Sunday, 11 December 2011

Growing is the Focus, not Fighting Lust

by Dov (See all authors)

The only benefit you will get from the program is from working it yourself. Step-study is fun, but practically useless. In fact, it can be poison, if it gives one the perception that they are "working these steps"... no, they are only thinking about working them - not working them.

Like a lot of things, what we get out of it depends exactly on what we put into it. Not on what we know about it, or what we want. It's an extreme example of "lo hamedrash ha'ikar, ella hama'aseh", only that here, working these steps isn't just the ikkar, it's everything. Like driving a car, like painting, or like loving Hashem or a person - you can read about it and talk about it for a lifetime - and many, many people do just that - but you cannot know it at all until you do it. And that's just the beginning of recovery.

Once I start to actually work these steps, I begin to grow. And the growth is always a surprise and far beyond the effort that I put into it, cuz it's a gift from Hashem and not my effort that does it. As long as I read about it and study it, I do not grow. And I will not get long term sobriety until I finally make growing my focus, rather than focusing at all on 'fighting' lust.

That's why the overwhelming majority of guys who I know who are 'fighting lust' just keep 'falling' and going crazy about it, while many who actually work the steps (rather than study them) live free, one day at a time. It's funny, then, that I have heard from many fellows that they are unimpressed with the entire attitude of 12 Step recovery because it teaches that "we are still addicts". They consider one day at a time a cop-out, and think surrender to powerlessness is looking down on ourselves.... and in the meantime nearly all of those guys are 'falling' every week, month, or whatever.

For me, there was never any freedom in struggling. Just illness. My focus needs to be on growing, and I use the steps to help me do that.