know what it feels like to actually live at Beit T’Shuvah? It’s grueling, frustrating, beautiful, creative, spontaneous, dark, sometimes romantic. It’s exciting and it has dull moments. Here are 20 tips that I’ve noticed over the years, in case you were wondering:

1. A small percentage of the residents do a large percentage of the household chores.

2. Sometimes auxiliary programs like Prevention or BTS Communications are more helpful to residents than standard group psychotherapy.

3. Rabbi Mark hates it when people do stupid things.

4. Don’t ever take chairs from Harriet’s office.

5. Spilling your own coffee and cleaning it up is a profound representation of growth.

6. Cleaning up somebody else’s coffee means that you are probably a people-pleaser, and should work on that.

7. Spilling coffee and walking away could mean one of two things: either you are still detoxing, or you are too caught up in your ego/depression.

8. Pretending to spill coffee so that you can publicly clean it up means that you have a serious mental condition.

9. Wearing sweat pants during working hours are highly correlated with unemployment.

10. The chiropractor visits are some of the most exciting moments during the week.

11. There is a black hole during Shabbos set-up and clean-up where people disappear and cannot be found until its subsequent culmination.

12. Sometimes people don’t “get it” until they graduate from Beit T’Shuvah, relapse, and move back in.

13. Cigarette smoking has decreased on Shirley’s patio because of the prominence of electronic cigarettes.

14. The amount of coffee Beit T’Shuvah uses per month could power a steam engine.

15. Don’t ever put your hat on backwards.

16. Absolute honesty is key.

17. It’s good to acknowledge the darkest parts of yourself. We use them to make you a better, stronger person.

18. Try to show up for as many things as you can. If you show up to too much, though, there’s probably something wrong with you.

19. Don’t be discouraged by the people who have lived here for 6+ months. We were all supposed to be here for only 30 days.

20. Happiness and misery are both contagious. You have the choice to infect your fellow peers.

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