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There's a Big Difference Between Lusting & Acting Out

GYE Corp. Thursday, 15 December 2011

If every time I lust in any way, I would react by considering it tantamount to a "fall", there will be many problems. First, it would show that all this is about is what it wasalways about: Me and my goodness, or badness. As an addict in recovery, practicallyspeaking, I cannot afford to be focused on the scale of the ShLo"H (which I lovelearning now!), the Yesod Yosef, or anyone else whose goal is kedushas hamachshovah almost as a goal in and of itself. I completely lose my humility that way. Before long, I find myself truly believing that I am "busy with great things (madreigos)", yet masturbating all the same. I went that way for years, gave shiurim for ba'alei teshuva, and masturbated (and worse) until one day by G-d's Grace I grew up a bit and decided that I'd rather be a humble sober kosher Jew, than a star-crossed, kedusha-struggling Jew who isn't sober. I spared myself the hashkofah. I know it sounds horrid to a pumped-up truly well-meaning d'veikus-seekers of today, but it works. And paradoxically, in all my life I have never been as successful in trying to really serve Hashem as I am today. I am not sure I am serving Him, but I sure am trying harder and enjoying it more naturally than ever! B"H I have been able to take on many things and limudim that previously would lead me down a path of "greatness"! Hah. I hope I'm not fooled any more. I am just a sexaholic who is trying to learn the depths of Hashem's Torah and serve Him with all the heart I have left, if he lets me. Even if I will never "get" any reward for it from Him. Being in that army is worth it. By all rights, I shouldn't be allowed in at all.

In SA, our sobriety definition includes no sex with myself, and none with anyone other than my wife. Of course, progressive freedom from the preoccupation with lust is necessary for success with remaining sober, so: If I were to be forcing my wife to have sex, or if I were to be masturbating up until the point that I don't "do the aveiro", or just look at porn all day today, I would certainly lose my sobriety the good ol' fashioned way, in a matter of time. I will need to quit that, or else. So I always do (so far), with His help.

I accept that sexaholics lust sometimes - we do that. Nu. I need to admit any intentional use of lust to my home group and - if I am smart - will call my friends and talk with them about it and admit this new proof of my powerlessness over lust in any meeting I go to... but then "Keep on Trucking!" is what I need to hear and do!

If being sober is not good enough for me, then I say it isn't sobriety I am after, but my own Pride and perfection, masked in religion. That's the way it is for me.

In response to the above (Page 1) someone asks Dov:

"Since the real reason for our acting out is excessive lusting, why isn't that our main focus (as opposed to just 'not acting out')?"

Dov Responds:

And if it is part of my focus then what? I don't make it go away by the power of my focus anyway! I haven't that power! I just surrender the right to lust today and do the best I can to stay interested in Hashem, and in my job. So I lust sometimes, tsk, tsk. I have a besmirched record. Shame on me. But I will do what is in my power to remain sober today, at all costs. My perfection is not the issue, but my honesty. I can be honest without being perfect, as long as I am honest about my imperfection.

"And what would you say about an issue that is purely emotional, such as hating, jealousy or fantasies and lusting? There, the action is actually in your head!"

I have really found it to be true that "I cannot think myself into right living - I can only live myself into right thinking". The mess in my heart is not always in my power to change. I can admit and share it, work steps 4-9 on it, but in the end, the 7th step only works if I let go of the jealousies, fears, entitlements and resentments that affect me and sincerely ask to Hashem to wash it all out of me.

The way this "character development thing" has worked for me thus far is this: My own acting out has taught me that I need to be sober. No negotiation, it's #1 before my wife, kids, and my own feelings. But I have character defects of Pride, fear, entitlement, grandiose thinking, and resentment that get in the way. They make me very uncomfortable, and if I get uncomfortable enough, I have accepted that it will lead me to act out for relief. Not losing my sobriety motivates me to work steps 4-9 as needed, in order to remain sober and not lose everything and die. That's also why my entire avodah has grown over the years. I feel this connection is needed, and I do whatever is necessary to grow and maintain it. Not because it's right, but for my own good. If this is horrifying to some, I have nothing to say except that it is how I understand ani leDodi v'Dodi li - He want us to accept Him, but "accepting" Him also means to use Him! Dodi li means he is for me! Use His Power!

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