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An Entirely Different Track

How do I get myself to really feel that that acting out is wrong?

GYE Corp. Tuesday, 22 November 2011

"Struggling&StrivingBT" writes:

So, like all, becoming a Bal Teshuvah has by no means been easy, and I'm by no means there yet. One of the hardest parts has been in the area of "self gratification". While intellectually, I understand what is so bad about wasting seed, I sometime have trouble attaching my heart to the idea. I feel like a hypocrite; how can I know it's wrong but do it anyway, how can I daven and keep the mitzvot and avoid all these other prohibitions, but this one thing I can't stop? Then, in not wanting to deal with the weight of my actions or fall to despair, I try to look it as lighter or ignore it, and so I can't even make since Teshuva for it. Does anyone have any advice on attaching ones heart to the belief that this is wrong?

Dov Responds:

Supposing you finally got the true idea of how horrible the aveiro of zera levatola is, clearly in your mind. And it also became so real to you, that you'd say it's now in your heart. It sounds like you are convinced it'd stop you. Or that, at the least, you are saying that it'd help you a great deal to stop, even if you'd still have some struggle. So far, am I on track?

You may be right. But I don't have experience with success that way. I tried, and can point you in the same direction I took to get some of the tremendous guilt and disgust that I thought would finally speak to me... OK. I'll spare you. But I fully respect anyone who goes that way, as long as they succeed.

There may be another way completely for you to gain freedom. The 12 Steps do not look at the folly of sin at all (except in the very first step), and are an entirely different track than what it seems to me that you are describing. The Steps don't sound very religious to many. And they essentially are not about religion. They are about our receptiveness to religion as a force of growth in our lives.

They are about cultivating integrity, self-honesty, maturity, and G-d-centeredness. The people who live them, all seem to say they got some of these things from working them, along with the ability to remain sober one day at a time.

But it seems that so far, your focus on the evil of looking (and I agree that it surely is evil!) has only brought you to attend even more to the lust objects! So. We all know that wishing it away just makes us think about it even more, which is the Problem to begin with! No chidush there.

I'm just plugging what works for me today. There are many who go very different ways and get better, so I suggest you search recovery in some way, then settle down (with help of friends in recovery) and do it.

Do it like we all did the addictive behavior: daily without fail, with "tzniyus" (we hid it or did whatever else we needed to do in order to preserve it!), honestly (we acted out very personally and earnestly), and sparing no expense or trouble.

You are already very lucky to be here! Hatzlocha!!