Guard Your Eyes

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551.

 

Don't Live in the Problem, Live in the Solution.


Today I want to share some big Yesodos that I learned from Dov. (If anyone has experience with what really works, it's Dov. Once a slave to an all-consuming lust addiction, Dov is now sober for over 11.5 years! See Dov's story
here).

It often takes a lot of trying and failing before we are finally able to say in all honesty - as Chazal say, "If Hashem would not help him, there is no way he can beat him (the Yetzer Hara)". And this is the first step of the 12-Steps; admitting "powerlessness". The reason the struggle is so hard for us - and the reason we keep failing at it, is because we are struggling with something much more powerful than us. However, once we admit powerlessness, we basically come to the realization that we can no longer "struggle" with lust at all. We can't "work on this area" or try and "change the way we think". We can only "let go" of it completely and not even give lust the time of day. If lust comes into our head or if something comes into our field of vision, instead of struggling with it, we just tell ourselves: "I can't struggle with lust at all, I am an addict", and we just "let go of it" in our hearts completely.

How do we do that?

Well, if it's far too hard for us to focus on and struggle with "the problem", the only way to succeed is to live instead in the SOLUTION.

What does that mean?

Lust is all "me centered". It's all about me. The "solution" is to start living for others and for Hashem. We need to train our minds that when we feel lust, we just laugh and say "hey, what can you expect from an addict?" and then painlessly switch channels to a channel of "giving" and "gratitude" instead of being "Me focused". For example, if we feel lust for someone, we switch channels to thinking what we can do for that person instead of what we can take from them (after turning away of-course, otherwise we won't be able to let go of the "me mode"). We can daven for them to have everything good in life and a true connection to Hashem.

When we feel lust, we can switch modes in our mind and begin to think of all the blessings we have in life, to feel gratitude to Hashem etc, which brings us to think about what can we do for Hashem. And we can think also about what we can do for others, and how we can make ourselves more useful to others... We need to change our mode of thinking from the "me-centered-getting-mode" that breeds lust, to a mode of "giving and gratitude" outside of ourselves.

And the miracle is, that by changing the way we think and the things we do over time, we find that the problem goes away by itself!! In other words, we can't fix the problem; forget it, it's way too strong. But when we live in the SOLUTION and focus on living "outside" of ourselves, the PROBLEM automatically goes away...

All this "struggling" with the Yetzer Hara and "working on ourselves" - that's for OTHERS, NOT for addicts. We cannot deal with lust at all. That's the secret of the first step. We need to completely bypass it, let go of it, and give it up to Hashem. And it is only when we do this step - which is to recognize that we are addicts; that we are ill; that we cannot deal with lust AT ALL, only at that point we can begin our journey to recovery and learn how to surrender it to Hashem and GIVE IT UP COMPLETELY.

Ironically, it is only to admitting powerlessness that we are able to ultimately find true freedom!!

Our minds tell us that if we stop lusting and if we don't feed our lust, life will be much less fun... But our mind is LYING to us. It is the exact OPPOSITE! It is ONLY when we finally GIVE UP on struggling with lust and LET GO of it, that we will finally be able to find true freedom and happiness.

And one last Yesod from Dov on this topic:

"Letting go of lust" should only be done "one day at a time". It's too hard for addicts to think in such terms as "letting go of lust" for life. We can however, decide that "today, I am completely letting go of my 'right' to lust. Today, I won't give lust the time of day".

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Link of the Day

Rabbi Twerski mailed us an article that came out a few years ago in the Hamodia, where he answers someone's question about internet addiction.

Click here to see the article.
(Once the picture has fully loaded, click on it to enlarge)

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Saying of the Day
Posted by "London"

 

"Decisions aren't forever"


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Testimonial of the Day

By "Joe"

 

First of all, I want to congratulate you on improving your site with many new options! They are invaluable tools for all Jews!
 
Second, I am happy to tell you that I have been close to 100 days clean, THANK G-D, the only One who has made this possible through his kindness!!!
 
Third, I want to mention that the book "The Light of Ephraim" is one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of Shmiras Habris, and I would recommend it to anyone. When I started reading the book, I thought it was saying that there is no Teshuvah for these sins... but I understood incorrectly, it's exactly the opposite! It's truly an amazing book.
 
Fourth, this is what I had to do to stay clean:
 
* I came across your site and similar ones, and went through months of learning, along with strong trials, ups and downs, hardships, crying to Hashem, etc.

* I read the stories on your site, which gave me light years of experience to avoid pitfalls.

* After reading all that stuff, along with some terrible "black mussar" books making me feel terrible, I decided to disappear from internet and just stop doing it!

* Daily reading of Chovot HaLevavot

* Nightly reading of "The Light of Ephraim"

* I made use of heavy Nedarim, making restricting fences for myself all over the place

* I prayed to Hashem, always asking for help with this struggle
 
I guess we have to be on guard all our lives to really win this war. I am still scared to fall again, May Hashem help us!
 
Best regards my friend, and thank you for leading me in the right direction, sharing with me your tips and for helping so many along the path. Hashem will surely grant you great merits for your efforts.

552.


Song of the Day


My "Guard-Your-Eyes" Song
By Uri in Jerusalem

CLICK HERE to download it.

CLICK HERE to read the lyrics.

 

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Our "Focus-Outward" Muscles


Yesterday we shared some Yesodos from Dov on "Living in the Solution". (If anyone has experience with what really works, it's Dov. Once a slave to an all-consuming lust addiction, Dov is now sober for over 11 years! See Dov's story here). Today I would like to quote some of Dov's posts that expand on this issue in more depth. From Dov we can truly learn how to live in the SOLUTION instead of "fighting" desperately (an often losing battle) - with the PROBLEM.

Dov writes to Uri who - as we can see from the song above - is  bravely struggling with the "monster" within:


To my dear friend who writes so beautifully about what's going on inside him, and about issues such as "love vs. lust", and - of course - struggling with fantasies a lot:

One simple answer for all this that anyone can do is: Don't think so much. Especially about yourself.

What??? But how???

This sounds like a very, very tall order for an addict, or for someone who is kinda young, or for someone who is naturally highly self-aware and jam-packed with feelings pretty much all the time. You (and many of us) have all these qualities. Ouch. We are experts at "focus-inward", and typically only focus outward when it's all about what we are getting - or not getting - from the other person.

Shockingly ;-), the typical prescription for this problem (that is working for me and others I know) is to start getting more and more used to thinking about others, for the rest of our lives. "Others" means anyone not attached to my own "desire / feeling / awareness" thing (some call that "thing" the ego). That list includes Hashem (of course), your family, your friends, co-workers, people you walk by in the street, etc; basically anyone with a will of their own (... not yours). So far so good?

Being apart from others -  even in / especially in a room full of people - is our typical state. But for sobriety and sanity to grow, it's got to change. In real life, this means doing things that make us a part of, rather than apart from. But how? By being frummer or becoming better? Not really.

Just check these practical applications out and see if you think they would be good daily exercises for your own "focus-outward" muscles:

  • Davening primarily for others in general, rather than for me (except in real emergencies) [Tzadikim do this by focusing strictly on tza'ar haSh'chinah, but we are doing it just for anyone's tza'ar but our own, for now].
  • Actually functioning (even in small ways) as part of a group [a minyan can do this if you find a way].
  • Accomplishing things that are not for me.
  • Not taking that second look at the pretty woman (I just had to not do that myself five minutes ago!) even though it hurts cuz I'm an addict. Looking / lusting about it will just work out my "me-me-me muscle", no?
  • Having a nice, long conversation with anyone and making 99% of the topic them, rather than me.
  • Doing a mitzvah (or two) for G-d's sake, rather than because people will see, or for olam haba. (B"H, I rarely think about olam haba - it's too selfish in practice, though folks who treat hashkafa as reality will tell you s'char mitzvah is not supposed to be a selfish pursuit at all. So what? It is for me! So, till I'm ready for a different attitude towards s'char, out with it!)
  • Keeping a halacha because we don't want to.
  • Being good to ourselves because we don't want to (going to a meeting, exercising, taking a shower, learning some Torah, cleaning up the apt, making a friend, etc.) [in s'forim that's called "mis'chased im atzmo - doing kindness with one's self"].
     

Get the idea? 

The main thing for success in this, is not allowing yourself to get bogged down by anyone (that includes you) in wrestling about philosophy (which may be mislabeled as "Torah"), motivations, the existence of altruism, or whatever else seems to really matter. It's all nice, but an addict can't afford it. Our eye must remain on the prize, which is: Going outward rather than inward. Period.

Yes, we need Hashem's constant help to do this the right way and for it to lead closer to actually being useful to Him and His people. But as the Mesillas Yeshorim writes, there are some midos that lend themselves to knocking down a bazillion bad middos all in one fell swoop. For an addict, this is one of the big ones that do that. The particulars are less important than most think. Besides, He can help just fine if you ask for it, and He will. (Uh, oh, that's praying for yourself! Well, for this we can make exceptions ;-)

Try it. Don't think about it. And don't talk about it much, c"v, either. Thinking differently - even really hard - will not generally get us to be any different on the inside. We live in "Olam Ha'asiyah - the World of Deeds". Doing changes us, and it even changes the way we think and are on the inside. That is why Hashem gave us so many mitzvos to do (as the RaMBa"M writes).

After we do this for a while, our lives become wildly interesting and less predictable, too! (It is actually rather boring to think about myself all the time, you know!) We can also get sober and stay sober more easily this way.

Love! ...and that's an order.
Dov
 

Tomorrow we will Iy"h bring Uri's response, as well as a beautiful elaboration and further clarification on these fundamental YESODOS from Dov.

 

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Testimonial of the Day

By "BruceWayne"

 

Last night, I just lay there in the dark thinking, and all of a sudden I became terrified. The fear was from the thought - the mental image of me going back to the way it was before I found GuardYourEyes. Perhaps it was an attack by the Yetzer Hara to entice me to sneak over to my computer (even though I have a filter). If so, I turned it around and instead of listening or even thinking about it, I literally shed tears at the thought and repeated to myself over and over, "I don't want to go back, I don't want to go back....",  pretty much till I fell asleep. (Don't know where that came from. I mean, if somebody saw me they'd probably want to put me in an institution or something).

553.


A Big Mazal Tov to "Efshar Letaken"
(aka "E.L")
on reaching 90 Days!

He is now on the "Wall of Hashem's Honor"!

E.L reached this milestone yesterday on the 20th of Av, which is spelled Ke'Av. The word "Ke'Av" has a double meaning In Lashon Hakodesh. It can mean "pain" and it can also mean "like a father". E.L. has taken the "pain" of his past - the pain of the addiction, and used it as a spring board to developing a true "Father/Son" relationship with his Father in Heaven! (After all, isn't that what "Efshar Litaken" is all about?)

The only place in Tanach where the word "ke'Av" appears, is in Iyov 31:18, in the very chapter that starts with the words: "I have made a treaty with my eyes"... The Pesukim there discuss how a person is a "Chelek Eloka Mi'ma'al" and speak about how we should not follow after our eyes and hearts, not after women and not after promiscuity... And then Pasuk 18 says:

"From my youth (Hashem) has raised me ke'Av - as a father"....   

Coincidence?
I think NOT :-)


I want to quote a few excerpts from Efshar Litaken's first inspiring post on our forum over here, where he described his situation and how he found our website:

I'm new here, just a few days old on this site & in my new life. I too thought that I was from the few & numbered Yidden out there that are struggling in this area. (I'm not talking about people that don't care or are totally off, unfortunately there are too many. I mean Yiden that are Erlich in all other fields of Yidishkeit)

I begged & cried to Hashem so many times in the last few years to help me find my way out of it, but it was short lived progress.

I even spoke (hinted) to my Rav that I'm struggling with my eyes & all I got was to Pray "V'Taher Libeini". He is a Holy Yid, but his Gadlus is stuck in the 1800's.

So I Thank Hashem for making me stumble upon this website while checking out the news on Israel on the Jpost.

I Hope & feel that with all the Helpful tips & Amazing Yiden Mevakshei Hashem "B'Emes" (for this is anonymous, so we are doing this Koloi L'Shmo just because we want to be close to you Hashem) that I will finally get over this Klipeh that the world has never seen before.

Like my Rav Says, the Satan know that his end is near, so he is fighting with all his tools & weapons. We just have to "Hold On A Little Bit Longer" & the fight will be Won.

Chazal Say "Tzorois Ramim, Chotzi Nechomo!" It's a lot easier to deal with this knowing that others unfortunately have the same problems & are successfully dealing with it. 

Yidden! Hashem looks at this website & is Shtultz Proud with us. He calls out "Mi K'Amcho Yisroel!" look at my chosen nation, they have not Sold Out! there is no other nation like us, Period!

Ashrecha Yisroel
Hashem Is Proud Of Us
We Will Never Give Up

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Here is a special song in honor of Efshar Litaken's milestone!
(Right click and press "Save Target/Link as")
"If you believe you can destroy, believe you can fix!" ... Rebbe Nachman.

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Here is a poem that Efshar Litaken wrote in honor of this day:

90 Days, 90 Days,
What can I say, for Hashem I'm full of Praise.

I thank Hashem for the depth of my Heart,
He was there for me from the Start.

My story is just another of the Same,
I just had enough of the Yetser Hora's Game.

Fighting & Falling for so many Years,
My eyes were already, dry from Tears.

Finally one day my prayers Hashem did Hear,
And I finally found GYE to help me, myself to Repair.

From Reb Guard & his Hand Books & all the Others,
Over here at GYE we are all like Sisters & Brothers.

I thank Hashem, for sending me this Way,
And getting me out of the Y"H's Prey.

No! It wasn't easy, I have to Admit,
But I don't miss my old life, not a Bit.

It is very rewarding, as all of you Know,
And those who don't yet, time will Show.

If we keep on fighting & never let Go,
We will give the Y"H blow after Blow.

Eventually he will have to confess,
That with GYE members, he cannot Mess.

He doesn't care much about the Sin,
What he wants is for us to Give Up, so that he can Win.

So the message the Y"H is loud & Clear,
Get lost once & forever, from you we do not Fear.

Yes you might be stronger than us, Flesh & Blood we Are,
But we "Let Go & Let G-D" & He's stronger than you by Far.

The fight is never over; we will fight till the End,
We will get even with you, when Hashem, Moshiach will very soon send.

So for those Yidden that GYE haven't found Yet,
We have to ask Hashem why we haven't Met.

So many Yidden with Shmutz are Addicted,
They need us to help them get Evicted.

They need us to help them find GuardYourEyes,
So that the Y"H they too will Despise.

If we want to greet Moshiach with our heads held High,
Let's put in the extra effort and tell the Y"H GOOD BYE!

So I ask everyone to help in every Way,
For this is the last battle, before Hashem does Say.

My Holy Children The Time Has Come!
With Klal Yisroel Once Again, I Will Be One.

Thank You My Holy Brothers & Sisters
The Fight Goes On
Yes! Efshar Letaken


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Our "Focus-Outward" Muscles
(Part 2)


For the past few days we've been bringing important ideas and posts from Dov on the REAL secret to breaking free of this addiction. It seems that the over-all goal of the 12-Steps - and what makes it so successful to millions of people, is that the steps teach us how to "focus outward" instead of living a self-centered / "ME ME" existence. In yesterday's e-mail, we discussed various strategies and exercises that we can do to strengthen our "outward-focus" muscles. Before we continue with this idea today, I just want to repeat one paragraph from yesterday's e-mail again, because it is such a big Yesod:


As the Mesillas Yeshorim writes, there are some midos that lend themselves to knocking down a bazillion bad middos all in one fell swoop. For an addict, "outward focus" is one of the big ones that do that. Try it. Don't think about it. And don't talk about it much, c"v, either. Thinking differently - even really hard - will not generally get us to be any different on the inside. We live in "Olam Ha'asiyah - the World of Deeds". Doing changes us, and it even changes the way we think and are on the inside. That is why Hashem gave us so many mitzvos to do (as the RaMBa"M writes).

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Uri Responds to Dov on the forum:


Wow, thank you so much Dov. I'm honored to have you post on my thread. The advice you give is gold. I've tried this before, "growing outward", but it proved too difficult at the time. I was feeling very depressed and had no strength for others. Now I'm gonna try to make it my top priority again iy'h. Yasher Koyach.
-uri

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Dov Responds to Uri:


Dear Uri - About going outward:

We obviously can't do it alone, and we often can't do it very comfortably either. So we need extra help from Hashem with this. We also can't succeed at this if we are doing it with "an expectation" of getting something in return.

You write that you have tried it before and mentioned the challenges you had then. Thanks. Here's a big yesod (for me) in recovery that may help you with this too:

We start doing things for others simply - and mainly - because we have faith that we need to, in order to stay sober. We do it because we believe it is the only way to get us to be unselfish - and hence, "mentally OK" people. In a sort of paradoxical way, it's selfish! And that's great! Because it makes it much more palatable to us (at least subconsciously) in the beginning weeks, months or years (whatever!). It really works that way. Weird? Nu, so what's so bad about a little more weirdness? (That's also a big yesod for me, BTW...)

So "am I doing the favor for my mother in order to help her out / to be "nice" / or because it's Kibud Av vo'Eim?" Not necessarily, in the beginning. I may be doing it because it is the only way for me to recover and to stay sober. But that's Ok. I can think of no better "mitoch shelo lishma bah lishma" than this, actually.

Again though, no matter how you slice it, we always need Hashem's help to do it right.


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And here's another amazing post from Dov (to someone else) on this topic:


We generally do things for our own sake. When Chazal tell us that Hashem wants us to serve Him Lishma (for His sake), it means that Hashem wants us to start getting used to moving toward doing things for the sake of others first, and then move on toward doing for Him.

He gives us parents to learn what it means to be dependent on someone else and to be responsible; he gives us friends to learn what it means to be connected and faithful; a spouse to learn what it means to be devoted and in lovechildren to learn what it means to give up stuff and help someone grow into life, while our own lives fade into the background. And He asks us to make for ourselves a Rav (Aseh Lecha Rav) whom we will obey without question and learn self-nullification.

Maybe then we'll be ready to finally be more dependent, responsible, connected, faithful, devoted, in love, obedient, humble and sacrificing to Him, Yisborach.

This never "occurs", it's a process called "the life of a yid". Yep, His system is genius, nothing short of it.

But how the heck is an addict, or a person who is compulsively looking at "whatever", supposed to be part of this process? Getting free from addiction is the only way for an addict to participate in this genius plan, and - miracle of miracles - it is actually simple, because the recovery itself forms and guides the whole journey!

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One last post from Dov on this important idea of "focusing outward":


The way to do it is certainly: slowly and in very little steps. You will still feel selfish along the way, because we compare our behavior with our goal. Nu, that's a mistake, but we do need to keep the goal in mind all along the way somehow, so what do we expect? We are not geniuses and get confused sometimes. The main thing for progress is to hang onto faith that these little tiny (still mostly selfish) steps will, in fact, lead us straight to that goal.

As they always say in the 12-Step groups: "Easy, does it".

Love,
Dov


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Song of the Day

Uri - the new "GuardYourEyes Musician" - strikes again!

A Story
By Uri in Jerusalem


CLICK HERE to download it
(right click and press "Save Target/Link as")

CLICK HERE to read the beautiful and inspiring lyrics!

554.


A Few Odds & Ends:

1) I got a few e-mails asking why today's Chizuk e-mail was late. It's nice to know some people really care! :-) I apologize for the delay, but just before I sent today's e-mail my internet provider's servers fell for about four hours. But here's a bonus: Between Mincha and Ma'ariv I "happened" to see a Gemara that I added to the Chizuk e-mail (below). It's a great lesson, so maybe that's why Hashem didn't want me to send the e-mail earlier... who knows?

2) A new Sexual Addiction Center has opened in Israel, as well as a new website in Hebrew that deals with all addictions, particularly SA and SLAA. It is called hugme.co.il. The center and website are run by R' Shraga Shlachter, the author of the book "The First Day of the Rest of My Life" (download translations from the excellent Hebrew book over here). If you know anyone in Israel that struggles in these areas and speaks only Hebrew, please refer them to the new website and/or to R' Shraga (a personal friend and a wonderful addiction therapist).

3) I would like to call everyone's attention to the post called "MI LASHEM EILAY!!!" by "Mevakesh" over here.

4) I changed the title of the daily e-mails to reflect our new website. Instead of the subject containing "The GuardUrEyes Chizuk List" from GuardUrEyes.com, it now contains "The GuardYourEyes Chizuk List" from GuardYourEyes.org. I am pointing this out because if you created a "rule" in your e-mail program that automatically sends the daily chizuk e-mails into a specific folder based on the subject text or the "sender", you will probably have to reset that rule. (If you haven't made such a rule yet, it may be helpful to do so now. I once saw instructions on how to do this on a Daily Halacha e-mail website Halachos.com, at the bottom of the page).


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The Powerlessness of an Addict


Someone posted on the forum an excerpt from an article at livescience.com which he says reminds him a lot of the idea that an addict is "powerless" over lust. Here's the excerpt:

If you think you're generally good at resisting temptation, you're probably wrong, scientists now say. 

"People are not good at anticipating the power of their urges, and those who are the most confident about their self-control are the most likely to give into temptation," said Loran Nordgren, senior lecturer of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, in Illinois. 

The result: Many of us unwittingly expose ourselves to tempting situations, leading to a greater likelihood of indulging in addictive behaviors. 

The bottom line, Nordgren says: Avoid situations where such weaknesses thrive, and remember you're not that invincible.  

Dov responds - and describes his own perception of powerlessness:

 

Yes, but I'd like to add that in the case of addicts - at least in my case, I can sit for a hour learning Sha'arei RMCH"L, Gemorah or Bnei Yisoschar (after asking my Best Eternal Friend to help me learn right, so I can get better and do His Will), daven a happy and tearful Mincha, and still end up acting out worse than I ever did before, ruining my wonderful life - all within an hour or less - if I choose to take a longer look (than Hashem arranged for me to see) at an inappropriate image/person I pass by. This doesn't have to happen - but it can. As the Ramban says in parshas Kedoshim; the change that overtakes a person from lust is shockingly powerful. (And he may not even be talking about addicts... Ouch).

I also totally reject the idea that the very change in my priorities and perspective that happens as a result of looking, proves that I wasn't really sincere in the first place. I believe that many addicts do sincerely desire to stop, but simply do not know how.

I also reject the idea that my insincerity is proven by the very fact that I took that extra look. Some may disagree, but addicts are really very perplexing, so I can't blame any of them for it.

As an addict, I have no defense whatsoever for even the very first "drink". I wish no reward at all for any victory over lust, as I give the entire credit to Hashem. Woe to me when I start to take credit for "beating the Yetzer Hara". I speak only for myself here, friends. But I have discovered that I actually - really - need Hashem's help for it.

And I do not need "encouragement" to stay sober any more than I need encouragement to breathe or to eat. (Nu, I'll still take some chizuk once in a while!).

I ask for His help each day for staying sober that day only, and he gives it to me - so far. I can't work for sobriety tomorrow any more than I can eat or go to the restroom for tomorrow.

So yes, we Yidden are generally advised to avoid nisyonos - as the article above explains, but for me with lust, it's even more than that. I avoid it because I'm an addict, and I know that the change that lust brings over me takes away all my free-will. It's very much like getting stone drunk; you really never know what you'll end up doing. The change I undergo from lust makes me miserable, useless and pathetic, and I do not want to go back there, cuz I'll die there. In spite of all this, I still would end up going back there if I relied on my own will-power, even with my very best thinking!

So thank G-d for sobriety today! He must love us so much!

Now I think I'll sit down and learn...
 

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Why does Dov keep emphasizing our "powerlessness"?

I think that there are two main reasons why the 12-Steps are built on the foundation of the first step: "Powerlessness".
 
1) Once we know that we are powerless over lust, we finally acknowledge that we can no longer afford to struggle with lust at all - if we are to remain sober and sane. Once we take that "first drink", we are already on a slippery downward slide. We have no choice but to completely let go of it.
 
2) I just saw a story in the Gemara (Taanis 24a) that made me laugh. The Gemara says that there was a drought and Rav Nachman davened for rain and the rain still didn't come. When Rav Nachman saw that his prayers were not answered he began to bemoan and cry "take Nachman and throw him down off a high wall onto the ground!" (in other words, if Hashem doesn't answer me, I'm obviously not worthy - so remove me from my high status as a Tzadik/Amorah). And the Gemara says that Rav Nachman had "chalishus hada'as" - which means he felt a great disappointment, and right then the rain came! That really struck home a point, because it shows just how much Hashem loves us, yet he waits for our hearts to be truly humbled and broken before Him. Once we know we can't do it; once we acknowledge that we have no credit on our own and we truly feel that we don't deserve anything, THAT IS WHEN Hashem sends the salvation!


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Quote of the Day
By Dov

"To heck with me. What can I do for you?"


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Song of the Day

My Teffilah
By Uri in Jerusalem


CLICK HERE to download it
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CLICK HERE to read the inspiring words!

David Hamelech could never have written many of the beautiful Teffilos in Tehillim if he hadn't been running from so many enemies and struggling with so much suffering throughout his life. As the Zohar says; through the darkness comes the most beautiful light... 

Each and every one of us writes our own personal Tehillim as a result of our struggles with the forces of evil and darkness in our journey through this world.

Hashem is waiting for YOUR song.

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Testimonial of the Day

By "Hoping"

I have been mired in the garbage of my addiction for about 20 years. I have tried to stop tens (maybe hundreds) of times without success. Things started to finally change when I found this site. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that today I am experiencing real recovery. I had basically given up on the notion of ever experiencing this. My biggest hope was that I would be lucky enough to die during a clean period and that my cleanliness would be accepted as some level of Teshuva. Now I am beginning to see how I can make very slow progress internally which will eventually lead me towards my goals in life. This does not mean that I will ever be finished recovering, just that I no longer view my addiction as the enemy. If anything, it is a catalyst which helps me focus on improving myself at a very basic level. I can even say today that I needed - and still need - my addiction in order to make changes in my life that should be made anyway.
555.


The Powerlessness of an Addict

(Part 2)

 

Someone posted on the forum the following:


Rav Pam writes in Atara Lamelach that today we cannot do teshuva by focusing on how bad sin is. That would only hurt us and drag us down more. Rather we should focus on our maiylos and how special we are as the descendants of the Avos and as the bearers of Yiddishkeit, and strive to improve ourselves.

