Tool 2: Attitude & Perspective
Having the proper perspective and attitude on this struggle can make all the difference. Often people write to us saying that had they only known the proper perspective and attitude guidelines that we discuss on our network when they were younger, they would have never fallen into the addiction in the first place!
Part 2 of this handbook is a collection of what we in the GYE community feel are some of the most important "Attitude" principles in this struggle. These are only suggestions of what worked for us. This handbook is a work-in-progress and we would be happy to hear from you what “attitude & perspective” ideas you think are important as well (contact us through the website).
We highly recommend reading these principles in the initial stages of your journey because they can be a cornerstone tool in our struggle. Not only can the proper perspective help us make solid progress, but often, various misconceptions that we had about the struggle contribute to the underlying reasons that we act out in the first place. For example, one bochur who was making an initial push for purity contacted us after a few days and wrote:
The initial enthusiasm has kind of worn off and my Yetzer Hara keeps telling me that it's not so bad. I can't keep up the spiritual enthusiasm for very long, and I don't see how I can possibly hold out much longer.
We sent him some of the sections from Part 2 of this handbook and the next day he wrote back:
Thanks so much! It helped tremendously! It makes me see this whole process in a completely different light. Instead on focusing on how depressing the struggle can be, I should be happy that I am "zoche" to have been given the opportunity for such great spiritual growth. Also, as you mentioned, it is likely that this is part of my main mission in this world. And not everyone is so lucky to know what his personal Avoda is! And the fact that every little bit counts even if we end up falling, and also that we shouldn't focus on staying clean forever but rather only "one day at a time". I must say, that for the first time in years I feel there's real hope and I am actually looking forward to change!
This is just one example of how a simple change in attitudes can make a big difference.
Therefore, it is vital that the proper perspective accompany us on our journey to recovery, from day one and throughout all the practical steps we take. With the proper attitude, we can succeed in learning to control the addiction in a much shorter time frame, and with far less extreme steps.
The “Attitude Section” of this handbook is divided into two parts. Part A brings attitude principles that apply to anyone who struggles in these areas, even if they don’t yet have an “addiction”. These are important principles for adolescents to read when their hormones kick in and the struggle becomes an increasingly dominant force in their lives. They are also important reading for any adult who feels overwhelmed by the struggle, at times. The principles of Part B are geared towards people who have tried to stop these behaviors and find that they keep falling back into them, i.e. for addiction levels. The principles in Part B address the nature of addiction and how dealing with it often necessitates real inner change.
Aside from the many important principles presented in the “Attitude Section” of this handbook, we can sign up and receive the daily Chizuk e-mails at www.guardyoureyes.org to continue learning and refining our perspective on this struggle every day. By reading the chizuk e-mails daily, we will quickly be swept up by the spirit of the Guard Your Eyes community and rapidly internalize many of the guidelines that will help us maintain the proper attitude and perspective on this struggle throughout our journey.