Monday, 23 January 2012

Living as G-d's Boychik

To someone who was discussing how "Hashem must be so happy when we struggle with the Yetzer Hara", Dov writes the following: 

(Disclaimer: Dov's words are intended for people who have tried struggling with the Yetzer Hara for years and keep losing, not for people who are only slightly addicted and may be able to beat the addiction with 'will-power")

by Dov (See all authors)

A funny thing seems to happen to all the folks I meet in recovery after they are sober for a while: They take on this mindset that they are not in this world to overcome lust. They begin to see their sobriety only as a gateway to real living. See the start of step 4 or 6 in AA's "12&12" for more on this, if you like. (These chapters discuss how ourinstincts, which are necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper functions - and how we sometimes use our natural instincts for self-destruction). In fact, freedom from lust is the very last thing I feel is my tachlis in this world. There is this giant thing called "life" waiting for me out there. My wife, kids, the people I come in contact with, the Torah to learn... knowing G-d. These things beat any "struggle" hands-down.

Is my tachlis in this world really to beat lust? And I don't even really beat it anyway - Hashem does.... Is this a goal for a yid? Don't you think you'd want better for your kids? (After all, we're all Hashem's children). A father of a boy with emotional problems wants his son to eventually see his struggle with depression as 'road-kill' - at least in some respect.... not to stay in it - seeing it as 'the great purpose of his life'! Gevalt! What about living? Is this not poshut? Am I missing something here? OK maybe I am, as some mussar purists might tell me (with a Messilas Yeshorim squarely to the head); but as an addict, this is a totally unacceptable way of life, as far as I am aware. I have not seen the 'tortured strugglers' get better. Frumer - maybe, but rarely sober for very long. I don't personally know of any, as a matter of fact. Nu. Perhaps I need to get out more often! ;-)

Yes, yes, in the beginning of recovery - yes - the struggle to 'stop struggling' and give up completely on my ability to use lust successfully needs to be the prime focus of everything; i.e. the opposite extreme of how I was living before. But over time, it needs to reverse itself to simply living as G-d's boychik (or girlchik); and living with gusto! That's why the rest of the 12 steps (after the first) don't mention my problem at all. The 'problem' was just a symptom of being screwed up, after all!

Furthermore, to me, this kind of talk is just more 'romanticism', which is ultimately about me, me, me. Romance with challenges, struggles and madreigos. I know the pull to it is tremendous. It is very attractive, the idea of getting "healed". But I - an addict - need to learn to live as an addict. It is probably fine for normal yidden to make 'the struggle' the entire point of life, and possibly even a great madreiga - difficult as I find it to accept. Yet, I have been there, as have many others, and for me as an addict, it's just useless.

Just a share, for free, chaver.

- Dov