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Dov's Story - and the Deep Lessons He Learned

This is a long piece by Dov, but well worth reading. If it's easier, print it out and read at your leisure. (See the bottom for a short summary of the main Yesodos that I understood from Dov's words)

GYE Corp. Wednesday, 01 February 2012
Part 3/4 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

I have no interest in being a big Tzaddik one day. Neither do I think about never acting out again! Thinking about "getting free of it, or never doing it again" was always poison for me. I live one day at a time.

"Asher anochi metzav'cho hayom" - only hayom. I believe that "now" is all that He wants from me. Really.

I don't ask Hashem - tempting as it is - for sobriety this week, or year, etc. I ask Him for today only.

You see, the lusting and acting out struggle was so intertwined in my development as a frum yid, that I believe it twisted my idea of Hashem, punishments, right and wrong, Teshuva, you name it. For if those things were not all screwed up, I ask you: How could I have ended up so messed up?

"Shlach al Hashem y'hovecha" and I send this entire pekk'el of "frumkeit/teshuvah/yetzer hora winning and losing" stuff onto Hashem. For I see that that was the pekk'el that was weighing me down all along.

The Dubno Magid has a beautiful moshol about packages. He teaches that avodas Hashem - if done right - is a relatively light package. After all: I'm doing what makes my Tatty so happy! What could be more natural and simple? Not easy but simple.

This was the opposite of my way back then. I dare not go back.

So, in acting out, either I am sick or a rasha - you choose. I pick sick. I did and I got better.

Was it my Yetzer Hara all along? Maybe. My beef is just that all the thinking and cheshb'ning of the "aveiro approach" got me sicker and kept me sicker.

Am I running away from the truth?

My answer is: No.

But, what difference does it make anyway?

Am I serving Hashem now? Yes.

Was I then? Not really.

I believe that I was really serving lust. I depended on it (kind of like bitachon), it took up my entire mind so often (like ahavas Hashem is supposed to), I did it in private (like my relationship with Hashem is supposed to be), and I protected my access to it by keeping it safe and secret - because even though I hated myself so much for it, I desperately feared losing it. Just try to force any addict to quit and see how long it takes him to feel absolutely desperate - after the bravado of "sure I can go without it" is over and done with...

I see little difference between being preoccupied with fighting lust, and lusting. For me, they inexorably lead to the same thing.

My job in recovery (after working my steps) is to focus on Hashem and being useful to Him. Anything else is a distraction, including lust/acting out. That's all. And I can't get distracted by lust, of all things, because if I do I won't be able to control it. So I can't struggle with lust any more than I can use it.

Recovery, in my experience so far, is about a different focus that the one I used to espouse. And that is why the "Yetzer Hara model" is useless to me and many other frum addicts who are sober today.

If saying such things is an aveiro, (to paraphrase Reb Chayim of Brisk) "I'd like to see the gehinom for it."

A disclaimer: There may be plenty of folks who are really not preoccupied with lust (or the struggle with it - same thing), who's lives are not being controlled by it, and who just act out occasionally and see no progression of their problem nor any powerlessness.

For these people, the normal Teshuva derech may be wonderful! The only question I'd ask them is why it has gone on for so long - if it has. I also wonder what poison the secrecy is putting into their relationships - especially the most important and far-reaching of all human relationships: their marriage. Funny, how that one relationship is sexual, and sexuality vs. lust is just where their problem lies... For after all, lust is not sexuality at all.

We need to be honest with ourselves, above all, for "v'yad kol odom bo," as it we say in Unesaneh Tokef - there is no way to run from the truth about ourselves, in the end.

Hatzlocha with everything. If I offended at all, you have my sincere apologies. I love you without any question. Hashem will take care of you as He takes care of all of us.

- Dov

Some lessons we can take out of this phenomenal piece from Dov:

We need to face the facts about ourselves before we can begin to heal. For a real addict, lust is no longer an "epic struggle" with the Yetzer Hara. It is a disease. We need to accept that we are not 'bad' people who need to become 'good', but we are'ill' and need to get 'better'. And our illness does not allow us to deal with lust at all, because we can't control it. Therefore, lust must not be treated as a "romantic struggle", but simply as a "distraction"; as it distracts us from being useful to Hashem. Our focus needs to be only on doing Hashem's will for us today, and not on "beating lust" (even for Hashem's Honor). Because if an addict focuses on beating it, he'll often just be pulled back into it. We need to leave the entire "Yetzer Hara struggle" and "Teshuvah issue" to Hashem. It's His business, not ours. We need to focus only on doing His will for us today, to the best of our ability.

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