Monday, 16 April 2012

Surrendering can be a strength not a weakness

Part 1/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)
Step 3 - The Core of the 12-Steps. How Does it Work?

by Boruch (See all authors)

Someone who we helped convince to join the 12-Step groups, sent us an e-mail recently as follows:

I've had good groups of days, but the big picture is still horrible. I truly hope and am optimistic that one day I will climb out and help others too, but as of today it seems everyone is pulling out but me, I am desperate, I cry to hashem 24/7, I feel so close to him sometimes, yet 10 minutes later I'm surfing porn again.

I am in the process of figuring out steps 1,2 & 3, maybe you can enlighten me.

1. We admitted we were powerless over lust.

This is easy to understand. My willpower is getting me nowhere. However motivated I am, I am clearly powerless.

2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

This is also easy, Hashem has the power to do everything.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

I'm struggling to figure out how to implement step 3. Surrender to G-d means to do his will instead of your own will, so instead of looking at that pretty girl or going to that website, I look away because I surrendered my will to God's. I don't understand how this should stop me from my obsession more then the millions of other times I tried stopping what I was doing because God didn't like what I was doing and I was trying to surrender to his will.


Another person wrote us yesterday as well:

"How does giving it up to Hashem remove the desire? How does it work?"


Once again, we turn to our 12-Step expert Boruch. Here is his reply:

Firstly, my advice in general on anything to do with the 12 steps, is first to read the first 164 pages of the Big Book as soon as possible. If you have a Palm OS device, click here. (Every time you see the word drink, liquor, alcohol or alcoholic substitute the words lust or sexaholic, as appropriate).

Now, your question is how to do the Third Step.

I myself had tremendous intellectual and emotional difficulty with this step. I didn't understand what the steps were about and I did not get any satisfactory explanation. However I was determined at all costs to get them, and BeChasdei Hashem I now have my own understanding of the real goal here, having worked on the problem for weeks and having broken my head on the Big Book.

So here is my selection from the Big Book that captures what really works for me.

You asked how the Third Step is different than what you have done until now, that is "looking the other way because Hashem said so".

My answer to you is that before we even get to what it is that you are supposed to do, let's first see if the Big Book description of the reaction of the "holic" who is working the steps on being confronted with his addiction, sounds different than your old approach.

Here's how the Big Book (Page 85) describes the reaction of the "holic" to the object of addiction, once he has internalized the Third Step (I have substituted lust for alcohol):

"And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone--even lust. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in lust. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward lust has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation".

Too good to be true?

Well, that's how it works for me when I do it right.