Dov replies:


Dear yidden who are on many different paths,

Yes, we are special. Sha'arei Kedusha basically opens with this fact and posits that the lack of recognition of how wonderful it is to be a yid and carry such a high, ancient, and beautiful neshoma, is at the root of falling into sin. Yes, it's true.
 
And yes, thinking of ourselves as "sinners" carries great risks. We carry so much baggage regarding that label. It may mean to us that "it's all over" and become depressed; we may give up and do worse things; we may lose emunah in Hashem's Power, Love for us, and in His Wisdom; and as a result, our chances of growing/fulfilling our potential may become quite poor, etc, etc.

But it seems to me that some people, especially frum yidden, tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater on this one. Here is what I mean:

I am sick. I have a progressive, fatal disease. It is also chronic. It does not have to kill me, as I am in remission because of my medication (the 12-Steps). But I need to take it correctly for it to work. We know of many people who have this disease and successfully live full lives nonetheless. My life has been full since getting my treatment, and as my wife told me just yesterday, life is getting better every year. It'll probably stay that way as long as I don't take the credit, 'cuz taking the credit would mean that I have stopped taking the meds.

You know what I'm talking about. It's sexaholism, lustaholism, call it what you like. Surviving it isn't a "challenge" for me, it's not about being on a "higher madreiga", and it isn't very pretty, really. But it's the truth.

Did Hashem love me fifteen years ago? You'll say "YES!". Was I "special"? You'd say "YES!". And I agree. And by the way, while I was special, I was also teaching a shiur and then leaving right afterwards to the red-light district to act out. While I was "special" I was also hooked on a seven year long telephone relationship with someone I wasn't married to, and while Hashem loved me, I made many secret rendezvous to see people who definitely didn't love me at all, but looked like they did - to me. I was just plain nuts...

And if you asked me to stop, as my neshoma did, I'd have told you (as I told my neshama) "You know, I will tomorrow, I HAVE TO quit!!". It was the same torture that many of you on this site know only too well. I would ask myself, "what am I doing??" I figured that I just really sucked at serving Hashem and was a first-rate "sinner". In actuality, I was truly serving myself in the temple of lust, carefully using the instructions the p**n industry had taught me. To me, this is not just a cute moshol, it's the truth.

Why am I reviewing this?

Because I believe that as long as a person is truly struggling with his Yetzer Hara, he is really lucky! There are s'forim, shmuessin, nigunnim, etc., all there to help him fly right. The overwhelming majority of Yidden in the world fall into this category I believe. They need to employ every aspect of Toras ha'Teshuvah to be saved from lusting and acting out on their lust, to learn how to live lives with progressively less shmutz and to be the holy yidden they are meant to be.

However, once a line is crossed enough times and the "struggle" becomes an addiction, I believe he is actually ill. And there is little evidence that he will get cured. (Some may disagree here, and I respect that 100%). I believe it is then time for what is now revealed to have been a saucy and ecstatic "Teshuva game", to end. That is, unless he enjoys being road-kill.

I do not mean that he ought to then give in to the desire at all. I mean that he needs to bite the bullet and get the help he really needs - in my case it was actually working (not studying) the 12 steps, SA meetings and a sponsor. In any case, it means living life differently, before his disease changes it drastically for him.

If you are with me so far, then you understand why romanticizing the struggle of a guy who is truly an addict by referring to it as an epic struggle with his Yetzer Hara, can perpetuate the pathetic slugfest indefinitely. Promising a shining light at the end of the tunnel for someone who really believes that Lust is his best friend, may actually be cruel. Why? Because he simply will not believe you deep inside (where it counts). Would you in his shoes? 

Once the point was reached when I believed I truly had no ability to control myself (though I had no idea why - or how to regain control), then all that the "Yetzer Hara/Teshuva approach" really left me with was guilt.

In most cases, encouragement to fight for K'vod Shomayim and for the beautiful life a yid deserves to have, is indeed the greatest divine service and love for a yid. And reminders of Hashem's love are indispensable in this struggle against the Yetzer Hara. But there are cases, like mine, where a yid sees that he has an illness and admits that "hey, normal people do not do anything like this stuff!". They finally admit that it has taken control of their lives and that it has been getting only worse, never better (Step 1). These people need to be allowed to say that they are truly mentally, physically and spiritually ill.

I do not mean this in any way as an insult to yidden who are addicts. Often at first, a person will interpret their failure at using standard Torah concepts of Teshuva as proof positive that they are inferior, as I did. But that is a total lie. A yid who is an addict is not inferior at all. In fact, addiction often comes with a powerful sensitivity that is valuable, a striving for perfection that needs to be learned how to live with.

I am a loser - when it comes to lust. In my opinion, we simply do not have the power to "win" - and won't - until we are allowed to admit we are ill and learn how to live with that fact. If they are told that (as per the Ramba"m in shmoneh perakim) "don't worry, everyone who does aveiros is in the same boat and needs to learn how to do Teshuvah. Welcome to the club!," I believe these people may not get the medication they need and will end up taking their families down with them. This probably happens frequently. You read about it on "Yeshiva-thingie.org" or whatever it's called...

Furthermore, if after a short period clean these yidden are convinced that they are ready to live as others do and resume the struggle [i.e. to let lust in a "little" - and fight it] because they are better; (after all, as the Ramba"m says, I've been in the same situation as before and not sinned, so that means I did teshuvah sheleimah and I'll never go back", right?), these guys fall hard - and keep falling hard - until they realize they are really sick, not bad.

For decades I thought I was fine in the head, and it was only my body that was screwed up! No, my head was - and is - screwed up (but getting better, thank G-d!).

Just one more thing: The goal of the path I am referring to (the Steps) is definitely 100% only about closeness to Hashem and learning to live with a clear recognition that Hashem is with us always. And it leads to freedom from the aveiros, with Hashem's help. It leads to discovery of our gifts; and the fact that they came to us through aveiros makes them even more precious. It was the last place we thought we'd have thought to look for Hashem!! But He was there.

Love,
Dov

PS. Anyone who read this whole megillah must be a tzaddik, of some sort.


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Dear Yidden! If you read Dov's post above, it is clear that the approach for "addicts" can not be the same as the standard approach for regular Yidden. We are ill and need to take the medicine. And the medicine that has been proven to work for millions of people around the world is the 12-Steps. Dov talks about "biting the bullet and getting the help we need". But GuardYourEyes has made "biting the bullet" a lot easier for frum addicts than it ever has been before! Instead of joining live 12-Step groups, mixing with other genders and other religions, being worried about anonymity issues, etc.. you can now join 12-Step groups with other frum yidden from the comfort of your home, with full anonymity - BY PHONE! Please see this page for information on how to join Duvid Chaim or Boruch's 12-Step phone conference groups.

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Let me share with you a letter that Duvid Chaim just sent out to his group. From this letter you can get a taste of what the groups are like. (And BTW, it's never to late to join!)

Dear Chevra,

Do you know the feeling of what it's like when you're on a long road trip and you pass the halfway mark? And you know that what might have begun as a strenuous journey, you now see as a journey with the destination on the horizon. Well that's how I feel right now!
 
After going through 6 weeks and carefully reading up to page 57 in the Big Book, I am truly inspired by your growth and commitment to finding recovery from the addiction. I am also very flattered to hear the comments from the Group for what you've "learned" from me.  But the truth is that I believe that I have learned more from you.
 
I have come to appreciate how each and every one of you is like a diamond - each with it's own unique beauty and multi-faceted. I am blessed in every call to get to know you in some new way.
 
Now that we are in Chapter 5 - "How It Works" - we are changing gears. While in previous chapters, we focused on the lust addiction and how we are completely powerless over it, now we are going to be spending less time talking about the lust and much more time talking about the underlying causes of our addictions. Up to now, we have been focusing on - and dwelling on - Step One, you will see that now we are going to relatively quickly be learning about and practicing the remaining 11 Steps.
 
So please remember to practice the "A-B-Ds" of the Program - Admit - Believe - Decide.  (Steps 1, 2 & 3). Yet, as we discussed today, the Action Steps begin NOW with Step 4; "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." 
 
Please download the following Worksheet. This Worksheet will be the 12 Step Program TOOL that you will use to peel away the layers of lust and see what fuels the lust - your Restlessness, Irritability and Discontent (R-I-D). This Powerful Tool will allow you to have your first real taste of the freedom that awaits you in recovery. To really enjoy this taste of freedom, just like anything else that you taste, you have to dig into it and really savor it.
 
And the choice is yours now!! Do you want this taste of freedom to taste like a fast food - microwavable product - something that you grab at a Burger Barn and chow down in your van on your way to your next appointment? (When you're done, all that's left is greasy heartburn). OR do you want this taste of freedom to taste like your wife's chicken soup - a delicacy that has been slow cooked, well seasoned and delicious on the holiest day of the week?

The choice is yours - what you get out of it, will depend entirely on what you put into it!!
 
About the work-sheet, please note that you should hit "print preview" or print out the sheet to work on it. There are some columns and headings that can only be seen this way. We will discuss in today's call (Thursday) more about how to fill out this Sheet.
 
Please keep your entries on this Sheet in your computer so you can email it back to me upon its completion. At that point, we will schedule a private 2 hour call to discuss it. 

I promise you that you will be a different person when you are done. Like the Book says on page 63, you will be reborn.
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to bring these up in the Call or email me back.
 
Once again, thank you for letting me join you in this Journey.
 
Warmest regards,
Duvid Chaim


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Song of the Day

The Fall
By Uri in Jerusalem


CLICK HERE to download it
(right click and press "Save Target/Link as")

CLICK HERE to read the inspiring words!

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Testimonial of the Day

By "Kanesher"

B'Erev Yalin Bechi, vla'Baboker rina!

I posted last night on this forum for the first time about my struggles. I went to sleep feeling silly for posting. But this morning I woke up and there you all are. So many sincere and heartfelt responses!

You know, the underlying essence of the internet is that it's the human voice. People used to perhaps be promiscuous in the depths of their hearts, but they could never act on it because of social norms. Well, the internet has broken down those norms and lets everyone speak freely and anonymously.

And that is the horror - in my "room of rooms" when there no moreh shamayim k'moreh bney adam - well, the human voice isn't so very pleasant to hear, is it?

And I recently saw another website that seemed geared to the frum community and I was horrified; the prustkite seemed to be totally without shame ...and I asked myself - is that all we are? Is everyone a faker - just like myself - and not even ashamed of it?

But here on GYE is another voice. The voice of all of you. Here, free from posturing and kavod - how genuine you all are! Here, where no can see, where none will gain shidduch points or honor...

Thank you, for making me believe in an ideal again.

556.

 

The Powerlessness of an Addict

(Part 3) 


In yesterday's e-mail (#555 on this page) we quoted Dov who described how the approach for "addicts" can not be the same as the standard approach for regular Yidden. Addicts are ill and need to take the medicine. And the medicine that has been proven to work for millions of people around the world is the 12-Steps.

In response to Dov's post, "Battleworn" presented a few good questions to Dov. He asks as follows:


1) There are many different definitions for the word addict. Some people feel that anyone who acts against their better judgement is an addict. But you probably mean someone who is really far gone. If you feel that an addict needs a certain approach - and that the standard approach may actually be damaging for him - and you feel that it's important to inform people of this, then perhaps you should clarify who exactly is an addict, in your opinion?

2) When you - Dov - were in the midst of the addiction, I doubt you found anyone who was able to give you the kind of Torah approach that GYE does. For example, while I don't know if I am considered an addict by your definition; I assume that so many other Tzadikim on the forum such as "Mevakesh", Ykv_Schwartz, "Me", Bardichev, Jack, MD, Nurah and many others, are considered addicts (and if not, then almost no one on the forum is). And they seem to have all done very well with the help of this wonderful website and forum, without considering themselves "losers against lust", as you described yesterday.

 

(For those who don't have time to read Dov's whole reply below, you might want to skip down to my summary below)

Dov replies:

 

I agree with you that the 12-Steps are not for everyone. I am really uncomfortable with the notion that the 12 steps are for anyone who acts against their better judgement. I believe that the last thing the 12 steps is, is just another "self-help program" or "support group". In my experience, it seems to be more like an ego-busting program, if anything; and a "getting-myself-out-of-Hashem's-way" program, too.

The way I see it, there are two categories of people. There are those who are sick and tired of giving in to lust, but they still believe that they just need the right chizuk to break free; and then there are those who have really given up all hope of "beating" it. I just wonder why a person who is only "sick and tired" would feel the need to seriously start putting his life and care completely into the hands of Hashem (after all, steps 2 & 3 only work if they are real), or accepting that their character defects are really the only reason they are ever upset at anybody (otherwise, what is step #4 really for?), etc.. 

So you ask "who exactly is an addict?" I do not really know, but my heart tells me that anyone who has struggled with lust for years and feels they have lost, and nevertheless wants to get free of it (without suicide), can use the 12 steps. Does it mean they'll succeed? I don't know. But many do.

Can they use what people refer to as "Torah", and make it? Well, I am again skeptical. And for the same exact reason that I think some folks who do use the 12 steps don't make it: They are not really ready to be completely honest with themselves. They entertain ideals, and mistake those ideals for what they believe. For example:

  • They really still believe they need lust/alcohol/cocaine/gambling...
  • Or, they don't really allow themselves to believe in G-d deep down.
  • Or, they aren't desperate enough in their own failure to care for themselves enough to give G-d a chance to care for them.

Is it dangerous for such people to try yiddishkeit approaches? No, but just as "spouting program concepts" (pontificating) will do them no good at a 12-Step meeting, talking Torah ideals they do not really have the capacity to accept, is just a game. Torah should not be a game. And neither - lehavdil - should recovery concepts. That makes the ideas "weaker" for the person, and much harder to use. They think about most of the 12-Steps, "well, I know that already!" but they haven't even done the first few steps yet, i.e. they don't even know that they are sick (step 1) or that their faith in Hashem has simply - and actually - not been one that works at all, yet (steps 2 & 3).

You asked if my recovery would have been different if I had had access to the GYE Torah concepts of recovery... Funny thing is, I actually did think that I had access to these concepts back then. In other words, I knew all these concepts in my mind, but here's the thing; it is not the Torah (nor - lehavdil - the 12 Step program) that changes an addict, but rather how the addict understands and uses it. I don't believe a human has the ability to get these ideas truly into someone else's head. An addict is just plain deaf, until he/she is ready to hear. All we can do is keep yacking away until someone who is ready to "hear" really listens! That's just my opinion.

You pointed out "all those Tzadikim on the forum who have done very well with the help of this wonderful website and forum, without considering themselves "losers against lust"...

I believe their success is purely because they were ready to hear. The question I have for you is: How do you define the "GYE Torah concepts"? Something an early addict in recovery has heard before and learned to mentally connect with tons and tons of guilt? (like "Hashem wants better from you", or "it's all sheker vechozov - the Yetzer Hara has nothing for you"). Even though these ideas are all 100% true, the addict may tell the guy: "hey, you're saying the same thing that my 12th grade rebbi told me! Why bother?"

In the 12-Step groups, they generally focus on telling their own story to the addicts who come to them. When the prospects see that this guy really understands, they open up. Only then, does the 12-stepper share his solution. This kind of sharing is hard to do with Torah concepts, no? We end up sometimes putting the cart before the horse, giving advice and "telling", rather than sharing. But Torah is the truth, period. And ultimate Truth just doesn't lend itself to "sharing", does it?

I believe it is possible to achieve sharing with Torah ideas too, but doing it that way would look very different from the way it is usually taught. And the truth is, it should probably stay the way it is now, because Torah is a responsibility, not only a tool. In the 12-Steps however, they try to offer these concepts primarily as tools, and that is rather new, I think.

I don't think we really disagree at all. I (and we all?) just have some problems that need attention, that's all.

Love,
Dov

Let me see if I can summarize some of the points (I hope I understood correctly) from Dov's reply:

1) The 12-Steps are for those who have struggled with lust for years and feel that they have lost, yet they are nevertheless desperate to get free of it (without suicide).

2) Such a person is truly ready for the brutal honesty and "ego-busting" that the 12-Steps are composed of. And only such a person is truly ready to  put his life and care completely in Hashem's hands and finally get out of Hashem's way (to help him), and also to make a fearless moral inventory of his character defects.

3) The Torah concepts discussed on GYE can only really work when a person is truly ready to hear. Until then, an addict is just plain deaf. Because it is not the Torah knowledge (nor - lehavdil - the 12 Step program) that changes the addict, but rather how the addict understands and uses them.

4) One of the things about the 12-Step groups that make the program work so well for addicts is the sharing of personal experience by those who live with the program. This is harder to achieve in a Torah venue, since Torah is "absolute truth" - not experience, and also because the Torah is mainly a "responsibility" and not just a "tool".

I just want to point out, that perhaps if we would learn to use the Torah and Mitzvos as the Zohar calls them "613 eitzos", and as the Ba'al Hasulam explains - that the Mitzvos are all eitzos on how to put the ego aside and do "for" Hashem (he calls this "Hashpa'ah") so that we can be like Hashem ("ma hu rachum, af ata rachum"), then we would be able to achieve true d'veikus through Torah and Mitzvos, and hence true freedom from the addiction as well!


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Quote of the Day
By Dov
(who else? :-)

Someone posted that they didn't believe they could make it to 90 days clean. Dov responds:

 

know I can't do 90 days!!! I'm not kidding. Nevertheless, it has been 11.5 years of knowing that so far, and still sober. I am not strong, and charts do nothing for me either, but a chevra does, and so do the 12-steps. Life is getting better every year on His schedule, not mine and not yours.

None of us can carry the weight of his own sobriety on his own shoulders. None of us. So, there!

 

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Link of the day

Click here
for a poem written by "Bardichev" for Uri, who was being greatly tested yesterday. We'll hear more about Uri's victory in the coming e-mail, be"h.


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Testimonial of the Day

"Will" posts on the forum for the first time:

Well, it's about time! I've been perusing these forums for a while, and really benefiting from them as well- but I kept pushing off registration... Now that I've taken the jump, I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner! Just reading through the posts and logs here have very much inspired me - especially Bardichev's posts, Hoping's posts, Efshar Letaken's posts, Momo's posts, TrYiNg's posts, and of course the Heiligeh Guard's posts. The chizuk and empathy that is exchanged in this community is extraordinary, and I am very excited to become a part of it.

The Shmiras Einayim issue was rampant in my life, and it led to acting out as well. It was only when I read the 'Guard Your Eyes Attitude' handbook that I realized I was fighting the Yetzer Hara with the wrong weaponry, and since changing up my game plan the struggle has become much easier.... but it's still very hard. 

And so, with marriage inevitable, I've decided to follow a piece of advice that I saw on this forum not long ago ...in my own words: "If you're not gonna commit to putting ALL your Kochos into getting over this lust addiction, you ain't got NO business getting married". Too true. (See the last chizuk e-mail on this page, #550 ).

So Be"h I WILL get over this lust addiction. I WILL keep my neshama safe. I WILL make my Creator happy. And I WILL be the husband that any Jewish lady deserves. 
 
And with that... I'm Will. Pleased to meet you. :-)

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Efshar Lesaken warmly welcomes "Will" and writes:


Now is a perfect time for anyone to join the GYE forum, so that we can go into Elul happy and knowing that this year we will be doing real tshuva that we know we will stand by. Unlike every year, that we keep on promising Hashem that we will better our ways, only to fall right back to square one.

No wonder we always got pressured when Elul came around, we didn't want to face Elul because we knew that we put in all this effort and........ Yeah! But this year, I go into Elul with a smile on my face, totally relaxed and happy that Hashem gives me the opportunity to do Teshuva & I finally have real hope that it will last.

So I say to you, Reb Will, and everyone else out there that has not joined yet:

 

Now Is The Time!

This year we will go to Rosh Hashana & Yom Kipur knowing that:

"Yes We Can!"

557.


Uri's Victory

We've all been enjoying a member called "Uri" on the forum lately. His struggle is so real, his wisdom is beyond his years, and his songs have touched a lot of our hearts! Uri is a 20 year old Ba'al Teshuva suffering from this addiction, and having a very difficult time letting go of some of his past "friends". This past Thursday night, one of these "friends" called him up and said that her parents were out of the country and she asked if Uri would "come over"... Uri posted an SOS on the forum asking for help, and asked why it seemed sometimes that Yiddishkeit was a "sexually frustrating religion"... He was almost certain that he wouldn't be able to resist this "opportunity". Uri got tons of responses and Chizuk on the forum, but then he disappeared for a few hours (from posting) and everyone feared the worst. But lo and behold, he returned later and posted that he had been at the park, playing some guitar. He had left his cell-phone at home to make sure his "friend" couldn't reach him there. Later, he sent me a recording of his little trip. Download the recording here.

What power of the spirit, what a holy soul! When any of us feel tested, let us remember this recording and Uri's amazing victory!

Uri, Uri, Shir Da'Beiri!

 

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I would like to bring Dov's response, after Uri posted the SOS:


Reb Uri - 

I know what you mean when you say yiddishkeit is sexually frustrating. Let's just look at some facts on the ground though:

I don't know about you, but:
When I'm serving Lust, no amount of sex is enough.
When I'm serving lust, no one is pretty enough - once anyone prettier walks by!
When I'm serving Lust, there is no real room for anyone else, only for my needs.
When I'm serving Lust, I make poor choices that reduce my options in life to either "stupid", "bad", or "whatever".
When I'm serving Lust, I become more needy, rather than more independent.
When I'm serving Lust, I am ALWAYS HUNGRY. And I mean always.

So Lusting, not lack of sex, makes me frustrated.

Have you ever found satisfaction in acting out? I thought I did. But after a while, I discovered that it just imitates satisfaction by quieting the very pain of the neediness, in and of itself!

"Ahh, what a relief!... Not." That was actually quite a rip-off.

That has been my experience, monsieur. How about you?

Yiddishkeit obviously says "whoaa!", which is frustrating, especially to anyone who really feels entitled to X, to Y, and/or to Z. But in saying "wait!", it gives us a chance at using the framework that even my Roman Catholic sponsor in SA marvels at: A program for creating and maintaining sexual satisfaction in marriage. Look around you (or better yet, don't - ha,ha - sorry): would there be such $ucce$$ in the "sex-sells" industry if most folks were satisfied?

We yidden inherited a plan to help couples (if they want to use it for that) grow progressively and unexpectedly closer, by taking an inescapable monthly bodily process and turning it into an exercise that's cyclical, like everything else in life. It works if you work it. And our program to help not-yet-couple-people is: "The less you feed it, the less you need it". Don't feed it dumb dumb, the desire will just grow!

So, we all know we have desires, we are human, no? None of us are perfect, not even saints, they say... But we also all know what religion is really sexually frustrating. It's the religion of Lust, not yiddishkeit.

To another person hungry for the peace of Hashem's Love, 
Dov

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12-Step topic of the Day


In Chizuk e-mail #555 we brought a letter from Duvid Chaim discussing how his phone group is currently holding by the 4th step. Here is a summary of the subsequent call - by "Moti" ("Momo" is on vacation). There's a lot we can all learn from this summary, even if we are not part of this unique phone group. (To join the group tomorrow, see info on this page).

Opening Of The Call

The power of the fellowship of program was discussed; 2 participants had gotten tremendous value from a private call they had yesterday.

Until now, the focus was Steps 1, 2, 3  the A-B-Ds" of the Program - Admit - Believe - Decide. We now moved on to Step 4 (Chapter 5 of the "Big Book") which begins the hard practical work part of the program; taking on the underlying causes of the addiction. A parable is used of a "red onion", where the lust is merely the outer layer of the onion. From step 4 and on we learn to address the underlying layers that fuel the lust, which are mainly R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritability and Discontent).

Step 4 - What Is It

Personal Housecleaning - "To make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves".

A parable was given of doing a business inventory. It is common sense in business to take inventory, and if we have bad goods on the shelf then we remove them. In same vein, we need to search for own flaws (inner layers of the onion). Honesty is the key.

The main source of our flaws is resentment.

Resentment - What Is It

Duvid Chaim explained this very clearly and succinctly. Resentment comes when we are not treated as we expect to be treated.

Our level of resentment is in direct correlation to our level of expectation from the other person. This is why our resentment is greatest with those who we are closest to, and who we love (wife, children etc.). You do not resent strangers because you have low expectations of them.

Resentment is a major cause of spiritual disconnection. When we try to be in control and play Hashem (trying to be the controller in the control tower) and others don't do what we expect of them, then we experience resentment. Like we've discussed before in the group: "We need to fire ourselves from being our own bosses and make HaShem our boss".

Homework

Duvid Chaim distributed a "Review Of Resentments" worksheet for us to fill out, in which we itemize who we are resentful at, the cause, and its affect on us.

When doing this moral inventory, the key is to stop using logic (which is the highly developed mode of thinking in the Yeshiva world) and instead get in touch with our feelings. Dealing with these feelings properly helps to evaporate the lust.


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Tips of the Day
Dealing with inappropriate thoughts


"Nura" writes:

What I do when one something inappropriate pops into my mind uninvited is say "rachmana nigar bei b'soton - may the Merciful One battle the Yetzer Hara". This very powerful  segula was given by the Yetzer Hara himself to one of the sages of the Gemorah. It always works, guaranteed!

"Will" writes:

My father once told me that if an inappropriate thought comes to mind during tefillah, a person should press his big toe against the ground... it really works!

 

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Testimonial of the Day

"Ezra" posted a few weeks ago on the forum:

I am in my 30's, have 5 kids have been married about ten years. I have had this "struggle" for about 13 years. I got involved in online porn when I was in college. I started with small things that eventually led to watching things I never imagined I would look at. I couldn't stop and didn't want to. I thought marriage would help, but it didn't. I never really gave it a great effort to stop until now. I also learn daily and feel that I have a great marriage. My wife actually caught me twice, but being that I have developed a real provenience at hiding, I was able to talk my way out of it and make sure it doesn't happen again. The real kicker was last year. I was bored and stupid at work and went to inappropriate sites and ALMOST got busted. I decided then and there that I had enough. If I had gotten fired for that, my career would have been totally messed up and who knows what would have happened to my marriage. I was also having difficulty doing my work, which I attribute to difficulties associated with this problem.

