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Torah AND the 12-Steps
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TOPIC: Torah AND the 12-Steps 19803 Views

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 25 Jun 2009 21:13 #7425

  • boruch
battleworn wrote on 25 Jun 2009 15:22:

And I cry for a holy neshama that for 11 years feels like he still needs his Roman Catholic sponsor to help him be human. After whatever time it takes to brake the cycle (not nearly 11 years, not even 11 months) it's time to GROW! But if you believe that this is you, then of course you are stuck. A person could only do what he believes he can do.


Battleworn, there is no reason at all to cry. You and many others on this site are just missing a vital piece of knowledge. There is no cure for addiction. Period.

After an addict has done his hishtadlus and bitochon by TAKING (not just studying, journalling or writing) the first Ten Steps, or any other religious method that achieves Trust Hashem, Clean House and Help Others, then, if done honestly and thoroughly, after a maximum of 3 months of "ten-stepping",  Hashem WILL lift the insanity, the obsession and compulsion, but only one day at a time.

Hashem gives no permanent cure to the addict, in the same way that Hashem gave once a day to the ochlei hamon, Hashem gives the addict one day of sanity for that day only and it is contingent on his daily working of Trust Hashem, Clean House and Help Others. Any day on which the addict fails to do that, no matter how many years he is in the program, Hashem will not give the addict his daily reprieve and the addict is vulnerable to massive relapse, no matter how many years he has been doing the program. Just like the ochlei hamon, no matter how many years they went out for the mon, if they skipped one day they starved. And with the addict to relapse for even one day is to risk everything.

The problem for the addict is that as vital as it is that he should mainstream (if the program was done as it was in the 1940s they would mainstream in months instead of years) when he is among others he is in danger of fooling himself that just like other people can get away without a day of Trust Hashem, Clean House and Help Others, so can he. That is why it is so vital to remember where he came from by helping not just other yidden but other yiddish addicts. That is why it is so vital to keep coming back to meetings. That is why it is useful to have a sponsor.

But first a word about the sponsor. The sponsor in the 1940s was not a "rebbe" or mentor for living life. He was not a therapist, nor was he someone to depend on. He was a "Step chavrusa". No more. No less. That is my relationship with my sponsor and the fact that he is Roman Catholic is neither here nor there.

As it happens I do not know of ANY Frum sponsor in SA (including the Rov with the longest frum sobriety) who have a message that is anywhere near as powerful as the message that my Roman Catholic sponsor has given me. That message is powerful, not because my sponsor is Catholic nor despite it, it's powerful because it is the message that he got from those in the more religious wing of AA, those that still carry the torch of the early AAs and that's a message that so far has not penetrated the frum community.

Am I dependent even today at just 156 days of sobriety on my sponsor? Not at all. But his being many more years in program than I and having worked it longer than I makes him a valuable resource and so I am not desperately seeking a Frum sponsor with the right message for me (I personally am convinced from everything I have seen, heard and read that there is none) because I have a Rebbe and Rov, I have no need for a therapist and my sponsor can be as Roman Catholic as our Doctor, Dentist or mechanic and that's fine.

Furthermore I assure you there is no chisoron and nothing to cry about the fact that until recently we have not had a big enough all-frum community of addicts to be self-supporting.

Of course there is no exclusive reason to have a Roman Catholic sponsor, the main reason that in my opinion, people do, is that the Roman Catholics have a mesorah and understanding of addiction that goes all the way back to Esov (I am only slightly joking because there is a lot more truth in this comment than you would expect), there are a disproportionate number of Roman Catholic sponsors and they tend to have more traditional values.
Last Edit: 25 Jun 2009 21:19 by .

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 25 Jun 2009 22:20 #7432

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Pintele Yid wrote on 25 Jun 2009 19:03:

Dov - I re-read your posts diffrentiating the 1st from the rest of the steps and I don't understand how a Lev Nishbar, recognizing that you are an addict, powerless, and totally reliant on Hashem for recovery, is not a Torah concept?  Meaning that he finally knew 100% that he had to change. He then reached outward instead of inward and he asked the help of everyone except Hashem. He finally acquired greater "Daas" that the only way for him to succeed will be a Lev Nishbar (signified by putting his head between his knees). Without total reliance on Hashem he wasn't getting very far. He actually didn't go much further and he passed away - maybe because he didn't have guidance on the next 11 steps.

