Wednesday, 20 January 2016

How do I stay humble?

How can I celebrate accomplishments without feeling pride?

Tomorrow I will iyH complete my first (hopefully of many) 90 days clean bH. My problem is that every time I start having accomplishments in these areas I start to feel like I overcame the problem and start slacking off and before long end up back @ square 1.

My first question is what is the proper way (if any) to celebrate this accomplishment?

My second question is how can I knock into my heart a sense of humility and the feeling that this is only the first steps in this journey in times of acheivement?

GYE Responds:

To stay humble when you have accomplishments, just remember the last time you acted out.

Always remember to give the credit to Hashem. We don't deserve any credit, because He is helping us. The more we internalize this and really believe it, the more we will be zoche to see His help.

There is no need to celebrate really, even if you succeed in staying clean for the long term. You need to realize that these are self-destructive behaviors. Do you celebrate that you didn't shoot yourself in the head for 90 days? :-)


Dov Responds:

Question 1-

It's very simple. In your case, I'd never celebrate it. You see from your past that it's really not an 'event' at all. The 91st day is exactly like the 27th day, etc, etc. Reaching the milestone of 30 or celebrating '90' is feeding into a false belief that day 30 is meaningful of it's own right. It's obviously not. Just like reaching 30 years of age...what's the difference to your body or mind or neshoma at that very day? There is none. The milestone is nice... but celebrating it leads us to think all sorts of silly things in our heart-of-hearts, that (you already see) are nonsense (or worse).

If you need some sort of celebration (and most of us do), then let the other people in your life be the ones to celebrate -- when they take notice of the fact that you are a better person to live with; when they show you that they now enjoy you being more present; when you are trusted more than previously by others because they now sense your increased serenity and maturity. I am serious. Let all the celebration be from others, never from yourself. Let it happen naturally and be patient. These things will happen, as long as you work some sort of recovery consistently. And when they happen, all you will need to do to join in the celebration is to be aware of the privilege of being a truly better man (friend, father, son, brother, husband, chavrusa, worker, etc) by G-d's Grace. 'Grace' means you do not deserve it. All you did was make room for it by getting your silliness out of His way. And that's indeed something. Why not share it on the phone with another sick guy like me by calling and telling over exactly what you have been given as a result of finally acting less crazy than is natural for you. Call a GYE friend up and tell him in 3-4 months from now when you notice things are better at home or work, "Hey, Teshuva613, this is IshEmess again. Guess what?! Life is better at home and I see that it only happened because I am not escaping to play with myself in a corner like I naturally do when I get bored, annoyed, or scared! Hodu LaShem ki Tov!" Isn't that enough celebration for you?

I have done just that many times, b"H. And so can you.

Question 2 -

If you actually put the answer to the 1st question into action, then you will discover the answer to your second question. It will create a humility within you that you may never have had. It is a humility called patience, acceptance, and just getting lost in living the real life G-d is giving you - without expectations and demands for recognition, great feelings, etc.

Celebrating milestones obviously means something to your inner mind that is unhealthy for you. It's just gotta stop. And the humility of accepting that little (but real) change in how you let things run, is what people in the Program call living along spiritual lines. It's fresh and new. It easily becomes corrupted when we slide back into expectations and demands...

While the old derech for you and me was scripted by our expectations - we are supposed to feel this way, get that recognition, have something from others around us...this is a new path. Just living. Letting Hashem run the show and accepting that all outcomes are in His hands.

And if you lose the humility of acceptance as soon as you realize how accepting you are.... well, then you have arrogance rather than humility. Congratulations, you are just like the rest of us. Is arrogance is a thing to be proud of? Nah. We are people who need work. We do not have need of mental gymnastics to admit we are still truly arrogant, ignorant, selfish, and small-minded - even if we have been successfully clean for 90 days, a year or ten years. If you feel you 'have made it' by being clean 90 days, then all it shows is that you still have a long, long way to go, as I do. I've been sober 18 years bH and trust me - you and I are still a mess. And it's fine. That's the fertile soil that Hashem's Chessed works in.