Our Struggle is for Our Survival
 
 
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1283  
 
 
In Today's Issue
   
Announcements: Matching Challenge - THANK YOU!
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Daily Dose of Dov: Torah or the 12-Steps?
Torah: Of Nuclear Power, Babylonian gods and Shmiras Habris...
Chizuk: It's Pikuach Nefesh!
 
 
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May the zechus of your donation be a merit to help you in your quest for purity, Midah Kineged Midah.

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Daily Dose of Dov
 

Continued from previous issue.

 
Torah or the 12-Steps?
 
Part 2/2
 
By Dov

My wish is for everybody to be free of addiction and have all the fruits of the program without needing to "work" the steps. But it sure is nice for me to finally feel (at least some connection to):

  • really living (at least a bit) for Hashem,
  • (some) freedom from fear,
  • Emunah that really works,
  • usefulness to people (often),
  • a close (and growing) relationship with my Eternal and True Friend,
  • and let's not forget - good old Sanity!

I needed the 12-Steps for all this and - as I was - I could not get it from Torah. Theoretically, maybe it's unfortunate for me, but I choose not to accept that. You don't win a battle with a dirge, but you go ahead to victory with lively marching music! So it is a good thing that many of us in the groups just accept the facts as they are on the ground, hold our heads high, and grow using this path as though our very lives depend on it. It may. At that point, it is certainly a precious and holy derech of Hashem for us!

B"H today I rarely feel I am fighting. When I do have a temptation in lust, I choose not to look at it as a "Yetzer Hara" issue. I view it like a "little tentacle" of the beast of my addiction. The Yetzer Hara had total and relentless control of my life and that approach seemed to be a sure bet for keeping it that way! Now, B"H, it's "body" is locked in a "dungeon" guarded by Hashem, until He decides to "recycle" it - bimheira beyamieinu.

In the meantime though, it's tentacles are still dangerous, having a connection to the beast and can destroy me totally, though they now appear to be weaker and thinner (just a "thin string", if you will), but bitter. Till today, I use the same tools in the same way as I always did from the very beginning. Today it's just faster usually, and not as big a deal as it used to be. (Occasionally, like the last day or two, it has been scary. But Nu, what do you expect from an addict? B'H I'm feeling better, and your support is appreciated)!

Along the way, some people think that because of the way I share and frame/describe my challenges, that I am still listening to or watching or running after shmutz or acting out just like before! Although this is B"H not the case, I know I need to face it the same way as Dov-the-newbie, or I'll trip, get stuck, fool myself, act out, and eventually - die. (I once sat through a long verbal thrashing about selfishness because I shared that I believed in some way that I was still selfish and disrespectful to my wife. Phew! The guy had 2 years of sobriety and I had five, but I kept me mouth shut tight, even afterward. Who knows, maybe it was good for me!) Better to be a (safe) fool in peoples eyes for a few minutes than to Hashem (permanently).

I have no evidence that I will ever be cured. I do not know if what they say: "Once an addict, always an addict" is true. I just choose to apply it to myself for lack of a reason not to. I assume I'll be going to meetings till I die, which is good because it seems I am more pleasant to live with when I have meetings in my life. And I get to help addicts too, just by being there. If I somehow become certain that I am cured, I may not go to meetings any more and I hope to let you and others know. If you think you are cured, gezunterheit, and I will assume you are right until proven otherwise. (But it is not clear to me exactly what the litmus test would be though; feeling cruddy? acting out once? a pattern? arrest?)

My goal in life is to be a pure and total eved Hashem. I know this deep in my heart. But most of the 12 steps are truly Derech Eretz Kodmah LaTorah as far as I am concerned. The 11th Step ("We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out"), it seems, is about moving on from the steps and truly starting your life as a Yid (in my case), no?

Is the 3rd step (turning our will and our lives over to the care of God) Kriyas Sh'ma? Yes, in retrospect. But I could not - and would not - have "gotten it" from that, had you taught it to me that way. I had been saying kriyas sh'ma all those years in addiction and yet in my mind, Hashem still wasn't truly in charge enough, He wasn't on my side enough, and He wasn't able to help me enough, as far as I was concerned, and I wasn't able to really trust Him. It was all too complicated in my experience of Yiddishkeit.

I had to hear and learn all that in a different way. I had to get off the 18-wheeler (or airplane, helicopter, whatever!) and get on a nice, quiet bicycle with training wheels. That's the 12 steps. Simple, focused, and real.

Now, certainly Torah is the ikkar and hopefully a frum recovering addict will be able to maintain enough sanity to make Torah the ikkar and grow in it. But unfortunately I have met some who can't yet. Let's daven for them, that they should have what we have too.