So there you have it.  I was looking for help, found the GYE website, signed up, put on the k-9 filter and have been "clean" ever since (38 days today).  Not saying I don't have the desire, but I haven't gone back there again.

Ezra posted again this past Friday:


I humbly write this next post as I am enjoying my accomplishment of hitting day 60 yesterday. I went to the mikvah earlier today (erev shabbos) and truly feel pure and holy.  

My sense of appreciation to the GYE staff and those that have supported me cannot be expressed enough. Over the last couple of days I have been reading the stories section of both men and their wives. The story of the man that got busted talking to minors blew me away. Who knows where my own internet problem could have taken me? I never got involved outside of the web and certainly not with minors, but I never imagined I would do some of the stuff online that I did. (I write this with tears in my eyes). I have been tearing up a lot today thinking about this issue.

You GYE people truly saved me. I have a beautiful marriage and children and Hashem gives me so much, I could have lost it all (no one thinks they will ever get caught). That scares the heck out of me, and truly motivates me to remain strong. Thank g-d I never hit bottom that way, but I think you have all provided me the ability to "hit bottom while still on top".  I am at day 60!! And feeling great. I did the math, that is over 80 hours of my life that I would have wasted (in many ways- hamevin yavin). THANK YOU!!  THANK YOU!!!

For those like myself who continue to struggle. Here are the three things I can point to that have kept me strong:

1. Thinking about the above i.e. all that I can lose - marriage, parnasah, my children, oy vey - is it worth it?!!!

2. Thinking about how I feel afterwards.

3. The filters I have installed (even though I know how to get around them - they are still an additional step).

4. Having my name on the chart and knowing that I would have to start on day one again. I encourage everyone to sign up for the chart, it is really helpful. It has stopped me multiple times; I didn't want to have to publicly admit failure and to start over myself.

Thanks again everyone, I am truly crying tears of joy and appreciation today. I feel great and overwhelmed with joy.

THANK YOU!

558.


"Kedusha" Lecha Yishaleishu

We would like to wish a big Mazal Tov to a great warrior on our forum who goes by the name "Kedusha" upon reaching 90 days clean and getting on to the "Wall of Hashem's Honor". He wrote on the forum  yesterday:

With endless gratitude to the Ribono Shel Olam and to the GYE Chevra, I have reached the 90-day milestone, with 4 days to spare before Rosh Chodesh Elul. I look forward, b'Ezras Hashem, to building upon this accomplishment, one day at a time.

Kedusha joined us right before Shavu'os, and he mentioned in his first post that a Sefer Torah had fallen in his community recently. Every Jew is like a Sefer Torah, with a Neshama carved from under the Kisei Hakavod. When we fall into these things and fill our eyes, hearts and minds with garbage, it is worse than taking a holy sefer Torah and throwing it on to the floor R"L! We are all KEDUSHA - holy. Let us learn from KEDUSHA, pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off - as he did, so that Hashem can hold us once again on his lap and give us a reverent kiss.

"Kedusha" is not one to just pick himself up alone. Once he found our network, he wanted to help spread the word  to others who may have fallen into these things and given up hope. He printed out a flyer (download it here) and hung it up in various Shuls. Here is a post from Kedusha about this:

With regard to the flyers that I put up yesterday, I davened in one of the Shuls this morning (the one that has numerous Minyanim every day). Before davening, the flyer was still up, but by the time davening was over, it had been taken down.  I think it's likely that the Rav removed the sign (or even if someone else did, I assume they would have consulted with the Rav).  I wrote an anonymous letter to the Rav, which I plan to mail today.  Below is the letter (slightly edited, to remove any identifying information):

Dear Rav ******, Shlita,

I put up the enclosed flyer on [the Shul] bulletin board on Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday morning, it had been removed.

As the Rav is surely aware, addiction to the Internet, especially (but not limited to) Internet pornography, is a very serious problem in the Frum world today. It affects not only the modern orthodox, but people who are considered to be Bnei Torah as well. It is unknown how many Bnei Torah are leading double lives and crying out for help, with nowhere to turn. Imagine the pain of a Frum, Heimishe father, attending his child's Siddur party. It should be a moment of great Nachas. Instead, the father is ridden with guilt because of where he was on the Internet the previous night.  

For some people, the answer is to have no Internet in the home (however, as the Internet becomes more and more essential, it is becoming increasingly difficult to suggest this as a long-term solution for Klal Yisrael). For those who need it, however, there must be another solution. My solution, in part, has been to install an Internet filter to which only my wife knows the password (furthermore, in case the password is lost, it will be sent to my wife's e-mail account, to which I have no access). In addition, I realize that this is an addiction and has to be treated as such. As with any addiction, I have no control over yesterday or tomorrow, but I can work on being clean today, with the Ribbono Shel Olam's help.  I have been clean in the past, once for as long as 18 months, but I always fell eventually. But now, for the first time, I have somewhere to turn for help.

The website www.guardureyes.com (which is in the process of being upgraded to www.guardyoureyes.org) has countless resources for battling this addiction. It is a life preserver for those who are drowning in a sea of Tumah. If the Rav is the one who took down the sign, I beg him to reconsider. Countless people pass through [your Shul], especially during the week. If only one Neshama is saved, it would have been worthwhile for the sign to be posted. I, therefore, humbly request that the Rav consider posting the enclosed sign, or at least refrain from removing it the next time it gets posted.

In the merit of helping those who are trying to sanctify themselves, may the Ribbono Shel Olam grant our Kehila and Klal Yisrael Bracha v'Hatzlacha, and protect us from all harm.

Respectfully,

*******

Who among the readers of this e-mail will take Kedusha's example and raise the banner of Teshuva & hope for his brothers? It is right before Elul now. Imagine the merit you can have if you save even one Yiddishe Neshama! There are Sifrei Torah lying in the dust! Help pick them up and return them to Hashem's lap! Print out the flyer and hang it up around your neighborhood, or leave copies in the local shtiblach. Or copy Kedusha's letter above, and leave copies of it around your neighborhood Shuls.

The Chovos Halevavos (Shar Ahavas Hashem, Perek 6) says:
 
"And you should know, my brother, that the merit of the believer, even should he reach the utmost completion in fixing his soul for blessed G-d, and even should he be close to the angels in their good traits and praiseworthy actions, and in the efforts they expend in their service of their creator, and in their pure love for Him, still do not reach the merits of someone who guides people onto the good path and steers the wicked to divine service. For his merits are doubled in relation to their merits, for all days and all times".

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Anecdote of the Day
Sent to us by an anonymous writer

I would like to recount a story that happened to me a year ago on Rosh Chodesh Elul. I was in a very low mood with bad thoughts in my head. I was on my way to Israel for the Chaggim. I had to take a stopover. The first plane I was on got delayed for a few hours and I missed my connecting flight. The airline put me up in the Hilton hotel for the night. In the room was a clear lucid wide-screen TV. I started looking through the options on the TV and found what I wanted. Until then I had not seen real movies like that, but only pictures and bad sites. I was literally one click away from these pleasures. I thought to myself "here I've got a opportunity laid on a silver platter, without no one in the world knowing". About to press the button, I felt that I had reached the hardest nisayon in my life. Suddenly I took hold of myself and decided I was not going to give in. I showered, and while doing so I was mechazek myself. After the shower, I was lying on the amazingly comfortable bed and suddenly the desires came back with tenfold force. A powerful battle was going on, "yes, no, yes, no". Suddenly a voice inside me says, "I am sorry yetzer hara, but this time I won". It was the yetzer hatav speaking. The next morning I got up and had to hurry, as I was put on a early morning flight. I felt like I was in the seventh heaven. Suddenly I felt above all the physical desires surrounding me. I had to daven shacharis by the gate. It was the first day of Elul, and although I did not have a shofar with me, I had had my own wake up call. The euphoria lasted through Sukkos time.

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Torah Thought of the Day
By Pintale Yid

When Moshe first saw the Sneh (burning bush), he didn't understand why the bush was not being consumed. When Hashem saw that he was coming closer to look, he told him to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground.

My Tanya Rebbi explained this as having to do with a person struggling with his Tayvos. The Yetzer Hara keeps burning, but the bush is not destroyed. When a person is struggling, they might think that their Neshamos are being destroyed. But if they take a closer look, the bush is untainted - it isn't even blackened by smoke. Your Neshama is as clean as it was before the fire started, it is all an allusion that the Y"H has concocted for you, so that you should give up and be his best friend for life. 

Take off your shoes - dump the Y"H, because your struggle is nothing less than holy ground. The holiest of the holy. Use your past falls to propel yourself to greater heights. Know that while you were struggling, every time you said "no", the Shechina soared on high and was receiving tremendous bounty from the OHR AIN SOF.

Now when you dust yourself off and start the climb again, be assured that you will shlep many others out of the mud with you.

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Link of the Day
From Aish.com

X-Rated

This story/article was written by Aaron, a long time member of our network. In the article, he describes his story and mentions our site. This article will be read by tens of thousands of people hopefully! (Add your comments at the bottom and let everyone know how our network has helped you!)

 

Aaron's original story appeared on our website over here. (Scroll down to the part called "Update 1" - from when he hit 90 days, which is particularly inspiring)

 

(In the Aish article, direct references to "Torah" that appeared in the original story were left out, since Aish wanted the article to "talk to" even the non-affiliated).

559.


Yakov's Journey
Part 1

When Yakov reached a half a year clean recently, he posted about his journey to recovery and Teshuvah. I would like to share it with everyone because it's very inspiring and there is so much we can all learn from it.

Today we will address the first part of Yakov's post, where he discusses the initial stage of his recovery. Tomorrow we will see how he took his recovery to the next level through a detailed process of "Teshuvah".

Yakov wrote:


Each person is unique. And each person finds precisely what works for them. We do not all share the exact same struggle. Each person has different needs in avodas Hashem. Each person deals with recovery in a slightly different fashion. But what makes us a wonderful family is that we recognize the unique facets of each individual. We try to encourage and inspire, as it fits with the receiver. My inspiration for growth came from this site and all its holy people. 

What we have built on this site and forum is a very unique social network. The amount of emotions and concern for one another on a daily basis is unmatched. This is our success. As I wrote in my ode, "when there is achdus, there is no yetzer hara". People can come here at all times of the day for chizuk. People can post their feelings without having to wait their turn. There is always a listening ear. There is always a concerned spirit. There is always comfort.

The real Teshuvah process only began for me about 5 weeks / 2 months into sobriety. I did not use the ideas of teshuvah to make me sober (and I don't believe that they should be). It was only after I felt that I had maintained my sobriety for a period of time and I felt an honest feeling to grow, that I felt ready to address the steps of teshuvah as presented by the Rabeinu Yona and the Rishonim. The word charata did not enter my dictionary until this point started. I only knew words like sobriety, protection, Hashem, etc.. I focused on 12 steps, Tehillim, constant prayer (and I mean constant), and making small changes to my daily routine that made a big difference. And I was the first pioneer on the forum to take on the 12 steps by myself (I had no clue that it was intended for groups, honestly).

Also, I used the partner/accountability system set up on GYE to help me learn about myself by getting in touch with another struggler like me. I corresponded with him for two and half months. We spoke about a lot of things and clarified issues. (I recently put our correspondences in a Word doc, and it came to 28 pages).

Here are a few good quotes regarding basic tenets of the 12 steps that I wrote to my partner back in Feb:

"When it comes to self control, we need to work on two contradictory things. First we need to believe that we are in control of our actions. We make a strong decision that we will not do this anymore and stop it. This comes after we realize we can control ourselves... The other thing, is to realize that in fact we completely lack control and only Hashem can help us. We realize that only Hashem can give us the control that we need. To do this, means to constantly daven to Hashem to protect us from our own self-control. We need to internalize Hashem's control over the world and us..."
[Feb 20]

"The difference this time, is that I focus not only on abstinence but on building a constant relationship with Hashem. The 12 steps helped me with that. I constantly daven to Hashem, no matter what situation I am in. I could be walking in the street, shopping, walking around my home, etc. I continue to talk to Him. I say things like 'please help me not have any urges, and if I do, give me the strength to surrender it to you". "Help me come close to you". "Please guide me to make the right decisions".
[Feb 21]

 

"...I began for the first time expressing the basic tenets of the 12-steps, which is that we are POWERLESS to lust. I did not realize it at the time, but that is what it was. I always said Tehillim, but I never davened in my own words for help as if I could not do it without Hashem. When I discovered this and began to use it, it was so powerful."
[Feb 22]

 

"What happens when the Yetzer Hara strikes? Firstly, remember, you really are POWERLESS to lust."
[Feb 22]

 

"So I continue to keep my head high as I rely on Hashem that as long as I continue to try to beseech him and do my best at maintaining and building a long-lasting relationship with him, He will protect me from all enemies, from both within and without".
[Feb 27]

 

Anyway, for the first time in my life I was able to wake up in the morning and say Modeh Ani with kavanah. I thanked Hashem for real for giving me life back. I thanked him for giving me another day to live and become a greater person. For the first time in my life, I began to really appreciate life, with all its hardships and setbacks. All the knowledge that I had amassed over the many long years of struggling came rushing down to me with clear understanding. I was finally able to internalize all my knowledge and bring it to my heart, as the baalei mussar tell us. 

I spent the first two months of sobriety in intense davening to Hashem to help me. I set aside time each day for tehillim (and continue to do so) as I connected myself. [As an aside, if I am not mistaken, this has been the approach of the early AA's as well. They would encourage recovering addicts that after making a definitive decision to remove themselves from alcohol, the needed to spend time each day involved in religious work to connect themselves to G-d]. I NEVER EVER wanted to go back to that dark world again. I had fallen in the past and I knew it could happen again. I begged Hashem day and night for eternal protection. I did everything in my means to help myself. I understood in a very real way that help from Hashem will only come if I put in all my efforts. And all my efforts were exerted. The Rabeinu Yona tells us that a person who really wants, tries. He explains that that is what bechira is all about. It is about putting in all your efforts as you express your true desire. If you want but do not do, then you do not really want. You only want to want.

I needed to rebuild my life from the start. I began implementing small changes that made a huge difference to my day. I understood that without proper kavanah in Shemah, modeh ani and krias shema al ha'Mitah, I would never gain the proper perspective on life that I needed. I understood that without proper perspective on love and intimacy, I would never survive. I took what I always knew to be true and began internalizing it. I began writing loving letters to my wife, as I expressed my emotions in a very open way. I became more careful with inyanei kedusha. This included sleeping in the right direction and stopping to invite the yetzer hara into my life. I became extremely more cautious in other areas as well, but I won't elaborate.

One great zechus that Hashem gave me, was that precisely during my beginning days of sobriety, my wife and I had to remain abstinent due to uncontrollable circumstances. My wife was sick for an extended period of time. While it was initially frustrating, I began to realize how much my perspectives on life and family had not been internalized, and how selfish I had become. Also, during this time, my wife was unable to handle most of the daily chores. I had to help out much more, as well as offer proper comfort to her. This meant learning to become sympathetic and expressing love and concern. I began to understand that Love was not about romance but about caring. It was about building an eternal bond of oneness with another, which leads to a natural sense of concern and care. It is about giving and not getting. And the more I gave, the greater I felt. I transformed myself from selfishness to selflessness. I was finally able to express my love to my wife for real. Of course I always knew this. But for the first time, I began living it.

In short; in the past, this long period of separation would often lead to addiction and depression. This time it lead me to sobriety and rejuvenation.

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Testimonial of the Day

Yakov posted this comment on Aish.com's recent article about porn addiction, which mentions our network.

 

Saved by Rav Noach zt"l and guardyoureyes.org

This article brings great joy to me, and I will tell you why. My first exposure to porn came at age 10. My addictive behavior picked up speed at age 12. When I was 16, I had a spiritual awakening and made a conscious decision to stop. However, despite all my efforts, my addiction grew and grew as it threatened my job, my family and ate away my spirituality. At the beginning of Feb '09, I was introduced to the guardyoureyes.org website. I still could not get courage to pick myself up and beat my addiction. However, a few days later, Rav Noach Weinberg zt"l (Rosh Yeshiva of Aish) passed away. I attended his funeral and something magical happened that day, as I listened to all the eulogies. All of a sudden I felt a sense of strength. I felt a sense of meaning. I felt a sense of believing in myself that I could do what G-d wants me to do. For the first time in a long time, I felt that I could rid myself of this addiction if I only wanted to and asked Hashem for help. That day marks my first day of sobriety. From that day forward, I remained clean of this destructive behavior as I learned to rebuild my life using the tools on the guardyoureyes.org website. The story in this article and the real person in it, were one of the major contributors to my success. I thank G-d for bringing me to the right place for recovery and for helping me recover. Thank you Rav Noach zt"l. With tears, your new talmid, Yaakov

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Saying of the Day
By "7Up"

Elul is a 'get out of jail' monopoly card. And with GYE behind you, the possibilities are endless!

560.


Yakov's Journey
Part 2

I would like to take this opportunity to wish Yakov a big Mazal Tov on the birth of his son last night! May he be zoche to raise him Le'Torah Le'Chupah u'lemasim Tovim, and may Hashem save his son from the difficult tests of our generation. And while on the subject, let me ALSO wish a big Mazal Tov to "Efshar Lisaken" on the birth of his son last night as well. Efshar reached 90 days just last week (see Chizuk e-mail 553 on this page).

Looks like it's a big day for GYE!


Today is Yom-Kippur Katan, erev Rosh Chodesh Elul. Many people fast on this day, and special teffilos of repentance and Vidui are recited. What better time could there be to bring the second part of Yakov's post (yesterday we brought the first part), where he describes how he took his recovery to a whole new level through a detailed process of Teshuvah.

Yakov wrote:


For me, the after-shock of recovery was far too massive to just sit back idly. My thirst for real Teshuvah was a moral responsibility that I felt. I needed to connect to my spirit in a very real way. I needed to do something. I was desperate to maintain sobriety. I let my soul lead the way. My neshama knew exactly what it needed. My hurting soul needed comfort and relief in a time of destruction. My soul was was so happy to finally be allowed into my life and to finally shine. When I felt pain about my past, I also felt joy. I understood that I was removing the outer layers that cover the spirit. I was getting in touch with myself for the first time in a long while. I was finally able to cry the way I cried when I was a youth, beginning my battle 15 years ago. This was a sign that I was not 'cut-off'. 

My need for proper teshuvah was from my inner spirit telling me to do the ratzon Hashem. My need for teshuvah was not a 'method' to remove myself from sin. B"H, I was beyond that. The day I decided 'No More', it melted away like ice in the hot sun. That part was easy. When you truly want it, it is easy. AND I WANTED OUT. NO MORE.

But I still needed to do teshuvah. I needed kapara for the past and tahara for the future. This has nothing to do methodology of recovery [which we discussed yesterday]. Hashem sent his special messengers down to this earth to guide us, like Rabbeinu Yona. I needed to understand the effects of my past and ask for proper forgiveness. I knew that this does not come to those who just want it. It comes after hard work of internalizing the truth of the world. One must learn to understand. I have done this many times in the past, but I knew this time would be different.  

For the first time in my life, I began to understand what Charata (regret) really meant. I understood how charata has much more to do with internalizing than knowing. Charata is a feeling of astonishment and shock. The new person known as a baal teshuva cannot believe what the old person did. This comes only through a creating a new person; a person that has internalized how terrible his acts were. A person that internalizes how great Hashem  is. With this, he becomes shocked and stands in disbelief as he realizes how he has rebelled, destroyed himself, acted worse than the animals, etc. But this is an avodah.       

I learned to understand aziva hachet (leaving sin), and I did everything in my capability to not allow lustful triggers to enter my day, following the guidelines of halacha, as opposed to idealistic thinking. (See the "Quote of the Day" below, which discusses this same idea!)

I understood and felt "yagon" (sadness / pain at having been lost) as my neshama unleashed itself, and it cried days on end. (You can read more about yagon on this post from April).

And I began internalizing daaga (worry) from the yetzer hara, as I strengthened my fences. I became more careful where I walked and with whom I spoke. I davened for protection with greater conviction, as even the most remote possibility for sin was scary to me. I was encouraged to increase my awareness of Hashem with each passing day. I should never settle for yesterday's accomplishments.

And as I feared retribution, I davened for salvation. I took each minor mishap in my life as another brick of atonement. I laughed as I was pained, realizing it is all a kaparah.   

And the growth goes on as we move to hachna'a (humilty) and then to sheviras hataavos (breaking the desires), and onwards. 

And I also knew that last year, when I went six months clean and then fell, one of my biggest mistakes was not doing any vidui until Yom Kippur. I am so ashamed of myself for this. (I had been scared to say vidui only to be proven a hypocrite later on).  

I needed to get close to Hashem (again). I felt so distant from Him. It was me that had created that barrier, and I would have to work to remove it. I knew that I had gotten myself into these things, and I needed to get myself out of it. I had made many wrong decisions in my life, and it was in my hand - NOW - to change. I needed to stop relying on others for chizuk alone, and I realized the matter is in my hands to fix. I needed to stop thinking that 'Eventually I will stop, the problem will just go away on its own.'  As I removed myself from sin, I begged Hashem day and night to let me back. He allowed me to come to his throne of glory for a period of time (approx. 5 weeks) as I expressed all my inner emotions directly to Him. Those were the most precious days of my life.

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Quote of the Day
Someone posted this comment on Aish.com's recent article about porn addiction which mentions our network.

I also struggled with this, coming from a secular background where it would have been abnormal not to get involved with such things, but now I'm living in a world of Torah and truth. At first, even while being otherwise Torah-observant, I would find excuses that would allow me to look at seductive photos, and that would unfortunately lead me to more overtly sexual images. I've been free from this for quite some time, and (more importantly) have navigated away from tempting pages and situations very often without fail. This is all the more interesting since my work very often involves dealing within different worlds of the internet. The solution for me was quite simple - study the halacha. Torah study does many profound things for psychology and self-control, and on the practical level, it functions as a very powerful, simple reminder for how to live. The halacha for this is quite simple - there is nothing totally prohibited about looking at nudity; for example, a medical student is allowed under many circumstances to examine a nude picture of the opposite sex. However, it is totally, 100% prohibited to "go after your eyes and heart"; in other words, *anything* which turns you on in a negative way - that will possibly lead you to a destructive path (e.g. masturbation, etc.), is prohibited from looking at. The reason the medical student can do what they do is that their mind is focused on something non-sexual. If their mind starts to slip, they wouldn't be permitted to look at it either. Now - when I find myself getting turned on from any image (whether intended to be sexual or not), I remember the halacha of "not to go after your eyes and heart" and I click away from it, thank G-d. Not because I just think it's "bad" (which, in the slippery-slope case of seductive pictures might not be enough of a deterrent), but because I have a specific understanding of the halacha, and I try to keep it, just like kashrut and Shabbat.

561.


$90 for 90 Days

"Kedusha", who reached 90 days this week (see Chizuk e-mail #558 on this page), came up with an ingenious plan to help others reach 90 days too - while helping GYE at the same time! He writes as follows:

I would like to suggest the following idea, and I hope others will follow suit. I would like to, b'li neder, help out one member of the GYE Chevra (who has been unable to achieve 90 days within the past 12 months), and GYE in general, by pledging to donate $90 to GYE if the selected member makes it to 90 days. This is a unique opportunity to give a GYE member a special incentive to make it to 90 days, while helping out GYE at the same time.

Those who are interested in taking up the challenge should send an e-mail with the following information:

1) How many days you've been clean (at least 3, but no more than 30), 

2) A brief summary of your recent status (successes and failures), 

3) Whether you have an Internet filter without access to the password, 

4) Your pledge to post honest reports of your status at least twice weekly on "Wall of Honor" section of the forum.

5) Your game plan for making it to 90 days without falling (you need one - otherwise, GYE stands to lose out on the $90!).

Hopefully we will get more than one offer to take up this challenge. I will choose one of them and let "Kedusha" know who he is sponsoring (anonymous nickname only of-course). And I hope we will also get others like Kedusha, who want to sponsor a member (or more than one). Please send us an e-mail if you are willing to sponsor someone's 90-Day Journey by pledging $90 for 90 days.

In the merit of motivating another person, you will surely see siyata di'shmaya in your own struggle as well. And what more beautiful way can there be to enter Elul than to encourage another Jew to purify himself - at the same time as helping GYE continue to inspire hundreds of others!

Le'taher eschem mikol chatoseichem... Lifnei Hashem Ti'Taharu!

 

Start your 90 day journey TODAY; Rosh Chodesh Elul.
Sign up for the 90-Day chart over here.

 

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The Battle-Cry
By Uri (headed back to Yeshiva for Elul Z'man)

In this week's Parsha it is written:

To my beautiful most holy warriors:

This is it.
We are nearing the end.
The last stretch.
We have all spent the last bit preparing and purifying ourselves for this moment.
We have been strengthening our connection with our loving Father in Heaven.
The world hangs in balance as we speak, my friends.
The yetzer hara and the satan have been slowly taking hold of much of the world we live in.
They have been poisoning minds and taking down people, left and right.
Hashem has therefore decided that a new group must be formed.
This group is trained by the holiest men and consists of some of the world's holiest and most fiery souls.
This unit I speak of is elite unlike any we have seen in the longest of time.
It's a group fueled and inspired by love and courage.
This unit of the most elite warriors is of course: GYE.

Until now, we have been growing with each other, fighting powerful, relentless and persistent battles. Now that the summer's over, it is time to go out there and fight our King's war.

Some of us will be heading back to the Batei Midrashim, our mini Beis Hamikdash.
And though we might think that our voices will only be heard nearby, there is a microphone by our shtenders. And this microphone plays our sweet music all over Hashem's beautiful world.
The trees in the Amazon forest will dance with love and admiration for Hashem and his warriors.
The birds above the mountains of Switzerland will be doing flips in the air when they hear the sweet sounds of Torah that are shaking and reverberating throughout the world.
And in Eretz Yisrael, the beautiful magic of the country will soar to levels words can't describe.

We are Hashem's most elite unit!!
We are Hashem's pride and joy!!
Our Yeshiva buildings are fortresses of kedusha!!
Our arguments in learning put a smile on our Father's face!!
Our tefillos go straight up to the highest places!!
If only we knew, my friends.
If only we really knew...

