A Few Important Announcements:
We hope to launch
the new website at
guardyoureyes.org this Friday Iy"h. The old site,
guardureyes.com, will remain on-line and the new site will have
links to the material and tools on the old site as well. The
new website will have many new features Iy"h, and it will hopefully
be updated daily with new articles, stories and tips, in a
variety of 10 different categories. (Not everything there
will be functional yet as of Friday, but we hope that most of the
site will be functional already).
From today's Chizuk e-mail (#501) and on, we will be storing the
daily e-mails in the database of the new website - as you can
this example, instead of on the pages of the old site (such as
this last page
Please help us pay for the continued web development of the new
site, so we can reach thousands of more Yidden who need help. Make a
donation today or tomorrow IN HONOR
OF THE LAUNCH. To donate, please see the right side of
the page on the
new website for various PayPal options, or
ask us how you can donate anonymously and get a tax
2) We would like to draw your attention to two new boards
on the forum. One of them is for "Accountability
Groups", and one of them is for "Working
the GYE Handbook".
3) Also, please see today's announcement
over here about a new phone conference starting soon, with a
professional addiction therapist on the line.
the Art of Capturing Monkeys
Hoping posted on
know if this is true, but I just read this:
"African hunters have a clever way of trapping monkeys.
They slice a coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the
shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey's hand to pass
through. Then they place an orange in the other coconut half before
fastening together the two halves of the coconut shell. Finally,
they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the
jungle, and wait.
Sooner or later, an unsuspecting monkey swings by, smells the
delicious orange, and discovers its location inside the coconut. The
monkey then slips his hand through the small hole, grasps the
orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the orange
won't come out; it's too big for the hole. To no avail the
persistent monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the
danger he is in.
While the monkey struggles with the orange, the hunters simply
stroll in and capture the monkey by throwing a net over him. As long
as the monkey keeps his fist wrapped around the orange, the monkey
It's too bad the poor monkey could save its own life if it would
only let go of the orange. It rarely occurs to a monkey, however,
that it can't have both the orange and its freedom. That delicious
orange becomes a deadly trap".
that the difference between humans and animals does not lie in the
fact that animals have such strong instincts; humans have some of
the same types of instincts. The difference is our ability to
let go of the "orange". Every person has their own "orange", and
it our job to recognize it for the trap that it is and just 'let
"London" posts to "Hoping":
What a sad
and amazing story at the same time! The SA White book brings this
same story in Step 1, and I will quote the preceding chapter:
"Before finally giving up, we had tried one or the other of two
options: On the one hand, we expressed our obsession by acting it
out. On the other hand, we tried suppressing it by drinking,
drugging, eating or by fighting it with white-knuckle will power.
And with what a show of promises and resolutions! Many of us
switched from acting out to suppression, back and forth. Neither
option brought us the peace we sought so desperately. Expressing the
obsession made it progress relentlessly, on and on, and suppressing
it only made the pressure build inside until something had to give.
We never knew there was another option - surrender. What a
beautiful word to those of us who do it! Surrender is letting go!"
the monkey story, the White-book continues:
"Merely knowing and admitting we were powerless over lust, or
whatever form our acting out took, didn't help until we gave up our
right to do and let it go. There was no mistaking this change of
heart when it happened; we knew and those about us knew. There is no
faking surrender. And thank G-d, when we did give up and stop
fighting, He was always there, waiting with open arms. Instead of
killing us as we had feared, surrender killed the compulsion!"
For me the
solution is simple, as above, but as I have been told, it's simple
but hard. But with tools like
this forum, it makes the battle so much easier.
You have breathed new life into me with this concept. It just so
happens that I really need lots of help today, as I am feeling very
low. It is hard for me to admit that I need to take rather than
give. On take mode, I am very, very uncomfortable. Today - for b"H
the first time in a long time, I felt - at times - just a few steps
away from acting out.
Thanks for your support,
Thank you Dov, for reminding us how this disease doesn't go away.
But if we use it in the way that it was intended by Hashem and
in the way that we all witness how YOU use it every
day i.e. as a spring-board to a very close relationship with
your Father in Heaven - your "eternal friend", then this disease is
really a blessing in disguise. And in that case, the fact
that it doesn't go away is ALSO a blessing in disguise!
So let the reminder today that it's not
going away give you JOY!
We love you Dov. Keep keeping us strong!
P.S. For some help when feeling down, please re-read yesterday's
Chizuk e-mail (#500 on the bottom of
this page) and see also Chizuk e-mail #428 on
Torah or the 12-Steps?
We all know
that Chazal tell us how Torah is an anecdote against the Yetzer
Hara and that learning Torah protects us even during the times
that we are not learning. The question is, why didn't our Torah
learning protect so many of us in our struggle with lust addiction?
And what secrets do the "12-Steps" have that our (obviously
defective) approach to Torah learning wasn't able to give us? Are
the 12-Steps just a "technique", or do they hold some intrinsic
"holiness" as well?
In a lively discussion on
this thread on the forum, members debated and shared
their enlightening and inspiring views about how the 12-Steps and
Torah learning are not at all mutually exclusive in our struggle
with Yetzer Hara.
Although there were so many amazing posts on this topic, I would
like to share today one of Dov's posts. I chose Dov because his
addiction was one of the most advanced of anyone on our forum, and
yet, he's sober already for 11 years!
Besides for being quite a Talmid Chacham, Dov's honesty, humility,
wisdom and hashkafa are inspiring us every day on the forum.
We love you brother Dov. Don't you EVER leave us!
use the 12-Steps in my recovery, I do not accept that I have fallen
off the wagon and am lost from the derech Hashem for me.
The advanced level that my addiction reached - and the ensuing 12
steps, seem to be - in retrospect - the only way I could have
"found Hashem and myself". Yes, perhaps if I had learned more
Torah and had had more mesiras nefesh I may have merited to
accomplish the same thing without the steps, but this is not the way
Hashem did it for me! I did try, and lost. I choose to
believe that this was my destiny. It may not be yours, but so what?
What my experience has taught me is that I - and many others I know
- learned Torah rather well while they were addicts. I gave a
shiur in Mishna for Kiruv while in the midst of the
very worst part of my addiction, sometimes even acting out the very
same night. Some people (like me) would either learn Torah and soon
afterward shock themselves at how fast and far they could fall; or
first fall deeply and very soon afterward feel a religious high.
Sadly, the high gave me a kind of "condolence" for my acting out,
and in the long run it allowed me to "save face" enough to continue
my stupid struggle. Here was a man proudly standing against a
tsunami wave; what an idiot.
But I did not know any better and I really thought that I was
supposed to struggle and be patient. Patient - as my
relationship with my wife deteriorated under the weight of my
mounting secrets; Patient - as I became well-learned in my
twisted brand of "avodas Hashem" that was all about a new kind of
"veHachayos Ratzo Vashov": looking at porn, lying, chasing lust,
more lying, hiding and acting out, and then I would come (really)
screaming and crying to Hashem, "Take me back!" Ach and Vei.
Not exactly the type of "Ratzo Vashov" that the Malachim
are doing around the Merkavah, is it?
So no, learning Torah as an "active addict" did not seem to
"protect" me from my addiction. If anything, it made it
worse at that time.
However, I do not accept that most people are addicts. I do not
accept that Dovid Hamelech struggled with addiction, though he
surely knew of it like he knew of every other type of suffering,
L"A. I do not think that normal people are really made for the
12 steps, as presented in the AA literature. The actual
implementation of the Steps (i.e. "working them" - not just
reading them) usually seems to be unnecessarily heavy for normal
My wish is for everybody to be free of addiction and have all the
fruits of the program without needing to "work" the steps. But
it sure is nice for me to finally feel (at least some connection
(at least a bit) for Hashem,
freedom from fear,
a close (and
growing) relationship with my Eternal and True Friend,
and let's not
forget - good old Sanity!
I needed the
12-Steps for all this and - as I was - I could not get it from
Torah. Theoretically, maybe it's unfortunate for me, but I choose
not to accept that. You don't win a battle with a dirge, but you go
ahead to victory with lively marching music! So it is a good thing
that many of us in the groups just accept the facts as they are on
the ground, hold our heads high, and grow using this path as
though our very lives depend on it. It may. At that point, it is
certainly a precious and holy derech of Hashem for us!
I rarely feel I am fighting. When I do have a temptation in lust, I
choose not to look at it as a "Yetzer Hara" issue. I view it like a
"little tentacle" of the beast of my addiction. The Yetzer Hara had
total and relentless control of my life and that approach seemed to
be a sure bet for keeping it that way! Now, B"H, it's "body" is
locked in a "dungeon" guarded by Hashem, until He decides to
"recycle" it - bimheira beyamieinu.
In the meantime though, it's tentacles are still dangerous, having a
connection to the beast and can destroy me totally, though they now
appear to be weaker and thinner (just a "thin string", if you will),
but bitter. Till today, I use the same tools in the same way as I
always did from the very beginning. Today it's just faster usually,
and not as big a deal as it used to be. (Occasionally, like the last
day or two, it has been scary. But Nu, what do you expect
from an addict? B'H I'm feeling better, and your support is
Along the way, some people think that because of the way I share and
frame/describe my challenges, that I am still listening to or
watching or running after shmutz or acting out just like
before! Although this is B"H not the case, I know I need to face it
the same way as Dov-the-newbie, or I'll trip, get stuck, fool
myself, act out, and eventually - die. (I once sat through a long
verbal thrashing about selfishness because I shared that I believed
in some way that I was still selfish and disrespectful to my wife.
Phew! The guy had 2 years of sobriety and I had five, but I kept me
mouth shut tight, even afterward. Who knows, maybe it was good for
me!) Better to be a (safe) fool in peoples eyes for a few minutes
than to Hashem (permanently).
I have no
evidence that I will ever be cured. I do not know if what they say:
"Once an addict, always an addict" is true. I just choose to
apply it to myself for lack of a reason not to. I assume I'll be
going to meetings till I die, which is good because it seems I am
more pleasant to live with when I have meetings in my life. And I
get to help addicts too, just by being there. If I somehow become
certain that I am cured, I may not go to meetings any more and I
hope to let you and others know. If you think you are cured,
gezunterheit, and I will assume you are right until proven
otherwise. (But it is not clear to me exactly what the litmus test
would be though; feeling cruddy? acting out once? a pattern?
My goal in
life is to be a pure and total eved Hashem. I know this deep
in my heart. But most of the 12 steps are truly Derech Eretz
Kodmah LaTorah as far as I am concerned. The 11th Step ("We
sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious
contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of
His will for us and the power to carry it out"), it seems, is
about moving on from the steps and truly starting your life as a Yid
(in my case), no?
Is the 3rd step (turning our will and our lives over to the care
of God) Kriyas Sh'ma? Yes, in retrospect. But I
could not - and would not - have "gotten it" from that, had you
taught it to me that way. I had been saying kriyas sh'ma all
those years in addiction and yet in my mind, Hashem still wasn't
truly in charge enough, He wasn't on my side enough,
and He wasn't able to help me enough, as far as I was
concerned, and I wasn't able to really trust Him. It was all
too complicated in my experience of Yiddishkeit.
I had to hear and learn all that in a different way. I had to
get off the 18-wheeler (or airplane, helicopter, whatever!) and get
on a nice, quiet bicycle with training wheels. That's the 12 steps.
Simple, focused, and real.
Now, certainly Torah is the ikkar and hopefully a
frum recovering addict will be able to maintain enough sanity to
make Torah the ikkar and grow in it. But
unfortunately I have met some who can't yet. Let's daven for them,
that they should have what we have too.
Hoping some of this megilah was helpful,
Dearest Dov, your posts are so beautiful they
bring tears to my eyes!
I think to sum it all up, we can say that the 12-Steps teach us how
to live and think right. But "Living and thinking right" is
not the end goal in itself. Perhaps for a non-Jew it is, but for a
Jew, we can go much higher. But how can we start with XYZ
before learning ABC? Once we know ABC, we can take that WITH US into
the XYZ. We need to take this honesty, humility, selflessness, and
this close connection to Hashem that we learned in ABC - into our
TORAH as well. And if we do this, then our Torah and Avodah become
truly powerful, much more than before; they become
nuclear weapons against the Yetzer Hara!
[The grey parentheses below are not Miri's words]
want to share today a few wonderful things that have come about for
me through this program of 12 steps. I feel like I have not shared
in a while and so I will do some "service" and share my "experience,
strength and hope."
life has completely changed since I started working the 12 steps and
going to OA meetings. The Big Book has "the promises" and the list
is very lengthy and unbelievable [see chizuk e-mail #493 on
this page for some of the "promises"]. I never thought that I could have peace and serenity. I never
thought I could have ANY of the promises in the Big Book. But since
I started, a little over 19 months ago, I have to say that some of
these promises are truly starting to come true.
have to say that I work very hard for my abstinence. I started the
12 step program for my food addiction (19 months and 11 days of back
to back abstinence from sugar, sugar substitutes, wheat, flour
products and volume) and now I am counting my abstinence from lust
(39 days current back to back abstinence)
[after a streak of 70 days before that!]. I no longer read dirty material, watch anything that may suggest
lust on the computer and other related things. BARUCH HASHEM.
have such peace of mind and my self esteem is so much better now
because I no longer beat myself up for being a two faced person/Jew.
The obsession has been lifted and I can now be the real ME.
Anyway, I really wanted to share how the fourth step (which is the
step I am working on now - and plowing through...) has affected my
life, and the way I think and view things.
work the steps using the "big Book Awakening" workbook in
conjunction with the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The fourth
["We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"]
is grueling to say the least. Unfortunately, I have been sitting on
this step for a few month now because it was SO painful to do, I was
only able to do a tiny bit at a time, once or twice a week, UNTIL I
started to daven. I want to share with you the davening I say before
and after I work the fourth step (which I now I have been doing
Monday through Friday): This is what I say before I start:
I am here to write an inventory. Please help me face and be rid of
the things that are blocking me from You, myself and others. Please
help me to see the truth, and please, when it is time to stop
writing, help me to stop, and to be able to live my life today."
I finish working on the fourth step for that day (I do about 10 to
15 minutes daily) I say:
I have to go back to my life now. Please, help me to leave this
inventory with you for now. Keep it in your hands. Give me Your
grace to go back to my day and to not hurt those around me because
of the struggles I am facing. I am supposed to be getting rid of
self-centeredness, but I can't do that without You. This has really
got me, I am feeling it. Please, HELP!"
I daven this, it is SO much easier - it is a miracle how it works
Anyway, just an example of a fourth step that I was working on, that
I think people here on this forum may relate to, is my resentment
towards my husband for not giving me enough attention. When I worked
through that resentment, doing it the way it shows me in the Big
Book Awakening, I have "learned" a few things:
fears are that he does not care or love me (which I know are not
2) I also fear that I am not good enough and not deserving of his
attention (deep down I know that is not true either).
3) I learned that I too am not giving him enough
attention in other ways! And besides, I don't give enough attention
to others who deserve my attention too. And my excuse??? I am only a
I realized that I too am lacking in those areas that I am resentful
for, and once I realize that my fears are just "fears" and not
reality, the resentment becomes almost nonexistent!
Today, a relative of mine called me, telling me how angry she feels
against someone. It had to do with money, and she was determined to
do her very best to recover that money, and she was seething mad.
told her that it is a very uncomfortable and distressing situation
and she needs to do her very best Hishtadlus to get her money
back, BUT, the "results" need to be left to Hashem. Once she
realized that the results (having her money back or not) is truly
determined by Hashem, she calmed down!
is how I am these days. I look at my life and what I do - I am on
the "action committee" and Hashem is the "results" committee. I am
so much more at peace because Hashem is a reality for me. I feel
Hashem is holding me every step of the way throughout my day, and
somehow I feel Hashem's love for me and it is a feeling that I
would not have all this and much more without my abstinence. I know
that every day that I have abstinence from my addictions it is a
true gift from Hashem.
mind and heart are free and open to receive Hashem and feel His love
for me, because my brain is not fogged from the food or busy with
life is far from perfect. I have challenges all the time - with my
kids, family, health, financially, etc. etc. BUT today, I am not
consumed with worry or nerves. Today, I am not burying myself and
escaping through my addictions. Today I have peace and serenity
because I know that Hashem is with me 100%.
never liked to "feel" my feelings. This is why I ate over
everything. And that is why why I was watching movies and reading
books, for hours on end. I wanted to escape from my feelings and
I do not escape. I feel my feelings and many times it can be
very uncomfortable. But today I know that it is OK to feel.
"Feelings" will not kill me. I do not need to escape, because it
Another wonderful thing that has happened to me, is that I see
Hashem's hand in my life EVERY SINGLE DAY! I constantly see Hashem's
help in my life! I am SO grateful for that - THANK YOU HASHEM FOR
OPENING MY EYES TO SEE YOUR GOODNESS!
you to whoever read through this megila. It is a service for
me to share because it reinforces my recovery.
Miri's post reminds me of something I once saw
posted on an Arutz Sheva talkback. The guy wrote:
Many find themselves in destructive behavior when they feel pain
and don't see a way out. When I felt pain, I wanted a way to avoid
it ...which only took me further from reality.
It's OK to sit with pain ... it's better than the mind-numbing
behaviors that remove us from the world.
Thank G-d that we FEEL AGAIN! ... even if it's pain.
Be assured that you are making progress!
The Keys to the Dungeon
"Chaim Duvid" shares - and offers to start a phone group for step
work with GYE members! (see the bottom of this e-mail)
In yesterday's Chizuk e-mail, Miri
shared with us the amazing progress she is experiencing by working
the 12-Steps, particularly the 4th step, which reads: "We made a
searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves".
One of the members of our daily Chizuk e-mails, "Duvid Chaim" - who
is sober in SA for a few years and acts today as a sponsor with
others - wrote us the following inspiring e-mail in response:
I appreciated Miri's Sharing about completing the 4th Step. I
remember how difficult it was for me as well. How could I actually
put down on paper all the history and "stories" that I had that I
considered to be so shameful? And how could I possibly share it with
another person; my sponsor; who was practically a stranger??
I even remember
telling my sponsor that I was such a happy and easy going person
that I didn't have any resentments! After he stopped laughing, he
asked me to be really honest with MYSELF.
And that's when
it really hit me. It wasn't bad enough that I being deceitful with
my wife, my children and my friends, but I was also lying to MYSELF!
Yes, I couldn't even tell the truth to myself. It was as if I had
taken my poor Neshama and locked it in a dungeon - in solitary
confinement, far away from the light.
My sponsor told
me - and I share this with others today - that each of the 12 Steps
is like a KEY. A key that unlocks the dungeon in which we
incarcerated our Neshama. Each Step is a KEY that gives us the
freedom and the light to achieve sustainable and progressive
recovery from our addiction. Each Step is a KEY that opens the
door to make room in our lives for Hashem. (In case you think you
are already so religious and have Hashem in your life, just read
chapter 4 of the
Big Book called "We Agnostics").
Once I started
working B'Emes - with real honesty - on my resentments, I
found that I filled up two pages on my Resentment worksheet. And
then, as if I was having an out-of-body experience, I (a man of
great emunah-or so I thought) completely filled up multiple
sheets on the Fear worksheet. And I don't have to tell you how many
ugly and regret-full experiences ended up on my Sex-Conduct
And when I was
done, I felt like I had tossed a huge weight off my back. Like the
story in the Gemara about the man who placed a baby calf on his
shoulders without any big deal. And he fed the calf while it was
still on his shoulders. And as the calf grew, so did the
man's strength and ability to keep the growing calf on his
shoulders. With the passage of time, the calf grew into an ox. Yet
thanks to the gradual growth of the cow and the man's "conditioning"
that allowed him the carry the weight; he spent a lifetime walking
around with a huge ox on his shoulders.
The "ox" in
our lives is the lustful addiction that we carry on our
shoulders. It grew over time, starting off like a sweet innocent
calf and then becoming the nightmarish burden that most of us resign
ourselves into thinking that we can never get rid of. And who's
surprised? Not only was the calf (addiction) growing into an ox, but
so was the "acceptance" and resignation of our condition growing
along with it.
us, the 12 Step Program gives us the tools and the Keys to unload
this burden from our shoulders and give it over the Ba'al
Ha'Milchama - the
Master of Wars - who can carry this - and any -
burden we have, as long as WE LET HIM.
So to Miri I
shout: "Yasher Koach on working the 4th Step. Be honest. Unload
your Burden. Feel the Freedom, and enjoy the Light!"
prepared an SA - 4th Step Worksheet for "Resentment, Fears and
Sexual Conduct". You can download it
here in PDF format (right-click and select "Save
Link/Target As"). And for all you Excel Spreadsheet mavens out
there, download the Excel version over
here (hit "print preview" to see the headings). Duvid
Chaim says that he prefers this form to handwriting, since he can
make changes and additions to it, and then use it for Step 10 as
well (which is: "We continued to take personal inventory, and when
we were wrong, we promptly admitted it").
At our urgings, Duvid Chaim has offered
to guide a group of GYE members in step-work. Please send us
to let us know if you want to join. Here is what he wrote:
I suggest we
start by "testing the waters" and offering a phone conference call
Monday through Thursday at either 11am or Noon Central Standard
time. We could aim for a target date of say, Monday, July 27th, and
see if we can get 6 guys to commit to this.
The call would start with the
Big Book on Roman numeral xiii (13) and continue 4 days a week
until we complete page 103. It would be a Big Book "text-based" book
study "bi'Chavrusa" to include Step 4 Inventory work when we
get to it. I'll act as the Sponsor and help the guys get through the
readings. At best, we'll do about 3 pages per call, sometimes less.
Once we get to page 67, we could have the participants fill in our
4th Step Spreadsheet (see links above) and email it back to us. We
would then have "private" calls with each participant to go over the
long-distance step work is perhaps not the "ideal" way, the origins
of the 12 Steps actually depended on long distance interaction with
the sponsor. So this can hopefully still work well, be"h.
that we can make a difference in these men's lives. I look forward
to seeing if we can work together to be of maximum service to your
GYE group. (It's an amazing community - you should be blessed with
much light yourself for all your hard work!)
and Tikkun Ha'olam
name (above) reminded me of something I saw in
the news today... Please daven for
Chaim Duvid ben Leah,
critically ill from Swine Flu. May today's e-mail be a Meilitz
Yosher and a merit for his Refuah Shleimah.
we learn from the worldwide swine flue pandemic?
"Ain Puraniyos Ba Le'olam Ela Bishvil
Yisrael", no suffering comes to the world that isn't
somehow connected to - or a lesson for - the Jewish people.
We don't profess to know Hashem's inner workings, but the fact that
this disease originated with swine can perhaps be a lesson to
mankind about the level of 'treifkeit" that fills the world today in
our licentious and promiscuous generation. This disease, which came
from the most treif and dirty animals, has entered into
mankind! And just like people can't go out without face-masks
today in many parts of the world because of the swine-flu, we can't
go out into the streets today without a cover over our faces for
other reasons as well!
I am sure
that the merit of the guardyoureyes community is standing as a
counter weight to this international pandemic. And the more we
continue to strengthen ourselves in these areas, the more we are
purifying the entire world along with us.
Welcome Back Boruch!
Who is Boruch?
for those of you who are new to our network, we called him "our
12-Step Expert" and we cherished his long and brilliant posts on
the forum. Boruch was quoted in tens of Chizuk e-mails in the
past, most noticeably in e-mails #439 - #450 on
When Boruch first joined our forum, he was thoroughly convinced that
the 12-Steps were not for him - or for any of us for that
matter. He came onto the forum blasting against the 12-Steps,
claiming that they were counter-intuitive and had been born out of
another religion, while we Yidden have Chazal who teach us
clearly how to do Teshuvah.
Well, one day Boruch broke the news of his addiction to his
therapist and was given the suggestion to try the 12-Step groups - just
once. Boruch was determined to do all he could to break his
addiction, and if that was what his therapist asked him to do,
Boruch agreed to try it.
Today, Boruch is a changed man. He has become the most ardent
advocate of the 12-Steps and is working them into his life through
the groups with a passion.
Boruch is extremely intelligent and also a big Talmid Chacham,
so we asked him to lead a group of members on our network and teach
them how to implement the 12-Steps into their lives. As a matter of
fact, in Tool #14 of the
GYE Handbook, we implied that our network would soon be starting
an entire division based on the 12-Steps and "Step work", and Boruch
had agreed to help lead it. Unfortunately though, Boruch disappeared
for a while as he was diligently working on himself along with his
sponsors and with others (sponsees), and we weren't sure if and when
he would come back - until TODAY.
Ironically, just yesterday, we announced a venue for "step
work" with the help of another valuable member of our network, Chaim
Duvid. Now that Boruch is back, I believe that both Chaim Duvid AND
Boruch can work together and compliment each other's contributions
to this important project. We will definitely need them BOTH, as the
new GYE 12-Step division is sure to grow and will need many
competent 12-Step experts such as Chaim Duvid and Boruch (maybe Dov,
Elya and "London" too - if they agree) to help guide us along. Just
for example, Chaim Duvid is more of a "phone guy" and "Boruch" is
great "on-line", so we may be able to use Chaim Duvid for the phone
conferences and Boruch for the "on-line" step work. We'll see how
this will work out, one step at a time.
Meanwhile, who ever is interested in working the 12-Steps into their
lives without having to actually join live meetings (as detailed in
Tool #14 of the GYE handbook), please
contact us as we try put together various groups and find what
works best for everyone.
After a long
break of absence, here is Boruch's inspiring post on the forum:
fantastic after such a prolonged absence to be able to come back
here to GYE where everything started for me. B"H today I have 147
days of sobriety and here is the miracle Hashem has done for me:
Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) 137 days ago and I knew then that I was
mentally and physically sick. My wife and I had been seeing
therapists on and off for 12 years. I was on medication and was
going regularly to a counselor for therapy. My wife suffered from
serious depression and she too was going to therapy. We had tried
going to the same therapist but her therapist had thrown me out and
so I had to get my own.
seriously overweight. I was down in weight from my all time high but
I was eating crazier than ever, going from fasting to binging on the
same day and I suffered from high blood pressure. My sleeping was
all over the map. Even after I was sober and had stopped acting out
I would stay up at least two entire nights every week only to go to
work feeling half dead and stay at work the entire day and late into
the next night until I would collapse.
had ground to a halt amid severe financial paranoia. I was unable to
get involved with money at all. I had not recorded at all of any of
the checks I had written over the last two to three years. On a
daily basis, I was totally unaware of my bank balance and would
write checks anyway. I had no concept of how much money I owed
Credit Card companies. I was chronically late in paying bills,
including credit card bills. The simplest tasks that in minutes
would have moved desperately needed money into my bank account to
prevent overdraft charges were totally beyond my reach, and in the
space of a few months I had racked up a thousand dollars in
overdraft fees alone. I ran a small online business on the side that
had promise, but I had just totally stopped processing any of the
sales. At work I had also ground to a halt.
for both myself and my wife was going nowhere. We were totally
stuck. I needed an absolute miracle to recover and so did she.
never joined SA for any of that, I did not and could not have
believed that SA could help me in those areas. I joined SA for one
reason only - I wanted to get sober from my addiction. I never knew
that Hashem would guide me to an SA sponsor who would take me
several times through all 12 Steps of SA. I never dreamed that after
doing my hishtadlus (effort)
in following my sponsor's guidance on Step Taking, I would
experience the miracle of Hashem's healing in a way that I could
never have imagined.
days later, I am off medication and have never felt better. With the
guidance of my SA sponsor and the blessing of my therapist, I no
longer need therapy and I am calmer and happier than I have ever
been. After I was 65 days in SA, I disclosed my addiction to my wife
and she joined S-Anon and later changed therapists at the
recommendation of a fellow S-Anon member. Be'Chasdei Hashem
her depression has lifted and last week she had her last therapy
session with the blessing of her new therapist, and we are now - one
day at a time - getting closer to each other than we have ever been.
without any struggling at all, I eat three full nutritious and
balanced meals a day and I have lost over 25 lbs since 3 days before
Pesach, for a total loss of over a full quarter of my body weight,
from my all-time high of 225 lb over a year ago. My blood pressure
is now text-book 120 over 80. And as a rule, Boruch Hashem, I now
get a decent night's sleep every night of the week.
the first time ever, my wife and I have a daily record-keeping of
everything we spend and earn. I know exactly how much I owe and to
whom. With Hashem's help, one day at a time, we are now working
towards earning wiser, spending wiser and with Hashem's bracha we
are working on becoming debt-free.
importantly for me, life is no longer about me. Life is now about my
wife, my children, and everyone else around me. Hashem has blessed
me with three wonderful SA sponsees with whom I have been fortunate
to share the life-giving message I got from my sponsor.
Having shared my sponsor's message with three others, I am now
back here on this forum to share my sponsor's message with anyone
out there who cares to listen.
Even if I
am the only one listening, that is fine for me, because even though
I have gotten so much - so soon, it is so good that I just can't
get enough of it --- I just have to keep coming back for more...
jumping right-in and writes today:
Who ever wants can
download the "Back to Basics" text (right-click and choose
"Save Target/Link As"). This is the text that my sponsor used
when I took the Steps, and I will be using this text as the basis
for online step work with whoever wants to join.
To e-mail Boruch directly:
MAZAL TOV BARDITCHEV!
One of the
most active and lively members on
our forum in recent months who calls himself "Bardichev" (since
his biggest inspiration is the holy Barditchiver Rebbe, Rav Levi
Yitzchak), has completed 90-days clean yesterday and joined
the Tzadikim on the "Wall
of Hashem's Honor"!
Since he is a Chassid and always full of Simcha, I would like
everybody to drink Lechayim with Bardichev today by watching
Purim Tanse Video Clip (from frumtube.com). Somehow, the
guys dancing there in the video remind me of the picture I have in
my mind of Bardichev!
Everyone loves Bardichev on the forum, and he is always bubbling
over with Simcha, Chizuk, Torah and Chassidus, besides making a lot
of us laugh! We hope he stays with us for many years to come, and
continues to inspire many Yidden to recovery.
Today we will bring some very inspiring posts from
Bardichev's 90-day journey.
Bardichev wrote in his first powerful post:
I found your website in March. It is the most wonderful thing that
has happened to me in along time.
I cried my eyes out reading all the machshavos tovos and
sincere hirhurei teshuva.
I cried for along time when I realized that most of what I thought I
was going through was crazy and only happening to me, was in fact
happening to so many others as well.
I cried for the honest people who are trying to save their
neshamos,their lives, their marriages, their NORMALCY.
I cried to Hashem to please let me also become a baal teshuva and
not just go back and forth and be caught in a vicious cycle.
Shabbos "Hachodesh" was anew hischadshus for me. I felt like
air was being filled into a deflated balloon.
I cried so hard by Kabbolas Shabbos, my kids were looking at me as
if something was wrong.
I cried by the passuk "ohavei Hashem
sinu ra shomer nafshois chasidav miyad rishayim yatzileim".
And I begged Hashem with all my heart that the next Shabbos I will
not stand in shame in front of him when I said this passuk again.
Sunday morning I started to monitor myself. I reactivated my
accountability program and I started keeping a log on paper of
every hour that I was in front of my computer. It was really
phenomenal to see for myself how many times I would want to just go
online for a few minutes. That was my first clean day (I am not
counting Friday, for that was my real hard "soul searching" day).
Monday and Tuesday were very hard, but I fought like a lion and I
was in full control. I kept on reading all the posts on the forum
the stories, etc. It was (and is) my new lifeline.
Wednesday and Thursday I was very busy with a dvar mitzva so
I had little access to my computer and it was a breeze.
Now here is where it gets interesting. Wednesday night I went to a
chasuna, and for the first time in years I felt so happy and
excited to be by someone else's Simcha! I cried like a baby by the
chuppah and I davened for siyatta dishmaya in my war.
And suddenly by this wedding, I had almost total control of my eyes.
I was ashamed to be in the lobby. I stayed on the dance floor the
By the time Shabbos came around I felt such simcha and real
kedushas ha'shabbos, it was wonderful!
I have one last thought. The Heiliger "Kedushas Levy" (the Bardicher
Rebbe) would weep from Nachas and be Meilitz Yosher for all
the Mevakshay Hashem on this forum.
Please put me on the
Humbled and Happy,
We also encourage everyone to read a
very inspiring post from Bardichev in the second half of Chizuk
e-mail #459 on
Recently Bardichev wrote:
I struggled with these nisyonos since first year of high
school. It only got worse as I got older. I have Rabbeim from all
ends of the spectrum, from the Kedushas Levi to the Bais
Halevy, and I read every word in Lev Eliyahu and almost
all of the Igros Chazon Ish and the Steipler Gaon, and
almost every word of Nesivas Shalom, etc.. All of them talk
about this struggle, and yet I was still struggling! But I firmly
believe that it is the koach of the Torah that kept saying to
me: "Bardichev keep on trucking!!! You will get there!"
Today - on his 90th day, Bardichev
TZADDIKIM, DEAR BROTHERS,
FIRST I NEED TO THANK THE HOLY CREATOR THAT ALLOWED ME TO FIND THIS
SECOND OF ALL, WE ALL NEED TO THANK THE HEILIGER GUARD.
RABBOISAI (AND REBBETZINOISAI), DO WE REALIZE WHO THE HEILIGER GUARD
I AM CONVINCED HE IS ELIYAHU HANAVI. FIRST OF ALL HE IS INVISIBLE.
SECOND OF ALL, HE IS THE MALACH HABRIS. THIRD, HE DRINKS L'CHAIM AT
THE END OF THE SEDER!!!
IF WE STAND BACK AND TAKE STOCK, THE GEMARA TEACHES US "GADOL
HAMACHTI'OI YOSER MIN HA-HURGO" (worse is one who causes another
to sin, than if he had killed him). SO IF HE SAVES US FROM SIN, HE
GAVE US LIFE, HE GAVE US OUR HUMANITY - OUR NORMALCY BACK, HOW MUCH
DO WE OWE HIM??
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THE PEOPLE WHO READ MY POSTS, AND I WOULD
ESPECIALLY LIKE TO THANK THOSE WHO RESPOND TO THEM. IT IS YOUR
CHIZZUK AND YOUR KEEPING ME ON THE BALL - TO CONCENTRATE ON WHAT WE
ARE REALLY TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH HERE, WHICH IS; MORALITY, KEDUSHA,
YIRAS SHAMAYIM, ETC.
I ALSO WANT TO THANK ALL MY CHAVEIRIM HERE. I AM SO ENGROSSED IN
TORAH ON THIS SITE, IT IS REALLY A KIDDUSH HASHEM.
THE SADDEST THING ABOUT THIS SITE IS THAT WE CAN'T ACTUALLY MEET ONE
WE NEED TO DAVEN TO HASHEM: "LEV TAHOR BI-RAH LEE ELOKIM VI-RUACH
NACHON CHADESH BIKIRBI" (Hashem, make me a pure heart; renew a
spirit of integrity in me").
Humble and HAPPIER THAN EVER,
To our dear Bardichev I say:
yet all dance together one day, in the world of truth!
writes to Bardichev:
As you give credit to everyone on this site, you should realize how
much credit YOU deserve. Your simcha and upbeat attitude lift me up
every day, and it is just impossible to be sad after reading your
posts. I can't imagine how many people you inspire and I'm sure they
include many people who never post but just come to be uplifted. I
wish you much Hatzlacha in all of your Avodas Hashem and especially
in continuing to help people on this site with your joy and insight.
R' Avraham J. Twerski, MD, is the founder and medical director of
Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania and is
one of the world's leading experts on addictions today. He is also
the author of over 50 books and a Gadol and pioneer in
Klal Yisrael. It is one of GuardYourEyes network's greatest
honors to have Rabbi Twerski as one of the guiding forces behind our
work. Besides for providing invaluable consulting and advice, he
also contributes to our network and is often quoted in our articles,
tips and daily e-mails. (Click on the picture of Rabbi Twerski to
go to a page of various tips, articles and correspondence that we
have had with Rabbi Twerski in the past).
Rabbi Twerski shared with us today the following beautiful
something you might add to
One of the
slogans of the 12-step program is "Keep it simple (stupid)".
It is important to keep things simple. We make things difficult by
"Simple" does not
mean "easy." A command to lift a 100 pound weight is simple, it's
just very hard. If we keep things simple and are willing to do hard
work, we can triumph.
Yohanan ben Zakai died, his talmidim asked him for a bracha.
He said, "May you fear Hashem as much as you fear other people".
There are things a person would be ashamed to be seen doing by
others, but is not ashamed to be seen doing them by Hashem."
People who would
be afraid to look at pornography in a smut store because someone
might see them there, have no shame in being seen by Hashem. The
first paragraph in the Shulchan Aruch instructs us to
constantly be aware that we are in the imminent presence of Hashem
and behave accordingly.
That is simple.
There is nothing complex about it. It is just very hard to do.
We must work hard
to attain yiras shamayim. Mesilas yesharim points out
that we must work diligently to get it, "like one who searches for
silver and digs for treasure." If you don't find the treasure at
first, you don't give up. You continue digging, even exhausting
yourself in order to find the treasure. That's how we must work for yiras
shamayim. It is not going to just drop down from heaven.
Pray hard and
tearfully for yiras shamayim. Our lives depend on it. Read
the essays in mussar on developing yiras shamayim. This
is a prayer that is always answered, provided that we really want
The Big Announcement:
Taking GuardYourEyes to a whole new level
Twerski's e-mail today was nothing short of a "divine HUG" for us,
because it ties in exactly with the MAJOR announcement that
we would like to make today.
For the last 20 years or so, Rabbi Twerski has been consistently
telling people who turn to him for help in regard to conquering lust
addiction, that the most successful program in this regard is the
world renowned 12-Steps (SA
SLAA groups). See
Rabbi Twerski's Page on our website and read through the various
articles and advice posted there from him, to learn more about his
views on the 12-Steps and why they are so powerful. Basically, it
all boils down to what Rabbi Twerski wrote above. The 12-Steps
"keep things simple" and
help us develop a whole new and more REAL connection with
Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Instead of dealing directly with the
addiction, they teach us how to "live right" and "think right", and
somehow the addiction miraculously falls away! The 12-Steps teach us
absolute dependance on Hashem, humility, rigorous honesty in all our
affairs and acceptance of life on Hashem's terms, etc... (We have
been focusing a lot on the many deep lessons of the 12-Steps in the
past 70 Chizuk e-mails or so, almost every day. See
this page and
this page of our archives). Please read Tool #14 and #15 of
GYE Handbook to learn more about the secret power of
However, many of us needed to really "hit bottom" before being
willing to join face-to-face groups. Religious Jews tend to be more
wary of anonymity issues and are also more reluctant to join
non-Jewish (and sometimes mixed) groups, even though Rabbi Twerski
calls this addiction a "spiritual cancer" and tells people that
nothing should stand in their way to recovery. Still, it often takes
years of vicious cycles and far too much pain, before a religious
addict will be willing to give himself over to the face-to-face
12-Step meetings. (See Chizuk e-mail #465 on
this page for "Dov's Story" where he mentions that Rabbi
Twerski had encouraged him to join SA groups 6 years before he
finally had no choice. Today he is 11 years sober
and inspiring us all on the forum every day!). Well, that's
where today's big announcement come in.