Sholom aleichem again, Pintele Yid!
This is what I was getting at with the division of the steps into two portions, and thanks for wringing out the issue:

After being around a bit with yidden in and out of recovery, and then for the past few months on this site, it seems to me there are two basic concerns most yidden have with the 12 steps, SA, or whatever (please tell me if you have seen otherwise):

1- The first step. It sounds christian. Their whole message seems to be that we are all sinners, basically evil, and losers because of original sin. This actually oozes through, I feel, even in the 12&12 (which was basically written by Bill and the NY groupies and not by the "frum" Dr. Bob group). I don't have the page, but it was a discussion about the fourth/fifth step and how "we join the rest of the Human Race" when we recognize our powerlessness. Maybe there is a bifferent way to interpret that...Now, I was a "straight-shooting Mesillas Yeshorim guy ("nimtza, hamilchama eilav panim ve'achor!", etc.)" before hitting "the big time" in addiction followed by my slow and less-that-glamorous recovery. The big issue  for me was always bechira chofshis, nahama dekisufa, yadayadayada. We frummies of a religion based on personal responsibility, do not take well to the rather pathetic-sounding sine qua non of recovery: "Uh, oh...I'm sick (note no exclamation point) ."
To many, it's just impossible and we go to find a billion gemoras about how yiras shomayim is not in Hashem's hands, etc, to hang on to our suicide license. The implication of insanity in the 2nd step is just insulting, but for many of us this is more like sacrilege! Many end up in the meetings anyway, or somewhere else than a beis medrash in any case, for help. Gevalt. Whatever works...  First problem.

2- The meetings and entire venue is goyish. (I doubt seriously that the similarity to "confession" really bothers anyone enough not to use the 5th step and I feel similarly about the word "G-d" or "Power greater than themselves" in the literature; the assumption that relying completely on Hashem to remove our bad middos (6&7) is crazy and against mussar etc; the implication that the frowning upon the addicts' praying for any specific personal needs in the 11th; being doomed to lifelong "kiruv (alcoholic/sexaholic) rechokim" suggested by the 12th seems kind of severe. All these problems are small fry.)
Rather, I think the problem is just the general goyishe venue the fellowships and steps represent. It's in a church, they often use the christian prayers at the end! (my goyishe home group does not), and the people with recovery are goyim - and they are talking about MY HASHEM! They have to be, cuz they are having nissim, aren't they? How can this be? Most of us would rather not get involved in such a thing, period.
Well, no wonder people like me have accepted the illness model, given up on fixing ourselves, and gone to join these folks for help. We turn a blind eye at the two big problems, not even caring any more about the issues.
Then we find that Hashem feeds everyone and sanity is more like food than religion, problem solved! (even if some goyishe religious AA/SAs think otherwise, maybe even Roy K and Dr Bob)
So. Wadaya think, anyone? And...
Where do we all go from here?
Admin put these lines here cuz he likes 'em:
"The heart needs to be broken when will-power is not enough"
"Get off the 18-Wheeler and onto a tricycle!"
"The heck with me, what can I do for you?"
"I do not particularly care exactly which "lav" suicide is. I'm not interested in it for other reasons!"
Last Edit: by Bee.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 26 Jun 2009 00:51 #7438

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dov wrote on 25 Jun 2009 22:20:

We turn a blind eye at the two big problems, not even caring any more about the issues.
Then we find that Hashem feeds everyone and sanity is more like food than religion, problem solved!


Dov, great piece as usual.  I'm glad it bothers you and are ignoring it, I can only tell you that most frum guys I meet seem so integrated, it kind fo scary.

Either way, with everything I don't like about this program, i'm following what my sponser tell me to do and I'm sober!!!, I cannot believe after 15 years without ever a full week sober I can actuall come into my office and work! for a whole day! without even searching! it's amazing.

gotta go.
Last Edit: 26 Jun 2009 12:12 by .