For those of us who are finishing vacation and heading back to the business world, things can be much tougher.
You cannot always be in the fortress.
But Hashem is walking alongside you through your office.
He is sitting next to you on the subway and bus.
He is constantly giving you the warmest of hugs.
He is sending you out for the simplest of reasons: The kedusha and love of G-d you all have attained here is tangible. It is obvious. It is clear. And it is contagious.

Fight His battle!! We have faith in you. And more importantly, so does He.
He would not send you out unless He knew you would succeed.

And the same goes for those heading to university or college.
And for those who teach, and for those who spend the day at home with the kids.

Hashem brought us here. He collected us all, from the four corners of the earth to bring us together to be His special battalion.
And it is that way for a reason.
Our battle is affecting every part of the world!

 

My dear friends,
Do you know who we are?
Do you know who we are??!!
DO YOU KNOW WHO WE ARE???!!!!!!!!!!!

WE ARE
G - Y - E
And we are ready for action!

 

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Attitude Tip of the Day
By "Kanesher"

Focusing on the Here & Now

I read the translation of "The first day of the of the rest of my life" and it is absolutely beautiful. The ideas of how the Yetzer Hara is fueled by frustration, lack, and by trying to reach the stars in a single leap... spoke to me deeply.

I also read "The Big Book" over shabbos - it's fascinating. And the underlying yesod, which is letting of the grandiose plans and focusing on the here and the now in the form of "What does Hashem Want?" is beautiful and freeing. It removes the pressure and the tenseness, and it opens us up to true and natural avodah - which lets us finally achieve our goals. The "lack" is gone - or better yet - "filled". 

Here's a great quote from "Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance" which I can't resist posting:

"... Phaedrus wrote a letter about a pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain... in the company of a holy man and his adherents. But he never reached the mountain. After the third day he gave up, exhausted, and the pilgrimage went on without him. He said he had the physical strength but physical strength wasn't enough. He had the intellectual motivation but that wasn't enough either. He didn't think he had been arrogant but thought he was undertaking the pilgrimage to broaden his experience, to gain understanding for himself. He was trying to use the mountain for his own purposes and the pilgrimage too. He regarded himself as the fixed entity not the pilgrimage of the mountain, and thus wasn't really ready for it. He speculated that the other pilgrims, the ones who reached the mountain , probably sensed the holiness of the mountain so intensely that each footstep was an act of devotion, an act of submission to this holiness. The holiness of the mountain infused into their own spirits enabled them to endure far more than anything he, with his greater physical strength, could take.

To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kinds of climbers place one foot in front of the other. Both breath in and out at the same rate. Both stop when tired. Both go forward when rested. But what a difference! The ego-climber is like an instrument that's out of adjustment. He puts his foot down an instant too soon or too late. He's likely to miss a beautiful passage of sunlight through the trees. He goes on when the sloppiness of his step shows he's tired. He rests at odd times. He looks up the trail trying to see what's ahead even when he knows what's ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He's here but he's not here. He rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be here. What he's looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn't want that because it is all around him. Every step is an effort, both physically and spiritual, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant".

And another great quote to this affect, from Reinhold Messner who climbed Mt. Everest solo without bottle oxygen:

"... So when I start to climb-especially when I'm on a big wall, whatever difficulties - I am so concentrated that there is nothing else existing; there's only a few meters of wall where I am hanging and climbing; and in this concentration, everything seems quite logical. There is no danger anymore. The danger is gone... But the concentration is absolute..."

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Quote of the Day
Someone posted this comment on Aish.com's recent article about porn addiction which mentions our network.


I am so thankful to Aish.com for this article. I have been in recovery for about a year and it has changed my life. My story was very similar to the writer's, but while I was in active addiction I thought I was all alone. I struggled for years trying to stop myself; crying every Yom Kippur and swearing "never again!", but I kept going back. The harder I tried the worse it got. I fell deeper and deeper into guilt and shame. I was a frum family man on the outside but a real addict in my "other life". For the addict, it is a physical, emotional, and spiritual disease, and all three must be healed in order to recover. Now that I am in recovery, I have a deeper and more profound relationship with HaShem and with everyone around me. There is hope.
 
I am a member of Sexaholics Anonymous and when I walked into my first meeting I was shocked to see it full of other frum people like me. It literally has saved my life. B"H I was "only" addicted to pornography, but others in the room were much worse off, and many started where I was and progressed to far worse places (adultery, prostitutes, drugs, ect). This is such a huge topic and can literally save thousands of frum people's lives and marriages. I would be happy to speak with anyone who is struggling. I remember years before I found help I would e-mail rabbis I found online for help because I was too ashamed to speak with someone face to face. I'm sure you have and definitely will receive many emails of people looking for help. If I can be of any help, please let me know: yankysa@gmail.com. What a way to enter Elul. Thank you again.

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Some Pep Talk from Mr. B to a Bochur on the Forum
(If you see capital letters on the forum you can be sure it's Mr.B)

 

LISTEN SLOW AND HARD MY FRIEND,
THE YETZER HARA IS A TRICKSTER.
HE DOES NOT "NEED" YOU TO TRANSGRESS ANY SINS,
HE WINS THE WAR BY SIMPLY ENGAGING YOU IN THE "SHAKLA VITARYA".
I FEEL BAD SOUNDING LIKE AN OLDER GUY SAYING, "BEEN THERE DONE THAT"
(I HATED WHEN MY RABBEIM TOLD IT TO ME)
BUT DON'T WAIT TO BE MY AGE TO GIVE IT UP
IF YOU THINK IT IS HARD NOW...
WAIT... TZADIKKLE... OY..THE SHTICK HE'LL PLAY.. OY THE NISYONOS..
THE YETZER HARA IS SO CREATIVE!
BTW TZADDIK, YOU WILL NEVER OUTSMART HIM.
DO NOT TRY, RATHER PLAY A DIFFERENT GAME.
YOU CAN NOT WIN THE YETZER HARA, YOU NEED TO AVOID HIM.
YES IT IS HARD. YES, EVERYONE IS DOING IT. YES, YOU WILL HAVE NEFILLOS.
BUT REMEMBER, THESE ARE EXCUSES NOT REASONS.
I WILL NOT JUDGE YOU. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU NEED THE WEB, AND IT COULD EVEN BE CURIOSITY AND BOREDOM - THAT IS NORMAL.

BUT MY GOOD FRIEND, I AM AN UPSTANDING FIGURE IN MY KEHILLA
A GABBAI, A MAGGID SHIUR, A BAAL PARNASSA,
AND I HAVE A WONDERFUL FAMILY.
TZADDIK, I ALMOST LOST IT ALL TO YOUTUBE.
PLEASE! YOU ARE SO CLOSE TO THE BEST YEARS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF YOUR LIFE,
YOU WILL ONLY GAIN BY STAYING CLEAN!

562.

 

Update on the "$90 - 90 Day" Motivational Strategy
By "Kedusha"
(See Chizuk e-mail #561 on
this page for the terms)


We already have pledges to sponsor 9 people's 90-day journeys, but we don't have enough offers from sponsees. If you are ready to take on the 90 day challenge and earn $90 for GYE, send us an e-mail today - Rosh Chodesh Elul!

As "Kedusha" wrote yesterday on the forum:

What an opportunity, quite possibly a one-time opportunity, to have a special incentive to make it to 90 days! Who among you is motivated to help themselves have the most meaningful Elul in years, followed by Yamim Noraim of sincere Teshuva (preceded by true Azivas Hacheit), followed by a Sukkos/Shemini Atzeres/Simchas Torah of pure spiritual Simcha, after which you will be more than halfway to 90 days?  And who knows how many suffering Yidden will be helped if GYE has the wherewithal to reach out to them with the funds to advertise? Here's your chance to help yourselves and help others! 

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Parsha Thought of the Day
By "Cleareyes613"
(Cleareyes pledged to sponsor FIVE guys for $90/90 Days!)

 

I was reading this week's parsha and the following vort came to me:


Shoftim - Perek 18 Pasuk 9: "When you come to the land that Hashem your G-d, gives you, you shall not learn to act according to the abominations of those nations". Says Rashi - the pasuk does not say "you shall not act", but rather "you shall not learn to act..." Meaning, understand how destructive their acts are and instruct your children to stay away from such and such an act, for this is a ritual of the nations.

Rashi is clearly learning that when we and our children are in clear and present danger from 'abominations', we must be active and educate. We can't turn a blind eye, but must learn of the dangers and warn regarding them! This Rashi is clear proof of the need to warn our generation of the dangers of the internet, and not like those who say better not to talk about it.


The next pasuk continues: "There shall not be found among you one who causes his son or daughter to pass through fire.."

Can there be anything more dangerous than placing our children in a room alone with an unfiltered internet!! Surely they will get burned!!!


(Continuing the pasuk) "me'onain..." What is a me'onain? Rashi brings down the Sages who say 'these are illusionists'.

Rabosai, is there a greater illusion in our days that the abomination we call p*rn!!!! What we so desire and feel we can't live without in one moment, (and which can ultimately lead us to destroy ourselves, our jobs and even our families), after the act is finished, POOF - like a cloud of smoke the desire is gone! Hey, you have just been tricked by the greatest illusionist of our time; p*rn!


Ok, so we need to educate ourselves on the dangers of this great abomination and warn others. But the illusion is so great, how can we not be drawn towards it?

The answer is given to us in Pasuk 13: "You shall be wholehearted with Hashem, your G-d." Rashi explains: 'Walk with Him with wholeheartedness. Look ahead to Him and do not delve into the future. But rather whatever comes upon you accept with wholeheartedness, and then you will be with Him and of his portion.'

Explanation:

'Walk with Him' - this can not be done alone. You need to give yourself and the battle over to Him.

'Wholeheartedness' - the Torah does not say 'be holy', but Tamim, "be complete", telling us of the need to create a strong foundation to build on.

'Look ahead to Him' - don't try running away from the abomination, but rather run towards Hashem!

'And do not delve into the future' - don't tell yourself "its not possible for me to give this up forever". For the future is in the hands of Hashem.

'but rather whatever comes upon' - we need to live in the present.

'Accept with Wholeheartedness' - and take one day (or even an hour) at a time.

'And then you will be with Him and of His portion'.


Good Shabbos and good Chodesh to everyone! May we be zoche to be with Him and of His portion (i.e: part of the Holy GYE army)


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Q & A of the Day
"Eden" wrote a poem & asks a question:

Once I indulge in my vice, I transform. 
  I become cold & unresponsive
Completely dependent on continued escapism. 

  It becomes as necessary as food.
  I think of nothing but escaping.
  People, my goals, my ideals, G-d, they all fade away.   
  My stimulation, my escapism, 
      I make it my g-d, as I submit to my lust completely. 
  I become an ardent worshiper of the stimulus.
  Once I indulge in my vice.


My brother recommends specifically the support and raw honesty of the face to face meetings and urges me to look up local SLAA meetings or SA meetings, as that was what lead him to sobriety for his addictions (alcohol and drugs). I am nervous though, is this really the best place to go for a lust and escapist addiction?

Dov Replies on the forum:

Dear Eden, Thanks for your deep and heartfelt posts. My experience was that I needed the face-to-face meetings for the reason your brother seems to be implying: There is a unhealthy "cushion" that "virtuality" - even by phone - provided me with.

Many addicts tell the same story. They seem to get a jump-start from getting caught (some do not need it at all, though.) I believe that by inviting (in their cases unintentionally!!) an objective, other, real person into my little world, brings the real me face-to-face with the fake me much more effectively than I ever could on my own. And the two of them need to be forced into the same room in some way, you know.

I don't know how old you are, but this idea reminds me of the two captain Kirks (or the two Dr Whos) from different time dimensions - if they ever met face to face, the universe would rip apart! Anyway, getting caught, or inviting other - safe - people into our world, usually rips that wacky universe apart. And that's good. It seems to be necessary for many of us. Those who really do need it can get it the easy way (joining groups), or the hard way (getting caught)...

Anyhoo, the SA White Book sounds pretty much up your alley (though I now gain more from the big book of AA, myself), and know nothing about SLAA or any other group out there. I'm straight SA, I guess.

Love and happy Chodesh to you and yours, reb Eden!
Dov

P.S. Incidentally, getting caught helped me, but it wasn't until about a year later that I got the help I really needed when I started going to meetings out of my own desperation and surrender. It wasn't pretty, but it worked and is working so far with Hashem's help. (Editor: 11.5 years!)

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Link of the Day
By Mr. B (Bardichev)



"GROW TO LIVE AND LIVE TO GROW"

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Quotable of the Day

ELUL RECALL NOTICE

Posted by "7Up"

Regardless of make or year, all units known as "human beings" are being recalled by the Manufacturer. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named "Adam" and "Eve" resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect is technically termed, "Serious Internal Non-morality," but more commonly known as "SIN."

Some of the symptoms of the SIN defect:
[a] Loss of direction
[b] Lack of peace and joy
[c] Depression
[d] Foul vocal emissions
[e] Selfishness
[f] Ingratitude
[g] Fearfulness
[h] Rebellion
[i] Jealousy

The Manufacturer is providing factory authorized repair service free of charge to correct the SIN defect.

The Repair Technician, Hashem, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. To repeat, there is no fee required.

The number to call in for repair in all areas is: PRAYER.

Once connected, please upload the burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Hashem, into the heart component of the human unit. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Hashem will replace it with:

[a] Love
[b] Joy
[c] Peace
[d] Kindness
[e] Goodness
[f] Faithfulness
[g] Gentleness
[h] Patience
[I] Self-control

Please see the operating manual, TORAH, for further details on the use of these fixes. As an added upgrade, the Manufacturer has made available to all repaired units a facility enabling direct monitoring and assistance from the resident Maintenance Technician, Hashem. Repaired units need only make Him welcome and He will take up residence on the premises.

WARNING: Continuing to operate a human being unit without corrections voids the Manufacturer's warranty, exposes the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list, and will ultimately result in the human unit being incinerated.

Thank you for your immediate attention.

Please assist by notifying others of this important recall notice.


Have an uplifting Chodesh Elul!

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Testimonial of the Day
By "Chasdei Avos"

Mazal Tov on one year clean!

Chasdei wrote today on the forum:


I would like to thank Hashem, Guard and all the old-timers on the site for helping me reach, bezras Hashem Yisbarach, my 1 year anniversary. It's not a coincidence that I'm zoche to this on Rosh Chodesh Elul. Hashem should give each and every one of us the siayata dishmaya we all need in this uphill battle, and send us moshiach very very soon. THANK YOU ALL AGAIN!

When Chasdei first found our network he wrote:


WOW, do I have chills right now. I just read this forum from start to finish and to say it is giving me chizuk is a huge understatement. I am flying high emotionally. This is the best preparation for the Yomim Noraim, a time when all of us are trying extra hard to succeed. I am no prophet, but I can say with certainty that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is looking down at everyone on this site and kvelling with unbelievable simcha and nachas. All we ever try to do is the ratzon Hashem, and right now, right here, on this website, you guys are smashing the Samech-Mem (Satan) to pieces and spreading the glory of Hashem's kingdom in the world, which is precisely the point of Rosh Hashana. Thank you, and let this be the reason you are all written in the book of Bracha, simcha, Parnassa, and all good things.

6 Months later he wrote:


I am indebted to everyone here for all eternity, because bli ayin hora - with ezras Hashem always, I have been clean, almost as a whistle, since Rosh Chodesh Elul. Hashem should continue to give us all the strength we need.

Around Elul time I lost my job, and although I was not unhappy because I really didn't enjoy it that much, I got down and frustrated a lot. However, I spent a few hours each day writing on and reading this website. Since then, I feel like I have broken free (hopefully) from the menuval. I now see that I must kiss Hashem and hug Him a trillion times for giving me the opportunity to be unemployed so that I could spend time on this website. I davened for many years that I should overcome this particular Y"H, and now (as Hashem always does, we just don't always see it), Hashem answered my tefillos by taking away my job, so I could focus on this addiction (which I never realized was an addiction), and now I see the Yad Hashem.

563.

 

In Today's Issue

  • Shiur of the Day: "Elul - The New Environment"
  • Parable of the Day: "How does one attain JOY?"
  • Therapy Tip of the Day: CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Weekend of Self Discovery: "Seasons of Transformation"
  • Story of the day: "My Addiction Turned into a Blessing"
  • Q & A of the Day: "How does admitting powerlessness work?"
  • Testimonial of the Day: "A Change in the Undercurrent"

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Shiur of the Day
"Elul - The New Environment"

A powerful shiur by R' Bentzion Twersky
(Originally posted by Kutan)

 

Aaron writes about the Shiur:

 

On this page of the website (for example) there are tons of great tips to help us learn how to guard our eyes. These tips can - and do - work. But they still can take a lot out of us. There's a constant struggle, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose (even if you don't act out) and it's very draining. Instead, in this amazing shiur from R' Bentzion Twersky, he discusses how the long term answer is to address the root cause, which is; to change our character so that this is not something we want. And if we don't want it, we won't see it (he gives a mashal for this - listen to the shiur!). 

We can address the root cause by focusing on what we want instead (hopefully Torah and a connection to Hashem), and as we work on that we will slowly become that. It's a lofty goal, but in the long run it will put us in a different place entirely and all these strategies will become unnecessary. And lofty goals are achieved step by step, one day at a time. So start today!

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Parable of the Day
The Big Question: "How does one attain JOY?"
By:


(Bardichev)

Let me bring a Mashal from the Dubno Maggid:


Yankel the pauper was ecstatic.
The wealthiest man in town, Zelig, had invited him to his daughter's wedding.

Yankel was dreaming of all the sumptuous foods he will eat.
In his foolishness, he decided to fast for 3 days in order to "build up an appetite".
The day of the wedding arrived, but Yankel could not move - he was about to faint. His wife said, "you must eat now!" and she prepared him a "meal" of moldy bread and rotten vegetables, some onions and oil. Uchh.
Yankel comes to the wedding smelling from bad breath, his food coming up from his stomach.
The waiters serve the finest entrée.
Yankel says,
"uchh, it taste like mold".

"The soup tastes rotten".
"The steak tastes like old moldy onions".
The people around him finally say,
"YOU TASTE AND SMELL MOLDY AND ROTTEN!"
"THE FOOD HERE IS DELICIOUS!"


MY DEAREST FRIENDS,

TORAH & MITZVOS BRING A JEW TO THE GREATEST JOY POSSIBLE. SO WHY DON'T WE FEEL IT? Hmmm... Maybe we are filling up on Yankel the beggar's meal.

 

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Therapy Tip of the Day

CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
By "Net"
 

I've been seeing a very good therapist and learning more about myself. It seems that my problem is not necessarily about an addiction to porn itself, but rather, it's many things on the side that bring it out.

Certain situations that I put myself into really seem to trigger my problem. For example, if I had a day full of negative thoughts and thought distortions and then I'll find myself sitting by a computer in a library or some place private with a lot of work to do, I'll get overwhelmed by the work and I'll feel really tempted by the fact that the porn and the "escape" is so accessible... Eventually, whether after an hour or even just a couple of minutes, I'll slip up. It's almost inevitable, being that I'm in a bad mood, in a private place, with a computer in front of me and wanting an escape.

So there are a few things that I need to fix. I need to stop the negative thought cycle with CBT, so that it doesn't escalate. My therapist suggested keeping a thought diary so that I can pick up all the negative, subconscious thoughts and learn to combat them with CBT.

I also need to make sure not to put myself into vulnerable situations; like keeping away from the library computers at all costs, making sure I have no access to the internet when I'm by myself, etc...

And lastly, I need to find something else that is a way for me to "escape" and take my mind off negative thoughts, but that doesn't impact me in a negative way like p*rn or mast*n does (such as exercise).

My therapist helped me set up a chart for my "thought diary" so I can start to combat the distorted thoughts. I feel that if I fix these things, it will fix the problem from the root. It doesn't work for me to just say, "Ok, I'm gonna be clean, and that's it". There are reasons behind the way I act.

Here are the columns of my "Thought Diary Chart":

 
-Trigger-
-Thoughts-  
-Feelings and emotions-  
-Behavior -  
-Alternative thoughts-    
-Feelings and emotions -    
-What could I do differently this time or next time?- 

Yechidah Responds to Net on the forum:


I've read a lot on CBT in books written by David Burns. Look also for books by Martin Seligman and Aaron Beck. His 2 books "Feeling Good" and "When Panic attacks" are tremendous.

It pays for everyone to remember the thought 'distortions' and do those writing exercises.

There is also a book called EMETT written by Miriam Adahan that discusses this as well. A lot of her books are based on CBT.

CBT helps a lot. There's no hocus-pocus magic there. It's a lot of basic common sense and logic. And if you keep at it, a lot of the extremes of negative emotions are stabilized to a great degree, and the mind and heart become much clearer.

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Seasons of Transformation
A Weekend of Self-Discovery
This Coming Friday - Sunday

Duvid Chaim, who moderates one of our free 12-Step phone conferences, wrote as follows:

Rarely will you see me suggest any other Program besides the GYE Programs, but I have personal experience with the "Call of the Shofar" Organization - having attended one of their amazing life changing weekends.

Run by an Orthodox organization, those who live in the NY area and struggle with this addiction (which is often caused by underlying issues such as R.I.D: Restless Irritable and Discontent) would benefit immensely by attending this weekend.

 

Download a flyer with information about the weekend over here

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Story of the day
"My Addiction Turned into a Blessing"
A comment by DMK on Aish.com's recent article about porn addiction which mentions our network.

I got addicted in 7th grade, then, B"H, found God (or maybe God found me) by 11th grade. Living at home the whole time, I've never had therapy or a wife to work it out with, but I too labored under the delusion that once I got married, my problems would be solved and the addiction would go away. Also, like others commented here, I would swear every Yom Kippur to give it up and never could, till, with God's help, I have been clean 4 years now by taking it one day at a time, praying incessantly, studying a lot of Torah and eschewing, as best as a college student can, anything that might lead my thoughts back. It gets easier, but it never goes away. I know I'll never be fully healed. But I read this article on Aish and I think how horrible my life would be now if I had stayed on that path. And I look at the absolutely blessed, successful existence that I have now, where I am a blessing to my family and to my friends, and, I pray, to God as well, and I am using what I have been blessed with to accomplish many wonderful things I never would have even thought possible from a kid like me a few years ago. All I can say is Baruch HaShem, may all addictions turn out to be the blessing that mine has.

 
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Q & A of the Day
How does admitting powerlessness work?

Dave comments on Chizuk e-mail #551; Dov's Yesodos:
 

I am new on this website. I have now close to 9 months of sobriety and I am very grateful to Hashem for this. It has given me an unbelievable sense of living guilt-free and normal. Until I started the road of recovery, I always felt like a fake, as if I were living a double-life. The SA program has brought me so much happiness and serenity. Dov's Yesod is something I always felt was peculiar. Why is it that when I try to fight the urge (in the past), I ultimately end up falling on my face? But when I just say "Hey! I am powerless" then it ends up "OK"? My sponsor tells me the same thing all the time so I know it works, but I really don't understand the mechanics of it. Can someone explain this to me? Thanks.

 
"Someone" tries to reply:

I may not be the best person to answer this question, but I'll give it a shot anyway. When you fight the urge, what do you do? You secretly (subconsciously) tell yourself, "I am strong enough, I can do it, I do not need HaShem"... and fall. Because that is arrogance and something HaShem has a deep disregard for, I think. Why else does it say in the Torah "Let US make Man"? The Supreme Being, the essence of everything, is talking to the angels about creating Man. So if He was humble, how MUCH MORE so do we HAVE to be humble?

When you ask HaShem for help (or say that you are powerless), you are admitting that you are not that iron-willed superman. You are HUMBLY asking for help. You are truly relying on HaShem to help you, bringing you much closer to Him. And ultimately, that is what he gave us the struggles for in the first place, I think.


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Testimonial of the Day
"A Change in the Undercurrent"
By "Eye.nonymous"

 

I tend to be more logical than emotional, Litvish rather than Chasidish. I'm usually very skeptical about these messages I see often on the forum such as, "WOW, I've been clean now for a whole week and I feel like a different person! I've got so much kavannah in davening, and so much simcha all the time!"

So, I must report that I have now reached 16 clean days. I've been clean before for 16 clean days, but never while I was consciously trying to get rid of lust. And I think someone posted here, "One fall during recovery is worth more than a clean day while you're not trying to recover."

I can't say I'm jumping for joy all day long, and I can't say I feel like I'm on the moon when I'm davening. But I am starting to sense this subtle undercurrent of simcha, which I have never felt before. And I think it is a simcha that can spill into all aspects of life. I feel a bit different towards my children, towards my wife, and even towards davening. No doubt, it is due to my efforts in trying to break free of lust.

Throughout these weeks I have been telling myself over and over again, "Watch out now! Be careful not to lust! Don't lust!"

I was surprised that, even with my wife, the same message popped into my head, "don't lust!" I realize now much more than ever before, I was thinking of marital relations as the kosher outlet for lust. But now, I sense that it is really supposed to be something entirely different.

564.

 

In Today's Issue

  • A Letter to the Rabbanim: Build up your merits for Rosh Hashana!
  • Q & A of the Day: "Do we have free choice or not?"
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "Jumping Back on the Horse"
  • Testimonial of the Day: "I Had to Smile"
  • Jewish Spiritual Tip of the Day: "Using Vows"
  • 90-Day Game Plan: Three Warriors Describe Their Plan
  • Torah Thought of the Day: "Choose - Today!"

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A Letter to the Rabbanim


Be a catalyst in saving tens or even hundreds of Yidden. We strongly encourage everyone to check out this example letter that "Kedusha" wrote, and to follow his example by sending out similar (anonymous) letters to the Rabbanim of your communities. Imagine the merits you'll have this coming Rosh Hashana!


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Q & A of the Day
Do we have free choice or not?

"Snibril" asks on the forum:

Chazal say that "everything is in the hands of heaven besides for the fear of Heaven". How does this fit in with the idea that we should just give over the fight to Hashem? Doesn't "free-choice" mean that Hashem gives the fight over to us?
 
Battleworn replies:

Hi Snibril! You asked a question that really requires a whole discussion, but for now let me try to answer in short. 

