Letting Go of Pride
B"H, today is day number 76. But as Dov says, I need to always ask myself, "how can I make the days count, and not just count the days?"
Well, the way that I hope to make today count is to go easier on myself and not punish myself with thoughts about all the things that I usually harass myself with. For example, this week I was suddenly triggered, and within seconds the predator within me wanted to act out. At the time, I imagine it goes like this in my unconscious mind: "You stupid idiot, what's wrong with you?! How dare you lust after that girl. You must still be that low person that you have always been. You are a hypocrite for attending SA meetings - how could this be happening again?!"
Dov suggested using 12-step principles (taking a 4th step inventory) to help me understand what was beneath the harsh way that I was treating myself after these type of incidents. Because if I would continue to berate myself after every such incident, I would probably not be able to stay sober and I certainly could never be happy. The inventory revealed that Pride, more than anything else, was the culprit. "How could this be happening to me, again?" was the thought that revealed my over-inflated pride at work. In other words, "I am better" or "should be better" than this behavior and deserve to be punished for it.
My thinking that I "should" be better than this behavior is a very subtle but dangerous emotional trap for me. It is actually a very clever trick from the Yetzer Hara, who would like me to think that punishing myself for lusting makes me more of a frum guy. The reason that this type of thinking is deadly for me is because it is a denial of who I am: an addict. That means that no matter what "I think", my body is still sick, and when it sees something and gets triggered, it just wants to do its thing. That's just the way it is. I need to accept this before I can "fight" my way out of it. It needs to become "Ok" for me to be who I am in order to sympathize with myself. So, for me, if this C"V happens again, a better approach would be to think "Ok, there's that silly illness of mine rearing his head again. Thank you G-d for reminding me that I cannot go through this alone. At that point, I would need to make some calls and get the support that I need to stay sober for another day. My pride, that tells me that I'm not as good as the "regular" guy who is not addicted, needs to be surrendered to the truth, which is: I'm not a regular guy. If I can accept that, then I have a chance at a good life.
I heard a Magid Shiur say a similar thing last night at an SA meeting. He said that he used to beat himself constantly for being a sex addict.. But now he feels that it is almost a good thing, because it keeps him working on himself to become a better person - something, he said, he was not doing until he found the program and started to come to meetings. Reb Pinchas Koritzer was know to say the following words more than 100 times per day, if necessary (and I have started to use it myself): Ribono Shel Oylam, [please] "Nachaini b'derech ha'emes - Please lead/guide me along (your) path of Truth".