Advice From an Addiction Expert
Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, the founder of Drugsline, received a prestigious honor from Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his groundbreaking work tackling substance and alcohol abuse. Lubavitch.com spoke with him about his organization's achievements. One of the questions they asked him was the following:
Undeniably, it is a difficult time to be a teen, confronting real adult issues on a daily basis. What advice do you have for teenagers themselves?
When a teen approaches us with a problem, we must recognize their issues. We cannot pretend they don't exist. We have a rule here at Drugsline: if someone comes with a problem, it is a problem (even if we don't necessarily think it is). Recognize that what they say is real. Think about the tremendous courage it takes to ask for help, to begin with.
Instead of becoming overwhelmed with their mammoth problem, teach them to deal with one particular area at a time. Let them solve it and it will build up their confidence in that area. It may be a tiny notch on the ladder, but in due course, they can look back and see how much they have achieved.
Conclude one challenge and then go on to the next one.
Teens must realize that challenges are part of our development, our growth, our maturity. We will face challenges throughout our lives. Dealing with a particular struggle, in bite-size proportions, will give us the strength to overcome future challenges, without the temptation to turn to drugs, alcohol, or gambling.
I brought this excerpt today because I thought there was a lot of wisdom that we can learn from his advice in relation to our struggles with lust addiction:
1) Think about the tremendous courage it takes to ask for help, to begin with. Everyone on our e-mail list and forum is already a HERO just for "reaching out".
2) Don't try and tackle "mammoth problems" all at once. They should be broken down into smaller areas that can be solved bit by bit, helping us build up our confidence as we progress until we are ready to take on the next challenge.
3) Little steps add up to impressive progress before we know it.
4) Challenges are part of our development, our growth, and our maturity.
5) Succeeding in bite-size steps will give us the strength to continue, without the temptation to turn to our "drug" of lust.