Yiddishkeit and 12 Steps
In response to the "Recovering person's questions" in this article by Rabbi Twerski, an SA member who calls himself 'behwillsucceed" wrote:
As a sexoholic trying to work the program with an SA sponsor to the best of my understanding, I would like to answer a few points the recovering person asked.
1) Honesty in our society, especially in the Shuls etc. - The truth is there is lots of dishonesty in society, everyone is trying to cover their own interests, (surely not as much as we addicts did/do!), but that's the way how the REAL world works, it's not safe to be transparent [I cannot say "I'm a sexaholic" - people will not want to talk to me, throw me out of Shul etc.], but being that we sexoholics are allergic to dishonesty, we need a place where we can be transparent and share every nick in our personalities, character defects and desires. That's why we've got the SA rooms, the fellowship, and a sponsor, to be able to be completely honest with ourselves and with other people (if safe), and then go out in the REAL world and face reality!
2) Selfishness - the program is full of self, the whole reason I came to the program is that MY life was unmanageable, not because my wife/children/friends lives became unmanageable. But the only way I can recover is by being Selfless, so to get MY recovery I've got no choice but to be selfless.
3) Punishment - for a normal person/Yid, there are two things in Avodas Hashem: 1. Yiras Hashem (fear of G-d) 2. Ahavas Hashem (love to G-d); that is for NORMAL people. But sexaholics cannot use the fear of G-d, we tried that already - many times - and it didn't work, we can only go by Love of G-d and love from G-d to us. That doesn't mean there's something wrong with the Torah, it means there is something wrong with US. That's the way G-d wants it to be and we need to use the tools that He gave us - Love of and from G-d.
4) Bechira - I once heard from an old timer in the program this phrase: "I'M CRAZY, NOT EVIL." I'm crazy, I've got a mental sickness called sexaholism, just as someone has got a physical illness (cancer or else), and this mental illness does not let me decide if I want to do it - I'm powerless over lust - and I do not have the Bechira (choice) between good and bad, but I do have the choice to take the right actions - surrender completely, pray to G-d, bring it to the light, etc. (See "Overcoming lust and temptation" - The SA White Book).
5) Guilt/Teshuva - just as Rabbi Dr. Twerski answered, but there is more, a normal person can handle a bit of guilt and shame, but we cannot, guilt (unhealthy) and shame feeds the addiction.
6) Re: Christianity - I know and I have to tell it to myself over and over again, if I am not going to take my medication - 12 steps of SA - I WILL DIE - not only a spiritual death but a physical death, too. I'll put myself in danger, I will expose myself to diseases, and lots of more! Somebody who believes he's going to die - hasn't got this issues, the same as somebody with cancer doesn't care if a Christ made his medication and if there is a Tzeilem (cross) on the medicine box! If there is a Sheila of Halocha, we must ask a Posek who has got experience in these matters, but if it's not Halocha, just feelings - well, my life is much more important.
7) Selfishness in prayer - we know that Tzadikim never pray for themselves, just for Kevod Hashem, for other people etc. but regular people do pray for themselves and it's not a problem. G-d wants it and it is a way of connecting to G-d. But we sexoholics are Sick Crazy people, and we are so obsessed with ourselves, that we cannot trust our thinking, and the only way we can be connected and do the right thing is by taking ourselves completely out of the picture and give total control and trust to our Higher Power (G-d), and that's a big Madreigeh - but we've got NO CHOICE, if we want to recover we have to do it! And as I wrote before - there is nothing wrong with Yidishkeit just because we are crazy.
8) Frustrations and resentments with the program - it's very normal for members (addicts) to feel that way, I felt it as well when I came into the program. What helped me then and still does now is (1) making a gratitude list every day, at least 10 things I'm grateful for today (at the start it was hard, now it's easier); (2) acceptance - of myself, of my being a sexoholic, of my feelings and, later on, of G-d's will, other people around me etc.
Most of all, I would recommend that you speak with a long-time sober member such as Dov here on GYE, just to get the right perspective on things.
Love you brother.
Wishing you all the BEST!