Our Excuses List
In a conference call with Duvid Chaim, we discussed the realization that we usually come up with some lame excuse as to why we should take our first "lust hit", and we rationalize why we can start act out. And once we start, we can't stop!
When I first read this in the Big Book (when I wasn't feeling lustful but rather with full mental capacity), I actually made a list of excuses that the little voice in my head says to me to justify why I should start acting out. I suggested on the call that everyone make for themselves their own list. After we make this list, we should review it once in a while, before we feel lustful. This way, if we ever hear one of those excuses, we'll recognize them and think "Oh yeh, that sounds familiar. Oh my G-d! That's on my list of excuses to act out! I'd better not listen, since I know what will happen if I follow this advice."
I call this list my "Last Stop Before Falling" list. If I hear any of these excuses, I have the CHOICE to get off the train, or I can choose to ignore the warning signal and stay on the train, entering into my disaster zone of lusting, slipping, and acting out.
Here's my list. Perhaps some of these sound familiar? In order to make this more educational, I'll add what I think are the correct responses to answer the Y"H's excuses.
Excuse #1. (If I've been clean for a long time) "You've been good for so long, you deserve a break! You've earned it!"
Answer: "What you are suggesting is for me to kill my clean streak. Remember how I'll feel after having to start counting back on day 1, back at square 1. It felt really lousy last time!"
Excuse #2: "It's not so bad!"
Answer: "Funny how before we act out "it's not so bad", but immediately afterwards you'll tell me it's the greatest sin imaginable! You'll tell me I'm a bum and I might as well give up trying to be frum since I'm the lowest of the low! Well, it is pretty bad and you are a liar!"
Excuse #3: "I'll stop after the first picture (or after 5 minutes)."
Answer: "Hah! I know myself. I know I have no control, that I am powerless over the addiction. I can't stop after the first photo or after 5 minutes. Five minutes always turns into hours. After a spree I always wonder, "How could I have spent 3 hours wasting my day looking at p*rn?"
Excuse #4: "I'm feeling R.I.D (restless, irritable and discontent). I need some pleasure."
Answer: "The pleasure you are suggesting is counterfeit. It will make me feel good for a couple of minutes, then I'll feel horrible and let down afterwards. I'd rather give up your fake pleasure and take real joy instead."
Excuse #5: "I'm physically wound up. I need to release the physical and emotional pressure the best way I know how."
Answer: "That's the wrong way to deal with the pressure. Acting out, while giving me temporary release, will only make me feel low and guilty afterward. The correct response to release the physical pressure is to exercise, like taking a 5-10 minute walk. The correct response to emotional pressure is to breath deeply, think about HaShem, see HaShem around you, feel his presence and talk (or pray) to Him."
I'd be pleased of you could all share your lists on the forum, or some items on your lists, as well as your responses to the excuses. I am sure we can all learn a lot from each others rationalizations!