The Concepts Behind the Steps
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1869  
In Today's Issue
Text: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Misery
Announcements: New type of accountability software
Testimonials: Mesiach l'fi tumoi
Daily Dose of Dov: The Concepts Behind the Steps
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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Misery
By Twerski, Rabbi Dr. Avraham

“I call heaven and earth today to bear witness against you: I have placed life and death before you, blessing and curse; and you shall choose life, so that you will live, you and your offspring: (Deuteronomy 30:19).

With 50 years of psychiatric experience to my credit, I feel qualified to paraphrase the Founding Fathers statement in the Declaration of Independence, that among the inalienable rights of man are “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Misery.”

But what normal person would pursue misery instead of happiness? From the words of Moses, it is evident that it necessary to tell people to choose life and blessing over death and curse. In fact, Moses also had to increase their motivation for this choice by telling them that the choice they make will affect future generations. Clearly there are people who would choose death and curse, but why?

Having treated thousands of alcohol and drug addicts, the answer became obvious. In active addiction, the person pursues the object of his addiction with a ferocity that is unparalleled. He will do anything to attain what he feels is the greatest good in life, although it is in fact the greatest curse. One recovered addict said, “The worst day of my recovery is far better than the best day of my addiction.” However, the desire for the chemical blinds the addict to reality.

Whereas the lethality of chemicals is obvious to the non-addict, there are other desires that are no less lethal, but their toxicity is more subtle. The Talmud says, “Jealously, lust and glory remove a person from the world” (Ethics of the Fathers 4:28). “Remove a person from the world” should be taken literally. These are insatiable drives, and unless a person puts firm limits and tight restraints on them, their pursuit may take one’s life. Yet so many people pursue these drives, as deluded as the addict that they will bring one happiness. Yes, there may be momentary pleasures in gratifying these drives, just as the addict has a fleeting “high” from his chemical, but the long term result is anything but happy.

Recovery from the fatal pursuit of chemical addiction requires that the addict seek a spiritual goal in life, rather than the ephemeral “high.” This is equally true for those who are deluded to think that pursuit of jealousy, lust and glory will bring them happiness. Only true spirituality can turn them away from the pursuit of misery to the pursuit of happiness.

New type of accountability software
"I feel safer on my phone then I do in my street"

This is a quote from a Whatsapp message we got from a GYEBoost member today in reference to

This app sends random screenshots to your partner and will let them know if you uninstall.

Check it out for yourself.

Mesiach l'fi tumoi
This testimonial to GYE came into our email from a non-Jewish member. Thank you, Rick, for your kind words!
By GYE Member

Dear GYE,

Thank you for your advice and welcome. There is so much help in your fellowship. And that is what I have found to be most helpful in combatting this affliction. I am so grateful to my S-groups and sponsor and sponsees and the whole 12-step community. I am deeply grateful for the spiritual resources of my own faith tradition (Episcopal/Christian). But GYE offers a community committed to a deep contemplation of what my tradition calls "custody of the eyes/heart." I have found that nowhere else, and I am grateful to you all for living into the reality of purity of heart.

The GYE community will be in my grateful daily prayers.


Rick ****

Daily Dose of Dov
The Concepts Behind the Steps
To someone who was having trouble swallowing the 12-Steps:
By Dov

Maybe consider not using the words of the 12 steps, but the concepts behind them. Some people like the idea that Torah recognizes we have problems, mental or spiritual illnesses. The RMB"M describes basically every person as being a bit mentally ill... He calls it "choloei hanefesh" in Sh'moneh P'rakim.

Generally, I think if it is said right, be"H, many people like to know that G-d understands them and is patient with them, rather than that He is only there to hold up a standard against them and shake His head.... He knows that "Ein kedushasi K'kidusaschem"! But He did not create us just to 'get by' and to eat so that we can work - so that we can eat...

To me, the steps are Derech Eretz, and rich enough to give without referring directly to them...

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 to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit (Hebrew: / Yiddish:

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 to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit

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