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Chizkiyahu Hamelech Went to Sleep

Do we have control over our defects or not?

GYE Corp. Monday, 16 January 2012

Someone asks Dov:

The Whitebook seems to imply that we have no control over ANY of our defects. One of the main points of our purpose in this world, as I see it, is to struggle through life working on our defects. Are they saying that this is not the case?

Dov Responds:

No, I agree with you - I do not accept that we are powerless over all our defects, and no, even Bill W himself would have told you, "No, you do not have to accept any of these things - take what you find actually works and you are welcome to leave the rest!" As it says at the end of AA: "This book is meant to be suggestive only". As far as the beginning of ch. 5 where it says we need to "let go absolutely", and "these are the steps we took" - is about recovery work in a general sense - we need to be totally serious about it, otherwise it will not work at all. It is not apparent to me that any of the steps say we are powerless over every aspect of ourselves. In fact, every single guy I have ever heard share in meetings that he is "powerless over everything" - is no longer sober! So I do not believe that is the Program's message.

Recovery is about responsibility. There is something for me to do, rather than laying back and letting this addiction kill me. No! I will get help and do the work! "These are the steps we took..." And if G-d wills me to get better, then I will get better!" That, to me, is the basic message of the 12 steps.

Teshuvah is certainly guided by Hashem. He is the "Yoreh chato'im baderech". I believe that Hashem has a special way of guiding special people into the teshuvah they need - I put my Teshuvah in His hands as much as I put my life in His hands. In fact, exactly as much. The moment I take matters into my own hands, I will probably start trying to manufacture 'oso isha, oso makom', etc....gevalt.

You know the medrash about the kings that Rav Dessler explains. Two were Dovid haMelech and Chizkiyah. I can't remember the others. Dovid haMelech could actually go into battle and swing his sword and guide his troops - and still know it was Hashem doing it all. The others could only watch the battle or daven in the palace, otherwise the increased participation would drive Hashem's role right out of the battle, in their hearts - it would seem to them that it was they who were beating the enemy.

Chizkiyahu was lower. He could not even daven, lest he take a part in the battle in his heart and 'push Hashem out', in his heart. So he elected to go to sleep! Bye Sancheriv!

I see an addict's place like Chizkiyahu haMelech's. Now, c'mon...normal people do hishtadlus all the time and it's not a aveiro! What's chizkiyahu so hung up on? I see addicts as needing to put Hashem in that role specifically in the arena of their sobriety and recovery. Because we need to admit that all along when we were using our addiction, we were really taking G-d's place, weren't we?

We were saying, "my life isn't going the way it should. Hashem, You obviously do not really know what You are doing, so I'll do what needs to be done in order to pleasure myself! I need to manipulate others to treat me the way I want. I need, I need, I need. Life should be going this way, that way, etc."

Recovery is not a time for more of that. Now it is time that, of all people, we self-pleasurers need to step back. We have lost the right that normal people have of being 'Hashem's co-pilot' - especially in our response to our addiction. It is a luxury we have abused too often. It is poisonous now.

The silver lining is that in recovery, the certain path to gaining luxuries - is by giving them up. In Tzedaka, what you give away is what you keep. Same in recovery. When we give up on demanding sex from our wives, they relax and start to be OK with sex. When we let go and stop trying to stop ourselves from thinking about lust, we actually begin to be free of it. When we relax and let go of all outcomes - stop trying to control our lives 'so that it all goes right' and instead start to learn how to depend on Hashem for a change, our lives actually get better and better.

"He who runs from kavod - kavod will chase him!" Same idea. But he needs to really surrender - as the Chofetz Chayim pointed out, he cannot be turning around to make sure that kavod is really chasing him!