Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Personal Responsibility

by Boruch, GYE (See all authors)

A new warrior who calls himself "Boruch" has joined the forum. After coming to the realization that he is dealing with a full blown addiction, he is strongly determined to break free of it. He said:

"I now realize that half-hearted measures will not work anymore and I am now applying everything that I have, on every level, to break this addiction".

Boruch has begun a log of his journey on the "Wall of Honor" section of the forum. We encourage everyone to do he same. Here is Boruch's first inspiring post (edited a bit) that I think we can all learn from:


Thank you all for a life-saving and life-giving forum. Thank you Guard for caring and being there for all of us.

This will not be a journal about struggling daily with tempting situations and near misses. This will be a journal of a different type of struggle entirely. A struggle to steadfastly refuse to get caught up in the cat and mouse game of revolving door cycles of urges and relapses and to keep absolutely, totally and single-mindedly focused on the big picture --- developing day, by day, with Hashem's help, the inspiration, enthusiasm, strength, energy and determination to ultimately emerge completely victorious in a lifetime conquest of addiction, beginning today --- with no relapses.

Hashem should help me in my quest to achieve from today a lifetime conquest of addiction and to inspire others to strive for what they had best only dared to dream of. To achieve what they were totally convinced was impossible. With your Will Hashem, we should in great numbers prove that what many and even most had believed was impossible is really very doable if we only learn how to turn directly to You for Guidance and how to implement your Will, one step at a time.

In days of Old when Jews like ourselves desperately needed Guidance from Hashem they would approach the local novi or prophet who would show them how to use their personalities, gifts and talents to follow Hashem's Will and Plan. Today, sadly we have no nevi'im, prophets and so we cannot get access to such ready-made and customized Divine Prescriptions.

However we still have a Torah, and if we know how - with Hashem's help, we can look directly and genuinely to the Torah for guidance and go much further than we ever dreamed was possible.

Perhaps the starting point can be the most striking description of extreme addiction that we find in Chaza"l (to my knowledge at least). The source is the Gemara in Avodo Zoro 17a dealing with Elazar ben Durdia, who, the Gemara tells us, was so addicted that there was no prostitute anywhere with whom he had not sinned at least once.

As recorded by the Gemara, after a life of total and absolute failure to curb his worst instincts, he finally confronted his sexual addiction and cried out with tremendous intensity, "I have no one to rely on but myself" (Gem. Avodo Zoro 17a). He then put his head between his knees and began to weep, until he achieved such a complete Teshuvah that his soul left his body. (For in that short time, he was mesaken (fixed) all that he had come to the world to fix). The Gemara records that a voice from Heaven announced that Elazar had, in that moment, earned himself a prominent place in the World to Come. Rebbi (R' Yehuda Hanasi) adds that not only has Elazar ben Durdia earned himself a prominent place in the World to Come, additionally he is now referred to as Rebbe Elazar ben Durdia because he serves as a role model in the fight against addiction and in the power of teshuvah.

Inspired by the example of Rebbe Elazar ben Durdia and enlightened by the insight revealed by the Holy Tanna, Rav Yehuda Hanassi, my personal first step in fighting this addiction is: "Personal Responsibility" -- I take 100% ownership of my addiction.