Sobriety is About Allowing Him to Help Us
Someone asks Dov:
You often talk about working the steps so we learn to "talk and behave differently than in the past". Would you please elaborate?
There are many ways we feed our problem.
Physical ways, for example:
- looking at things that are damaging for us,
- touching ourselves in a sexual way,
- not sleeping enough,
- not eating enough...
Mental ways, for example, giving too much real estate in our minds to stupid stuff like:
- rehashing the argument we will have with the guy who we are mad at ,over and over,
- replaying sexual fantasies in our minds,
- fear and regret about past failures,
- concentrating and revisiting worries and despair about our future...
Emotional ways, for example:
- tolerating sadness and allowing ourselves the luxury of self-pity - even around family members and others,
- souring our relations with others by being angry and argumentative, making it basically impossible for ourselves to be content or self-accepting because we allow ourselves the luxury of unbridled Pride,
- our secret inner expectations of near-perfection, to be adored by all and to be g'dolei Yisroel - and we live for decades with painful disappointment and self-loathing as a direct result of this Pride.
There are many other ways we feed the problem or addiction, and everyone is different. Heroin addicts discover they need to stop hanging around with their shooting gallery buddies or they will use again. Same for us: we cannot afford to hang around with our old buddies of self-pity, isolation, lying, pride, and self-loathing.
I needed the 12 steps to begin to actually live this way.
In short, we goofballs need Derech Eretz before we can even begin to expect success in living the good-life that Hashem has for us (Torah - the Etz haChayim). We make it really hard for Hashem to get that pipeline of Shefa Tov to us! Sobriety is about allowing Him to help us. But immediately from the start, we find that life starts to get good. It's amazing.