Beyond what words can describe
We have two members on our forum, Boruch and Shomer, both of whom are over 40 years old and Talmidei Chachamim in their own right. They have been accountability partners with each other for a long time, and they researched and purchased together the best possible accountability filters - at no small cost.
And they had another thing in common as well. They were both thoroughly convinced that the 12-Step groups were not for them. As a matter of fact, when Boruch first joined our forum, he wrote pages and pages of posts against the 12-Steps, claiming that they were were counter-intuitive and had been born out of another religion, while we Yidden have Chazal who teach us clearly how to do Teshuvah.
Well, one day Boruch broke the news of his addiction with his therapist and was given the suggestion to try the 12-Step groups - just once. Boruch was determined to do all he could to break his addiction, and if that was what his therapist asked, Boruch agreed to try.
Today, Boruch is a changed man. He has become the most ardent advocate of the 12-Steps and he is working the steps into his life through the groups with a passion.
His partner Shomer however, remained skeptical at first, to say the least.
I would like to share below a series of posts from Shomer's thread on the forum that I believe will be most enlightening. (I would advise anyone who has the time to read the entire thread, starting from page 9 over here. It is a truly inspiring thread and includes a deeper discussion on which type of group is right for you, as well as the story of how Shomer's wife found out - and what happened as a result).
After Boruch had been in the 12-Step groups for about 4 weeks and was trying to convince his partner Shomer to join him, Shomer responded on the forum as follows:
I have been struggling to overcome my addiction for years now. I have previously been an active member on the no-porn forums, at one point I was maintaining a blog about addiction through which I was approached by many competent individuals (including none other than GUE himself) and have reached out personally to Rabbonim (albeit in an anonymous manner).
Boruch on the other hand (and I am sure he will agree with this), although aware of his issue with P-rn addiction has been brushing it under the carpet for years now refusing to admit the severity of his problem.
After I had found these forums and taken the advice of GUE to install a filter and set up an accountability arrangement, boruch woke up one day (or to be more accurate one night after a binge P-rn session) and realized "hey, I have a problem too".
Since that time (about 4 weeks ago) boruch has been extremely vigilant in researching and getting involved with the 12 step group he currently attends. I respect and admire boruch for this and am truly in awe of his willingness to travel and attend the meetings. I wish boruch only the best in his recovery, and in all areas of life for that matter, and am grateful for the friendship that he has extended to me for many years now.
That being said, I have and continue to believe that there are many paths to recovery. I would certainly agree that there are common denominators to these methods, but I do not feel that the 12 steps are one of them.
Are the 12 steps effective, yes ... are the 12 steps the most consistent path to recovery, absolutely ... are the 12 steps for everyone ... I will quote the old boruch on this one ... absolutely not.
While the 12 steps may be the best choice for boruch, my decision to do it another way in no way constitute less of a commitment than boruch.
As things stand right now, I will bezras Hashem hit the 6 week mark tomorrow.
Apples to apples (and I use comparisons very reluctantly here), as far as what is lemaysa, I am running just a little bit ahead of boruch with regard to what can actually be measured.
My commitment is no less than his, my strategy no less effective and my resolve no less firm.
We replied to Shomer on the forum:
Shomer, whether you believe in the 12-Steps or not, the power of a GROUP of people who have realized that their very lives depend on doing whatever it takes to break free, and they are ready to change their lives and their entire way of thinking to achieve it - this alone is worth more than anything.
So how about this? Promise us that if you have another fall - chas veshalom, you will try Boruch's groups at least ONCE.