Thursday, 23 March 2017

For whom will the 12-Steps not work?

by Dov (See all authors)

The goal of most addicts I know, when they start reaching out for real help, is just to get out of trouble. And the trouble is usually getting caught. So, although we really do want to stop and be clean, we simply do not believe we can live without it - nor do we have any serious intention of doing so. Truly learning to live happily without erotica is not our goal - and we never even realize that fact, until things change. Sometimes, guys keep losing their sobriety in recovery until it bothers them too much and they actually hit bottom and surrender lust for the very first time in their lives.

So, if we came to program just to get out of trouble, then - to us - the program 'working' means: not getting caught any more. But we aren't aware of that fact. We never succeed at getting sober for very long that way, and these are most of the guys who fail in SA, in my opinion. But that is not a failure of SA or 12 steps to work for them, but rather that they are not trying to buy what 12 steps is selling. In my experience, those guys rarely stick around for more than a year or two. Some of them get very good at knowing all about the literature (as though it was another great sefer to master) and can carry on high-level discussions about the 12 steps, selling them to others, some even sponsor others. But they usually fail at the 1-2 year mark and eventually leave. That age in recovery is the time when really living the rest of our lives without it really gets lema'aseh and the person goes crazy subconsciously. (The category of people who come to SA for decades and never get sober at all are in a different category altogether that is beyond the scope of this discussion. I have only met about five of them in 20 years, so they are a very small and interesting group.)

SA works for those who, at some point, if they are lucky, start to reach out for help to actually learn to live the rest of their lives without erotica. When guys come to SA/12-Steps looking for that, they usually end up fine. That acceptance has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of 'being sober just for today', or 'one day at a time' - that's a separate inyan. Letting go of my old 'trusted god' of lust is a traumatic experience that cannot happen in the mind, period. And I believe it only happens in the heart, which then controls the mind in this surrender. And as we go on in that recovery, sanity becomes our focus instead of sobriety, just like it says in the 2nd step. And sanity is a focus on honesty, being real, integrity... which are all those things we sacrificed while in active addiction.