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obormottel Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A newby to GYE wrote to us:

When I first wrote my story on the GYE forum, I was crying, shocked and disgusted with myself. I felt I couldn't fall any further- rock bottom's the word! But fast forward no less than 3 weeks, and I fell again. And this time even further than I ever fell before!

I should feel so remorseful and guilty, but I don't. I should think, "Why did I fall and give in AFTER everything GYE has done for me?" I don't know why, but I feel numb. I don't even feel like saying sorry to Hashem this Rosh Hashana. Why should I fight a daily battle, when giving in is much easier? I really want (to want) to be able to crown Hashem as MY king. But I can't let go. Why don't I want it enough? I don't know why I'm just satisfied feeling sorry for myself and moping around.

We responded:

Your experience is typical of addiction. You can be clean for years - but once the door to the "drug" is opened, you can quickly fall back to square one.

Of course it felt good! Of course you enjoyed it. Of course you still crave it. You are an addict and this is your "drug of choice". Did you think that all would change because you found GYE?

This has little to do with "saying sorry to Hashem". You are not a bad person who needs to get good. You are ill and need to get better.
I want to leave you with some homework in preparation for Rosh Hashana. Read The Nine Principles for Addiction and paste into a file all of the sentences that strike you and make you see things in a new light. Send it to me before Rosh Hashana.

He Responds:

Thanks for your reply and my homework. This week has really been a change. At first, I was asking myself "Why should I even ask for life this Rosh Hashana?" but now it looks like I can probably get things sorted out. I couldn't have done it without your help! I'm gonna keep saying thanks, but I mean it each time!

The Homework

The following sentences (from the Nine Addiction Principles) helped me see things in a new light:

  • The definition of Teshuvah is behaving correctly right now, even though we have messed up badly in the past. It is not about fixing anything. (It's Hashem's business to fix us, not ours).
  • A therapist may be able to help us discover why we became addicted in the first place, but that alone is not enough.
  • Truly accepting that we have a problem may sound like a difficult step to take, but it is actually freeing to finally face the truth about ourselves and know what we are up against.
  • Even if we marry the most attractive person of our dreams, the insanity of lust will compel us to continue seeking more and more "stolen waters" to fill the bottomless cup of the addictive cravings.
  • Once we recognize that this is a progressive disease that will cause us not to be able to lead a normal marriage, hold down a steady job and progress in ruchniyus, and especially once we recognize the dangers of where this can lead, such as imprisonment and even death c"v, then we will have "hit bottom" just as surely as the ones who really hit bottom, and we will take our recovery very seriously.
  • Often we thought that if we would only feed the lust a little bit more and give it what it really wants, it would leave us alone. But it is exactly the opposite.
  • We must realize that the Yetzer Hara/addiction wants our soul, not the pleasure. Otherwise, why is a thousand times never enough? Keep this saying in mind: "Just once is too much; a thousand times is never enough."
  • We cannot bargain with the addiction. Half measures ultimately amount to nothing.
  • Sometimes "Fear of Failure" can actually lead us to falls. When we focus on the future, we can easily fall. It's like someone walking a tightrope; if he looks down, it becomes so much harder not to fall.
  • The Steipler writes regarding these tests, that some people need to daven 50 times a day to be protected.
  • Even animals don't abuse their desires and fall into addictions. In these areas, we have fallen even lower than animals.
  • While our peers were growing up and learning about life from the world around them, we were zoning out into our fantasy worlds of self-pleasure and escape.
  • Even though we may have been learning Torah and Mussar, we were wearing "broken eye glasses." And so, before we can turn once again to the Torah for guidance, we need to first learn what it means to be a human being.

Besides the homework, over Shabbos I read last week's chizuk e-mail called "What do we Really want?" by Shabsi, and I understood this whole issue I'm dealing with differently. A massive thanks to 'Shabsi' who wrote it, because I'm not going to forget the important message he conveys.

I wish you a year full of mazal and Bracha, may Hashem continue to make you His important shaliach by inspiring and helping His people. You're helping making Am Yisroel a more Kadosh nation, and in that zechus it should be pure enough for Moshiach to come this year. Thank you for everything.