The Need to Control
Last night I met with Rav Shlachter, (a sex-addiction therapist and author of the book "The First Day of the Rest of My Life"). He thought that the insights I had about my childhood trauma were on the mark, but he doesn't like to dwell on the past. That's history! What's done is done. What's important is how I feel NOW as a result of my history, and what I can do NOW to rectify it.
If I understood him, I feel insecure and unloved today due to a number of events that happened in my childhood. I feel powerless and helpless, so I look for control in my life. To feel in control, I either get angry, or surf and act out. The problem is, that since I'm addicted to the internet, when I surf/act out I feel a loss of control afterward. That makes me angry and feel powerless and helpless again. And round and round the mulberry bush we go!
The key for me is to feel loved and secure. I must do that by stop being such a loner, by deepening my relationship with my wife, by hanging out with people and making friends outside of work (I have none besides my wife!). Hopefully, once I feel loved and secure, my need to surf will drop, and I'll like my life and myself better.
He explained that I'm living most of my life in my virtual reality (because that's where I feel control - over which virtual relationships I have, with which women, when I want). I have no real relationships outside of my family. Also, I'm living my "non-virtual real life" as a bedieved life in "survival mode". I have to switch that around,I've got it backward.
In future sessions we'll work on how I can stop living a virtual life as a loner and start really living with real relationships, and start enjoying life! Beezrat HaShem!
I don't think there's a contradiction between the 12 step approach that I'm learning on Duvid Chaim's phone conference, and the approach that Rav Shlachter has for me. The 12-Steps helps me build a relationship with G-d, while Rav Shlachter is helping me build a healthy relationship with myself. You can feel good about yourself and still be humbled before G-d (have a small ego). Take Moshe Rabeinu as an example.
I think these are just 2 different approaches doing 2 different things, and I probably can do both of them at the same time.
Dov Replies to the post above.
Great post, thanks for sharing all that. I don't feel qualified to get into definitions of 12 steps and comparisons to what your therapist is talking about. But I do have one comment. From what I have found in recovery, it seems that the approach we are recommended to take is that we need to love and to give, much more than we need to be loved and to get.
Without twisting our brains into a knot to figure out how it all works (cuz giving, loving, and being loved are connected, of course), I like to keep my focus on giving for free and for fun, not for the relationship or for anything else. Then I allow things develop as they develop.
The growth I've had so far (and freedom from lust - my desire in me, for my pleasure) stems much more from the giving I have done than from the approval and love I have received. Nu, that's my opinion. Getting better is ultimately about growing up, it seems, not about feeling good. But hey, how bad can we feel if we are growing up, giving, and free of lust?! :-)