The Shabbat before Purim is called Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat of Remembrance. In the Torah portion we are told we must remember to forget the tribe of Amalek, who attacked the weak and the weary of the children of Israel wondering in the desert.
Only now as an addict has the meaning of this contradiction come to life. Because if I don’t remember to forget about it, I become subject to my addiction, which seeks to attack me when I am most vulnerable.
And what better time to remind us than the week before Purim, a holiday that can hold a lot of danger for those of us in recovery, as our natural desire to forget collides with our need to remember.
“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it…”
As an addict, I have to approach the holiday of Purim with caution. I know about the parties. I have worn those masks before. While we confront the evil of Haman, we have to reconcile the memory of the past with the promise of the future. .
It’s not our style to forgive and forget, we must forgive and remember. True reconciliation comes through a complete understanding of how we got to this point.
“No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.”
For me, to remember Amalek, is to remember my addiction. With time and distance from my last drink, it is still only a breath away.