For the first time ever, GuardYourEyes will be offering two
different 12-Step phone conferences that will help religious Jews
work the 12-Steps into their lives without having to join
this page for the "marketing pitch" for these two new 12-Step
groups being launched!
Here is a short description of
the two group ideas:
Led by "Duvid Chaim". An in depth
12-Step Big-Book Study Lunch & Learn, 4 days a week,
Monday through Thursday at 12 Noon EST - Phone Conference Call.
(Steps 4 and 5 will use
spreadsheets filled out by the members and e-mailed back to
Duvid Chaim. Private follow up phone calls will be made to each
member individually). Write
to us if you want to join this group. Target starting date:
Monday, June 29 (if we get
enough guys signed up).
Led by "Boruch". A "Back to Basics -
12-Steps in 4 Weeks" program. This group will be a
combination of on-line readings and phone conferences. Boruch will
be posting from the
SA "Back to Basics" literature a few times a week on the new
board of our forum that we created for this purpose
over here. These postings will be followed up by a once-a-week
phone conference on Wednesday at 9 PM EST. Write
to Boruch if you want to join this group. Target starting
date: Boruch has already began posting from the literature on
the forum. The first phone conference can be as early as the coming
Wednesday, June 24 (if we
get enough guys signed up).
These two groups are an unprecedented opportunity for religious
Jews to learn how to work the 12-Steps into their lives with the
help of professional 12-Step sponsors, without having to join live
groups. If you have been struggling with this addiction for years
and trying all sorts of approaches with little progress - today is
YOUR DAY. But even if you have seen good progress through our
network so far, these programs can help you attain "progressive
victory over lust" for the long-term, as well as help you achieve a
new awareness and serenity in all areas of your life.
The Right Attitude
got a cry for help from someone, and we replied to them as follows:
Dear Neshama, you've come to the right place!
As much as reading your story was painful, it also made me smile
because it is SO typical. Everyone who turns to us for
help at first, thinks (and I quote your words below):
- "I feel like I don't have an ounce
of self control".
- "There is not even a drop of yiras
shamayim in me".
- "the tips about what to do once
you're lusting hasn't helped me, for in that minute of crazed
desires, I don't want to think about anything, I want to continue".
- "when I fall, I rationalize that if
I'm doing it anyway, I may as well enjoy it".
- "I keep having to start over and
And that's exactly why we created the
two GuardYourEyes handbooks! They answer every one of your
points much better than I would be able to in one short e-mail!
Let me just say a few things quickly, before I give you the links.
1) It has nothing to do with self-control, an addiction is a
spiritual disease. You need to learn the tools of how to cure this
2) It also has nothing to do with Yiras Shamayim. Even
the biggest Tzadikim could not control themselves when faced head-on
with lust (see principle #10 in the Attitude Handbook). The trick to
beating this is not to fight the lust head-on. Please read the
handbooks to find out HOW.
the GYE handbook, you'll learn all the tools you can use to
break free of this addiction, and all the rest of your points are
answered in the
Attitude handbook as well...
May Hashem be with you!
we got a reply from this person:
I know I'm probably making you crazy and all, but too bad; I
must tell you that I downloaded the attitude handbook and
was crying all night (Ok fine, it was morning already :)
So many of
the thoughts expressed there put me at ease. I realized that I
haven't been thinking of myself as a person lately, seriously. I
just thought I'm behaving like an animal, and I stopped believing in
myself after falling so far. I didn't even think of it as a
"challenge", because I believed that I had put myself into this
willingly. But now I realize that Hashem gave me these tests, and
that it is part of my soul's journey.
Before I started having nisyonos in this area, I was very
complacent about my yiddishkeit. Don't get me wrong, I was
doing everything right, but in a "detached" sort of way. Then I
cried to Hashem that he should help me be able to serve him better,
and I remember now that not long after I davened for this (a few
years ago as a teenager), my spiritual life became much more
elevated. Now I see that this was probably because I
was having a lot of spiritual tests then. So... maybe this addiction
is actually the answer to my prayers! In other words, davka
through this huge spiritual nisayon, Hashem wants me
to draw closer to him! Isn't that an amazing thought?
The handbook expresses the idea that Hashem can put us into this
challenge just so we can grow and become better Jews. That has
really uplifted me, because until now I didn't feel worthy to fight,
worthy to become close to Hashem. But the handbook helped me put it
in the right perspective; that it's a nisayon just like all
others and that I will overcome it, just as I have overcome others.
This is not about me, it's about a challenge and mission that
I have, in order to serve the almighty even better.
Another thing that really helped me, is this idea in Principle #17,
and I quote:
general, those who struggle a lot with these issues, have a great
deal of emotional and spiritual energy inside them. It is also
known, that people with particular character traits, such as
creativity, love for people and spiritual sensitivity, are more
prone to seeking alternate expression for their inner strengths
through a stronger than usual sexual drive."
I felt like I can certainly relate to that, and I had thought that
my drive was only an animalistic desire until now. It made me feel
"Even if we started to slip, we can achieve the greatest levels of
Kedusha by stopping ourselves from sliding further."
This idea and the example of Yosef in Principle #22, helped me with
what I told you yesterday, that "If I
was falling anyway, I might as well enjoy it".
lately I wasn't davening to well, feeling very far away from
everything our Father in Heaven wants us to be, but the idea in
Principle #26 was a strong wake up call:
I an eved hashem because it's my nature and/or because it keeps me
emotionally happy, or do I serve the Almighty because that's His
will and nothing else?".
I know He
certainly wants me to continue to daven and talk to him, even though
it makes me feel bad/embarrassed, because its HIS will.
Additionally, I was trying to accomplish things like; "never again
will I succumb to lust"... etc. But I've learned from the handbook
now to try it just for the day, or even for the moment. As it says:
Therefore, when feeling weak we can
tell ourselves, "Just for today, I will stay clean".
For the record, I'm up to my third day now. It was a bit hard today
and I kept on thinking that "for this moment, I'll manage".
Momo's 10 Tenets
We have a member
our forum who calls himself "Momo". When he first read through
the GYE handbooks (here),
they did not seem to have a lasting effect on him. We managed to
convince him however, that the handbooks can't work unless we read
them slowly and try to IMPLEMENT the ideas inside them. So Momo took
the initiative and began to work through the Handbooks together with
all of us on the forum, tool by tool, principle by principle.
His thread quickly became so inspiring that we
began a whole
new board on the forum for him and for others to follow
his wonderful example. Today, Momo is quickly becoming one of the
most "promising" students of the GuardYourEyes community, and he is
already offering great Chizuk to others on the forum as well!
We strongly encourage everyone to follow Momo's lead and begin
journals on this
new board! There is truly no better way to beat this addiction
than to go through the handbooks slowly and systematically, and
carefully examine each tool that we have - or have not yet -
tried. And by methodically writing down our thoughts, comments and
questions on the forum, not only are we forced to clarify what we
are reading, but we also will get tons of chizuk and feedback - and
inspire so many others as well!
spent a few days working through the GYE handbooks, he posted the
following inspiring post:
to share my list of 10 tenets for fighting my lust addiction. If I
can only live by the following rules - and I believe they are
attainable, then I think I would have "arrived".
purposely begin each "tenet" below with the word "today"
since this battle must be fought one day at a time.
I think each person has to read through the GYE handbooks themselves
and make their own list of tenets. Maybe some of these ideas
will be helpful for some of you reading this. But it's mainly a
reminder for me of what I need to do each day to get better. So here
will, bli neder, read and perform the following, daily:
Tenet #1: Fill my day with chizuk
read through the GYE handbook when taking breaks at work, instead of
surfing around. I'll read and respond to other people's posts and to
my own posts on the forum, and get chizuk from them.
Tenet #2: Remind myself of my addiction
addicted to lust and it takes over my life if I don't try to control
it, and I know that I can't control it all by myself.
Tenet #3: Strengthen my belief in Hashem
believe in Hashem who will help me with my battle. I also have a
circle of friends here on this forum who are helping me.
Tenet #4: Make Hashem's will my will
In matters of lust I pray: Hashem, while I will try today not to
give in to any of my desires that are against your will, you
Hashem, are the only one who can truly relieve my addiction.
Please take it away from me!
In matters of
anger and control: I believe that Hashem controls the world and
the outcome of every situation. Therefore, I will try today not
to get angry when something happens against my will. I have a
natural tendency to want to control my life, my environment, and
other people's lives. I need to learn to accept myself and
others. I will try to learn to stop fighting, and let You Hashem,
run the world the way You see fit.
Tenet #5: Remind myself why I must remove
lust from myself
I have to stop lustful emotions as soon as they start, by reminding
myself of the difference between "Pleasure" and "Happiness", and
that I WANT to let go of the lust because of the following:
fleeting and false fulfillment. It cuts me off from the world
and doesn't let me feel the tremendous kindness of Hashem. It
doesn't let me bind to the goodness in the world, and it makes
me lose appreciation for my wife and children. The more I
indulge, the more I am unable to find inner peace, and I remain
closed up within a shell of "myself".
is real and ever-lasting fulfillment. It reconnects me to the
world, lets me feel the tremendous kindness of Hashem and helps
me see the goodness in the world. This helps me gain
appreciation for my wife and children, and to find inner peace.
Tenet #6: Break up the day, be happy
Today I'll be happy. I'll break the day into 3 segments: morning
(when I wake up until lunch), afternoon (lunch until I get home),
and night (when I get home until I wake up). For every hour, and
especially after every segment I stay clean, I will be happy about
Tenet #7: Guard my eyes
I'll guard my eyes in the office and on the street. I will use my
filters to guard my eyes on the internet. When I feel weak, I'll try
to read from the GYE handbook instead of trying to bypass my
Tenet #8: Make fences
Today I will
not touch myself.
Today I won't
act out when I "feel like it". I'll wait 10 minutes, sitting or
walking around if need be, and by then the lust will have
Tenet #9: Daven better
Today I will direct my energy and spiritual vigor into my prayers.
Today I'll focus on davening with more kavana.
Tenet #10: Love, not lust
Today I will work on understanding and living with the awareness of
the difference between "true love" and "animalistic lust".
writes to someone who had a fall:
human, not angels, so it's OK that we fell. If we learn from our
mistakes and use them to raise us up to an even higher level than
before the fall, then our fall turns into a merit (thus Chazal say
that our sins turn into merits after teshuva me'ahava).
repeat to yourself this great truth that "Hoping" recently posted on
fall while on the journey is worth more than a clean day while you
There is still some time left to sign up for the
two new 12-Step phone conferences (announced in Chizuk e-mail
#507) that will hopefully be starting soon! So far interest has been
lower than expected.
Yidden, this is a
unique opportunity to learn how to apply the 12-Steps to our
lives, together with a Frum group and a professional sponsor,
without having to join live, non-Jewish SA meetings (which Rabbi
Twerski has been encouraging addicts in our situation to do for the
last 20 years)!
"To Me, the 12-Steps ARE Torah"
"London" writes on the forum to someone
who believes that Torah and Mussar will be enough to get him out of
My question to you is simply; is what you are doing now working,
are you staying sober, staying stopped, and leading a
purposeful life? If you are then, great! However, if what you are
doing is not working, then why not try working the steps and join an
SA meeting? What have you got to lose? We have it on good authority
that the 12 steps are not contrary to Judaism; quite the opposite is
true, the 12-Steps teach us the fundamentals of religion all
over again, in a way that can often penetrate the hardest hearts.
experience, long before I came into SA, I went to speak to Rabbonim
and Mashgichim, and they all sympathized with me, but none of them
gave me the answer like the 12 steps do. If the answer was so simple
as to learn more mussar or daven harder, why
did they not tell me this? The answer to me is, that most Rabbonim
are way out of their depths with mental issues like addictions, they
do not understand the phenomenon. And why should I expect
them to understand it? Perhaps if one of them has had the occasional
urge to look at porn, etc... the answer for them was always to be
mechazaik themselves with mussar, etc.
Nowadays, we do not have the capacity of the previous generations to
look into the Torah and derive the practical solutions for the
world's problems. I am sure beyond a shadow of doubt that there is a
cure for cancer contained within the Torah, but which Rav would be
so foolish to advise someone suffering from cancer r'l to immerse
himself in the Torah to find the solution? He has to see a Doctor
and start a treatment of chemotherapy. Lust addiction is a spiritual
cancer of the soul, that at any given moment is only getting
progressively worse, as we try and maintain the highs. The 12 steps
is a spiritual chemotherapy. For me (I speak for myself only),
learning mussar in isolation would not work, I need the
physical interaction of going to meetings, speaking with my sponsor,
making and receiving calls during times of distress, and working the
if you are still struggling with this insidious addiction, perhaps
you should try joining a meeting and asking for help. You may be
pleasantly surprised. For me, working the steps has given me a
new foundation for my yiddishkeit; it is helping me to be a
true Eved Hashem. For me, it's not a question of "Torah vs. the
12-Steps, Torah is the 12 steps.
And the fact that it was originated by Non-Jews? I will leave that
up to Hashem to worry about. There are so many inventions out there
that were invented by the Non-Jews that we use to help us in our
Yiddishkeit, let this join the ranks!
Boruch, who will be leading one of the 12-Step phone groups, writes
to someone on the forum about the 12-Steps:
A "Step" is a way to get from place A to place B.
successfully from place A to place B you need two things, the theoretical
knowledge of what it takes to get from one point to another, and
the practical recognition of how to apply and use that
knowledge. So, for example, you could study driving in theory by
reading the best instruction manuals, but until you take driving
lessons and get practice in how to apply that knowledge, all the
theory will remain useless.
Ramban in his hakdomo to Bereishis says that all
of wisdom in the world can be learned from Torah, and that Shlomo
Hamelech was able to plant peppers most successfully by deriving his
knowledge directly from Torah. The level of Shlomo Hamelech's
knowledge and understanding of Torah was such, that he was able to
master both the theory and practice of planting
peppers directly from Torah.
about if I need to grow peppers? I could do one of two
1) Try and
learn so well that I reach the level of Shlomo Hamelech in Torah so
that I too could derive both the theory and practice of planting
peppers directly from Torah.
2) Get a
book on agriculture, study it, and then go down to a farm and spend
time getting experience until I am ready to grow peppers myself.
will I choose? Obviously the second. Does that mean that a book on
agriculture and some months on a farm are somehow equivalent to
Torah? After learning the book and spending time on the farm, am I
on the same level as Shlomo Hamelech? Obviously not. It's just that
for me, becoming like Shlomo Hamelech is impossible.
Let us now
move to the question of mussar and of "overcoming the Yetzer
Hara". Rav Yisroel Salanter wrote in Or Yisroel (Iggeres 19)
that Torah is the theoretical knowledge where practical
experience is not required, but mussar is the practical knowledge
of how to apply Torah to life, and for that,
practical experience is a must.
also writes about mussar there, that different people need
different paths, and what works for one won't necessarily work for
another. Furthermore, he writes what works for one middah in
one person will not necessarily work for another middah in
the same person (Iggeres 20). For this reason, R' Yisroel refused to
give written mussar advice to one of his talmidim, and
insisted that they need to meet one-on-one at length before they can
determine the correct course of mussar (Iggeres 19).
advice requires great experience on the part of the Rebbe, who then
uses his own personal experience to work one-on-one with the talmid
to develop the correct plan of action.
following R' Yisroel Salanter's approach, if I needed guidance in
parenting, I would not be well-advised to go for advice to someone
with no kids, and if I needed mussar in Shalom Bayis,
I would not be well-advised to go for advice to a bochur.
the problem with addiction. In general, we do not have Rabbeim that
have their own practical experience of overcoming addiction, to be
able to prescribe the right mussar. Does this imply that the
Torah is lacking Chas veshalom? No doubt Shlomo Hamelech
could have used his knowledge of the secrets of Torah to have
derived the practical knowledge to help addicts, even without
first-hand experience. But when an addict came to one of the most
practical mussar teachers of our generation, Rav Avigdor
Miller Zt"l, Rabbi Miller told him that he could not help him and
told him to seek professional help instead.
When I was
fighting addiction and my own mussar was not working for me,
I had no choice; there was no Shlomo Hamelech to go to. So I went to
the practical experience of millions of addicts.
is that the basic prescription of AA co-founder, Dr. Bob (see a copy
of his prescription here)
(1) Trust in G-d
(2) Clean House
(3) Help Others
is just what the addict needs.
And their experience is,
that these three precepts are most easily achieved through the 12
And their experience is
that the best way to get the 12 Steps, is by working one-on-one with
someone who has experience of the same addiction, and who
experienced overcoming that very addiction by using
how it is summarized in the AA Big Book:
"One alcoholic could affect another as no non-alcoholic could...
Strenuous work, one alcoholic with another, was vital to permanent
mean that we need to get defensive about the supremacy of Torah?
Absolutely not. Mussar, as R' Yisroel said long before the AA
Big Book was ever written, depends on
fortunately, our Rabbeim have no experience in addiction.
Of Nuclear Power, Babylonian gods and Shmiras Habris...
is Rosh Chodesh Tamuz; a day of renewal, as well as the
Yartzeit of Yosef Hatzadik's birth and passing.
Babylonian tradition, Tamuz was a god that came to symbolize
the death of nature in the heat of summer, and they named the month
of "Tamuz" after this god. Saddam Hussein YM'Sh named his Osirak
nuclear reactor "Tamuz" after this god as well.
Zohar (in Chelek Beis, pg 78b) writes that Yakov Avinu took the
months of Nissan and Iyar for himself (hence Yetziyas Mitzrayim,
Kabbalas Hatorah), and Eisav took the months of Tamuz and Av for
himself (and hence, the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha Be'av).
occurred to me that Tamuz is the epitome of Kedusha vs. Tumah; as it
Le'umas Zeh bara Elokim -
Hashem created this one opposite the other".
On the one hand, Eisav chose this month for himself and the
Babylonians also chose it as a symbol of "death". But on the other
hand, Hashem prepared the "refuah" (healing) before the "makah"
(disease) and Yosef Hatzadik was born in the very beginning of
Eisav's two month reign. The Pasuk says that when Moshiach comes
"the house of Yosef will be a flame and the house of Eisav will
be like straw". Yosef's flame of Kedusha will devour and
eradicate the power of Eisav from the world.
How can we understand these two opposing forces in the month of
"death" in the heat of summer is really a preparation for the
renewal that comes in the rainy season. While everything in Israel
(and Babylonia) becomes dry and withered in Tamuz, Yosef Hatzadik
symbolizes bounty and plenty. According to Kabbalah, Yosef is the
Middah of Yesod, which passes on all the heavenly light
to "Malchus" (our world), as it says
Hu Hamashbir lechol am ha'aretz
and Yosef was the provider for all the people
of the land".
Eisav dwells in the death itself, a Jew uses the death for renewal,
turning it into endless divine bounty. A Jew is able to take his
past falls and uses them as a spring-board for growth. Like a seed
that needs to rot in the ground before it can sprout into a fruitful
tree, Hashem wants us to use the times of darkness to appreciate the
light that will inevitably follow.
We have the ability to turn the falls of our past into a foundation
for our closeness to Hashem now. As we all said in Hallel today:
Yasrani Kah etc... Hashem has brought me great suffering, but to death he did not
hand me over...
Odecha Ki Anisani etc...
thank thee for the suffering, and it was for me a salvation".
Through our past falls, we learn how to overcome the darkness and
follow the light, and we use our past experience to help others
towards the light as well.
symbolizes Shmiras Ha'Bris, and perhaps the biggest lesson
that we can learn from him was that it was only through the merit of
his "withholding" that he merited that so much bounty and
goodness should flow forth through him. And this is the secret of
the divine channel of Yesod. When we close all the holes in
our divine "pipes" (and we are willing to go through the dryness of
"Tamuz" first), Hashem's blessing and bounty is able to flow through
Koach of the Bris is somewhat like a nuclear reaction.
Our job is to take this "nuclear power" and harness it for
constructive purposes; to bring forth life, not death. How is this
done in a reactor? By inserting fuel rods into the reactor's core to
absorb and "hold back" the nuclear chain-reactions from continuing.
By doing this, we are able to harness the tremendous energy, and we
are able to light up entire cities with electricity! Our enemies on
the other hand, want to harness nuclear power for destructive
purposes. This happens in atomic weapons, where their is no
"containment" of the nuclear reactions. The Jewish people succeeded
in destroying the nuclear reactor "Tamuz" of Saddam, on erev Shavuos,
the 5th of Sivan, 1981, in the month of Yakov Avinu. Shavuos is the
time of kabbalas Hatorah, and the Torah is like the "fuel rods" that
teach us how to harness the power of the Yesod properly
through the Mitzvos. The Mitzvos of the Torah, such as
"Pru u'revu -
be fruitful and multiply"
on the one hand, and
sikrivu legalos erva -
do not come close to revealing nakedness"
on the other, teach us how to channel Hashem's bracha in the right
ways and harness the tremendous energy of Yesod for the good.
The Yetzer Hara wants us to use the potent power of the Bris
for destructive purposes. But through the power of Shmiras Habris,
by withholding this potent energy and harnessing it for
constructive purposes only, we become vessels for divine bounty, and
we succeed in "containing" the designs of our enemies, who once
again desire to use nuclear power to destroy us...
that is the beauty of the seeming contradiction of Tamuz. And that
is perhaps the reason why Yosef was born on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. Let
us harness the tremendous power of Yosef on his Yartzeit today, by
properly "containing" the power of Yesod and thereby
harnessing it for LIFE and endless divine blessing.
There is still some time left to sign up for the
two new 12-Step phone conferences (announced in Chizuk e-mail
#507) that will hopefully be starting soon!
Yidden, this is a
unique opportunity to learn how to apply the 12-Steps to our
lives, together with a Frum group and a professional sponsor,
without having to join live, non-Jewish SA meetings (which Rabbi
Twerski has been encouraging addicts in our situation to do for the
last 20 years!).
Yankle posted on
I regret that I have lost yet another streak. I do not know if I
should stay on the list or chart, as I can't seem to fight any more.
How far I have fallen from who I was! I am divorced and alone. The
loneliness gets to be too much for me. I turn only to Hashem and the
handbooks for help. As I type and cry, I only wish things were
different. I want to be able to sit and learn all day again to get a
relationship with the Ribono shel olam and to have my own family
again. Instead, I have brought this terrible illness of lust upon
myself and I feel that until I break it nothing positive will come
to me anymore, as I do not deserve it, as I go against Hashem. How
can I expect Him to be good to me, or even provide good for me, if
keep on falling to my yetzer harah and defying Hashem?
Dov (who is sober in
SA for 11 years) answers:
love you because you are a fellow creation, and especially
because you are a yid; and especially because you are a
fellow addict. "Love" means I will do anything I can to help
you, gladly, with no expectation of receiving anything in return at
all. The only thing you can do for me, would be to
benefit from my help :-)
Certainly Hashem loves you more than I do, and more than anyone ever
did or will. Actually, He must also even love you even while
you are acting out. Not approve, but love - and love
all the same. This is very important to internalize.
Whenever I calmly think about:
that He created us without giving us a choice (al korcha ata nolad
- pirkei avos), and even though He didn't have to at all,
and that He must be only giving, since He has no needs at all
I am able to recognize that
"bishvili nivrah haolam -
me the world was created" really means that Hashem is 100% totally and unconditionally ON MY
SIDE, and always will be.
about you? Can you accept that? Even partially? I believe that
acceptance of this fact was an indispensable foundation of the
12-step recovery for me. I actually came to it by doing my fourth
("We made a searching and fearless moral
inventory of ourselves"), which helped me truly recognize and accept
for the first time who I really am (good and bad) and realize
that Hashem still has a relationship with me! Shortly after that
(1.5 years into the program), I discovered completely by chance that
I could actually smile at who I saw in the mirror for a change. It
was incredible, and it still is.
You call acting out "defying Hashem". I doubt you ever acted out to
defy Hashem at all. So, let's get perspective here: I believe
we all "defy Hashem" (even non-addicts), as we are ultimately
all selfish ignoramuses when it comes to recognizing our total and
constant dependence on Hashem Yisborach, and we probably
always will be. And there's not really very much we can do about
this. Our purpose here in this world is to recognize that we are
handicapped by virtue of the fact that we are human, and yet react
with a resounding: EVEN SO, HERE I GO! - and do mitzvos
be'simcha anyway. Moshe Rabeinu answered the Malachim:
"hey, do you die? do you have jealousy, desire, stealing, etc?", and
yet Hashem still wants our little avodah!
is not to say "why bother trying to be a tzaddik, or even any better
at all?". I am just pointing out that if you want to call your
choices "defying Hashem" or "evil", then at least recognize that the
best any of us will likely ever do is still rather pathetic, even
though every bit of improvement towards goodness and perfection and
towards Hashem's Ratzon - is precious beyond our imagination. That's
just what we are! Like babies without any understanding, compared to
please consider some alterations to your perception of reality and
"cool your jets" of self-condemnation, and then you'll be able to
Are Hashem's hands ever tied Chas veshalom that He can't be
in love with us? I believe that it is our Yetzer Hara that
tells us: "Hashem only really loves me when I am good (if He
loves me at all), and even then, only after I do some Teshuva".
These are normal sentiments, particularly for us frum Yidden who
have been taught the standards that Hashem wants us to live up to,
for our own benefit. But they are poison, and for me, they
were a convenient cop-out actually, which led me only to a downward
spiral and to a more unrealistic understanding of Hakadosh Baruch
regret that I have lost yet another streak. I do not know if I
should stay on the list or chart, as I can't seem to fight any more.
How far I have fallen from who I was!"
I'd like to know who fed you the idea that if you only try hard
enough you will "beat it". Who told you that you are locked in a
mortal combat of wills against lust? Whoever it was, they may
want to re-evaluate their thinking, because it seems that you only
need to fail a few more times before you have no more ability to
fight. And then what? Apparently you will just keep
losing, basically giving in to what you call the "Yetzer Hara"
completely, no? You sound just as I did, once upon a time. I was
sure I'd get better. Later I wasn't so sure. Finally - after
medications, psychiatrists, therapists, near-arrest, near-death
twice, and near-divorce, I was finally sure that I'd never get
better. I drew comfort only from the fact that I'd keep my secret to
the grave. Not a life for a nice Jewish boy.
dear friend Yankle, this is not the way of the program that I am
familiar with at all. No, the 12-step program that works for me and
others is not for the man who needs help to try harder. It is
for the one who is hopelessly lost and realizes he cannot win
because there is something wrong with him. He needs an honest
and realistic partnership with the G-d he thought he
had. (You can read about this in "The Doctor's Opinion" at the
beginning of the
AA Big Book). The program I know says to this person: There
is hope, even for you! Just take these steps. (You can read
exactly this, at the start of ch. 5 in
the Big Book). Yankle, we are talking about your life
"How can I expect Hashem to be good to me, or even provide good for
me, if keep on falling to my yetzer harah and defying Hashem?"
Well, see the above (and the Tomer Devorah) to see that Hashem is
big enough to be really, really good - even to you. Please
see the Heiligeh Divrei Chayim in Vayishlach on the posuk: "vayikra lo keil, elokei yisroel"
to see exactly how Hashem takes "revenge" on people like us!
Amazing. (It tells my life story all the way through, BTW!)
Again, if you have a love-affair with this "Yetzer Hara"
business, good luck. But if you look honestly inside and decide that
it's not a Yetzer Hara issue anymore, but rather that
something is wrong with you (you are addicted), then consider
reading the first couple of chapters in
the big book for Bill's story, and then decide if you are just
as hopeless as he was. If you are, then we have an answer that may
work for you as it does for us.
"Instead, I have brought this terrible illness of lust upon myself
and I feel that until I break it nothing positive will come to me
anymore, as I do not deserve it"
More of the same. Maybe you are at fault for bringing this terrible
illness upon yourself, maybe not. I don't know. Kaballah seforim
have much to say about proclivities, responsibility, bad levushim
from one's parents, etc. It is all a complicated and confusing issue
really. But it is also irrelevant. What I do know, is that
you are calling it an "illness". To me, that is a worthy of a dance,
as it may mean that you feel in some way ill, and that it's not just
a Yetzer Hara issue. Now, maybe you'll consider that perhaps
you are handicapped and stop beating yourself up over it. I truly
hope that you will get the help that ill people like you and I need,
instead of doing what I did for over ten years; watching my life go
down the drain in a valiant struggle against the Yetzer
want to be able to get a relationship with the Ribono Shel Olam".
Bingo - You hit the nail on the head! If this is what you
really want, then you'll be OK. But first recognize the relationship
that you already have - as above, and learn how to go from
"The loneliness gets to be too much for me. I turn only to Hashem
and the handbooks for help."
Again, you are obviously a deep and holy Jew, yet you are still
lonely. Now how about connecting a little more than you currently
are, with other lust addicts?
This forum is a nice start, but being in a LIVE chevra
and having a human sponsor/role model was indispensable to me.
Let's follow Dov's invaluable advice...
and sign up TODAY for one of the
two new 12-Step phone conferences that will be starting soon!
This is a
to learn how to apply the 12-Steps to our lives, together with a
Frum group and a professional sponsor, without having to join live,
non-Jewish SA meetings (which Rabbi Twerski has been encouraging
addicts in our situation to do for the last 20 years!).
"The Porn Trap"
From: Wendy Maltz LCSW, DST
Dear Friends at Guardureyes,
Given the work you are doing in helping people with pornography
problems, we thought you would like to know about our new recovery
THE PORN TRAP:
ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO OVERCOMING PROBLEMS CAUSED BY PORNOGRAPHY
(Collins/HarperCollins, hardcover, 2008).
wrote this book to fill the need for a comprehensive resource for
people who are struggling with personal and relationship issues
related to pornography, and it discusses numerous strategies for
"Getting Motivated to Quit Porn." While "THE PORN TRAP" is written
primarily for a secular audience (we are Jewish), it validates the
importance of faith-based support and recovery help, and it can be
used as an adjunct to the 12-step programs or faith-based programs.
We see group work and these kinds of programs as extremely
beneficial, because they help people come out of social isolation
and learn skills for being honest, real, accountable, and to be able
to learn from others.
You can also ask the people who read you daily email to send in
questions for me. I would be willing to answer some of them that you
[Note from GYE Admin: Send in your questions for Wendy to
and we will choose the best ones to pass on to her for a
Here is a short article on "Facing Your Fears" for your daily
newsletter, adapted from a chapter in our book.
and Facing Your Fears
Fear is a common emotion that arises when someone tries to quit
porn. When left unaddressed, it can sabotage your recovery efforts
by increasing ambivalence and continually undermining your
motivation. Like a nail you are unaware of in one of your car's
tires, an unidentified and unaddressed fear can slow your healing
journey down without your even realizing what is happening.
The idea of making any kind of major life change and facing the
unknown is often initially frightening, even when we are fairly
certain that the change will improve our lives. Quitting means
letting go of a product that brought instant pleasure and stress
relief, and it involves making significant lifestyle changes, such
as saying good-bye to well-established sexual habits, finding new
ways to cope with emotional stresses, and learning how to relate to
others more openly and honestly.
Identifying and being able to admit your particular fears about
quitting porn is an important first step in ultimately resolving
those fears. Many of the people we have counseled and interviewed
found it beneficial to do this as they started out on their healing
journeys. Below is a list that includes many of their responses. You
can use this list to help you identify your own fears.
OF BEING WITHOUT PORN
check next to each item with which you agree:
afraid of becoming depressed.
afraid of getting angry and upset.
afraid of feeling lonely.
afraid of getting stressed out.
afraid I won't be able to masturbate without it.
afraid of losing my sense of sexual power.
afraid of losing interest in sex.
afraid of having less enjoyment in sex.
afraid of feeling sexually frustrated.
afraid I'll get involved with even riskier sexual behaviors.
afraid of becoming more dependent on my partner for sex.
afraid of feeling "less of a man" or less sexually liberated.
afraid I'll have to tell others about my problem and they'll reject
afraid no one will understand and be able to help me.
afraid I will fail if I try to quit.
As the list
demonstrates, fears of quitting porn fall into the categories of
emotional well-being, sexual enjoyment, and relating to others.
These fears make sense given that porn use can play an important
role in temporarily fulfilling needs in any one of these three
areas. Go back over the list and look at the specific fears you
identified. Notice which of your fears have to do with emotional,
sexual, or relationship concerns. Do you have some fears in each
category, or do your fears tend to concentrate in one area or the
other? Understanding the type of fears you have can help you become
aware of what particular issues you'll need to focus most on in your
recovery; by doing so, you can ensure you meet that need in some
other way than by using porn. For example, if you identified that
you are afraid of feeling lonely if you stop using porn, then you
have a legitimate need to not feel lonely. You can tame this
fear by planning things to do so you won't feel alone without porn.
It is common for recovering porn users to have fears related to sex.
They may worry that quitting porn will in some way mean losing out
on sexual opportunities or no longer being a sexually active person.
This fear is understandable and often strongest in people who have
come to rely on porn as a primary sexual stimulant and outlet. You
can minimize this fear by remembering that while quitting porn does
involve closing a door on one type of sexual outlet, it also opens
doors to other types of sexual experiences that can be enjoyable and
fulfilling. Sexual behaviors that involved porn and caused you
problems, can eventually be replaced with new sexual behaviors that
support healthy self-esteem and emotional intimacy, such as with
Identifying the false beliefs that underlie some of your fears, and
countering them with truth and reality, is another way to help
maintain your motivation to quit. For example, some male porn users
are afraid that giving up porn will mean giving up part of their
self-identity, even their manhood. They think, I'll be less of a
man if I don't use porn. This fear can relate to false ideas
about what it means to be a man that were learned in childhood,
which were reinforced by porn's messages and never altered. Looking
at this belief closely and challenging its assumptions can reveal
its inaccuracies. For example, Randy, a recovering porn addict,
said, "I grew up thinking that 'real men' looked at porn. When I
quit porn, for a while I worried what other guys would think if they
found out I wasn't looking at it anymore. Then I realized the truth
of it is it actually takes a strong man to overcome a powerful
addiction like this. And only a real man who isn't into porn can
love a woman deeply."
Saying each of your fears out loud can also diminish their power.
When you say a fear out loud to yourself or talk to someone else
about it, the fear can start to feel less absolute and imposing. Out
in the open, some fears may suddenly seem irrational. You may start
to realize that, like anyone else, you have a natural ability to
adapt to change, and that despite years of using porn, you are still
capable of learning new ways of dealing with your problems. You can
call upon friends, support professionals, and other resources to
help you. The more you identify and express your fears, the clearer
new options for getting your needs met will become.
Regardless of the nature of your fears, getting them out in the open
weakens their influence and helps you stay motivated to quit porn.
When you start to challenge your fears, and counter them with ideas
for making valuable changes to improve the quality of your life,
you'll feel emboldened and empowered to continue on your healing
journey. Remind yourself that anyone who has been brave enough to
quit porn has faced similar fears and came out stronger, because
they had the courage to move forward and did not allow their fears
to hold them back.
2009 Wendy Maltz and Larry Maltz. Adapted from The Porn Trap: The
Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography,
HarperCollins Publishers, 2008, pp. 150-154, by Wendy Maltz and
Larry Maltz. This excerpt was provided for GuardYourEyes by the
authors. For permission to duplicate or reproduce, contact the
To see the
"Table of Contents" of "The Porn Trap" and to read endorsements
You can purchase "The Porn Trap" on Amazon
True JOY vs. Counterfeit Joy
As you've no
doubt seen advertised in the past few e-mails and on
the website, we are launching two new 12-Step phone
conferences for the benefit of everyone on the GYE network.
to Basics" group had its first weekly Phone conference at 9
PM EST this past Wednesday evening. We had a nice group on the line
and got good feedback from the members B"H. Boruch's next meeting
will IY"H be on the coming Wednesday again, same time.
The second phone group, Duvid Chaim's "Lunch & Learn" (four
times a week), will begin IY"H next Monday at 12 PM EST. See
below for details on how to join the call.
A "Taste" of one of the many
exercises on Duvid Chaim's "Take-Out Menu"
Do you want JOY in your
Of course you
do!! Who doesn't want JOY in their life? What's wrong with being
a "thrill seeker?" In fact, we learn from the Ramchal that
HaKodesh Baroch Hu specifically created man to bask in His light
and receive His Joy. How can there be anything wrong with us if we
seek Joy in life? After all, we are "wired" that way by the Creator
The problem that we face in our addiction is NOT that we seek Joy.
The problem is that we can NOT tell the difference between "True
Joy" and "Counterfeit Joy".
In other words, it actually feels the same to our mind and body
whether we're in the midst of enjoying our sexual addiction or when
we're in the midst of enjoying a mitzvah, like chesed for
example. That doesn't seem fair, you might say. How can Hashem
really expect us to break our addiction when He makes it so
enjoyable to be acting out?
That's why I
suggest we practice an EXERCISE to FIND TRUE JOY, as follows:
Find a quiet time
and space to sit down and write in your notebook. On one page, write
down some of the TRUE JOY in your life. For example, you might write
on this page:
time with my kids at supper time"
leisurely walk with my wife"
experience of bentching my children on Shabbos"
And on the "Counterfeit Joy"
page, you might write:
Billboard I drive by everyday on the way to work"
girl I see at Starbucks dressed provocatively"
that shows up while I'm on my computer with the latest news
about some celebrity or another".
How do we
distinguish between True Joy and Counterfeit Joy? True Joy is
something that when we experience it, we feel close to G-d. And more
than that, when the experience is over, we feel good about
ourselves. And later, we look back with fond memories about the
experience. Counterfeit Joy however, is something that when we
experience it, we feel removed from G-d. Afterwards, we feel impure
and full of shame. And later, we look back at the experience with
regret and remorse.
Since our bodies can not tell the difference between True Joy and
Counterfeit Joy, by doing this exercise, we "concretize" the
experiences that we often face in our lives. And the next time we
encounter something that is written down on our "Counterfeit Joy"
page, a light will come on in our mind and we will be able to
"point" at that opportunity for joy and say, "hey, you're on my
"Counterfeit Joy" page. I don't want to have anything to do with
This Exercise is so simple and yet so effective.
We hope you enjoyed this "Taste" from Duvid Chaim's "Take-Out Menu".
Sign up for the upcoming In-depth
12-Step Big-Book Study Lunch & Learn and learn more of
Duvid Chaim's invaluable exercises! Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
to let him know that you want to join.
two new 12-Step phone conferences are a very unique opportunity
for Frum Jews to learn how to apply the 12-Steps to our lives, in a
Frum group and a professional Frum sponsor, without having to join
the live, non-Jewish SA meetings (which Rabbi Twerski has been
encouraging addicts in our situation to do for the last 20 years!).
This is a historic moment for Klal Yisrael.
Be a part of it!
Information for the
first phone call:
(feel free to listen in even if you didn't let us know!)
Monday, June 29, 12 PM EST
prepared with a hard copy of the 12 Step Big Book, an empty journal
or notebook and a pen. (If you were unable to purchase a hard-copy
of the Big Book yet, download a PDF version
over here : for Palm OS
Please read the "Forward to the First Edition" on Roman numeral page
13 (xiii). And underline those phrases that seem meaningful to you.
Big Book Study Lunch & Learn Conference
Call Dial-in Number is:
When prompted, enter the "Conference Access Code" - 121318 and then
the # sign.
