Thursday, 08 December 2011

Getting Busy with Living

by Dov, Silent Battle (See all authors)

The goal of my recovery is not really sobriety, if by "sobriety" we only mean "not drinking/using schmutz/whatever". This is for two reasons. One is that such an attitude is shallow, and the second reason is that such a perspective may not work, even to stop the drinking/drugging/schmutzing!


The "12 Steps and 12 Traditions" of A.A has a statement like this: "Some old timers have said, "If all there is to sobriety is not drinking, then I'm not interested!" What Bill goes on to explain, is that while drinking is what got our attention and almost ruined our lives, AAs have discovered something amazing. They found out that their drinking was but a symptom of their real problem, which was a basic spiritual unrest. They found that out by staying sober and working the steps until they found G-d. And they came to know that what was wrong with them all along - (and still lingers!) - is really a disconnect from G-d and people. The steps helped them reconnect. Then they saw that had they stopped with "not drinking", they'd have forever been ignorant of the real issue (and probably eventually have to drink again) and of the greatest Treasure of a lifetime (which would have been pathetic).


So there are a few paradoxes here. Drinking (lusting) brings us to find ourselves and G-d through recovery in order to quit and then we see that drinking/lusting wasn't our problem to begin with - our problem was/is forgetting G-d! Usually, it was because we were sitting in His seat... hence the emphasis on humility in the Program. (Remember Mesilas Yesharim on Anivus and how it's like a 'strike' in bowling - it hits a whole lot of pins simultaneously, a shortcut.)


Staying free of the temptations and not feeding the lust is essential and hurts like crazy, especially early on - but that's what we have friends for, and through it, we learn to use G-d to either take away the pain or at least help us get through it. (Dodi li)


Before long, we discover that thinking about beating lust is actually as toxic as lusting itself! Making it our life's work makes us think about lust challenges even more! Besides, it shrinks and perverts a true, broad avodas Hashem into a tiny twisted pretzel. Yechh... Then somebody taps us on the shoulder and suggests that we make our focus "getting busy with living". And without cheshboning and figuring everything out so much, because: we can't think our way into right living - we can only live our way into right thinking. We begin to become concerned (hopefully not neurotic, just concerned) with being useful and thereby not giving lust the time of day. Not fighting it, but perhaps sidestepping it, at least most of the time. And never looking back to see if that dog is still following us - at least most of the time.

"SilentBattle" explains Dov:


I think that one of the things that Dov is trying to say is that sometimes we get caught up in the idea of battling these urges. So we grit our teeth and don't give in, dig our fingers into our palms, stare the yetzer hara in the eye, and fight back. But eventually, we get tired. And the y"h doesn't. And then we lose. But it seems so dramatic, we're fighting for what's right, no?

But what if we could accomplish what's right and avoid the problem without the dramatic battle? By just avoiding the whole issue, learning to avoid situations when our Lust will have a chance to rear its ugly head. So we won't have the chance to stand on the ramparts and wave the flag, we'll just calmly walk through life, doing what we need to do, doing what Hashem wants.