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 26 Jun 2009 01:02 #7439

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As a friend in the program once told me: if you believe G-d really did somehow love you even while you were acting out, then just think how WILD He must be about you now!! Keep doing whatever you have to do, friend! Good Shabbos...
Admin put these lines here cuz he likes 'em:
"The heart needs to be broken when will-power is not enough"
"Get off the 18-Wheeler and onto a tricycle!"
"The heck with me, what can I do for you?"
"I do not particularly care exactly which "lav" suicide is. I'm not interested in it for other reasons!"
Last Edit: by .

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 26 Jun 2009 12:06 #7465

  • battleworn
Reb Dov, I love you like crazy! Have a bombastic Shabbos!

And eveyone else too!

I have a lot more to say, but no time before Shabbos.
Last Edit: by .

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 26 Jun 2009 14:12 #7472

  • London
A Guten Erev Shabbos

Today’s instalment of AA clich?s
• Faith is spelled a-c-t-i-o-n

• People who don’t go to meetings don’t get to hear about what happens to people who don’t go to meetings

• The person with the most sobriety at a meeting is the one who got up earliest that morning

• Recovery is an education without a graduation

• (today’s favourite) Your 12 step program won’t... keep you from going to hell......... nor is it a ticket to heaven....... but it will ...... keep you sober long enough.... for you to make up your mind............... which way you want to go!

May we all have a sober and clean Shabbos
Last Edit: by yanky.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 26 Jun 2009 14:35 #7478

  • boruch
dov wrote on 25 Jun 2009 22:20:

and they are talking about MY HASHEM! They have to be, cuz they are having nissim, aren't they? How can this be? Most of us would rather not get involved in such a thing, period.


OUR Hashem wants NON-JEWS to talk about HIM and if we do not want them to, then we are in it for ourselves and not for Hashem.

dov wrote on 25 Jun 2009 22:20:
Well, no wonder people like me have accepted the illness model, given up on fixing ourselves, and gone to join these folks for help. We turn a blind eye at the two big problems, not even caring any more about the issues.
Then we find that Hashem feeds everyone and sanity is more like food than religion, problem solved! (even if some goyishe religious AA/SAs think otherwise, maybe even Roy K and Dr Bob)
So. Wadaya think, anyone? And...
Where do we all go from here?


I think that I do well when I am not on the defensive about religious AAs.

I do well when I do not have to treat Hashem saving those who put their own houses in order to the best of their ability, those who help fellow addicts and those who Trust in Him to keep them sane, as if it were about food and not about religion.

To me rigorous honesty demanded by the program is about facing uncomfortable truths. Yes, I have a disease but it's root was a Spiritual disease, a disease that came directly from my own selfishness, resentments and fears, and a disease that came from my lack of honesty, openness and willingness to admit and fix those problems. Had I done that hishtadlus and had I trusted Hashem, I would have been sober much more than 10 days when I initially joined SA.

If I would, for myself, succumb to any temptation to believe some of the claims on this board, claims that have no basis in AA/SA literature, no basis in AA/SA history and no basis in common sense, for me at least, it would be nothing more than excuses and lies. It would be the problem and not the solution. Of course, for others perhaps it is about progress and not perfection, and if it works for them, well for today, that's fine. When I hear frum SAs struggling with the perceived "threat" of the religious AAs and SAs I do not doubt that they are doing the best they can with the program that they have received.

But for those who know from the program that they must remain teachable there is much to learn. An honest look at the Steps shows that it is not about food, it is about the Third Step, offering ourselves to Hashem, not as food for Him to eat but as His servants. It's that simple.

And it doesn't even matter whether everyone in program is teachable. Because there are enough people who are desperate for anything that has better results than what for too many is a program of relapse and there are some who are open, honest and willing enough to discover something better. Sooner or later people will see that there is a better way. And as Rav Noach Weinberg Zt"l used to say,

Rav Noach Weinberg Zt wrote:
Jews have been accused of many things over the years, but no-one has ever accused us of being unintelligent


Frum Yidden are smart when they see that others are on to something good they will want it too
Last Edit: 26 Jun 2009 20:33 by דף חדש.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 26 Jun 2009 19:11 #7494

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My dear friends

(just to explain why I think I am here)

Yechida is the fifth & highest level of the soul.(the first four are nefesh,ruach,neshama and chaya)On this level,all Yidin are one.No sin ,no matter how low or vulgar cannot contaminate that deep place within us.It is pure in it's essence.It is also the level in which all Yidin are one-without barriers or distinctions.We all can tap into this and derive strengh from it.