Standby and you will asked to give your name (first name or nickname
Then you will be included in the call.
To MUTE - enter Star - *6 or mute you device
To EXIT - enter Star *3 or hang up
For Instructions - enter Star *4
"It works if you work it - and you're worth it!"
Y.L wrote us:
I would like to sign up for Duvid
Chaim's group PLEASE. But I'm still a little scared of someone maybe
recognizing my voice or something. I can't deal with the awkwardness
of that. I am very nervous about it actually, and if theres anything
that you can say that you think will alleviate my nervousness,
please do. I just want this out of my life. Hopefully this group
will work for me. I very much look forward to working with the group
and if anyone is guaranteed a spot in olam haba, it's you guys,
front and center. The hishtadlus you have put into this gives me
more happiness and faith in Klal yisrael than anything else. This is
a disease that is present at all levels, and it is a disease that is
eating away at the hearts and minds of our nation's finest and
bravest. Be Matzliach, Y.L.
Thank you for your warm words. I will put you
down for Duvid Chaim's group.
Please don't worry about voice recognition.
First of all, no one is forcing you to talk, you can just listen in
at first, until you feel comfortable enough to speak up (or don't).
Second, there won't be more than 5 to 10 guys on the line, and these
are people from all over the world, so what are the chances that any
one of them would know you? And thirdly, your secret is
everyone's secret! We're all in this together. Addicts are
always vigilant to protect the anonymity of everyone in the group,
because this is for their own benefit too.
We must do whatever we can to break free! As Rabbi Twerski always
says; this addiction is a spiritual cancer, and if someone has
cancer r"l, nothing should stand in their way of recovery.
May Hashem be with you!
Avraham J. Twerski, MD, is the founder and medical director of
Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania and is
one of the world's leading experts on addictions today. He is also
the author of over 50 books and a Gadol in Klal Yisrael.
It is one of GuardYourEyes network's greatest honors to have Rabbi
Twerski as one of the guiding forces behind our work. Besides for
providing invaluable consulting and advice, he also contributes to
our network and is often quoted in our articles, tips and daily
e-mails. (Click on the picture of Rabbi Twerski to go to a page of
various tips, articles and correspondence that we have had with
Rabbi Twerski in the past).
Rabbi Twerski shared with us recently the following two
There was an
incident that taught me something about turning to Hashem for help:
At a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous in Jerusalem, one man who was
seven years sober related that he had resisted AA at first because
it was God-oriented, and he was an atheist.
"One day", he said, "I was walking along the beach in Tel Aviv,
thinking whether I should just walk into the ocean and end it all. I
had nowhere to go, my wife had thrown me out of the house. In
desperation, I looked toward the sky and shouted, "If You're up
there, then help me!"
And He helped me.
Now, with the help of G-d, I am seven years sober."
When I heard this, I thought of the verse in Tehillim: "Hashem is
close to all who call upon Him, who call upon Him in truth".
That's the clincher: in truth.
Tongue Guards the Bris
There are many
people who are desperate and say that they would do anything to be
free of the compulsion. Here is something that will indeed take
much effort, but if one is really ready to do anything, this can
WATCH YOUR SPEECH! Be meticulous in avoiding ALL lashon hara (defamatory
talk), any untruth, and any coarse language
(see sources below).
In order to know what proper speech is and what is forbidden, avail
yourself of the Chafetz Chaim's "Guard Your Tongue."
This may seem simple, but it really takes great effort, because we
are in the habit of talking without giving much thought to what we
say. To become conscious and watchful of speech is anything but
simple, but if one is really interested in being free of sexual
compulsions, this can be of great help.
To receive daily lessons in Shmiras
Halashon from the Sefer Chofetz Chaim, send an e-mail to
email@example.com with subject "subscribe".
Sources: Many Chassidic works are replete with the idea
that "bris halashon mechuvan negged bris hamaor" and that shemiras
halashon leads to shemiras habris (see Sefer Chareidim 66:9). The
most common Posuk quoted in this regard is "Al titein es picha
l'hachti es bisorchoh".... See also the mafteach in the Yad Ramah
edition of the Shaloh hakadosh for something a bit earlier than
chassidish, and this concept also comes up quite a few times in the
out-of-print Peleh Yoaitz from the Hornisteipeler (Rabbi Twerski's
Reminder! Duvid Chaim's 12-Step Big-Book Lunch & Learn Study Group
will be starting Tomorrow IY"H
Here is a
short letter from Duvid Chaim to those who are interested in
Please allow me, please to introduce myself. My name is Duvid Chaim.
For your information, the Big Book Lunch & Learn Study Group (BBL&LSG)
will focus on your recovery through the most widely tested and
proven recovery method to date; by "working the steps" - the 12
Steps that is. Time has shown that the fellowships that are "pure"
and focused on the Steps through the Big Book Textbook have the most
So if you're looking for success and you're willing to make the
commitment to finally transform yourself, then I promise you, you
will see results.
How do I know it works? I myself am a living miracle. I'm 52 years
old and spent nearly 40 years of my life completely powerless over
my addiction. I had given up hope and resigned myself to just
accepting myself for who I was, in spite of my acting out, my shame
and my weakness.
So I'm offering a chance to see for yourself the power of the 12
Even if you're "not ready" to make the commitment, at least listen
in to the first few sessions and see what you think. You have
nothing to lose (except your powerlessness, perhaps)!
We will be starting (I"YH) Monday June 29th at Noon, East Coast
Time. And we will be meeting four days a week - Monday through
Please be prepared with an empty journal or notebook, and a pen, and
a 12 Step Big Book (you can buy one at any major bookstore or order
Amazon.com here). It is much preferable that you own a real
copy of the Big Book, so that you can underline the sentences that
speak to you the most, and take notes on the sides of the book.
However, if you did not have the opportunity to buy one by tomorrow,
you can download it online
Please read the "Forward to the First Edition" on Roman numeral page
13 (xiii). And underline those phrases that seem meaningful to you.
our conference call with the following instructions:
Big Book Study Lunch & Learn Conference Call Dial in Number is:
When prompted, enter the "Conference Access Code" - 121318
then the # sign.
Standby and you will asked to give your name (first name or
nickname only please).
Then you will be included in the call.
To MUTE - enter Star - *6 or mute you
To EXIT - enter Star *3 or hang up
For Instructions - enter Star *4
I look forward
to meeting you in our Study Group.
Those who plan to join, please RSVP to me
Three Important Announcements
It's 90 days before Yom Kippur so if you haven't started your
90 day journey to sobriety yet (scientific studies show it takes 90
days to break an addictive pattern in the mind), now is the perfect
time to start! Join our
90 day Wall of Honor chart according to the
rules here, download your own personal 90 chart
here, post a log of your 90 day journey on the
"Wall of Honor" board on our forum, or post in the
"Accountability Groups" board that you want to join a group of
five others in their journey to 90 days.
Reminder! Duvid Chaim's 12-Step Big-Book Lunch & Learn Study
Group will be starting TODAY IY"H, at 12 PM Noon. See details on the
bottom of yesterday's Chizuk e-mail #515
Mrs.Zeva Citronenbaum, a professional sex addiction therapist for
the frum community, is starting a new cycle of her year-old phone
conference group tomorrow, Tuesday evening 9 PM ET, with
members from GuardYourEyes. If you are looking for real clinical
recovery with a professional and highly trained therapist for
almost FREE ($10 a session!) then this is an opportunity that can't
be missed. Please see
this announcement on our forum for more information and to
download the sign-up forms.
Q & A from the authors of "The Porn Trap"
In Chizuk e-mail #513 we brought an excerpt from a new book called
"The Porn Trap". The authors offered to answer a number of questions
that our readers would send in. Here are two questions that we
presented them with, along with their enlightening answers:
[Note from GYE Admin: They are willing to still answer another few
questions, so send in your questions today to
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will choose the best ones to pass on
to them for a professional reply]
How can we stop? The world is full of it, everywhere we go. We can
get around the filters and we have wi-fi and can access it anywhere
with the click of a mouse. And Movies and advertisements are all
full of promiscuity, the street is like walking on a beach, and the
slightest triggers make a lust addict go wild. What hope does he
have to stop in today's world gone mad?
live in a world filled with commercially-driven sexual images and
unprecedented easy access to pornography. We also live in a world
with unprecedented amounts of and easy access to junk food. In both
cases, choosing and maintaining personal health means making smart
decisions about what we allow ourselves to take into our bodies -
through our eyes and ears with porn - and what we choose to stay
away from and reject.
In our recovery book, The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide
to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography, Larry and I
outline a number of strategies that you can use when dealing with
everyday temptations. These include spelling out your reasons for
not using porn, developing a support network of people you can call
on at anytime, reducing unexpected exposure to porn, and using
specific techniques such as the "eye bounce" (described on pages
175-176 of The Porn Trap):
uses what he calls an "eye bounce" whenever he unexpectedly
encounters porn images or materials that remind him of porn. "My
mind and my eyes instinctively go to porn because I've always gone
there and they're trained to go there," he said. "So when my eyes
see something sexy now, I bounce away. 'Oh there's a picture of a
sexy girl,' BOUNCE, I look elsewhere. It felt strange doing this at
first, but now looking away has become a new habit. The more I do it
the easier it is. For most of my life I walked around with a kind of
low-grade sexual fever. But lately, for the first time, it's
starting to diminish and almost disappear because I'm no longer
feeding it. It feels like a part of me has been set free to do other
things and it's fabulous."
recovery, it is also very important to learn about healthy
sexuality, so you have a clear idea of how you can re-channel your
natural sexual drives and needs in ways that support positive
self-esteem, healthy sexual thoughts, and a satisfying sexual
relationship with your spouse.
What does someone who is trying to quit porn do when the withdrawal
symptoms set in? How does he fill the inner "void" that he used to
fill with porn? Many people use it as an escape from boredom,
anxiety, stress... Now that they are giving up their "drug", how do
they learn to deal with all these emotions and their free-time?"
general, the most effective way to deal with urges is to move out
of isolation. Reach out and talk with someone who understands
and respects what you are working to accomplish. Share the
difficulty and pain that you are feeling. Talk with someone who is
farther along in his recovery and can help you to normalize your
reactions and get ideas for how to shift your attention into other
kinds of activities and pursuits that are enjoyable and that relieve
Many of our clients tell us that quitting porn is a humbling
experience because you need to realize that you can't go it alone.
It's about moving out of self-centeredness and letting go of the
notion of "I'm in control, I can do this myself," and admitting that
porn is extremely powerful and is capable of taking over your
sexuality and seriously damaging your integrity, relationships and
In "The Porn Trap" we have a whole chapter devoted to "Handling and
Preventing Relapses." Here we explain why people relapse, how
relapses progress, how to reverse a relapse, and how to prevent
future relapses. It contains a powerful exercise called "If I Were
to Relapse" that can help you identify and reduce thoughts, feelings
and behaviors that might trigger a relapse. We also include many
examples of specific changes that recovering porn users made, that
reinforced new ways of dealing with emotional needs, boredom, and
Maltz LCSW, DST,
To see the
"Table of Contents" of "The Porn Trap" and to read endorsements
You can purchase "The Porn Trap" on Amazon
Duvid Chaim's 12-Step Big-Book Lunch & Learn Study Group launched
(lunched?) its maiden voyage yesterday with 12 guys on the line. We
covered the "Forwards", and today we will be starting the "real"
Big Book material; "The Doctor's Opinion". So if you missed
yesterday, join up with us today! See details of how to join at the
bottom of Chizuk e-mail #515
In light of the announcement yesterday about Mrs. Zeva
Citronenbaum's recovery group starting a new cycle, Zeva decided to
push off the new cycle for a week or two, to give more time for
people to sign up. The group will meet on the phone every Tuesday
evening 9 PM ET, with members from GuardYourEyes. If you are looking
for real clinical recovery with a professional and highly trained
therapist for almost FREE ($10 a session!) then this is an
opportunity that can't be missed. Please see
this announcement on our forum for more information and to
download the sign-up forms.
"Trying" posted today:
sorry to say I had a fall yesterday. I didn't post right away, cuz I
was depressed. I was extremely MAD at myself and I felt soooooooooo
lost. I hated every part of me and my animalistic desire to sin. The
feeling of shame trickled down all over my body. I felt oh so far
from Kedusha, so far from Hakodsh Boruch Hu, and couldn't even bring
myself to talk to him. It was pure agony.
I slept it over and thought a bit. I tried taking some of the anger
and directing it towards the sin and towards the forces (YH) that
are making me vulnerable to it, instead of directing the anger at
I reviewed the
Attitude Handbook and found solace in it once again. (Thank you
GYE, I could never do it alone!) Some excerpts that helped me:
Now matter how much we have fallen, we must never view ourselves as
"despised" by Hashem, or imagine that Hashem is annoyed and
frustrated with us. Instead, as we learn to give over the addiction
to Hashem and trust in Him to take it away from us more and more, we
will begin to feel that Hashem is truly our closest and most eternal
exactly how I felt. I was already 13 days clean beforehand, feeling
much better, but my relationship with Hashem hasn't been growing so
fast. Perhaps it was too slow and Hashem desired something more. "Hashem
is truly our closest and most eternal friend", how I hope to feel
that some day!
What makes a person great is his ability to get back up, despite his
falls. And davka by having to renew your determination from the
ground up, you will be rocketed into a much closer Kesher with
Hashem than you ever had before!
This was really
comforting. The first line is a cliché that people are always
saying, but the next few words render it so true. This could be the
way to get a closer connection with hashem!
Rabbi Nachman also said: "If you believe you can destroy, believe
you can fix".
I sang this song in my head all day, it has empowered me to finish
my first clean day again. After all I do, Hashem in his infinite
kindness, gives me another day, another tomorrow, which I can fill
in the best way possible. Isn't that the greatest gift of all? :-)
"7Up" posted on the forum:
Yesterday was day 25 and I got as close to falling as I have so far.
But before I acted out though, I made myself picture a scale. On one
side were all the seconds of sobriety that I have accumulated over
25 days. Did you know that 25 days has a whopping 2,160,000 seconds?
On the other side of the scale, I imagined how many seconds of
pleasure the fall would bring. Maybe 10? The equation was so clearly
off that I lost interest immediately!
Often times I thought, what does the Y"H want from me? Am I going to
take this with me to my kever??
The answer is - morai virabboisai - there are yiddin here on the
forum who are living proof that it is never too late in the game to
Bardichev's words really resonated with me. The concern that I would
take my sins to my grave was what really got me going. It is true
that it is never too late to change, and it is also true that it
is OK if I fight the YH till the day I die. That will actually
be the biggest Zechus. We are not fighting the YH as a process to
get through in order to be able to get back to normal life; the
fight with the YH is the essence of our existence and that is
what will stand before the Kisay Hakavod on the Yom Hadin Hagadol.
And I hope that my place will be close to the Tzaddikim who inspire
us with their battles on this site every day!'
A new member who calls himself "needSomeHelp" just found our website
and began his journey to 90 days clean. He posted today on the
So I woke today feeling a new found spirituality. Don't ask me
how... Maybe it was that little prayer I said when I woke in the
middle of the night and couldn't sleep, and having my son sleeping
next to me, I davened for Hashem to remove my stress and He did! So
when I woke this morning to go daven, and I had never really paid
attention to the words in davening before, but my gosh, how much
there is just in brochas to combat the YH, I was like, WOW....
Hashem gave us the tools every morning to combat the YH and we never
use them! So after davening, I got in the car to go to work and the
perfect song came on: "Hamelamed Torah" from Yaakov Shwekey. And
driving to work and listening to this song, I don't know what came
over me, but I started to cry. I felt the small pipe to Hashem
become a huge pipe, and I felt as if Hashem opened all the
communications, just like he removed the stress last night. And it
was like He was saying: "you have nothing to worry about my son,
just keep on this new found path and I will keep you from all evil"
and it feels amazing!
The Tzadik Nistar with the Roman Catholic Sponsor
(Sorry for giving it away Dov :-)
One of the most inspirational members of
our Forum is a guy named Dov (see his story
here). He is sober in SA for 11 years and continues to join SA
meetings until today. He often posts how the 12-Steps help him
remain sober and live with Hashem day by day, but he never really
gave us a glimpse into his personal Avoda - and he probably
never would have - if not for a recent post on the forum.
One of the well meaning Tzadikim on our forum, who himself recovered
without the 12-Steps, by using a lot of hard work and a deep
understanding of the proper attitude in this struggle, posted the
following about Dov:
cry for a holy neshama that for 11 years feels like he still needs
his Roman Catholic sponsor to help him be human. After whatever time
it takes to break the cycle, it's time to GROW!
believes in SA philosophy, which says that he needs to continuously
concentrate on preserving his humanity. For preserving humanity, a
Roman Catholic sponsor is indeed appropriate. But a Jew should be
able to move beyond "preserving his humanity"!
the sins are caused by the Yetzer Hara who has become "baal-habayis",
but once we evict him, we can begin to soar. The very best way -
according to the Torah - to effect the sinner positively, is to get
him to understand that he is holy!
What I am
about to share with you is not tooting my horn at all, with Hashem's
help. It is to let people who may not understand, become aware of
what it is like for this sexaholic yid to have a Roman
Catholic sponsor and still be going to meetings and using the steps,
while in the twelfth year of Hashem's gift to me of recovery from
all-consuming addiction to lust.
during the years I was acting out, I was exposed to yiddishkeit (a
product of Modern Orthodox day school, Yeshiva high, etc) and I was
always a bit attracted to frum people, feeling that there was an
answer there, to something...
I cried at NCSY sing-alongs and felt a strong "deveikus-like"
thing in me; went to Yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel after high, and
stopped masturbating for two years, except for one or two times
during the summer while at home in the U.S. When I got married it
got much worse, as I described a bit in my
first post. Look at it if you want to get to know me any
better... I'd be glad to describe the details of my behaviors in
addiction privately if you'd like, but this is not the best venue
for the gory details.
Anyhow, after starting SA in 1997 - and I'll fast forward to the
past five years, as my avodah began to warm up. I was still
going to meetings and using the steps I had worked, in my daily
life. My sponsor shared how he worked them with me. He is now more
of a friend than a "sponsor" (as his sponsor now is to him).
I have many program friends, sponsees, etc, and I get and make
recovery calls many times throughout the day. I do not see any
advantage in pretending that I "got back on some kind of track" and
that now I am OK, because I have experienced that my "allergy" to
lust has not gone away. But I am free of lust almost all the
time B"H, and my focus is on living with Hashem, as I'll elaborate
on in a bit. I go to one meeting a week.
Over the past 6-7 years, my avoda got a boost from my finally
going deeper into sfas emes, bnei yisoschar, and divrei
chayim. This occurred around the same time that I had a little
trouble with lust and finally started to work the steps into my
daily life more seriously. Gemorah and TU"R have become more
of a success over the past three years since I joined a Dirshu
morning program (initially with an SA chavrusa!). I B"H gravitated
toward kisvei Ariza"l with a chevra learning them in my
neighborhood, and I began finding deeper meaning in my davening.
This is in consonance with the 12-Step program concepts as well,
Boruch Hashem. This was bolstered with Shaarei Ramchal for
already 3 years now; and my chavrusa and I should be moving to
Kla"ch soon, Be"H.
I was moved to start wearing Rabeinu TamTefillin about a year ago,
and I find going to the Mikvah a great experience. I ask a Tzadik in
my neighborhood for advice regularly and surrounded myself with
experts on chumash, mussar and kaballah as much as
possible. For the past two years I have been going through much of
the Shelo Hakodosh on the parsha and sharing ideas
from him with friends and family when I can. My physical
relationship with my wife, as well as my relationship with all
people, has been growing in ways that I see described in the seforim,
thank G-d, and it is exhilarating. I am mostly able to be motivated
by being useful to others, rather than by getting/taking. Enough
My experience has been, that either I grow and change, broadening
and deepening in avodah, or there is no point to it all. I
perceive a force more powerful than I can understand, drawing me
closer to Hashem. Still, I feel at peace most of the time. Because
of being awakened by the steps, I want above all else to live with
and be useful to people, more than ever before, yet be alone with
Hashem all the time. My formerly very "self-centered" avodah never
allowed me to do that, even though I was convinced I was a "kadosh".
In fact, before the steps, the idea that I was intrinsically a "kodosh"
was a tremendous ball and chain for me. It made failure so much more
And please consider not assuming that "if only someone would
have explained to me what it really all means, I'd have been "OK".
That is not my experience. For most sexaholics and alcoholics I
know, the holier they think they are, the worse and more depressed
or pompous they get. I know what you really mean
(which is that a Jew should see his
intrinsic holiness as a great honor / responsibility), I just
believe you can TELL addicts about it (or even convince them that
they SHOULD believe it), but you cannot CONVINCE them that it is
REALLY TRUE. This is a concept non-addicts do not ever seem to
Finally, I have been able, for the most part, to avoid looking at
"normal" yidden who do not seem to need the depth and intensity of a
relationship with Hashem as unfortunate. I also avoid shoving my
perceived awareness in their face by asking them, for example, why
they say brachos in a rush, as opposed to they way we'd say
"thank-you" to anyone real. You know, stuff like that...
I have seen others give this "mussar" as though it was their own. It
is not pretty, and it's unhealthy for me to pretend I deserve any
awareness I got through my addiction/recovery. They were all free
gifts and will stay that way. And I assume I'll lose them (along
with my sobriety) if I forget that and start acting as if they are
So I ask
you, what more should I expect from myself, a sexaholic? I am
sure we can all do better - me most of all - folks. But do you
really still think I need to be cried for, and that the fact that I
look up to a Roman Catholic man for sharing his sanity with me is
do not accept that my addiction to lust should be described in terms
of "aveiros" and the "Yetzer Hara" as you describe it. I choose to
just live right today, and I rely on Hashem to make the
Tikunim. Yes, it is clear that recovery has lead me on what - in
retrospect - the sforim describe as Teshuvah. But I
choose not to "understand" the process that much, and leave it to
Ilan wrote me today:
I wonder, "how can an amazing guy do nonsense like this?" I was thinking
yesterday that I cannot really beat this addiction. Even if I put a filter
on this computer at the university, there are five computers next to this one. I
thought last night, just like a smoker smokes, a p-rn addict looks at p-rn. That
is just my problem, and I must live with it. BUT I CANNOT LIVE WITH IT, BECAUSE
EVERY DAY I LOOK AT THIS STUFF IT DESTROYS MY DAY AND NIGHT, AND IF I DON'T STOP
IT WILL DESTROY MY LIFE AND MY DREAMS, AND I WILL EVENTUALLY GET INTO BIG
Sorry to bore you with this. I just don't know who to turn to anymore.
I would like to address three of your concerns:
1) The fact that you keep falling and can't seem to control it
2) The fact that installing a filter for you cannot really solve the problem
3) The fear that this will eventually destroy your life
(1) As far as not being able to control it, I just had a similar discussion this
morning with an unmarried boy in Australia who also can't understand how he
keeps falling again and again, even though he's been on our network for over a
year and he had thought that he already internalized all the "Yesodos". But the
moment he is faced with a serious lust trigger, everything he learned flies "out
the window" and he falls.
Duvid Chaim recently shared with us all on
the phone conference,
that lust addiction is like an "allergy". If you'd be walking down an isle in a
super-market and someone banged into you from the back with his shopping cart,
once, twice, three times, you'd get really upset, no? You'd turn around and say
"what's going on? Can't you watch where you're going?!"... But what if you
turned around and saw that the guy was crippled and that he was trying to shop
while balancing on crutches, would you yell at him? No, you'd say to yourself "nebach,
poor guy" and even offer to help him.
We have to understand that we lust addicts
are crippled in this area. We have an ALLERGY to lust. If someone is allergic to
peanuts and he eats them anyway, his face will blow up. There's nothing he can
do about it, he will never be able to "control" his allergic reaction; all he
can do is avoid the peanuts in the first place. When a lust addict is faced with
a trigger, he is powerless and will be pulled into it. Duvid Chaim explained to
us that an addict will never be able to CONTROL his addiction, i.e. his allergic
reaction to lust. Rather, the 12-Steps teach us how to be FREE from it.
To reinforce what I am saying above about the importance of the 12-Steps, and
also to address (2) your concern that installing a filter can't really help you
now, I want to remind you what Rabbi Twerski wrote to you once (since you shared
this with me):
The campaign by some haredi leaders to eliminate the internet, even
if desirable, is not realistic. While anyone with a bit of know-how can work
around a filter, it can nevertheless be of help to a person who is
sincere in escaping from this quicksand.
Chazal say, "Tzoras rabbim chatzi nechama." I don't know if it applies to this.
Yours was the fourth contact of its kind this week. Internet addiction has
become epidemic among the frum men AND women! If you have a fax machine, I can
send you copies of letters just like yours.
You are right. Promises don't help and nedarim don't help. Psychiatry and
psychology are not of much help. It is very much an addiction over which
self-controls don't work.
For alcohol and drug addiction, there are support groups of Alcoholics Anonymous
and Narcotics Anonymous. For sexual addiction there is Sexaholics Anonymous.
A frum person will say, "No way I can expose my problem by going to a meeting."
I understand. There is a very fine, very frum young man who is in recovery from
this problem. He'll be glad to talk with you. He does not need to know your
name. The most effective help can come from someone who has overcome this
problem. I'll e-mail you his number. You can call him and you will remain
So Ilan, we see from Rabbi Twerski's reply to you above, that although
installing a filter can be of help in keeping it out of immediate reach, it is
not meant to be an adequate solution on its own. We also see from his reply that
"self-controls" don't work in cases of addiction, and your best bet is a 12-Step
So even if you are not ready to join an SA group
in your area, join Duvid Chaim's daily group by phone! (See info at the bottom).
Now, to address your last concern (3) that this will eventually destroy your
life; I would like to share with you what Duvid Chaim wrote to all the members
of the phone group yesterday:
To the Chevra,
For those of you who have come "on board" the BBL&LSG (Big Book Lunch & Learn
Study Group) Cruise Ship during the first three days of our Journey, I want to
express my appreciation and admiration for your courage and commitment. I know
it's very tough joining a new Fellowship of Men, each a stranger to the other,
and all of us unsure if we feel totally safe.
This feeling is totally understandable and it fits quite well with the Cruise
Ship analogy. I remember taking a cruise for the first time and got quite
nervous when one of the first things they did was conduct an emergency drill.
All of the passengers had to learn careful directions what to do, where to go
and how to find your life preserver - all for the possibility that the ship
And I thought that I paid big bucks to go on a vacation that was promoted as
relaxing and luxurious. I guarantee you that when I woke up the next morning and
saw that we were out in the middle of the ocean and there wasn't a drop of land
in sight anywhere, I was beginning to wonder what had I gotten myself into. You
can be sure that I knew exactly where my life preserver was and the route I
needed to run to get to the escape boats.
In our discussion today, we discussed the ATTITUDE one must have to find success
and recovery in the Program. Those who follow the history of the 12 Step AA
Program recognize that the individual most likely to succeed in the Program and
find recovery is the one who has hit rock bottom and has lost it all.
Chas V'Shalom though, that we should hit rock bottom. But ask yourself, "how
really far away am I from rock bottom?" Just think how one small step, or
one tiny mess up and how your world could come crashing in. Ask yourself "what
would my life be like IF my spouse found out about my addiction or my kids or my
boss or community? How quickly could my life end up in a nightmare, with
divorce, kids that hated me, a community that rejected me?"
If your first response to my question is "how quickly can I get myself out of
the Group and back into my isolation and seclusion", then you know that your
attitude is pulling you in the wrong direction. INSTEAD, you should take my
questions and think seriously, "where am I headed?" And "how comfortable have I
become in my addiction that I think that I'm safe and in control?"
That's why in our call today, I asked everyone to now imagine that our Cruise
Ship is the Titanic. You can be sure that all of the passenger that embarked on
the Titanic paid a huge sum and were confident that they had boarded an
"unsinkable Ship". Of course, we all know the rest of the Story.
The message of the Titanic is that we need to treat our addiction like a sinking
ship and that MY LIFE DEPENDS ON THE 12 STEP PROGRAM! And only through a serious
commitment to learning and working the Steps, will I find recovery and a life
full of contentment, peace and connectedness to G-d, family, and to the precious
Neshama that Hashem placed inside me.
YOU are your Neshama's LIFE PRESERVER. It's up to you to save it - BEFORE you
hit rock bottom.
(See Chizuk e-mail #441 on
this page for more about "Hitting
Bottom while Still on Top")
So please keep coming back, because YOU'RE WORTH IT!
For those who haven't joined Duvid Chaim's group yet, we still haven't gotten so
far out of the Port that you can't join.
Join the BBL&LSG conference call TODAY
with the following instructions:
Dial in Number is: (712) 432-0080
When prompted, enter the "Conference Access Code" - 121318 then the
Then you will be included in the call.
To MUTE - enter Star - *6 or mute you device
To EXIT - enter Star *3 or hang up
For Instructions - enter Star *4
Pearls of Wisdom From "Rebbe Dov"
Excerpts of Dov's posts on
The addiction is really a gift in disguise...
I was frum before
and I'm frum now, but it is clear to me that my relationship with
Hashem was not personal and not real to ME, before
sobriety. All addicts who recover through AA feel the same way, it
seems. So I say, without what you call "the Yetzer Hara" - I
call it "our addiction" - I obviously would not have had a true
relationship with Hashem. This was because I did not perceive that I
needed Him, period. So in this respect, the addiction
is our friend. After all, who needs Hashem when they think they are
The single most powerful Emuna/Bitachon tool in my life, came
through sobriety. Especially early on. Learning moved me a
great deal, but I was not able to put it into practice,
particularly when lust was involved. But... actually experiencing
Hashem helping little me stay sober in the moment, did the trick.
Then slowly, the Torah I had learned began to blossom, and it still
At first this was distressing: "why couldn't I learn these things
and really believe them like everyone else I know does (I
guess)?!" As Guard wrote, I may have known it, but I was
not able to live by it!
But after really finding that I was successfully using Hashem's help
every day, it dawned on me: "who cares what event brought
this awareness into us? What matters is that we definitely
get (through recovery) what the tzaddikim were trying to teach us
What to do when feeling lust...
When my house is on fire with lust, and my body is telling me "I
need it, I need it," and it feels clear that it is in my
absolute best interest to do this crazy thing, I need to remind
myself that it is a 100%, total, lie. But that is not enough.
I must also have a truth to replace it with! And that
truth is; Hashem loves me, He has nothing better for me than what He
is giving me right now, this moment is precious, etc...
B"H, hearing and seeing other guys in person, and sharing their
experiences in doing this very thing, was - and is, very important
to me. "We are only as sick as our secrets" is a big motto in
12-step circles. When we get the insides OUT, we are grabbing hold
of a long term solution.
Simcha vs. Pleasure
The basis of addictive behavior is "I want to feel good right now".
Certainly being be'simcha is a yesod of yiddishkeit
(and as AAs say "if you are sad all the time you are not working the
steps right"), but nowhere do we see any Torah source saying "if it
feels good, do it" - or - "if it is hard or painful, then it
avoid it!". Rather, we see things like lefum tzaara agra,
Remember, you and me did all our acting out to "feel good", right?
We addict-types obviously have no clue (functionally speaking)
about what really makes us happy in life.
Life - and certainly living right - is not all about feeling
better right now. It is about being fulfilled; the
"feeling good" comes me'meila. But if it's our goal,
R' Dov's Married Life in
For my wife, the
best day of our lives together was the day she realized that I had
started to change. It was after about a year of sobriety, soon after
my 4th & 5th steps (which incidentally, I felt I had done a lousy
"job" on). We have never watched our wedding video since I got
sober, and it's been a bunch of years... She has no interest in it
because it pales in comparison to what is going on now. We are
really a unit today (though far from a perfect one).
The Damage of the Addiction
Someone posted: "having a handle on
the lusting is proving to leave me with enough energy, which can be
more profitably used elsewhere".
R' Dov responds:
Please consider that you are really only recognizing the tip of the
iceberg when you say this. It is much, much more than a waste of
your precious energy. It is actually deforming and poisoning every
aspect of your life with self-centerdness, disproportional
comparisons and irrational thinking.
If you take hold of the steps and actually work them the way your
sponsor did, get a sober chevra to stay sober with
(preferably alive and talkable, like in
a meeting) and make calls as needed, your chances are really
Regaining our Sanity
Once we stop acting out, we embark on a journey of recovery.
"Recovery"? from what are we recovering? We are getting our Sanity
back! (we probably did have it when we were five or six years
old...). After all, it is insane (see Websters, really) to be
doing all kinds of things that we really know are destroying
us, our families, etc.
I didn't feel insane, per se, when I came to SA, though I
was very frustrated with my weakness and apparent stupidity. But
over the first year and a half I recognized it: "Uh oh, Sanity! I
guess I really was nuts before, cuz I didn't have this!
I assume, like me, you have not come this far (posting and asking
for help on a forum for men with por-n problems!) just because you
are just "sick and tired" of disappointment with yourself, or even
because it's so upsetting to be doing aveiros. Don't get me
wrong, I am not a fan of aveiros! But, as I have
posted about before, trying to finally stop doing these terrible
aveiros never got me into recovery. Well, let's say it never kept me
there. Trying to stop dying, on the other hand, did
wonders. I presume you feel clear that in some respect, this lust
problem is killing you and that is why you are going this far to get
help. If so, Sanity is definitely for you, and you have come to the
right place to start getting it back! :-)
So, here it is. After we stop acting out, with Hashem's help, the
program is here to help us change into the kind of people who do
not need to go back to acting out. Basically, that means
"getting a life" and learning what to do so that you can stay in
it, for a change.
Lust "opportunities" (including sights, sounds, ideas, memories,
people, whatever triggers us) can distract us from our lives. It's
not really about acting out any more, it's about reality. It's about
staying alive. That's it in a nutshell: we can't afford
to get distracted from our real lives, at all.
Even though the steps talk a lot about G-d, the program is not
religious: it ends with you getting your freedom back.
You are now awake! Now it is up to the individual to determine how
he knows what G-d wants him to do, and that is where religion (may)
start. And B"H we have a Torah that is true, that we love, and we
believe Hashem helps us live it!
feel I am "pushing too hard", please consider that I'm not telling you
what to do at all, just sharing what worked for me. That is
what loving someone is about, no?
Hatzlocho and good Shabbos, brother!
Yesodos A to
Z by "Battleworn"
Excerpts of Battleworns's "Torah
Approach" on our Forum
In this struggle, we must internalize the following truths:
a) Those who struggle with this issue should understand that
the purpose Hashem sent us to this world was to work on this very
b) The reason we are given a lifetime, is because that's how
long it takes until we get it right. And no one said it's supposed
to be easy!
c) Hashem doesn't make bad investments, so when He gave you
this mission He knew what He was doing!
d) Everything depends on the eyes, the heart and the mouth!
e) Every effort that we make is worth infinitely more than
anything in this world, EVEN IF WE FELL IN THE END!
f) The only thing we really have bechira (free choice)
on is ratzon (our WILL). Even hishtadlus (our effort)
is part of ratzon. Success is only in the hands of Hashem!
g) Our job is to do everything that we can. What we can't do,
is not our problem. And if we can't do anything, all we need to do
is have pure Emunah and leave everything up to Hashem! The
clear realization that there is "nothing besides Hashem" has the
power to bring tremendous Heavenly assistance, and at the same time
- it destroys the lust at it's source!
h) The only way to fight the y"h is to learn how to avoid
i) Not only is this nissoyon (test) not a hindrance to
your success, but in fact it's the only way possible for you to
reach your goal!
j) Hashem is totally and completely on your side, and he's
NOT disgusted with you!
k) Every yerida (downfall) is always a preparation for
an aliyah (going up)!
l) The greatest nachas ruach for Hashem is when someone who
is in the grip of the Yetzer Hara still tries to fight. This is the
ultimate Shechinah Betachtonim (the divine presence in the
lowest places) which is the purpose of all creation!
m) Hashem does not expect you to do it alone! In fact,
isolation breeds lust as it says in Mishlei:
"Lataavah Yivakesh nifrad -
lust seeks isolation".
That's why Hashem gave us this Holy Holy GuardYourEyes network!
We will bring "n
- Z" tomorrow, be"h.
"Quotable" of the Day
Learning From an SS Commandant
I was speaking to an 87 year old Warsaw ghetto and Auschwitz
survivor before Mincha on Shabbos. He mentioned that seeing his
entire family wiped out only strengthened him to keep up the energy
to remain alive until the war finished - and then to rebuild his
family, contrary to Hitler's wish to destroy it. He is now a proud
great-grandfather. (And I thought my battles were difficult!)
Just to pound the point home, he mentioned that after the war he
found a former ghetto member learning in yeshiva - he was previously
irreligious. According to this ba'al teshuva, he owed his change in
direction to an SS commandant: When being taken on a forced death
march as the war was finishing, he was being marched in the freezing
cold with no food for days - and anyone who fell was shot on the
spot. Eventually, he did fall, and whilst waiting for the relief of
a bullet, the commandant who was about to finish him off, instead
bent down and told him to get up. He refused - he had no strength
left. To which the commandant replied - "there is no such thing as I
can't - only I don't want."
This man got up somehow and went on to survive the war.
To all those who
had a recent fall, let us take this lesson to heart. There is
no such thing as "I can't get back up". If we aren't
getting back up, it is only because we don't WANT TO.
Saying of the
"One minute plus one minute plus one minute = forever!"
Testimonial of the day
I just want to relate that recently I had the urge to take
a second look at a prutzah that went by and I remembered the Chizuk
e-mail about making a million dollars and it really helped.
(Shmiras Ainayim Chizuk e-mail #160)
Yesodos A to
Z by "Battleworn"
Part 2 (yesterday we
brought "A-M", now we bring "N-Z")
Excerpts of Battleworns's "Torah Approach" on our Forum
In this struggle, we must internalize the following truths:
n) Every effort and every good ratzon (desire) adds
up, and at the end Hashem brings the salvation in the merit of
o) The effort that we invest in this area has unparalleled
significance and power (for example, we see in Chazal that
Klal Yisrael merited the splitting of the sea just in the
zechus of Yosef Hatzadik having gone against his nature).
It is called Midas Hayesod and it's the very foundation upon
which all other Avodas Hashem is built!
p) Every time we hold back from sinning is many many times
more significant than the times that we chas veshalom
stumble. It's on these successes that we can and must
build, while being careful not to concentrate on the falls
(except lito'eles). There's no place at all for the "All
or nothing" attitude!
q) Hashem wants our hearts! We must realize how much lust
distances us from Hashem and we must want to give it up completely.
