Thursday, 12 January 2012

I Refuse to be Relegated to the Trash Heap

by Dov (See all authors)

So, what is your plan, actually? Do you have any actual action-tools (things to do) that you didn't have for the past few years? If so, great. When they work, iy"H, share them with us. But if you are essentially trying basically the same thing and expecting a totally different result, then that's an entirely different matter.

I think we can agree that we are not talking about a mere habit here. We are talking about using a things like lust, shmutz, hz"l, and fantasy. These things engage a chunk of our brains that is (temporarily) wonderfully invigorating, and are powerful enough to create actual bodily sensations that cannot be wished away. For many guys, these things convince them that they are real men, and the center of the universe, at least for a little while. Hey...being a king for a few minutes is nice, no? So we get slapped around pretty good afterward...that inevitability rarely stopped any of us before, right?

What's more, being an addict who has been around that bush a few times myself, I believe that the innocent, well-meaning fellow who goes hunting for sobriety with the same stick-with-a-nail-in-it that he had before actually wants to get exactly what he got before: failure. After all, it is really hard for us to say goodbye to our friend, schmutz. And if anyone says "Ach! No, it's horrible!" then I ask him, "then why has it become so habitual for us?" Because it's evil? Who likes evil? No one I know. Oh, the YH made us do it? Well...I think that's a different religion, personally. I prefer yiddishkeit, myself - the religion that says we bear personal responsibility for our choices and yet can be completely forgiven by Hashem as long as we give the self-destructive behavior up. And I believe that if a man or woman is an addict, they really have lost the ability to fight this and are doomed to descend forever lower - until it hurts so much that they cry out to the only Power that is left: Hashem - the very One they were always running away from! The only 'Ace in the hole'. All the sincere plans, takanos, kabalos, chizuk groups, and white-knuckling eventually just run out. Charotoh is certainly very nice and may be a mitzvah of some sort, but is still basically useless for people like me.

I never stopped because of moral regret. I stopped because of having to make a choice between losing everything valuable in my life or hanging on to that open-ended expense account I discovered I had access to: Lust. It served its purpose for a while, then it turned on me and I still wanted it (and sometimes still do) but fully accept that I can't afford it.

I did it for me, not for Hashem, not for my family, not for Klal Yisroel, nor for my Olam haba. I did it for me right here and now, when the cost just became too much. So I have no interest in any s'char for it - not from Hashem, nor from you or anybody else who might admire me for staying sober....I am sober for selfish reasons. It's enlightened self-interest, that's all. I refuse to be relegated to the trash heap. I refuse to roll over and be road-kill - but I truly cannot stop!! I need a miracle to avoid the very first drink - the only one that really gets me in trouble.

So... it all depends on what you want and what you don't want. There are tools for those who have discovered that they don't have what it takes to win. Like me. And that is where the recovery I know of begins.