Q. I am a recovering addict to internet pornography. Baruch hashem after coming to yeshiva 2.5 years ago, I stopped cold turkey as they say, due to the fact(s) that I did not have a computer and also a strong feeling on wanting to make teshuvah for all the damage I caused myself and to a lesser degree others. I am now happily married, B"H. Since I stopped viewing forbidden sites and videos, I still struggle with the images in my head from all the garbage I looked at, and I know it is a sin to even think improper thoughts in this area that could lead to spilling seed, G-d forbid. I want to ask what are ways to try to forget or suppress the images in our brains, I even remember the names of different porn stars... G-d forgive me! what tikkunim can be done?
A. They tell a story of a Ba'al Teshuvah who once came to one of the Chassidic Masters with this question. Having done Teshuvah for his past evil ways, he found that he was still plagued by bad thoughts and fantasies. The Rebbe gave him a parable.
There was once a Jew named Moshkeh who owned an inn where he used to sell wine and spirits to the gentile peasants of the area. After a while, he became disgusted in dealing with the drunken gentiles and decided to go into another line of business and so he closed down the bar. That evening, there was a banging on the door. "Moshkeh, Moshkeh, open up! We want some wine and spirits!". "Sorry", Moshkeh replied, "from now on, the inn is closed". The gentiles had no choice but to leave disappointed. For days and even weeks afterwards, Moshkeh would keep getting knocks on the door, but as the word slowly spread that the Bar was closed, the knocking became less and less frequent until the gentiles stopped coming altogether.
The same goes with these thoughts, the Rebbe explained. After doing Teshuvah, the thoughts keep trying to get in. But if you keep telling them that the store is closed, they will stop coming altogether after a while.
Another answer from someone on the forum...
You can't wrestle with a pig and not get dirty. The thoughts will come - accept that. It doesn't mean anything. At those times, try to just acknowledge that they popped into your head, wish them a friendly 'shalom aleichem!' and then move on to try and do something else. Worrying about them or doing something with the express purpose of getting rid of them just won't work - you're wrestling with the pig. Pray to Hashem and say; 'Ribono Shel Olam, I know that it is my fault that I have these thoughts. I don't want them. Help me to distract myself to something else and leave them be.'
Some practical advice for when sexual fantasies attack:
1) Pray to Hashem and say "Please Hashem, save me from lust! I want to love you Hashem, not women, not flesh and blood".
2) In extreme cases of lust that won't go away, imagine something disgusting about the object of your fantasy. Imagine this person passing gas, going to the bathroom or throwing up. Imagine the inside of their body, blood, guts and veins. (See tip #12 on this page for more along this "vein").
See also here for more advice on dealing with sexual fantasies from www.jewishsexuality.com, and here for some practical Tikkunim which he brings.
Elya K (moderator of the Hot-Line) writes:
Mevakesh writes on the forum:
"Ykv_schwartz" wrote on the forum:
Rav Nachman says* getting hirhurei z'nus is a zechus. The reason is that it gives a person the opportunity for teshuva and proper tikun for the past aveiros. He says that so many people get down when they get these thoughts and feel bad about themselves. But these thoughts are there in order for a person to chase them away and be zoche to teshuva. The thoughts come to a person so that they should uplift them. The thoughts WANT to be uplifted! So just realize that your current challenges are intended for you to attain teshuvah shleima. Knowing this can prevent unnecessary hindrances and should invigorate you for eternal growth.
Here is an amazing and eye-opening quote from the Tanya (Chapter 27, abridged):
Should sadness come to a person because of evil thoughts and desires that enter his mind, he should, on the contrary, be happy in his lot in that, although they enter his mind, he averts his mind from them in order to fulfill the injunction "You should not go after your heart and your eyes after which you go astray". When he averts his mind from them he fulfills this injunction. Indeed, the Rabbis have said "he who passively abstained from committing a sin receives a reward as though he had performed a precept". Consequently, he should rejoice at his compliance with the injunction as when performing an actual Mitzvah Aseh...
And with every thrust (of the temptation) wherewith he expels (the thoughts) from his mind, the sitra achra ("the other side") down below is suppressed, and since "stimulus from below causes stimulus above", the sitra achra above is also suppressed.
Thus the Zohar(p.128) extols the great satisfaction before Hashem, when the sitra achra is subdued here below. For then the glory of Hakadosh Baruch Hu rises above all, more than through any praise, and this ascent is greater than all else.
Therefore, no person should feel depressed, even should he be engaged all his days in this conflict, for perhaps because of this he was created and this is his service--to constantly subjugate the sitra achra.
A tip from Rabbi Nachman:
It is written in Pirkei Avos "Let the poor be members of your household and don't talk much with women". R' Nachman says that the Mishna is hinting to us a secret, namely, that Tzedaka is a great segulah not to come to sexual fantasies. Even so, continues R' Nachman, the Mishna is exhorting us not to talk much with women, because this segulah is only good to save a person from fantasies if he does not talk with women more than he needs to. And R' Nachman continues, that this is also the meaning of the words "Tzedaka Tatzil Mi'Maves" - "Tzedaka saves from death". For sexual fantasies, explains R' Nachman, are death itself.
On a practical level, if one commits (for a week at a time) to donate 25 cents to Tzedaka each time he lets himself dwell on a sexual fantasy, he will likely see good progress. Not only may this help psychologically to prevent him dwelling on such thoughts, but by donating the money to Tzedaka one will also be fulfilling the segulah and thereby prevent further thoughts from coming as well!
Here's a piece from the