If we try to stop sinning but we continue lusting, it won't
work. Giving Hashem our hearts is the very core of Torah life!
r) The lust we feel is only a "levush" (a disguise) that the
Yetzer Hara puts on our longing for Hashem. At the source, these
desires are really holy of Holies - a powerful all-encompassing
yearning to be close to Hashem. By fulfilling this true inner
desire and developing a closer and closer relationship with Hashem,
the lust will disappear. It also follows, that by weakening this
disguise, our longing for Hashem will be able to shine through much
stronger. We therefore need to work on both aspects at the same time
(developing a closer relationship with Hashem at the same time that
we cut back on the lust).
s) We need to have "Bitachon" (faith) that Hashem
will save us if we do our part. Bitachon means
that we need to be calm and rely on Hashem, while at the same time
putting in maximum effort. Feeling "stress" in this struggle is
detrimental to our battle, besides being a contradiction to
Bitachon. Effort is our only duty, but results are
completely up to Hashem! It also follows that even if we didn't
"succeed", if we tried our hardest, then it was indeed a total
[Important note: Hishtadlus (putting in effort) is not a
contradiction to Bitachon. Hashem gives us the tests because our
fighting is worth so much in his eyes. This fighting is a very
integral part of the purpose of creation. The value of one second of
fighting is more than the value of the whole material world in its
entirety, and it has the terrific power of bringing us so close to
Hashem and His Torah! It's the "stress" and the notion that "I
am responsible for the results" that we have to get rid of.]
t) We are Holy! Even if we sinned thousands of times, inside
we are purely good. The obvious proof to this, is that we are
looking to break free. The Yetzer Hara's main objective in
getting us to sin is to try and "prove" to us that we are lowlifes.
That way, he can weaken our entire avodas Hashem. We need to
expose the fallacy and keep reminding ourselves how holy we are!
u) We were chosen by Hashem for this sensitive mission (of
revealing the Shechinah in the darkest places). We are
Hashem's "special force" soldiers and we should be extremely proud
of it! We need to embrace this mission with great Simcha Shel
Mitzvah and remember that we are emissaries of Hashem Himself!
v) When one sins, he is not "annoying" Hashem, rather he is
hurting himself and distancing himself from the source of all good.
It's not "me and the lust" with Hashem on the outside, rather it's
"me and Hashem", and the lust is the outsider who gets between us
and disturbs the greatest love imaginable.
w) When faced with a test, we must always think "What does
Hashem want from me at this moment?". The past and the
future are not relevant. When we realize that every moment is given
to us by Hashem for the purpose of doing His will in that moment
- without any dependence on the past and future, there's no
room at all for "yi'ush" (despair).
x) If we find ourselves in the midst of a fall and we stop
right in the middle, the accomplishment is even greater!
y) If we were doing well and we chas veshalom had a
fall, the past gains were not lost. All we have to do is learn
from the fall, bounce back up and continue going even higher!
z) If you searched hard and long and davened your
heart out so many times and still don't see the light at the end of
the tunnel, this should not surprise you. Hashem in His infinite
wisdom knew that for our own good there needs to be a tremendous
all-encompassing darkness before Moshiach comes. By continuing to do
what we can and not giving up even in such a situation, we
are accomplishing the greatest "tikkun" in history, and THAT
is what will bring Moshiach!
"12 Step" Tip of the Day
Moderator of the daily
12-Step phone conference
A good week to everyone! I hope your Shabbos was filled
with tranquility and connectedness to your spouse, your kids, your
friends and most of all - to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. I know mine
certainly was - in spite of the fact that my wife and my kids were
out of town this Shabbos. This connectedness during a Shabbos
when I was "all alone" is a relatively recent experience. Before the
12 Step Program, I couldn't bear Shabbos without my family near me.
I hated being alone and all unto myself. The worst thoughts and
urges would appear, and I didn't know what to do with myself.
Baruch Hashem, not anymore.
If anyone wants to really "prove" to themselves that their
addiction lives deep inside their heads, all you have
to do is see how you handle being alone OR how you handle the
Lazy - Unplanned - usually Disorganized day of the week known as
"Why should this matter to my addiction??" you might ask.
Bill's story (and others) in The Big Book, share with us
the impact that "isolation" has on our propensity to
We may think that we have some semblance of control during
the work week. After all, we're so busy - focusing on our careers,
our family needs, providing for and supporting our family, our
employees, our civic responsibilities. Who has time to think??!!
Much less have time to act out?
In addition, we may be attending a 12 Step Meeting or a
Shiur or keeping in touch with our Sponsor of Fellows in the
Program. Yes, I feel in charge and "in control" through all these
efforts. (AND certainly, you shouldn't stop any of this). But the
truth is that all of this busy activity is just a cover up.
Just look what happens on SUNDAY, when the day is quiet and
unplanned or lazy? Do you hear it? Inside your head? Yep, it's
there! That little annoying voice telling you that you're bored and
need something to focus on. You can't just sit around all day, that
wouldn't be right.
That little voice that lives deep inside our head is
the best proof of our powerlessness over our addiction
- our "disease". Just think about that word -
"disease". It means DIS - EASE or "LACK OF EASE". This is a
good description of what it means to us to be "twisted-up" or
unhappy "in our skin."
It's this state of dis-ease that tells us to "take
back control" - to turn to a behavior that comforts us - to soothe
ourselves. And those "blessed" with sexaholism know that our drug
of choice is "acting out" - through internet porn or chat rooms, or
masturbation or cruising the scene.
Why?? BECAUSE WE JUST CAN'T FEEL HAPPY IN OUR SKIN!
That is, until we take the Steps - The 12 Steps -
especially the 1st STEP: admitting powerlessness.
And that's why I invite you to continue this week on our
Journey, as we Cruise through the Big Book; picking up
on page 2 in Bill's Story.
You will soon see for yourself - in time - as you make it
through recovery by working the Steps, that you can look forward to
Sunday - or any day that you are "alone" - confident that what lives
deep inside your head will be a different voice, not the one
that urges you into the addiction - but instead a voice that calls
you to Teshuvah and to stay connected to the real Truth, to
So keep coming back, because it works if you work it
- and your worth it!
Until then, I am yours truly,
P.S. As a reminder - The Big Book Study Group
Lunch & Learn meets Monday through Thursday at noon EST. Call into
our conference call at (712) 432 0080 - then enter 121318#.
Don't worry if you haven't joined us so far, now's a great time
Saying of the
Posted by "London"
"Serenity is not
peace from the storm but peace amid the storm"
Testimonial of the day
By "Noorah B'Amram"
Welcome aboard this holy site, my name is Noorah B'Amram
and I wish to tell you that Guard's
Handbooks are everything he says - and then some!! (I've
gone thru them more then once). I'm on the
90 day wall of Honor and
the forum to post my progress, fears, hopes and prayers. To me
this a great motivator and you may want to consider it too.
Fire in the House of Amram!
A great big MAZAL TOV to our member "Nura
B'Amram" who has reached a full 90 days today and joined our
Wall of Hashem's Honor on the Yartzeit of the Holy Ohr
May the light of this holy "Nura" (fire) continue to be an
"Ohr Hachayim - a Light of Life" to all of us on
the forum for years to come!
In honor of Nura's Simcha we ask everyone to download
and rejoice together with him. It is called the "Bardichever Niggun"
and I chose it because Nura considers another member on our forum
who calls himself "Bardichev"
to be his virtual "Rebbe" :-) This niggun is a mixture of simcha and
yearning, a tune of deep longing for Hashem; perfect for this
Why does he
call himself "Nura Be'amram"?
The Gemara in
Kidushin 81a brings the following story of Rav Amram Raban
Some women who had been taken captive were redeemed and brought to
Nehardai. They were kept in the attic of Rav Amram the Chasid
and the ladder was removed. At night, a beam of light reflected off
one of the women, revealing her beauty. Rav Amram was seized with
lust and he moved the ladder (which normally needed 10 people to
move it) and began to ascend. As he was halfway up, he screamed "Nura
Bei Amram - There is a fire in Rav Amram's house!" and the Rabanan
flocked to his house. After they saw that there was no fire they
said to him "You embarrassed us (with your behavior)!". Answered Rav
Amram: "It is better to suffer embarrassment in this world than in
Please see tool #9 of
the GuardYourEyes handbook where we use this story as one of the
strongest demonstrations in Chazal of the power of "human
accountability", and how we should not to rely on "Fear of Heaven"
alone when dealing with lust. After all, even the biggest Tzadik and
Chasid like Rav Amram, was forced to use human accountability
when faced head-on with lust. (And a lust addict is faced head-on
with lust many times a day!)l
the genteel reader to forgive me in advance if my literary attempt
may not adhere to the rules of grammar and diction, and this "rant"
may even come up lacking in style and prose, for its not literary
awards that I seek, nor is fame and glory my goal, rather this is a
very humble attempt to present a few snapshots of my life and
my tremendous Debt of Gratitude to der Heilega Guard and all the
holy chevra of the GYE network.
It is my deepest wish, that the following "ramble" give others who
read it succor, comfort and maybe even a little strength to continue
our mutual upward climb on the proverbial "ladder" leading to the
"House of Hashem"!
nature I'm an introverted and intensely private person who likes the
pleasure of his own company (pun unintended). This is a precursor to
lonesomeness, which in turn is lethal when it comes to p**n
I also struggled all the years with what today I recognize as a
mixture of low self esteem coupled with very high aspirations; a
toxic and deadly mix. My work also doesn't allow me to tap into the
wellsprings of strengths that can be found in camaraderie!
struggle with mast**n began in earnest when I was about 15 years old
- maybe even earlier, (yes, those ubiquitous infamous Sears catalogs
are what I owe my chinuch to; all you parents out there BEWARE,
I beg you to get rid of the catalogues from your house!!!! You know
which ones I mean!)
remember as a young man going to Manhattan in middle of the night to
buy p**n magazines - I probably even wore my white shirt but made
sure to take off my yarmuka! (as if it didn't say across my forehead
in bold letters "ORTHODOX JEW" hiding from no one other than
myself). In my excitement/nervousness I locked the keys inside the
car. I didn't think I could've called Chaveirim (A HUGE
network of chesed in The NY Metro area), I doubt they respond to
Times square/42nd street area in middle of the night. But the Ribono
shel Olam was with me even in Times Square, as the Pasuk says "I
am Hashem who dwells with them within their impurities" -
come from a family of Talmidei Chachamim and Tzadikim, some of my
ancestors are actually household names (talk about GUILT). Some
people consider me a learned person or maybe even a bit of a Talmid
Chacham, some may even consider me a tzadik, who knows? (It's now
ringing loudly in my ears the oath that I took before they let me
loose upon this world: "swear that you will be a tzadik and you
won't be a rasha, and even if the whole world tells you that you are
a tzadik, in thine own eyes know who you really are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
But all my lineage, knowledge and erudition; all my alleged piety,
was - and is - no protection from a very real p**n addiction. On the
contrary, it only made the addiction worse. No need to belabor that
last fall and The GYE Network
Having been clean for about a year, I had just completed a huge
project at work and was drained both emotionally and physically. At
this point I can't even remember what actually triggered the fall,
and it's not very important.
But what a spectacular and magnificent crash it was!!!
The only thing I know was that I was in such a slump, that it
seemed nothing could pull me out, not Purim, not the upcoming Pesach
holiday, nothing. I was as frigid and indifferent as could be, so
cold and indifferent that I actually was frightened for my own
sanity. I was coasting and getting by at work, and in my family life
it was all just going through the motions for the sake of my wife
and children, and just barely that! It was as if the life was sucked
out of me, time had stopped... hours on end, clickin 'n surfin you
know where... (maybe it's better you don't know where).
All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put Nurah back
together again until...
Enter the GYE network and the holy Chevra!
How did I find the GYE network, you ask?
Good old Google!!! I don't remember what I was Googling but I definitely remember
that it was Google that brought me here. As the saying goes: "From
the wound itself came the healing". The very same Google that took
me into sh'eol tachtis, that very same Google brought
me my life preserver..... all of you on the GYE network :-)
(Admin: See below for a D'var Torah from the Ohr Hachayim Hakadosh
in honor of his Yartzeit - on this very idea!)
of the stated goals of the GYE network is the concept of "Hitting
bottom while still (relatively) on top"
(Admin: see Chizuk e-mail #441 on
this page). GYE was to me exactly that; a giant baseball bat right between
the eyes letting me know in the clearest of terms:
Buddy, shape up before
you loose it all!
GYE lifted me up by
the scruff of my neck and shook me till my teeth rattled!!
GYE shouted at me
LOUD and CLEAR in the strongest language possible "Hey Nurah , if
you want to avoid the indescribable pain that some of the chevrah write
about, you better take yourself in hand and admit that you are an
Because I thought I was immune to the wiles of the Yetzer Hara
I had been lax in installing a no-nonsense filter. I must thank the
the GYE filter page, and some of the posters who stressed over
and over the monumental importance of having the strongest filter
possible and giving the password to someone else - as I have since
here for instructions on how to do this best).
to the brilliantly conceived
90 Day Wall Of Honor, a fabulous motivator.
Yet, I "celebrate" 90 days today with the greatest of caution. For
me, Nurah, the 90 day mark must remain a mere "mile marker" on the
journey of the "rest of my life", that is all. I pray that I will
not succumb to any feeling of having "arrived" anywhere, because
it's this very feeling of "arrival" that leads to the complacency -
which gets me into trouble every time!!!
I hear a collective sigh of relief? :-)
learned from all my masters on the forum (yes, I consider all the
holy chevrah on the forum my rebbe'im and masters -
each and every one of you - more then you will ever know):
and precipitated my fall, and only genuine anava (humility)
will lift me up and sustain my recovery!
Dov and others have so eloquently posted on the forum that
SOBRIETY is a gift from the Almighty.
And it is my deepest prayer that we all continue to be worthy of
this great gift from Hashem, the GIFT OF SOBRIETY...... THE GIFT OF
L'CHAIM L'CHAIM--- TO
ONE AND ALL, L'CHAIM!!!!
Saying of the
"You cant win if you
"Torah" Thought of the Day
In Honor of the Yartzeit of the Ohr
The Ohr Hachayim on Parshas Shmos (3:8) writes that before
Moshiach's time the Jewish nation will be subjected to the 50th
level of impurity. But he also writes there, that before the
Redemption the Jewish people will garner the strength to enter into
the very "mouth" of the 50th level of impurity and pull out that
which the Satan had already swallowed ("le'hotzi boi'lo mi'piv").
And that is exactly what the GuardYourEyes community is doing
today! The Ohr Hachayim Hakadosh could not have used a more
divinely inspired analogy! We are entering into the mouth of
the Yetzer Hara himself and using the very power of
the internet to pull out these sparks of Kedusha, these holy souls,
that have fallen to the 50th level of impurity! (See Nura's story
above, how he describes finding our network using Google: the very
tool that had brought him previously to the depths).
"Q & A"
of the Day
In Honor of the Yartzeit of the Ohr
I am part of a non-Jewish 12-Step SA fellowship. I wish
there was a solution to the disease of addiction in yiddishkeit, but
to the best of my knowledge there is none. There is hardly mention
of the concept of addiction or a solution in chazal or mussar
seforim. This begs for an explanation that I don't have.
Rabbi/Dr.Twersky responded to one such question
here and he writes as follows:
"Whereas forbidden sexual activity certainly occurred, I doubt that
the phenomenon of sexual addiction was ever brought to the attention
of the authors of sifrei mussar."
I have a hard time accepting this answer because Chazal
understood the human psychology and Yetzer Hara extremely well, and
they didn't have to be told about a phenomenon to write about it!
read the Ohr Hachayim Hakadosh on
this page (for English translations of this important piece,
please see Chizuk e-mails #379, #381, #385 on
this page). It sure sounds to me like he's talking about lust
addiction! He directly addresses the complete powerlessness
that a person who is caught up in lust will experience. He suggests
that the only way to succeed in this area is by completely
avoiding visual and mental stimulation. (If the Ohr Hachayim
had lived today where this solution is close to impossible - and
where the entire world's sewage is available with the click of a
mouse, who knows - he may have come up with a 12-Step program! :-).
But listen to this: The Ohr Hachayim also touches upon
the core of the 12-Steps in this very piece. He writes that
for those who are already caught up in lust (read: addicts) they
cannot do it on their own, and that ONLY Hashem can ultimately
save them from this powerful Yetzer Hara.
This Ohr Hachayim is very
inspiring. Definitely worth a read - especially on his yartzeit
Lust Seeks Isolation
Four Different Phone Group Options on GuardYourEyes
The saying goes
"Lust glows in the dark". If we can succeed to bring the lust
into the light it will quickly fade away. As Duvid Chaim always
says: "Get out of your head!". Tell a friend, call a
sponsor or discuss your struggles with your group. The huge bubble
of lust quickly pops when brought out into the open air.
Ask any SA sponsor or addiction therapist and they'll tell you that
the number one trick to finding freedom from lust addiction is to
"GET OUT OF ISOLATION". The Pasuk in Mishlai (18:1) says:
"Le'taava yevakesh nifrad
- Desire seeks isolation".
Being isolated causes us to go after our Taavah - our lust. The
addiction wants us to withdraw into ourselves and disconnect from
life, because that's where the disease festers and breeds.
For the first time in history, GuardYourEyes is proud to present
four different phone groups to help religious Jews connect with
other addicts anonymously and work together to break free from the
grasp of this insidious addiction. Besides for the immense power of
group support that these phone conferences provide, they also teach
us the tools of how to find freedom from this addiction,
mainly through the world's most proven and powerful method of all
time: the 12-Steps.
GuardYourEyes is proud to present these four phone group options in
a clear and organized manner for the first time today, so
that you can find the group that works best for you.
If you haven't joined a group yet, now is a great time to
start! (Today on Wednesday, you can still catch Boruch's group at 9
PM - see below).
owe it to yourself!
Here are the four groups:
Click the links to learn more!
Group 1: Duvid Chaim's Group: Monday through Thursday
12 PM EST. An in-depth 12-Step Big-Book Study Lunch & Learn. An
SA style group for men who are willing to make a serious commitment
to finally find the freedom from their addiction; as literally
promised by the Program.
Group 2: Boruch's Group: Wednesday Evenings 9 PM EST. "Back
to Basics" - 12-Steps in 4 Weeks; an anonymous SA phone conference.
A proven program with high success rates.
Group 3: Elya's Group: Thursday Evenings 9 PM EST. An
anonymous 12-Step phone conference that follows the rules and
traditions of the SLAA (Sex and Love Addiction Anon) fellowship.
Group 4: Zeva's Group: Tuesday Evenings 9 PM EST. A weekly
anonymous phone group, offering professional clinical therapy,
12-step work, DBT Skills (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), Pat
Carnes work... and more!
"Pilpher" posted about
Duvid Chaim's group:
So far 4 full days of cleanliness,
not even a slip B"H. Also coincidentally 4 days of participation in
Duvid Chaim's telephone conference. Probably unrelated coincidence.
Can't imagine that there is a link :-)
Another first - I doubt that any of
the clean times that I have previously had were ever as clean as
this one. It is a different experience. I feel a bit like I have
been on a water diet after sampling the rich foods of temptation.
Very cleansed and very happy. And this is just after 4 days.
"Momo" posted about
Duvid Chaim's group:
I thought I'd update everyone that
thank HaShem I have 10 clean days so far. I haven't had that many
days for a few weeks. I thank HaShem and Duvid Chaim's call group
which offers hope and a way to fight the addiction with yesodot from
the ground up.
"Postal" posted about
I've been working the 12 Steps the
past weeks with the Back to Basics group... I'm very glad I was able
to get over my initial doubts about the 12 Steps. They really have a
potential to work!
The 12 Steps seem like a step-by-step
TESHUVAH SHLEIMA Program!
"todahlakayl" posted about
I just want to say I went on the
phone meeting last night and it was fantastic!!! This Back to Basics
is truly amazing!! Simple, straight and to the point. Something
simple is the recipe all of us Sexaholics need to start us on the
road to recovery!! I bless everyone with sobriety just for today!!!
Take care !!! Be well !!!
Elya posted after the first two months running
his phone group (about a year ago):
Our phone group has only been on for
2 months and 90% of the guys have 5-8 weeks of sobriety. These are
people that have been acting out for over 20-30 YEARS. You have to
willing to take the first step and begin. You won't make a fool of
yourself because no one judges you or gives you advice. You just
talk it out, then the next person talks it out. Problems are solved
later privately. Just speaking it out and listening to others is
very powerful. I hope to "see" you on the calls!
Elya wrote just recently about
his phone group:
Members who attend regularly now,
have months of sobriety under their belts. They describe in meetings
how their lives have changed dramatically at home, at work and in
social situations, even in their relationship with Hashem. They have
begun to explore the root causes of this disease and are learning
how to live a life of spiritual connection instead of fantasy.
"Jack" posted yesterday about the power of group
When I first went to a p-n movie, I
put on a ski mask so no one would see me. Of course I wasn't afraid
if G-d saw me....
When I was
older and married, they were up to $8 a movie. Then $11. When they
were up to $15, I said - this is great - finally an incentive for me
to stop going - right? WRONG!! I still went.
Of course this is, we now know, what an addiction is. An alcoholic
will say "if I don't have another drink I will die!" Of course, just
the opposite is true - one more drink and his liver will bust open -
but this is STILL not enough to stop an addict. Rabbi/Dr Twerski
says the addict must hit bottom - as if that's not bottom. But
addictions kill, and worse. Yes, people die from throwing up their
food, and from cirrhosis of the liver, and get shot in the brothel
when the bad guys come in - just read the papers. And still they
don't stop. Nothing is enough when it comes to addictions. What to
do? As we now know, group support is the answer. My father
was not happy until he joined the holocaust survivors in his area -
a group of people who went through just what he did - the only
people in the entire world who could understand what he went
through. The power of the group - and the genius of the people who
started it and run it - is what saves us addicts from going down!!
Saying of the Day
Posted by "London"
"ISOLATION: the dark
room where I develop my negatives"
Parable of the Day
In Honor of "Momo"
who never give up!
this Powerpoint presentation (right click and press
"Save As") and internalize the beautiful lesson it contains!
The Daffodil Principle: One
day at a time, one baby step at a time. We can learn to use the
accumulation of time to create something beautiful and
magnificent with our lives. We may not see it now, but when we come
up to shamayim after 120, we will see the thousands - maybe
millions - of beautiful daffodils that we planted with every little
step we took in the right direction.
- A Breach in Our Walls
After a stumble
with Facebook, "Momo" posted on
I need to
learn from my fall, and this past fall has taught me that I have to
cancel my Facebook account. It's really a waste of time anyway. The
only reason I've been keeping the account is to see what's new in my
friend's lives, see new photos of their kids, and have all of their
email addresses in one spot. So I'll be "out of the loop". I'll miss
someone's birthday. I'll miss a cute photo of a kid smiling. It's
NOT worth it if it's going to trigger me to fall. I'm too sick to be
The next day "Momo"
Yesterday I said that I'd deactivate my Facebook account, and I did.
Right before I did that, I said a prayer that with the z'chut of
this action, HaShem should help everyone who's on this forum. Then,
while I was doing the deactivation, the Y"H started voicing his
objections "come on...". I countered by singing (in my head) a
niggun really loudly. I felt very proud of myself after I did it,
until I received a notice from Facebook that I can always activate
my account again simply by signing in.
After searching the net, I found that you CAN request to have your
account permanently deleted, and I did this too.
Here's the link.
Now that we don't have the Beis Hamikdash, Hashem looks for the
Korbon Tamid every day in different places... In Shamayim it was
announced: "Today Momo brought a Korbon for Hashem by sacrificing
FaceBook on the Mizbe'ach of his heart!"
Everyone, learn from this Tzadik! In honor of Shiva Asar Bi'Tamuz,
let's delete access to Facebook, Youtube, GoogleVideo, etc..
anything that is a stumbling block for us now, or has been in the
past: don't let there be breaches in our walls!
LAHASHEM MISHOR POR -
and it shall be sweeter to Hashem than oxen and cattle!"
Testimonial of the Day
Sent to us by "M. Y."
Hi. I just wanted to drop you a nachas note.
Almost 3 months ago I had a baby. In the past, when I had a baby and
my wife was assur to me, it was no problem, I just did the wrong
thing. This time I was determined to see how strong I really am. It
was a long haul. A couple of times my wife counted six days and on
the 7th she started bleeding all over again. But instead of saying
"oh now for sure I have an excuse to act out" I said "Hashem is
forcing the 90 days on me and he knows how many days I need in order
to really fix myself", and so I held out. Over the weeks it got a
lot easier, until it came to a point where I was looking forward for
my wife to become tahor - not because of relations we would have,
but because I truly missed her. I began to see her in a different
light, as a human being, someone Hashem gave to be close to and
enjoy each others company. Well after 10 weeks and finally the day
came. It was a beautiful experience and guilt free. I'm so proud of
myself. Thank you!
Saying of the Day
Posted by "trYiNg"
"There is no
comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that
which is lost by NOT TRYING"
Anecdote of the Day
Posted by "Pintale Yid"
There was a Gerrer Chasid who lost all of his family in the
Holocaust. Although he had a beard, payos and yarmulka before the
war, the Nazis - Yimach Shemem Vizichrom (may their memory be
obliterated) - took them away from him and he didn't reclaim them
after the war. He moved to Tel Aviv and after some time, he missed
his Rebbi, the Imrei Emes. He decided to visit him, and when the
Imrei Emmes saw him, he recognized him and invited him into his
study and asked him to tell his story. (As a side note, the Imrei
Emes lost half his family and 250 thousand (!) chassidim in the
After the yid told his story, both he and the Imrei Emes put down
their heads and wept for a very long time. At some point, the Imrei
Emes picked up his head and stopped weeping and asked the yid a
question. Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden in Parshas Ekev (9:17),
- I broken them (the Luschos) in
front of your eyes". It seems that
"Li'aynaychem" is extra since
he was talking to klal yisroel? He answered that it is because the
Luchos were only broken in front of Klal Yisroel's eyes. In truth,
there is a place where the Luchos were never broken. And he applied
it to the Holocaust and all the other massacres that the Jewish
people have endured over the years. He said that "although your
family and much of my family and much of my Chasidim were killed -
they were killed only in a bechina of "Li'aynachem". But
there is a place where every heiliga yid still lives unbroken and
My beloved brothers. I wish to apply this to our situation. Although
we "break" our neshamos from time to time, (sometimes more often
than we like and in ways even we can't believe we do), we should
remember that this is only L'aynainu. But in the
sefira of Kesser, in the bechina of "kol Yisroel", our Neshamos are
totally clean and whole.
So next time the Y"H wants to tell you how bad you are, send him to
the Nazis. No matter what your stage, remember
"Veshuchanty b'soch Tumasum
- and I dwell within their
impurities". You might not know where that place in
you is, but the Pintele Yid in you knows and is living in
harmony with Hakodosh Baruch Hu, as it says in the Zohar (and bought
in the Tanya) on the posuk in Berashis
"Vayepach Bapov Nishmas Chaim, Man
D'nofach M'Toicoi Nafach". This means that Hashem
breathed from his essence into man. We all have a piece of
Hashem inside us!
of the Day
- A Breach in Our Walls
Once the walls of
Yerushalayim were breached on the 17th of Tammuz, it wasn't long
before the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, only 3 weeks later. There
is no better time then "Bein Ha'metzarim" for us to
strengthen our own personal "walls" against the enemy.
In response to yesterday's post where "Momo" described giving up "FaceBook",
we received a number of responses:
One great Ba'al Teshuvah - who has been clean now for well over a
year, wrote us as follows:
The Yetzer Hara in his slimy and
cunning ways, convinces so many people that Facebook is so innocent!
Believe me, it is one of the worst places on the web, probably
because it seems so innocent!
I personally have transgressed some
of the worst Aveiros, thanks to Facebook! May Hashem have mercy on
me and forgive me. May Hashem have mercy on everyone out there with
a Facebook account, and give them the strength to get rid of it
Same goes for mySpace and all
"social" sites. The Torah forbids social mingling of the sexes. This
applies 10000000% to mingling on Facebook too, and perhaps applies
even more due to the anonymity involved that allows people
to sink lower and lower, rachmana li'tzlan.
Please keep harping on this, until
people get the message.
Another guy wrote in response to yesterday's Chizuk e-mail:
Good for you Momo! I am also
happy to let you know that I gave up my Facebook a few weeks ago.
It's good to see I am not alone here. I became addicted to it,
checking friends' profiles and pictures.
Now when I'm home with time to spare,
I'm more likely to pick up a sefer and learn instead of wasting time
on the computer on these social networking sites.
Also, I went through my iTunes and
iPod and deleted a lot of my goyishe music, including lady singers.
This is something of a financial loss, since this music cost money,
but I am more than confident that 'loss' is far outweighed by the
eternal spiritual gains this will bring me.
12-Step Tip of
Exercises from Duvid Chaim's "Take out Menu"
Big-Book Lunch & Learn Cruise
I want to congratulate
our Group on the completion of the first two weeks of our
"cruise". I can see how the members are being more open in their
sharing, and I can tell already that we're building a very special
and "safe" container for us to come to regularly. I feel like we are
creating a sort of "Vaad" to deal with one of the biggest taivos we
are faced with.
As of today, we have completed the reading in the
Big Book up to the second to last paragraph on page 12. If you
would like to join our group in this coming week or if you have
missed any of the calls, please be sure to catch up.
At this point in Bill's Story, we see that he is turning the corner
from the rock bottom of his addiction. We see how Bill is reacting
to meeting his Sponsor - a man of recovery.
Like all addicts, we are the first to throw doubt at a Program of
Change. We are still living the delusion that we can wrestle
happiness out of life, and that by exerting our will power
that we can "fix" whatever is wrong with us.
As we have been discussing, it is only through "surrender" that we
can find victory. For the first time, we are faced with the ugly
truth that WE are getting in the WAY of
our own Success.
Yes, we need to climb out of G-d's Throne. We need to take off His
Robes. We are NOT in control; He is. Only then can we begin to see
the miracles and awesomeness of Hashem's creation.
I wanted to remind everyone about the "Take-Out Exercises" for the
next few days:
sure to stay on the alert to find an A&W Moment ("Awe & Wonder"
- a moment where you feel Hashem in your life). With practice
over time, you will see how easy this becomes, and you will see
how it increases your d'eivakus with Ribono Shel Olam.
- and new to the Group - is to be aware of how often you exert
control in your daily affairs. Pay attention to your
behavior. Be aware of how your run and brush aside someone in
Shul to grab a Siddur, or how you insist that you get the first
serving of brisket at the table, or how you use your sharp
witted mind to argue your point - regardless of how it affects
your wife, your friend or co-worker. And the list goes on. Why
do we do this? Because we're just like "babies with their grabby
little hands" always reaching out for more and crying if someone
else has the toys we want. So, try this exercise and count how
many times a day you put yourself FIRST. I think you'll
I look forward to picking up where we left off next week.
Newcomers: we look forward to meeting you next week!
Until then, I am yours truly,
Posted by "7Up"
My son went to the beach in Bat Yam yesterday on a class trip. He
had a wonderful time BH, except for one minor setback. Towards the
end of the day, a larger than normal wave came crashing in. As he
fought to retain his balance, he noticed a huge, opaque jelly fish
wash towards him. Because he was still trying to stay afloat, he was
unable to avoid it. It attached itself to his leg and stomach,
stinging him. Finally pulling free, he waded back to shore and went
for help. The lifeguard poured vinegar over the burns. The 'refuah'
was even more painful than the sting, he told me, but after a few
minutes, it began soothing the pain and he felt much better. (He
showed me the burn when he got home - the body must have been the
size of a large dinner plate, besides the tentacles.)
It got me thinking about how similar our battle is.
We get overwhelmed by the huge waves of stress, anxiety and
restlessness that crash over us; throwing us off balance and making
it so hard to simply stand securely in one place, never mind
actually move forward.
Then the Yetzer Hara attacks out of the blue, blending in to the
surroundings so well that we barely even see it before we are
Once the stinging attack is over, our pain is terrible, causing us
to cry out for help, but the damage is already done. The poison has
already seeped in to our bodies.
In comes our (life)Guard! Sure, the refuah seems more painful than
the sting in the beginning, but very quickly, we see healing and
Yet even once we feel better, the scar remains; a clear reminder of
the past, and a warning for the future!
One step further: My son's friend fished the jelly fish out of the
water (with a stick, not his hand!) and laid it out on the sand in
the light of day. Within minutes, it began evaporating, drying out
as if nothing more than air!
Just like that Yetzer Hara! Expose him to the light, and we can see
him for what he really is - nothing more that mere slime, destined
to fade away if we can just get him out into the sunlight!
Posted by "Ano-nymous"
This Wednesday was 30 weeks clean. I have just
about no urge to do anything which I should not. On the other hand,
the further I get from my starting point, the more I can "feel"
spiritually and emotionally. People tell me that I look happier and
I act nicer. I certainly don't look at women the way I did before. I
can talk to them when I need to, without feeling disgusting and
having disgusting ideas and images going through my head.
I do realize that for many people here,
the damage is deeper and cannot be fully undone. But realize, this
has nothing to do with your strength. If you were addicted for a
much longer period of time, you may never be able to see a
pretty woman without being overwhelmed by lust. Again, this has
nothing to do with willpower. Hashem was kind to me and let me get
out of this early, and for that I'm very thankful. But each person
here must do what can be done to avoid things which are triggering
to them. If that means never speaking with women, that is what must
be done, and I have much more respect and admiration for
those people who fell to that level and have still broken the
addiction, than I do for myself and others like me.
By the way... I'm spending so much time on
because I feel like reading every single new post. But I am watching
as the forum continues to grow in leaps and bounds, and I don't know
how I'm going to keep up. I hope to see this "problem" keep
getting worse! :-)
New Post of the
"Q & A" : How can I make recovery the focus of my life? I'm too
Check out the new "Speed-Dial"
board on our forum for exchanging phone numbers with other
strugglers. Build a network of support for when times get
tough. Post your info and make yourself useful to others as well! As
we all know, the best insurance to long-term sobriety is HELPING
OTHERS! And when times get tough, the best known "first aid" is:
MAKE A CALL. "Lust glows in the dark". Bring it out into the
light, and it quickly fades away...
Chizuk of the Day
One of the main causes of addiction is stress and anxiety.
We tend to use the addiction as an escape to make ourselves feel
good when our lives feel "difficult to control". But stress and
anxiety are really a result of a mistaken perception of
"control"; we think that it is we
control our lives, but we don't. (See
Duvid Chaim's second exercise in Chizuk e-mail #526). The moment
we realize that we are nothing but mere "actors" in Hashem's show,
the stress and anxiety dissipates. And when we live "stress free",
we find that we no longer need to reach for our "drug" of escape and
"Nura" posted once on
The chapter called "How It Works" in
discusses how we run our lives on "self propulsion", meaning
"everything is about ME". I, I, I... I will do this and I will do
that. We want to be the "producers" in the drama we call life, when
all we really are in fact, are "actors" in the Almight-y's drama. He
- and only He - is The Producer, and He is in charge
of everything in this show, from the scenery to the lighting, to
deciding which actor gets what part, be it easy or difficult. All He
expects from us is to follow the "Script"ure that He handed us.
As the Big Book says (PG 60-61):
"The first requirement is that we be
convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On
that basis we are almost always in collision with something or
somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live
by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run
the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the story,
the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his
arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he
wished, the show would be great."
The idea that are we are just actors
in the Almighty's "show" helps me so much, because one of the
greatest triggers for me was always the overwhelming stress of
having to meet the payrolls on the 15th and 30th of each month. The
constant stress and pressure of worrying about the "bank balance"
drove me to escape in the nether nether worlds of internet p**n. It
was there that I found refuge (albeit only a temporary refuge) from
the overwhelming pressure of my day to day existence.
If I can only internalize this idea
that I don't run the show, only He does!!! I am nothing but
an actor. My "part" is just to follow the script and do the best I
... How difficult yet how SIMPLE!
Saying of the
Posted by "Esnachtoh" (From an Energy Drink Advertisement)
"Don't just break a
bad habit; replace it with a good one!"
Torah Thought of
Posted by "Bardichev"
Pinchas was a zealot and therefore he was the one person who was
rightfully able to kill Zimri (as per the Halacha of
Habo'el aramis kanaim pogiin bo).
But here is the bombshell: The Torah calls Pinchas a man of
"A zealot?" you ask, "does that not conjure up an image which is
opposite of the man of peace - a man who was blessed with
the covenant of peace and who will ultimately bring the
geulah - the real peace?"
The answer is, PEACE is not only the end of a war - nor is it hairy
hippies singing kumbaya (whatever that means). It is a state of
harmony when all the pieces of the puzzle come together, when the
symphony plays in unison. That is peace.
Peace is Totality = SHLEIMUS (same root as SHALOM); a whole.
With Zimri's blatant act of sin, he threw the Jewish nation into
limbo. The only way to regain balance was to KILL HIM!!!
YES MY DEAR FRIENDS, THAT WAS AN ACT OF PEACE!!!
The HEILIGER KOBRINER is quoted in the NESIVOS SHALOM (path of
peace) as saying that in our MILCHEMES HAYETZER, the worst thing we
can do is to " MAKE PEACE"
That he says, is called "complacency" (I call it rolling over and
So if you are looking for real PEACE my brothers, then FIGHT,
E-mail by "Shoshana"
I joined your mailing list a couple of weeks ago. I am very happy
that I visited and signed up.
I have been in a 12 step, AA for many years and was "familiar" with
SA. I can't tell you how much this site has helped me. I too have
been on Facebook and there is a lot of inappropriate behavior there.
I am not Orthodox yet but live in a Reform Jewish household. I have
been slowly becoming more observant though Chabad, and this site has
helped me a great deal. You just have no idea!!!!
There are many times through the day when I will say, "Guard ur
I thank you and Hashem thanks you... and you are saving families!
Shoshana's first post on the forum:
I am new here. I have 9 years of
continuous sobriety in AA. I am almost 50 and separated now. I was
married to a non-Jew for 18 years.
If I didn't have my AA recovery, I
wouldn't be here trudging this road. My recovery has given me the
courage to want and demand more out of myself. That is why I am
separated and will get a divorce. I want to become observant and
eventually have a observant, clean partner.
I do know that Hashem wants only what is
best for all of us in everything: our food, our thoughts, our
actions. I am like so many others that want the "love" from another
person, and we easily get confused from what others will throw our
So many times we are too ill with our disease to receive any
blessings, or to see them.
I know that today I am responsible, and I
have the ability to change what is going on. I know that I have the
"choice" to act out or not, to use or not to use. It is really up to
This forum is a wonderful opportunity for me to truly and
finally feel good about myself. Facebook and the other so called
social networks are breeding grounds for the disease.
I know that I have "today".... One day at
Praise be Hashem for this site. Thank you!
New Post of the
"Q & A": I have less energy to learn because of this never ending
of the Day
Gathering the Wood for the Mizbe'ach
Yesterday and today were some of the most difficult days
that I remember on
our forum in a long time. So many of people seemed to be
struggling valiantly against a seemingly invincible enemy. Many of
our greatest warriors experienced falls, and others were posting how
they've never felt so close the edge of the abyss. I received a lot
of e-mails with calls for help, people were claiming they felt as if
their very "Bechira" was being removed from them.
Rabboisai, I think I have a theory for why this may be happening
now. Let me share with you my thoughts, because I believe it can
shed some "light" on this period of the year and on our struggle
with the forces of "darkness" in general. But to understand what I
am going to say, I will need to give a first a Hakdama
The Zohar (in Chelek Beis, pg 78b) writes that Yakov Avinu took the
months of Nissan and Iyar for himself (hence Yetziyas Mitzrayim,
Kabbalas Hatorah), and Eisav took the months of Tamuz and Av for
himself (and hence, the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha Be'av), but only the
first 9 days of Av belong to him.
