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Distracting Myself vs.Giving It Up

Instead of being focused on the problem, how do I focus on the solution?

GYE Corp. Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Avraham wrote:

I t ried to distract myself by learning and going to a shiur... distracted myself for a bit. That lasted till like 5PM. I tried hard. I feel like I'm too focused on the problem and not living in the solution. How AM I supposed to live in the solution?

Dov Responded:

Sorry I cannot tell you exactly what to do, but I can share what works for me and if you want it, you'll take it.

"Distracting myself" will not - repeat, not - work in the long run. It is actually completely missing the point.

The only thing that works for me is giving up my right to look at porn and masturbate, period. Just for this day, or just for this incident. The 'distracting' method is just running away - and we cannot run away from ourselves . The lust itself is not out there, of course, nor is it on the computer . Our problem is that the only lust there really is, the only lust we need to reckon with, is the lust that is in ourselves . I need to quit asking G-d to "take it away so I don't have to give it up! ", as the White Book puts it. There is no easy way out.

But the difference between this and the old and useless way of "just fight it - don't give in!" is that I surrender to the fact that I am unable to win, period. Because it's the truth. So I give it up before it destroys me. I have had enough and am willing to have Hashem take away the compulsion - and the pain of not getting my fix.

The problem - the real problem - is that we know that once the obsession and adventure with lust is taken away, we will soon go out of our minds. The porn, lust, and masturbation has actually never been our real problem! Life without it drives us crazy - the lustaholism is just a symptom and a learned coping mechanism that we are prone to. Our real problem is sobriety! Living without the option of being able to escape into the sweet, warm, accepting, exciting yet predictable world of porn whenever we need to - is simply terrifying.

And that's where the other steps come in...


Avraham Responds:

These are my thoughts as I wrote them down after thinking about what you wrote and trying to bring this mindset into action:

The idea of admitting powerlessness and submitting to Hashem does not only mean realizing that this will kill you. It means realizing that you do not have the ability to lust. My day does not have room for it. My life doesn't have room for it. My loved ones don't have room for it.

So the moment I start grappling with lust and start calling out that I'm in trouble I've already crossed the line. I'm trying to control my lust. I'm trying to be in control. I'm not admitting powerlessness.

When a triggering image draws my attention, the reaction shouldn't be "Oh No! This is triggering I'm going to fall I need to call out!" that's already giving the image power over me. And I am using out my power over myself to become attracted to it.

Rather, if I see something triggering I should turn away and not give it the time of day to take rent in my brain. I simply can't afford to become lustful.

Dov Responds:

To me, your words are 'spot on' and exactly the only attitude that works for me, too, so far, be"H.

And after actually reacting the way you describe to stuff I pass (whether they 'pass me' physically as images or mentally as euphoric recall), I give credit to Hashem completely and think something like, "amazing that a guy like me would actually be able to have that attitude! Thank you Hashem!"