Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Lust Doesn't Deserve Real Estate in My Brain

by Dov (See all authors)

A few suggestions based solely on what works for me and others I know:

1- Am I more ashamed of the truth about myself than I am of messing up? Or am I really ready to get the help I really need to give it up? What is more important to me: holding onto my shame and pride - or my sobriety? So....

Having a few understanding and safe people to call when I feel a temptation is essential. I have a list of about 30. They are all in serious recovery and I can call someone any time and just say something like, "I was sober as heck 5 minutes ago, and just finished giving a chaburah on hilchos Shabbos.......and yet right now, after seeing a very beautiful woman at the supermarket, it brought back memories for me and all I really want to do right now is go to a shmutz website as soon as I get home, and be mz"l a few times." And they will not spend a second trying to convince me to stop! Cuz they know that'd be silly - they can't keep themselves sober, so how would they have the power to keep me sober?! They know they are sober because they have recruited G-d's help to surrender their right to lust, use fantasy, and act on it. And they know that being open and honest about it is the key that opens that door. We might daven together, or separately, or just talk till I get back to reality. Then we might end up laughing hard at how crazy we can get! This has happened to me dozens of times, be"H, and it is wonderful.

We are only as sick as our secrets.

2- Talking to Hashem about exactly what I feel like doing is essential. Am I even too ashamed to be honest before Him? True, it is not nearly as powerful as being open with a person, but if I am not open with Him, what hope is there that any of my t'fillos are going to be sincere and really 'me'? Zero, I think. So I talk to Him freely and fully, all day long.

It used to be that if you saw a guy walking in the street and yakking loudly, you knew he was cracked. But in the age of bluetooth, we can all walk around anywhere schmoozing with our Best Eternal Friend with no concern of a chillul Hashem, or any shame at all! Ha! (Within bounds of reason, of course...)

3- My life in recovery boils down to one thing: Practicing focusing on living a really useful and fun life, rather than living locked in a wrestling embrace with lust - even l'Shem Shomayim! Fighting it all the time is almost as stupid a derech as giving-in to it is! Really. It is not a 'life' - just something that looks a lot like 'living'. For me it was a very insane - but frum - life....and slowly dying (and torture for my poor wife and kids). Hashem has no better way for us? The misery we all know, living in that hopeless torturous cycle...is that the best Hashem has to offer His beloved child?

Giving the entire mess to Hashem to save me from it rather than keeping it (to 'win'), is the derech I was m'kabel from my sponsor and recovery buddies. Learning how to admit squarely in the mirror and to another person that I am not normal nor healthy, but abnormal and subject to lusting, lying, and losing control of myself - once I take the first little drink. And that I do not naturally possess the power to stay away from even the first drink. Then giving my life - not just my lust issue, but my entire life for that day - to Hashem as best I can. And then going out and living!

Neither lust - nor the struggle against it - deserve real estate in my brain! That tangled obsession has twisted me up enough already! And paradoxically, the way to make that happen is by admitting the full truth about myself and keeping that awareness. It works for me.