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What a Therapist Can't Provide

Is it a Chillul Hashem to join a live SA group? Can therapy and working the 12 steps alone be enough?

GYE Corp. Sunday, 22 January 2012

Someone claimed that it might be a Chillul Hashem to join a live SA group, being that he is a Marbitz Torah and a Mashpiah Ruchni... He asks Dov if 'therapy' and working the 12-Steps alone could be enough. Dov responds:


For me, live people were and are le'ikuva (extremely important). But our goals may be very different. Mine was to not stay sick, and actually become free of lust as a guiding force in my life. I finally saw that I had no clue how to do that, as I had been trying for years and only got worse. I needed direction, so I went to a therapist and she told me that I needed something she could not provide: actual recovering people. I found that although I needed a therapist, above anyone else I trusted other regular people - who were as messed up as I was and got better - to show me the way. Shrinks gave me promises, but recovering addicts showed me results. That is how I viewed it. So I went to SA meetings, as she suggested. Seeing the therapist was very helpful for my first year in recovery, and I truly wish you the best with a therapist if that is what you can do right now.

Should that not do the trick, and you (or the shrink) feel that live groups may be needed for you to actually get better, here is one consolation: You don't need to join a group in a Jewish neighborhood. Do you think whatever is wrong with you is something only a yid could understand? If you do, then I may have another consolation for you: I know of no yid who got better in recovery that needed a yid to help him get better. None. True, some guys feel squeamish or unable to open up to a goy, but they soon discover that it's just ga'ava or an inflated sense of terminal uniqueness that was holding them back. In your case, it seems that a yid is the one person you are trying to avoid due to chillul Hashem. I understand that.

But here is my parting message about chillul Hashem. And I mean it in the deepest respect to you:

What gives you the idea that you will not get caught in some sort of trouble and bring a tremendous chillul Hashem, R"l, without any "outside" help? I do not know the details of exactly what you do in you acting out behaviors, but surely it is something that needs to be hidden... and people are getting caught doing all kinds of embarrassing stuff all the time! Just read the paper, web, etc.

Do you really believe you are different? I respect your opinion if you do, but I just feel I need to ask! I admit I don't know many facts about you, and they are none of my business, either! Just bringing it up for you...