This is why this website will be a powerful vehicle in bringing Moshiach closer.Aside from the obvious-i.e.-helping us deal with challenges that are so powerful and dark- there is a true Ahavas Yisroel expressed here that I have not seen anywhere else.This is what Hashem sees and this is why He wants to help us.

I have been on this website for a while.It was Dov's posting of June 25 that prompted me to speak,though with great hesitation.Why?Firstly,I am not wise.Second,I don't pretend  to know you well,and I am afraid of speaking in a way that would seem that I know something that I really don't.That would be dishonest.

All I can say is that I realize that I do not know why you(I mean Dov) have to deal with what [b]you are dealing with.But one thing is clear-We need you here  You are right that there are factors that have nothing to do with your choice.I'm talking about Dov but this is true for all of us.The main purpose of us getting out of this filth is to help others get of it-with chizuk and love.so when we lose faith and get discouraged- think about the potential neshoma that Hashem will send your way to help.

We see the rich man help the poor.True reality is that it is the poor person is helping the rich.We who seem at times low are really very high.Yes it's a paradox but it's true. 

Dov-I don't know you but Hashem send you here to help us and in a very powerful way you were sent by Hashem to also help your stable wife that will one day understand you.
Last Edit: by .

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 26 Jun 2009 19:57 #7495

  • boruch
I just noticed this:

MosheF wrote on 25 Jun 2009 18:03:

boruch wrote on 24 Jun 2009 23:12:

Moshe I have seen a number of people like you in the rooms. To me it seems that there is too much mumbo-jumbo nonsense being spoken about the supposed differences between "Spirituality" and Religion between "Higher Power" and Hashem, words and concepts that were originally only used to give space to atheists and agnostics have now been forced down the throats of frum yidden. Nothing is said about how the early AAs found the G-d of their Tradition, spent hours in prayer and Bible Study and strengthened their own religious communities.


Boruch, you seem to imply that you want more religion in the groups, seems the opposite of what I want.  If they were to preach religion it would be JC and his group and that is the last thing I want.  Battleworn, you also seem to want religion in the rooms but orthodox Judaism, not gonna happen anytime soon but the mubo-jumbo nonsense is good because that separates the groups from religion so we can work on our addiction not on our religion.


Moshe, even Clarence Snyder of Cleveland who was a fundamentalist who had his sponsees surrender to Yoshke would never discuss religion in groups. There is no reason to discuss the specifics of religion in groups at all. Furthermore there is no reason at all to bring up religious specifics when sponsor and sponsee do not either share religion or religious viewpoint. So that is not the issue at all.

The issue is the meaning of the Third Step.

Among religious people the Third Step Surrender offering ourselves to the G-d of our understanding is all about becoming in the words of the Big Book "Agents" and Employees of G-d. We can share the generic part of this with all religious people who identify with serving G-d. We do not need to get into any specifics. Becoming an "Agent" and Employee of G-d is what all religious people understand as becoming His servants. And that is a good thing. We Frum Jews call that becoming avdei Hashem. They say, Thy Will not mine be done, and when we say that we mean battel retzoncho mipnei retzono - the highest form of avodas Hashem.

Yet I have a frum sponsee who had no problems with Hashem, who nevertheless understood from his former sponsor, a secular Jew, that he should not identify the God of his understanding with Hashem. Rather when he was a child, unbeknownst to my sponsee, it was really his father (at least that was this sponsor's theory) and now it should be something else, presumably the group.

This may be a somewhat extreme example, but I believe that it is indicative of the tone of much of what I have heard in the rooms and much that I have read on this thread about how Spirituality is allegedly entirely different from Religion.

As though a Frum Jew could be in program a Spiritual secular employee of Hashem and in Shul or Beis Hamedrash a Religious religious employee of Hashem. I believe that anybody out of program would recognize this for the meaninglessness that it is, and yet I suspect that more than a few in program might in all sincerity believe that there may be something to this convoluted thinking.

