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Vanquishing the Dragon?

obormottel Thursday, 04 May 2017

I am not a professional at all, nor do I have any psychology background. I have been addicted for several decades and have been involved in active recovery for several years. B"H, by the grace of God, thru the help of therapists, meetings, friends, 12-step-program, and to the wonderful chevra of GYE, I consider myself sober - for the moment. I work with tens of addicts on a daily basis and I conduct a call several times a week, where we actively work the 12-step-program, in addition to other methods.

What I have found, in myself, and by others, is that the urges we get are not simply a plot of the yetzer, but rather, they are from an addiction. I am not smart enough to know how the yetzer hara mixes into our addiction, but I do know that the methods of combating the yetzer hara are not the ones that work for us. Many of us have tried learning more mussar, speaking to our rabbeim and mashgichim, devoting more time and dedication into our tefillah, but to no or little avail. We needed to learn how to live life again. We were and are a selfish bunch, and we are part of a group which harbors resentments, we are extremely self centered, unusually jealous and very isolated. The steps taught us about connection - to God, our spouses, family and friends. It taught us to live outside of ourselves. And yes, the mussar, tefillah, Torah and mitzvos mean much more to us now.

If an urge happens upon us now, I/we understand that we did not vanquish the dragon. It is alive and well within us. But we learned that at those times, we need to reach out to God, our sponsors, our group, or friends to help us weather the storm. We use the tools of surrendering, praying and bringing the lust to light in order to suppress it. The moment we think that we have this beat, and we in fact are not powerless, but rather, we are powerful, and the urge is simply one of an ordinary person's yetzer hara, is the moment that the dragon will rear its big ugly head and ensnare us once again.