Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A Miracle Happens When We Put Down The Bottle

Dov writes to a desperate "struggler":

by Dov (See all authors)

So. You are still acting out. Well. I need to ask you what it is that you really want. And I am serious. No pat answers and "oh, well, of course I want to quit" - answers allowed here.

Do you want to stop?

Or do you want to be able to feel spiritual, respect yourself, have a family, a G-d of your very own.... and still

Or do you want to not want to reach for the lust? - Well... don't you think that is a rather tall order, even for G-d? Especially for people like us? Do you really believe G-d goes around ripping tendencies and inner yearnings and priorities out of peoples' kishkas because they ask Him to "right now"?

How many times have we masturbated? How many more times have we searched for schmutz? How many more times have we run our feelings through the fantasy mill for the convenient comfort of self-pleasuring? How many times have we bent the truth to others and even to ourselves in order to protect our right to play around with lust whenever we really wanted to?

Each time, we were training our mind/heart/body to be in charge of getting the job of self-medicating done. Of being in control of our inner (emotional) environment. Of running the show when it came to the things that life is really made of - not G-d's Will, but our own will. That was always the Priority, wasn't it? When it comes to lust, we may struggle and fight it... but in the end, being frum is actually irrelevant - it is just another heroic gesture to be a "struggler". In the end, we see that we try and keep failing and in our hearts we believe that it is G-d who is failing us... He has all the power, and here we are in the toilet.

If we were truly concerned with His Will for us and trusted Him to care for us, then why did we stray so consistently and so far?

Here is where I am going with this:

Certainly it is noble to wish we didn't want to lust and act out. But it is not the way of recovery that I have found, so I know nothing about that. What I have been shown is a program of recovery that hits every aspect of our broken and unbroken selves. A simple solution that eventually makes lusting unnecessary. I do not have to act out, today. 15 years ago, I eventually had to act out, so I did.

Looking for an answer that gives us the power to fight it is not the answer that works for me, because that was just my old, familiar excuse to be able to enjoy engaging with it over and over! To see lust and feel it! To wrestle with it and beat it! Lo zu haderech. That

Recovery in the program that I know, is about leaving lust on 'that shelf over there' just like the alcoholics leave that socially acceptable gin and whiskey on the shelf. It's about not having to drink again. That is a gift of Hashem's Chessed that no addict deserves.But we get it when we put down the bottle. When we give up our right to use lust just for today.

Exactly in what ways are you acting out these days? Once you have that clear, you can ask yourself if you are willing to take some simple steps to get free of it right now and in the very situations that it comes up so that you will not have to use your drug?

If this thing 'creeps up on you by surprise', then that means you will need some kind of redirecting a few times a day, or at least at the start of your day. Of course that is one of the things that Shacharis was supposed to be for - but we frum addicts infected our shacharis experience by using it inside our 'double-lives' and hypocrisy, and neutralized it at best (at least for the time being).

We desperately need a personal prayer/meditation time that works.

At the start of our day (and maybe once or twice later in the day, too) we just ask ourselves what our priorities are and ask Hashem to help us get it right.

"So, why am I at work right now? Why am I at this supermarket right now? Why am I at this parent-teacher conference that I am about to walk into?

"Is it to check out and find the prettiest woman there? Well, clearly that was one of my main priorities going to those places because that was what turned out to be what I obsessed about while I was there before! If not, then why did I do that very thing?

"So Hashem, I want Your help to go into this place in order to do what it is that I came for - to work for my company/paycheck/customers; to shop for yogurt and aluminum foil and go home; to help my kid's teacher do a better job for our kid, etc. Thank You."

Trust Him and go to it!

We need to stop focusing on the 'nisayon' model, as though these things 'are happening to us', and instead realize that we are the problem, not the pretty women around us. We are not the victims. We are poshut sick and poshut need help. As Reb bards says, "She's not your problem"... well, he's 100% right!

Enough. Use the tools, work the steps, make the calls when starting to feel in trouble and certainly when really