Sunday, 19 February 2012

Yakov's Journey

Part 1/3 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)
When Yakov reached a half a year clean recently, he posted about his journey to recovery and Teshuvah. I would like to share it with everyone because it's very inspiring and there is so much we can all learn from it.

by GYE, Yaakov from GYE (See all authors)

Today we will address the first part of Yakov's post, where he discusses the initial stage of his recovery. After that, we will see how he took his recovery to the next level through a detailed process of "Teshuvah".


Yakov wrote:

Each person is unique. And each person finds precisely what works for them. We do not all share the exact same struggle. Each person has different needs in avodas Hashem. Each person deals with recovery in a slightly different fashion. But what makes us a wonderful family is that we recognize the unique facets of each individual. We try to encourage and inspire, as it fits with the receiver. My inspiration for growth came from this site and all its holy people.

What we have built on this site and forum is a very unique social network. The amount of emotions and concern for one another on a daily basis is unmatched. This is our success. As I wrote in my ode, "when there is achdus, there is no yetzer hara". People can come here at all times of the day for chizuk. People can post their feelings without having to wait their turn. There is always a listening ear. There is always a concerned spirit. There is always comfort.

The real Teshuvah process only began for me about 5 weeks / 2 months into sobriety. I did not use the ideas of teshuvah to make me sober (and I don't believe that they should be). It was only after I felt that I had maintained my sobriety for a period of time and I felt an honest feeling to grow, that I felt ready to address the steps of teshuvah as presented by the Rabeinu Yona and the Rishonim. The word charata did not enter my dictionary until this point started. I only knew words like sobriety, protection, Hashem, etc.. I focused on 12 steps, Tehillim, constant prayer (and I mean constant), and making small changes to my daily routine that made a big difference. And I was the first pioneer on the forum to take on the 12 steps by myself (I had no clue that it was intended for groups, honestly).

Also, I used the partner/accountability system set up on GYE to help me learn about myself by getting in touch with another struggler like me. I corresponded with him for two and half months. We spoke about a lot of things and clarified issues. (I recently put our correspondences in a Word doc, and it came to 28 pages).

Here are a few good quotes regarding basic tenets of the 12 steps that I wrote to my partner back in Feb:

"When it comes to self control, we need to work on two contradictory things. First we need to believe that we are in control of our actions. We make a strong decision that we will not do this anymore and stop it. This comes after we realize we can control ourselves... The other thing, is to realize that in fact we completely lack control and only Hashem can help us. We realize that only Hashem can give us the control that we need. To do this, means to constantly daven to Hashem to protect us from our own self-control. We need to internalize Hashem's control over the world and us..."
[Feb 20]

"The difference this time, is that I focus not only on abstinence but on building a constant relationship with Hashem. The 12 steps helped me with that. I constantly daven to Hashem, no matter what situation I am in. I could be walking in the street, shopping, walking around my home, etc. I continue to talk to Him. I say things like 'please help me not have any urges, and if I do, give me the strength to surrender it to you". "Help me come close to you". "Please guide me to make the right decisions".
[Feb 21]

"...I began for the first time expressing the basic tenets of the 12-steps, which is that we are POWERLESS to lust. I did not realize it at the time, but that is what it was. I always said Tehillim, but I never davened in my own words for help as if I could not do it without Hashem. When I discovered this and began to use it, it was so powerful."
[Feb 22]

"What happens when the Yetzer Hara strikes? Firstly, remember, you really are POWERLESS to lust."
[Feb 22]

"So I continue to keep my head high as I rely on Hashem that as long as I continue to try to beseech him and do my best at maintaining and building a long-lasting relationship with him, He will protect me from all enemies, from both within and without".
[Feb 27]