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Thankful for the Challenge

GYE Corp. Sunday, 18 December 2011

With Hashem's help, I reached 90 days over the summer - which was quite an achievement for me. Unfortunately I fell a few weeks later, just before Yomim Noraim and I've been up and down since then, peaking at 30 clean days.

The falls come and go - they've been emotionally devastating at times, and have been bumps along the way at others. I'm not sure which is better - devastation usually inspires me to take more drastic measure to correct the problem, but the small bumps have helped me brush myself off and get back on track quickly.

I've begun to call in to Duvid Chaim's 12 step phone conferences, although I haven't yet participated or even introduced myself. I'm waiting for the next cycle, which is starting in about 3 weeks, before I become more active. I've been reading through the 12 steps and listening to an audio book of the Big Book and I've begun to come to terms with the fact that I do have an addiction and that I can't weather this storm on my own. I may succeed in curbing my Taivos upon occasion, but ultimately I will revert back to my learned patterns of zombie-like R'deifus HaTaiva. So I'm learning what that acceptance means, and looking forward to being closer to HKB"H through this process. Already in retrospect I'm thankful to HKB"H for giving me this life challenge because it's hard to see how I would have run to His embrace without it.

I just want to end with a vort I saw this morning in an email from which resonates with me:

Our world is one of many challenges -- of that, there is no doubt. Interpersonal conflict, the temptation to be dishonest or to act improperly, physical threats to one's well being -- the challenges abound! To well-meaning people who seek to help others and live honestly, these challenges are a constant source of frustration and disappointment. Amidst such challenges one may wonder, "Why must it be this way? Is this the world of a loving G-d?" These are important questions to ask, yet difficult to address. I won't attempt to do justice to the fundamental issue, but perhaps the following thought can help us maintain a healthy, positive attitude.

Before Jacob confronts his brother Esau, he battles with an unnamed "man" (see Gen. 32:25), whom the Talmud says was an angel. This confrontation was both a physical and spiritual challenge to Jacob, which he ultimately overcame. The defeated angel immediately begs of Jacob, "Let me go, the morning has come." The Talmud explains that this angel needed to return to Heaven to sing praises to G-d.

Why was this moment the time for singing praises? The Tshebiner Rav zt"l says that when the forces of evil, as embodied by this angel, are defeated -- those forces celebrate. Ultimately, the angels of evil are forces of the Al-mighty Himself, sent to challenge mankind and spur growth. G-d is, in this way, like the brutal coach who subjects his players to months of grueling practice, leads them to victory against the toughest challengers in the league, and then warmly embraces his team and celebrates their triumph.

I'm looking forward to working with all of you to the highest levels of recovery. I'm confident that "there is a solution", as the Big book says, and that HKB"H will guide us towards that life of Simcha, Dveikus, Kedusha V'Tahara.