Thursday, 12 January 2012

My 'Life' Forbids Me to Act Out

by Dov (See all authors)

Eye.nonymous Writes:

I relate a lot to the concept of R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritability and Discontent) - which is exacerbated by our character defects - as being a big cause of our lust urges. It's sometimes reassuring to know "I'm tired," or "I'm off schedule," and THAT'S why I'm feeling the URGE. It gives me a little more hope. Though difficult as the situation may be, I can hang in there until I get some sleep, or until vacation is over. I can accept that something other than acting out can restore me to sanity, which makes it easier not to act out.

Dov Responds:

Yeah, but the way I like to see it, my character defects (like pride, grandiose thinking, and self-centered or childish fear) are not actually what make me act out.

What brings me to lusting and eventually acting out is the simple fact that I am an addict: I have a mental illness coupled with an allergy of the body. When I am connected with G-d (and with people) in a healthy way, I get a daily reprieve and things are good. However, when I think that I have the luxury to use R.I.D, it's like I am dancing on a narrow bridge - I'm gonna fall off.

And like they say with buildings, "it's not the fall that kills you -- it's the sudden landing." When I let go of G-d long enough - cuz I am too preoccupied with myself and my self-absorbed issues and concerns (even if they are "teshuvah") - I fall. And when I fall, I land on shmutz and hz"l and other such fantasy-driven insanity, and it's very damaging to my entire life. It makes it unmanageable misery.

Maybe it's semantics, maybe not. But I do not need an 'excuse' to feel like getting into trouble with lust - I am prone to it naturally whenever I am not in a healthy relationship with Hashem and/or people. So it doesn't bother me when I do lust. What, am I a kadosh, or something? "Far be it from me to have such thoughts," is an attitude I have learned to do without, baruch Hashem. Being an addict is not disgusting to me. For me, lust and my addiction is no longer in the moral/mitzvah vs. aveiro realm. As I have always posted, my addiction and recovery is a bechinah of Derech Eretz - not Torah.

So, for me, that concept that the RMB"M (really the Gemara) writes about applies to my addiction exactly: "Al yomar odom, 'Ee efshi b'bosor treifah'. Ella yomar odom, 'efshi b'bosor treifah - aval mah e'eseh? - Sh'Bor'i osrah alai!" (Let a man not say "I can't eat non-Kosher" but rather a person should say, "I would eat non-Kosher but what can I do that my Creator prohibited it to me?")

Same here. While it may be appropriate and even recommended (see Tanya, for example) for normal yidden to train themselves to react to schmutz with disgust ("Ee efshi!"), that did not work for me, at all. Why? Because it was a total lie! While I may have indeed been disgusted by my pathetic dependence on it, when I needed it, I really needed it and I loved the way it felt.... So I may repeatedly say, "yechh!", but who's disgusted? Not I. A normal person, maybe (and I really mean that) - but not a man who was preoccupied by lust adventure and depended on it daily to make him feel good when life sucked; when life was wonderful... but not wonderful enough; when he was lonely; when he made a great new friend; when Hashem apparently did not really know how to take good enough care of me... which was practically all the time, cuz things 'could always be better' (and no speeches please - I knew the Michtav M'Eliahu's and Orchos Tzaddikim's ideas about bitachon for years - I just didn't really believe in them in my own case, apparently because I never had to).

So I say, 'Efshi b'schmutz' - but it'll kill me and I've had enough of that slop, so 'Mah e'eseh? Sh'chayay osrani alai!' ('What can I do that MY LIFE prohibits it for me?'). My own life makes it intolerable. Using lust doesn't work for me any more. In fact, being preoccupied with lust adventure is the most miserable existence I know. My life "assurs" it on me. So 'what can I do?' I have no choice but to learn how to live without it.

That approach works for me just fine. And I don't think it's semantics.

In other words, for me - and this is the nekudah that differentiates me as an addict - the issue is mainly one of sakanta, rather than issura. Using lust ruins me. And, of course, 'sakanta chamira me'isura'.