Sunday, 15 January 2012

What's wrong with surrendering alone?

by Dov, GYE (See all authors)

Is your surrendering done all by your lonesome, or do you have a few choices of folks you can call to quickly do the surrender with and then move on? It is important for us to surrender together with other people - and my favorite reason for that, is quite cool:

The only place surrender is ever made is inside my heart, where my motivations are and my actions are decided. What we say is not often worth very much. So you'd think that surrendering in my heart = success, period. Technically, that's true. Still, there is a huge poison inherent in surrendering exclusively privately and I bet it has ruined many good-hearted frummeh yidden like us, addicts or not:

When I surrender privately exclusively, and am granted relief by Hashem, I will be grateful.

When I do it again a few more times, though, I will be machzik myself as a good Jew. And what's so bad about that? Nothing really, but....

After a few more times, I will believe that I am 'really something'... I see it all the time, and saw it in myself, as well. And unfortunately, in the sick realm of his or her addiction all the 'positive self-esteem' stuff of Rav Twerski avail an addict zero, really. Thinking we are 'really something' means one thing: EGO: E dging G-d O ut. Period.

A normal person can afford that, but many addicts agree that they cannot. We need to remember exactly who we are and what we are prone to. The first step (of the 12) is not done once - it is an awareness that saves us again and again from death.

When we surrender in our hearts and share that surrender with another (safe) person, it is really hard to consider ourselves heroes . After all, my thoughts (if I am really being honest and open about them) are occasionally quite immature, perverted, and goofy. And my recovery buddy knows all about it! He surely doesn't look down on me for my thoughts, cuz he understands his own addiction and how even men and women of great quality - even great rabbonim, good fathers, and courageous people - are quite pathetic in addiction. I know a lot of great talmidei chachomin, lawyers, and doctors - all addicts like me - whose brains can come up with the silliest and most dangerous ideas when a woman with the right 'accouterments' talks nicely to them, or when they are alone at the office with an unfiltered computer (or book)... or whatever. Willpower will not protect them forever - hence, they are guaranteed to fail - they are powerless and admit it freely.

But it's nothing to be ashamed of, really. It's just the truth about us! Hey - my body will eventually die, slowly rot, and smell horrible - people will run from it. Not a pleasant thing to think about, so we don't. And that's normal. But with addiction, if we choose to allow our shame to guide us we'll never share it and surely self-destruct. We make philosophical and religious excuses for keeping it private - it's all really just shame of our own 'stink'.

Addicts in recovery know better.

So we share it with another person rather than just privately give up our 'right' to it and ask Hashem to save us from the pain/regret. We tell them all about it. There is no shame left when it comes down to saving my life, thank-you. We all know what happens to the guy who has a heart attack R"l in the bathroom and is too shamed to call for help because he hasn't wiped himself yet... (sorry)

It helps keep me right-sized in my own mind and heart when I know that other people are fully aware of the depth of craziness that my addict mind is capable of. And right-sizedness is perhaps the greatest 'sobriety insurance' in the world.

Humility in action, not just in words. Talk is certainly cheap. But talking out our insides to another is precious, precious, precious!

Let's come out - and stay out - of the shadows.

 

GYE adds: Hashgacha made me stumble on this piece from the Rambam:

The Rambam (Maimonides, Mishnah Torah, "Laws of Repentance", 10,3) writes: "What is the proper love that we must have for G-d? It is to love G-d with an exceedingly great and intensely powerful love until the individual is constantly enraptured by it; he must be stricken like a lovesick person, whose mind is at no time free from his passion for a particular woman, with the thought of her filling his heart at all times, whether he be sitting down or rising up, whether he be eating or drinking. Even more intense should the love of G-d be in the hearts of those who love Him, and this love should constantly absorb him, as we are commanded to love the Lord "with all your heart and with all your soul." Solomon expressed this allegorically in the verse, "for I am sick with love." (Song of Songs, 2:5) Indeed, the entire Song of Songs is an allegorical description of this love.