Forget About the Lust
Thank you GYE! I want you to know that I've only fallen once in watching inappropriate things since I joined GYE about 4 months ago. I can't believe it myself, and although I still fall occasionally with mast**, this is tremendous growth I never dreamed of. I used to act out for 8-9 hours a day on average - every day!
I'm very proud of my progress, and B"H the battle has gotten substantially easier.
I'm part of Duvid Chaim's 12-Step group and I'm working very hard in following the program, getting rid of my ego, and of R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritability & Discontent) in general, and in being more of a "giver". Both I and the people around me have been noticing the changes in my character and I feel like I'm a lighter, fresher person. For an addict in recovery, emunah and bitachon must be etched into our minds, hearts, and incorporated into our daily lives, and I see this slowly taking place in my own life.
As a fighter by nature, when I first joined GYE I was white-knuckling my way to sobriety. And although I was able to hit longer streaks clean, I can't say that I worked on the root of the problem. As a matter of fact, because I was fighting for control and power over my addiction, in place of ridding myself of my ego and my need to control, I was adding to it!
While "white-knuckling" may have given me quantity, I feel that the 12-Step program gives me quality. Duvid Chaim warned us that the 12-Steps program is for progressive change, and I certainly can't undo years and years of knots in a single sitting. Duvid Chaim recommended that I go to a hospital and visit sick and needy people (which I did). He mentioned that by focusing on my character, my "need" to change it, and my"need" to break away from my addiction, I continue to place myself in the spotlight of my mind (my own needs), and that focusing on someone else's needs will help me get "out of my head". Instead of fighting my lust, I should forget about it (and I don't mean to let my guard down and to tear down any fences) and forget about my R.I.D, and just work on being a better person of lesser ego (according to the guidelines of the program, of-course). Since my R.I.D and lust are fueled by my ego, the ego front (and all that that entails) is the only front I should really be battling. It's amazing to think that I can learn to deal with my lust problem without putting it in the scope at all!
On another note: I've had tremendous success in not crossing my red-line to not use visual stimulation on-line (i.e. p*rn) to feed my lust. Since the time I've been here on GYE, I've only fallen in this area only once, and that was nearly 90 days ago. Still, even with my success, I don't attribute it to myself and to my own strength, but only to Hashem, that in His kindness threw me a bone. And this is how I feel about passing any test. Whether we know it or not, it's not because of our own power. Although the 12-Step program speaks of powerlessness in the specific area of our addiction, I feel that in reality we are powerless in every area - only that in some areas Hashem makes it easier for us, while in this specific area, Hashem forces us to realize our powerlessness more than anywhere else. And that's really a blessing in disguise, because then we can start to see Hashem's hand much clearer in all our affairs!
Dov adds/responds to the post above:
Practically speaking, recovery is not about lust at all, just as AA recovery is not about alcohol, per se. It's about us, right? And we aren't "lust", are we? It's just that we are so screwed up in the body, head, and heart that we actually act as though using lust will help us out!
Now, in recovery, annoyingly and sometimes painfully using the steps in our daily struggles of money, people, and stuff that happens to us - enables many of us to get ourselves out of the way. That helps because "self-concern", it turns out, is strangely our worst enemy of all. In fact, it may be our only enemy. Just as an aside, I, for one, do not consider "lust" my enemy at all. I do what I can to stay free of it because using it is deadly for me, yes, but today it's clear to me that Hashem was actually hiding from me in lust - the very last place I'd ever think to look for Him. He has quite a sense of humor, no?