Sunday, 15 January 2012

Giving It Up - Even Though We Can't

Dov discusses the 1st Step (of the 12)

by Dov (See all authors)

Our acting-out our own lust ends up becoming the very source of our refuah, itself. Of course, it starts out being our very best, most precious best friend - even though we also hate it - and we protect it vigilantly with our lies, hiding, faking being decent frum guys. In the meantime, we struggle all on our own in secret. The reason we stick with that method is really because while we have so much shame about admitting it to anyone, we also have so much pride that we still fantasize that we can beat it (can any idea be more hair-brained?). We also keep it private to protect it! Secrecy allows the fox (us) to keep guarding the henhouse (our habit)! That way we are guaranteed to fail - or to cut-and-run as soon as we taste some success - and still be able to keep our sweet precious lust friend. And it really is sweet and precious to us all, and you and I both know it. Right?

But as time goes on and we get into more pain and more trouble from our acting out, it eventually stops being such a good friend, and the familiar bitterness grows. Lust and sex with self (and others) stops working for us so well. That is when we have a chance at actually playing the 'brave apikoress' and betraying our sweet friend. We start to consider giving it up! Not 'stopping' or 'quitting' - we have all done that hundreds of times, right? But at this point, we are becoming ready to give it up. Until then, our tefilos (with tears!) to Hashem were actually cowardly and we meant: "Hashem, take it away so that I will not have to suffer giving it up...cuz I really can't imaging living without it. So please, please help me!" That does not work. We do not get progressive freedom that way, do we? Our acting out itself leads us to this stage. As an alkie once said: I needed every drink I took, in order to bring me to this point, to my knees.

Giving it up - surrender - is completely different than anything we tried to do, before. We sadly recognize that surrendering our habit will take a miracle. We will need G-d, for a change. Yeah, till now we had 'emunah', faith, whatever...but we never really trusted Him with the whole job. This time, we know we cannot do a thing about our problem without His help. Without His direct help, we will fail, guaranteed. These are not just words, you know, like the 'words' we all say about "having bitachon in Hashem to help with our parnossah and depending on Him..." the party line we all believe in. This is for keeps and is either real and it works - or it is still fakerai, and it doesn't. And it will take a lot of help to keep us on that derech. We will need His help through people. Changing a habit of years that also has hormones behind it and a culture, porn food, and a well-practiced fantasy engine will not be something in the realm of human possibility at all. We will need help. And I know dozens of people - Jews and gentiles, educated and religious and uneducated and unimpressed with spirituality - who are sober. Hashem helps us and does what we cannot do for ourselves.

The first part of the first step is the inner giving up of our fight and agreeing to get help cuz our own track record proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are losers when it comes to lust. We admit we cannot successfully enjoy and control it, as we were so sure we could for so very long. It's tragic for us, indeed, really. But it's the truth. Now, this is not a mitzvah of some sort. I feel strongly that recovery is not a religion nor is it a place for dogma. There is nothing 'righteous' about coming to this admission, so we need not try to convince anyone that they are powerless. Not even ourselves! Either we believe it is true, or we do not. There is no 'advantage' to being powerless - recognizing the truth is advantageous, that's it.