Principle 5: Breaking the Cycle
We must recognize how insidious the addiction is, how it continues to tell us lies, getting us to act out again and again. Each time we act out, we make it harder to heal from the addiction in the long term. Therefore, we must do everything in our power to break free of the vicious cycle now, by taking the necessary steps to break free. As long as we are still caught up in the cycle of addiction, we cannot begin to heal. And the nature of the addiction is such that we cannot think our way out, we need to act our way into a new pattern of thinking.
Often we thought that if we would only feed the lust a little bit more and give it what it really wants, it would leave us alone. But it is exactly the opposite. Chazal understood the nature of this addiction, and they said one statement regarding these areas that really sums it up well: "There is a small organ in a man, if one feeds it - it is hungry, if one starves it - it is satiated." As the saying goes: ”The less you feed it, the less you need it.” Although it feels hard at first to cut down and we may likely even experience withdrawal symptoms for a while, the more we successfully stop acting out in the short term, the easier it will get in the long term. Knowing this Yesod can make a huge difference.
We must realize that the Yetzer Hara/addiction wants our soul, not the pleasure. Otherwise, why is a thousand times never enough? Keep this saying in mind: "Just once is too much; a thousand times is never enough." We cannot bargain with the addiction. Half measures ultimately amount to nothing. Isolated incidents of control are not significant when dealing with addiction, it’s the overall pattern. Staying stopped is the issue. We must realize that we were acting insane. It’s not sane to repeat self-destructive behaviors. This is, in the most literal sense, a life and death struggle for our souls.