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A deeper understanding of Yetzias Mitzrayim

Why do addicts need to start from scratch?

GYE Corp. Monday, 09 April 2012
Part 2/3 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

So there is no point fooling ourselves by making excuses that we only need to give ourselves more chizuk in order to break free.

The one thing an addict who wants to cure himself needs, more than any chizuk, is a hard dose of honesty and a sobering dose of reality. Without brutal honesty, the addict will never recover. So let us be brave and let us be honest. Yes, we need to say this loud and clear: "We have been less than animals".

And now that we have been honest, we need some more honesty and some real action.

How is the addict who has sunk below the level of an animal, supposed to get back to being at the level of a mentsch?

It is not his kedusha or his "top floor" that has a problem, it is not his Torah wisdom or his second floor either, and it is not even his first floor - i.e. his very Yiddishkeit, that is the cause of his problems.

Rather his very foundations are broken. Not only is he not Holy, not only is he not a Talmid Chochom, not only is he not a simple Jew, he is not even a mentsch. For even a non-Jew should not be a sex addict. He is less than a decent non-Jew, he is less than an animal.

And I will say it myself, as difficult as it is to say.

I was an addict for many years until only very recently, and for all that time I was not a Kadosh, not a Talmid Chochom, not a poshute yid, not even a mentsch. I was less than a decent goy, even less than an animal.

And when the foundations are broken, we don't use the top floor or kedusha to build foundations, and we don't use Torah to build foundations - as the Rambam says in hilchos Talmud Torah (above), we don't use mussar seforim that were written for mentschen, we need to go back to the very foundations that even non-Jews can understand, and start rebuilding from there.

We addicts were missing the most basic foundations of mentschlechkeit. We need to find "foundation stones" so basic that even sex addicts and alcoholics get them. We need to understand what fundamental moral principles worked for addicts to help them recover.

And the record is clear. In the first 20 years of AA, the addicts who were the most successful in recovery, used what AA literature again and again stresses are moral principles so basic, that every religion agrees to them. As the AA motto goes; "Keep it Simple".

That is how you build new foundations. With brutal honesty and absolute humility.

Yes, let us be very honest here. "S'past nisht" for us choshuve yidden, many of whom feel we are Talmidei Chachomim, to admit that we have been less than animals. "S'past nisht" to admit that we need to recover like goyishe addicts.

But Hakodosh Boruch Hu laughs and lovingly says: "Un s'Past yuh to be addicted to sex and lust?"

So dear brothers, I mean this from the very depths of my heart and I mean this out of love; let us stop fooling ourselves.

Whether we have recovered entirely from our addiction, whether we are in active recovery without recent relapse, whether are in active recovery following a recent relapse or whether we have not begun recovery at all; By all means let us not wait another day to build a path of Kedusha, let us not wait another day, to build a path of Torah, let us not wait another day to build a path of Mussar. But we do not want our efforts to be in vain. A building without foundations can be torn down by the first strong wind. We do not want chas vesholom to be left vulnerable and risk loosing all of our efforts, Kedusha, Torah and Mussar to the first relapse.

So let us learn the lesson of the drunks of AA. "Keep it Simple".

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