It says in the Mishna that they stopped gathering wood for the
Mizbe'ach from the 15th of Av and on, because the strength of the
sun finally breaks at that point, and the wood for the Mizbe'ach
must be gathered only while the sun is at its strongest. Once the
sun is no longer as strong, the wood can be slightly damp inside and
it won't burn as well.
The Jewish people are compared to the moon, which renews itself each
month. When Moshiach comes, the moon will be as bright as the sun.
Esav chose this world over the next world, and the ruler of
the heavens in this world is the sun. When the sun is the
strongest, the koach of Esav is the strongest. But only until
The Beis Ahron of Karlin at the end of Parshas Pinchas brings a
Medrash that says that the months of Tamuz, Av and Elul have no
Regalim in them. That is why Hashem gave us three Regalim in the
month of Tishrei, as if to "pay us back". The Beis Ahron writes that
the 3 weeks are a very high time. These 3 weeks symbolize the 3
upper worlds (Ga"r or Gimmle Rishonos; Keser, chachma and Bina), and
according to Kabbala, these three worlds are above time and space.
That is why, says the Beis Ahron, the 3 weeks are a time when Hashem
is so "hidden". Not because it is a "dark" time, but rather because
the world cannot be "Sovel" (tolerate) the great light of this
period of the year. But when Moshiach comes, he writes, these three
weeks will be revealed and they will become great Yomim Tovim. And
the Beis Ahron ends by saying that that is why we usually read
Parshas Pinchas during the 3 weeks, because Pinchas has in it all
Now that we have the "Hakdama", I want to explain my theory as to
why the struggle is so hard davka now. The Koach of Esav is
at its height during the three weeks. From Rosh Chodesh Tamuz until
the 9th of Av is approx 40 days. We are now smack in middle of
those 40 days. At the end of these 40 days, the sun's strength
starts to wane. That means that in middle of the 40 days, the sun is
at its peak. Now is the most hidden time. The world cannot be "sovel"
the great light, and when the keilim are not able to hold the light,
they break. That is why the walls of Yerushalayim were breached and
the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed. The "Keilim" of the yidden were
not worthy of maintaining the great light, so when the light became
the strongest, it broke the vessels. And that is perhaps why so many
of us are struggling now more than any other time of the year.
The Yartzeit of Rav Shlomo Karliner is tonight, on the 22cd Tamuz.
He was killed al Kiddush Hashem by a Russian Cossack, and Tzadikim
said he was the bechina of Moshiach Ben Yosef. Yosef was born
and died on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. This is because the Koach of yosef
will one day over power Esav as the Pasuk says "and the house of
Yosef will be a flame and the house of Eisav will be like straw".
Yosef's flame of Kedusha will devour and eradicate the power of
Eisav from the world. But before Moshiach comes, Esav's Koach seems
to overpower Yosef in the middle of the three weeks, and Yosef needs
to "die" (be mistalek) in order to combat Esav. We all know
that the death of Moshiach Ben Yosef is an integral part of the
Ge'ulah. Only after Moshiach ben Yosef dies can Moshiach Ben David
The Guardureyes.com website was launched on the 22cd of Tamuz -
exactly two years ago. Our community is part of the light of Yosef
that shines forth after the holy bechina of Yosef seems to
have been "killed" - kaviyachol - by Esav and all his
impurities. Our network is perhaps a harbringer of the Ge'ulah, the
fulfillment of what the holy Ohr Hachayim Hakadosh writes (Shemos
3:8), that before Moshiach comes the Yidden will be subjected to the
50th level of impurity (i.e. the death of Yosef - Kaviyachol),
yet they will find the strength to enter into the mouth of the Satan
and remove that which he had swallowed from his very mouth. ("Le'hotzi
Bo'loi Mi'piv", i.e. using the power of the internet, the
Satan's very tool, to bring out the sparks of Kedusha that
had fallen prey to the 50th level of Tumah).
Rabboisai. The wood for the Holy Mizbe'ach can only be gathered NOW
when the sun is at its PEAK. The greatest sacrifices for Hashem
are done in the most hidden times. So many people fell now, so
many great warriors are struggling, but davka now - after the
bechina of Yosef seems to have been trampled and "killed",
the light of the Ge'ulah begins to shine forth.
Tonight is the Yartzeit of Rav Shlomo Karliner and it is also the
day that the Guardureyes network was launched. Tzadikim say, that
although the 3 weeks is generally a bad time to start anything new,
the day of Rav Shlomo's Yartzeit is a day when it is davka
Mesugal to start something new, and to make a personal
RENEWAL. And just like this network was launched on this day, I
ask all of you in our community of Hashem's "front-line soldiers",
to take this power of renewal, and to renew the light of Yosef by
gathering the wood for the Mizbe'ach of our hearts, davka
now when Hashem is Hidden from us the most.
We have it in our hands to bring the Ge'ulah! Through our personal
sacrifices - by offering the desires of our hearts to Hashem, we
will be the ones Be"h to reveal the blinding light of Hashem
that is hidden in these three weeks.
Testimonial of the Day
Posted by "Chaim"
Today is 28. Wow!
What clarity after 4 weeks of total staying away from lusting, and
playing around the perimeter of lust.
I know I have to be careful to curb my curiosity, and stay away from
I am channeling my urges into reading and posting on this forum.
For this whole period of time, I have kept clear of ANY purposeful
looking at anything unseemly, and whenever confronted with a sight
with sexual connotations for me (and I am overly sensitive to that)
- I turn away my eyes and mind, trying to look at my Tziztis.
I know that I have gained much more presence of mind, and I have
more attention to give to my wife and family.
I know that there are others who are struggling like me, and we are
pulling and praying for each other.
I know I can't let you all down.
I'm not pressured, rather much less pressured than when I was living
in the LIE of a double life.
I am thankful to HaShem for this site and the wonderful originators
I am thankful to HaShem for these weeks of cleanliness.
I am thankful to HaShem for finding sincere company on my journey.
I am thankful to HaShem for a calmer heart and mind.
I am thankful to HaShem for having more love in my heart for real
I am thankful to HaShem for this opportunity to serve him.
I pray every day for the "Guard your Eyes Guys".
New Post of the
"Q & A": Feeling Suicidal
of the Day
Posted by "London"
"Change is a process, not an event"
With thanks and gratitude to Hashem Yisborach we celebrate today the
second birthday of the Guardureyes network, which was launched on 22
Tamuz 5767. (Oh, it was a DARK DAY for the Yetzer Hara!)
As we mentioned in yesterday's e-mail, although the 3 weeks is
generally a bad time to start anything new, Tzadikim say that the
day of Rav Shlomo Karliner's Yartzeit is a day when it is davka Mesugal to
start something new and make a personal RENEWAL.
Testimonial of the Day
Posted by "7up"
Rabbeinu Guard, we all owe you our neshomos, for you have saved us
from ruchnius destruction over and over.
We have no way to repay you. May Hashem shower you and your family
with all His brachos and may you always feel His chesed clearly. And
may the Yetzer Hara (who must hate your guts by now!), never be
allowed to test you or those you love!
Nu everyone, how do we intend celebrating? How about everyone making
donation to GYE, helping Guard make it to THREE years that much
Today is the last chance to sign up for Zeva Citronenbaum's Phone
group, which is starting tonight. This is your chance for
real clinical recovery - almost for FREE.
Click here for information on the group and for forms to
Click here as well for more information.
Download an updated version of the GuardYourEyes
Handbook, which now contains a list of our four phone-conference
options, and a few other small additions as well (right-click the
word 'Download' and press 'Save Link/Target As').
3) The book called "Windows
of the Soul" was officially released by the Salant Foundation.
It is a wonderful resource and very well done; a simple yet powerful
30 day program for learning how to guard our eyes. We divided it
into about 60 parts and sent it every day in our daily Shmiras
Ainayim Chizuk e-mails a few months ago. (Click
here for examples). Today we have over 400 members on the daily
Shmiras Ainayim e-mail list B"H (and about 600 members on
this daily e-mail list).
Click here to download the PDF version of the "Windows of
the Soul" eBook (right-click and press 'Save Link/Target As'). And
click here to join our Shmiras Ainayim Chizuk List.
Chizuk of the Day
In response to yesterday's Chizuk e-mail called "Gathering
the Wood for the Mizbe'ach", which discussed why the struggle is
perhaps the hardest at this time of the year from a spiritual
standpoint, we received an outpouring of feedback. I would like to
share with you today some of the replies we received, because they
are both informative and inspiring!
Hi. I can't begin to tell you what a
chizuk this email was today. I fell yesterday after a year or so of
being clean, and I was beginning to feel that hutera haretzua (the
rope was released), but this is a clear siman min hashomayim (sign
from heaven) to get back on the horse and forget about yesterday.
Thank you so much.
Guard, thanks, this was absolutely
meaningful! I too had one of the hardest weeks I could remember last
week... Thanks for your beautiful words.
BTW. for more insight and chizuk during the 3 weeks, I recommend R'
Tsvi Meir Zilberberg's sefer on parshas Dvarim. It's eye-opening.
(See the Shiur from Shabbos Nachamu, Parshas Re'eh, 5759, page 137,
for some major yesodos in this struggle).
Another anonymous writer writes:
WOW guard, this email was timed
perfectly. After more than a half a year clean, I could feel myself
slipping the last couple days. I didn't fall "all the way", but I
got caught reading some erotic stuff, and I felt the same cycle of
depression setting in. The only difference was, that somehow I was
able to refrain from continuing on to the p**n and the mast**n. But
knowing that it's not only me who is struggling in this period of
time gives me a lot of strength to continue. Looking back, I am
amazed at the fact that I didn't fall all the way down. You can be
sure I will be back on the forum, if only to give myself the
strength that I need during this tough time. Thanks for the great
"Pintale Yid" wrote:
Rav Wolfson, at this week's Shalosh
Suedos drasha, talked about the idea of how Hashem sometimes makes
Tzaddikim fall to be Mesaken others who did the same sin. He used an
example of a Tzaddik who had to eat Treif for purposes of Refua.
I think the same is going on here. We
have a group of Tzaddikim that are constantly fighting, and in this
tough period of the year they don't always win. You can add me to
this list of the fallen (although I am not in the category of a
Last night for the first time in a
very long time, I looked at someone with the intention of gazing at
their beauty. I ended up asking Hashem for forgiveness several times
today for it, but the missed opportunity to rectify the other times
that I had gazed is gone. Boruch Hashem, the seforim I am learning
from Rav Shalom Arush make me believe that Hashem caused me to sin
yesterday, so I am not depressed about it - but I almost wish I have
another opportunity, so I can do real T'shuva.
Hopefully my T'shuva, and the T'shuva
of others on this site that are working our way back up the ladder,
will be a tikun for klal yisroel in the area of Kedusha.
Ben, who is clean for over half a
year, posted on the forum:
I was prompted to post because of
today's chizuk email and the news that many were struggling in the
past couple of days. I wonder at things like this, and the dynamics
that lie beyond mere rational though and the input of the physical
senses. Yesterday afternoon, I was faced with a temptation from a
very unexpected quarter. I had to refocus myself a number of times
through the course of the remaining day to keep the test out of my
thoughts. Once again, the very basic advice to call out to Hashem
and proclaim one's powerlessness in the face of the struggle has
proven to be the best advice for me.
In yesterday's e-mail, we discussed
how the wood for the Mizbe'ach is gathered davka now, when
the sun's strength is at its peak. "Battleworn" posted a very
inspiring addition to this theme:
Rabeinu Guard, I think you hit the
nail right on the head!
I want to suggest that the wood of
the Mizbe'ach symbolizes the weaknesses and failings that we have.
There is a very big yesod from the Sfas Emes (and others) based on
the words of Chazal on the posuk "Aish Tamid Tukad Al Hamizbe'ach-
a constant fire shall burn on the Mizbe'ach". Chazal say that
"a constant fire" is referring to the light of the Menorah, and
the posuk is telling us that the light of the Menorah needs to be
taken from the Mizbe'ach.
Says the Sfas Emes, the fire of the
Menorah is the fire of light and warmth. It signifies the light of
Torah and Mitzvos and closeness to Hashem. On the other hand, the
fire of the Mizbe'ach is the fire of consumption that burns up the
beheimos/behamius (animalistic nature), and of-course it signifies
our struggle with the Yetzer Hara. CHAZAL ARE TELLING US, THAT THE
SOURCE OF THE LIGHT OF CLOSENESS TO HASHEM NEEDS TO BE TAKEN
FROM THE FIRE OF OUR STRUGGLE WITH THE YETZER HARA.
Just as we know in the physical
world, every light/warmth needs fuel to burn, so too in the
spiritual world, we need fuel to burn. The fuel/wood for our
"spiritual light" is our weaknesses and failings. And the more fuel
to burn, the more light and energy we get. For every weakness that
we have, we must thank Hashem for the wood that he so generously
gave us. And when the sun is the strongest, the wood is the
Yakov Shwartz wrote:
Reading today's chizuk
email, my heart went out to all those who are struggling now. But
thanks for your explanation on this difficult situation. I see that
you encouraged everyone to renew themselves. I hope all the yidden
get renewed strength and conviction and start over again as they
learn to become like a new born baby. Rav Nachman writes the
key to doing teshuvah and breaking the averiros that we are addicted
to, is believing in change, rejuvenation and renewal. We must
believe that the ME from yesterday does not have to be the ME of
today. We can always renew ourselves.
Parable of the
Posted by "Momo"
I think I have a parable for the last few principles of the
GYE attitude handbook:
struggle is like a baseball team, it's us playing against the other
team (the Yetzer Hara). Although we try to win every game, that's
super rare. The key is for us to win a lot more than the amount of
games we lose.
streak puts us on fire (and the more days we remain clean, the more
invigorated we feel). And sure, if we lose a game after a winning
streak, we get upset - but we don't give up! We have to get up and
try again the next game. Although breaking a winning streak can
break the momentum we built up, it doesn't mean we lost the season.
It's just a small setback.
after losing a string of games, we feel demoralized. But here's
where the similarities end. You see, the difference is, that in
sports there are a limited number of games that don't go on past one
year, so if they lose too many games, they are really out of the
playoffs and they end their season. However for us, even if we lose
many battles, we have many more years ahead of us (until our
deaths), and we are never out of the game until we die.
as we're alive, it's never too late to stop losing and start
of the Day
Posted by "London"
"Don't quit before the miracle happens"
Story of the Day
"Where It All Leads"
The following story was taken from LazerBeams
blog of Rav Lazer Brody. Let
it be a warning for all of us to HIT BOTTOM while still ON TOP
(see chizuk e-mail #441 on this
page for more on this important idea).
Dear Rav Lazer,
I have no one else to turn to regarding my present situation. I am
in a lot of trouble and am contemplating suicide as a way out. I
write to you from a position of disgust with myself and potential
humiliation for my lovely wife and three daughters.
I was a successful CPA until I lost my job last January and have not
found a means to make a living other than trying to start a business
which is having a dismal beginning.
Until I lost my job, I was earning almost $220k per year. You see, I
have been addicted to the internet over the last 6 years. What I
mean by addiction is that I was viewing p**rnography and obsessed
with chatting with unknown people. I was also wasting seed due to my
addiction and avoiding my marital duties to my wife as a result. I
was doing this on a daily basis to the point that I was up all night
and often wasting away days at work. Somehow, I carried on the
appearance that everything was okay until I was arrested January
25th for chatting with what I thought were grown women and were
really undercover police officers posing as minors. I was so
addicted that I never paid any attention to details like age since
in the fantasy world of the internet, everybody makes stuff up
including myself. Since any facts were not believable, I never
acknowledged any information other than what I needed to fulfill my
In February, things got complicated. After I was arrested, I was
extradited to another state where the charges were filed against
me. The irony is that the state I am facing charges in, I have never
been to in my life, nor did I ever contemplate going there. I also
never met up with any one I chatted with. I was purely living in a
fantasy world that had overtaken my life - a trap that the Yetzer
set for me.
Initially when I was arrested, I was being held in a city jail in
the state where I live, waiting until I was picked up by the
sheriff's department of the state I am facing charges in. I was
transported after 15 days in county jail and then spent another 3
days in jail in the state where I am facing criminal
prosecution. You can't imagine what suffering this is, for I was
with junkies, robbers, rapists - you name it.
Please help me do Teshuva. Help me warn others not to fall
into this trap. The internet is like a cancer and what happened when
I was extradited is that another county in the same state issued a
warrant for my arrest for the exact same charges as the county that
extradited me had filed. I am currently facing over 24 felony counts
in 2 counties of internet solicitation to a minor and obscenity
charges due to the nature of sexual language I was using. I was
released on $80,000 bail with a GPS monitor on my ankle. I'm now
jobless, penniless, and we're soon expecting child #4.
To add insult to injury, I have never been arrested in my life nor
do I have any criminal record. I was a good clean-cut guy with an
MBA from the USA's best-known colleges of business. I passed my CPA
on the first try. I had my choice of great jobs. It's now blown
away. I can't explain what has happened as it all seems like a blur,
but I was living two lives.
Since I have not been making any income, the community has come to
our aid and has supported us along with paying for my legal expenses
thus far totalling over 50k. I have 2 lawyers working on my case to
handle my criminal matters and potential exposure to my CPA license.
My attorney has been trying to work out a plea deal but thus far has
not been successful. My attorney explained to me this morning that
if a plea deal is not achieved then he needs to know my position as
to whether he should pursue going to trial. If I go to trial I will
be going to trial in two jurisdicitions with potential jail time of
many years compounded by the number of felonies I am not able to
Believe it or not, the worst part for me is that I would also be
required to register as a sex offender in 2 different states. You
have to know that I have never been interested in minors nor have I
have ever considered harming a minor. I am reeling from the shock of
how what I thought was a secret life has now become an open book.
Please intercede in my behalf. I'm sure that your prayers will help
my case upstairs, I am now beginning to do everything I read about
in your different articles - mikva, Tikkun Klali, guarding my eyes,
and doing teshuva during an hour of personal prayer a day. Even
so, my marriage has been barely holding together. Please stick with
me Rabbi Lazer, because I need further guidance. As I said before, I
have no income, I currently have no future and my wife is in tears
daily. We are desperate and I contemplate suicide as a way to save
my family, my children's future and the ability for my wife to
remarry a person that is good and can make a living. I could go on
for another 10 thousand words, but I haven given you the gist of my
present life story.
Please, Rabbi, tell the world about what happened to me. If I
can save at least one person from a similar fate, maybe G-d will
have mercy on me.
Most sincerely, Ralph in the USA
Posted by "Mevakesh" in honor of GYE's 2cd Birthday (over
Mazel Tov! Two beautiful years!
Mazel Tov! Mazel Tov! Although it's the three weeks, I would venture
to say that for this occasion, it is permissible to say "SheHechiyanu
V'Kimanu, V'Higiyanu L'Zman Hazeh!"
The reason I say this is because, it is otherwise forbidden to say
that Bracha of Simcha in this period as we lost our Bais HaMikdash.
However, The Guard Your Eyes website, by its very launch, was the
first step in the Bais HaMikdash's rebuilding; the first step in
Klal Yisroel's rebirth.
I don't say this jokingly; I mean it!
(Note from admin: Actually, as
"Battleworn" pointed out on the forum, the Beis Aharon of Karlin and
his father R' Asher of Stolin had a Minhag to make a Shehecheyonu
on the 22 Tamuz because of the Yartzeit of Rav Shlomo Karliner!
And other Tzadikim also continued this custom...)
Too many members of our holy nation have stooped into the 50th level
of Tumah, rachmana L'Tzlan, and thus have held Mashiach back from
The GYE revolution, which is being fought by each and every
individual on the site, led by the chief tzaddik, R' Guard, is what
will usher in Moshiach sooner than you can imagine!
On a personal level, Chazal tell us that Hashem always prepares the
cure before the sickness arrives. About a year and a half ago,
Baruch Hashem, I was given a second chance by Hashem.
I was steeped in a life of sin and decadence and firmly in the camp
of our arch enemy, the Yetzer Hara.
Hashem orchestrated a series of events which led me to choose life,
to throw away the yetzer Hara and embrace the beauty of Hashem and
His holy Torah.
I had many struggles to overcome, many battles to win, many changes
to implement, many ideals to embrace and many people to distance
It was hard. It was beyond hard. It was virtually impossible.
Yet, with Hashem's help, I began my journey to become a new and
The very week that I began my return, I "happened" to see an ad for
GYE on the Yeshiva world website (which is why all donations are
important to help the ads be out there for others in need)
I can honestly say that had I not found the site, i would not have
had the strength to hold on and to maintain my status as a Ba'al
I know myself. I know my strengths and my weakneses. I say this with
complete confidence; Having the great people on the site as support
and building a friendship with the great Tzaddik R' Guard, is the
thing that kept me grounded and allowed me the resolve to do many of
the things I was able to do in the past year and a half.
Every person is obligated to say "B'shvili Nivra H'Olam- the world
was created for me!" (This is a responsibility, not a decleration of
haughtiness. It means that every person makes a difference and that
every little sin, can destroy the entire world! See Ben Yehoyada to
Talmud Nidah 31b for more about this)
Well, I stand here today and say "B'Shvili Nivra H'Guard Your
And each and every yid that was helped, even in a small way, by the
site, should get up and say it too!
Say it loud!
Say it proud!
Say it with resolve!
Say it without shame!
" I am a Guard Your Eyes Success Story!"
"B'Shvili Nivra H'Guard Your Eyes website"
My dear friends, Mashiach can be here before this Tisha B'Av!
Let's make it happen!
Let's throw away everything that the Yetzer Hara wants us to hold
Let's show the lousy Yetzer Hara that his reign is O-V-E-R!!!!!
Your dear friend and brother,
Thought of the Day
Posted by "Bardichev"
From HaGaon Reb
Leizer Geltdzeler ZT"L:
Parsha of TZITZIS, the Torah Teaches us:
"VE'LO SASURU ACHAREI LIVAVCHEM
VIACHAREI EINICHEM - And you
shall not stray after your heart and after your eyes".
Lazer, VE'LO SASURU
- you should not stray from the path of Hashem, ACHAREI
LEVAVCHEM, V'ACHAREI AINEICHEM. The Torah is telling
us, that even AFTER you already sinned, even
AFTER you already started to go after your heart or eyes,
DON'T CONTINUE the downward slide that the Yetzer Hara
is trying to get you into even more than the sin itself!
So if you
sinned, shake it off and continue on!!
of the Day
Posted by "Nurah B'Amram"
Chevrah, the beginning of the week was
difficult, a lot of stress... But I feel a little better since I got
an "email" from the Almighty saying:
"Hey Nura, get off My 'Throne', and that No, He absolutely does not
need my help in running His show".
Some Choice Quotes from
Rav Kook writes that midas HaYesod can bring
a person to a lower level than he really is at, and the opposite is
true as well, it can boost a person to a higher level than he really
is, as the Pasuk says "Tzaddik bechol hadoros" (meaning that a
Tzadik, i.e. one who guards the bris, is considered a Tzadik in
all generations, not just in his).
have really begun to feel and see the Yad Hashem more and more as I
learn to let go of control. Strangely, the idea that I am not
in control has led me to increased responsibility for
my actions, because they are the sole thing for which I am
responsible (Hashem is 100% in charge of the results). This lesson
is important for everyone; it just took an addiction for me to
figure it out.
Some Gems from Shoshana (an old time
miracle is in process at this very moment!
It is more
useful for me to be aware of one short coming in myself, than
realizing a thousand in someone else.
is not ready made, it is built through our actions. I know that
true happiness comes from Hashem - and it comes from within.
It is achieved by taming the mind, for without taming the
mind there is no way to be happy. It is like "self-will" run
start to think that I don't need a meeting or I can let my guard
down, I know that it is my disease talking to me. Cunning,
baffling and powerful.
walk outside and see a butterfly on a gorgeous sunflower, I know
who really runs the show! Praise be HaShem!
nudges us to perform Mitzvah's. When we ignore this, we ignore
I have a
large flower garden here. Every time I walk out there, I thank
Hashem many times in succession! We must celebrate!! It is a
great day to be here on the planet!
too much, a thousand times is never enough". I praise HaShem in
helping me to stay humble today and with my head down when need
be. For I know that I am worthy of all the best He has for me.
When the difficult moment passes, I hold up my head in love.
Link of the Day
Rabbi Miller's "eye-opening" Shmiras Einayim Shiur. (Right
click the word "Download" and choose "Save Link/Target As"). Rav
Miller is the author of the book called "Windows
of the Soul", which was officially released by the Salant
Foundation only recently.
Click here to download a PDF of the book.
Attitude Tip of the Day
Posted by "Pintale Yid" from the Sefer
"B'gan Hachachma" by Rav Shalom Arush
Rav Arush discusses how people get depressed because even
though they try their best to succeed, they fail and continue to
fall. He writes that if someone gets depressed, he should realize
that he doesn't have enough Emunah, because he thinks that he could
accomplish something that Hashem didn't want him to accomplish. The
biggest proof that Hashem didn't want him to accomplish it, is that
he continues to fail!
Even though a person tries his best, often Hashem doesn't let him
succeed because he hasn't yet built up the "vessels" to be able to
correctly react to success (as Hashem's doing). Succeeding under
such circumstances would lead a person to haughtiness, and this is
worse then any sin since it severs a person's relationship with
If a person keeps on doing T'shuva and Davening for divine
assistance, eventually he will build strong enough vessels for him
to succeed at what he is trying to accomplish, and when he does
finally succeed, he won't attribute his success to himself but only
Therefore, the only Bechira (free-choice) we really have is
whether to be happy or not, irrespective of our success or failure.
Success doesn't breed happiness, but happiness breeds success.
Even if we keep on losing our long drawn out battles, as long as we
recognize that Hashem is the one pulling the strings, we can be
happy since Hashem ultimately knows what is best for our Tikkun.
Posted by "Efshar Lisaken" in honor of GYE's 2cd Birthday (over
Mazal Tov! Mazel
I very much feel that this day is & should be a celebrated as a Yom
Tov by all GYE members & in general by all of Klal Yisroel! (Reb
Guard, I mean NO Tachnun :-) even though it is in the 3 weeks.
I'm sure that the day that GYE was born & shined its light on the
world was a day that a huge Ohr (light) came upon this world.
As strong and as powerful the light was & is, that's is how Dark it
became in the Y"H's world of Tumah.
No praise that I can give will justify the Greatness of the GYE
Website and Y"H Bomber, as well as all the Tzadikim on this site.
Yes! It is the beginning of the Geulah in every sense of the word.
"Geulah!" What is Geulah?!
Geulah is Freedom! Freedom from what?
Freedom from our Holy souls being stuck in our animalistic bodies!
Freedom from being tied with the chains of the Y"H! Finally being
able to be close to Hashem without any disturbance. La'asos
Retzoncha B'Leivov Sholeim!
What will we have from Moshiach if not Kirvas Eloikim?! For
those who think that the Geulah will be that they will have an easy
time getting earthly desires, I feel pity for them because the
Geulah might be a let-down. Ein Ben Chorin Elo Mi She'oseik
Betorah! (Only He who Learns Torah Is A Free Man)
That's what GYE helps us accomplish. The beginning of our Geulah
(Hischalto D'Geulah) is already in the making so that we will be
able to go towards Moshiach with our heads held high knowing that we
did what we were able to do. We Fought with every weapon we had
against the Y"H. We need not to prove this to anyone, for Hashem
knows what we did so that he can show the world & be proud of His
Chosen Nation! Hashem will say: "Look at my Children! Look what they
had to put up with! And they never gave up!"
No other nation in history has gone through what we have since the
beginning of time, and yet we survived and came out shining brighter
then ever! This is the biggest proof by far - if you need any - that
we are all Bnei Melochim (Children Of Hashem).
This is the Final fight in Ruchnius, and the hardest by far.
Hashem listened to our prayers and sent us GuardYourEyes as a very
powerful weapon for those who choose to fight to the end. - USE
IT! or LOSE IT!
P.S. Whoever has anything to offer that would make this GYE Weapon
stronger & more Powerful against the Y"H, now is the time to
be part of it! From financial support to web development, to posting
words of Chizuk to others, giving a Shiur in the
Beis Medrash, Helping advertise and spread the word to those who
need help or those who CAN help & and anything else you have that
can make it a better place, just do it! ... I'm sure this
will be the best Birthday present we can give to Reb Guard.
Today's e-mail was sponsored Le'ilui Nishmas
Yaakov Yosef Ben R' Dov ZT"ZL
whose Yartzeit is today
Matos: Atonement for the Soldiers
Moses to attack Midian in revenge for their devastating scheme
against the Israelites. The Midianites had used their daughters to
lure the Israelite men into worshipping the licentious idolatry of
Peor, resulting in Divine anger and a terrible plague.
The war against Midian was a remarkable success - not a single
soldier fell. After the battle, the generals and captains approached
"We wish to bring an offering to
God. Every man who found a gold article - an anklet, bracelet, ring,
earring, body ornament - to atone for our souls before God." [Num.
31:50 - see the Pasuk below]
The officers had followed God's command, waging war against Midian.
Why did they feel a need for atonement?
The Sin of the Soldiers
The Sages explained that while the soldiers committed no actual
transgressions, they were not free of improper thoughts. Rabbi
Ishmael expressed this idea with an intriguing phrase, saying that
"their eyes feasted on the immodest sights" [Shabbat 64a-b].
When the soul's inner sense of holiness is healthy and robust, it
will not absorb decadent and degrading sights. Such visual stimuli
are inconsistent with the overall makeup of the soul and will be
If, on the other hand, the soul has failed to retain its pristine
purity, then it will lack an orderly defense against defiling
images. Improper sights will have a negative impact on one's
emotional and imaginative faculties, and will generate turmoil
within the soul.
Rabbi Ishmael described this phenomenon as a 'feast' of the eyes. To
feast or derive nourishment indicates that there exists a natural
connection between the food and the living organism eating that
food. The soldiers were not immune to the sights of Midian. The
images of the Midianite women and their flashy ornaments found a
place in their souls, and "their eyes feasted on the immodest
True, the soldiers did not act upon these stimuli; but the very fact
that they were drawn to them indicated that they were in need of
atonement and spiritual cleansing.
The gold ornaments were an apt metaphor for the corrupting deception
that confronted the soldiers in Midian. The Sages wrote that the
body ornaments were formed into lewd shapes. The golden pieces of
jewelry lured the eye with their dazzling exterior of glittering
beauty. Their influence was a function of the magnetism of their
superficial attraction. On the inside, however, their true essence
remained, crude and repulsive.
Sent to us by an
anonymous sender from RavKookTorah.org
[adapted from Ein Eyah vol. IV, pp. 114-116]
It seems however that the Targum Yonasan argues with Rabbi
Ishmael (in Shabbat 64a-b) who writes that "their eyes feasted on
the immodest sights".
The Targum Yonasan translates the Pasuk above (Num. 31:50) as
"We wish to bring an offering for the
name of G-d since he gave the Midianites into our hands and we
captured their land and their country, and we went into their
palaces and we saw their beautiful sinful and promiscuous daughters,
and any man that saw gold on them would remove their crowns off
their heads, earrings from their ears, necklaces from their necks,
bracelets from their arms, brassieres from their breasts, and even
so, we were careful not to gaze upon them and not to look at even
one of them, so as not to sin through even one of them and not to
die the death that the wicked ones die in the World to Come, and
this should be remembered in our merit on the great day of judgement
to atone for our souls before the Lord".
Anyway, regardless of whether the soldiers did gaze -
like Rav Yishmael holds, or whether they did not gaze
- as the Targum Yonasan holds, we still see that if a person "feasts
their eyes" on immodest sights (and does not do Teshuvah), they are
destined to die the death of the wicked in the World to Come.
And now on a more positive note: the Yalkut Shemoni (above)
brings Chazal's words on this Pasuk as follows:
"Who ever turns himself away from aveira (sin), then even if he is a
Israelite, he is worthy of bringing a sacrifice on the alter like
the Kohen Gadol"... "And who ever makes himself lazy from sin and
doesn't sin, merits to enjoy the shine of the Shechina like the
Saying of the Day
Moharan II, 108)
sake of one small pleasure lasting a mere quarter of an hour, a
person can lose the whole of this world together with the world to
Testimonial of the Day
By "Hoping" on
5 weeks clean "Hoping" posted:
am happy to report that I had a wonderful weekend. In the beginning
when I got to the country, I was triggered to fall back into the
same bad patterns as previous years. It took quite a bit of energy
to resist, but after that B"H, I was not put into any compromising
situations. Now I have to focus on creating a schedule during the
week while my family is away that will keep me around people so that
the loneliness factor won't overwhelm me. I must say that it was
refreshing that I was not thinking about the garbage that I could do
when I came home. I was actually anxious to come back so that I
could update my thread on the forum. What a difference!
next day he writes:
Yesterday was my first day while my family was away. What an
eye-opener when I was faced with all those hours that I have wasted
in the past years in the pursuit of garbage. I worked on creating a
daily regimen (especially for the nights) that will take me till the
minute I go to sleep. Meanwhile, I have privately started my own
one-day-at-a-time count for the days that I am alone. I will need
special Siyata Dishmaya during this time.
few days later our hero writes:
family being away causes a deep hole in my life, and for the first
time since I joined this forum I felt like I was fighting without
any real Ratzon. The ONLY ONLY ONLY reason that I did not give in
was this forum - and I owe you my life!! I was reading through the
threads and I started crying to Hashem to please help me and the
tears were flowing and I was not in a completely private place and
people must have seen but I don't care because this is my life I am
talking about! I hope that Hashem will give me the strength to make
the adjustments I need to get through this very difficult part of my
journey. I know that Hashem would not put me in this situation if I
could not handle it.
next day he writes:
I can't believe it! This is the first week in
my life that I can go back to my wife in the country without feeling
guilty about how I spent the week. I will be going this afternoon
and will try not to go on the computer at all till I come back
Sunday. I thank everyone again on this site. You saved me this week.
A few days later (close to 50 days
clean!) he writes:
I feel that I am finally touching the
very tip of the iceberg of how to relate to Hashem, and I cannot
believe the internal change I feel. It is truly an amazing and very
humbling feeling to realize that Hashem is with me every moment of
the day and night, waiting for me to call out to Him and holding my
hand. It is the sweetest feeling in the world, and I hope to
continue to learn how to further deepen my relationship with Hashem
and do His will.
Announcement: The New Automated 90 Day Chart
Scientific studies show it takes 90 days to break an
addictive pattern in the mind. Today is exactly 90 days until
Shabbos Bereishis. If you haven't yet begun your 90 day journey,
start TODAY with our new "Automated" 90-day chart (still
under construction but already functional).
Click here to see the new automated chart.
Click here to sign up.
From now on, updates are done by each user manually. The chart
automatically keeps track of how many days you are clean and
what Level you are on, each time you update.
Here are the RULES for the new chart:
- Each chart member must update themselves at least once a week.
- If they do not update yourself for over a week, their name becomes
- If they do not update for two weeks, their name falls off the
(Even if someone falls off the chart, their name remains in our
database, so they can choose to go back on the chart by logging in
with their username and password and pressing "edit profile" and
then selecting "Put me on the chart").
After signing up, you can
click here to Login, and type in the username and
password that you chose.
To update the chart, choose "Still Clean" and then press "Update
If you had a fall c"v, click "I had a fall" and choose the date of
the fall and the new starting date.
We hope you enjoy this new feature. It will have more useful
functions hopefully in the coming weeks. And it is one of many new
features that we are working on for our new website.
Please send us any remarks about the new system, or if you think
something should be different or if you think we should add/change
of the Day
and Let G-d"
any 12-Stepper will tell you, learning true faith and reliance on
Hashem is the corner stone of sobriety.
I saw in the sefer Shomer Emunim that we can't even begin to
fathom the Emunah (faith) that our forefathers had. The revelation
that they had of Hashem is way beyond our grasp... BUT,
Emunah P'shuta (simple faith) is our yerusha
(inheritance) too, and we still have it and we will never lose it!
Emunah P'shuta means - I don't understand anything;
everything is hidden before me, BUT... Hashem is in control.
I don't need to see how Hashem is in control
because.... I "know" it.
I don't need to feel that Hashem is in control
because... I "know" it to be true.
Emunah P'shuta means "knowing" that Hashem is running
EVERYTHING in spite of my lack of seeing it, feeling it, hearing
No wisdom or philosophy is needed for this type of Emunah.
It works even in the deepest depths of every kind of golus
and even during the darkest times!
Dov (who is sober for over 11 years in SA from an all-consuming lust
addiction) responds to "Me's" post:
What "Me" just said... there really is nothing more to say.
(In the 12-Step groups they talk about "Half-measures" and "full
measures"). For me, this Yesod is the only "full measure".
" Trying" posted:
This Shabbos, when the Y"H was trying to get me, I davened to Hashem
and told him that he (the YH) is stronger then me and that I
realized many times that I can't win over him, so He should please
remove him from me so that I can stay pure. It was wonderful. Hashem
listened to my prayers every time! And it wasn't even hard, cuz it
wasn't ME struggling. I guess this is what it means to "let go and
let g-d". I didn't come out all battered and bruised from battle,
since I didn't fight. It was a wonderful feeling.
I had a moment of "LET GO AND LET G-D" clarity yesterday that I want
to share. It's one of those moments when the whole blackness of the
night gets lit up for a few seconds - as if by lightning.
Most times I feel that all the knowledge and understanding that I
have regarding bitachon (reliance on G-d) and
emunah (faith) is just that; knowledge - but without really
"feeling" it in my heart. Can I "talk the talk"? Sure, like the
biggest of Tzadikim! But when it comes time to actually "walking the
Well, yesterday I was feeling the weight of the whole entire world
on my shoulders when all of a sudden I felt like lightning flashed
before me and I hit my forehead with my hand and said to myself:
"Wait a minute here Nurah - you little shnook! Your body, with
all its zillions of details is working just fine all these years -
may the Almighty continue to watch over all of us - and that is
without too much input from you. So why do you think that the
Almighty needs your help now to BALANCE THE CHECKBOOK?!!"
Yes, He Who gives life - gives Sustenance!
Along the lines of what "Nura" just wrote, I once heard a
beautiful vort. The Pasuk says: "Asapra
el chok, Hashem amar elai, b'ni ata, ani hayom yeliditicha".
We can translate the Pasuk as follows:
"Asapra el chok
- when I talk about Parnasa"
(chok is a lashon of parnasa) and I wonder what
will be, "Hashem amar elai
- Hashem says to me",
"B'ni ata -
you are my son",
"ani hayom yeliditicha?
- did I just give birth to you
In other words, "how did you manage until today? Well, in the
very same way I will care for you now as well!"
"7up" (a woman) posted:
Thursday morning I went with an 'adopted' daughter who was in labor,
figuring I'd be home by afternoon. Trust me, I never figured I'd be
there 3 days straight!!
Anyway, BH all is fine now; Am Yisrael was zoche to another little
This concept of "Letting Go and Letting G-d" is still a new concept
to me, at least in the realm of addiction - but oh; what a freeing
one! I spent the last 3 days sharing this yesod. There is
nothing like a "birthing experience" to really send home the message
that Hashem is VERY CLEARLY running the show, second by second!
