The More Real With People, The More Real With G-d.
(VNBDI stands for "Very Nice, But Desperate Individual")
VNBDI: I need help
Dov: So do I. What's the deal, chaver?
VNBDI: I spent a lot of time on the internet, now I'm home and am going crazy obsessed. I can't imagine why the guy with that pretty wife I looked at before is not the luckiest guy in the world.
Dov: First of all, we pay a price for what we ingest. This is an important uncomfortable truth we all need to accept, eventually. There is no escape from paying some real (sometimes very heavy) price for feeding the addiction. Sometimes it is the scenes and images that we craved and replayed for pleasure, but are now stuck replaying them in our heads like mental vomit, even though we do not want them any more because they are getting in the way of what we really need to accomplish to function and be useful; sometimes the price is the hiding and lying that we carry home with us - it separates us from those around us and makes us also feel less than, too... Whatever it is, you are now stuck - at least for a while. They will eventually leach out of your brain and the shame and internal isolation will abate. But it hurts for a while.
Second, the obsession is part of the disease. I am just curious, in a friendly sort of way: do you accept that you are just like an alcoholic in this obsession thing? They obsess about getting drunk... do you feel the same?
VNBDI: Yes, by now I think I do accept it very much.
It's very, very painful, I can't imagine living any longer without that skinny women...
I think I have come to accept step one, realizing I am getting nowhere after all these years.
Is it bad that the only part of the fellowship I feel is really helping me is the reaching out to others for help? It always seems to weaken the obsession. Even now, what I thought a few minutes ago was inevitable acting out, it seems like I may manage just because I found the guts to IM you.
Dov: The reaching out to others for help is (I think) ALWAYS the ONLY part of the program that really "works", in the beginning. It takes time to develop any real integrity - integrity means the inner ability to have some accountability to YOURSELF. That self-accountability was worn down and pulverized every time we snuck away to watch porn and violate everything we know is wrong for us and destructive to our trust and relationships. So basically, our addictive behavior has been ripping out our inner integrity for years. It is time to have G-d restore it to us. To get it back, it takes one thing: Sharing with other real live people. So a phone group is good, a real person is better - in person, and hence the minhag of meetings for addicts, etc.
VNBDI: Well, I really appreciate your weakening my obsession tonight. I feel guilty using you without being able to return the favor.
Dov: When have you ever returned the favor to Hashem after using Him? I am in good company. Nobody can really 'return the favor', and giving is its own reward. Schar Mitzvah - mitvzah!
VNBDI: Can't I just learn to reach out when I need it? Forget everything else, this works so stick with it.
Dov: Agreed! And I will reach out when I need it too! A touch of humility feels nice!
VNBDI: It's a serious question. Maybe I don't need steps, character defects and everything else. I just need a buddy whom I can call when I feel weak.
Dov: That's fine. But the steps - at their lowest and most pragmatic level - are here to solve a problem you will have: All people die. No person can be truly depended upon. Al tivtechu bindivim - b'ven odom sh'ein lo s'shuah... etc.
VNBDI: Makes sense, but I feel that reaching out to Hashem doesn't helps me, I've cried my heart out to him, didn't work.
Dov: You will learn how to be open and honest with G-d by practicing being open and honest with with PEOPLE - you will learn how to trust G-d by trusting PEOPLE... But eventually there will not be people there for you - it is inevitable. You will hide mentally or physically where people cannot get to you, or will be in a place where no one can come to help... you will then need G-d. I understand that your crying to Hashem has not helped in the past but I have a painful suggestion to make about that.
Dov: I believe that the QUALITY of our emunah (relationship with Hashem) is not as fine as we think it is. We hide so much from PEOPLE, - yet do not hide it from Hashem! We tell ourselves that this is because He already knows it all and is inside us, so there is no hiding... then we go again and act out - hiding every little dirty detail from people. C'mon.... this is a game, and it is silly. Our honesty with Hashem will finally become what it really needs to be ONLY after we open up to people! People first - THEN Hashem will start to have some REAL meaning to us.
How does this sit with you? Are you - have you been - open with people about the dirt? I mean really open - in person, not just on the virtual venue....
VNBDI: Not really, it's the hardest part for me. I am getting better, though, if that means anything. It used to be everything, now I at least can call someone or email someone.
Dov: That is exactly my point. I know the torture of being 'found out'. Even in a group of perverts, I still sometimes want to hide the truth about what I want to do or have done. But it is shame that spites myself and I need to get over it or I will not get better. So I encourage you to keep plugging away and emailing whenever you feel you are straying into dangerous territory - eventually you will be able to call someone on the phone. The more real the openness gets with other people, the more effective your prayers to Hashem will be.
VNBDI: I accept that. I hope I can reach it. Thank you very much. I will let you go now, hopefully I will gain some serenity one day. Good night, thanks again.