Madreigos & Hashkafa in Recovery
Some folks should just get a bumper sticker that says:
"Whoever dies with the most Madreigos wins!"
We are winners if we are with Hashem - period. That's the attitude that I have seen works best for addicts. All the rest (paraphrasing Rebbi Akiva) is commentary.
Serving Hashem by doing His Will (or anyone else's) rather than my will is the ikkar for me (as described in the 12 steps), and madreigos are tofel. And they always will be, I believe.
To me, discussions based on "what's right" are nice, but are of very limited - if any - value. Ah, to be young again! To be able to sit back, picking and choosing the best derech for me to be yotzei all the shitos... "does it fit well with a Rav Dessler, a RMB"M, a gemorah in Succah?" Nu. I never had such luxuries. I wonder who does. There was a time when I was far too busy just staying out of hell. Early recovery was the very worst time for me to think about madreigos and worry about hashkofa. And guess what? It seems to be the time when folks are the most consumed with it!! (I was, for about 10 years, as I got worse and worse...)
The Chofetz Chayim used to say, "Besides being not doing aveiros, Hashem also doesn't want one to be a fool". Acting out with lust happens to be my own personal "foolishness", cuz it ruins my life. For others, it's drinking... If they worry about "the source" of the lav for drinking alcohol, gambling, heroin, etc, too much, they flush their lives down the toilet, and often die. Plain and poshut, right? So, please tell me: What lav, exactly, is "flushing"? Hah, hah....
So, my most basic hashkofa was this: Hashem doesn't want me to flush five lives down the toilet. And the devil isn't in the details, cuz I don't have to deserve to be with Him - I just have to start to give my life and my will into His care and continue doing just that. Of course, as a frum yid that means halacha, but it's a work in progress. That's a madreigo? Don't believe it! It's just enlightened self-interest! Good enough for me!
To sum up the points Dov is making here:
The only Hashkafa a recovering addict needs to have is: Don't flush your life - and the life of your family - down the toilet. It's not a madreiga we aim for, it's simply enlightened self-interest.
We don't need to deserve to be with Hashem, we just need to progress along the path of giving our life and will over into His care. (And Halacha is one of the ways we do that.)