1) Our free choice is only in our "ratzon - desire". We have free-will to get pulled after the desires of our body and make that our ratzon; or we can get pulled after our soul and our wisdom and make that our ratzon. "Hishtadlus" (practical efforts) are part of this - because if we truly want something we will act towards it. We need to put our ratzon into action to make it real. But whether we succeed or not is only in the Hands of Hashem.

2) We often have free-choice to stay out of a situation, but once we get ourselves into the situation already, we may not have free-choice any more.

3) It goes without saying that every person's free-choice is only within certain limits, depending on his level. For example, if someone never learned a word of Torah in his life and has always been wasting his time on nothingness, he obviously doesn't have free-choice to not be mevatel Torah at all. Of course, with time he can get there, but right now there's nothing to talk about. The same applies to a lust addict. In fact, the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says explicitly that once someone got used to sinning in this area, he can't stop al pi derech hateva (i.e. by using natural means), rather only by using the power of Hashem (see this amazing peice from the Ohr Hachayim over here). When we have the wisdom to realize that the lust is killing us and we run to Hashem to save us, then He makes a miracle for us and saves us from the addiction.

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Attitude Tip of the Day

Jumping Back on the Horse
By "Will"

As soon as you get a bit too cocky and think "Hey, I'm doing it!", Hashem gives you a fatherly pat on the back with a serious nisayon and says, "Chill". That's what happened to me today... I was doing great with the few errands I had to run, in a semi crowded Israeli mall, keeping my head down and looking away immediately upon inappropriateness... I was thinking, "Yetzer Hara, bow down to your king." Then, for reasons I cannot elaborate on, I was forced to go to the airport and surprise an arriving friend. Surprising at the airport means waiting at the arrival hall and watching every single person that comes out of customs. I was doing well for a while... keeping my eyes in check. But after 45 minutes of this... my eyes became a bit "loose". I looked twice at a few women. Very upsetting. I basically ate treif a few times while I was casually waiting at the airport! But sometimes, says R' Tzadok, Hashem gives a person a nisayon that he cannot handle just to see how he recovers. Does he get depressed when he falls, staying on the ground and thinking "this is impossible"? Or does he jump right back onto the horse? Baruch Hashem, He has given me the strength to continue with this struggle right where I left off.

 

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Testimonial of the Day
I Had to Smile!
By "lamed vavnik" on the Forum


I am feeling pretty low right now. I'm going through a hard time in my life financially, and I'm in the middle of switching jobs from one that I liked to one I don't know anything about. My future is totally unknown and I'm scared. But I just want to post that this is the first time that I haven't tried to escape by acting out.

I needed to get my mind off of my troubles, so I opened up my old chizuk e-mails that I haven't read yet. And I'm posting here on the forum. I also checked my progress on the chart and I just had to smile: 20 days! I don't know if I've ever done that in my life; for sure not with this good of an attitude.

I hope that list of virtues for shmiras habris that was sent out in the daily shmiras ainayim e-mails (see #204 - 207 on this page) are true, because I sure need some extra help to secure a job and a house now. But in spite of all these worries, I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment in that I am aware that this is a time of weakness for me and I must be extra careful from the yetzer hara and not let him sneak in!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jewish Spiritual Tip of the Day

Using Vows


Making Nedarim (vows) can be a very powerful tool in this struggle, and Chazal indeed encourage Nedarim for these type of tests. However, vows must be made very carefully and only for short periods of time (at first) to assure that they can be kept under all circumstances. See
this page and this page of our site for advice on how to make vows safely and effectively to help in this struggle.


A Bochur, who had been clean for many months, recently wrote:


I had a fall recently, and afterwards I gave some thought to my general direction. I realized that although I feel that I've pretty much broken the HABIT, I need a stronger commitment to keep myself strong when I get that rare POWERFUL urge that seems irresistible. So right then, I made a neder (which I knew I could keep) not to allow ANY lust for 2 weeks. That means visiting any site with any lustful intent, or even allowing any lustful thoughts to remain in my mind at any time. (I vowed that if I allow any lustful thoughts to linger, I will do 30 push ups). It really seems to be helping! On only a couple of occasions unwelcome thoughts have come to me, but because I made a neder, they cannot stay, and just like on a fast day I have no problem fasting and my stomach doesn't growl like it would on a regular morning because it "knows" it can't eat, my mind lets go of the thoughts immediately because it "knows" it can't "eat". Soon the two weeks are up and I will renew the vow for another 2 weeks, and I figure I'll keep doing that to keep totally clean. The summer is a VERY difficult time, and overall I think it was a success, with only 2 bumps in the road. I was able to prevent myself from falling back into a rut, even when it seemed like that was where I was headed. November will be a year since I started this journey, and I'll be sure to keep you up to date on how I'm doing. What you always say is so true: "The less you feed it, the less you need it".

"Cleareyes613" wrote on the forum:


Today, I tried out a small neder (first time). I was alone in a house (b"H someone took the laptop so I didn't have internet) but there were plenty of non-Jewish magazines. The length of my neder was just for the afternoon; that I would do 25 push-ups before opening any non-Jewish material. After the fact, I think it helped keep the pestering voices out of my head pretty well!

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90-Day Game Plan

We currently have 14 sponsors for Kedusha's motivational strategy: "$90 for 90 Days", but we only have 7 sponsees so far who have undertaken the journey. Sign up today for the 90-Day journey and get a super-kedusha-boost to catapult you into the Yamim Norayim! (See Chizuk e-mail #561 on this page for the terms of the "$90/90 Day" Plan).

One of the terms is to have some sort of "Game-Plan" for reaching 90 days. After all, it is important to realize that it is not through our own strength that we can succeed, but only through Hashem's strength. You may ask, "well, if it's up to Hashem, why doesn't He just let us succeed?" The answer is, that He is waiting for us to do OUR part. Although we need Hashem to beat the Yetzer Hara for us, there are many things that we CAN do as well. And as soon as we truly do OUR part, Hashem does HIS - and vanquishes the Yetzer Hara for us!

I would like to share with you the "Game-Plan" of some of the warriors who undertook the 90-Day journey. We can all learn from them!


"Struggle" wrote:
 
My game plan to make it to 90 days without falling is having a support group to turn to if I feel like I am in trouble. I am in touch with three people via the phone if I need, and I also have this forum... I will stay in touch with this site and the people on it. And I will also not watch TV.
 
"Eden" wrote:

I plan to read from the GYE handbooks, receive the Chizuk emails, keep busy in college, learn Torah, avoid ALL of my addictions - which include TV, comics, etc... and get support from my brother (who knows about my addiction and has dealt with his own).

"Postal" wrote:

I plan on doing at least 30 min of hisbodedus (introspection) every day, at least one good deed done for others that I normally wouldn't have done, using the computer strictly for Torah/GYE, Tikkun HaKlali every day, Back-to-Basics phone conferences with Boruch, speaking every other day with my partner, at least 30 minutes of White-Book / Back-to-Basics text / GYE texts, etc, and bringing the Yetzer Hara to the Beis Medrash (i.e. learning during free time).

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Torah Thought of the Day
"Choose - Today!"
By Eye.Nonymous

I saw this amazing vort on last week's parsha. It's from sefer Kol Eliyahu, selected chidushim from the Vilna Gaon. (I will paraphrase. It does lose something in the translation, but I think it is worth a shot):

"Re'eh Anochi nosayn lifneichem hayom bracha u'klalah"

"See I am placing before you today, a blessing and a curse"


It says "I am placing" instead of "I have placed" - which would mean that a person can only choose a good path at the beginning, but once he has chosen a bad path he is stuck with it. Therefore, it says, "I am placing": A person has the chance at any time to choose a good path.

A person might think nevertheless, "what good will it do me to choose good? I have accumulated so many aveiras in my life". Therefore, it says "Today". Whoever does Teshuva should view himself as a baby born TODAY.

A person might yet say, "what can I do if the yetzer hara shall force me to sin?" Therefore the verse says, "Anochi" - I, God Himself, will help; you need not fear the yetzer hara.

A person might say, "What if I'm the only one who chooses good? What is it worth?" Therefore the verse says "Re'eh - See (first person singular)." Choose good for yourself regardless of what the rest of the world is doing.

565.


In Today's Issue

  • Survey: Help us make this Chizuk List Better!
  • Attitude Tip of the Day (Part 1): "Who's the Dirty One Here?"
  • Attitude Tip of the Day (Part 2): "I Don't Want It"
  • Saying of the Day: "Let it Shine"
  • A Letter to the Rabbanim: Build up your merits for Rosh Hashana!
  • Testimonials of the Day: From Aish.com

--------------------------------------------------------------

Survey
Help us make this Chizuk List Better!

Due to the nature of the issues discussed in the daily Chizuk e-mails, it is understandable that we don't get much feedback. However, it is important for us to hear from our readers once in a while. In the early days of the Chizuk e-mails (see here and here for examples) the daily e-mails used to be much shorter; just a thought or tip each day. As our forum grew and the amount of amazing Chizuk shared there each day grew along with it, I was able to make the daily e-mails much longer and more informative. About two months ago, we started dividing the Chizuk e-mails into sections, such as "Tip of the Day", "Torah Thought of the Day", "Testimonial of the Day", etc... based on the many categories & sub-categories of our new website (see "Categories" on the side-bar for the structure. Scroll down).

Just a few days ago, we started listing the different parts of the daily e-mail on top, so people can see what's in that day's e-mail in just one glance... But with all these evolutions and changes over time, we got very little feedback from our readers - if any. So I think the time has come to ask our dear readers for their thoughts. PLEASE let us know your honest opinions & advice:

  1. Do you like the new set up?
  2. Do you read the daily e-mails every day, or just once in a while?
  3. Do you think the daily e-mails should be shorter?
  4. Do you think you would read them more often if they were shorter?
  5. Do you want to hear more about specific topics, like "12-Step Tips", "Torah Thoughts", "Stories", "Testimonials", etc...
  6. Which topics (categories) talk to you the most?
  7. Are the daily Chizuk e-mails helping you in your struggle?
  8. Do you have any suggestions for us, like maybe we should divide the chizuk e-mail into multiple lists where people could choose what categories they wanted to get each day, etc... And maybe we should send out every day a paragraph or two from the GYE handbook and Attitude Handbook to help everyone go through them over time... In Short: Whatever ideas you think might make this service more useful for everyone, in your opinion.
  9. Is there a certain time of the day that you feel would be best to receive the Chizuk e-mails, such as first thing in the morning or when you get to work, or at night when you have more time on your hands and need Chizuk? (Please specify U.S or Israel time).
  10. Which foods do you like best: Choulant, Sushi, ice-cream or Woodford? (private joke for the forum family :-)
  11. Is this survey too long?
     

Please send your answers in to eyes.guard@gmail.com.

Thank you!

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Attitude Tip of the Day (Part 1)
"Who's the Dirty One Here?"
By Dov


"Nurah B'Amram" calls "FIRE" on the forum!
(His nickname and his calling "Fire" is based on a story in the Gemara Kidushin 81a, see Tool #9 of the GYE handbook).

Nura writes:


I'm coming off a very loooooong project at work, about to wrap it up. I'm burned out and depleted, both physically and emotionally - easy prey for that BIG FAT FAT BEAST commonly known as the Yetzer Hara. Last time I fell, it was under similar circumstances - and I seek no encore performance!

Recently I passed through the city of Sedom and Amorah on the Hudson. I try to minimize my visits to that lovely island, but when I do pass through there I make it a point of taking the FDR drive instead of the West side highway because I believe there is less "view" there and less billboards etc. (all those unfortunate enough to travel there can relate).

The advertisers on these "un-holy" billboards don't spend millions of dollars for nothing - they know exactly what they are doing. I make it a practice of keeping my eyes strictly on the road and cars ahead.... Nevertheless, there were two huge-multi-story billboards at which I sorta glanced at from my peripheral vision... Perhaps because I've been in a good state with Guarding-My-Eyes for the past few months through the kindness of Hashem, I believe that I may be in heightened state of sensitivity, and I can't get these images to stop replaying in my mind!

So I'm going to YELL: "NOORA BEI AMRAM - FIRE IN THE HOUSE OF AMRAM!!"
 

I pray the Ribono shel Olam should douse this fire... NOW!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dov (sober in SA for 11.5 years) responds to the cry:


Dear R' NBA (Noorah B'Amram),

Here's a water-bucket for you, Be"H: Yesterday, walking through the very unholy-appearing NYC (from the Megabus dropoff three squirmy blocks to Penn station) and then to my parents' home in Queens, I had the peripheral vision experience you described at least 10 times. It's one thing driving around at home where I'm used to the:

  • very brief eye-closing,
  • diverting my mind to reality,
  • the surrendering of curiosity to Hashem, and
  • the choice of safer routes to avoid "trouble".
     

It's an entirely different experience having the sewage poured on me as I go through that town! Now, I do believe Hashem has the "brawn" and the "brains" to save me from that too if push comes to shove, but I wasn't used to that feeling (anymore).

So, here is my share to you, NB'A:

I became aware that I was starting to feel "dirty" at some point, after getting "splashed" by a few "lust-puddles". I started to feel quite the victim. Not good. But what was worse was that I started to feel dirty. Dirt attracts only more dirt, of course. I realized that no matter how "dirty" I was, it'll do me no good at all to "live in the problem".

Then the thought occurred to me, that Chazal talk about "Im paga BOCH menuval zeh - if this pervert accosts you....". And with Hashem's loving help (He is wild about me, you know), it dawned on me that Chazal are calling the Yetzer Hara the "menuval"not me. I'm the "boch" who they are referring to, of course. But on a deep level, I realized that while feeling "dirty" I was actually identifying/confusing myself with the menuval!

As soon as I became aware of that, I chuckled again at how goofy an addict can be (very, very goofy, in fact!) and I asked Hashem for help, being that I am an easily tricked man. Then we (Him and me) went on to my parent's home (my earliest acting out incubator!!) and had a great time with them, clean as a whistle.

He really is the best Friend one could ever ask for, no?

And I don't care how low any Yid goes; as soon as he doesn't want to be so, he is not really dirty at all!

So if I ever feel farschmutzed (dirty) again, I guess Hashem will help me just "close my eyes" to my own craziness and help me have simple faith that I am actually a holy man with a blazing, ancient light inside, and a burning flame in his heart, walking through this "big city filled with people who don't know their right from their left"!

Sorry about waxing poetic. Hope you get the practical suggestion.
Just an addict sharing, really.

Love, 
Dov

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Battleworn responds to Nura's Cry:

Now that you screamed "FIRE", I would humbly suggest that you start screaming at the menuval, "SHUT UP YOU LIAR!" and tell him that he's making a big deal out of nothing. All you saw is a piece of raw meat that some weird people worship. There's nothing there at all (except a lot of pain). And most important to remember is that everything will be absolutely FINE if you just walk away. 

The menuval makes it in to a whole emergency and tells us that we're going to explode, etc., when all we really have to do is turn our backs on the whole thing and let go of it. And of course when we do that, we've accomplished the greatest accomplishment in the whole world!


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Attitude Tip of the Day (Part 2)
I Don't WANT It

By "Will"


Shabbos was amazing. Baruch Hashem, not many struggles with lust except for a few inappropriately dressed - so called - "tznius" women. When I would spot them in the distance, my head went down and I kept thinking, "Their mode of dress is disgusting. I will not contaminate my holy Neshama, my gift from Hashem".

I've been thinking a lot about what Rav Miller discusses in Day 4 of "Windows Of The Soul"; that we are a holy nation, and keeping our eyes in check should be done to keep ourselves holy - like we are meant to be. This has made Shmiras Einayim a lot easier for me to deal with, because I no longer view it as "combating lust"... Rather, I see it as keeping myself holy because that is what Hashem created me for. Like many people have said on the forum, its not about wanting lust and running away from it; it's about never wanting lust because it repulses us. A person should not be thinking to himself, "I really want to fantasize about this woman, but I won't because it's against my morals", rather he should be thinking "That is absolutely disgusting to me".

I like this approach a lot, especially since it means that I won't be running away my entire life... I won't be walking with my head down everywhere I go until I'm 90 and my libido has sputtered out. Hashem will have transformed me into a different person, a person who despises lust because it goes against the very grain of my essence - holiness.

Like "Kutan" so beautifully said (on the forum): I need to "despise lust, without any price... even for free... even if they'd pay me...." And I beg Hashem that he leads me to that holy state.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saying of the Day
Posted by "Yechidah" from a book by Tzvi Freeman; "365 meditations of the Lubavitcher Rebbe" (#235):

"Our souls cannot be broken that they should need repair, nor deficient that they should need anything added. Our souls only need to be uncovered and allowed to shine".

(Ties in perfect with what Dov & "Will" wrote above)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A Letter to the Rabbanim


Be a catalyst in saving tens or even hundreds of Yidden. We strongly encourage everyone to check out this example letter that "Kedusha" wrote, and to follow his example by sending out similar (anonymous) letters to the Rabbanim of your communities. Imagine the merits you'll have this coming Rosh Hashana!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Testimonials of the Day
Some comments on Aish.com's recent article about porn addiction (which mentions our network).

Thank you Aish HaTorah:
Aish is to be commended for having the bravery to publicly raise this topic which is taboo in many circles. I have struggled with these issues for many years and can identify with the feelings expressed here. The article made me aware of the existence of the guardyoureyes.org website, where I found help, support, advice and stories of both struggle and recovery. For the first time, I do not feel alone in this problem. I have been able to admit to myself that I have an addiction, similar to someone suffering addiction to alcohol or drugs. I also feel an increased sense of confidence that this problem can be overcome. I hope that through this article Aish will have helped me and others like me to turn a corner in our lives. I ask Hashem that this Chodesh Ellul we should be able to fulfill our lifelong dream of Teshuvah. Thank you Aish.
 
GardYourEyes helps me also:
I am still battling with this problem but "GuardYourEyes", as they are called, are a great source of support and wisdom. I go back and forth but hopefully this stupid struggle will end soon. I have known it was no good for years, and it has harmed my relationship and my soul.
 
Thank you:
Dear Aish... Thank you again for your courage to bring this out to the open. I have been battling this "cancer of thought" for years and feel so ashamed. I had no clue where to even start to look for help. I just looked at GuardYourEyes.org - and it is nothing but from Hashem - at a perfect time. May Hashem keep giving you (and the rest of us who battle with this) continued strength to overcome this challenge.

566.


In Today's Issue

  • Special Announcement: Elya is Back!
  • Anecdote of the Day: "30 Seconds"
  • Testimonial of the Day: "I can always change course"
  • Shiur of the Day: Rav Orlovsky on Elul
  • Saying of the Day: "The Tradeoff"
  • Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook: Excerpt #1

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We would like to thank all those who answered yesterday's survey. We also appreciate those who did not reply; it helped answer question #2 for us, which was: "Do you read the daily e-mails every day, or just once in a while?" :-)

 

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Special Announcement:

 

After a two week hiatus, Elya's Thursday evening phone group is back!


"The Jewish Healing Group", Elya's (anonymous) phone conference, is an introductory 12 step discussion group patterned after SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous). When you join this group you will be introduced to the problem, the solution and begin to heal by listening to others share their experiences, strength and hope. Sharing is encouraged but not required. Questions are welcome.  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.

For more details on the call and the phone number to call in, see this page.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anecdote of the Day
"30 Seconds"
By "Will"


I'm in the middle of learning a sweet daf of Gemara... My chavrusa and I are throwing out questions, finding answers, formulating different mehalchim. There is no room for the Yetzer Hara in mind. Or so I think... We get stuck on a piece, brainstorming for a few minutes...

"I got it!" shouts my chavrusa. I look at him. He smiles and begins to build his case with his signature hand motions.

Just then, the Yetzer Hara hits... it was a surprise attack - completely out of nowhere. He had gotten past my defenses and was staring me in the eye... alone, at first.

"Hey Will", says the Y"H, a troubling grin on his face.

"Get out of here", I shoot back.

He smiles... "I'm going, I'm going... but, uh... I just thought I should tell you that, uhh... your neder (vow) expired yesterday... y'know, the one you had against intentionally looking at 'exciting things' and acting out. Well, it's over... which means that technically, you can do whatever you want now... and it wont cost you a thing. Anyway, I'll, uhh... I'll leave now." He began walking towards the end of my mind, disappearing behind a recess.

My face goes white. I was doing so well that I had forgotten to renew the neder before it expired.

"Oh no." I think... "This Yetzer Hara is too powerful for me to battle without a tangible ally (my neder)."

I frantically look around for Menachem, the guy I make my nedarim with. He's nowhere in the Beis Medrash. I look for the Yetzer Hara... he's nowhere to be found... he has left me alone. He just planted the idea and left.

"Ok, no biggie", I think to myself. "He's gone for now... I can make it through the rest of this daf, and then I'll call Menachem to schedule an emergency neder session."

I calm down a bit... and look back at my chavrusa. He's still going at it, clarifying his mehalech and pointing excitedly all over the daf and its neighbor. I try to put my mind back into it entirely. I'm just finding the place, when suddenly.... BOOM.

The Yetzer Hara comes racing out into my conscious, fully dressed in his battle gear. But this time he's not alone... an entire army flanks his right and left... an army of memories. Every image that I ever tried to forget, every fantasy I ever had... they were there, and advancing. "Oh no... I fell for it!", I yell... "THE RETREATING ATTAAAACK!!!" I run for cover, falling back into battle stance... looking desperately for backup... but no... all of my defenses are too distant to utilize.

The Yetzer Hara and his army were getting closer and closer... their spears forming an impenetrable wall, threatening every area of my exposed neshama. They were not letting up. I look at the massive army and its general... there is no hope. Caught off guard with no defenses, it was "shooting fish in a teacup" - and I was the fish.

"I'm done for", I think... "his army is too powerful."

I slowly put down my weapons. "It was a good streak... but nothing lasts...", I think sadly.

The Yetzer Hara is smiling... victory is his, yet again. I begin scheming for my acting out, the Yetzer Hara being very helpful...

And just then it hit me. "That's it! Nothing lasts... nothing lasts... NOTHING LASTS!!! All of these memories that are threatening my neshama... all of these 'pleasures' that are promising me happiness... they DON'T LAST! Why in the world should I even think about giving in to such fake fulfillment?"

And that's when I heard the air sirens... a formation of thousands of planes coming out of nowhere. I squinted towards them... they were friendly! They were allies! They were sent by Hashem himself!

I watched as the air strike flew in low, letting loose a barrage of missiles, assaulting the Yetzer Hara's army. Memory by memory, each one was blown up... any temptation that I had as a result of them were obliterated along with them. I scrambled for my weapons and began running towards the Yetzer Hara. "GET OUT OF HERE!!", I screamed. The Yetzer Hara looked at me, dumbstruck, and ran helter skelter in the opposite direction.

"Phew... that was close!"

I looked back at the planes just in time to see them get back in formation and disappear into the horizons of my mind.

I looked up. "Thank You Hashem... Thank You!"

"And THAT'S exactly what Rashi was hinting to over here, and now it all makes sense!! Gevaldig!" finished my chavrusa.

"Uh, WOW! Good thinking!" I quickly said.

We both looked back into our Gemaras... I sneak a peak at my watch.

That was the longest 30 seconds of my life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Testimonial of the Day
"I Can Always Change Course"
By "ILoveHashem"

I was listening to a song by Avraham Fried recently, and every time I think about it, it really gives me chizuk: "Haneshoma yoiredes lesoich haguf. Yerida zu letzoirech aliya, ad shekol zeh hu kedai - The soul comes down into the body, going down for the purpose of going up, until it was all worth it"... And I suddenly thought to myself,  "Hey, my pure neshoma was  brought to this lowly world for a purpose; to keep going up and shteig. Even though I've fallen this low, I can always pick myself up again and change my course of life to a life of total kedusha, to the point that my neshoma was worth coming down.

This site has really helped me, including the daily emails. For two weeks I have not looked at p*rn, although it is taking me time to really learn to guard my eyes and thoughts properly.

I was thinking, that if you convert GYE to Hebrew letters, it spells out 'gei' which means valley. GYE is a really a lifesaver to those in the valley of spiritual death; a real help to begin again the aliya in kedusha. Chazak Ve'ematz!

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Shiur of the Day
Rav Orlovsky on Elul
Entertaining & Life Changing!

Some points from the Shiur:
"Just because you're in a state of Tuma doesn't mean you are Tamei"
"Everybody falls down, that's part of life."
"Do Teshuva slowly, one step at a time."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saying of the Day
"The Tradeoff"
"Kedusha" shmoozing with the Yetzer Hara.

"Hmmm... you want me to look at pornography, Yetzer Hara? Why? Did you say it will give me pleasure? Well, that's an interesting tradeoff, Yetzer Hara; pleasure for a few minutes and then I'll feel horrible afterwards for days! Can I perhaps sell you a bridge in Brooklyn, Yetzer Hara?"


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day from one of the handbooks; either from the GYE Handbook - with 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction (in progressive order), or from the Attitude Handbook - with 30 principles on the correct perspective and attitude on this struggle. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through both handbooks over time!


Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #1
The Preface

Although we were raised religious, we found ourselves acting in ways that went against what we had been taught. Sometimes we came to believe that we never really had Emunah in the first place, or that we were simply "weak-willed" people with a "stronger than usual" Yetzer Hara.

After a while, we may even have come to think that we were anyway too far gone, and that Hashem surely despised us by now, or had abandoned us.

Then we found the GuardYourEyes Network - an entire community of Jews just like us.


We discovered that we weren't alone and that it wasn't our fault. We learned that these behaviors are highly addictive, and what had started out many years ago as innocent curiosity or typical "teenage" problems, had led us into a full blown addiction, which is really a type of disease.

We discovered that Hashem had not abandoned us after all, but rather had a beautiful plan for us. And as we joined the GYE community, we began to see that plan unfold.

We learned that we really COULD change. All that was needed to begin our journey was acceptance that we had a problem.

The soul of every Jew cries inside of them, but we had accustomed ourselves to blocking out that cry. With proper guidance though, we began to discover that the Emunah we thought we never had, was really there all along.