Hoping some of this megilah was helpful,
Dov

Dearest Dov, your posts are so beautiful they bring tears to my eyes!

I think to sum it all up, we can say that the 12-Steps teach us how to live and think right. But "Living and thinking right" is not the end goal in itself. Perhaps for a non-Jew it is, but for a Jew, we can go much higher. But how can we start with XYZ before learning ABC? Once we know ABC, we can take that WITH US into the XYZ. We need to take this honesty, humility, selflessness, and this close connection to Hashem that we learned in ABC - into our TORAH as well. And if we do this, then our Torah and Avodah become truly powerful, much more than before; they become nuclear weapons against the Yetzer Hara!

Torah
 

Continued from previous issue.

 
Of Nuclear Power, Babylonian gods and Shmiras Habris...
 
Part 2/2
 
By GYE

We have the ability to turn the falls of our past into a foundation for our closeness to Hashem now. As we all said in Hallel today: "Yaser Yasrani Kah etc... Hashem has brought me great suffering, but to death he did not hand me over... Odecha Ki Anisani etc... I thank thee for the suffering, and it was for me a salvation". Through our past falls, we learn how to overcome the darkness and follow the light, and we use our past experience to help others towards the light as well.

Yosef symbolizes Shmiras Ha'Bris, and perhaps the biggest lesson that we can learn from him was that it was only through the merit of his "withholding" that he merited that so much bounty and goodness should flow forth through him. And this is the secret of the divine channel of Yesod. When we close all the holes in our divine "pipes" (and we are willing to go through the dryness of "Tamuz" first), Hashem's blessing and bounty is able to flow through us properly.

The Koach of the Bris is somewhat like a nuclear reaction. Our job is to take this "nuclear power" and harness it for constructive purposes; to bring forth life, not death. How is this done in a reactor? By inserting fuel rods into the reactor's core to absorb and "hold back" the nuclear chain-reactions from continuing. By doing this, we are able to harness the tremendous energy, and we are able to light up entire cities with electricity! Our enemies on the other hand, want to harness nuclear power for destructive purposes. This happens in atomic weapons, where their is no "containment" of the nuclear reactions. The Jewish people succeeded in destroying the nuclear reactor "Tamuz" of Saddam, on erev Shavuos, the 5th of Sivan, 1981, in the month of Yakov Avinu. Shavuos is the time of kabbalas Hatorah, and the Torah is like the "fuel rods" that teach us how to harness the power of the Yesod properly through the Mitzvos. The Mitzvos of the Torah, such as "Pru u'revu - be fruitful and multiply" on the one hand, and "lo sikrivu legalos erva - do not come close to revealing nakedness" on the other, teach us how to channel Hashem's bracha in the right ways and harness the tremendous energy of Yesod for the good.

The Yetzer Hara wants us to use the potent power of the Bris for destructive purposes. But through the power of Shmiras Habris, by withholding this potent energy and harnessing it for constructive purposes only, we become vessels for divine bounty, and we succeed in "containing" the designs of our enemies, who once again desire to use nuclear power to destroy us...

And that is the beauty of the seeming contradiction of Tamuz. And that is perhaps the reason why Yosef was born on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. Let us harness the tremendous power of Yosef on his Yartzeit today, by properly "containing" the power of Yesod and thereby harnessing it for LIFE and endless divine blessing.

Chizuk
 
It's Pikuach Nefesh!
 
Rabbi M. Kamenetzky
 
By Torah.org

After Bila'am's failed efforts to curse the Jewish people, he devised another ploy. He advised the nations of Midian and Moav to lure the Jews to sin through salacious activities. Midian complied wholeheartedly, offering its daughters as conspirators in the profanity. The scheme worked. The Jews cavorted with Midianite women, and the wrath of Hashem was aroused. A plague ensued and thousands of Jews died.

In this week's portion, Hashem commands his people to administer justice. "Make the Midianites your enemies and attack them!" For they antagonized you through their conspiracy that they conspired against you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, daughter of a leader of Midian, their sister, who was slain on the day of the plague, in the matter of Peor" (Numbers 25:17-18). Eventually Jews go to war with Midian.

The issue that may confront the modern thinker is simple. War? Over what?

Read article
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Do you have a problem with obsessive and compulsive porn use? Have you seriously tried the tools on GYE and feel that you are not getting better? Maybe it’s time to consider joining a 12-Step program.

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If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email help@pornanonymous.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit pornanonymous.org (Hebrew: p-a.org.il / Yiddish: pa-yid.org).

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