Sunday, 06 March 2016

How Everything in our lives can help us stay sober.

by Hillel Hazukyn (See all authors)

I used to think that all the musar (working on self character..), Torah, tefillah, chesed etc,...were all something I had to do as part of being a frum Jew, as part of my essence, who I really was / wanted to be.

But doing all those things could in no way help my urge to act out, it never did. Even though I thought it was supposed to ... but it was too late for that, because I thought I was at the stage in my life where chazal tell us "Ain maspikin biyado lasos teshuva" - (G-d removes, from certain individuals, the ability to do teshuva).

I thought that my problem was that I had a terrible inclination to lust, to do all those things that make me feel good physically, even though it was forbidden.

I just needed it, and when the urge came, there was no stopping me ("na'asa lo kiheter - -it becomes like it's allowed"). And so I was sure that in that area (that dark secret) of my life, I was forever lost and would struggle with it till I die...

Then came the program, and it taught me what my problem REALLY was.

It taught me that I was Baruch Hashem NOT a normal person, but I am a sick person who has to live a life very conscious of G-D or else my illness will get out of control. And most importantly, it taught me how to live a happy lust-free life with the addiction.

Now I could "refocus my glasses" to EVERYTHING that happens to me and to everything that doesn't happen to me.

To re-apply all that I have learned and will learn.
To re-think all the acts of kindness and all the musar shmuzen and see how they were telling me to surrender my wills and desires to G-D.

With this new understanding and clearer perspective on life, I could help an old lady across the street, or for that matter, change my kids diaper and think to myself, "I am doing what G-D wants me to do and I will do it happily even though I'm 1/2 hr late for work and my boss will be mad at me and he won't give me a raise" (yes, I still have those absurd thoughts).

No, it's not magic, I constantly repeat the serenity prayer - my own version - to myself not letting my addictive thoughts ruin my life. Also, now when I hear my Rav / Rosh Yeshiva / Rabbi / Chavrusa / anyone say, "we must have emunah in everything etc..", or any Torah thought I hear, those Torah ideas can help me strengthen my mindset in my daily focusing on G-D for all the things that could arise and potentially trigger me to act out.

The program is about giving it away and not wanting anything in return, unless G-D gives it to you. Then you will find and come to realize that G-D is everywhere, helping you and guiding you and loving you - and there's no greater PHYSICAL pleasure than that, GUARANTEED!!