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90 day victory and the way to get there.

We have recently published the following testimonial from Nathan:

"You asked me to share how I got to 90 days clean.
I have been an addict forever. It started when I was 14 and now I'm 44, so it's been 30 years. 
About 10 years ago, I  joined SA and worked with different sponsors unsuccessfully. I just couldn't maintain sobriety. The SA definition of sobriety is "no sex with self or anyone other than one's spouse, and progressive victory over lust". According to my sponsor, lusting is not gaining victory over lust so it's considered loss of sobriety. This caused me to continually have to start over. 
Then I went thru a תקופה of major anxiety and was directed to start dropping some of the projects out of my life to make it manageable. SA was one of them. But getting out of the program caused a huge decline in which I was crossing many red lines, so it became clear I needed another עצה.
That's when I found SAA. They allow you to do certain behaviors while avoiding others. This was the breakthrough. I, for once, could be sober while still lusting. I wasn't  a constant רשע anymore. I continued building on my avoidance list until, finally I was ready to adopt GYE's standards of sobriety. By then, staying sober was a breeze and it's not a struggle at all. And I'm loving every minute of it. It just might be the עצה for some people. Keep it in mind. 
Thanks for all you do. Keep it up and תזכו למצות!"

obormottel Monday, 14 March 2016

"Dear Nathan!


That is beautiful. May Hashem be with you!

In my opinion, your struggles in SA had nothing to do with their definition of sobriety, but rather with your sponsor. A sponsor should not consider lusting to be a fall unless the sponsee acted upon the lusting through sex or sex-with-self (even viewing porn is a question in SA if it's considered a fall - as opposed to here on GYE, where it is considered a fall). I think the SA sponsor you had was unnecessarily harsh on you in demanding you restart your sobriety count.

I asked Dov his opinion on this as well. He is 19 years clean in SA. His response is below.

Best regards,



Dov: I agree with you that the sponsor here was not choosing my way to sponsor guys, for it was not the way my sponsor worked with me, for it was not the way his sponsor worked with him, etc... (And no, this (unlike Torah) is not a matter of 'mesorah,' as I have heard out of the mouths of some program people - not from guys in the rooms, but the program people on GYE. Rather, it's just different from the way I grew up in the program and I am grateful for it.

I would never tell an SA guy that I disagree with his interpretation of the sobriety definition, though. I would share my way with him, if he and I got into a discussion about it, and I would explain why the way I see it makes more sense and works better for me and others I know.

Harvey gave a talk 2-3 years ago about this, and I think it confused many people rather than clarified. But as Harvey would put it himself, we are a young fellowship and learning how to work through and use things like this. So he would not be surprised.

I relate very well to the frustration of the GYE guy who wrote this comment. And I doubt I would be where I am in any good way, if I had his sponsor myself. Not certain, but I imagine so.

I know of not a single person in SA who is an old-timer who ever used that definition of sobriety themselves. All the old-timers who describe themselves as using a "zero-tolerance policy" in their own sobriety definition, started to do that after first having years and years of (imperfect) sobriety.

Still, to me that is no proof that it is wrong. I still see it as not my way, and I do not speak for what is right or wrong for SA as a whole.