Denverite Dylan Boxer has a friend who is in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions.
“He would wake up in the morning, and instead of thinking about `where am I going to live (or) get food,’ it was, `where will I get drugs today,’” Boxer said.
Boxer’s friend now is sober and in the tail-end of his treatment, which includes therapy and counseling.
“He (has) been clean for a while, and is adapting and adjusting to this new way of life,” Boxer said. “But he’s noticed a lack of sober activities.”
That’s when Boxer and a group of others realized the need for Jewish Sober Connections — a new, local organization that promotes sobriety through community gatherings.
The plan is for JSC to host a gathering in the Denver area every month or every couple of months, Boxer said.
“There are a lot of recovering addicts out there who try to avoid gatherings with drugs and alcohol because they don’t want to jeopardize their progress,” Boxer said. But “in doing so, they miss out on socializing.”
JSC helps fill that void and welcomes anybody and everybody, Boxer said.
“All are invited, not just Jewish people,” he said. “We accept people from all walks of life. The concept (is to welcome) people from any race, gender, orientation and everything in between.”
JSC’s foundation is to celebrate sobriety through comradery and to prove that the absence of alcohol and drugs doesn’t mean the absence of community. But, not all who are involved with JSC are recovering from an addiction, Boxer said. Some who attended the first event — a pumpkin-carving party on Oct. 25 — simply wanted to find drug- and alcohol-free opportunities, Boxer said.
Fifteen people attended the pumpkin-carving party in the Denver home of Andy and Sandi Schwartz. They served macaroni and cheese, butternut squash soup, candy, cookies and warm, festive nonalcoholic beverages — all on autumn-themed dinnerware.
“Our intention for these events is to give everyone — not just Jewish people — a safe place to interact with other like-minded individuals,” said Arye Schwartz, one of the JSC founders who has familial relation to the hosts of the Oct. 25 event. “It’s important to have safe spaces so that those who don’t want to drink aren’t alienated.”