Sunday, 11 December 2011

We Have a Problem With "Living"

Part 1/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by Dov (See all authors)

Someone wrote to Dov:

Steve said something yesterday on the morning call that really hit home with me. He said that when we get triggered, at that moment we need to say to ourselves, "OK, G-d, You've got my attention! Where are we going with this? What message do you have for me?" And at the same time we pray, "Hashem, this lust urge is too strong for me, I am powerless against it! PLEASE remove it from me at this instant, and guide me to fulfill your will for me."

Dov responds:

Hearing you loud and clear, but need to share this:

What you write is great advice and I agree, technically speaking. But as far as I am concerned (the) "ikkar (is) chosair min haseifer".

What is your goal - what do you consider success? If all you want is an eitza of how to get past lust attacks as they come so that you will just stay clean, then I have nothing to add. But "not acting out" (you can call it "being clean") is all you may get. And that doesn't seem to work very well for many people. Life is too risky, and changes. Can we be vigilant enough? I doubt it. If we are addicts, we are predisposed, so we need a real solution - not stopgap measures. The 12-Steps recognize that we have a problem with "living" that needs to be addressed and take action on it on a continual basis. That just seems to be the way it is.

I believe the 12-step people (and the RMB"M in shmoneh p'rakim), that my addiction is not my real problem. It is only a symptom of my real problem, which is a misconnection with G-d and my fellow man. And I also follow the experience of the 12-step people that all progress in my recovery will depend on my focusing on the 'Solution' instead of on the 'Problem'. (Of course, my addictive behavior history must be my total focus in the very beginning of my recovery so that I get clear that I need to live a different way if I expect to get better and not to be fooled any longer that I can beat it.) Learning to live differently takes tefillah, time, and effort.

Any other endeavor had been fruitless for me... for years. And that included 'being a good yid/teshuvah/beating this thing because Hashem wants me to'. Complete waste of time for me. I was always doing it my own way, guiding the struggle and effort with my own damaged sechel... ignoring the fact that my best sechel and effort was guiding me when I got into porning and masturbating in the first place! No wonder it always failed after a week, month, or a few months. Always - and always got worse, never really better.