Tuesday, 03 January 2012

Giving up: Why the First Step is so Important

by Dov (See all authors)

The point of writing our 1st step is to finally be able to answer this:

"So, do I actually have the ability to remain sober? Have I run out of resources yet, or not?"

That's the only question when it boils down. If in my heart of hearts I still believe that I really possess the ability to control lust, then it means a whole cadre of troubling things that have always kept us in danger:

1) I will remain ashamed if I use lust because - "I should have been able to control it, so I am a bad guy." Shame - which we have always had and was ultimately ineffective at stopping us - is not really our friend. Instead, it temps us to hide or 'color' facts and details about our temptations rather than come out and admit our mishegas'n early and get the help we desperately need. If we continue to hide, we are toast.

2) If I can still control it, then I can also use it a little bit - and then stop at will. How many times did we really think that and take risks - only to eventually lose badly... a hundred times? And it never ends, really. Once I am surrendered to the simple truth that I am completely hopeless fighting against lust, it means that I admit in my own heart that I cannot be trusted with it and can't afford to taste it. Finally I will stop taking stupid risks.

3) Basically, every time I have ever used lust, it was because I believed that I will still control it in the end; that I will not be completely overtaken by it. I was wrong, and did many things that I just didn't understand, hence the refrain, "I just gotta finally understand why I do these crazy things?!"

So, more than anything else, our refusal to accept our inability to use and control lust is that reason we end up using it.

So once this becomes clear to me, I need to surrender - give up - any temptations I get to others by telling people about it in detail so I can get let go of it - and if I should ever actually act out again, I need to go back to my 1st step. Why? Because that must be where my weak link is. I must have pridefully thought I could get away with it. I forgot that whenever I try to use it, lust controls me, not the other way around. It always makes me so miserable.

So the writing of the 1st step is really just a jump-start for a lifetime attitude and practice.