Yesterday was 12 weeks, which brings me today to 85 days. I
read the daily emails and hear and feel the emotion of the people
posting here how thankful they are to R' Guard and this site for
literally saving their lives. I feel the same way, and if I would
have time I would post a special thanks every day to R' Guard for
saving me in a very hard time when I felt that there was no hope,
and every commitment I made was broken. I just couldn't get my hands
around this thing and I was sinking lower and lower and getting more
and more depressed, I remember being ashamed of myself every Erev
Shabbos and not being able to pick up my head to the Ribono Shel
But one day I came across this site (through an ad on
Yeshivah World) and everything changed. The daily emails are really
a great chizuk, the tragic story you posted recently really is a
wake up call.
Just keep up this holy work, you are literally being
machzir betshuvah hundreds of people daily. I REALLY HOPE THAT YOU
ARE NOT UNDERESTIMATING THE SERVICE YOU ARE DOING WITH THIS. PLEASE
PLEASE FORGE AHEAD, DON'T GIVE UP. I am sure, as in every
organization, there are hardships etc. but please accept my words of
chizuk and take it at face value that you saved a yid from the edge
of the abyss.
Thanks for listening to me and letting me rant my emotions.
Until next time, yours truly,
of the Day
Translation: "In the place where you are, I was. And in
the place where I am, you will be."
I Do For You?"
Yesterday we discussed how one of the
foundations of the 12-Steps is learning how to "Let Go and Let G-d".
Well, another major foundation of the steps that helps us find
freedom from the addiction, is learning how to live for OTHERS and
not be "self-centered". As one guy wrote today on
Some of you know that I've been attending Duvid
Chaim's 12 step phone conference
for info on how to join!).
I can honestly say that after 3 weeks of Duvid Chaim's call, I am
reminded during the day to perform a couple of selfless acts and to
think more about others. Although I don't see yet exactly how this
helps the addiction, the calls are worth it just for that!
Also, someone asked a question on the forum about the addiction
"vis-à-vis his wife" and Dov responded with something so beautiful
that I must share it with you all today.
(Dov is sober in SA for 11 years,
click here to read his story). Please take the time to read it slowly and try to internalize
what he is saying because it is truly profound.
The big issue in my case (which at least partially covers
your marriage concern as well) is that I try to always ask myself:
"what 'mode' am I in now, Giving or Getting?"
Without even getting into the issue of what is "good" or "bad", or
even what is "nice" or "better" - just for us to know the real truth
about ourselves, it really works wonders to be aware of it.
Rav Dessler brings the following idea in Kuntres Hachesed,
but I write it here be"H from a (12-Step) program perspective.
Please tell me if the following makes sense to you...
If I am truly and primarily concerned about what I am giving to
all the people in the world, to the people on the street (that I'm
walking down), to the folks in my workplace, to my family, to my
wife... well, then a lot of things are gonna be OK. Like how people
look (beautiful or otherwise), what they are giving me, and how they
make me feel.
For example - if I find myself gazing, I quickly ask myself, "Hey!
What good am I doing for that person in the street I am staring at?
I'd better daven for them instead, Hashem certainly has some kind of
purpose and/or plan for them - even if they are a goy, no? I'm sure
they need something! (and it's surely not: my ogling at them!)"...
Are my kids making me feel proud and secure as a parent with their
behavior or are they 'driving me nuts'? "Hey! What does how they
make me feel have to do with what I can give
to them? Better I should look at how I can be useful to them,
especially given my proclivities to anger or insecurity.
Now I am getting somewhere...
Is my relationship with my wife fulfilling - or not so much... "Hey
now, is that why she married me? And is
that the only reason I married her? If
she'd give me all the fancy stuff I desired (including the lust),
would it satisfy me? And what would really happen then?
I am not speaking out against satisfaction in every aspect of
marriage, but I need to face this truth: Am I really looking for
physical satisfaction, or do I really want for
something else in her - like being truly deeply, fully and
trustingly connected to another person in this short life - with no
price tag either way - just because we are one? Yup, for me
that is definitely it.
And the only way to "get" that, is by giving it all away for free to
her, no?" After all, do we really expect anything less from our
You may be able to apply this idea in your marriage and think about
how whatever you do or choose to communicate etc. with your wife,
gives to/affects her. If you try it, let us know what happens, OK?
If this was helpful to you, fantastic!! If not, nu... At least it
reminded me of how precious my relationships really are to me, and
maybe I'll smile just a bit more when I walk in the door tonight!
I've printed out the
GYE handbook and
Attitude handbook, and I've been working my way through them. I
have to say that they are utterly brilliant. My favorite thing about
them is that they provide me with so many different TOOLS to
fighting the addiction. I really used to feel ILL-EQUIPPED in
dealing with the dreaded urge, and all I'd be able to tell myself
was things like 'come on, just fight it' or 'try harder', without
really having any idea of HOW to effectively and creatively work
around the problem. Kol Hakavod for providing this service!
Quotes of the Day
Battleworn wrote to someone who kept experiencing falls and felt
that he was "unworthy" to continue posting on the forum:
I'm sorry if you weren't warned, but the fact is - this forum is a
one way street; there is no leaving! This is a club of fighters,
not winners. In truth, we are winners, because
not giving up IS winning.
When the angels claimed that the Torah should be given to them and
not us, Hashem answered "Do you have a Yetzer Hara?" R' Tvi Meir
says that we learn from this, that the bigger your y"h is, the
more you have a right to Hashems holy Torah! It's a very big
zechus for us to be associated with you. And anyone who doesn't let
a fall get him down is guaranteed to succeed!
Bardichev brought a great quote from Theodore
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man
who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of
deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is
actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and
blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and
again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but
who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends
himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the
triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at
least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never
be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor
Rabbi Nachman of Breslav writes (Sefer Ohr Letziyon):
Everyone must say the world was created for me
(Sanhedrin 37). This shows that humility isn't that one should feel
lowly and worthless, rather humility is knowing that all your
attributes and accomplishments are a gift from Hashem.
There's a contradiction, it says, "and he was haughty in the way of
Hashem" and another posuk says, "Hashem despises everyone who is
haughty". One answer is, that one has to be humble regarding his
past deeds, and regarding the future one has to be arrogant thinking
that he can accomplish much - and use his strengths to serve Hashem.
Unfortunately many people do the opposite, and they are arrogant
regarding their past and humble about their future.
Chizuk of the Day
Someone who has been on
our forum for a long time and put in a lot of effort to break
this addiction and yet still continued to have occasional falls,
wrote on the forum:
I think many of us have given it our
all. We've made drastic changes in our lives, created many fences,
worked so hard in our spiritual lives... and yet, we have this
"moment of insanity" where we are possessed by the Yetzer Hara and
do all that we know is wrong. If the Yetzer Hara is infinitely
stronger than us, how are we supposed to defend ourselves when the
Yetzer Hara goes on an all-out attack? It seems that only Hashem can
help us in such times. So how much can we really affect this battle?
What can we really contribute? What is really up to us? After we've
done all we can (fences, etc), what is Hashem looking for us to do?
The fight is 100% up to us, and yet the fight is 100% in Hashem's
hands and not in ours. "Excuse me?" Yes, you heard right. We
can't understand this, but the Torah tells us that both are
true. "Hanistaros La'Hashem
elokeinu, Ve'haniglos Lanu Ulivaneinu -
The hidden is for Hashem our G-d, and
the revealed is for us and our children"...
Since we can't understand it, we'll just
have to accept it and leave it to Hashem to worry about exactly
how it works :-)
The Yetzer Hara is indeed stronger than us, WAY STRONGER. After all,
we are just human and he is a Malach! That is why the only way to
find freedom from the addiction is to avoid fighting him (i.e. the
lust) head-on at all costs. This can be done in two ways:
1) Fences, better fences and even better
fences. Each time we fall in a new way, we put up a new fence. This
can go on for quite a while, but eventually we will get enough
fences up to keep safe - if we are honest and true to ourselves.
Read tool #3 of
the GYE handbook for many great ideas.
2) We need to learn how to give over the fight to Hashem.
Yes, He is the only one who can fight the Yetzer Hara, not us. And
once He is in the equation, what does it matter if the Yetzer hara
is 100 X stronger than us? Like the meraglim said, "We
cannot go up, for they are stronger than us", and they were
right. But Kalev and Yehoshua knew that Hashem
will fight for us, and therefore if makes no difference how strong
So do you want to learn the secret of how to give over the struggle
to Hashem? Join the new
12-Step phone groups that we recently began, and learn how even
the most hopeless non-Jews were able to beat this (after all, you
are surely no worse off than them!).
I would like to bring two more great answers
that were posted to this Yid on the forum, since there is so much we
can learn from them both.
If anyone can say they relate to you, I can. Eight months ago I lost
my sobriety after 3 years sober! But I have not given up, and no one
can take away from me the clean time I had. It is an achievement
that proves to me that I can do it again, one day at a time. Sitting
around being miserable about it is only going to keep me in the
ever underestimate the power of addiction, it is far stronger than
we ever will be.
Addiction is an insanity that only gets progressively worse. How
many of us started off by being addicted to masturbation, then onto
soft porn.... each time swearing by everything holy that we will
never get worse, and before we realize it we crossed that line too.
Before I came into recovery, I went to see a renowned Dayan in
London as I was going through a really bad phase of misfortune and I
attributed it to Hashem's wrath. And the Dayan asked me if I had
crossed a certain line and I got really upset and said "No way!
I only have a problem with the internet. I would never do THAT!".
Well guess what? Within a year, I did just THAT; something that I
thought I would never in my life do.
Another part of this insanity is, that every time I act out my
disease tells me that I will get a different result. But in truth,
I am beating my head against a brick wall and expecting a
different result each time. How insane
that "many of us have given it our all"... I do not want to
be harsh on you and neither am I judging you, but I know from my
experience that very often I will "appear" to take the right
actions, but when I do an in depth soul-searching I will have to
admit that there are further lengths I could have gone to.
Hashem is not going to "fix" me for free, He wants me to put in the
effort. When I daven to Hashem to relieve me of the addiction, I
have to mean it. I cannot give up my addiction to Hashem with
one hand, and hold onto it with the other hand.
The AA program talk about "rigorous honesty" which is very
difficult for me as an addict, because I am so used to justifying
the unjustifiable. When I have slipped in the past, I had to do an
in depth Chesbon Hanefesh and see where my program was
lacking, and where could I have taken a different action than I
You also talk about the "moment of insanity". For me, the 12 steps
have been crucial in this respect. The program gives me a choice
before I act out, to either take an action - like call someone, or
act out. This choice is only there for a split second, but when I
was in active addiction I never had a choice. As soon as the
compulsion struck, I was like a robotic slave and I went and acted
out. Now in recovery, I have a choice and it's up to me.
Just last week I was sitting in my office dealing with some very
difficult financial issues, and a major craving to act-out hit me. I
made some phone calls to members but did not get through, and that's
when the choice came, either I can continue to try and get hold of
someone and/or leave my office, or I could act out. Thank G-d I was
able to make the right choice. I also know that the longer I am
sober, the less the compulsions are likely to strike.
all I have written here are steps 1 to 3 of the 12-Step program.
Step one: I am powerless over my acting out - and when I act out my
entire life becomes completely ruined. Step 2: I cannot cure myself
by myself, but Hashem can restore me to sanity if I
use Step 3, which is to fully trust in Him to restore my
sanity if I take the right actions.
Ditto; Guard and London both said it better than I could. One
Are you alone in this "fight"? Meaning, are we "forum people" the
only other people with you?
I ask because I'd never have gotten any sobriety had I been alone in
any way. I needed fellow addicts - fellow "losers-against-lust", to
see and talk to daily. I would never have worked the steps alone.
The tendency of most guys I meet (including myself) is (1) to deny
that they are actually out of control in their behavior, and (2)
almost as soon as they have a period of sobriety, they start to
doubt inside (where it counts), that they are still unable to
struggle and win against lust. They thus renew their "lust license"
and feel they can safely lust "a little", and the result is that
I have come to see that I have never had a problem with lust - and
likely never will again, without first subconsciously renewing my
"lust license". If I want to stay sober I must always remember that
I simply cannot struggle with lust at all. That means I have
no business looking at - or even thinking about - things that will
begin the struggle. Among them are: "hey, what would have happened
if..." and "I wonder if she...", and other greatest hits like; "I
know I could've beaten it last time if I would've just stopped
If I was doing this without meetings, a sponsor, and daily contact
with other addicts, forget it. I'd have gotten permanently lost in
the gaava of "I can beat this! (with Hashem's help of-course,
whatever that means)", or "I'm better now", or "if I can't
understand the Steps, I won't try them", you know, stuff like that.
I would still be trying to do it my way, and I'd certainly be
dead by now. Really.
So consider reading the first couple of chapters of the
AA Big Book and see if your story is similar to Bill's (or read
SA member stories in "Recovery Continues"). It was only possible for
me to finally get better once I accepted that I was not just another
guy with a real bad Yetzer Hara, but actually an addict, just
like the drug addicts on the news.
This may be hard to accept, but I consider it just another
madreiga of "Lev Nishbar veNidkeh
Elokim Lo Sivzeh -
G-d does not forsake a broken and subjugated heart".
The heart needs to be broken when will-power is not enough.
Saying of the Day
I just want to repeat that PROFOUND line
from Dov above:
"The heart needs to
be broken when will-power is not enough".
To me, GYE
(generally) no longer has anything to with addiction! To me, GYE is
special family. I don't see 'addicts' when I come to visit. I see
nothing more and nothing less, than suffering neshamos. I see
tremendous pain, bleeding wounds, and scars in all sizes and shapes.
I see men and women with tear stains on their faces and in their
hearts, begging for release. I see individuals battling illness,
davening for refuas hanefesh v'guf - healing spiritually and
physically. I see warriors falling and getting up again and again,
and I see determination and perseverance. I see anger and even fury
aimed at the menuval, and I see unconditional love for one
I for one, am really proud to part of this family!
The Light in the Darkness
Hashem gives us these struggles so that we can make beautiful jewels
for His crown through them. Rabbosai, share with us your thoughts
from the times you have struggles and overcome them! By sharing and
inspiring many other people as well, you will be uplifting your
struggles to the highest level of Hashem's honor!
Someone wrote me recently:
I was lying in bed the other night feeling depressed and needy,
craving and wishing that I could have "Miss Universe" right now. And
suddenly a thought came to me and I said to myself;
"You know, I could have -
right now - something even BETTER than that! What could possibly be
better? Well, Hashem is here right now, with me, next to me and
inside me. He created the world's most beautiful woman. He
created all the beautiful women in the world. And He
completely and selflessly wants the very best possible for me in
this very moment. The fact that I am not presently with the world's
most beautiful woman means that what I have right now is even better
for my good. Hashem knows what I need at this very
moment for His divine plan to unfold, so that he can one day give me
the ultimate pleasure possible!
And besides all that, He is right
here with me now. He is the source of all desire, all good
and all pleasure. And I can have the most intimate connection
with Him - right now - if I just let Him into my heart and
love Him back as much as He is loving me".
And with those thoughts, I drifted off into a pleasant sleep...
Another person wrote me recently:
I just wanted to share with you how your site helped me today...
It's the three weeks and I've been feeling down, my wife wasn't
available lately and I found myself alone at home, just aching to
act out. But I so didn't want to fall into that pit
again so I went to the
"Practical Tips" section of the website and found the LAST
RESORT tip at the bottom of the page. And as I gazed at the pictures
there, I felt the lust just disappear, as I saw what flesh and blood
really is and where I will be one day. And my eyes filled
with tears and I began to recite the Pesukim from the Mizmor "Halleli
Nafshi Es Hashem" (translated):
My nefesh praises Hashem, I shall
praise Hashem in my life, I shall sing to Him while I am
still here... The soul leaves him, he returns to his earth, on
that day all his desires are lost. Happy is the one whose help is
the G-d of Yakov, whose hope is in Hashem his G-d, who made the
heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in it... Hashem
releases the bound, opens the eyes of the blind, straightens the
bent; Hashem loves Tzadikim!
The Hidden Light of
It occurred to me recently, that the over-powering lust that Yehudah
felt for Tamar that pushed him to sin, and the lust that Dovid
Hamelech felt for Bat Sheva when he took her for a wife; both of
these "lustings" ended up becoming the harbingers of Moshiach
through Hashem's wondrous divine plan! (From Tamar came Peretz, and
from Bat Sheva came Shlomo Hamelech).
Let us examine this a bit closer. After David took Bat Sheva, Hashem
punished David with many punishments because of this. As it says:
"Sword will never leave your home for ever" and "I shall bring up
evil from your own house (Avshalom)", and "the son that (Bat Sheva)
bore you shall die". And all these curses truly did befall David,
and David did a tremendous Teshuvah on it. But the next son that Bat
Sheva bore him was called Shlomo, and the Pasuk says that Hashem
loved him and called his name "Yedidyah - the loved one of Hashem"...
And he was the one to build the Beis Hamikdash - and from him
the Moshiach will come!
From this we can get a glimpse of the wondrous ways that Hashem runs
the world. We lust, we fall, and we are punished too! But at the end
of the day, it is this very lusting, these very sins, the
punishments we received and the subsequent Teshuvah that we did,
that ultimately bring forth the greatest light!
How appropriate this message is for us now during the nine days, and
especially on Rosh Chodesh Av! (see the Torah thought below on this
idea as well). We are in a period where we mourn the great tragedies
that befell the Jewish people as a result of our sins. But it is
this very darkness that will one day be the cause for the greatest
light. We sinned, we were punished, Yerushalayim and the Beis
Hamikdash lay in ruins, and all looks lost! Yet from within these
very ruins, the great light begins to shine forth...
Our "deeds" are like our children, as Chazal say
"Ma'aseihem shel Tzadikim Toldoseihem -
the deeds of the righteous are
their children"... After our first "son" (born in
sin) dies, the next "son" who is born to us - after our Teshuvah -
is more beloved to Hashem than any other child in the world!
As the Zohar says (see Chizuk e-mail #351 on
this page), there can be no light that doesn't come first
And as we saw from those two people who we quoted above; the
greatest darkness has the potential to bring out the greatest light!
So when feeling down, depressed, needy and vulnerable (moods which
are especially prevalent during this time of year), know that the
great darkness of the nine days is a precursor to the greatest light
of all. And the darkness we feel inside us, is really the harbinger
of the great light in our souls - just waiting for the moment when
it can finally burst forth!
Torah Thought of
honor of Rosh Chodesh Av - and in direct continuation of the ideas
following idea I heard from R' A. Miller and lahvdil B'CH"L"CH from
R' Wolfson and also R' Akiva Tatz)
In this past Sedra, Rashi mentions by the Rosh Chodesh
korbon on the words "Chatas l'shem", that - kaviyochel - Hashem is
asking us to bring a korbon for Him that he made the
There obviously must be a lesson here... Hashem does not need our
The making of the moon smaller represents the downtrodden status of
klal yisroel and holiness in the world (the moon = klal yisroel).
A glance at our history shows that it is full of failures... from
Adam in Gan Eden, to Noach coming out of the teiva and getting
drunk, to the shevatim with Yosef to the chet eigel and
meraglim, to Shlomo building the Beis Hamikdash and oversleeping, to
Chezkiyahu not singing shira, etc...
It seems that we can't ever do it right!
But the depth here is that it was all preordained to be this way...
Hashem wanted all these falls because he treasures the light
that (will ultimately) comes from darkness. It is much sweeter, like
the Zohar says [quoted above]...
that the brightest light is the one that shines out of the pitch
So on Rosh Chodesh, when the moon starts coming back from one of the
"yeridos", we bring a chatas korbon, meaning we start the process of
coming close to Hashem again, and whose fault is it? Chatas
l'HaShem, it is - kav'yochel - Hashem's fault, so to speak. He
made it be this way! He wanted us to take the long route rather than
the easy way up.
But the lesson for us is that this is the way it is meant to be.
And we have this Korbon as a monthly reminder so that we not get
discouraged but keep climbing higher (and starting all over again if
Hashem is telling us, "don't worry, everything will come to a tikkun,
even mistakes that we don't know about... Just like the moon"...
Don't worry about the morbid state of the world (or ourselves),
Hashem says, "I did it, so you can be sure that I'll help you
out of it".
We so often feel sick with ourselves... why do we have to have all
this garbage inside?
The moon is teaching us that our mission in this world is
constant renewal. Not just a "once and for all - be over with
it" type of avodah, but constant ups (and yes downs). We are living
in sync with history and with the ultimate purpose of the world. And
every "up" is infinitely brighter because of it.
Yes, its hard and frustrating, so Hashem says, "bring a Korbon"; to
remind us that it's His doing. He wanted it to
be this way.
The 42 Travels
Beautiful Letter from "Yechidah" to everyone on our network
Dear brothers and sisters,
The Bal Shem Tov says that the 42 locations that Klal Yisroel went
through in the desert correspond to 42 stages that a Yid must go
through in life.
Every location we have to be in is with Hashgacha Pratis. It has to
be that way. To emphasize this, Moishe Rabbeinu wrote all the
travels and locations down. Moshe, the Anov, taught us that we too
have to be Anavim, realizing that every place is Hashem's Place. And
it was Hashem who wanted us to be there at that particular time.
"Why", a Yid asks, "was I at times, not even through my own doing,
made to go into places of darkness; Harsh places, places where kind
words are rare, where it is very difficult to find Yiraas Shomaim?"
And then I leave the 4 walls of the Bais Midrash when I know that's
what Hashem wants, but it's hard. It's hard because I end up in a
Manhattan bound train, which - especially in July & August - is Hell
on Earth; Cabins filled with men that are spiritually empty and
women who look and act like prostitutes. I get encouraged by an old
Yid learning in the corner, so I too stick my head in a sefer,
fighting and fighting - sometimes a "losing battle" - to stay clean
and good, to keep my mind and heart pure. I finally get to work at 9
AM, very often after having been subjected to nastiness and having
heard many 4 letter words that are not G-O-O-D??
Why is my neshomah full of struggles; a virtual roller coaster that
is no fun at all; a nightmare while awake - to the point that this
Yid's eyes fill up with tears because he has to go to work again the
next day. He is not lazy. He likes the work. But the viciousness,
the coldness, the emptiness, the politics, the hatred, the
resentment, the complex maze of tests that this Yid has to go
through, is very difficult for him to handle.
But the Bal Shem Tov teaches us that everything is with Hashgacha
Pratis. The train, the work, or wherever you are and wherever you
need to be - are all part of the 42 "Masaos" of life. Not always
pleasant, but Hashem gives us pleasant places as well.
The GuardYourEyes forum is one of those pleasant places. A place
where one Yid gives chizuk to another Yid, who in turn gives chizuk
to yet another Yid. A fallen Yid is picked up, and instead of going
home to take a shower and rest, he tries to pick up another Yid that
needs help. This place, my friends, is a Place of Refuge, of Ahavas
Yisroel, of fighting the Yetzer Harah together.
And so when "Bardichev" or "Dov" or "Nurah" or "Battleworn" or
anyone here on the forum is on one of their 42 Masaos in life, we
are all rooting for them. Strange, it seems, not knowing who anyone
is, and yet at the same time knowing them very very well,
even more than people who see you and think they know
And we are always davening that all you "unknown" people - with very
known and special neshomos - are doing OK and more
The Heart of Klall Yisroel is One. When we realize this - and feel
this way for real - Moshiach will be here. It's as
simple as that.
YECHIDA, ONLY HASHEM SEES THE TEAR DROPS ON MY FACE, DESK AND KEY
YOU WENT TO GEHHENOM AND BACK - TO BE MECHAZIK A POSHUTER YID LIKE
GEVALD, TATTE IN HIMMEL, BRING MOSHIACH!!
LOOK AT THE TZADDIKIM HERE, WHO CONSIDER THEMSELVES OVREI RITZONO!!!!
TATTE, WHERE DO YOU FIND SUCH HELIGER YIDDEN??
HELIGER BARDICHEVER RUV ZTZ'L, SHOW THIS POST TO THE BOREI KOL
Dear brothers and sisters,
With Hashem's help, with the tefilos we say for each other, and with
the tools that Reb Guard prepared for us here, all of us will be
able to pull out from darkness to great light.
For some it will take weeks or months, and for most of us it will be
years, but all of us will - Bezras Hashem - recover. We will always
be at greater risk of sliding back than most people, and for us it
takes much more effort than normal to stay healthy, but we will
And after pulling into recovery and looking back, this is the way
Hashem wants us to see it. Hashem says:
"This Dark Place, my son, you needed to be there, but you won't go
back there - EVER. But take with you the lessons, the whole
painful experience, and have compassion for your brothers and
sisters that are still there, suffering terribly". (Yes, being
addicted or being haunted by destructive thoughts and emotions, is a
very severe suffering, a very intense pain).
And Hashem says: "I want you to send to your hurt brothers and
sisters a one-way ticket out of there. Only you can do this, because
you were there yourself and you know what it was like. And you
learned the route out. The pain of it is still in your heart, it
will always be there. Why? Because I never ever ever want you to
forget your brothers and sisters that are still in that Dark Place".
They will come out soon, via the one-way ticket you send them with
true love. They will come out worn and battered, bruised and hurt,
still haunted, still weak and emotionally spent. So you will help
heal them, give them a place to rest their tired neshomah that just
came out of a war zone, you cover them with a warm cozy blanket,
feed them warm and healing words of encouragement that come from the
depths of you heart, holding their hand and telling them: "don't
worry, dear brother/sister, it's over, you'll never need to go back
there again because I won't let that stuff ever hurt you again.
We will all help you".
And this, my dear brothers and sisters, is what Hashem wants us -
and needs us - to do.
posts his thoughts on the daily 12-Step phone conference group with
Duvid Chaim (click
here for info on how to join):
We learned yesterday in the call that the "spiritual experience"
that we are all seeking (d'veikut) happens slowly, as we work the 12
steps, and not all at once. That's why we have to be patient and not
say, as I was saying last week: "How come I'm in the program for 3
weeks and I still don't feel any differently?" It takes a lot of
time. As Duvid Chaim and Reb Guard said, it took us time to get
addicted and we spent many years in the addiction, so it will take
us time to get free.
Two days ago I definitely had an epiphany from HaShem in
understanding one method of how to "see" HaShem all around us in our
daily life, and I posted it yesterday
(guard: see reply #192 on
- highly suggested!). I know that this was a gift from
HaShem because He understood that I really needed it. I was
depressed and on the brink of giving up. However getting an epiphany
is not the "norm" for people working the program. HaShem simply gave
me a "gift" to give me a glimpse of how my life can feel like
at the end of the program.
I will describe how I felt yesterday to remind me, in case I lose
that feeling for a while (it's already fading). I also think it's
important for everyone who hasn't experienced it to see what the
"light at the end of the tunnel" feels like. Everyone on this forum
has the potential to reach this state of mind! I think we'll get
there with HaShem's help, with working the steps and with prayers. I
pray daily that HaShem will let me hold on to this amazing feeling
for just one more day, even if not at the same intensity as the
first day I felt it.
It was like living in a different dimension (as Duvid Chaim speaks
about). I felt really good all day, simply content. I didn't feel
any lustful feelings. Nothing to fight. They weren't even in my
mind. It's funny because no parameters in my life had changed, I had
the same job, the same stress, but my attitude was totally
different. I felt different. I saw the world differently. My usual
feelings of lust and battling the lust were replaced with a feeling
of closeness to HaShem. I felt a spiritual power (inner strength)
that enabled me (gave me the confidence) to do things (mitzvot) that
I would have normally been too shy to do. I felt as if I finally
lived one of my days to it's fullest potential.
I think the key is, that we have to open our eyes and see HaShem in
every object that surrounds us, and then we'll feel
HaShem. For example: For me, the shape of a tree reminds me of a
human, whose branches are like arms and the trunk are like legs
("ki ha'adam eitz ha-sadeh"). If you can look at a tree and see
it as a creation of HaShem, then driving down a road lined with
trees on both sides can make you feel like your being hugged by
Yesterday's call ended with the fact that the program will work only
if we are truly honest with ourselves, are open-minded to new
ideas, and are willing to change and work the steps. We cannot be
intolerant of others, of making amends or of new concepts, and we
cannot be in a state of denial about how we are acting and how we
currently live our lives.
I would like to end with an important point. My notes on the call in
no way replace the calls, but perhaps add to them. I encourage
everyone to join the calls themselves!
Thank you for listening.
HaShem, please grant us the ability to open our eyes and see You all
around us, thereby feeling your presence with us at all times.
Saying of the Day
the days. Make the days count".
Testimonial of the Day
I just saw an ad for GYE on
YeshivaWorld.com. It reminded me of the ad I saw last August
that changed my life. Wow - it's almost a year that I'm clean of the
bad stuff!! (See Jack's 90 day
here). But, I know I could fall in a second - so I'd
better not be too haughty. A person can fall from the highest
heights to the deepest depths. Don't we learn that from the Egel
haZahav (right after Matan Torah)? Isn't that the lesson the Holy
Torah is telling us? I mean, why else write that?
Rabbi Yakov Weinberg says that the Torah spells out for us in all
the gory detail how our ancestors had failure after failure. Why
write this if not to teach us a lesson? If someone wants to come to
Judaism they will ask, "let me read about your heroes". So we read
about the Egel, Korach, the Meraglim, the Misonenim, we read that
Moshe sinned, that Shlomo Hamelech was almost denied Olam Haba (see
Sanhedrin daf 104b), etc, etc... Why would the Torah write all these
negative things? Don't we want to attract people to Judaism? Won't
they be turned off? "Look at Christianity - Yoshka was perfect! Now,
that's the religion I want!!" - won't people say that?
Rabbi Weinberg says, that the Torah tells the truth about
life. If you want the truth, you'll take it. And if you don't want
the truth - but fabrications, then you'll take something else.
(You know, maybe I should have been a Rabbi instead of a computer
programmer! Is it still too late?)
The "Right" Hishtadlus (efforts)
A Ben-Torah on our forum who is
struggling to stay clean but keeps experiencing falls, recently
wrote that the times he has the most difficulty are when he is
lonely. He expressed the hope that through "more Hishtadlus" he will
Dov (who sober for 11 years in SA,
story here) writes to him as follows:
My dear fellow,
You are certainly not alone in the inability to bear loneliness!
(Actually, that's kind of ironic, no?)
Anyway, as your insight into yourself grows, you certainly will add
weapons to your arsenal, but relying on weapons - no matter how
powerful - is not always a recipe for success. If you are truly an
addict, the testimony of many addicts is that "weapons" are
never a recipe for success. It's like learning 'a
great new tripping move' to use on Mohammed Ali. Ouch!
Kind of like that friend of a Rebbe of mine who went to the
Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L before his NYS Regents exams for a brocha,
which he got. As he was walking out of the room, the Rebbe said to
him: "Wait - don't forget: my brochos only work if you study!"
We need to do the work. The only question is: "what is the
The AA Big Book says (Chapter 5):
"Remember that we deal with Alcohol
(lust, for me)
- cunning, baffling, powerful. Without help it is too much for us.
But there is One who has all power - that One is G-d. May you find
Him now! Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning
point. We asked for His protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program for
I - and others I know, needed (and still need) to take some
occasionally uncomfortable (but simple) steps. We needed to take
them along with others who were as serious about them
as we were. And we needed to learn how to keep our 'eyes on the
ball' all the time. We found that asking for help from Hashem and
bringing our crazy ideas out to (safe) people as soon as possible,
was the first way to start making that a reality.
You are a very, very good man and certainly always sincerely desired
to do only good. Like all of us. But much more than sincere desire
is needed (for an addict).
May Hashem send you more and more help to do whatever you must, with
open nissim every day!
Lucky Can a Man Be?
"Battleworn" posted a beautiful series of posts called "The
Torah Approach" to breaking free of addiction, and he asked
"Dov" the following question: "If he (Dov) had known the Yesodos of
the "Torah Approach" before he joined SA, would he have still needed
the 12-Step program in SA to find freedom from his addiction?"
Dov Answers as follows:
The answer of my heart to your question is "no", I did not know
these things. Furthermore, I believe that had I known
them, I would never have needed SA.
But let's get honest here and define "knowing these things".
The emphasis is on the quality of the knowledge. Yes, I was
aware of them, and yes, if you'd have asked me back
then, I'd have answered that I believe they are all true. But guess
what? I would have been lying.
Why? Wasn't I supposed to believe they are true? A
person is not supposed to believe kefirah - and it's even
worse to say it, no?
Did I put on tallis and tefilin? Of course. But I also masturbated,
went to establishments on ill-repute and trashed the life of my wife
and my kids by putting them in the back-seat to lust. I was clearly
worshipping lust over Hashem.
The Chofetz Chayim writes, that a person doing an aveira is also
guilty of some kefira (in Hashem, the Torah, whatever) along
with it, because how could he do a thing Hashem doesn't want him to
do? He must lack something in the Emunah...no?
So although I was "aware" of these things, my Emunah was
obviously defective. How do I know this? The answer is, that through
working the steps I have come to a certain amount of (growing) in
How do I know I have this Emuna? Because I see that I do not
need to act out because I feel Hashem answering me, caring for me
and living with me; all as a result of the steps.
Do you think I am just being gullible?
So you ask me if I "knew" these things, but I think you
really must mean: "were you 'aware' of these concepts?" The
reason I say that is; do you think that these concepts - any of them
- are things that you or I could have been told about to have any
real effect on our lives? For example, "Oh, I never knew
Hashem was on my side, thanks for the information!"
I believe that perhaps most yidden around me may just be "aware" of
these ideas, and that is enough for them. But that is not how it
worked for me at all. I had to learn that each of these things are a
reality, not just be aware of them.
As Chuck C. said: "A belief in G-d is
good, but it is not enough for alcoholics. An Alkie needs to live in
the constant awareness of the living presence of the Creator."
Sounds suspiciously like d'veikus, but what do I know
about such things really?
I couldn't get it through the normal channels. Yiddishkeit's values
apparently had to be presented to me as I stared down the barrel of
the gun of lust!
Now let me ask you: How lucky can a man be?!
After all we are learning about the
power of the 12-Step program, we're sure you want to join such a
GuardYourEyes.org now offers free & anonymous 12-Step phone
conferences throughout the week!
Join Duvid Chaim's 12-Step "Lunch & Learn", Monday-Thursday, 12 PM
here for more info), or join Boruch's "Back to Basics" 12-Step
phone conference on Sundays and Thursdays (click
here for more info).
Saying of the Day
Posted by "London"
recovery, I can wake up and say "Good morning G-d" instead of "Good
G-d, its morning!!".
Anecdote of the Day
Sent to us this morning by Rabbi
A man told me
that he was at the airport, and he had his tallis and tefillin in
his carry on. "I had to go to the men's room, so I left my carry on
outside the men's room, because I didn't want to take my kedusha
items in there. Then it occurred to me, that my neshama is kedusha,
and if I don't take my tallis and tefillin into the bathroom, how
can I take my holy neshama into an indecent place? Sure, I take my
neshama into the bathroom because that's how G-d created me, so He
wants me to do it. But he doesn't want me to take the holy neshama
into the cesspool of the internet. Because the neshama is part of
G-d Himself, it's the worst insult to G-d to take it into immoral
HOW TO START EACH DAY RIGHT
1. Open a new file in your computer.
2. Name it 'Lust'.
3. Send it to the Recycle Bin.
4. Empty the Recycle Bin.
5. Your PC will ask you: 'Do you really want to get rid of Lust?
6. Firmly Click 'Yes'
Have a Great
Testimonial of the Day
Aaron on ONE YEAR CLEAN today!
(See Aaron's story on
Here is the e-mail we got from Aaron now:
B"H doing well. Still going strong, although the summer is tough.
I'm one year clean this Sunday, you can update my chart on the "Wall
of Honor". That doesn't mean I'm "in control" or "recovered"
though, not only are those conclusions dangerous, they're not true!
I find that my madregah is proportionate to my connection to
Ruchniyus. If I learn every day and occupy my mind with Torah and
Hashkafah, I'm in good shape. If I let even brief thoughts of lust
slip in, I feel myself sliding - it's so powerful. Lust and
Ruchniyus are mutually exclusive! One will not coexist with the
other and lust will crowd out any competition. Despite knowing this,
I face daily challenges. I know that the "do not cross" line is
still not very clear for me. Once I slide, it's a very short road to
acting out, despite being clean and despite all I've achieved. This
terrifies me and keeps me in check.
I'd like to stay in touch more often, but I get the feeling that
you're swamped now with the site's continued success. B"H it's
taking root! Of course it would be better if fewer people needed it,
but the site is the cure, not the cause.
I read every e-mail on
both Chizuk lists and get a tremendous amount of insight and
Chizuk. Your efforts are much appreciated.
Keep up the good work!
Chizuk of the
Today's Chizuk is in Honor of Aaron who wrote above: "I find that
my madregah is proportionate to my connection to Ruchniyus. If I
learn every day and occupy my mind with Torah and Hashkafah, I'm in
"Ben-Moshe" (who is sober for approx. 3 years)
At first it will seem next to impossible. You will feel antsy and be
unable to focus. You will barely be able to stifle your yawns. You
won't be able to wrap your mind around a simple piece of shaklah
ve'taryah. But rejoice. That is the perfect raw material to work
with. The tumah toxins inside you are screaming against the powerful
chemo treatment of the "samah
de'chaya" - the elixir of
life. Focus, focus, focus. Drag yourself through the
Gemara, then Rashi, then Tosefos, then Maharsha. One hour. Two
hours. Be brutal with yourself. No quick fixes of "acharonishe
torahs". Memorize the shakla vetaryah. Think through it
backwards, then forwards. Try to find flaws in the breathtakingly
Do not learn the way you learnt way back when, in yeshiva or kollel,
lackadaisically looking for the quick chidush fix. Learn with total
and absolute focus, as if you are trying to decode the secret key to
a million dollars. Let the sweat gather under your armpits and let a
tingling feeling run down your spine, as you slowly, ponderously,
with great effort, unlock the strands of Divine DNA within you and
within the Gemara. Do this night after night and early morning after
early morning. Write down you questions. Take them to your local
Consider the "drip-drip" of this daily regimen to be a vital part of
your treatment. Know that it is building up your antibodies in small
but steady increments and restoring your health. After a while,
compare before and after photos of yourself. Before: dead
eyes, forced smile, deep sadness. After: twinkling eyes,
warmth, attractiveness. Rejoice.
Your yetzer horah will still attack you, and he is guaranteed to
continue to do so till your very last breath, but almost immediately
you will begin to notice the following:
1. Extremes that at one time glittered, now seem repulsive. They no
longer interest you. You cannot imagine how you once embraced
certain sewage up to your eyeballs.
2. The frequency that you fall will diminish. You will finally get a
life outside your two-dimensional self-made gehinnom. You will feel
and exhibit genuine warmth for your family and community.
Hashem has sent us an extraordinary blessing, the mp3 player. Switch
off, for good, that radio in your car and in your home. Wash your
ears and starving mind with the beautiful sound of shiurim,
downloaded to your mp3 player. Many times, especially when you are
driving, you will not be able to focus on a shiur, but background
noise is also fine because you will still be living in the Beis
Hamedrash. You will be steadily rising, not sinking. Find a maggid
shiur who speaks to your heart, who resonates emotionally, whose neshama resides
in a holy place. Mix upbeat and non-threatening halacha shiurium with
uplifting hashkafa and mussar.
