I am currently involved in studying the twelve steps of the anonymous programs, which I believe is the tool of Moshiach ben Yosef, something that Hashem has brought down in order to get us into the age of Moshiach, when ego becomes a thing of the past. My chevrusa, who has been in the program for over ten years, is doing a wonderful job of guiding me through the steps, patiently teaching me. It is a wonderful, rigorous project, which I believe anyone can do, and everyone should explore to see how it can benefit them. There are programs for people with challenges in relationships, for emotional issues, debting issues, lack of vision and direction, porn addiction, sex addiction, and of course, alcoholism, amongst many others. It is interesting that one can be addicted to thoughts of avoiding all of these issues – if there is emotional energy around something, it is a sign of addiction. There is a wonderful aspect of community and acceptance that comes along with a true goal for pure egolessness. It is extremely powerful and the concept of pure lishmah is magnetic for me.
In any event, I am sharing this because I wanted to share something with you that my chevrusa shared with me. I have been talking about the difficult times we are going through now, and the potential for rectification that will follow the down. In order to get through the down, it is important to have the right attitude about the down, to understand that everything that happens to us is from Hashem. This means that sometimes we will even experience a test or challenge, and we will fall in that challenge – but it won’t be because we were meant to pass the challenge. It will be because we get upset at ourselves for having failed in that challenge. This guilt is a most destructive force that can literally ruin our lives. The following is a link to an incredible shiur on the topic, given by R’ Yisroel Reisman, based on the works of the Steipler Gaon. It is all about realizing the reality of our nisyonos (tests), and realizing that there are many areas where we may fail, and that we must be realistic about what is within our free will ability, and what is outside of it.
I highly recommend this wonderful shiur:
Dear Ari I am still thinking what to comment on your 8th podcast, there is SO much to say….now this, more food for thought!!Good thing Im an OA member….I shared your thoughts it was quite emotional as our leader is a xitian lady by birth who claims to be an atheist and has made her higher power the programe. I have never understood this until now and I told her shes on the right track!! Istill have to comment on the podcast…..Shalom
It might sound funny, but the reason I disagree with you is because the 12-steps are a functioning whole that is all about removing ego. It is all taken from chazal, but it is a system that is shaped and formed in such a way that it really works. If chovos halevavos works for you, great. Most of Klal Yisrael is suffering from intense pain and self-criticism that will not be cured by reading Chovos Halevavos. R' Abraham Twersky said that Moshiach will come when everyone is 12-stepping, and I personally agree. There will be people who are great without it. But I think everyone has a lot to gain from it. Honestly, it is taken straight out of Mesilas Yesharim, but people aren't wise enough to learn it from our sources, unfortunately. Our generation needs the Artscroll to explicitly lay things out for us – we can't get to the crux of it on our own. The 12 steps does the work for us.
Yes, that shiur of Rabbi Reisman is phenominal.
I don't quite agree with you that the 12 steps will bring us to the age of Moshiach. I personally participate in one of the 12 step programs. It seems to put together a lot of the "chochma" that we already know from Judaism. Once I realized that all this can be found in Jewish sources, I preferred to use Jewish sources rather than the 12 steps. I use the 12 steps sparingly. Meaning – I've done a fourth step, but when it comes to preparing for Yom Kippur, I go through the vidui, one line at a time. My teshuva is based on the vidui and not on my fourth step.
I learned from the 12 steps how to trust more in G-d, but now that I want to strengthen that part of me, I learn Chovot Halevavot, and not 12 step literature.
I don't put such a heavy emphasis on the 12 steps themselves. There are so many books and shitot in our own tradition that we can tap into.