What you need to effect lasting change
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1299  
In Today's Issue
Image of the Day: Tracht gut, vet zein gut.
12 Step Attitude: Powerlessness
Announcements: GYE is Coming to Belgium
Sayings: Stay sober for yourself.
Chizuk: The Kollel Guy
Daily Dose of Dov: FACE IT NOW
Announcements: GYE Looking for Facebook 'Geek'
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Image of the Day

Artwork courtesy of Maydel.

Tracht gut, vet zein gut.
Tracht gut, vet zein gut.
12 Step Attitude
By Yossel

Step One of the SA program is: "We admitted we were powerless over lust, that our lives have become unmanageable". So what does powerless actually mean?

When I first got into the program, I was taught by a fellow member that what we mean by powerless is that I can't use lust like "normal" people can. Once I take that first "drink" of shmutz, I'm powerless to stop, and it ends up ruining my life. So I simply stop lusting - period, because I accept that if I take that first drink, there is no way I'm able to stop, and I can't put up with the resulting unmanageability any longer.

This realization got me one month sobriety, and I was on top of the world. But as I hit one month and got further away from my acting out days, I started losing clarity of the pain and the "unmanageability" my lusting had always given me. As that clarity faded, I started rationalizing that I could afford a bit of lusting and ended up busting.

It was a painful experience, but after a couple of weeks of obsessive acting out, I got back into recovery. It was then that I realized I had the whole "powerless" thing wrong.

My discovery was that not only am I powerless to stop after my first drink, but I am totally powerless even before my first drink and cannot stop myself from having that first drink. I have no way myself to refrain from lusting. Lust is here to stay and there is nothing I can do to get rid of it. No matter how much pain and suffering lust has given me, somehow I will always come back for more. There is simply no such thing as hanging up the boots and giving it up. During that time, I stumbled across this amazing piece in the Big Book (p. 24) which crystallized this idea. I felt like G-d was speaking directly to me: "We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink".

This was my mistake. I never really admitted powerlessness at all. All along, I was still running the show. Sure, I admitted that I couldn’t drink without getting drunk, but I still believed I was in control and able to simply stop drinking if the pain got too great. Big mistake. As the Big Book tells us, that’s not the way it is for a real addict at all.

So I was forced to admit and accept I have a "disease of lust," which is stronger than me and has me totally beaten. There is no way I can stop it, just like there is no way a diabetic can cure their illness. Accepting this was really painful and scary. I was now in a desperate situation. Lust was ruining me and making my life totally unmanageable, but I was unable to give it up. Gevalt! But that’s exactly where I needed to be in order to enter into the 12 steps. It was out of this desperation [step one], that I was able to give up fighting lust alone and learned that I had to reach out to a Greater Power if I ever wanted to treat this thing [steps two and three]. I started by reaching out for help through making phone calls to other members when faced with lust, and slowly I learned how to sincerely reach out to G-d and ask Him for help. This is the bedrock of the whole program. I cannot do this myself.

GYE is Coming to Belgium
Stay sober for yourself.
The Kollel Guy
By Kedusha

There was once a Kollel fellow who learned with hasmada, and whose wife was moser nefesh for him to continue learning. One day, he felt that he could use a break, and mentioned that to his wife. His wife thought about it for a minute, and responded: "Your learning means everything to me. I take on countless responsibilities, so as not to waste a minute of time that you can devote to learning. My plan is to do my best to allow you to stay in learning for as long as possible. However, if you were to waste an entire day, I might reconsider whether my mesiras nefesh really makes sense. So, take your pick - whatever you do today is likely to be what you'll be doing for the long term."

The husband thought for a moment, and realized that it didn't make much sense to possibly lose the opportunity to learn full time for years, just to take one day off. Sheepishly, he picked up his Gemara and went straight to the bais midrash.

When the Yetzer Hara claims that he wants us to fall "just once", what he really wants is for us to get into a rut that we cannot get out of. Each time he presents us with temptation, we need to realize that what we do just this once might, c"v, be what we continue doing for the next 50 years, while living in utter misery. However, if we refrain just today, we can start "detoxing" and getting the garbage out of our system, which will give us a realistic potential to stay clean for the long term and live a meaningful life.

Daily Dose of Dov
One very frustrated addict wrote on the forum (while trying to break his filter):
By Dov

Aaahhh! i hate this! stupid yetzer! i can't take it anymore! i hate this part of me! wasting my time! making me do stupid things! I'm still trying to break my filter! somebody call me stupid! i wasted another hour tonight on nothing!!!! nobody be nice to me! call me an idiot! please somebody smack me! I'm about to go out to selichos and I'm trying to bust my filter even on a high level, just to get some skin fix!!! AAAAAHHHH!!! i know my attitude stinks!! (read the GYE attitude handbook!!). I need some tough love. stop loving me and tell me I'm a ridiculous idiot!! i want to hear it!! i blocked myself so well, I'm scraping the walls having lust attacks and getting nowhere!!! he's just making me hit my head against a brick wall for nothing!!! this is insanity!!

Dov Responds:

Dear Yid,

First of all, please be moichel me for liking you so much. I'm really sorry but I can't help myself.

Please consider: Where the heck did you get the idea that NOT doing stupid stuff like lusting, playing with the filter, or whatever, would immediately lead to to happiness? If you want to laugh at yourself, laugh about that.

If you can accept that you were not only lusting out of habit, but also to comfort yourself, then it's obvious that when the acting out and other nahrishkeiten are removed from the equation, you will go a little bonkers. We all do, temporarily.

After that, it is your choice: to either ride the storm holding our hands while you find peace (I use the 12-steps for that), or go back out there and comfort yourself some more with the sweet poison. Oh yeah, there's a third choice. You can just keep kvetching about it. I certainly did my share. But these SA guys don't seem to have much room for pity... tough bunch....

Whatever you (and we) are hurting or annoyed about - or scared of - is still going to need facing.

We need peace, not more painful adventure. We can either face it now while aching a bit in sobriety and really attain the peace we deserve, or we can medicate again, to deal with it perhaps in the next gigul, or - if/when the medicating finally stops working - in this one.

Nu. At least in this one you have our hands to hold! It seems that "Someone" is looking out for you and is giving you the help you need in this trip!

So make a lechayim for a sweet new year together with some flaky people who really understand you, for a change.


To sum up the way I understand what Dov is saying (in short):

Even if we succeed to stop acting out, it won't solve our problems. There's obviously something we are annoyed about or scared of (or whatever), that we are using the acting out to medicate. When we stop medicating, we can finally face the real issues head on. And that's where it gets hard. But Hashem sent you to a group of people who understand you, and we'll all hold your hands while you find the peace you seek (and deserve).

GYE Looking for Facebook 'Geek'
Do you think you may have a porn addiction?

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.

Porn Anonymous (PA)
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).

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
If your compulsive acting-out has progressed beyond the screen (with other people, paid sexual services, etc.) we suggest you explore joining Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). To figure out if SA is for you, call Dov at 917-414-8205, or email Dov at dov@guardyoureyes.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit www.sa.org.

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