The word "kofer" comes from the word "covered over" (as in the word "kapores").The faith of even the biggest Jewish kofer is only "covered over". Every Jew believes deep down. It is an instinct that we inherited in our very genes, going all the way back to Avraham Avinu. And like birds that can fly thousands of miles back home without ever having learned how, all Jews find their way home if they just follow their hearts.

Every Jewish life is a song in Hashem's honor. After 120, we will stand before Hashem and cry as the most beautiful song of "our lifetime" is played back before us. We will finally understand how much Hashem truly loved us all along, and that all the suffering and distance that we felt during our lives were really all part of a magnificent harmony.

A revolution is happening today in the GuardYourEyes community.

Hashem has waited all this time for us to read these lines and feel the stirrings of hope awaken inside us. Today we will begin to feel the harmony of that beautiful song Hashem is playing with our lives, using the strings of our hearts as the notes...


Welcome Home!

567.


In Today's Issue

  • Please Note: Elya is Back Tonight!
  • Link of the Day: Poem - "Goodbye to Addiction"
  • Saying of the Day: "Courage"
  • Filter Tip of the Day: surfscope.com
  • Torah Thought of the Day: From Sefer Hachassidim
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "Happiness"
  • Testimonial of the Day: "Yetzer Hara; you goin down!"
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: Excerpt #2

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Please Note

 

After a two week break, Elya's Thursday evening phone group is back again starting TONIGHT - with a whole new perspective!

 

Elya posted on the forum:


I recently attended an Emotional Sobriety Intensive. It was 10 days of intensive therapy, group therapy, body work, breathing and relaxation, to learn how to become not only sober but emotionally sober. If you've ever read the AA big book you'll discover that although some people don't drink again, they remain "dry drunks." They have not perfected their middos and are still irritable and discontent, despite not drinking.

In today's phone call, I will be sharing some experiences from my 10 day Emotional Sobriety Intensive.

For more details on the call and the phone number to call in, see this page.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Link of the Day
A Poem
"Goodbye to Addiction"
by Elya

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saying of the Day

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".
- Tomim

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Filter Tip of the Day
By M.B

I own a SurfScope router (www.surfscope.com) and I have not been able to defeat it. It records the computer screen, stores the captures on the router, and replays it over and over later on the screensavers. The screensaver feature is convenient, because who has time to manually look through hundreds of captures every day? It uses encryption, and if you try to tamper with anything, it cuts your internet connection. The website also has a video that describes how it works. The router resides in a locked cabinet that uses a weird lock that locksmiths have not been able to pick. The settings can not be changed without the key. (One's wife or an accountability friend holds the key).

Note: It is not a filter, so you can get to any website you want as long as you don't mind your wife and kids seeing the captures on their screensavers with daddy's name on it. 

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Torah Thought of the Day

"Sefer Hachassidim"
(173)


Should a sin come to a person, he should think to himself that if they would decree upon him to convert he would willingly let himself be killed for Kiddush Hashem, so if he would let himself be killed - which is such a difficult test to withstand, how much more so should he not let himself sin in this far easier test!

And if one should have fantasies in middle of prayer, he should press his big toes into the ground strongly, and lean his whole weight upon them without holding on to the wall, and this will remove from him all types of fantasies...

... And should a sin present itself to a person, he should pray for Hashem to save him from it with all his heart; for on temporary suffering a person prays, so on eternal suffering which has no end and no measurement, how much more so should a person pray much!

And if one succeeds to overcome his urge and not sin, let him not give himself credit and say, "what a Tzadik I am, that I withstood this test", rather let him praise Hashem that he didn't sin, for all hearts are in Hashem's hands, as it says in Mishlei (21:1) "rivers of water, the heart of the king is in Hashem's hand, to wherever He desires he turns it", and it says in Bereishis (20:1), "and I have also withheld you from sinning to Me".

... And the Yetzer Hara is similar to an "itch". If one continuously scratches the itch, it will bring up scars, but if he holds back from scratching it will go away.

To see the full piece in Lashon Kodesh, click here.

 

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Attitude Tip of the Day
Happiness is something we choose
"The Wise Old Man"
Download the PowerPoint Presentation
(Right-click the link above and press "Save Link/Target As" to download)

(Thanks to "7Up" for sending it to us!)

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Testimonial of the Day
Yetzer Hara; you goin down!
"Will" writes:

 

The more I read through the posts here on the GYE forum, the smaller I feel. Everybody here has an incredible drive for truth, and an unbelievable WILL (no pun intended). I came here a few days ago thinking I knew a bit about a few things, and now I shamefully hang my head realizing that I know nothing about anything. Everybody here has given me tremendous chizuk, whether they realize it or not... and it is that chizuk that forces me to stare my biggest problem in the eye. Baruch Hashem, not acting out is an easier battle for me now... and it was perhaps the victory of that skirmish (breaking the cycle) that made me think I was almost done... but I have conveniently neglected the root of it all: Shmiras Einayim. It is extremely hard for me to keep my eyes to myself. Unbelievably hard. But with Elul here, I cannot ask Hashem for forgiveness of my past if I have not done my part. For the next 90 days, I will give Shmiras Einayim my every effort. And I don't care how hard it is.
 
So here I am, trembling as I think about the challenge of the coming months... But I do know one thing... Yetzer Hara? You goin down!


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For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day from one of the handbooks; either from the GYE Handbook - with 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction (in progressive order), or from the Attitude Handbook - with 30 principles on the correct perspective and attitude on this struggle. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through both handbooks over time!


Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #2
From the Introduction

Welcome to the GuardYourEyes community, a vibrant network and fellowship of religious Jews of all affiliations, struggling to purify themselves and break free of inappropriate behaviors stemming from Lust addiction. Our network is comprised of a website: www.guardureyes.com, a dynamic blog-site at www.guardyoureyes.org that offers new material, tips, stories and articles every day, RSS feeds (coming soon), and a pulsating forum where members post logs of their journeys to recovery, ask questions and exchange tons of Chizuk with the rest of the community. Besides all that, the GYE network provides weekly phone conferences, as well as hotlines - both in the U.S and Israel, and two daily Chizuk e-mails, (1) "Learning to break free of Lust Addiction" and (2) "General Chizuk on Guarding the Eyes". We also help people find accountability partners and sponsors, and we have a 90-Day Chart where our warriors can sign up to chart their successes and keep a log of their journey to recovery.
 
For the first time, a religious Jew has where to turn to for help in this area, as well as an entire network of tools, tips and group support to help break free of the insidious grasp of this addiction. All our work is free of charge (although donations are our life-line) and we zealously protect the complete anonymity of all our members. On our forum, the charts, the hotlines and the weekly phone conferences, only nicknames and non-revealing e-mail addresses are used. For starters, you may want to make yourself an anonymous e-mail address (something like newstart@gmail.com), as you enter our community.
 
Through the collective experience of the entire GYE community, and with the guidance of R' Avraham J. Twerski, a world renowned expert on addictions (founder of www.GatewayRehab.org), author of over 50 books and a true Gadol in Klal Yisrael, we present a set of guidelines below, that can help anyone - no matter how far they have fallen - to find their way out of the vicious cycle of Lust addiction.
 
Our sages have called Shmiras Habris "Yesod", meaning "Foundation". The foundation of a building is "underground" and no one sees it, yet it holds up the entire building! Shmiras Habris is the hidden part of a Jew, it's the real you. If the foundation of a Jew is weak, his whole spiritual structure is in danger of collapse.
 
We may have tried to do Teshuvah many times in the past, but the standard model of Teshuva (Azivas Hachet, Charata and Kabbala al Haba) doesn't work for us very well anymore. Addiction is a type of disease, and our Sages understood the nature of addiction as Rebbe Asi said: "The Yetzer Harah in the beginning is compared to a strand of a spider web, and in the end like a rope that is used to tie cattle". Even more so, in this area where our Sages have said: "The more it is fed, the hungrier it gets". Our Sages also recognized that once a person repeats a particular sin a number of times "it becomes to him as if it is permitted". Therefore, the standard Teshuvah techniques are not usually sufficient in our case anymore. It is no longer a "Yetzer Hara" issue as much as it has become a disease. The nature of the addiction is analogous to someone standing on the railroad tracks while he watches the train bearing down on him, and yet he can't move himself out of the way. And as Rabbi Twerski puts it in his book "Addictive Thinking": We place our hands on the stove, get burned, and yet we feel compelled to do it again.
 
Therefore on GYE, instead of the standard Teshuvah model, we begin to change our entire attitude. We learn the tools and techniques of how to sidestep the Lust instead of trying to fight it head on. And we learn how to give our disease over to Hashem and live with His help, instead of trying to use our own strengths to fight something that is so much stronger than us.
 
With the proper guidance, we start to see genuine changes in ourselves that we never believed were possible. At GYE we are finally joining together, for ourselves and for all future generations, to strengthen the Yesod - the very foundation of our people.

568.


In Today's Issue

  • Parsha thought: Aishes Yifas To'ar
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "You really got a 100!"
  • Saying of the Day: You know what Hashem needs?
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: Excerpt #3

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Torah thought of the Day
Parshas Ki Seitzei
Aishes Yifas To'ar: Working 'Kineged' the Yetzer Hara


The Parsha of "Aishes Yefas To'ar - a woman of beautiful form" is interesting. Often the Torah uses the words "Yefas Mareh - beautiful looking" when describing a woman's beauty, but here only "form" is mentioned. The next few words say: "Ve'chashakta Bah - and you lust for her". A man's lust is usually triggered by a women's "form". It seems that the Torah is introducing to us a Parsha about lust: "What do we do about it - and what results from it?"

Rashi brings Chazal: "The Torah was only speaking 'kineged' the Yetzer Hara". The word 'Kineged' can be understood in two ways. Either "because of" or "against". Interestingly, in this Parsha it seems that both ways are profoundly true!

In the Parsha of Yefas To'ar, Hashem is letting us know that He understands the nature of lust, and that a person cannot always be expected to control themselves. As Rashi says, "if Hashem wouldn't have allowed it, he would marry her even though it was prohibited". And as we saw in last week's Parsha, the people who went to war were Tzadikim who were not afraid of any sin. Even so, we see how powerful lust can be; to the point that Hashem knows that he would sin if it wasn't permitted. This is the simple understanding of the word "kineged" - meaning "because of". In other words, the Heter (permission) of Yefas To'ar was given "because of" the powerful nature of lust.

However, the other meaning of the word "Kineged" means "against". In this case, Chazal can be understood as saying the following: "Why did the Torah write the Parsha of Yefas To'ar? To teach us how to work AGAINST the Yetzer Hara".

Hashem knows that lust can be super-powerful. We can't always just say "no" to the Yetzer Hara and walk away from an over-powering feeling of lust. So what hope is there for us in such a situation? Comes this Parsha - in Hashem's infinite wisdom, and tells us what to do in such a case. If we can't just walk away, here's what we CAN do instead: "Vahaveisah el toch beisecha" - Take her into your home, but... WAIT. Don't give in to the lust right away. "Vigilcha es roisha" - Let's shave off her long flowing hair, cut off her pretty nails, we'll dress her up in clothes of mourning, etc... Hair, nails and clothing all represent the "chitzonius" i.e. the "outer trappings" that don't let us see the real person underneath... Ok, now we can start to see her for who she really is; a bald, weepy eyed woman, dressed in shmatehs.

And we can do the same thing if we saw someone and feel overpowered with lust. If we feel unable to just let go of it, we can take the image inside our mind - but instead of relishing it, we should imagine that we shaved off her hair and nails, and dressed her in rags! Then, there is finally hope that we'll let go of the lust.

And if we still don't want to let go of it and insist on arousing the lust in spite of the fact that it has already cooled down, then the end will be bitter. As Rashi writes, he will come to hate her; i.e. he will end up hating the lust. He will have a Ben Sorer U'moreh from it... meaning - perhaps, that the end result (alluded to in the idea of "his son") of purposefully arousing lust, can be a complete rebellion against Hashem.

What we can learn from all this, is how to work kineged the Yetzer Hara when we feel overpowered with lust. Instead of trying to fight it, we can say to the Yetzer Hara: "you know, you're right. This really looks good. But let me look into it just a little closer... What is this women that I desire really made out of? As our Sages have said: "a barrel filled with excrement, her mouth is filled with blood"... Let me have a look at some of the pictures in the Last Resort Tip #11 on this page before I give in to this overpowering feeling of lust...

And like "Pintale Yid" once posted on the forum:

I was walking home several weeks ago from a Shabbos simcha, when as a result of having to pick up my head to look at the color of the street light, I saw something that that I didn't want to see and it threw me for a loop. I saw that I was losing the battle so "in my mind", I invited myself to follow the "frum" lady home. When she took off her high heels, as a result of those treifa heels, I saw the most ugly bruises on the heels of her feet and I imagined that her feet stunk worse then the dorm rooms in yeshiva. I also try to imagine her as if she was a walking skeleton.

I think this is the deeper meaning of that Gemorah where if you are at the mercy of something you saw, then take it in and modify it to where you are totally disgusted by it. The Gemorah uses more "base" turnoffs, and each person can imagine the levels that work for you. Isha Chavis Melei'ah Tzoah...

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Attitude Tip of the Day
You think you failed? You really got a 100!

One of the great warriors on our forum had a very difficult week where he was taken on vacation by his family to places he would never think of going himself. In spite of putting up a valiant struggle, he had some slips and falls and became burnt out, disillusioned and apathetic. He seemed almost angry at Hashem, Kaviyachol, for not helping him more, and he wanted to leave the forum and take a break. However in the end, due to everyone's love and support, he made a complete reversal and is now optimistic about continuing his journey and inspiring others along with him!

Today he posted on the forum:


To avoid possible misunderstandings: I'm not angry at anyone here. No-one wronged me. GYE is only good - and probably the most positive thing in my life right now. I'm very appreciative to GYE and all of its members for all their words of encouragement that they have volunteered, and I am indebted to you all. Knowing that I'm not alone in this battle, but that I'm fighting alongside others - tzadilkim - is very meaningful and supporting. My comment about leaving GYE was not said in regard to anyone not meeting my expectations (in any way).

In an email to R' Guard, I presented where my feelings stemmed from:

"In test taking, I'd rather hand the test back in blank and get a "zero" than work hard, prepare, study, and get hyped up, only to have gotten a 55%. What does that say? I've tried hard and still didn't pass! I fought hard and long and relied on Hashem to help pull me through. Still, I failed. If I fail, I prefer to know that it's because I didn't try. Trying, trying, trying, but still failing, can break a persons spirit."


R' Guard's response to me on that point (aside from providing select segments from the Attitude Handbook for me to look at; principles 23-25, etc.):

"The question you pose here, about getting a zero on the test rather than a 55%, touch on the most important Yesodos in this struggle. You see, in spiritual matters, it is completely different than in physical. On this world, getting a zero without trying is indeed a lot better than a 55% with trying. But in spiritual matters, the trying itself is the 100% my friend!! Even if it "looks" like you came out with a 55%, Hashem sees the heart, he sees your effort. If you tried and cried (and I know you did), you are at 100%!! 

That's the beauty of this struggle... "

Due to certain events (which I shared with R' Guard in my email) things were extraordinarily tough for me the past few days, and boruch Hashem, the many people who have been in contact with me most recently have helped me get back up on my feet. With the help of Hashem, I now stand at 3.5 days - and it's only forward from here!

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Saying of the Day

 

Who said Hashem always needs you to win? Maybe he brought you to fall only to see what you'll do NEXT?

 

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For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction, in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #3
From the Introduction

The purpose of this handbook (part 1)

 
When a newcomer first comes to our websites and forum, they can easily be overwhelmed and feel lost. They will see many tips and advice, ranging from the most simple and basic ideas, and on through more drastic steps, such as therapy, 12-Step groups and even medication. It is often hard for the newcomer to pinpoint exactly how "addicted" they really are, and what kind of steps are the most appropriate for them to try at the stage of addiction they may be at. For example, obviously a beginner is not going to jump straight into psycho-therapy or join a live 12-Step group, in the same way we don't try to treat the common flu with chemotherapy.
 
And that is the goal of this handbook. We have attempted to put together a guide of the practical tools that we, in the GuardYourEyes community, have found useful. And we have attempted to present them in a progressive order that goes more-or-less from the most basic and fundamental tools, and on through the more intense and life-changing recommendations.
 
The ideas and tools we present here, as well as the order they are presented in, are nothing more than suggestions. We are only sharing what many in the GYE community have found works for them. You may try subtracting, adding, or jumping steps, as you see fit. We would be happy to hear if you feel that something has worked better or differently for you. (We may even add it in the next version of this handbook). Please send your comments to us here, and download the latest version of the handbook here.
 
It is our hope that with this step-by-step tool guide, every person who struggles with lust addiction, no matter how mild or severe their addiction may be, will find guidelines that can help them fully recover. All we need to do, is to start from the beginning and begin to check off the steps/tools that we have - or have not yet - tried. Should we find that we could not successfully break free even after applying the initial advice of this handbook, we will be able to find increasingly powerful and more addiction-oriented solutions, ensuring that we will eventually achieve a complete  recovery be"H.

569.

 

In Today's Issue

  • Mazal Tov to 'Hoping'! A Yalkut Shimoni about "Hoping"

  • Great Posts by 'Hoping': Profile of a Hopeful Warrior

  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "Keep Hoping, you WILL get there!"

  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: Excerpt #4

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A Big Mazel Tov to our dear member "Hoping" who reached 90 days and joined

the "Wall of Hashem's Honor" this past Friday!


Hashem caused me to see a Yalkut Shimoni this Shabbos that is very appropriate for the occasion of Hoping's big day. Click here to see the piece in Lashon Kodesh. I will bring a few translated excerpts here in his honor, since we all need to be inspired by the spirit of "hope" that he effuses on our forum:

The Pasuk in Tehillim says: "Kavo Kivisi La'Hashem va'yet elai - Hoping did I hope to Hashem, and He turned to me". Says the Medrash: "In the World to Come, all the Tzadikim will dance in a circle and point to Hashem and say "this is Hashem that I hoped to, let's rejoice and be happy in his salvation". Continues the Medrash... "The Jewish people have nothing but "hope", and it is in the merit of their "hope" that they will achieve the ultimate salvation. Should a person ask, "so much time has passed and we still have not been saved", says the Pasuk: "Kavei el Hashem, Chazak ve'ametz libecha vikavei el Hashem - Hope to Hashem, strengthen and fortify your heart and hope to Hashem". If you hoped and were not saved, hope and hope again! And should you ask, "until when should we hope?" Says the Pasuk, "Yachel Yisrael el Hashem me'ta ve'ad olam - Yisrael hopes to Hashem from now and forever". Says Dovid (Kavo Kivisi La'Hashem va'yet elai): "From (through) my hoping, Hashem turned to me and heard my supplications".

What a perfect nickname "Hoping" chose for himself. We must never lose hope, no matter how hopeless it may look. And indeed, in the merit of our hoping to G-d, we become worthy of His true salvation!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Few Great Posts From "Hoping" on the Forum

Hoping's First Post:


I have just discovered this site two days ago, and I think this is the first time in years that I really think that I can do Teshuva for my sins. I have been masturbating for 20 years and I have tried to stop countless times. Aside from my terrible addiction, I have been quite successful in other areas of my life. I am what some people consider a solid Kollel yungerman, and I have a wonderful marriage. However, every step of my life has been tainted with my feeling that I am disgusting and that if anyone knew the real me, they would run the other way. I have tried to stop in the past but I have always fallen down, often to a worse point than where I was initially. I would love some Chizuk from people who have dealt with similar situations and I think that I would benefit from some advice on "hitting the bottom while still on top" (admin: see today's handbook excerpt below). I am ready to fight, but I cannot be successful without the support of this forum. Please help!
 

On his 8th Day Hoping wrote:

 
I realize that the difference between all of the fighting that I have done until now and my current battle is that I have always focused on my success in terms of my ability to stay clean forever. This has not allowed me to appreciate small successes. Every time that I felt the Yetzer Hara strengthening, I felt that the point of the fight was gone. After all, eventually I would succumb anyhow. After that, I would inevitably get depressed and feel that I wasted my time and effort (and gave up a bunch of potentially pleasurable opportunities along the way).  In my short time on GuardYourEyes however, I have come to appreciate every moment as an accomplishment. This is true in terms of Zechuyos (merits) and also in terms of steps towards recovery. Also, by reading about the progression of this disease in the Handbooks (admin: see today's handbook excerpt below), I realize that every time that I turn away, I have avoided getting myself deeper into trouble. This is true at any time, whether I am counting days or not. I truly 'hope' that this journey is one that I will be on forever, but right now I am taking it one day at a time and I am thankful to Hashem that He has led me to be part of this wonderful forum.
 

On his 15th Day Hoping wrote:


I am happily starting week three and I just realized that BE"H 90 days will hit in the middle of Elul. I know it's a bit early for me to think about it - and I am trying to go one day at a time, but I could not help but feel some anticipation to do some real Teshuva this year. I could never really do Teshuva on any aveiros (even those unrelated to lust) when I felt that I was not truly willing to return to Hashem (i.e. leave my addiction). I see in the process of recovery - an overall Hiskarvus to Hashem that goes way beyond the scope of Lust or any other individual problem.
 

Hoping also wrote:


The purpose of this site is not the goal itself, it is 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 books, 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 allow us to travel in the way of Hashem together.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
These words of Hoping: "A fall while on the journey is worth more than a clean day while you aren't trying" - have become one of the most famous sayings on our forum!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Attitude Tip of the Day
Keep Hoping, you WILL get there!
By Hoping & Dov

 

'Hoping' asked recently on the forum:


I have to keep remembering that Hashem is in charge and that I need Him to remove my Yetzer Hara for Lust. It should be easy for me to realize how I am helpless without Him, yet I still spend much of my day acting like I am in control. In addition, I find it difficult to daven at times, although when I do daven, it is with a much closer relationship with Hashem than before. But how can I feel that there is any honesty in my surrendering myself to Hashem when I cannot even get myself to daven to Him like I should? I wonder if anyone shares this issue, and whether anyone has any Eitzos:

~~~~~~

Dov (sober in SA for 11.5 years) responds to Hoping:


Dear Hoping, 

First of all, we are sober today and that's enough reason to dance - no matter how bad everything else is going, period.

Also, it is absolutely fantastic that you are sharing this rather than just brooding over it - yow! (What were you doing a year or two ago?) I wish I shared more than I do - living would be even easier than it is!

Second of all, with all very due respect to the 'hoping-meister' (sorry), I'll remind you that while you (and I) have been spending the past 20, 30, whatever, years - y-e-a-r-s being focused on how well everybody else (including Hashem) is doing taking care of our needs - so much so that when we feel they are not doing a terrific enough job of it, we self-medicated by using lust and fantasy, etc. to fill in the gaps... So why do we expect real improvement on a deep level after a relatively short time? No guilt here, no blame here, at all. Only room for love here. But may Hashem help us both look at things with more realism and acceptance... Real improvement does take real time - and it is worth every minute. After all, we are in this for the "long haul"...

So... I'll review some quotes from your post above:

You wrote, "it should be easy" - well maybe it's not so easy after all... and that's OK.

"How can I feel that there is any honesty in my surrendering when" - let's take it easy here, shall we, brother in recovery? You obviously have some honesty!

"I cannot even get myself to daven to Him like I should?" - how do you/we know how Hashem wants you/us to daven to Him today? Maybe He "desires" the quiet pain of a davening that "seems it isn't what it should be"... Our success in Gadlus (great frame of mind and spirit) is empowered by our struggle in katnus (when we don't feel anything).

Besides, when you wrote "get myself to..." it reminds me of the times where I felt I should have the power to decree my moods and abilities. Those days are over. I need to remember (see R' Tzvi-Meyer) that much of our abilities and moods are from Hashem. Interestingly, the source of self-blaming for stinky moods and for lack of success in growing, actually stems from haughtiness (that's a big 12-Step "program-principle" that I was struck with early-on, BH! The great sefer "chovas hatalmidim" - in English now, FYI - deals with this quite a bit, from a chassidish/chinuch perspective).

Thirdly, many folks in recovery - particularly frummies like us - report that they feel as though they are going through a "dry period" in davening and avodah in early recovery. For me it lasted nearly three years. Am I trying to scare you away? No, but it took me a long time to learn to have patience with myself, humility enough to accept my limitations, and maturity enough to start taking the more responsible small steps, rather than beating myself over the head with only the big steps!

So - read Battleworn's "The Torah Approach" and other material, and you'll see that when we talk about "recovery", we really mean big, deep and real changes in how we live with emunah and stuff like that. If we had any insincerity and superficiality at all in our davening and avodah before recovery, I believe we can (and should) expect a rather severe, visceral, automatic aversion to insincerity, in recovery. Particularly if it is in the core recovery tools: which are davening and avodah. Everyone has some dishonesty, but as recovering addicts we just can't tolerate it very well. And B"H for that!

There are specific eitzos to improve davening. But that's not the point, really. For me, the main thing is to stay in sobriety no matter what, and to pour our hearts out to Hashem in whatever way we can, as often as we can. The real improvement in the davening and avodah happens on its own, in my experience. So keep Hoping! Just don't make the mistake of dropping tefillos, if you can, nor of despairing, chas veshalom.

"Hoping" this was helpful, and remember - "easy does it".
Love, 
Dov

~~~~~~

In response to Hoping's inquiry and Dov's reply, I posted on the forum:

 

