Pain, unhappiness, and negativity = your life?
 
 
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1728  
 
 
In Today's Issue
   
Video of the Day: Why our screens make us less happy
Daily Dose of Dov: Do I have to live my whole life in pain?
Practical Tips: 7 ways to deal with negative thoughts
Chizuk: Learning from an SS Commandant
 
 
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Video of the Day
 

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Why our screens make us less happy
Daily Dose of Dov
 
Do I have to live my whole life in pain?
 
Part 2/2
 
By Dov

"It's what goes on in our minds that's the issue"

In response to the question discussed above, Dov writes:

We need to ask ourselves, "what are we really looking for, in recovery?" Do we want the ability to fantasize about schmutz whenever we want and yet still remain sober?

What I'm getting at is this: Of course there are different types of alkies. But for most alkies who have been sober for a few months, you are right that being around drinking people or near alcohol is not a true "trigger" for them.

While "sight", as you wrote above, is a trigger for us, I believe it's really not the whole story. This is important to me: It's not really looking, reading, etc. that are "sipping" (or slipping) - it's what goes on in our minds that's the issue. Lust is not exactly like alcohol, where it needs to be taken into the body to mess us up. A lust addict uses schmutz to get the lust woken up - it's about the desire and excitement. I (and every other addict I have ever met in SA) can get high on lust and crazy without taking any look at all. By the same token we can get good and drunk (really, not symbolically as in the "dry drunk" of AA) on last month's schmutz or sexual encounter. That cannot happen in AA or NA. They need their drug, while our drug is also in our mind. Now, to say that this means "I can look all I want, as long as "in my mind I'm not fantasizing!"... well, we have found that this attitude just doesn't work.

Again, the real question is "what do we want?"

The answer to the question of, "Am I condemned to a lifetime of pain as an addict?" depends on what the person's goals are. Is their goal to be able to control acting out - meaning: to be free enough of it's tyranny that they'll be able to lust their brains out with their wife or husband whenever they want to (what we call "being able to lust like a Gentleman/Lady), then I'd indeed suggest that this would condemn an addict to lifetime of pain. If you are an addict, you cannot successfully use your drug. Per AA experience, that's exactly what being an addict means. It's the first step. The goal in AA is not to be able to use and control alcohol, is it? So in SA, the issue is not sex, but lust. To clarify a bit more, I'll ask a question: If I stay away from triggers, then how does a married SA ever get involved with sex? Sex is surely a bigger trigger than seeing a jogger! No?

In my experience, the answer is that it is lust that is the issue, even in the trigger.

So the first sip doesn't necessarily happen with sight, or even with sex itself. A lustaholic in recovery can have sex without getting lost in lust, can be a doctor and work with female/male patients without losing their sobriety, can drive through the street and actually see joggers scantily clad (like an alkie in the bar in the piece from AA that you quoted above)... It all depends on whether they turn it over to Hashem and do what they need to do so that they don't take it in and use it. Lust is 'used' and is always about 'taking'.

I guess that there are some lustaholics who never get there, and cannot do some or any of these normal things. But I know very few people in SA like that. I believe that they are impaired by their desire not to let go of lust, at all. Perhaps they keep thinking they are addicted to sex itself, not to lust. Now that may be true, but I doubt it. Call me bold, stupid, or whatever. I have just met too many guys who are totally powerless over lust, and yet they stay sober and are still able to function in situations that newbies equate with acting out!

Recovery means getting back to what you lost - to what is natural and normal.... at least in some respects.

Finally, I'd say that worrying about my future as an addict is just plain silly. "Let Go and Let G-d" is something we all need to learn how to do, usually by hanging around with recovering addicts.

 

Practical Tips
 
 
7 ways to deal with negative thoughts
 
Chizuk
 
Learning from an SS Commandant
 
By Pilpher

I was speaking to an 87 year old Warsaw ghetto and Auschwitz survivor before Mincha on Shabbos. He mentioned that seeing his entire family wiped out only strengthened him to keep up the energy to remain alive until the war finished - and then to rebuild his family, contrary to Hitler's wish to destroy it. He is now a proud great-grandfather. (And I thought my battles were difficult!)

Just to pound the point home, he mentioned that after the war he found a former ghetto member learning in yeshiva - he was previously irreligious. According to this ba'al teshuva, he owed his change in direction to an SS commandant: When being taken on a forced death march as the war was finishing, he was being marched in the freezing cold with no food for days - and anyone who fell was shot on the spot. Eventually, he did fall, and whilst waiting for the relief of a bullet, the commandant who was about to finish him off, instead bent down and told him to get up. He refused - he had no strength left. To which the commandant replied - "there is no such thing as I can't - only I don't want."

This man got up somehow and went on to survive the war.

To all those who had a recent fall, let us take this lesson to heart. There is no such thing as "I can't get back up". If we aren't getting back up, it is only because we don't WANT TO.

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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