That's because they are doing a secularist version of the program that not only does not go into Religious specifics, it secularizes the Third Step by divorcing serving God of your understanding (which in secularist groups is just secular wording for doing program) from serving Hashem (Religion).

Of course for atheists and agnostics this is no mumbo-jumbo, it is a vital lifeline which enables them to begin a climb to accepting G-d. But for us frum Jews, to whom are you offering yourself in the Third Step if not Hashem?
Last Edit: 26 Jun 2009 20:10 by דף חדש.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 27 Jun 2009 21:12 #7505

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An honest look at the Steps shows that it is not about food, it is about the Third Step, offering ourselves to Hashem, not as food for Him to eat but as His servants.


This was one of the funniest lines I ever read! ;D

The way I see it, spirituality is not the same as religion. Religion is an "organized" set of principles and divine service to a specific G-d. "Spirituality" on the other hand, requires only the acceptance of a spiritual higher power. I believe that Dov meant simply that an addict needs spirituality to be able to regain his sanity. For him, it is much like "food". All the particulars of religion though, are completely irrelevant to the healing process that happens in the 12-Step groups. So Dov is still right. Problem solved!
Webmaster of www.guardyoureyes.org - Maintaining Moral Purity in Today's World. We’re here on a quest ; it’s really all a test. Just do your best and G-d will do the rest.
Last Edit: by JustinBenNoah.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 28 Jun 2009 09:18 #7539

  • battleworn
I feel that it’s time to introduce myself. Reb Dov expressed an interest in getting to know me better and it will also be’H help other people understand me better.

(Most of what I’m about to say is not in my story that I posted many month’s ago.) My struggles with p*** and mast. started from a very very young age. I have had a lot of ups and downs. When I was in the grip of lust, I was liable to do very crazy things. Just as an example, I once traveled by train from Brooklyn to Manhattan in middle of the night; despite the fact that I as far as I knew I had more than a 50% chance of getting attacked or killed. Hashem in His mercy arranged it that I should only have 20 dollars on me, thereby saving me from a doing worse aveiroh than I actually did.

I also have an inborn -very powerful, longing for Hashem and love for every jew. I have found that these two things are interdependent. It’s very clear to me that the lust is just a “levush” –a cover up. When my longing for Hashem is locked up and can’t express itself, it ends up being expressed as lust and/or outrageous curiosity.

For the past 15 years, each time that I fell, I soon bounced back up –bechasdei Hashem-   as a bigger, better and wiser person than I was before. As a result of all my ups and downs, I developed a very heightened awareness of the difference between being close to Hashem and not being close. Between that and my love of Hashem and Jews, I became extremely sensitive to other people’s spiritual pain.

When I see someone become distant or when I see someone struggling with their y’h, I feel great pain even if he himself doesn’t seem to be suffering at all. When I’m davening I can sometimes spend literally hours pleading with Hashem to “turn the lights on” for His children that are having trouble finding their way. As this developed, I’ve been forced to reach ever higher levels of Emunah and Bitachon; otherwise I would simply not be able to handle the pain at all.   I don’t really expect everyone to understand me, but even if you don’t, at least you can understand that you don’t understand. All this is, as I said, a result of my struggles. It’s not a result of any special “avodah” or whatever.

I believe that it’s very common among lust addicts to have this powerful spiritual longing. It may often be so well concealed that we are totally unaware of it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Once we become aware of it and learn how to express it, it can shine very strong. I assume that some of you can relate more to what I’m saying, and some less.  

My apology last week was clearly not sufficient. But I needed to introduce myself before I can do it right.
When I see something on the holy GYE network, that in my opinion, can c’v cause a Jew to have less of a relationship with Hashem than he could have had; it pains me in a very tangible way. The obvious thing to do in such a case, is of course to discuss it with Rabeinu Guard. This is what I’ve always done. The problem is that my brain and his brain are almost totally incompatible. Our hearts are compatible "and then some" and that’s what counts the most, but our brains –forget about it. In general I don’t have this problem with other people and I assume that in general he doesn’t have this problem with other people. But Hashem in His infinite wisdom (which it would be foolish of us to expect to understand) arranged that we can hardly communicate with each other.