And here is a very important tip: Say c"v your yetzer horah gets the
better of you; you fall and go somewhere you shouldn't. There is no
reason to sin on the way there and back. What a bitul zman! Listen
to a Torah tape. Farkert! Show the yetzer horah that bit by bit
you are taking over. You are on your way to winning, and winning
Saying of the Day
Posted by "London"
is mandatory - Growing up is optional".
Anecdote of the Day
"May Your Will, not mine, be done"
I would like to share with you an amazing experience I just had. My
seven year old daughter is going through a difficult time at school
at the moment, both socially and academically. This morning, she had
a massive tantrum that she is not going to school, refusing to eat
breakfast and throwing her bag around. In the car on the way to
school, she told me how sad she is that she does not have friends,
etc. I was able to sympathize with her and I told her that I will
speak to her teachers.
After she left the car, a huge craving to act out swept through me.
My daughter is suffering, which is in turn causing me great
emotional pain as a father. I am also an addict, which means I am
pre-programmed to "medicate myself" with acting out or food,
whenever I face difficult situations. However, what my program has
taught me, is that difficult feelings won't kill me. I was
able to sit through the craving until it passed, and then I
experienced the sadness for my daughter and I cried for the first
time in many many months. I also phoned my sponsor and shared with
him what had happened, not to get advice, but just to share with
another person who understands the way I work. He encouraged me to
pray for my daughter and told me, as they say in AA, "this too
I am so grateful today for my program that is giving me another
choice, to be able to experience difficult situations without acting
out. There is no way I can do this on my own, I need other people to
constantly to fall on to give me strength and encouragement. Through
this, I can accept my situation and daven to Hashem that
"His will, not mine, be done today".
Chizuk of the Day
Uri (clean for 11 days) wrote on the forum:
I'm still clean, but barely holding
on. I'm in a terrible mood and I'm having trouble getting hold of
myself. I was so good this week, I feel like crying. When I drove
home tonight I passed town and I felt such mixed feelings. I saw
teens just feeding off lust with no inhibitions. I felt angry that
they could fill their needs while I sit and struggle to keep myself
in check. They look so happy, while I feel so discontent.
One piece of advice I read somewhere on this site helped me have a
much better shabbos. And that is, that Hashem has tremendous nachas
ruach for whatever we're able to give, just give it. Cry to Hashem
whenever. Plead for mercy. Spill your heart out always. Hashem
desires the heart.
Dear Uri, it's obvious from your posts that you have a very special
Neshamoh and that you're on your way to real Gadlus. The Yetzer Hara
will not let you get there without putting up a good fight, but you
have to stick it out. Within a short time you'll be a totally new
person. Although it seems now that the whole world has it good and
you don't, the opposite is true. Those who give in to lust are happy
for a short while, and then left disillusioned and empty inside. On
the other hand, those who fulfill their purpose on this world and do
Hashem's will, they may have it hard for a short time in the
beginning, but they achieve TRUE happiness and fulfillment for all
eternity! Soon you will be SO MUCH HAPPIER, and the ONLY feeling
that you'll feel for those "street kids" is very sincere pity.
One of the main tricks of the Yetzer Hara, is to spotlight things
that cause stress. He makes a whole lot of noise, like it says in
the Pasuk "and the evil ones, like the sea they churn, for being
silent they cannot". He makes us feel all desperate. And that's
what the Meraglim did. Thay got all dramatic and made
everyone feel extremely desperate ("Guys we're dead meat, etc."). It
works really well - they managed to get everyone to cry the whole
night on the ninth of Av. And that's the source of the churban that
we are now mourning over now, as Chazal say (that Hashem said):
"you cried for nothing (in the desert), now I shall instigate a
crying for generations".
We have to try to use Kalev's tactic, as the Pasuk says: "and
Kalev hushed the nation"... Kalev came and said: "SHHHH, calm
down, let's be rational, if Hashem got us until here, He'll also get
us in to Eretz Yisrael". But they were so busy crying and screaming
that they couldn't even listen to Kalev.
Let's learn the lesson and try not to let this trick work on us.
Take a deep breath and then another one and a bunch more. Calm
yourself down as much as you can, and firmly tell the Yetzer Hara:
"I'll be just fine. Hashem runs my life and takes very good care
of me. I most definitely don't HAVE TO act out". In fact, acting
out will only make things worse.
And if I'm feeling stressed now, then ADERABA, this is my
opportunity - given to me as a gift from Hashem Himself - to show
my true loyalty to Him, to fulfill the purpose of creation in
the truest sense and to merit unfathomable pleasure for each and
every second of holding out!"
This is not always easy to do, but it's well worth working on it.
With time and effort, it will get easier and easier.
It's so important to realize that we are made up of two parts. Our
Neshamah, which is really our essence, is totally good; "Tehorah
Hi". Our body (including the "animal soul") is really only a
"levush - garment" (something like what a car is to its driver),
and it includes in it all the traits of all the nations and all the
animals. R' Elchonon Wasserman said that each of us has a whole zoo
in him. And R' Tvi Meir adds that we also have the whole U.N too! (I
don't know which one is more dangerous).
If you are fortunate enough to realize that you have these traits,
and you are fortunate enough that it bothers you, then you are in
very very good shape.
Every time you fight one of these traits, you are bringing a
sacrifice to Hashem that is far more precious in His eyes than any
physical sacrifice that was ever offered. This is spelled out very
clearly in a quite a few places in Tanach. So when you see in
yourself a good fat "Bi'heima", you should rejoice over the
opportunity offer such a "korbon mehudar" (top notch sacrifice) to
Attitude Tip of the Day
Sent in by an Anonymous writer
Here's what helped me after a 15 year addiction. . . A rabbi was
saying that if you would rather DIE than eat a bug, that Hashem
won't have it happen that you will ever eat a bug. I had heard this
before as a Chasidic story, but the Rabbi said it in such a way, he
said that if there is any sin which you would rather DIE than do it,
than Hashem won't let it happen that you will sin. That teaching hit
me like a ton of bricks. That was about 5 years ago, and I haven't
committed an act of shefichat zera levatala since. I
basically picture myself dying a gruesome, horrible, torturous death
every time an urge hits. This took a few minutes sometimes, which
was the time it took for me to come back to my senses. In the
beginning, I would say I had to do this sometimes 15-20 times a day
for the first year or two. Nowadays, I only have to do this a couple
of times a week. I always need to come up with new, gruesome,
horrible ways to be tortured and die, new ways that strike a chill
up my spine and snap me out of the grasp of the other side. Some
might say I'm a sick for having such gothic thoughts, but I would
truly rather die than go back to that avierah, and this
visualization really really helps. Also, after each Visualization I
SMILE and say THANK YOU HASHEM!
This tip is similar to 'The
Revalation" that we posted in Chizuk e-mail #420 on
Anecdote of the
Return to Walmart
"Ben-Moshe" (sober for approx. 3 years)
Your phone rings. It's your wife. "Can you stop off at Walmart to
pick up some groceries?" "Sure." You take down the details, then
draw a deep breath. Your delightfully clueless wife is sending you
into the Gaza Strip, into Afghanistan, because Walmart on a hot and
humid summer afternoon, will be full with unwanted stimuli and
slippery distraction, not ben-Torah friendly, certainly not
recovering ben-Torah friendly. However, you don't panic. You remind
yourself that you know the drill, you have learned neat tricks, and
have even learned to turn the tables to your advantage...
You are fortunately blessed with near-sightedness so, before you
leave your car, you deliberately remove your glasses, then leave
them in your car. You think back fondly to the first time you tried
this. You remember the thrill you felt, as you trod those aisles,
ten-feet tall, empowered by an enveloping haze which acted like a
spiritual buffer. You had felt insulated and protected. You had felt
holy, racking up points like a rapidly clacking Geiger counter.
"Good work," you had said to yourself when you had completed your
mission. You had given yourself a pat on your back.
This time you are even better prepared. You enter the store with
your mp3-player nestled in your shirt pocket, earpieces comfortably
in your ears. You head over to the canned vegetable aisle. Rabbi
Reisman is giving a blatt shiur. A fascinating Ketzos. Is shavya
naphsha a din in ne'emonus, or is it mita'am neder? You peer
(shortsightedly) at the canned corn. Sixty-eight cents a can? A metzia.
You take a half dozen cans. Kesubos is too heavy to focus on the
moment, despite your insulating fog, so you switch to something a
little lighter. You switch to Rabbi Yisroel Brog analyzing the
Steipler's letters on how to guide people with OCD affecting their
performance of Halacha. Geshmak! You drool over the hortatory
smorgasbord at your fingertips. You give your player a surreptitious
kiss, then return it to your pocket. You are now in the cereal
aisle, but notice that Krispies have just been reformulated with an
OUD. Chalav Stam? You can't have that. That's metamtem es halev!
Then you laugh at yourself: the foolish hypocrite that you are! Is
there any part of your lev that is not metumtem? But you are
thoroughly enjoying yourself. By the time you reach the checkout
lane you have downed a Reb Simcha Bunim Cohen's Thursday night
Chovas Halevovos shiur, and just begun a Kehilas HaGra shiur on
copyright laws as applied to ripping CDs...
The magazines at checkout inform and inspire. The cover of one
magazine tells you that Britney's ex says that Britney is cheating
during rehab. You remove your ear-pieces. You now hear the store's
music system. Synthesized Britney is belting out an important
message. Britney says that she loves you. Just Britney and you. You
feel romance in the air. Then, you think back to your forebears.
Volozhin. Slabodka. In those days people had "manly" Yetzer Horas;
Haskala. Socialism. Secular Zionism. You remember once reading how
the Alter of Slabodka asked Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky to keep an eye on
mail arriving for the young Reb Aaaron Kotler (zecher tzaddikim
ukedoshim livracha). The Alter wanted to make sure that Reb Aaron's
relatives would not prevail upon him with their alien ideas. You
giggled as you tried to imagine the Alter keeping tabs on what Reb
Aaron was downloading to his cell phone. Oy! What yeridas hadoros!
You arrive home.
"Successful?" your wife asks.
She appears to be excited.
"Guess what," she says, "I have a new chicken recipe."
Bless her. The lovable, delightful, clueless fuzzball. She is
blissfully unaware of the battles you have fought and the monsters
you have slain. She proceeds to give you blow by blow details of her
new idea for chicken and you smile at here warmly. But your mind is
far away. There is something bothering you: How can shavya nafsha be
a din in ne'emanus if ein odom mesim atzmo rosho?!
Saying of the Day
Posted by "London"
say I can't ... say I'll try"
Indian War Cry
Yasher Koach to
those who responded so brilliantly and encouragingly on
the forum. I'm going through a very trying time here, even
though I'm only at 11 days; not 90, not 200, just ELEVEN. What will
day 90 be like?? But I know what everyone will say: "one day at a
time". On the other hand, as someone so nicely pointed out:
There are around 900,000 seconds already that I said "No" to the
yetzer hara. 900,000!! If those were dollars I could retire! And we
all know that dollars fall very short in comparison to the nachas
ruach of our Creator. People die for much smaller, much more
insignificant reasons. Let us live for the ultimate of reasons!!
So my advice to all is: Think of all the battles we won. We are
warriors! Paint your faces and go out into the street and shout
Indian war cries. Explain to your mother/wife that you have not
lost your mind, well at least not yet, officially. Throw
yourself an imaginary party and award ceremony. I know that I will,
as soon as this war is over. When will that be? After 120. And then
I'm going to take a vacation; a long vacation, an eternal vacation -
to paradise. All expenses paid by G-d.
People die for much smaller, much more insignificant reasons. Let us
LIVE for the ultimate of reasons. Please join me my beloved
"Kutan" Replies to Uri:
Here I am in the middle of the NYC summer, and my family is over 100
miles away. I go into the street, which is lower than the beaches
were 50 years ago. What is helping me keep my cool? It's you, Uri!
You are fighting your Yetzer Hara for 11 days already with so much
garbage trying to pull you down. And yet you don't let yourself
fall, you keep bobbing and popping up and fighting again! So should
I should look at a warped lady - who in more normal times would be
arrested for walking like that? You make my fight
And Uri, one more note. I learned from R' Guard, and perhaps this is
the number one thing that I learned from his handbooks and from this
site, that the key to winning this is not self control (hey,
it doesn't hurt, but it is not going to be enough for the
long term). The secret is turning off the lust.
I used to think that 'lusting', as R' Guard calls it, is natural and
unavoidable. I just need to keep working on "self control". But that
is a recipe for weariness and inner friction.
The most wonderful thing that this site has taught me, and for which
I'll be forever grateful to R' Guard and Dov and "London" and all
the rest, is that I do not "have" to lust. I can dodge the
lust, rather than fighting the action.
This takes humbleness and honesty and a reliance on Hashem. And it
takes a real desire not to lust. But it really happens. And when it
does, the power, beauty and simplicity is truly amazing.
Uri, my shoes are different than yours, but our neshamos are the
same. I can very much relate to how you are feeling. Keep davening
your eyes out. Hashem loves us and wants nothing more in this
universe than our genuine tears. The Kotzker, who called a spade a
spade, would say, "there is nothing more whole in the world than a
broken heart". Please keep working at it, and keep reviewing the
handbooks, especially the
'attitude' handbook. When we succeed in internalizing the
attitudes, we will be very happy men!
Notes From Duvid Chaim's Group
Click here for info on how to join Duvid Chaim's Free 12-Step
phone Conference 4 X a week, 12 PM EST.
Yesterday Duvid Chaim helped us understand Step 1 of
the 12 steps with the Big Book: "We admitted we were powerless over
lusting and that our lives had become unmanageable".
I love the
saying we've been using in the calls: "I was once a cucumber, now
I'm a pickle, and I'll never be a cucumber again." When I was very
young I could lust normally, but now I'm an addict and I'll never be
able to lust normally again. We addicts are different than other
"regular" people. We will never be able to lust like them. We can't
even lust a little bit, because once we get started we don't know
how to stop. We can't control our feelings of lust.
many methods, but they didn't work long term; Vows, dipping in the
mikveh, saying the tikkun Klalli, filters, etc. But in the end, we
always fell again.
after having some "clean" days, we often felt as if we were in
control over the addiction, and that we were becoming immune to it
and could beat this thing ourselves, but that's not true. We would
eventually act out again. We have to face the facts; we can't
control our addiction to lust!
We can't use
our willpower to beat the addiction. Our "minds" got us into this
addiction, so how can we expect our "minds" to get us out of it?
get depressed over the fact that we are powerless on our own. This
just leads in to steps 2 and 3, which are; that we believe in HaShem
and His ability to help us. We have to turn to HaShem for help and
"surrender" ourselves to Him. We can start doing this by building a
relationship with Him ("feeling dveikut"), by talking to Him,
opening up our eyes and seeing Him around us, and feeling His
We are playing tug-of-war with our addiction. He's always pulling.
When we fight it, he pulls back. When we have clean days, that means
we've pulled stronger than the addiction. However, in a game of
tug-of-war, what happens when you start to win a little bit?
Usually, the other guy starts to pull back very hard. If he pulls
very hard, you will slip. Once he sees that he's got you slipping,
he'll pull even harder, and then you might even fall.
tug-of-war gets tiring after a while. Imagine how tiring it can be
after "playing" it for weeks, or even months!
I think it's
time to stop fighting the addiction. Let's "surrender" ourselves to
HaShem by letting go of the rope! When you let go of your end of the
rope, the addiction on the other side GOES FLYING!
fighting the addiction, let's focus today on opening our eyes to see
HaShem everywhere, in every physical object we see. Let's try to
feel HaShem. Let's talk to Him. Let's serve Him today, just for
today, instead of serving ourselves.
And instead of preparing for huge battles, let's ask ourselves each
day when we wake up in the morning:
Today, will I
walk with HaShem, or will I walk alone?
Today, will I
see HaShem who hides behind every physical object, or will I
only see the physical objects?
Today will I
serve HaShem, or will I serve myself?
Just food for thought.
Saying of the
Posted by "London"
"The 12 step program won't keep you from
going to hell... nor is it a ticket to heaven... but it will keep
you sober long enough for you to make up your mind which way you
want to go!"
of the Day
counting the days, let's make the days count! Life without
acting out is certainly a wonderful thing and it should last us
another ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty...whatever years,
I cannot eat or go to the restroom for tomorrow or for yesterday,
right? There is nothing more that I can do today to make it to
tomorrow than just eating today.
Same with sobriety: The best and only insurance we
have - as addicts - to make it to tomorrow, and for life to be
better tomorrow, is simply and only: to live sober today
(and love it!!)
Anecdote of the
There was a rich man who unfortunately had his business take a turn
for the worse and soon found himself barely feeding his family. He
noticed his son one day looking exceptionally sad. When asked why,
the son explained as follows, "father, when we had money, we had all
the best food - and lots of it. Now all we have is bread. But at
least give us a decent amount!"
This is us. We don't have much left to give Hashem, the Beis
Hamikdash is no longer here. No korbanos, nothing. All we have left
is our tears. Let us not be stingy with them.
"The gates of prayer are locked, but the gates of tears will never
- Gemara Brachos
"She cries and cries in the
night,with a tear always on her cheek"
- Megillas Eicha
I've been visiting the Kosel a lot in the past week or so, and every
time I've been there I have broken down crying. I think I cry
because I don't know what to say to Hashem or how to say it. I'm
like a child who just wants his Abba to hold him, so he cries.
My friends, do not be afraid to cry. On
this forum you have 200+ shoulders to cry on.
"Bocho Sichbe Ba'laylah
- Cry, Cry Into the Night"
I picked up tonight
and headed out to the Kosel, the last remnant of our Holy Temple, as
I have been doing a lot lately. I took my younger brother with me. I
walked up to the wall and touched the familiar stones which I have
visited so often in my recent quest for G-d. The stones smiled a sad
smile at me: "Back again? You've been around a lot lately. We don't
mind though, we've been lonely for so long". My friends, do you know
what loneliness is? The Kosel does.
I'm really not a crier, but I cried. I cried for myself. I cried for
Klal Yisrael; for all the lost Neshamos. And I cried for the Kosel.
"Ad Mosai? -
until When?" How much
more pain must there be Hashem!? Our people know pain all too well,
so much so that it doesn't even faze us anymore. My brother walked
up to me and looked questioningly at my face. I told him, "David, go
daven that the Beis Hamikdash should be rebuilt", and I told him the
following vort that I thought of this morning while learning
Rashi says on the word "Va'eschanan" that Moshe used a Lashon
of Chanun because it implies a "matnas
chinam - a free
gift". Moshe said, "Hashem, I want to enter Eretz
Yisrael, but don't let it detract from my reward; let it be free".
And Rashi goes on to say that all Tzaddikim daven in this fashion,
even though they have many merits.
My question was simple and unoriginal: "If Moshe wanted to enter the
land so badly, why not throw in some of his reward on the deal? Why
did he want davka a free present? Wouldn't he have been more
likely to get it otherwise?"
I had an insight, chevra. It's not that these Tzaddikim ask for
"freebies" even though they have a lot of merit. It's that they are
tzaddikim because they ask for presents. Meaning: some
people deal with Hashem on a business-like level: "Listen G-d, you
know the deal. I daven 3 times a day, learn a shtickle, give some
charity, etc... and you provide me with money and health. Deal?"
But Tzaddikim know that Hashem is their Father. He doesn't want
deals. He just wants to give. He's the ultimate giver. Anyone who
asks to be closer to Him, gets it. He is waiting to shower us with
blessings. We have the key to His treasury, we only have to open it.
As the Pasuk says: "God is close to all those who seek Him in
And my friends, this principle works the other way around as well.
Don't ever say to yourselves: "why should Hashem help me? I haven't
done anything good for Him lately". He is your Daddy. His greatest
pleasure is to give you everything and see that you're happy. Don't
be afraid to ask. Just cry your heart out to Him. He is right there
beside you, even in the darkness of the night.
Anecdote of the Day
Sifting Through the Ruins
I recently read a story about Rav Nosson, the Talmid of
Rebbe Nachman. He was walking together with his students after a
raging fire ravaged the town of Breslav. They passed by completely
burned down houses, and in one of the houses, R' Nosson saw the
owner of the house sifting through the ruins, trying to find or
rescue some of his belongings. The fact that everything was burnt
down didn't stop the owner from looking. R' Nosson turned to his
students and said: "This is how we have to pick ourselves up after a
fall" (looking for any good points that are still left).
I was walking home, somehow thinking about this story, and I lifted
my eyes to the night sky and I said: "G-d, I don't see any good in
me, zero. Don't tell me I'm a holy Jew, etc... I'm not gonna buy it
right now. I fail everything I try. I want to love you, yet I am so
far from Mitzvos, Torah, Midos - you name it, I don't have it.
I looked again into the sky, and then one thing came into my mind:
"Maybe I helped someone on
this forum". And I said to G-d: "Thank you HaShem, that is true.
Maybe I helped somebody. Maybe that is the essence of being a Jew. I
actually might have done something good that justifies my existence
and that justifies that You created me and keep me alive".
To all my
brothers and sisters out there: The addiction sometimes makes us
feel worthless and far from G-d, especially when we feel weak and
vulnerable. But if we join together as a community and give each
other strength; NOTHING - not even falls - can take away the
precious chizuk that we offer one another. This is indeed something
that will survive the raging fires of today's world.
Attitude Tip of the Day
Is it Worth it?
Aaron (clean for a full year)
I was on the
street, walking back from getting lunch at a milchig restaurant in
Manhattan because of course, it's the Nine Days so we don't eat
meat. But the Yetzer Hara doesn't mind that one, it seems. He was
much more intent on getting me to lust after women who felt that 90
degrees and humid justifies... fill in the blank. So I played out
the following scenario:
Let's say I let him win and give in to lust. Of course, the fantasy
alone will not satisfy the craving, it will only make it worse. So
let's play it out and assume I can actualize the ultimate fantasy,
whatever that is. What then? First I thought of the worst case
scenario, which is quite plausible and something I have no control
over. Here it is:
I get AIDS. Since I'm too embarrassed to tell my wife, I pass it
along to her. Within a short time, we're both dying in the hospital.
I've given up everything good, even in THIS world! My beautiful
children will C"V be orphans. Even in the best of circumstances,
they will grow up rightfully hating me, resenting their mother for
leaving them behind, and struggle mightily to overcome this huge
setback in their lives. I will have MURDERED by beautiful, deserving
wife. She will be taken from me when I go to Gehenom. I haven't even
mentioned the pain, shame and embarrassment of living the short time
I'd have left under the cloud of ridicule, scorn and disapproval
heaped upon me by the world. Rightly or not, my wife and children
will suffer likewise. And the worst part (no, I haven't gotten to
that yet): IT'S ALL MY FAULT! Yes, that's right. This is not
something decreed by Hashem on Rosh Hashanah. It's not a test to
prove myself. It's nothing more than the result of perfectly
avoidable actions that I TOOK.
Then I said, wow, that's pretty bad. But what are the chances of
that? Let's say I don't get AIDS and I live. I've "simply" fallen
and need to get back up! No big deal, right? It happens all the time
on the Forum. But I would still need to tell my accountability
partner, therapist, Rav ... and my wife. The first 3 might
"understand" and applaud my commitment to move on. But my wife is a
different story. I will have damaged my standing with her. Maybe not
irreparably (I hope), but certainly to some degree. And regardless
of how committed I am to moving on, I will need to reevaluate
my arsenal, perhaps join a live 12 step group, etc, all while
And that's the best case scenario.
So it occurred to me that not falling was infinitely
better (and MUCH EASIER) then getting back up!
So I got to my office and typed this out...
Quote of the Day
Posted by "Hoping"
The purpose of this site is not the goal of sobriety in itself,
rather it's the journey that is important; the ups, the
downs, the falls, the slips, and the days you feel like you are
going nowhere. It is all part of this wonderful journey. I have
found that the most inspiring and successful stories on this site
came from people who kept on going up and down but still kept
traveling on the journey and didn't give up. Of course, it is
extremely important to read
the GYE handbook and learn the proper tools, but my point is,
that in a way, a fall while on the
journey is worth more than a clean day while you aren't trying.
So please, please continue with us, and let's all travel on the way
of Hashem together.
Drowned in Water Rather than in Lust
Tisha Be'av is a day to remember the shiploads of young men and
women that were shipped off to Rome after the Churban to be
used in "human trafficking", but instead of allowing their bodies to
be defiled, they gathered together and jumped into the sea, drowning
Al Kiddush Hashem. Let us remember their sacrifice to stay
pure, to completely give up their bodies to Hashem rather than let
themselves be defiled. When we feel like lust is attempting to drown
us, we should remember these martyrs who preferred to drown in
water rather than become slaves to lust.
In our "Practical
Tips" section on our site (at the very bottom of the page), we
present a tip called "The Last Resort" for someone who is about to
stumble. We offer an alternative to viewing pictures of flesh
that will turn one "on", namely by showing pictures of flesh that
will turn one "off". One of those pages contain terrible
pictures from the Holocaust. On Tisha Be'av it may be
appropriate to remember this tip, and also to watch & listen to the
horrifying interview with a former Treblinka SS Guard that can be
found at the top of that page.
How can we desire sinful flesh ever again after seeing these
pictures and hearing this interview? After we see how futile and
fleeting life is? And most of all - after seeing the fury of
Hashem's wrath up close.
Although our site and forum generally take a very positive and
encouraging tone, and although Hashem loves us dearly and deals with
us with so much patience, Tisha Be'av is a day to remember that
when we do not do what is asked of us, when we do not
ultimately take the steps necessary to fulfill Hashem's will and do
Teshuvah, Hashem's wrath and punishment are not something to
approach" to Tisha B'Av
From Duvid Chaim
Due to our observance of Tisha B'Av, the
Big Book Study Group Lunch and Learn will be at 10pm Israel time
and 3pm New York time. We will resume our normal times next Monday.
As we know, we are mourning the destruction of our Temple. And we
also know that G-d expressed some level of mercy in destroying the
Temple, which is a building and not destroying the Jewish People.
And that it is our mission in this generation, to re-build the
Temple through our merits. That our merit is earned by bringing
ourselves closer to Hashem and His ways. When we elevate our
Neshamos, then we will merit the return of the Temple and the
So too, with our SA addiction - We have destroyed our Temple - our
BODIES. Our addiction gives power and a voice to our bodies.
Yet, even in our own wrecked bodies still lives a precious Neshama.
And that it is our mission and our struggle; to give our Neshamos
a bigger Voice than our bodies.
THE 12 STEP Program helps us work on our EGOs, find humility and
Deveikus with Hashem.
And when we "enlarge our Spiritual Life" and give Power to our G-dlly
Neshamas, then we will truly bring back the Shechina.
Have a easy and meaningful fast,
There's a beautiful thread in the "Beis
Medrash" on our forum
over here with many inspiring Divrei Torah and perspectives on
the lessons of Tisha Be'av and our struggle with addiction. We
encourage everyone to read through the thread.
For a good historical and Halachic overview of Tisha Be'av, see
Back-to-Basic's 12-Step Phone Group
Due to Tisha B' Av, we will start this Thursday at 10:30 PM EDT.
We will be redoing the 1st session for those who missed it,
and also so that those who cannot make it due to the fast do not
miss out on the second session.
All are welcome to join today, whether you were with us last
week or not.
You can begin the
new cycle today!
If you have not already done so, please
the following file or have it ready in electronic form for the
We should all merit to see nechomas tziyon,
Dov (aka boruch)
Tips from the Warriors on Guarding the Eyes
Ahron Posted on the Forum:
I have gotten to the point where I can occasionally understand why
"normal" people view p***n as repulsive (not all the time though).
I'm happy about that. However seeing pretty women on the street,
even with no further thought beyond the first glance, triggers lust
in my heart. It's automatic. I try a number of things to combat
they're people, not objects, and as people, I really don't know
them and have no interest in them.
to grant them all the best (and then I try to move on).
work the steps... admitting that I am powerless over lust,
Hashem can deal with it though, and I am ready for him to do so.
work, but as often as not, they only works in my head and not in my
heart. Does anyone else have advice?
I can't count on my fingers and toes (and I refuse to
use anyone else's!) the times I have turned to look "just to see if
there is anything there that I shouldn't be looking at", you
know. Today though, I generally leave this "important" research for
the meshuganes who are more qualified to test it than I am!
Boruch Hashem I can care about myself! And as a yid, I am taught by
the people on this site that by not looking I am also:
private kiddush Hashem
mitzvah of lo sasuru, and others
freedom from lust
insurance (at a reasonable price) for my marriage, fatherhood
and for staying alive
practically the only thing I can do today so that I may be sober
tomorrow as well!
Not a bad deal.
It doesn't even take a "yiddishe kop" to accept it!
A lot of folks, including me, have also found a lot of power in
saying: "Tatty/Ribono shel olam/G-d/My Eternal Best Friend/Etc.,
Please! Whatever it is I that I am looking for in the image of that
woman/man/whatever, let me find it in You". (It especially works if
you really mean it!)
Another eitza I like, that helps me when davening for the
true benefit of the person I am having trouble with, is to recognize
that even though they are total strangers to me, I'd certainly rush
to save them if they'd be stuck in a burning car or attacked by
dogs, for example. If so, I can care about them. Once I recognize
that I can sincerely ask Hashem to give them a true thirst for
proper awareness of Him, closeness to Him, wisdom and clarity in
what really matters in relationships (certainly not looks,
fancy clothes and lust), Shalom bayis and good health.
Then get going with living! (as usual...what else is there?)
My Dear Brother Ahron,
Thanks for reminding me what I need to do. My problem is, that
although I have been around the SA fellowships for a few years and
have heard most of the answers, I need to come to
this forum and hear other people share and be reminded on a
daily basis what I need to do. To answer your question Ahron, I was
told by non-frum yid when I first came into recovery, that just as
when I wake up in the morning I wash negel vaser and say modeh ani,
or when I eat I make a Brocho; I do these things without thinking,
they are second nature. Well in recovery, I am like a Ger or Baal
Teshuvah (which I am), so I have to practice these techniques and
keep on practicing them. There will be times when I get frustrated
or when my heart is not in it, but if I keep on doing them, they
will become second nature and I will not have to think about it.
I have trained myself over the years to notice triggers. I have a
finely attuned lust radar in my head. It is going to take a lot of
hard work to switch it off. I find that if the trigger is really
bad, I will need to pick up the phone to a member of SA. When I
first joined SA, if I got triggered on the street my sponsor would
tell me to pick up 10 pieces of garbage off the street, and I did
it. We must be willing to go to any lengths. So if all else fails,
start collecting garbage!
I find that I if I am significantly triggered by a woman / fantasy,
I actually have to phone someone and tell him in detail what's going
on in my head. "Lust glows in the dark but dies in the light of
Once again, thanks for reminding me of the tools I need to stay
Related to this subject, "Pintale Yid" once posted on the forum how
he deals with the struggle of Shmiras Ainayim:
1. I say a short Tefila before I leave the house that Hashem should
help me with Shmiras Aynayim.
2. I am lucky to need glasses so I remove them when I am walking in
3. I try to keep my eyes down, and when I see a female approaching I
close both eyes - or at least the eye that is closest to her - until
she passes (provided that I am not in the gutter). I found that I
have no problem waking several steps with my eyes closed.
4. I learned in a wonderful sefer called Bakodesh Chazisicha
by Rav Shaul Vidger, that says that even if you are trying to guard
your eyes, the Satan deliberately pulls your eyes to where they
shouldn't be. I therefore laugh it off and tell myself, "he's doing
5. I give myself chizuk after every time I pass a women without
looking at her.
6. While I am walking in the street I am quietly talking to Hashem
(it is not noticeable to others). You can understand how it is much
harder to sin against Hashem if you are in the middle of talking to
him. If you have problems talking to Hashem, I recommend that you
learn the sefer Bi'sdai Hayar by Rav Sholom Arush on
Tefila and Hisbodidus. (He also has an awesome sefer
called B'Gan Hasholom on Shalom Bayis which I recommend to
7. The last thing is, that even if I fall I never get depressed
since I know that this is a constant battle against the Yetzer Hara,
and it is one of the reasons for my existence on this world. I once
learned in the Tanya, that one who gets depressed because he can
never eradicate his taivos is a Baal Gaiveh (haughty)
because he thinks he is on the level of a Tzaddik. I also remember
that my overall batting average is pretty good -- at least much
better than it used to be.
Hashem should help you and all of us in this battle! Hashem gave us
this web site as a Rocket Propelled Grenade to help us blow away the
Samach Mem :-)
Listen to this
7 minute talk from the Lubavitcher Rebbe where he describes how
a Jew, even in the midst of sin, is still connected with Hashem, and
that no matter how low a Jew may fall, it only affects their outward
appearance, but inside, every Jew is holy [at 5:10 it sounds as if
the Lubavitcher Rebbe is crying, but I may be wrong].
Mazal Tov Miri on Reaching 90 Days!
She is now
on the "Wall
of Hashem's Honor"
want to share what Miri posted today on the forum. Not only is it a
great story and testimonial, but there is so much we can all
learn from her:
WOW!!! I really appreciate everyone's congratulations on my
reaching 90 clean days. It has been some journey. I started
this forum a little over 5 months ago and I have been working on
abstinence ever since. I must say that firstly, this forum and this
website were already a huge stepping stone for me. The inspiration
that I was reading on the website, and knowing that I am not alone
in this struggle has made a huge difference. I have found out that
so many others like me want to be free of this Yetzer Harah, and
they were successfully staying clean. I was able to share here and
get guidance. I am forever grateful.
Reaching 90 days for me is just another step forward. I am climbing
a never ending ladder, because I know that I am an addict. My
disease is "working out" in the background, and I know that I need
to be very aware of this. I cannot let my guard down and say that
now that I have been abstinent for so long, I must be "cured"... I
am not, I am just in remission.
It says in the Big Book that our disease is "cunning, baffling
and powerful" and without help, it is too much for us.... Which
one can help us? "that one is G-d, may you find him now!" I
love this part, because it talks to me every time I read it. It
reminds me that I need to daven for my abstinence every single day,
whether I feel like I need to or not. It reminds me that the reason
Hashem has lifted my addictions from me for today, is because I am
doing my part. I used to want Hashem to just lift these obsessions
from me without me doing anything for it. Now I know that Hashem
will lift it from me if I work for it, and that work is:
the 12 steps,
contact with my sponsor and my sponsees,
that I attend,
that I do at meetings,
that I make
tools that have been recommended to me by my sponsor.
It is time consuming, and sometimes I wish I did not have
to do it all, but the alternative is being a zombie; being a
slave to my addictions! I was truly not alive when I was in my
addictions, and now I am! So in reality, I am saving myself
plenty of time because of my abstinence. I am actually "there" for
those who need me.
I also feel, that as long as I was drowning myself with my substance
of choice (be it "food" or "lust"), my eyes were clouded. They could
not see the blessings being showered on me on a daily basis. But it
is different now. I can see blessings so much more. I can see
Hashem's hand in my life all the time. And I know it is because I am
no longer fogged up with my addictions.
When I first stumbled on the GuardYourEyes website, I was really
hating myself and where my addiction was leading me to. I was very
aware that I was addicted to lust, and it was even more plain to me
at that time because I was already abstaining from sugar, wheat,
flour and volume. I was working the 12-steps, but this addiction to
lust was bothering me very much. It was another "escape method" for
I was not in a good place. I had no job, I had too much time on my
hands to think and feel. And like most addicts, I do not like to
feel, and since I was not able to bury my feelings with the food, I
buried them with lust. I would sit for hours and hours wasting my
time on the computer watching movies. At first it was family movies,
"innocent" time wasters, and then it moved to more "adult" material,
and then on to the absolutely worst filth. I will not get into too
much detail because most of you know how it feels like being in the
disease and in the clutches of the Yetzer Harah... In short, my mind
was constantly on what I had watched and how I can get to see more.
It was starting to feel like I am back in the food, just this time
with lust! It was horrible.
And that is when I found this wonderful website, and since then I
have been pulled from the mud and am a "free bird", so to speak. The
best part of it all, is that I can live with myself without the
horrible guilty feelings that always plagued me because I was not
"there" for my family, or because I felt like an empty shell, and
because I was not accomplishing what I could accomplish.
Isolation is something like poison for me, because I do all my
addictions in secret, away from others. I learned that when I
share with others like me, it is one of the best tools to
keep my disease at bay.
I have heard from others in this program, that they never thought
they would be grateful that they are addicts, but now they are
grateful. I am also grateful that I am an addict (it is not easy for
me to say this, because being in recovery is work!) but I know that
for the tikkun of my neshama and to be closer to
Hashem, I needed to be an addict and learn the "medicine" for it, in
order to become a better person and get closer to Hashem.
So many wonderful things have happened to me since I started with
GuardYourEyes. As you know, I am working the 12-Steps since I
started at OA almost two years ago, but I seem to have profoundly
changed since I started my lust abstinence, and I am sure that it is
no coincidence. I feel like Hashem has put me in a different
"container" or "category" so to speak, by showering my life with
blessings. Here are a few recent blessings:
I found a
great job which I love,
I found a
fantastic friend from the OA rooms and we speak and give each
other "program" chizuk every single day without fail.
I have also
found a parenting method that has changed my life. It is called
"The Nurtured Heart Approach" by Howard Glasser... I am hooked,
and it has made a big difference in my parenting.
And this is just
the tip of the iceberg. I have had several other changes that have
happened during this time that were all very positive. I feel like
Hashem is showering me with love. Can it be from working my program
and staying abstinent? I feel deep down that "yes".
I love this program, and I hope and pray that I will be zoche
to be abstinent - one day at a time - for the rest of my life.
all follow in Miri's footsteps!
If anyone hasn't
begun their 90 day journey yet (based on scientific studies that
show it takes 90 days to break an addictive behavior in the mind),
today's a great day to start!
Click here to sign up for
the 90 day chart.
And we also see from Miri's story how powerful the 12-Step program
is. GuardYourEyes offers multiple anonymous 12-Step phone
conferences, where you can learn how to work the 12-Steps into your
life along with experienced frum sponsors. Go to
www.guardyoureyes.org and on the title-bar at the top of the
page click on "Tools > Phone Conferences" to learn more about the
various options we offer throughout the week.
We also encourage everyone to read through
Miri's 12-Page thread on the "Woman's
forum". She is a very inspiring person, and there is so much we
can all learn from her!
We bless Miri that Hashem should always continue to hold her hand,
and she should feel it every moment for the rest of
Saying of the Day
Posted by "London"
First we stayed sober because we have to... then we stay
sober because we are willing to... finally we stay sober
because we want to...
Our "Excuses" List
In yesterday's conference call with Duvid Chaim (click
here for info on how to join), we discussed the realization that
we usually come up with some lame excuse as to why we should take
our first "lust hit", and we rationalize why we can start act out.
And once we start, we can't stop!
When I first read this in the Big Book (when I wasn't feeling
lustful but rather with full mental capacity), I actually made a
list of excuses that the little voice in my head says to me to
justify why I should start acting out. I suggested on the call that
everyone make for themselves their own list. After we make this
list, we should review it once in a while, before we feel lustful.