DOV'ev sifsei yisheinim! (Shir Hashirim 7:10). What Dov wrote above should be more than enough, but I believe you'll also find some good advice on this page where Dov answers "London" about "feeling cold in Yiddishkeit" while in recovery... (scroll to bottom for Dov's reply, where he elaborates more along the lines of what he wrote here).

~~~~~~

Hoping responds on the forum:


Wow! Thank you Dov for your response. It really helps. This is not the first time you had to remind me to "take it easy", and it probably won't be the last. I guess I just have to figure out how to break my avodas Hashem into small steps like I have been doing with other things, and not push the pace of improvement. I guess I have to practice what I have preached to others, that the direction that I am headed is the most important thing, and the speed of travel is not really under my control.

And Guard - I think that this is the third time that I have read the page you linked to, and each time a different part of it speaks to me. Thank you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction, in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #4
From the Introduction

The purpose of this handbook
(part 2)

 
We must be aware of the importance of utilizing the increasingly earnest solutions presented below, in the event that we are not able to break free with the initial tools we try. The addiction is a disease, and if it is not dealt with properly, it only gets worse. Addiction leads us down a path of pain and self-destruction, until we stand to lose everything important to us, in this world and the next.
 
It is our fervent hope that those who still stand in the beginning stages of the addiction take heed and learn from the experience of those who have already fallen to "rock-bottom". (Read this story and this story on our website for examples). One of our goals at GuardYourEyes is to help people "Hit Bottom while still On Top" (please see Chizuk e-mail #441 on this page for a deeper understanding of this profound ambition). By helping people understand the "nature" of this addiction and where it ultimately leads to, we hope that they will take the necessary steps to break free of the disease while they are "Still on Top" and their lives remain intact.
 
The key to beginning to really heal is simply "Acceptance". We must accept that we are addicted to lust before we can start to heal. Otherwise, we will read through this handbook and say to ourselves: "they're not talking about me".
 
To understand better the nature of lust addiction, please see this page. And to test yourself and see if you are addicted to lust, see this page.
 
The disease does not get better on its own. And marriage does not solve the problem of lust addiction either. It only complicates the issue and introduces the potential of destroying two people's lives, instead of one. We have to be ready to do whatever it takes to break free. Rabbi Twerski always says that this addiction is like a spiritual cancer. And to cure ourselves from this "cancer", continues Rabbi Twerski, "nothing should stand in our way".

570.

 

Our e-mail server was down today, and it just came back up now. It's already late in Israel, so here's just a quick chizuk thought for the day:

 

There are two types of "fascinations" that we human beings are capable of experiencing.
 
Type 1) Allowing ones self to indulge in the fascination of human beauty and form by following the natural instincts and wiring of the brain to become enthralled by the lust in human flesh. This type of fascination is fed and intensified through pornography, lusting in the street, reading today's magazines and watching x-rated movies and TV shows.
 
Type 2) To be spellbound by the beauty in nature, fascinated by the splendor and wisdom in G-d's handiwork, amazed at - and thankful for - one's own body, captivated by the magnificence and spirituality in our holy Torah and the depth of wisdom therein, awestruck by G-d's greatness and enthralled by the blessings that we experience everyday of family, health, sustenance and good fortune.
 
Know though, that these two types of "fascinations" cannot co-exist. The human mind is only capable of maintaining one of these two types. The second type of fascination is obviously far more spiritual, enjoyable and fulfilling, but it is also much more "subtle" and therefore cannot be experienced by a mind that is under the influence of the fascinations of type 1.
 

So make your choice today.
Choose LIFE.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serious & Funny


The Zohar compares the Yetzer Hara to a dog that says "Hav Hav" - meaning, "Give, Give!". The shofar of Elul can inspire even the "dog" inside of us to change its "bark" of "give me"  into a yearning for Hashem.

Click here to watch a humorous clip to this effect :-)

571.


In Today's Issue

  • Testimonial of the Day: By "Habib613"
  • Important Announcement: Help GYE with your stuff!
  • Three New Songs: From Uri in Jerusalem
  • Personal Victories: "We Are Capable of Walking Away"
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "The King Wants you to Escape!"
  • Saying of the Day: Inspired by "Hoping" and Dov
  • Quote of the Day: By "Shmilu"
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: Excerpt #5

--------------------------------------------------------------

Testimonial of the Day
By "Habib613"

Last Rosh Hashana, I davened that Hashem should let me die. Literally. I was saying "zochreinu lechaim" and crying "no, please don't, because I can't live with this anymore". I wanted to serve Hashem, but it just used to be just too painful to wake up every morning. More than anything else, I don't want to be in that place again.

R' Guard - I seriously envy the olam haba you are getting for starting GYE. It's one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and I think a lot of people feel the same. Thank you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Important Announcement


Do you wish you could help GuardYourEyes financially but simply can't afford to make a monetary contribution?

Introducing: The "I Got Stuff" Campaign

Courtesy of JbidsNow.com


If you have an old laptop, cell phone, Bluetooth, watch, MP3 player, audio CDs, printers, unwanted jewelry, leather gloves, a digital camera, office phones, and just about any other small item you might find on eBay, you may donate these items for sale for the benefit of Guard Your Eyes!

Click here for more information
 
Every little bit counts!

Thank you and Tizke Lemitzvos!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Three new moving songs by GYE's musical artist
Uri from Jerusalem!

My Shame

The Warrior

The Name Song


To download a Zip file of Uri's entire GYE Album (eight MP3 songs - along with their lyrics) Click Here
Note: Wait for the page to load and then click the link at the bottom called "Uri's Songs.Zip".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Today I want to bring some inspiring posts from "Nezach" - an older Bochur who joined our forum about 6 weeks ago. His struggle and sincerity are surely shaking the heavens. Who can read these posts and not be inspired?

Personal Victories
We Are Capable of Walking Away
By "Nezach"


Hello Everyone. I have been away on holiday and now I'm back!! And I have missed writing but have managed to read some of the recent Chizuk emails which I am grateful for.


My initial goal had been to reach 30 days, and now that I have managed the full month, the aim is to push for 40 days - which is achievable, b'ezrat Hashem.

Guys, it has been such a crazy past week I do not even know where to start (apart from having a great vacation, LOL). Please read the following as an initial post following some of the tests which have come my way over the past few days:

It was no coincidence that the apartment I was staying in was located in close proximity to certain types of clubs; there were people trying to hand out leaflets to invite me in! Although B"H my immediate response was to refuse (there was no desire even, as it is so morally low and we strive for dignity and truth), this has me thinking of the similarities to similar content on the internet. This was an objective approach to our situation, and once again strengthened my resolve and determination to be clean forever more. Boruch Hashem, the friends who were with me have strength and discipline in shemirat einayim and this was great chizuk for me as well.

Whilst this occurred several times, it did not end there. One morning I entered an area alone (without my friends), and I was presented with a point blank opportunity to sin! But without even having a thought or hesitation, I believe Hashem saved me as the word "No" almost surprised me. I said "bye" and walked straight out.

Again, there was no 'desire for lust', but my point here is not about my strengths etc. - but rather to point out that we are all capable of 'walking away' from a dangerous situation even without a fight!!


The challenges that I had to fight afterwards on these occasions, was not to have inappropriate thoughts or fantasies about 'what could have happened'. Hashem protected and saved me, and I am eternally grateful.

I am pleased that I have experienced personal growth and resolve, as even on the occasions when I would look at a women for a few seconds, my thoughts would return to Hashem, to Teshuvah and to my determination to break free and be clean.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Attitude Tip of the Day
The King Wants you to Escape!
By "Nezach"


I just had a moment of weakness; a few minutes of teiva (desire for lust) that I have not properly had in quite a while. 


Boruch Hashem I was successful, despite lowering my guard for a few minutes. The alarm bells were ringing and many thoughts and memories overwhelmed me with the feeling of not wanting to let down myself, those who care and love me, and also our dear members and supporters on the GYE forum.

I then re-discovered the 'Windows of the Soul' handbook; This is my favorite and is an awesome and beautiful resource to receive guidance and Divine assistance. 

The next thing that was re-read was from the Attitude handbook: #22. "Catching ourselves as we begin to slip". Although I read this after my decision to turn away from any feelings and desire for lust, b'Ezrat Hashem I can relate to that which Yosef HaTzadik prayed for:

The Satan said to Yoseph: "Don't you see that you already messed everything up? Don't you realize what a goner you are? Your brothers hate you and sold you to Mitzrayim, nobody cares about you any more. You're lost and cut off from this world and the next. And now you've failed so badly. Face the facts, it's over!"

But Yoseph Hatzadik said "no! I don't care about anything - not even about being a Tzadik. The only thing that concerns me is: What do I need to do at this very moment? What does my Father in Heaven want from me right now?" 


Elul is our opportunity to rejuvenate and change who we are. Rabbeinu Yonah mentions in Shaarei Teshuva that Elul should not be dark and frightening, but rather uplifting, joyful and exciting, as we renew our relationship with HKB"H. 

A parable for Teshuvah is brought down about a group of prisoners who dug an escape route from the King's prison cell. When the prison guard discovered this, he found a lone prisoner who had not escaped and the guard slapped him round the face and abused him for his laziness or stupidity in not escaping. 

Although we have sinned and are "imprisoned" in our iniquity (and maybe even sentenced to grave punishment c"v), Hashem knows that we have an escape route - Teshuva.

Elul is our chance to 'get out of jail free' although we need to make enormous efforts and resist against anything that is not in our nature as the children of Hashem.

 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Saying of the Day

Inspired by "Hoping" - who got the idea from "Dov"

 

The difference between most people and a "lust-addict" is that for the addict, it's not the lust that's the problem, rather the lust is just a symptom.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
By Shmilu


"I'm slowly but surely replacing my addiction to lust with my addiction to this forum. Yup, I believe I'm officially a GYE addict".


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction, in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #5
Some Important Notes

 

Please help us spread the word about this handbook!


There are probably thousands of other religious Jews around the world who unfortunately struggle in these areas, suffering pain and shame in silence - sometimes for years! See Tool #12 of the handbook for a detailed example of how to prepare an e-mail which can be sent out to all the Jewish contacts in your address book, without anyone suspecting that you may struggle in this area yourself. The e-mail should simply contain links to the two GuardYourEyes Handbooks: the GuardYourEyes Handbook and the Attitude Handbook.

 

The Chovos Halevavos (Shar Ahavas Hashem, Perek 6) says:

 

"And you should know, my brother, that the merit of the believer, even should he reach the utmost completion in fixing his soul for blessed G-d, and even should he be close to the angels in their good traits and praiseworthy actions, and in the efforts they expend in their service of their creator, and in their pure love for Him, still do not reach the merits of someone who guides people onto the good path and steers the wicked to divine service. For his merits are doubled in relation to their merits, for all days and all times".

 

Imagine the merits you will accumulate if others are helped through you!

 

Aside from being useful for any individual who struggles with lust addiction, this handbook can also be helpful to Rabbis, Mechanchim, Mashgichim, therapists and community leaders by providing clear-cut tools and guidelines for helping others who struggle with this addiction. This issue has unfortunately reached epidemic proportions in the religious community today, mainly due to the privacy and accessibility of the internet. Help us spread the word to community leaders and to anyone who may be able to help others in this area.

572.


In Today's Issue

  • Mazal Tov to "7Up"! Let the Party Begin!
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 6: Attitude & Perspective, Part 1

--------------------------------------------------------------

A big Mazal Tov to "7Up" on reaching 90 days and joining the Wall of Hashem's Honor!


For those who are unfamiliar with the "family life" of our lively forum, "7Up" is not just a "another" member; she is a phenomenon in and of herself! In her short time with us, she was promoted to "Global Moderator"; has become known as the GYE Rebbitzin; and many of the younger members (like Uri and his "sisters"; Trying, Habib613 and Letakein) call her simply "Mom". She helped transform our forum into a lively, homely and fun place, besides offering priceless wisdom, wit and chizuk to inspire us all (not to mention cake, 7Up, and her favorite food - ice-cream!)...

Today's e-mail is in 7Up's honor, and we will bring some inspiring posts from her that we can all learn from.

Recently, she became so involved in the forum that it was holding her back in other areas of her life (what can you expect? as they say in AA: "once an addict, always an addict" :-). Her Rebbe suggested that she take a break from the forum for a few weeks, but we're sure she'll return soon. About a week ago, she wrote as follows:

To my dearest GYE family,

I had a meeting with my Rebbe yesterday; a wonderful and wise mechanech who was my teacher back in sem and with whom I've kept very close contact.

After hearing everything I had to share with him, he has advised me to take a break from the forum for a little while. This must be part of my cheshbon hanefesh.

I have no words to explain my emotions right now. The last 9 weeks, since joining GuardYourEyes have been probably amongst the most growth oriented in my life. I have gained friends  who are really worthy of the name; honest neshamos searching and fighting second by second in order to get closer to their Father in Heaven. It has been an honor to be connected to everyone here on any level at all. 

Girls, keep holding each other up. Two new "sisters" have joined, and the fun is just beginning. Through laughter you will beat the "menuval"; he is too busy looking for your tears. 

IY"H I wont be gone for too long (as I think I will lose my mind).

May Elul be a time of introspection and growth, and may Hashem embrace your honest teshuva yet today.

With respect, gratitude, and love 
7up

Meanwhile, 7Up's spirit remains with us and we have "inside information" that she continues to read the forum and the daily e-mails from behind the scenes (yes, we know you're reading this 7Up)...

A few weeks ago, we created a special avatar for her on the forum:



In honor of her 90th day, we changed it now to this:
(symbolizing the GYE Rebbetzin)


 

(A special thanks to Mr. B for helping us find these great pictures!)

 

Please feel free to wish 7Up Mazal Tov on her thread over here.

Her thread was the fastest growing thread on the entire forum!
739 posts in just about 70 days!


739 is the Gematria of "Tishlot" meaning: "you shall be in control"

(Coincidence? I think NOT)

Uri wrote a song in honor of 7Up's big day!
Click here to download the song and read the lyrics.

 

"Me3" suggested we pronounce today as:
"International 7Up Day"


"Letakein" thinks that we should change the GYE Logo to this:



(the guy on the tightrope is holding a bottle of 7up and some "Nok-out" Israeli ice-cream, in case you can't tell)
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ok, so where did she get the strange name "7Up" from? Well, when she first joined us she called herself "7Yipol" in reference to the Pasuk "Seven times the tzadik falls (yipol) and gets up (ve'kum)". But after a short time with us, everyone insisted that she change her name to "7Up" (ve'Kum). And "get up" she did - taking us all with her!

As the Zohar says, the brightest light comes out of the darkest night, so I would like to bring her very first e-mail below. It was two days after Shavu'os on June 2, exactly 3 months ago from today. She wrote as follows:

Hi. I am desperate. The Yetzer Hara has been working overtime to destroy me! Please, please help me. I can't keep fighting any more. The only thing in my life of any real importance is a close relationship with my Tatte in Shamayim. The more I fall, the further I get from him. I'm dying of loneliness and have no where to turn. Married 24 years with 8 kids doesn't help, only makes the guilt worse.

I have been alone in gehenim for close to 30 years! I have often davened for Hashem to save me and take me from this world. All I want is the z'chus to 'sit on Hashem's lap', but because of my addiction, even this will be denied me when my time comes. I know for a fact that I will have a harsh olam ha'emes, which doesn't bother me. My pain stems from the shame I will rightfully suffer in front of all I admire, and most of all, the knowledge that Hashem is disappointed in me.

We established contact with her and sent her material to read. She proved to be a very quick learner (and reader!), and within a few short days she had read through most of our website, the two handbooks, and a host of other links that we sent her.

A few days after her initial contact (after countless e-mails back and forth), she wrote back as follows:

It's nothing short of a miracle. Two days after you wrote to me and listened to the pain in my heart, I took upon myself 90 hours clean; the theme of 90, but in a way I thought I could succeed without over reaching. Well, 90 hours has turned into day 6! I am aiming for a week, and after that hopefully for 10 days; baby steps to help me reach my goal.

I raced through all the reading material you sent me, as a drowning person grabbing 100 pieces of driftwood instead of just focusing on the one closest and most appropriate for his current needs. Now I hope to start re-reading and absorbing the messages one by one. I think you have sent me enough reading for at least 100 days to come ;-) I have no way to thank you.

After about 2 weeks of communication, we finally convinced her to join the "Women's Forum" (no, it wasn't easy). But after just one day on the forum, she posted:

Dear holy neshamos,

I have been on this forum for one short day, and the chizuk and love I've experienced is nothing short of amazing. I'd like to share a few thoughts which are running through my head at this crazy hour of 2am. 

All I keep repeating is "Mi K'amcha Yisrael"! For the first time in 30 years, I find myself actually thanking Hakadosh Baruch Hu for this addiction! In a mere 2 weeks (Guard was stuck with me till I joined you all) I have grown more through what I previously perceived as a curse, than all the clear brachos combined.

I see so clearly the difference between goyim and frum Yidden. Goyim are also fighting this terrible epidemic called lust, also filling the SA and SLAA groups in unprecidented numbers. But they are trying to beat it for very different reasons than we. True, we all (them and us) want it to stop taking over our lives, marriages, money and self respect. We all want to stop hiding in 'dark corners' and living double lives.

But I think that's where the similarity ends. They want it to stop ruining their olam hazeh (this world). We want it to stop ruining our olam ha'emes (World of Truth). To us, nothing is more important than our connection to Hashem.

I have no words to thank you all for the chizuk. 

May we all be zoche to see Hashem's chesed clearly, because everything He does is for the good, we just don't always sense it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Below are another few inspiring "random" posts from 7Up:

I've been an addict for close to 30 years! I've been working and battling this for at least 20 - alone. The difference is that NOW, I will succeed. Hashem has been helping me all along, but NOW, I have all you guys too. AND THAT WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. The seeds have been sown a long time, but GYE will be the water after 30 years of drought.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Hashem is so good to me! I could not do this on my own will or power! I tried so many times and failed. Today Hashem is holding my hand and I feel His love like never before! I don't know about you, but to me, feeling His hand holding and love makes this whole nisayon worth it. Really.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Talking to my Tatte in Shamayim is something I do every second of my day. We 'shmooze' while I'm cooking, crossing the street or even yelling at the kids! I thank Him when I make the bus, and when I miss it too. In short, Hashem is my best friend, Father and Teacher. Not only does He know everything anyway, but He knows me much better than I will ever know myself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


NOTHING is more important to me than Ratzon Hashem. Daily, I daven with all my heart that I should be a source of a kiddush Hashem and for the chance to grow closer. I would do ANYTHING to reach this goal. Even giving up all physical pleasure on every level forever, would be a small sacrifice towards that goal.


Well, it's not for nothing she earned the title "GYE Rebbetzin"!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction, in progressive order.

 

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #6
Tool #1: Attitude & Perspective
Part 1
 

Having the proper perspective and attitude on this struggle can make all the difference. Often people write in to us saying that had they only known the proper perspective and attitude guidelines that we discuss on our website when they were younger, they would have never fallen into the addiction in the first place!
 
We created a PDF booklet called "The GuardYourEyes Attitude", which is a collection of what we in the GYE community feel are some of the most important "Attitude" principles in this struggle.
 
The "Attitude" handbook can be a cornerstone tool in our struggle. (It may be helpful to make a day-by-day program to read one of the principles of the Attitude Handbook each day, and try to internalize the message).
 
Not only can the proper perspective help us in the struggle, but often, various misconceptions that we had about the struggle contribute to the underlying reasons that we act out in the first place. For example, one Bochur who was making a push for purity contacted us after a few days and wrote:
 
The initial enthusiasm has kind of worn off and my Yetzer Hara keeps telling me that it's not so bad, so why not? I can't keep up the spiritual enthusiasm for very long, and I don't see how I can possibly hold out much longer.
 
We sent him some of the sections from the "Attitude Handbook" and the next day he wrote back:
 
Thanks so much! It helped tremendously and seems to have done the trick! It makes me see this whole process in a completely different light. Instead on focusing on how depressing the struggle can be, I should be happy that I am "zoche" to have been given the opportunity for such great spiritual growth. Also, as you mentioned there, it is likely that this is part of my main mission in this world. And not everyone is so lucky to know what his personal Avoda is! And the fact that every little bit counts even if we end up falling, and also that we shouldn't focus on staying clean forever but rather only "one day at a time". I must say, that for the first time in years I feel there's real hope and I am actually looking forward to change!
 
This is just one example of how a simple change in attitudes can make all the difference.

Therefore, it is vital that the proper perspective accompany us on our journey to recovery, from day one and throughout all the practical steps we take (as outlined in this handbook below). With the proper attitude, we can succeed in learning to control the addiction in a much shorter time frame, with far less steps, and in a much easier and more pleasant manner than otherwise.

573.


In Today's Issue

  • "What did I learn that I didn't know before?" Boruch shares experience
  • Saying of the Day: Shorthand for Steps 1, 2 & 3
  • Practical Tip of the Day: Talk with someone real!
  • Quote of the Day: Strength in Powerlessness
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 7: Attitude & Perspective, Part 2

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~ What did I find on GYE and in the 12-Steps that I couldn't get from Mussar? ~

By "Boruch" - moderator of the "Back to basics" 12-Step phone conference

(and a Talmid Chacham too!)


"How can I make this Ellul different from every other Ellul?"
(Part 1)

I was addicted to sexual thoughts, fantasy, pornography and masturbation. Every year, Ellul after Ellul, I would launch a full scale attack on my addiction, But sooner or later year after year, I fell and failed.

There were times I stopped in Ellul and did not even make it through Ellul. I would stop again for Rosh Hashana and sometimes not make it through aseres yemei teshuva to Yom Kippur. I would stop on Yom Kippur and not make it through Sukkos. Sometimes I did not even start getting stopped until Rosh Hashana came around. Sometimes I held out from sometime in Ellul for a month or even a little more. But one way or another, come Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, I was back again to my addiction as if Ellul had never come.


I had tried mussar seforim; Shaarei Teshuva, Chovos Halevovos, Maalos Hamiddos, Orchos Tzaddikim, Sefer Charedim, Mesilas Yeshorim, Yesod Veshoresh Ho'avoda, Nefesh HaChaim, Cheshbon Hanefesh and Sifrei Maharal. I learned these seforim with absolute desperation and determination and tried to implement them and follow their instructions, but I always failed to get anything that would last beyond Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. I listened to Rav Avigdor Miller's tapes and learned his seforim. I had a Rebbe who gave excellent mussar and I almost never missed any of his Shiurim. I cried out to Hashem every Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and I was absolutely determined to make that year the last of my addiction, but all to no apparent avail.

Then on January 20th of this year I posted my Teshuva here on GYE. Bechasdei Hashem, I have been sexually sober, one day at a time, since then. What did I find in GYE that I did not find in all the mussar seforim?

Even more puzzling, 10 days after I joined GYE, I joined a face to face meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). It was there that I discovered not just how to avoid pornography and masturbation, but how to recover from fantasy and lust to the extent that on a daily basis they no longer interest me at all.

And through SA's 12-Step program I was introduced to Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and was able to lose 40 lb in 4 months. I was also introduced to Debtors Anonymous (DA) and today, for the first time in over 20 years of marriage, my wife and I have stopped borrowing money. We have a monthly spending plan that is in the Black for already three months, and we have stopped incurring overdraft fees after having racked up over a thousand dollars in overdraft fees in the year before we began our recovery. 


What did I find through SA, OA and DA that I did not find in all the mussar seforim?

Looking back, I now realize that what I had found through GYE, SA, OA and DA was everything I had learned in the mussar seforim! But somehow, I had been unable to get it to work against my addiction. So why did it take GYE, SA, OA and DA for me to discover it? 

The question of "Torah vs Steps" has been much discussed on this forum. At certain points I have added my own two cents to those discussions. I now believe though, from my own experience and from my experience working with other Frum Jews, that there is no "Torah vs Steps" at all.

Rav Avigdor Miller Zt"l was once asked whether it was OK to read Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people". He asked in return whether it was OK to read a Driver's manual.

Alcoholics Anonymous is not about morality: it is about recovery. It is about what works to keep the alcoholic sober. 


If so, how does religion get involved? The answer appears frequently in AA literature. AA says that selfishness and self-centered behavior is what condemns the addict to relapse. Most people are neither 100% selfish nor 100% idealistic. Most people are somewhere in between. An addict, however, who indulges in outright selfishness, even if only some of the time, will, sooner or later, as much as most of the time he knows that he absolutely cannot afford to relapse, in a moment of emotional pain and crisis, he will be unable to distinguish true from false and he will go right back to his drug and relapse totally. That is the problem of addiction. 

What is AA's solution? The addict must avoid selfishness at all costs and instead of looking to satisfy his own self-will he must constantly seek G-d's will. That way, crisis or no crisis, he will never get confused and "drink" again. One thing the addict knows -once he has accepted AA's prescription - is that G-d does not want addicts to go back to their drug. If an addict wants to recover he must constantly seek G-d's will. Of-course "constantly seeking G-d's will" is very religious, that's what the Mesilas Yeshorim in Perek 18 calls Chasidus. And that's where AA is religious.

How about selfishness for the non-alcoholic? Just like drinking for the non-alcoholic is no concern of AA, so too with selfishness. Most non-alcoholics will take a few drinks and then stop and nothing terrible will happen. So too with selfishness. Most people are disciplined and trained to some extent. Even in their more selfish moments, non-alcoholics will generally behave within reason, and even if in selfish moments they behave badly, they will not spin out of control in a self-destructive cycle. As long as these non-addicts can use their more idealistic moments to improve, they can become very religious and very good people. 

Not so the addict. The experience of millions of addicts who have adopted the AA program is that living with selfishness - even part of the time, is a recipe for certain relapse and assured disaster. The experience of millions of addicts is that recovery can only be achieved by shifting to G-d's will instead of self-will. 

That has nothing to do with religion. It is simply a fact of addiction and recovery. And that's a fact that I never knew when I learned the musar seforim. Yes, I knew all about Chasidus of the Mesilas Yeshorim. But I always thought that before I worry about Chasidus in perek 18 of Mesilas Yeshorim I first have to get Zehirus in perek 2 of Mesilas Yeshorim and avoid the outright aveiros I am doing in my addiction. Meanwhile, I was still operating on selfishness and I was doomed to relapse repeatedly. And all the while I was thinking, "First things first; first keep Shulchan Oruch, then get to midas Chasidus". I never realized that was all very true and fine for the non-addict, but for the addict it was a sentence to a lifetime of addiction.

