Acceptance is the key
I would like to bring some quotes from an eye-opening story called "They stopped in time" from the AA literature. It is one of the most widely quoted stories among addicts, since it contains the secret to changing our entire outlook in life. And with the proper outlook, we find that we no longer have to battle the addiction head-on, but rather it falls away on its own.
(If you have time, it would be worthwhile to read the whole story. Click the link above to download it).
Acceptance is the key. The addiction is a disease and sobriety is not a matter of willpower. When we stop living in the problem, and instead live in the answer, the problem goes away by itself.
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation-some fact of my life -unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism (read: lust addiction), I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
We think that if we could just control the external environment, our internal environment would become more comfortable. But it doesn't. When we turn our will and lives over to the care of G-d, we are taking care of the internal environment, and then we find that the external environment takes care of itself.
For years I was sure the worst thing that could happen to a nice guy like me would be that I would turn out to be an alcoholic (read: lust addict). Today I find that it's the best thing that has ever happened to me. This proves I don't know what's good for me. And if I don't know what's good for me, then I don't know what's good or bad for you or for anyone. So I'm better off if I don't give advice, don't figure I know what's best, and just accept life on life's terms, as it is today - especially my own life, as it actually is.
It's as though A.A. had given me a new pair of glasses.
In response to the above Chizuk e-mail, someone wrote:
Dear Reb Gui, Very powerful words!
It brings to mind a shiur I once heard by Rabbi Reisman (entitled Yom Ze Mechubad), explaining that the serenity of Shabbos is about making peace with the world, as it is. (Nothing can be done on Shabbos anyway!).
And he mentions that he realized this idea when there was once a drip in the faucet in the Torah Vodaath dorm room he was in, and it took the maintenance people a week to replace the rubber washer on the faucet. Well, the drip bothered him and kept him up at night, drip, drip, drip, drip... that pesky drip!
Well, when the drip was finally fixed, he settled in for a good night's sleep, and then he realized that it was raining, and when it rained, from the gutters outside could be heard... drip, drip, drip... So he wondered why that drip had never bothered him?!
And then he realized that the problem wasn't the drip, but his attitude. When he felt that the drip should not be there ('why can't they fix that washer?!') then it bothered him.
So now he uses this realization in all areas of life.
I personally always loose things. I usually end up finding them, but at any given day I will be missing at least one (usually several) of my personal items, such as: my hat, palm pilot, note pad (for when I lose the palm), keys, letters I need to answer, etc... you get the idea. And it used to drive me crazy! But now (since that shiur), I just shrug and say to myself: "What do you know? Guess what's really missing now!".