As for me, it’s totally baseless and unfair to blame him for not understanding me. I therefore take back, sincerely regret and publicly apologize for being disrespectful and for blaming him. Rabeinu, please forgive me!

I also want to sincerely apologize publicly to Reb Dov. I should have handled the situation differently, without discussing in public what shouldn’t be discussed in public. Reb Dov, please forgive me!

I also want to apologize to whoever was bothered by the stir that I caused. Please forgive me and I hope you understand me better now.

I except upon myself, to put more effort in to staying patient under all circumstances.
Furthermore, while there’s no way that I can take these issues less seriously; there are ways to avoid problems. To that end, from now on, I will direct my questions etc. on this thread (and on my thread) primarily to Dov and Boruch. Obviously, I don’t mean to ask others not to answer. It’s just that I’m letting you know that the feedback that I’m looking for, is primarily from Boruch and Dov.

I know that we all have a whole lot more in common than we have differences and I'm sure we can accomplish very great things together.

with tremendous love to all, batle[no longer]worn
Last Edit: 28 Jun 2009 09:21 by moshhakadosh.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 28 Jun 2009 10:20 #7543

  • boruch
guardureyes wrote on 27 Jun 2009 21:12:


An honest look at the Steps shows that it is not about food, it is about the Third Step, offering ourselves to Hashem, not as food for Him to eat but as His servants.


The way I see it, spirituality is not the same as religion. Religion is an "organized" set of principles and divine service to a specific G-d. "Spirituality" on the other hand, requires only the acceptance of a spiritual higher power. I believe that Dov meant simply that an addict needs spirituality to be able to regain his sanity. For him, it is much like "food". All the particulars of religion though, are completely irrelevant to the healing process that happens in the 12-Step groups. So Dov is still right. Problem solved!


1) dov was explaining the difficulty of coping with einom yehudim talking about getting nissim from Hashem:

dov]the people with recovery are goyim - and they are talking about MY HASHEM! They have to be, cuz they are having nissim, aren't they? How can this be? Most of us would rather not get involved in such a thing, period.[/quote]

When ainom Yehudim Trust Hashem, offer themselves to Him as His servants, right their character defects and help others as Hashem wants them to, is it so shocking that they should get miracles? And if it is shocking how does the food comparison address that?

2) dov added some parenthetical words that you did not quote:

[quote= wrote
:

Hashem feeds everyone and sanity is more like food than religion, problem solved! (even if some goyishe religious AA/SAs think otherwise, maybe even Roy K and Dr Bob)


It does not sound like his problem was with the religious specifics you discussed, Guard, because Dr Bob, co-founder of AA and Roy K, founder of SA both believed in not getting into religious specifics and yet dov seems uncomfortable with their position.
Last Edit: 28 Jun 2009 10:33 by shevavkum.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 28 Jun 2009 11:37 #7546

  • battleworn
Reb Dov asked “Where do we all go from here?”

If I understand correctly there are two problems. 1) For people who do go to the groups, most people can not be expected to figure out by themselves how to fit it all in.
                                                                 2) People obviously don’t want to get in to that situation in the first place. Many people will refuse to go to the groups because of this.

I would like to humbly make a few suggestions from a few different angles.

1) If Boruch and Dov can come to an agreement about what type of group is most appropriate, then anyone that is encouraged to go to SA, should be directed if possible to the right kind of group.

2) Even if we don’t have a consensus on that, they can provide the right Hashkafa on how to fit it all in without doing damage to his Yiddishkeit. (If it’s Boruch’s kind of group, he can explain how to fit it in to his Yiddishkeit and if it’s Dov’s kind of group he can explain how to keep it separate.{Though I still have no idea what this means.} Or then again, maybe it doesn’t depend on the type of group. In any case, there has to be some sort of “hachra’ah” on the matter).

3) We can be careful to keep people away from groups that are antagonistic to religion [or any other problems that we might be aware of]. (I know of at least one such group in Israel. Is it  characteristic of SLAA?)

