I'm Just Me; Hashem's Little Guy
Someone posted about his progress - and struggle - on the forum:
You'd think I'd be HAPPY that certain urges are going away and my ability to walk away from certain aveiras is strengthening. But I've realized-- er, um, I'm NOT.
Why not? Because for so long I had been wearing my challenges on my sleeve.
- As a badge of honor for how "different" I was and how "amazing" I've been for conquering so much for so long.
- As an excuse to avoid all kinds of growth in my frumkeit.
- As a convenient tool for avoiding certain flavors of emotional (not physical, emotional) intimacy with my wife.
- As a way to feel special, different, deserving of G-d's love as compensation for the challenges He gave me.
- I could go on and on.
What a bunch of ego, ego, ego mess to have to tackle. Yuck.
The bottom line is, if I'm no longer going to be able to "define myself" in terms of certain sexual orientations, preferences, fantasies, whatever... then maybe I'm scared I've lost my uniqueness, my excuses, my... ahdunno, I gotta think about it.
Just when I thought I'd have an easy time of this work for a few weeks.... Darn.
That post was a shocker. Not just for it's plain realness, but for how true it is for me, as well. I wrote about it to someone else, once, crassly saying that the way it felt to me years ago was that if I couldn't be recognized as the next gadol of the generation, "could I at least be a porn star?" Yeah, it's sick. But that's the way I really was before recovery: Desperate for something outside me to give me Reality. And schmutz - being my drug of choice - felt very real, and vital. Those acting-out moments seemed larger-than-life... till they almost killed me.
And like you shared, in recovery there is a temptation to remain struggling to get people's attention, to get G-d's attention, and to stick with what our gut feels is the only thing that "works". It's our comfort zone. That struggle defined my relationship with Hashem. In fact, the only way I could see myself being able to approach Hashem at all, was as a guy who just did horrific things! "Take me back! Iv'e sinned terribly! Please take me back!" Hey - what nice god could resist that?! The idea that He just loves me like crazy no matter what, and living with that all the time, was - well - crazy!
Somewhere along the way early on, an absolute need for something outside me had infected my very core like a virus.
I really needed that image, that woman, that [imagined] warm approval, that exact pleasure, or else. For some folks it's $1 mil, acid, Blue Marlins, TV, whatever. For me, it was a feeling, a trance, that I could secretly tune into using a part of my body and my imagination - whenever I wanted to. Kind of hard to run away from. Probably everyone here knows exactly what that's like, and that's why they are here. After a while it doesn't work any more, but we still feel we really need it. That's insanity and blindness.
So, Recovery held out the promise of 'self-discovery'. Of actually growing to be comfortable without anything outside me - with just being me. Even w/o "being" anything important to anybody else. Just me. Hashem's little: guy. And at first, that idea seemed like the stupidest thing I had ever heard. I didn't want it. I didn't believe it, either. And maybe that was a good thing... I shudder to think what it would have been like to actively "work" on that! It had to happen naturally for me, like most gifts of recovery, and kind of bite me on the behind. Like: "Surprise! So, you are not a useless piece of crap after all!" - that kind of subtle discovery is nice.
The way it is turning out, the self-discovery is happenning slowly. And the person I am getting to know is pretty, and ugly; impressive and pathetic. And it's kind of cool. Lust never offerred me that - it taught me I was just a desperate guy running somewhere. Either from something or to something. "That's all there is, buddy!", is what my disease would say if it could talk.
So take it easy, and consider not working on the outcomes so dang much. Or maybe not at all. Outcomes are Hashem's. (Sounds like it should be a possuk somewhere...) It does say in Mishlei, "birtzos Hashem darkei ish, gam oivav yashlim itto!" - When the ways of a man are approved-of by Hashem, then even the man's enemies make peace with him! Does the man do that? Apparently not. Hashem does it. It all works out cuz G-d makes it work out when the time is right.