Wednesday, 08 July 2015


Someone asked Dov (sober 18 years in SA) what powerlessness in the 12-Step program means. Dov writes:

by Dov (See all authors)

Powerlessness simply means that I really, really stink at living without acting out my lust. More to the point, it means that I am really bad at using and enjoying lust. I feel sure I can do it, so I keep trying - but when I do, important areas of my life eventually get screwed up, and I get miserable. My years of sincerely trying to use lust without it ruining my mind, relationships and life, and all that while 'fighting it to finally quit!', prove to me that when I do partake and try to enjoy it, it takes over my day, I take risks, lose self respect and my relationships become progressively uglier.

That's why I finally had to get sober. Not because I have self-will to quit or yir'as Shomayim. No. It was simply because doing it my way was too big a mess.

If I (Dov) could successfully enjoy using porn and acting out my sexual fantasies, I would. Probably so would most guys who are stuck in habitual masturbation and porn use - though they hate admitting it and perhaps consider it apikorsus. Of course, that does not make it untrue... I will not lie to you or to Hashem or to myself - my years of trying to control and enjoy it prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I feel I need it. That I must have it. That I must control and enjoy it. That I must tame it. But I cannot. For whenever I have tried to, it messed up every aspect of my life more and more. So apparently I do not have power over my lust. I can't use it successfully. That's "Powerless". And it feels pretty sad. Incredibly sad, actually.

When people (we) say they can't "beat this addiction", what do they mean by 'beat it', really? I think that while they are fighting it and crying and such, they do not really intend to never enjoy porn and masturbation ever again. Oh, they may think they mean just that perhaps, but it's a lie... actually it is a fantasy. Ironic. Instead, what they (we) really are trying to do is to control and enjoy it so it can be used as a last resort: when we really feel we really need it. And the fantasy tells us we will eventually figure out how to do that without ending up being controlled by it, ever again. To be the master of our own lust. Quite a twist on the 'koveish' from "Eizehu gibbor? Hakovesh es yitzro." The koveish captures and masters the enemy - this is our secret hope. And that is why many sexaholics never get sober. Normal Jews can do it - but if one is an addict, that is apparently an impossibility. Too bad, no? Hard to accept. But, nu. Life's tough like that.

Sounds crazy? Well, all the denial aside, many of us - particularly those who already hate themselves because of all the sperm we have spilled on the ground - have a powerful lust to 'finally' be beloved or special in the eyes of Hashem. Kind of like 'tzaddik envy' - "I need to be one of those supermen, too!"

And just like people often argue endlessly with a certain sibling, child, or parent - the head-banging goes on for years, decades, a lifetime. As though by winning 'this last big argument' or making 'that perfect point' we will finally stop, convince or change them - for decades... It's sick - but we do it because we simply refuse to surrender. We are powerless over others. The other side of "Ish b'chet'oh yamus" means we are all responsible for ourselves- and that is because G-d knows that nobody can successfully control or fix another. All we can do is tochacha - not 'fixing'. They need to fix, and make the decisions they need to make. And that goes for our children, as well. And an addict cannot even fix himself (or herself). No wonder we often wrestle with others in kiruv, argument, rivalry, resentment... That is just the way it is for many of us... maybe this is the 'why.'