4) We can try to incorporate tools from SA in to the network. [A simple example: We can try to encourage the members of the Accountability Groups to exchange tel. #s so they can call each other in case of emergency.] This way, more people can be helped on site.

5) This Shabbos, Hashem put a new idea in my head. Perhaps we can get one of the yichidei segulah of our generation that know how to get through to peoples hearts, to say a series of shiurim on the tools and perspectives for dealing with this situation. Of course listening is not enough, but if people want to change, then when they know what to do, they’ll do it.

If we attack the problem from both sides, then be’H we might just reach the ideal solution much sooner than we thought.

Please let me know what you think.
Last Edit: 28 Jun 2009 11:48 by dana8349.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 28 Jun 2009 11:45 #7547

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I therefore take back, sincerely regret and publicly apologize for being disrespectful and for blaming him. Rabeinu, please forgive me!


Battleworn, I can only agree to forgive you if you promise to keep inspiring us all on the forum!!

I don't think I am as smart as you and Boruch and Dov, but you have my word that if you can come up with a formula that all three of you agree on, I will be more than happy to include it as the official policy of GYE from now on. If the three of you cannot agree, I can take it to Rabbi Twerski for a final decision.

It seems to me that the questions we want to address are:

  • At what level addiction should we send someone to the groups?

  • Is it only after he tried all 13 tools of the handbook, or there's nothing wrong with sending someone earlier than that as well?

  • Are there legitimate problems with some of the groups?

  • Do we need to give hadracha to a Jew who is joining?

  • Would it be possible to develop one day a strategy or program that is just as powerful and successful as the 12-Step groups, but with a Torahdik approach?



Please tell me if I'm missing anything.
Webmaster of www.guardyoureyes.org - Maintaining Moral Purity in Today's World. We’re here on a quest ; it’s really all a test. Just do your best and G-d will do the rest.
Last Edit: 28 Jun 2009 11:49 by dana8349.

Re: Torah AND the 12-Steps 28 Jun 2009 12:27 #7550

  • boruch
My take:

  • At what level addiction should we send someone to the groups?

I am now more aware of the relapse issue in group meetings that Kokorikoo was talking about. I am now also more aware of the history of AA.

I believe that for both those reasons (in addition to others) we should encourage newcomers to work Steps first before going to groups. That is how they did it with Beginner's meetings in the old days. In Cleveland in the 1940s they had a 93% success rate (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, p. 261). Here is how they did it then:
"The newcomer is not permitted to attend a regular AA meeting until he has been given a thorough knowledge of the work (through the 4 1-hour beginner classes)."
(Cleveland Central Bulletin 1943)

Most importantly, through working with the newcomer on the Steps we will know who is serious.

  • Is it only after he tried all 13 tools of the handbook, or there's nothing wrong with sending someone earlier than that as well?

I do not believe that we should ever ransom anyone to taking the Steps or using a set of tools before we give them information. In my opinion recommending looking at the different tools and doing the Steps first is the first thing, if they accept that fine. If they are only interested in the groups we can tell them that they can find the groups on sa.org. If we have been working with them either through the Steps, tools or other ways and feel they are good candidates then we can give more specific information that will identify groups with large frum makeup.
  • Are there legitimate problems with some of the groups?

Groups that have little direction, relatively low sobriety and significant relapse can be a problem. Newcomers who do not get a good sponsor, who are not committed enough to work the program well can get ideas that make the problem worse -- they can be lead to believe that because they have a disease they can't help relapsing, they can discover new ways to act out and once they are SA members they may feel they are part of the solution even when they have repeated relapse.
  • Do we need to give hadracha to a Jew who is joining?

I think that anyone who has done the Steps before going has the best hadracha that there is. Additionally the most important guidance in my opinion is to find a sponsor who is religious and to begin Step taking as soon as possible.
  • Would it be possible to develop one day a strategy or program that is just as powerful and successful as the 12-Step groups, but with a Torahdik approach?


I believe that it will eventually be possible to use a Torah approach to develop our experience of what has worked best within the AA system into a program that is entirely developed from Torah concepts and sources
Last Edit: 28 Jun 2009 12:35 by MustSucceedNow.
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