Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Asking for Help

by Dov (See all authors)

The first order of business when beginning to work the steps, is to get sober and remain sober by getting reasonably comfortable with the practice of asking for help when lust strikes. Asking for help is good a sign that the addict has finally come to believe that he is actually ill and is, for whatever reason, powerless. That is how we live with the first step. If, on the other hand, I hold onto a lust and do not share it with anyone, that means I am trying to control it by my own power. In that, I'd actually be moving away from G-d. It would mean that I have forgotten my track record and deny my limitations. Actually, that usually means I am hiding the lust - actually protecting it - and will eventually use it. To me, the fruit of "struggling" with lust is: eventually using it. "Struggling with it" proves that I have not yet done the First Step - or forgot it. Nu, we all do that occasionally, but it's not a good idea. Ultimately, I must live with an acceptance of the simple facts of my ill-ness. It is the most important door-opener for Recovery, followed closely by honesty and integrity. I will get nowhere without acceptance. Surrender grows out of it.

Practically speaking, that means making that quick call to my sponsor or to any program buddy and clearly admitting exactly what I am tempted to do at that moment, when lust strikes. If I find that I just can't bring myself to get specific and can only say, "I am having some 'trouble' with lust..." it means I am ashamed of myself. Being ashamed proves to me that I still feel this is about a moral failing of mine, and not an illness. We need to make up our minds about that eventually, otherwise we are not working the Program, but some other nice "Self-Help" regimen. Good luck. The Program that I know is G-d Help, not Self-Help. If you are interested responding to your addiction with the moral-failing/typical teshuvah model, that is certainly your privilege, but then it has nothing whatsoever to do with the 12 Steps.

If we are calling the right person, the fellow on the other end should know that we need neither speeches nor warnings from them. We have all had enough speeches! They do as much good for me in getting sober as "learning more Torah and mussar" does - in other words, not much good at all. All we are expecting from our listener is the help we need to surrender: to surrender to the fact that we are wonderful people but just sick in the head when it comes to lust; that, as addicts, we are simply not able to successfully control and use lust; and that we truly need help from a Higher Power. Often we end up laughing about it together and quickly get on with real life!