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Davening and Being Happy that we're Sober!

Moshe described a conversation that goes on in his head before davening each morning:

GYE Corp. Monday, 30 January 2012

Yetzer Hara: You're such a shaigetz, you need to go to shul and daven the entire thing. If you don't go to shul, your worthless, and even if you do go, you have to be zoche for your teffilos to reach Hashem. Shaigetz.

Me: Right, I am a shaigetz, I give up, I hate myself.

... I put teffilin on at home, and 4 minutes later I get into my car and drive to office, feeling guiltier and guiltier every second...

Yetzer Hara: I told you you're a goy, you're going to have a lousy day today, I promise you. How could you have a good day after skipping davening?

Me: your right, I'm a shiagetz, I give up, I'm such a loser.

Dov Responds:

Moshe - Though I don't know you, and as I'm not trying to convince you of anything, this "share" is probably safe:

What you describe here was a regular for me too, for many years, until about two and a half years sober when things started to radically improve.

Anyway, at times like those, I need to remember things like this: The Gemara is Berachos says: "If you want to accept completely that Hashem is your king, wash your hands, go to the bathroom, say k'riyas sh'ma and daven sh'moneh esrei." I know that halacha developed to include brachos, p'sukei d'zimrah, birchos k'riyas sh'ma, kedusha, borchu, aleinu, etc, etc, all for our own good, but: There is something very, very big to be said for a Yid who does just those 4 simple steps.Very big.

When even that doesn't work for me for some reason, I would remember that I was sober. If that isn't great news enough for me to be happy about, regardless of what I am doing wrong (or not doing right), I'd paraphrase the powerful Lecevitcher story that Guard once posted:

(The Lechevitcher Rebbe, a student of R'Shlomo of Karlin, once went as far as to say that even if a person just killed someone and the knife is still dripping with blood, but he feels can't stand up and pray Mincha with all his strength and with all his heart, then he has not yet tasted from the waters of Chassidus!)

"If the fact that an addict is sober today is not good enough for him, he has not yet tasted from the waters of recovery."

This, I believe, is the spirit of "Dayeinu" at the seder: "Even if He would have taken us to har sinai and not given us the Torah; etc, etc... It would have been enough for us." Enough for what? Enough for us to feel like we got a good deal, i.e. to feel OK about things - even without x, y, and z.

For more from Dov on the difficulties of Davening when starting out in recovery, see this page for a whole discussion on the issue. [Scroll to the bottom to see Dov's beautiful reply].