This way, if we ever hear one of those excuses, we'll recognize them
and think "Oh yeh, that sounds familiar. Oh my G-d! That's on my
list of excuses to act out! I'd better not listen, since I know what
will happen if I follow this advice."
I call this list my "Last Stop Before Falling" list. If I hear any
of these excuses, I have the CHOICE to get off the train, or I can
choose to ignore the warning signal and stay on the train, entering
into my disaster zone of lusting, slipping, and acting out.
Here's my list. Perhaps some of these sound familiar? In order to
make this more educational, I'll add what I think are the correct
responses to answer the Y"H's excuses.
Excuse #1. (If I've been clean for a long time) "You've been
good for so long, you deserve a break! You've earned it!"
Answer: "What you are suggesting is for me to kill my clean
streak. Remember how I'll feel after having to start counting back
on day 1, back at square 1. It felt really lousy last time!"
Excuse #2: "It's not so bad!"
Answer: "Funny how before we act out "it's not so bad", but
immediately afterwards you'll tell me it's the greatest sin
imaginable! You'll tell me I'm a bum and I might as well give up
trying to be frum since I'm the lowest of the low! Well, it is
pretty bad and you are a liar!"
Excuse #3: "I'll stop after the first picture (or after 5
Answer: "Hah! I know myself. I know I have no control, that I
am powerless over the addiction. I can't stop after the first photo
or after 5 minutes. Five minutes always turns into hours. After a
spree I always wonder, "How could I have spent 3 hours wasting my
day looking at p*rn?"
Excuse #4: "I'm feeling R.I.D (restless, irritable and
discontent). I need some pleasure."
Answer: "The pleasure you are suggesting is counterfeit. It
will make me feel good for a couple of minutes, then I'll feel
horrible and let down afterwards. I'd rather give up your fake
pleasure and take real joy instead."
Excuse #5: "I'm physically wound up. I need to release the
physical and emotional pressure the best way I know how."
Answer: "That's the wrong way to deal with the pressure.
Acting out, while giving me temporary release, will only make me
feel low and guilty afterward. The correct response to release the
physical pressure is to exercise, like taking a 5-10 minute walk.
The correct response to emotional pressure is to breath deeply,
think about HaShem, see HaShem around you, feel his presence and
talk (or pray) to Him."
I'd be pleased of you could all share your lists on the forum, or
some items on your lists, as well as your responses to the excuses.
I am sure we can all learn a lot from each others rationalizations!
Thought of the Day
We read today (Monday) in this week's Parshas Ekev:
"If you should say in your heart
that the nations (read: Yetzer Hara) are much greater and stronger
than us", "EICHA
UCHAL LEHORISHAM -
how can we conquer them?".
Notice that the Pasuk uses the word "Eicha", like the first
word of "Megillas Eicha". Perhaps this is a hint that when we
ask this question and we don't believe in the power of Hashem to
save us, we bring upon ourselves all the Churbonos! The Zohar
says that the root of the churbon in Megillas Eicha
comes from the original "Ayeka
- where are you?"
that Hashem asked Adam after he ate from the Eitz hada'as.
is spelled the same as "Eicha")...
And what does Hashem answer in this week's Parsha?
"Do not fear them, remember what Hashem
your G-d did to Pharaoh and all of Mitzrayim.... that Hashem took
you out with great wonders, etc... So Hashem will do to all the
nations that you fear before them.... Do not fear them, for Hashem
your G-d is within you, a great and awesome G-d!"
Yes, the Yetzer Hara is INDEED MUCH stronger than us,
but he isn't stronger than HASHEM!! And Hashem is not asking us
to conquer the Yetzer Hara. He knows that we can't do that alone.
All he's asking is that we put our trust in HIM to
conquer the Yetzer Hara for us. "Hashem your G-d is within you,
a great and awesome G-d!"
Step Tip of the Day
The Big Book with Charlie and Joe
will change your life!
After 70 years, the book Alcoholics Anonymous (referred to as the
Big Book) is still the best and only source for step by step
instruction on the practical program of action that leads to
recovery from addiction. The first 164 pages of the book (the pages
that describe the program) which were collectively put together by
the first 100 alcoholics who recovered have hardly been changed
since it was first published because the collective wisdom of
millions of recovered and recovering addicts is that those pages are
as useful today as they were back in 1939.
Those who use this book regularly, not as a study guide, but as a
guide to practical action get the best recoveries.
Over the years, especially in the 1970s, many groups and individuals
in AA and other fellowships lost sight of the importance of the Big
Book and even lost sight of the necessity to take Steps early and
intensely. Two alcoholics, Charlie and Joe, were together entirely
responsible for a renewal of interest in the Big Book through their
Big Book Study retreats which added much meaning and background to
using the Big Book.
Click here for the first 164 pages of the "Big Book", and click
here for a transcript of an entire Charlie and Joe Study
weekend study group (the first 3 pages are an Index, the actual
sessions begin on page 4). You can also listen to Charlie and
Joe - there are 35 mp3s available here from
one weekend - available for download. These sessions are not just
informative, they are entertaining too!
I cannot overstate the benefit that your recovery will get from
going through the Big Book with Charlie and Joe. Read or listen to
their sessions on a regular basis and it will change your life.
That is a guarantee.
Saying of the Day
"Call out in
truth and you will be answered in truth".
Testimonial of the Day
Chevra, as I approach the end of day 14 Iy"h, I look back at the
last 2 weeks and smile. Ok, now I am crying (slightly embarrassing,
as my little sister is standing near me watching me). I am starting
to breathe fresh air again. My emotions aren't all soiled. I'm
starting to feel truly relaxed and content for the first time in
what seems like forever. I know it sounds like I'm overdoing it, but
I'm starting to feel the disease loosening its hold on me. Maybe I'm
imagining this, but I feel that I'm starting to break the addiction,
and I feel very free. I am now starting to imagine a life with no
pressure for lust, a life in "the here and now", not in fantasy; a
life without constant fear, a life without constant shame.
I'm like a blind person who can't see fully yet, but is introduced
to the idea of sight for the first time. In only 2 weeks! Imagine 90
days! Imagine a year! Thank you Hashem for giving me the opportunity
I never thought I would have and for making it so much more
geshmak than I dreamt it would be. May You give me the strength
to not just hold back from having a peek, but to have the full thing
- the gift called LIFE. Tisha be'av was a time of reflection
for me. The past 2 weeks of sobriety feel like the first 2 weeks of
With a heart overflowing with love.
Not long ago, an amazing warrior joined our ranks. At first he
called himself "Jerusalem addict", but as he got more comfortable in
the amazing community on
the forum, he started to call himself "Uri". Today everyone on
the forum knows and LOVES Uri. He has been fighting a bitter battle
against his addiction, but at the same time, he has been posting
amazing Divrei Chizuk and Divrei Torah to inspire us
all. There is a great soul in this Uri, and although he had a fall
recently, he was honest about it and got right back up to continue
the journey. And That is the sign of a true warrior.
I would like to share with you Uri's beautiful post/story that he
wrote shortly after his recent fall. It brought tears to my eyes:
I grew up a pretty lonely kid. I lived in a neighborhood without
many frum people, and my self esteem (thanks to daddy) wasn't the
highest. I spent many a summer day sitting in the park alone,
wishing some kid would come over and ask me to play with them. It
didn't happen much.
When I was around 13, I was introduced to a new friend; "lust". This
friend swore loyalty and constant companionship. And indeed he kept
to his promise. I had company over the long summer nights, someone
to chill with when I was bored, and someone to pick me up when I was
As I grew up and started to make more friends, I never forgot about
my first "real" friend. That was partly because he had no intention
of letting me forget him. But anyway, I had no thoughts of
I went through my different stages of school, and we got closer and
closer, developing such an intimate relationship as none could even
imagine. After a while, he began to become part of me. That
interconnection only became stronger over the years. Friends were
aware of the relationship, but not of the depth of intimacy of it. I
even had several girlfriends over this period, only to return home
later and spend intimate moments with my "friend".
To make a long story short, I became religious somehow in my late
teenage years. I informed my girlfriends that the intimate moments
would have to stop. My "friend" wasn't so happy, to say the least.
He resisted often and I gave in a lot. But as ashamed as I was to
admit it, I still needed and craved my friend's intimacy. It gave me
a sense of security and comfort that I did not have without him.
A few short weeks ago, I discovered this website and finally came to
the awakening realization that this intimacy and this whole
"friendship" was slowly but surely destroying me. I knew what I had
to do, and with a firm and decisive tone, I informed my lover that
things would be ending permanently. He discouraged me, didn't take
me seriously, and said things like "yea, like you haven't said that before".
I told him that I was as serious as I could be, maybe more serious
than I've ever been in my whole life.
As the realization dawned on him that I was stubbornly set in my
decision, his pleasant and comforting demeanor suddenly fell away. I
watched in horror as I began to see my "friend" for what he really
was: evil. I was shocked and hurt, but this only made my decision
firmer. I turned and walked away from him, and I started walking
towards a new group of friends, a chevra of Tzaddikim
who I had all-too-much in common with. They would be my new friends.
But my friend was not going to give in so easily. He had an iron
strong hold on me, and he wasn't going let me get away without a
fight. He grabbed my leg and started pulling me down into the abyss;
his abyss. I looked down and saw only darkness and
death. I struggled in any way possible. But he was all too strong. I
felt myself being pulled down. I was worn out and exhausted from my
struggle. "Please stop!" I begged him. I was crying tears that had
been stored for years. If he didn't drown me, my tears certainly
This battle went on for days, one day after another, just trying to
keep my head above water. My "friend" had this devils look on his
face, determined to destroy me for abandoning him.
My fight became not about not drowning, but staying in my decision.
I counted the days I did not let go; 1...2...3..4... 12...13...14.
At that point I felt I was already drowning, but my fight had
changed. 15... I could hear voices in the distance. I recognized the
voices of some of my new friends, true friends whose insides
I knew contained only gold, unlike this monster who was attempting
to kill me. I tried responding, but I did not have enough strength.
Some reached for my hand, but I did not even have enough strength to
raise it. 16.... "Just keep counting", I told myself. But the fight
was coming to a close. The water was at my neck. 17... Nothing else
mattered but the number. My head was already underwater and I saw
bubbles surface as I shouted with my head underwater "18!!". And as
I fell, I finally understood:
18 = Chai
Death is only
temporary, while LIFE is eternal.
Yasrani Kah, vi'lamaves, lo nisanani
G-d has afflicted me, but to death
he did not give me over"
"Lo Amus Ki Echyeh, Va'asaper
I shall not die - I shall live, and I shall tell of G-d's deeds!"
Post your Chizuk to this amazing warrior on
Uri's thread on the forum.
Tip of the Day
Posted on the forum by "Dov"
Reading "divrei chizuk" (from R' Tzvi Meyer) on the topics
of Tisha b'Av on Tisha b'Av afternoon is fantastic. (Almost any
busywork is better for me - a touchy recovering addict - than
focusing on feeling yucky!)
There are other people on this forum who have regular and deep ties
to Reb Tzvi Meyer. I only visited him for a week, a few years ago,
and whenever I am in Eretz Yisroel I try to get to his Erev Shabbos
1hr shmooz at 12 or 1pm, etc.
His "Divrei Chizzuk" functions kind of like the Bnei Yisoschar
always has for me: he describes exactly what the avodah of the
day/week/month or tekufah is about and suggests specific ideas to
focus on that are essential to improving avodah in general.
Beautiful. His Torah and Orah are life itself!
Nevertheless, I cannot say this enough, and have posted a lot about
this in the past: These seforim, and all the good intentions and
teachings of yiras shomayim in the world - and out of
it, are not what I needed - and need -
to stay sober today.
As an addict, I needed to work the 12-steps with help from
another addict. Period.
The seforim and Torah give us a reason to live, and
they define "being alive" bichlal. They also give me
a reason to want to be sober.
But for me, the way to get sober and
sane enough to stay alive, was by using these tools (the 12-Steps
and a sponsor), and not by doing more of what I
was doing before, nor even by doing it better.
I wish you the best, of course, and I love you, no matter what. You
may not be an addict at all. But if you are, you may need
to do these steps too, as I did.
Attitude Tip of the Day
If you're feeling
down, vulnerable, weak or depressed, it's easy to begin to feel that
this journey to sobriety is just "not worth it"... But perhaps a
"paradigm shift" in attitude can change everything.
What's a "paradigm shift"? Stephen Covey (author of the best-selling
"7 Habits of highly effective people") describes this with an actual
incident on a NY subway where a father, with a number of unruly
children, entered the subway and began to make an enormous ruckus.
Covey, in his belief that children should be controlled by their
parents, turned to the man and admonished him for permitting his
children to disturb Covey and the other passengers. The man replied
sadly that the children were returning from their mother's funeral
and he did not have the heart to discipline their behavior, knowing
they were acting out their grief. Covey immediately felt empathic
and supportive of this man. Covey calls this a shift in
the paradigm of seeing the situation from a different
In every situation, it is not the mere "happenings" that revoke our
reactions, rather it is our perspective of the happening. Our
job is to find meaning and perspective in wherever and whatever we
find ourselves, and with this we have the ability to always rise
When G-d is revealed, there is no test. Imagine G-d woke us up in
the morning to serve him. Would we delay even for a moment? But
specifically when he is concealed, that is when we prove to seek
after him in this dark world - for the sole purpose of revealing his
glory. Our lows, as much as they are tests, are really
opportunities! They are opportunities that we received (that many
others have not yet), because Hashem knows we can prove strong
enough to succeed. While we all appreciate the "highs", when we
overcome the test of the "lows", G-d reveals Himself to us in a
greater way than before!
For a wonderful book on understanding life's tests, I would
recommend reading "Life is a Test" by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.
(See also the
Attitude Handbook for many great perspectives that can help us
achieve a "paradigm shift" in the way we view this struggle).
Saying of the Day
"I've failed over
and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."
Testimonial of the Day
People who have special neshamos CONNECT to GuardYourEyes, almost
like a magnet. It's like a breath of fresh air, of reality, of
purpose. When I first found GYE, WOW was I on a high. For 2 months I
could not stop smiling around the house. My wife was concerned I was
on drugs or seeing a psychiatrist and not telling her. Really. It's
just the total Ahavas Yisroel and idealism here, and to boot, a
solution to my nagging clinging Yetzer Hara who I've never been able
to shake off for too long.
A BIG Mazal Tov to
for reaching half a year clean!
"Ykv_schwartz" (not his real name on Earth, but probably the name he
will be greeted with after 120!) started his journey to sobriety
(with us) on Feb. 5, at the Levaya of Rav Noach Weinberg z"l. He
reached 90 days and joined the "Wall
of Hashem's Honor" during the Seffira on the day of
"Yesod She'binetzach". Yesod represents Shmiras
Habris, and Netzach means FOREVER!!
And what better and more appropriate day could there be for hitting
half a year than on Tu Be'av, one of the greatest Yomim Tovim;
a day that combines the concepts of Renewal, Joy, Teshuva and
Forgiveness. On Tu Be'Av Chazal say that the women danced dressed in
white - like on Yom Kippur - and they danced in a circle -
be'Machol, which is a lashon of "forgiveness" (see the
Beis Ahron on how this day is a bechina of Yom Kippur!).
The name "Ykv_schwartz" has become synonymous with GuardYourEyes.
Who doesn't know and LOVE Yakov, this passionate, sensitive
and spiritual soul? He's posted close to 300 posts on our forum in
the past half a year, many of them long and elaborate, putting his
whole soul into inspiring others and making them feel good.
And there is even more to Yakov than meets the eye. I've never
mentioned this before, but today is a good day to let everyone know
so we can show our deep Hakaras Hatov to him. The recent
upgrade to the "90
Day Chart" with the new
profile page and the whole new automated system - was (and is)
being programmed and developed by Yakov for GuardYourEyes, free
of charge!! Thank you Yakov, your schar is unfathomable!
In honor of Tu Be'Av - a day that shares many inyanim of Yom
Kippur - and in honor of Yakov's half a year and his selfless work
on the 90 day chart, who ever has not yet begun the journey
to 90 days, TODAY is a perfect day to sign up on Yakov's new
sign up page!
Here are Yakov's two amazing posts in honor of this great day.
They bring tears to the eyes!
To my dear and holy brothers and sisters,
Today I am celebrating six month of sobriety. It's the first time
since the start of my journey that I am allowing myself to celebrate
sobriety. I will explain to you why.
For 15 years, I actively tried to stop myself from this addiction. I
went through constant ups and downs. When I was down, I was really
down. My addiction saw no boundaries. Even the fear of getting
caught and losing my job never held me back. I visited some of the
darkest places on this earth. I saw gehinnom with my own eyes. My
self esteem dropped to the bottom.
The following letter (written in summer 2007) portrays my emotions
at one of my moments of misery:
"Internally, I am a
broken man. I am under constant Depression. I am really a failure to
society. I fool the world. I represent spirituality to many people,
but inside I am of the most corrupt of beings that walk this earth.
I am shining on the outside and dirty on the inside. I am confused
about my own self. I sometimes wonder if I have demons inside of me.
I feel like Jekyll and Hyde. I am two people in one... I am a hidden
man to my family. I am living a lie to my wife. I feel horrible with
myself. I fill my wonderful head with junk. I am crying inside. I
have contaminated the vessels that hold my spirituality. Every year
I hope for a Yom Kippur where I will do a true vidui to Hashem for
my PAST aveiros. But comes Yom Kippur, I am still holding on to
And when I was up, I was way up. But I usually could not maintain my
"up" for longer than a few weeks.
However, last year (2008), for the first time in my life I was
finally able to resist the temptations and break free. I learned a
few very important lessons. I realized how much I hate this
addiction and stopped my activity immediately. The temptations
melted away. I was amazed at my progress. I thought a new era in my
life has finally arrived.
But six months later, on Oct 28, 2008, I fell again. I was in
disbelief at the time. I was devastated. I lost six months in one
minute. For the next three months, I wallowed in misery as I
continued in my addiction, digging myself deeper and deeper in. I
became numb to life and to spirituality. I continued my life
externally as usual. I tried to keep my spirits high; as I convinced
myself that I would pull out. But it continued. I began to finally
admit that I am addicted and powerless. But at the same time, I
began to fear that there is no hope for me. If after six months I
could not maintain myself, then I must have some internal incurable
disease. I thought the only way would be with professional help. The
future looked bleak...
...Then came GuardYourEyes. At the beginning of February, I
discovered GYE and I renewed my commitment to recovery. My life
instantly changed. I realized there is hope. The
social network of like-minded people with similar struggles brought
me instant relief. I declared a new battle on my Yetzer Hara.
I realized how small he really was all those years. And so, after
15+ years of battle, I started what I labeled the "final
battle that will lead to victory". I was initially inspired by
Rav Noach Weinberg's levaya, as I cried there throughout all of the
But I could not allow myself too much joy until I brought myself
back to where I was. I could not see any form of victory until I
arrived at six months. And here I am, six months later. This is
officially my longest streak from the day I was introduced to this
filth, some 15+ years ago. Should I not celebrate?
In honor of Tu B'Av and six months of sobriety, I am making a BBQ in
my backyard. Please join in my Simcha. Everyone is welcome. (And "Bardichev",
please bring the Woodford - or whatever that stuff is called).
Whoever is reading this, please wish me a mazel tov on
my thread. I still need all the chizuk I can get. As we all
know, the battle is never over. After a person beats one Yetzer
Hara, another one comes his way. So, please give me tons of chizuk
and warm words.
I want to end by thanking the entire GYE family. Each one of you is
special. I am amazed with the commitment that each of you fights
with. No matter how many times you fall, you get back up. I try to
read most of the posts, although I often do not have time to write
back. I get tremendous chizuk from reading about your struggles and
how you prevail.
With Love, Tears, a Broken Heart, and a Humble Spirit,
Lover of All Jews,
Tu B'Av and Six Months of Sobriety
A Ode by Yakov
As I look
into the grave to see if I am dead and then notice that I am still
alive, I look up to heavens with joy and yell, "there is life! There
is Hope! There is a future!"
As I finish burying my
addiction, I pause to thank Hashem for not allowing my dark past
spoil my life. I thank him as well, for assisting me to finally bury
my past, as I rid myself of this addiction.
As I dance at the
chasunah of a Benjemanite man and a daughter from another tribe,
I realize that the past is gone and we are embarking on a new era.
The days of hate are behind us, and the days of love and
togetherness are ahead of us. I then turn inwards and contemplate
how the yetzer hara's powers are much weaker today, because when
there is achdus, there is no yetzer hara.
As I continue to divert my
eyes from all immodest material and strengthen myself day by day in
the areas of kedusha, I look at my wife, contemplate true spiritual
beauty and sigh with relief; "Sheker hachein V'Hevel Hoyefei,
etc..." I turn inwards and realize that all peace in the world
emanates from true and perfected shalom bayis. This is the secret to
our ultimate victory.
As I walk through the
streets with big heavy wooden ladders weighing me down, I tell the
enemy (the yetzer hara) not to worry; "these ladders are situated on
the ground (they are for gashmiyus)". I then laugh in my heart,
because I tricked the yetzer hara, for he does not know, "these
ladders can reach the heaven". These ladders are for my mizbayach.
As I finish collecting all
my firewood, I bring it close to my heart and declare;
"B'lvavi Mishkan Evne -
in my heart I build a mishkan".
As I sit lonely in my
living room, waiting for my Beloved One to return, I suddenly hear a
knock at the door and hear, "Kol Dodi Dofek" (it is my loved
one knocking). Ellul is approaching.
As I stand trembling in
awe, His holy messenger declares with a sign of great happiness,
"Today we are building the Beis Hamikdash". The day of Happiness, is
the day of the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash. My heart skips a
beat. Am I dreaming?
I then turn to my
Creator in a moment of true dedication and state:
"I am all yours.
I hereby sacrifice my entire life to you."
What greater joy
can there be!
Thought of the Day
I was studying this week's Parsha, searching for meaning in
my life and struggles as I often do, when I came across a most
unusual pasuk. Moshe is speaking to Klal Yisrael telling them not be
afraid of entering the land and that their enemies will fall easily
under their swords, until he says the following:
"And Hashem will banish the nations from before you gradually.
You shall not destroy them speedily, lest the wild animals become
too numerous for you."
Rashi asks the obvious question: "the hand of G-d is leading them
through giants and powerful armies, and they should be scared of a
couple lions? Surely there is nothing to be afraid of as long as
they do Hashem's will?!" Rashi answers that it was revealed to Moshe
that they would sin.
WOAH! One second! Moshe Rabbeinu? Our loving defender? He's just
telling us, "yea, you guys wont make it??" Where's the faith? "Yea,
you guys are gonna fall". This is not the picture I've had of him
My friends, I remember the first time I went skiing with my friend.
He said to me "Uri, I'm just warning you. You're gonna fall a heck
of a lot". I remember looking at him a little hurt. He noticed and
told me "it doesn't mean you aren't athletic or anything. Everyone
falls in the beginning, no matter how athletic and talented they
are. If you don't fall, that means you are not really skiing. Don't
be afraid to fall or you'll never learn how to really ski".
I told my sister when she started biking; "honey, go slow, but even
if you do, you're gonna fall. But dont worry. I'm here to make sure
you dont get hurt and get up."
Moshe wasn't being cynical or a pessimist - Chas veshalom!! Moshe
was just letting us know: "You guys are gonna fall. And you're gonna
get up. And you're gonna conquer this land. And you're gonna learn
from your falls. And Hashem and His messengers will always be there
to help you back up. Have no fear, for fear will only prevent you
from reaching your goal".
Falling is a necessary and important part of life.
Saying of the Day
"The successful man
and his unsuccessful friend both fell the same amount of times; but
the successful man got up just one time more than his friend."
Avraham J. Twerski, MD, is the founder and medical director of
Gateway Rehabilitation Center and is one of the world's leading
experts on addictions today. He is also the author of over 50 books
and a Gadol in Klal Yisrael. Rabbi Twerski offers GuardYourEyes
vital guidance and often contributes articles to our network. (Click
on the picture of Rabbi Twerski to view a page of various tips,
articles and correspondence that we have had with Rabbi Twerski in
Rabbi Twerski sent
us the following article today:
Sixty-five years ago, in high-school, I learned a powerful mussar
lesson, but I did not realize it at the time.
Ulysses was a hero and traveler in Greek mythology. He heard of the
"music of the sirens." This was music that was heard at a particular
harbor, and it was so enchanting, so attractive, that it drew
sailors to the shore. However, there were sharp, ragged reefs in the
harbor, and the ships would crash into them and were destroyed.
Sailors knew this, and passing by the harbor, they would see the
wreckages of the ships that had been destroyed, but once they heard
the music of the sirens, they were helpless and headed into the
harbor to their own destruction.
Ulysses wanted to hear the fabled music of the sirens, but knew that
this would be fatal. He, therefore, stuffed his sailors' ears with
wax so that they could not hear any sounds, and he told them that
they were to sail by the harbor and pay no attention to anything he
said. He then had himself tied securely to the ship's mast so that
he could not move.
As the sailors approached the harbor, Ulysses began hearing the
music of the sirens. He began shouting to the sailors to head for
shore, but of course, they could not hear him. He began screaming at
them, "I am your captain! You must obey my orders!" As he heard the
music of the sirens, he struggled to free himself from the ropes.
"Head for the shore!" he shouted. "I will have you hung for mutiny!"
But the sailors rowed on.
After they had passed the harbor and the music was no longer heard,
Ulysses fainted from exhaustion. The sailors then untied him, and he
realized how helpless he had been, and had he not rendered the
sailors unable to hear, they would have all been destroyed.
Much later I realized that the "music of the sirens" is the yetzer
hara. It can enchant a person and render one almost helpless to
resist its temptation. Seeing the wreckage of the ships did not
prevent sailors from rowing to their destruction.
One cocaine addict worked in a mortuary, and buried people who were
killed by cocaine, but that did not stop his use, and he died from
cocaine at age 33. Cocaine, music of the sirens, lust, the yetzer
hara - they are all the same.
There is no way we can "stuff our ears" to the "music of the sirens"
that can be heard almost anywhere in our environment. The Talmud
cites Hashem as saying, "I created the yetzer hara, and I
created Torah as its antidote" (Kedushin 30b). It is our only
defense. However, just holding on to Torah is not enough, just as
Ulysses' holding on to the mast would not have been enough. We must
tie ourselves so tightly to Torah that we can not break loose from
it. This is why Moses repeatedly stressed, "But you who cling
to Hashem-you are all alive today" (Devarim 4:4), "to Him you shall
cleave," (ibid. 10:20) and "To love Hashem, to listen to His
voice and to cleave to Him (ibid. 30:20). King David says, "I
have clung to your testimonies (Tehilim 119:31). To cling and
cleave means to be inseparably attached to Torah.
Learning Torah and doing mitzvos is of greatest importance, but does
not yet result in the necessary fusion. The Talmud says that the
single verse that the entire Torah depends on is "Know Hashem in
all your ways" (Mishle 3:6, Berachos 63a). Cleaving and clinging
is not accomplished by relating to Hashem just in Torah study and in
performance of mitzvos, but in everything we do - eating, sleeping,
transacting, socializing. The works of mussar tell us how we
can accomplish this. It is this kind of observance of Torah that can
save us from the destructive attractions of the yetzer hara.
When you pick up a fruit, think of what borei pri ha'etz
means. Hashem designed a tree that would sprout from a tiny seed and
produce succulent fruit, and feel gratitude to Hashem. When you say
the beracha "poke'ach ivrim" think of the wondrous ability
that Hashem instituted within protoplasm that it can have vision,
and feel gratitude to Hashem. If we bring Hashem into all our
activities, we are cleaving and clinging to Him, and when we tie
ourselves securely to the mast, we can avoid the yetzer hara's
"music of the sirens" that would pull us to our own destruction.
Interestingly, after reading this article by
Rabbi Twerski, I read a post by "Momo" on the forum, where he
Duvid Chaim's 12-Step phone conference and writes:
"Duvid Chaim often speaks about our
need to be more spiritual and not just act religious".
And then "Momo" goes on to quote from an article in today's
Jerusalem Post written by a contemporary religious writer, whose
ideas - although critical - are surprisingly similar in nature to
what Rabbi Twerski wrote above:
Orthodox Judaism has reached a moment of truth. Many people no
longer believe that Jewish learning and observance make you a better
person. They no longer believe there is any correlation between
keeping Shabbat and keeping honest, between wearing tzitzit and
avoiding adultery, or between lighting Shabbat candles and seeing
the light of God's grace in every human being.
And we Orthodox have no one but ourselves to blame. We are often
"religious" without being spiritual, prayerful without being humble
and ritually precise without displaying the same punctiliousness in
I am a passionately Orthodox Jew; not even the threat of death will
come between me and the God of Israel. But Orthodoxy without
morality and basic humanity is a religion without God. It is cold,
harsh, an abomination.
The notion that Orthodox Jews are no more moral than anyone else
could prove to be the single most catastrophic event to ever befall
religious observance. Simply put, if learning and honoring God's
will doesn't make us better people, then most (in the coming
generations) will choose to discard Judaism as an empty relic of a
We the Orthodox have it in our power to restore the true light and
love of Judaism by demonstrating the power of our faith to shape
outstanding ethics and inspire righteous action. Indeed, most
Orthodox Jews live lives of exemplary honesty, hospitality and
communal devotion. But now is the time for that truth to shine. Now
is the time to demonstrate that resting on the Sabbath and studying
Torah actually do make people less greedy and more noble.
Our children must be taught not only the rituals that will make them
good Jews, but the underlying values that will make them good
people. Children in yeshiva should learn not only the correct
blessing before eating an apple, but that the purpose of all such
blessings is to instill gratitude. When our sons don
yarmulkes, let us remind them that it's not only a symbol of
identity but a reminder of constant supervision. God is watching us
at all times, even when other humans are not. When our daughters
light Shabbat candles let us teach them that the purpose is not only
to continue the tradition of Sarah but to illuminate the dark places
of the spirit.
Saying of the Day
Duvid Chaim's 12-Step Group
"If Hashem keeps
giving you the same test and you don't like it, pass the test
so you can graduate on to the next test!"
Now For Some Fun :-)
Quotable-Quotes from "Bardichev" on the forum:
THIS WEEKS PARSHA WE FIND THE MOST MOST MOST (THAT'S A LOT OF MOST)
FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION IN THE TORAH:
"WHAT DOES G-D WANT FROM ME???"
V'ATAH YISROEL MAH HASHEM ELOKECHA SH-EL MEI-IMCHA??
WILL STOP AT THE FIRST WORD:
LASHON OF TESHUVAH
MEANS "FROM NOW ON"
PAST IS GONE!!!
FROM NOW ON!!!!
WANTS IS: FROM NOW ON!!!
Do not fall into the trap of the YH saying:
"That guy's wife is soooo un-tzanua".
We all know that yetzer hara, he is such a rotten sneak!
Yes, we live in a weak generation,
but try to judge that woman le'kaf zechus and just turn away.
And try this exercise as well:
If you hear someone else's cell phone ringing and you recognize that
it has a different ring-tone than yours, do you pick up your phone
NO WAY!! Right?
Well, someone else's wife is SOMEONE ELSE'S RING TONE.
Ringing to my own tone
humble and happy
LIFE IS NOT A BED OF ROSES!!
DON'T CRY UNFAIR; MAKE IT WORK!
TURN LEMONS INTO LEMONADE
AND TRIGGERS INTO TRIUMPHS
Q & A of the Day
Marriage Solve my Problems?
I've been slipping a lot lately,
doing things and going places I know shouldn't. It's so hard
to fight this addiction. I feel a desperate need inside me for a
loving and intimate relationship. I wanted to know what you think
about marriage. It's been on my mind lately, I turned 20 recently,
and I don't necessarily feel emotionally ready to get married, and
my parents think that I'm still immature. But on the other hand,
I've got this high hormonal drive and a desperate need for love. I
don't know what to do.
Dear fellow addict,
We understand you well. You have a deep subconscious need for love,
closeness, and for someone to fill the loneliness and the "hole" you
feel in your heart. But it is important to understand that having a
girlfriend or even a wife, doesn't fill this void. We all
thought it would, but when we get married we see that it's
not the way we thought it would be at all. Instead of
"getting" all that we thought we needed, we end up having to "give"
of ourselves and understand someone who doesn't think like us and
has very different needs. And the lust that we thought would finally
be fulfilled, is never ever satisfied. The "true love" that can come
from marriage has to be worked for slowly, and as we grow in
recovery and in "selflessness", the love grows along with us.
The pain you feel and the needs you have are very real. But
they can only be filled when we bring Hashem into our hearts. Hashem
is the ONLY ONE who can truly fill the void and neediness that we
have. If you can find the time, I suggest reading through this
recent thread, from top to bottom, and pressing on the links
that I posted there (in reply #4). There you will learns some of the
beautiful tactics on how to turn the love and longings of our hearts
Also, I highly suggest reading the SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anon)
pamphlet; you can download it
here. These are people who felt - and feel
- EXACTLY as you do, and they slowly learned the hard and painful
way that they will NEVER find - and NEVER get - what their
subconscious mind craves so much; not through love, nor through
lust, and not even through marriage. ONLY Hashem can ultimately fill
this void. May we truly find Him now.
Dov Responded on
You post openly and clearly about the hole in yourself, and you seem
to believe you are an addict. Me too, so let's talk...
If you read some of my posts on the forum, they are never about
fighting at all. They're about struggling to LIVE,
yes, but not about beating - winning - or fighting
Lust was my buddy, my anchor and my guide in a painfully confusing
world. Basically, it was my god. I served it privately and daily
without fail, for many years. And right through the middle of all
that, I discovered and hung onto yiddishkeit, sensing it had
something I needed. Something real.
I'm not here to tell you anything new about yiddishkeit though. I
don't believe you need to hear "just the right vort" at all. You
posted once that you have already spoken to lots of Rabbanim etc,
about this and related issues. I assume they mostly told you what
you'd expect to hear, no? For me, predictability is now a sort of
litmus test. I guess you know what I mean. Maybe I'm cynical.
So I'll tell you something that may not be
I got married too early (so did she) and I had a rotten time of the
sexuality (so did she). I grew into a guy who acted out - or
struggled with not acting out - full time (she
didn't). The struggle unfortunately defined my avodas Hashem
too, at the time.
I eventually got sober with Hashem's help using the 12 steps (my
Me and my wife were fighting often during most of the
years before sobriety, and only after 1.5 years of hell in sobriety
did our boat started to even out its keel. The next few years were
full of natural growth, as individuals and as a couple. Oh, yeah -
and also full of just plain "quiet" too, for a change. We are so
intimate now, and still getting closer. We are really sharing a
life. We understand each other in the physical parts of intimacy too
now, and we are able to really enjoy this for the first time.
Now this is happening even though my wife has no connection to
recovery, no association with any program, and is quite different
than I am spiritually. For the first ten years of marriage I never
expected to ever see what we have now. Frankly, I thought I had
screwed up in marrying her at all; I even had two panic attacks over
it. She didn't understand. But now I have the rest of myself
and am at rest. I don't need to drool over her and she doesn't need
to worship me. We are not fighting either, cuz we get plenty of each
others attention without fighting. And all those years I
was sure I'd eventually die an old and lonely man, filling a hole in
the ground with my own bigger hole...
I'm telling you all this, if you are still reading this long
megillah, because I know what a difference sanity resulting from
simple sobriety means to having a happy marriage and a happy life.
Simple sanity finally allows marriage and life to fill that hole we
felt; that need for true connection and "togetherness" that sex and
lust can never fill. As an addict, I could not get it without
Now, I do not condone acting out in any way (ha, not that I matter!
and who am I to talk for G-d?) but perhaps the only thing
that will truly convince an addict that his hole won't be filled
with what he is lusting after, is trying it over and over until he
gives up trying (if he's still alive). I've heard sober recovering
alkies say, "it took each and every drink I took, to get me where I
am today". That is the way it was for me. I hope you are better or
"luckier" than I was, and can "hit bottom while still on top". I
caused a lot of wreckage for myself and others, but I could have
done a lot more. Finally, I gave up and got help. Now, Hashem, my
Best and Eternal Friend, helps me out daily and - well, you know how
My wife and I have two "sobriety babies" now (babies born after I
got sober). One is six and the other three. Our first three kids had
it rough - and they know it. But they see a completely different
home now. Too bad we all had to wait for it so long.
Maybe a 20 year old like you can get the help to "even his keel"
before adding another person to your boat.
Whatever your journey looks like, we hope you will let us be a part
Saying of the Day
destruction and renewal that the month of AV represents is the 'Alef
- Beis' of our journey on this world. Maybe that is why it is
spelled 'Alef- Beis.'
Testimonial of the Day
have recently joined this forum. Writing this brings tears to my
eyes, because I have never been able to ask for help in this area
before. This is the start of breaking an 11 year habit, something
that makes me both proud and humble, as well as very, very ashamed.
I've always been too embarrassed of my addiction to ever get any
help face-to-face, and deep down I've lost the belief that I can
make a lasting change in this area.
I saw the website for the first time on
shiva asar betammuz, and I was amazed that there was so much
help available to me to get out of my crushing addiction, as well as
kindhearted people who are building this site and building the
participants along with it. It has kindled the hope inside me that I
can face down this challenge, overcome it, and eventually destroy
I guess, if I'm honest, my main motivation
to break the habit is the fear of somebody finding out about it,
especially my wife. I'm scared that it will cause me to lose my job,
reputation, marriage and children. I'm even scared that she is
somehow going to read this post, find out that it's me writing, and
get the shock of her life that she is married to a porn addict. The
fact that I would consider losing everything I hold dear for the
sake of some stupid, cheap thrill, amazes me. I am amazed at my own
stupidity. I guess this proves that I'm an addict - I never thought
of myself that way until now. I've just been in denial.
Every single Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
has been filled with regret for my addiction, and yet still nothing
has changed yet. I've improved in many different areas, but I
actually feel that in this area I've sunk even lower in recent
years. I would love this year to be different. - perhaps you guys
can help me ensure that it will be?
I want everyone to know that I'm fighting here, and I couldn't do it
without you all. It's a funny sort of fight now, because I was
craving to act out but whilst I'm posting here I feel myself slowly
reentering reality, and the fantasy world of the menuvel
slowly melts away. This is a very encouraging development. I also
know that after counting day after day to get to 90 days, it would
be devastating to be back on zero and break my clean streak.
few days later, Yesodos writes:
I love the handbooks. I realize now that I
am not running away from the Yetzer, but am running towards the
loving embrace of my Father in Heaven, who is looking on with pride
as He removes the hold of the Yetzer from upon me.
'I'm poga bcho menuvel ze mochheihu
lebais hamidrash -
if the Yetzer Hara meets up with
you, drag him to the Beis Medrash'.
I wonder whether part of the idea behind that is not just that
LEARNING is the key to overpowering the yetzer, but perhaps the idea
of dragging the Yetzer Hara into the PUBLIC FORUM of a "Torahdik"
atmosphere is what does the trick. I'm sure this observation has
occurred to everyone else already, but I guess I'm new here so
please excuse me! In which case, I have just successfully dragged
the yetzer into the Beis Medrash, and chazal's words have been
proven true once again. The Yetzer Hara loses another day!
I LOVE GuardYourEyes!!!