Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Issue That Brought Dov to GYE

by Dov (See all authors)

The differences between the average sweet yid who occasionally looks at porn and masturbates when he wants to (and then regrets it), and the sweet suffering yid who is an addict, is that the addict repetitively uses the schmutz, is obsessed with it, and masturbates even when he doesn't really want to - because he really believes that heneeds to. Of course he regrets it - but the fact that he finds himself doing it over and over proves to him that somewhere inside he really believes that he needs the lust pleasure exactly as everyone else needs food - that he cannot live without it. And that is pretty scary. He is truly stuck. Tell him "you can stop for a day!" (misusing "One day at a time"), and he dutifully agrees - "yeah, I can fast for a day, too!"... But eventually he'll have to 'eat', and he knows it. Tell him all day long about his Neshama and his higher calling - and he'll believe you! But he also believes something else - because his body tells him it is so.

And don't we all tend to believe our bodies? Don't we feel quite certain that whatever it is telling us is probably the truth? When your body tells you clearly "I am falling down, right now!" - are you perfectly calm and relaxed, or do you feel an intense rush no matter what your eyes tell you about reality? Ever seen a person having a vertigo attack? They grab things desperately. Does your mind race, struggling to retain control of the situation? What's the big deal? You are safely strapped into the roller-coaster! ;) Not quite. True, some people do relax and enjoy the ride - yet others cannot. Tell them it is safe and show them dozens of safe, joyous riders... to no avail. "My very gut tells me I'll die and I just can't do it. I am terrified of heights!" Just try to convince a person like that to enjoy themselves on "The Cyclone".... Well staying sober from lust is exactly, exactly the same. The addict's body speaks loudly and clearly to his heart and says, "I need it".

So how do you talk to a body? Answer: with pain. And that gets us 'ready' to believe in something else, like the Sweet, Living G-d who is our Eternal (and Only) Best Friend. But it is not so easy. It is so convenient for us to 'blame the YH' - just more silly finger-pointing, as far as I am concerned. I have seen many get 'truly religious' and wonder why it doesn't work five months later when they are back in the dead end, for the fifth time. This issue alone is why I came to GYE. No wonder so many GYE guys have shared that beneath all their acting out and valiant fighting against the YH they discover that they have 'emunah problems'. Hey, we all have emunah problems - but nothing inflames our latent doubts like reaching for the same religious solution as always and thinking that we were really ready to allow Hashem to help us - and then He didn't. Translate 'emunah problems'= 'blaming G-d for my failures'. Nu, it's not much different from 'blaming the YH', no? Is this truly the safer way for a yid? I think not.

The 12 steps are about taking responsibility for our limitations and getting the help we need. They are about seeing our faults - this is the Derech Eretz that is kodmah laTorah. It is so much less about correctly understanding Hashem and His Ways - and so much more about admitting the whole truth about ourselves. Before mussar and knowledge of my true nature (my Neshama) can avail me much in recovery and living, I need sobriety and sanity. I need to begin to truly reject the lust addict's false self-concept: I need to begin to abandon the idea that I need sex and lust today and that it is my 'eternal best friend' - even as it messes up my very life! That is why sobriety is so vitally important. It is the only way I have a shot at truly rejecting the falsehood that is part of me.

The poor frum fellow who says that he 'rejects his sick thinking completely' and that he 'lets go of the addiction' - and is still masturbating when the going gets really tough... well, lo sereid b'ni imochem. I suspect that he is essentially innocent - that he probably still really believes that he needs it. His very body tells him so. And when the body overcomes the brain (which it generally does) I wonder what baggage he will need to jettison to lighten his horrifying load of crushing guilt and doubt? I don't wish that pain on anybody. On the other hand, once I got sober and actually took the steps and started to use them faithfully, I believe that I slowly started to become ready to see the latent potential within myself that the Torah and Mussar talk about. It took some time for me, as I have shared before, but everybody is different.