"The L-rd G‑d gave him this commandment: 'You may freely eat the fruit from any tree in the garden except fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die on that day.'"—Genesis 2:16-17.

Oral tradition describes the timeline of events that transpired on the first Friday of the world's history. This was the sixth day of creation — on which Adam and Eve were created. Adam was created at noon and Eve just after that. Later that same day – three hours before sunset to be exact – they were commanded regarding the Tree of Knowledge. Then, no more than an hour passed before they ate of the forbidden fruit; and then they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. But the tragedy of it all was that the ban on eating from the tree was to have been in place for only three hours, until sunset.

At the onset of Shabbat, they were to have freely partaken of the tree as a gift from G‑d. There is even an opinion that the Tree of Knowledge was a grapevine and, come Friday night, they would have pressed the grapes and recited the Shabbat benedictions over a sacramental cup of this very wine. Yet, because they failed to wait, the paradise that could have been theirs was delayed, quite literally, until the end of days.

Whether or not Adam knew that the prohibition was temporary or not is unclear. What is clear, though, is that if he only taken hold of himself and exhibited self-control for just a very short time, his struggle with temptation would have been easily resolved on its own. The once-forbidden fruit would have been his to enjoy in holiness and good fortune. Adam, and his descendants for all time, would have flourished in a perfect world, never knowing the curses of mortality, marital discord and the pressures of earning a livelihood, which were the direct consequences of the sin.

How a little bit of patience could have made all the difference in the world!

We who recover from alcoholism and addiction are all too familiar with the compulsion for seeking the quick fix. Others may think that what is referred to is our nagging penchant for the drink and its effects. But we know – having reflected upon the pattern of our lives – that our terrible anxiousness over all things out-of-reach or delayed has extended into every area of our lives. It was not so much that we were in a rush to self-medicate, but that we needed to self-medicate in order to relieve that awful feeling of always being in a rush. An existential restlessness, an aching for quick relief, was the preeminent motivation for every undertaking — whether it was for love, money, security, honor, comfort or pleasure that we were seeking. We were incapable of feeling any kind of contentment or serenity for very long, if at all. Impatience, incessant frustration and constant yearning seemed to have been our lot.

We tried to be good. We tried to wait. We didn't want to be pushy. But the indefinite delay of gratification always became too much to bear. If we didn't suffer the consequences for snatching forbidden fruit, we would languish anyway and die of a broken heart; so we were damned either way.

In sobriety, our eyes have been opened to new choices. We have begun to learn the meaning of 'no,' 'not now,' and 'not yet.' We trust G‑d, let go and allow ourselves to enjoy the rest of the garden. We let things happen in G‑d's time. And slowly, as He decides it's right, He gifts us, in His way, with the gratification of all that we have gracefully accepted we might never have had.