Sunday, 22 January 2012

12-Step Workshop With Harvey

Part 3/5 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

I had the unique opportunity to join a 12-Step workshop with Harvey, one of the founders of SA (Sexaholics Anonymous)... He's sober for 26 years from a raging sex addiction that was completely out of control. Harvey is Jewish and semi-religious (he puts on teffilin every day) but he said that he definitely believes in miracles, because splitting the Yam Suf was "easy pickin" compared to G-d getting him sober :-)

I took some notes from the talks, and I'd like to share some of the wisdom that I heard from him. Here are some of the things he said:

by GYE, Harvey (one of the founders of SA) (See all authors)

The First Three Steps

Step 1: Powerlessness. When I get a thought, I need to act on it. I can't stop the action.

If we don't admit powerlessness, we think that WE have to stop it. So we don't let G-d help us.

Step 2: A power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. "I can't stop, but I can pick up the telephone and call someone." The power of others outside of us can help us stop.

Step 3: Once we learn how to let the power of others help us, we can learn to let the power of G-d help us. "I'm lost. I can't do this myself. I give it to you G-d".... "Relieve me of this bondage of SELF".

When Lust Attacks

Wear a rubber band on your wrist. If you feel a lustful thought come on,

1) admit powerlessness,

2) snap the rubber band on your skin (ouch!)

3) report your lust to another person

The addiction loses its power when we share with others, and when we hear from others that they too have the same thoughts. When we see this is normal, it lightens the power of the obsessions.

Talking to the Disease

I often talk to my disease. Like if I wake up in the morning thinking, "I'll get some from my wife tonight", I tell my disease, "If you think that one more time, I'll refuse even if she asks for it!" Or if I get an erection in the shower from soaping there too much, I tell my disease "If you don't leave me alone, I'll walk out of the shower right now, even with all the soap on me!"

Erections

We are powerless over erections. Erections are normal. G-d made them so we can have kids. Addicts are convinced that they have to put the erection somewhere. When we get an erection, we need to tell ourselves, "I am powerless over this, this is not about sex, it's just the body's reaction." We addicts are used to putting every feeling of ours into our "member" since we're young. It's just this crazy energy. Close your eyes and imagine that this energy is going down through your legs and out into the ground... Or that it goes up into your heart and out of your bodies... Spread out that energy or call someone...

Too Late

We often get disappointed in G-d when He doesn't help us. But by the time we ask for help, it's usually too late. We can't walk around a seedy district at night alone with lots of money in our pocket and expect G-d to save us. They say in AA, "G-d is so powerful that even if the alcoholic lifts the bottle to his mouth, G-d can knock it out of his hands. But statistically, He doesn't do that."

To Any Lengths

We have to be ready to go to any length to stay sober. For my first year of sobriety, I would not enter any store by myself. I would not go to the city center by myself fortwo years. I went to three meetings a day for two years! Because I know that I'm so sick that if I don't go to any length, I'll quickly end up in jail or dead! As they say in AA. "There are only three choices: Covered Up (buried), Locked Up, or Sobered Up."

Progressively Sensitive

Even as we're sober, the disease progresses and we get more and more sensitive to lust triggers over time. It's like a smoker. While he's smoking, he doesn't smell anyone else's smoke. But the longer he's quit for, the more he'll be able to smell smoke in the room, on people's clothes, etc...

I can't watch most movies. I was recently watching a TV series about vampires that I really enjoyed, and two seasons before the last, there was a kissing scene. And I called my sponsor and decided I can't watch this anymore. And that was very hard for me, because I had watched the whole series and this was the last two episodes. Letting go of something we want feels like death. But I erased the recordings I had, and as soon as I had let go of it, I felt a joyous feeling.