Tool 5: Alternative Fulfillment
We frequently focus on breaking the addiction by avoiding triggers and running away from the Yetzer Hara. But often the best way to deal with an addiction, is to remove the underlying "needs" that the addiction is trying to fill by proactively engaging in alternative fulfilling pursuits.
More often than not, an addiction is a psychological escape that we learned to use as a way to flee from the realities of life. If we can manage, in the early stages of the addiction, to keep ourselves occupied with healthy and fulfilling activities that we enjoy, and find more meaning in our lives, the addiction will often fade away of its own accord. Fulfillment often comes from finding realistic challenges and reaching the goals that we set for ourselves.
We should try to find new jobs or projects that will enable us to express our creativity, find enjoyment, and reconnect with life and the world around us. This will help fill the "void" that we were subconsciously trying to satisfy with unhealthy pleasure seeking. Some ideas can be found in our "Kosher Isle" (and especially in "Kosher Activities" section).
"False" fulfillment causes us to close up into ourselves and slowly destroys our lives and our souls. True fulfillment, on the other hand, helps us open up to the world around us and reconnect with our souls. Every Jew has a “G-d Hole”, a place inside them that feels empty if not filled with G-d. Often, we subconsciously try to fill that feeling of emptiness with lusting. The best way to fill the ‘G-d Hole’ and achieve fulfillment and joy obviously comes from a true connection with Hashem. As the Pasuk says: “Tamu U’re’u Ki Tov Hashem – Taste and see that Hashem is good”, and “Ve’hisaneg al Hashem – Find Pleasure in Hashem”. This can be built up by adding Kedusha to our lives, seeking a deeper connection with Yiddishkeit in general, and through learning Torah with enjoyment. Torah is like water, and we can't put out a fire without water, even if we know it burns. We can try to hook up with a new chavrusah or add a shiur to our daily/weekly schedules. See the Torah section of our Kosher Isle for more ideas on how to add Torah to our lives, and for links to many great websites of Torah audio and video shiurim.