Monday, 13 February 2012

We Need a Psychic Change

by Dov (See all authors)

Someone wrote on the forum:

"I feel drained right now. I feel like I've been fighting the whole entire day. I just hope and pray I come out victorious. But it aint over till it's over. Please daven for me. I wanna get over this thing so badly. I feel that if I can get past the hard times, it will only get easier. But I never can get past them. So here I am holding on for dear life, literally. I can use chizuk right now. I'm starting to tear, it's so hard. AND I WANNA MAKE IT SO BADLY!!! HASHEM PLEASE!"

Below is Dov's response:

(Note: you might want to read this two or three times - it's so beautiful and deep!)

Quote: "I feel drained right now. I feel like I've been fighting the whole entire day."

Ok, Airbag and seatbelt time.... uh-oh.

Either the outer environment needs to change, or the inner environment does. One of them has to go. If you believe it's from inside you, I do not understand how anyone expects to "beat" a mental illness. Just go and ask any crazy person, maybe he'll tell you.... Now, if it's really just "a ta'ava", then I understand - fight, fight, fight. But if:

Quote: "I feel that if I can get past the hard times it will only get easier. But I never can get past them."

... as you put it, then perhaps, maybe, it's time to give the entire fight up to Hashem. To me, that means (step 1) admitting to Him exactly what you want to do [i.e. pursue the lust], (step 2) asking Him to help you just let go of the entire idea, to give it up completely and trust in Him fully. And then (step 3) to take the actions of letting it go, like getting busy with something else; preferably finding some way to give or love someone: people, or lehavdil, Hashem, (or even ourselves... if we really know how to).

And also, to me, it means agreeing to never take the credit for "winning" again. As long as you admit you are nuts, and you admit you have no other hope but His help, and you do what you can to make going about His business your priority right now, then it's His business if you succeed or fail, not yours.

Sound crazy? Well, I think busting one's head against the wall for the 15,000th time with the same losing derech - (only harder this time) - yet expecting things to be entirely different this time - is pretty crazy, too :-)

Quote: "But it aint over till its over."

And when is that? Won't there be a next time? Yes, for those who let go of it each time, it does get easier over time. But for those who just distract themselves from it to get over it, I believe there is a residue from each struggle, that may not go away. A feeling of, "well, I gave up that nice one, I deserve a consolation prize" or, "poor me, I lost out on so much fun," or, "woohoo, I can control this stuff, after all! So maybe I can use and enjoy it - and just stop it as soon as it starts to get out of hand, no?". Those natural thought patterns would build up in me over time until... you guessed it. And no wonder it's a tidal wave then! (And then we act as though it's such a surprise!???)

I have no other explanation than the above for the very common phenomena of the guy (like me) who could "go for a month, or so, until the pressure builds up", or whatever. Or so many of the well-meaning folks here with 23 days, or 33 days, over and over again for five years... you know what I mean. How else can anyone explain that? Please let me know, will ya?

What people like me need is a psychic change. Not improvement, but a new derech. Let Hashem figure out if it's called teshuvah or not. It's gotta be a different fight, or else.

On a good day, I let the fight be His business, and my job is to do His work... and when lust ideas occur to me, I admit to myself that I am not just another yid with "a ta'yva", but rather, that I am "cracked" in the head. I have an allergy. I am not able to lust like others can, and control it. They can perhaps, but not I. So no wonder I need a Higher Power. I avoid it like fire by closing my eyes or my brain and doing something else. I make a call to a friend and admit exactly how sick I am. Then I go happily from there, completely free.

I don't need Hashem's power to help me "beat" this Yetzer Hara. I need him to remove the lust from me. I need His help to get myself out of His way. I need to go about His work, period. Not fight any battles.

A huge problem here is that if you just extract the surrender and trust in Hashem, the whole thing still looks like some kind of winning. Some folks will totally mistake the "closing of the eyes" or the "making a call to another addict" as the way we fight it.It's not. It's just the actions we take to give it up. As many addicts who actually use the steps will attest, the total freedom from the nutty lust comes during the dialing of the friends phone number, or during the prayer itself. Like when I say, "G-d, whatever I am looking for in the image of that woman walking by, let me find it in You, instead." Ahhhh. By the time I get up to the second half of the word G-d, we feel the whole thing evaporating.

It may not work perfectly all the time, but we stay sober from the bottom line behavior this way, no matter what. And over time, our heads change. The struggles are surrendered. There is no more pressure build up. If there is, then we take an honest look at our first step, perhaps with a friend, and go on from there.

Quote: "I can use chizuk right now."

Well, I don't know if that constituted chizuk, but sometimes we don't need encouragement, rather we need someone to remind us that "I have no one to rely on but myself" (as in the story in the Gemara of the sex-addict, Rav Elazar Ben Drudya), by holding up a mirror. I hope you see that Hashem is in there right next to you, no matter what.