Shine a light

Written by Bette Dewing on . Posted in Dewing Things Better, Opinion and Column, Opinion Our Town, Opinion West Side Spirit, Our Town, Our Town Downtown, West Side Spirit.


Violence prevention groups should address the link between alcohol and domestic violence

This column is in part prompted by Yom Kippur and readers who thoughtfully responded to the unexpected death of my dear unofficial goddaughter, Janie Villiers. It’s also about the often-ignored link between alcohol and violent and other aberrant behaviors.

In much the same way as Christians who have wakes as well as funerals, the Jewish custom of sitting shiva helps to further honor the departed and, above all, comfort the mourners. While the departed and those who mourn them are reverently noted in the Sunday service prayers of Protestant and Roman Catholic churches I attend, no specifics are given on what “love one another” actions congregations might take. Nor do prayers that name the ill or confined in nursing homes. Maybe consider adding some specific suggestions in, for example, the post-Sabbath-service “fellowship hours”?

I strongly believe that things go better with the involvement of—dare I say it?—God and faith groups. When I participate, I do feel better and I resolve to do better. But I question how forgiveness without repentance and atonement can be redemptive. The wondrously successful 12 Step programs require repentance and atonement.

Ah, but something to repent, all right, is how little is publicly said about these enormously effective programs—even in houses of worship where their meetings are often held. Even less is said about the intervention process, not only in substance-abuse cases but also with ailing relationships. Intervention also shows people don’t have to get ready “all by themselves” to seek treatment. Betty Ford is the most blessed first lady for becoming a foremost intervention force after her family prevailed upon her to seek help for prescription drug and alcohol dependence.

Contact the Freedom Institute to learn about intervention at 212-838-0044. And Alcoholics Anonymous (212-647-1680) has certain meetings that are open to the public, where any interested person can learn firsthand how alcohol adversely affects behavior. Policy-makers in every field need such education, especially those who ignore or deny that alcohol abuse by one or both parties is a major factor in domestic abuse. Let’s hope it’s stressed and not slighted in the Tuesday, Oct. 2, “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” event sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and the New York state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Many other concerned groups and individuals are involved, including playwright Eve Ensler, who will be the keynote speaker, in this event that’s part of Violence Awareness Month. The time is 6:30 p.m. at Military Island at Broadway and Seventh Avenue at 34th Street, and everyone is urged to wear purple. (Incidentally, purple was the color worn for September’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, which received minimal coverage. Did major officials attend? Shine the light on that!)

And let’s urge the Borough President’s Office to really shine the light on the alcohol abuse factor, and the fact that men too are domestic violence victims.

Sermons on substance abuse, especially the alcohol kind, are surely in order because—wow!—such abuse can lead to the breaking of every single one of the Ten Commandments. The cost to society is sinfully high.

Twelve Step programs importantly offer a kind of community so missing in today’s society. And so does Logos Bookstore, which is holding its monthly “Kill Your TV Book Club” gathering on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. All are welcome. If only TV producers would resolve to kill the ever more violent programming and revive the shows in which role models resolved problems rationally and peaceably. Logos is located on York Avenue between 83rd and 84th streets.

dewingbetter@aol.com

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