By Gedale Fenster
One of the greatest gifts that one can receive, is hitting rock bottom. It is at our lowest point that we are most humble, when we can let go of the ego, and break free from our crippling habits. Recovery however, is not a behavior change, it is a character change. It is an opportunity to examine the underlying issues which trigger those negative patterns of thought and behavior. It is a journey which instigates lasting transformation from within. The first of the twelve steps in a recovery program is the process of admitting powerlessness over the addiction. This step requires humility, and the ability to give up control. By admitting that we are powerless, we can begin on the journey to recovery.
The Latin etymology of the word ‘addiction’ is ‘enslaved’ or ‘bound to’, which accurately personifies the reality of an addict. "I am the Lord, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” [Exodus 20:2]. In this verse, God is reminding the people that the same God that took them out of bondage in Egypt, can release them from any other form of slavery. Emunah is the key to recovery. It is letting go of the illusion of control and trusting that God will help you out of this bondage.
The soul longs for purpose and meaning, and if the spiritual needs of the soul aren’t met, then a person will experience subconscious discontent. These feelings of unrest will often be circumvented by temporary distractions, yet the soul will always want to experience the subliminal pleasure that only spirituality can provide.
Through Hisbodedut, we can cast our burdens to God. We create a space for self-introspection, for confronting the questions that we face about our true purpose in this world. Most importantly, Hisbodedut facilitated a connection with God, which brings us to the empowering realization that our choices, the way we treat our bodies, and what we accomplish in this world truly matters.