Until - bechasdei Hashem - I found the AA program which taught me that if I wanted to avoid relapse, for practical purposes, I have to replace self-will with G-d's will. In teaching me that key fact, the AA/SA program is exactly like a Driver's manual or a Carnegie book. It is information about addiction, not opinion on religion.

So this Ellul I know that in order to keep from addiction I have to especially focus on what the musar seforim say about Chasidus. If I am not being mamlich Hashem (making Hashem king)  to the utmost of my ability today, I am in danger of relapse. That's a preparation to Rosh Hashana and a kabolas ol malchus shomayim that I never knew would not only save me from my addiction - but give me the potential to become the oved Hashem (divine servant) that I always wanted to be.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saying of the Day
By "Dov"

Steps 1, 2 and 3 (of the 12 Steps) in short:


"I can't, He can, so I'll do whatever it takes to get out of the way and let Him!"


 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Practical Tip of the Day
Uri posted on the forum to some of his fellow strugglers:

You guys should exchange phone numbers. I have several guys from the forum that I talk to by phone, and it makes a humongous difference in my struggle just to have someone I can call anytime when I'm buggin out.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
By "On the Road"

Although we are not responsible for our addiction, we are responsible for the cure. But how can this be? Its not fair! We need to take it to the one who gave us the problem and begin with turning our fight over to Him. He wants us to be responsible for the cure, but the cure is not battling addiction and beating our heads against a wall. It's simply recognizing that He created us powerless and wants us to realize that we are powerless. And in that we find our strength.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction, in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #7
Tool #1: Attitude & Perspective
Part 2
 

Aside from the many important principles presented in the "Attitude Handbook", here are some other great steps we can take to continue learning and refining our perspective on this struggle every day:

  • We can Sign up and receive the daily Chizuk e-mails. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
  • We can read through the incredible Chizuk that is posted on the forum every day!
  • We can listen to this wonderful shiur from R' Yisrael Reisman Shlit"a, which provides some excellent perspective on this struggle.
  • We can Download here a PDF file translated by GYE from a Hebrew book called "The First Day of the Rest of My Life", written by a religious addict with the purpose of helping people break free from Lust addiction.
     

If we read some of the above every day, even a little bit, we will quickly be swept up by the spirit of the GuardYourEyes community and will rapidly internalize many of the Yesodos that will help us maintain the proper attitude and perspective on this struggle throughout our journey.

574.

 

In Today's Issue

  • Skipping Straight to Chassidus: Boruch shares experience (Part 2)
  • Saying of the Day: "My worst days when trying..."
  • Practical Tip of the Day: Daven for them!
  • Quote of the Day: My Shooting Instructor
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 8: Guard Your Eyes, Part 1

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~ Skipping Straight to Chassidus ~

By "Boruch" - moderator of the "Back to basics" 12-Step phone conference

(and a Talmid Chacham too!)


"How can I make this Ellul different from every other Ellul?"
(Part 2)

In yesterday's Chizuk e-mail (#573 above) we brought an insightful post from "Boruch" describing how every year he would make a push for purity in Elul, only to quickly fall backwards again. Boruch spelled out for us how this year's Elul is different for him, ever since the 12-Steps have taught him how to be Mamlich Hashem (make Hashem King) in his heart.

"ClearEyes" answered Boruch (on yesterday's post) as follows:


Boruch - great post. You have tremendous insight with this addiction. Please share with us some more!!! 

I had the same Elul experiences as long as I can remember. Sometimes I would start earlier, sometimes later. Fall before Rosh Hashanna, after Rosh Hashanna, before Yom Kipper. I don't know if I ever made it to Sukkos. But this Elul is already different. Why? Because I have GYE. My Elul is already different. But the real answer to your question is another question. "How can I make this Tishrei different than every other Tishrei?" (Isn't that the point of Elul?) We need to stick with the cure. I guarantee anyone who stays with GYE through Tishrei past Yom Kippur will experience the Elul they always wanted - and more importantly - have the year and become the person they always wanted!!

Hatzlacha to all. Let's all do this together and elevate this experience to an even higher level. - Kisei Hakovod, here we come!!!!!!

Boruch replies:


Cleareyes, Thank you for your kind words of chizzuk. The truth is that there is more. The single yesod of the whole AA/SA program is replacing self-will with G-d's will. But the question becomes, "how do we make that happen?"


One possibility would be, for example, working the sefer Mesilas Yeshorim from the hakdama (introduction), through perakim 1-18. But there is a serious problem with that:

The Mesilas Yeshorim writes that while everyone can get to Nekiyus (cleanliness from sin), Perishus - (separation from this world) is not for everyone, and never mind Chasidus (a high level of divine awareness and piety). And he was writing for the Yidden of his generation who were far more pious than the Yidden in ours.

And even more problematically, he was writing for non-addicts. Perishus (separation) on anything - can be an almost insurmountable challenge for any addict. An addict in active addiction is often in "instant-gratification mode" on all enjoyments, even those to which he is not fully addicted. So if Perishus is difficult for the non-addict, it is not too hard to imagine how difficult it would be for an addict. For all but a select few, it is probably close to impossible for the addict to use Mesilas Yeshorim to get to Chasidus. But herein lies the problem. And addict needs Chassidus to stay sober (Chasidus is the idea of replacing self-will with G-d's will).


So what we addicts would really need, is a crash course on the Chasidus of the Mesilas Yeshorim for addicts. This may sound slightly similar to the goal of the Chasidus of the Baal Shem Tov, which was to have a basic form of Chasidus that works even for the most simple Jew. The problem is, we need a Chasidus that is both a practical program of action for the body and also a program of changing our way of thinking for the soul, in which the main idea would be to internalize the simple and essential "All for the Boss". And this program has to be something that even an addict could implement.

When I first came onto GYE back in January of this year, I was working with Rabbenu Yona Shaarei Teshuva and various maamorei Chazal. At that point I was flying totally blind on both what to stop (I thought I needed to stop the pornography and masturbation but had no concept that the real addiction was "the lust") and how to stop (I thought it was all about determination and willpower). I did not even have the first understanding of addiction itself. All I knew was that I had used everything at my disposal that I knew of, and that I was desperately praying that I should succeed in remaining clean for life.

Today I have come to believe that Hashem saw how clueless I was and He saw that somewhere within me there was a "pintele Yid" trying to return to his Father in Heaven. I have come to believe that in his great mercy and kindness, He chose me, not because I deserve it but because He had mercy on me, to allow me to put the 36 years of my addiction to good use by sharing my story with others. 

I have come to believe that is also why He directed me in a miraculous way (with multiple "coincidences") to a very specific SA group that was at a very specific period of their growth, which enabled me to share a system of adopting a very simple, practical and basic level of Chasidus - so simple and basic that even a non-Jewish drunk could get started within just 4 weeks. No previous religious background, knowledge or idealism is required, no prior Emunah (faith) is required, in fact nothing at all is required except for a determination to go to any length to get sober.

And even greater than the kindness that Hashem has done for my eating and financial problems, and even more critical to my recovery, is this ability Hashem gave me to share with fellow addicts a foolproof system for addiction-free living that takes nothing more than a readiness to do whatever it takes. That's what I got from the 12 Steps of SA.

The system Boruch found is called "Back to Basics; 12-Steps in 4 weeks", and today Boruch moderates an anonymous phone conference group here on GYE twice a week, for a group of religious guys just like you! See this page for info on how to join. (You can still catch this Sunday's call!)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saying of the Day
By "Momo"

"After my latest binge, I realized that my worst days when trying are nowhere as bad as my 'normal' days when not trying"


 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Practical Tip of the Day
"It works for me - and I need to be free!"
By "Dov"

I believe in very few "rules" and directives. If whatever I'm already doing isn't working (and I had >15 years of that craziness), I try something else. If that works, I keep it in my pocket for the next time and share it with others.

Here's one example of what works for me. If I have a strong temptation to take an intentional look at someone, or if they come back into my mind later on, I daven for them. For me, it works every time, especially when it really hurts inside. It usually takes one or two doses of prayer and their image completely loses its power over me.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
My Shooting Instructor
By "Kanesher"

Direct anger and frustration at the addiction and use that energy for recovery.

My shooting instructor once told me, "there are people in this world who need to be shot. When that time comes, you want to be able to help them".

We owe him. Now it's your bullet. For every smashed dream, for every moment of guilt, disgust, fear... we owe him a blood debt, one that we won't forget. Every time we say no, every time we help someone else say no - it's payback time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #8
Tool #2: Guard Your Eyes
Part 1
 

It is not for nothing that our network is called "GuardYourEyes". Aside from having the proper attitude in this struggle - as discussed above, the most obvious practical step to conquering lust addiction is learning to guard our eyes. This is the cornerstone of breaking free, and it's obvious why: We can't lust for that which we don't see. When we guard our eyes, it's like we are avoiding the wrestling rink where the mighty Yetzer Hara is waiting to beat us up. If we simply don't enter the rink, he can't touch us!
 
And conversely, it is impossible to even begin to heal from lust addiction if we continue to be bombarded with triggers at every turn. As Lust Addicts, our minds have become accustomed to lusting. We can not gaze at stimulating imagery and expect not to be triggered. We cannot have it all within hands reach and expect to be strong enough to stay away. We have grown addicted to the chemical rush in our mind that the Lust brings on, much in the same way that an alcoholic craves his bottle. Therefore, if we are to break the addictive cycle, we must first keep lust at a distance to be able to begin our journey to recovery.
 
And one of the first things that this entails is installing a strong internet filter.
 

Internet Filters

 
The GuardUrEyes.com website has an entire section with filter options, ranging from "server" or "client" based, free or commercial, Jewish or non-Jewish. There is something there to meet anyone's needs. On our website, we can also learn about how the different types of filters work and what the terms mean, such as "server based", "client based", "white-list", "blacklist" etc...
 
If you're looking for a free relatively solid and simple-to-use filter, we recommend K9. However, it is imperative that someone else's e-mail address be used in the installation, so the password cannot be easily requested. For a step by step guide on how to do this correctly and efficiently see here (Important: read also the comments at the bottom of the page). If we must have completely open internet access for our work, we can still download accountability software where e-mails are sent to a partner who will see all the questionable pages that we may have browsed.
 
If our internet filter does not block all questionable sites, we must carefully consider our motivation for every site we visit. We must begin to recognize the sly voice of our addiction. If it's a news site, we need to consider why we want to read certain articles. If it's because the site or article discusses inappropriate topics (fashion, celebrities, or "news items" relating to immoral behavior), or even if it might discuss them and the Yetzer Hara (read: addiction) wants us to find out for sure, then we must learn to hold back and not click the links. In general, it is important to limit the amount of sites we visit to a small list and question anytime we feel the need to visit a site that is not on the list.

575.

 

In Today's Issue

  • From Uri's Diary - Part 1: "Tapping in to the REAL US"
  • From Uri's Diary - Part 2: "Hashem or Bust"
  • Response to Uri: From "7Up"
  • Response to Uri: From "Battleworn"
  • Saying of the Day: By "ClearEyes"
  • Quote of the Day: By "Hoping"
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 9: Guard Your Eyes, Part 2

--------------------------------------------------------------

Today I want to bring some awesome posts from the diary of Uri in Jerusalem. There is so much we can learn about Teshuvah in Elul from this young boy.


Uri Uri, Shir Dabeiri! - Awake Awake, Sing a Song!

"Tapping in to the REAL US"

 

On Motzai Shabbos Uri posted on the forum:


I dragged myself to shul Friday night, after not having been or shul or having davened in around 4 days.
I went to a shul that I'm rarely at, in the hope of no one bothering me.
I sat in the corner and listened to sounds of Yedid Nefesh and I closed my eyes and tried somehow to connect to the beautiful song even though I was not in that place.
After a minute though, I started getting lost in the moving tune and in the words of longing for Hashem.
Tears started welling up when I felt an arm on my shoulder.
I looked up to see the Gabai standing over me. He's a family friend.
I knew what he wanted right away.
"No. I'm sorry, but I'd rather not daven this week".
He gave me a pleading look. I knew from times past that it's hard to find a chazzan in a shul such as this. It's mostly older Americans who are of the Young Israel type.
I finally nodded my consent. He smiled and walked off.
"What's going on here? G-d, do you fancy yourself a comedian? Out of all the possible weeks, why this one?! I haven't davened in almost a week. I am just 2 days after a crazy marathon of sin, and I am not feeling in the least inspired".
But I do take Kabbalos Shabbos pretty seriously. It used to be my favorite time of the whole week. And I believe that anyone who leads the Tzibbur has to really be sincere and in touch with Hashem and the moment.
So I dug deep down, looking for that part of me which I know is there somewhere, but is at times (especially now) really hard to find and connect to.
I took the tallis that the Gabai handed me and got up to the bimah.
I looked down at the siddur. Such beautiful words.
I opened my mouth "Lechu Neranena Lashem..."
I was off.
It was the most beautiful davening I have had in a long long time.
I have never seen a congregation get so into it.
Here we were, all joined together in the song of the Shabbos - that I thought I might never feel again.
I thought the shul would lift into the air and fly directly to shamayim as we sang the holy song of "Lecha Dodi".
By the time we got to Shema, I could swear I felt the walls shaking.
People were mamash yelling "SHEMA YISRAEL!"

It was gevaldig, my friends.
After davening, people were coming over to me left and right.
One guy told me that now he felt he could have a real shabbos.
I think they were exaggerating a bit, but I got the message.
Ok, so I've been down. I've been really down.
But there is a part of me that is connected to Hashem and will always be connected no matter what.
And if I can only learn to tap into that part, life will be a very different experience.
I never realized that I can bring up that part even when I'm not "feeling it".

That's one of the lessons I learned from this Friday night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Hashem or BUST!

 

Uri posted on Sunday Morning:


I had a very long and difficult night.
I had a very long and difficult week.
I've been in a very bad emotional state and I'm not really sure how to get out of it.
Anything you guys want to suggest, I will have already tried. Thank you, though.
Last night I fell.
I had really really wanted to go for the 90 days this time.
I was inspired by Mom's (7Up) attainment of 90 days last week, and I had hoped to use that inspiration to do so myself as well.
I barely made it to 3 days.
But I took a shower, put on a fresh pair of clothes, grabbed my tefillin (first I had to look for them, I haven't seen them in a couple of days) and I headed out to the Kosel.
As I stood there wrapping my tefillin on my arm, I felt like such an idiot.
"Who the heck do I think I am?! I was just in a world of tumah and znus and wasted my life for enjoyment! What am I doing here?"
As that thought crossed my mind, I had a picture of Hashem pushing me away.
"Get out of here", He was saying, "I don't need you to daven to Me".
I was feeling pretty stupid when I remembered something that happened to me last week.
I came home from yeshiva exhausted and depressed.
My little 5 year old sister ran over, shrieking for a hug.
"Not right now. I'm so tired. I'll play with you later".
But to my surprise, she again reached for a hug.
I said, "not right now, my arms are full, and I'm really tired and not feeling well."
I was speaking gently but firmly.
But she kept persisting. "Uri, pick me up. Hold me". She was begging.
I was so moved that I put down my bags and reached down to pick her up and hugged her with all the love that I possessed. I couldn't stop kissing her.
This memory flashed through my mind as I stood there in my tefillin in front of the Wall, as the sun was beginning to rise.
And I said to Hashem, "Listen. I don't know if you want me to talk to you or not. You're probably sick of me by now, and You are trying to get me to go away. But no matter how hard you push, I will keep reaching for You. You can't get rid of me, not You, not the Yetzer Hara, not the Satan, no one. I will not stop reaching for you to hold me."
And with that, I davened Shacharis.
I davened for all of us at GYE and I thought of a few specific strugglers that I know are having quite a painful and difficult time. And I cried.
And I thought of myself.
"Hashem, I just want to be good".
"I just want to learn without going crazy inside".
"I want to be able to daven without feeling this deep guilt".
"I want to be a holy home among klal yisrael".
"I want to have a pure marriage".
"I don't want this anymore".
And I cried.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Later Uri contacted "Mom" (7Up, the GYE Rebbetzin) and poured out his heart and pain, feeling that Hashem had abandoned him by letting him fall. She replied:

Dear Uri, I'm crying as I write this. I read your thread and tears of pain and pride are trickling down my cheek right now. If only you knew how special you are! 

To be honest, I'm not sure why you feel Hashem has abandoned you again. Didn't you just have a Kabbalas Shabbos in shamayim itself? Didn't you get to daven at the Kosel? Didn't you get to open your heart to the only one who can really hear its pain? Just because he didn't answer immediately doesn't mean He didn't listen. Only a child demands and expects immediate gratification. And Uri, you are no longer a child. You need to learn acceptance and patience; both for yourself and for others. But MOSTLY, for yourself....

Hasn't Hashem sent you His most precious messengers to hold your hand through these great tests? Are GYE members anything less than human angels? My dear Uri, what are you expecting exactly; that the kisei hakavod itself come down and plonk itself in your living room? OPEN YOUR EYES; Hashem's hugs are there. He loves you; We love you. Now all we need is for YOU to love YOU!!!!!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Battleworn" wrote a beautiful heartfelt response to Uri on the forum:


Holy Uri, you outdid yourself this time. What you said to Hashem by the Kosel is by far the greatest and most powerful form of Teshuva and Teffila! The Gemarah says that the king Menasheh was such a terrible rashah that he really couldn't do Teshuva anymore according to the normal rules. But when he did teshuva ANYWAY, Hashem "dug a tunnel" for him to return through. In other words, this kind of attitude - that "I don't care about anything; I want Hashem or BUST", has the power to create a new reality that didn't exist before. 

In fact, R' Tzadok (Tzdkas Hatzadik 46) says that this is the avodah of our generation (the last one before Moshiach). He says that this is the deeper meaning of what Chazal say, that in the last generation "Chutzpa Yasgi - Brazenness will increase"- that even when Hashem pushes us away, we still insist on coming close. That is THE way to bring Moshiach, and it's thoroughly amazing to see it happening in such a perfect way!!!

Dearest Uri, all those guys that are learning their heads off in Yeshiva getting ready for Rosh Hashonah, they're great - Hashem loves them - they're doing wonderful things, and kol hakovod to them. But it's people like YOU that Moshiach has been waiting for. PEOPLE WHO FIND HASHEM IN THE DARKEST OF THE DARK; PEOPLE WHO AFTER BEING ROBBED OF ALL THEIR KEDUSHA AND THROWN IN TO THE VERY DEPTHS OF TUMAH UNTIL THEY CAN'T EVEN GET THEMSELVES TO PUT ON TEFILIN, THEY JUST WON'T GIVE UP! THEY JUST WON'T BUDGE! AND THEY SAY: "No matter how hard you push, I will keep reaching for You. You can't get rid of me, not You, not the Yetzer Hara, not the Satan, no one. I will not stop reaching for you to hold me."

Uri, I'm so full of awe and emotion, that I can't even think straight anymore....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saying of the Day

By "ClearEyes"

"One really tough Sunday afternoon is worth more than 10 regular days for your growth and in separating yourself from this addiction."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
By "Hoping"

"I started here just a few months ago, after 20 years of addiction. I too thought this was just another "strategy" in the long list of strategies that I have tried. Obviously, they all failed. But you will see, GYE is not only about strategy. We can all get real recovery here. YOU CAN GET BETTER!"


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #9
Tool #2: Guard Your Eyes
Part 2
 

In healing from this addiction, we need to learn to be very honest with ourselves. If we find that we can't control our surfing habits, we need to admit it and make stronger fences (see the next tool - #3), such as getting a better filter or setting the current filter's settings to a higher protection level.
 
We highly suggest getting solid internet filters that block any questionable sites. The best type of filters are Jewish server-based filters like Jnet, Koshernet, Yeshivanet and Internet Rimon (in Israel). And of course, the best level of protection is "White-list", which means that all sites are blocked except for specific sites that we can ask the company to open for us (or sites that the company has already checked and white-listed). If the "white-list" option is impossible for us for Parnassa related reasons, the filter should at least be set to the highest protection setting that we can afford to use, even if that means less entertainment.
 
It is important to realize though, that the goal of the filter is only to keep it "out of sight and out of mind". It is not going to remove the possibility of accessing indecent material altogether. If a person is determined enough, they will often be able to find ways to bypass filters, and even if not, they will always be able to find many other venues to access inappropriate material. Ultimately, the change must come from within, with a sincere desire to stop lusting. (See the "Attitude Handbook" for more on how to achieve this sincerity).
 
The filter acts mainly as a "heker" (a reminder), similar in a sense to what our Sages tell us about Palti ben Layish (to whom Shaul Hamelech gave over David's wife). Palti was alone every evening with Michal (who Chazal tell us was one of the most beautiful women) and yet he never stumbled because of a sword that he placed between the two of them, saying that whoever bypasses this sword should be run through by it. The filter is like our sword, it is our "heker". But it will not stop us completely unless we want it to. However, since it can take a long time until we learn to genuinely give up our lust to Hashem, we must have a strong filter at all times. For if we don't get it out of reach, we won't be able to stop the vicious cycle of addiction and begin the healing process.
 
Another great way to make sure we guard our eyes online is to place the computer in a highly visible area of the house such as the living room, and to also make sure never to use the internet when alone in the house.
 
In any event, it is best for us - if possible - to avoid all non-Jewish news and entertainment sites (and the like). See our Kosher Isle for lists of Kosher news and entertainment sites that can provide us with more than our daily dosage of news and distractions.

576.


In Today's Issue

  • Mazal Tov to Jack: One Year Clean!
  • A New e-Book on Shmiras Habris: "Hands-Off"
  • Poem of the Day: "I Fell"
  • Quote of the Day: Rav Avigdor Miller zt"l
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "I'm Just Hashem's Kid"
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 10: Guard Your Eyes, Part 3

--------------------------------------------------------------

A Big Mazal Tov to Jack on One Year Clean!

Jack wrote me an e-mail:


Dear guardureyes, yesterday was my one-year anniversary on GYE. What is a birthday for if not for reflecting on the past year? Have we grown? Are we the same as we were last year? Well, for 38 years straight, I was the same every year, YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT. On Yom Kippur, the bracha says, 'umavir ashmosainu bichol shana v'shana'- which means G-d wipes out our sins every year. Well, until I found GYE, I was asking every year for Him to wipe out my sins. This year, for the first time in my life, I DO NOT HAVE TO ASK HIM TO WIPE OUT THIS SIN, BECAUSE I DIDN'T GO TO THAT PLACE EVEN ONCE. Of course, I still need help on my OTHER sins, which are many. But, at least, on this one particular sin, He can rest this year :-) So, thank you, thank you, and thank you again for doing this tremendous, tremendous tova for the Jewish world. May Hashem grant you and your family and friends and all who are dependent on you, much bracha and continued hatzlacha with your holy, holy work.

To see Jack's inspiring log from his first 90 days click here

 

If Jack can do it, we ALL can!

Jack suffers from so many things, low self esteem, anxiety, abusive childhood, fear and constant pain (from a burst appendix in his youth which never fully healed), and he was heavily addicted for 38 years! Jack is mechayev (obligates) us all.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hands-Off"
A PDF e-Book on Shmiras Habris


Someone recently sent us an e-Book on Shmiras Habris with tips on staying clean, which he called "Hands-Off". Click here to download the PDF (right-click and choose "Save Target/link As"). Here is what he wrote to us:

Shalom Aleichem, A friend of mine just sent me the link to your site. What a great implementation of a wonderful idea! B"H, I have been "clean" for over 3 years and in fact, a friend asked me how I have managed this and I proceeded to write him a pamphlet on attitudes, safeguards, kavanos, etc. Another friend has asked for it as well, so I refined it now (as the first was written quickly on torn notebook paper). I believe that what I wrote was very helpful; at least it was for my friend. Please feel free to share it with others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poem of the Day
A moving poem by "TrYiNg"

"I Fell"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
Posted by "Kedusha"
From "Sing, You Righteous" by Rav Avigdor Miller zt"l
 

"Romantic Love is a huge fraud foisted on the western world by poets and novelists, but it has no place in reality, and it always ends in frustration. It is only when marriages are made with rational considerations, that the participants thereby are satisfied. Art 'for itself' is an empty affectation, and Literature is the great chorus of falsehood which continues to persuade men that all these empty values are important."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daily Dose of Dov
"I'm Just Hashem's Kid"

Someone wrote on the forum:


I'm on day 20 and hit a milestone of one of the first periods of nidda that I made it through without falling. You would think I'd be flying high... But I actually had a tough Shabbos. My addiction was causing me to obsess quite a lot and it was really disturbing. I wanted to enjoy my success and totally envisioned that I would, but I didn't get that glowing feeling...

Dov Responds:

 

I can afford a little enjoyment of "my" successes. But just a little. It appears to many that the more encouragement, the better, but I have found it not to be so. Mind you, I am not proposing that there is anything at all essentially treif or evil about patting oneself on the back (even though Hashem really deserves 98.6% of the credit - I doubt He minds...). We do it all the time and Pavlov loved the idea. And so do I. I need to be grateful and appreciate success, because success makes me a believer. That is the only reason I use dates and anniversaries.

But when it came to expecting joy from "x" amount of days sober, I discovered that I reach a point of diminishing returns rather quickly. I easily get overconfident - I have seen dozens of guys get sober for a week or a month, or more, and go back out there. Strangely, it often happens soon after they expound a bit on new-found wisdom based on the "sobriety time under their belts". I am not criticizing them, at all. All I am saying is that I don't need that. And I don't want it for any other addict, either.

In the big picture, I deserve little credit for breathing. I also deserve only a little credit for just staying sober. It's the prerequisite for life itself. I pity the guy who just wants to "stay alive", for his whole life. The question is: what did I do with the life I was given as a result of staying sober? Not in a judgemental way, at all, mind you, but in a positive way. I simply do not have the luxury to sit back and enjoy the sobriety for very long. Just a bit. Then I need to remember to use my gift of sobriety to move on quickly into living my life. That's recovery for me. Real life - engaging it and living it. 

See, some folks will say that there is intrinsic value in just not acting out. And, of course, I agree! You know, they say at the American Lung Assoc. that "When you can't breathe, nothing else matters". Great line, no?

However, I ask you: is that all you really want? Is that really your goal? Allow me to put it in a Torah context: Is your goal in your life as a Jew to "do mitzvos and to not do aveiros"? Or is it (as the Chovos Halevavos puts it:) to build a relationship with Hashem? Of course the work of a lifetime is in little bites - but as spiritual yidden (and I believe if you are an addict - you are probably very spiritual) most agree (at least those hold onto mussar or chassidus) that we need to keep our eyes on the Prize, lest we get lost in the details and derailed. As for me - and I assume you'll understand - I spent all my years in addiction serving Hashem, albeit in a very stilted way. I was relating to Him mainly through my lust: either I was pathetic cuz I gave in, or worthy cuz I didn't. Now I am neither. I am just His kid. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #10
Tool #2: Guard Your Eyes
Part 3
 

Guarding our eyes outside

 
As addicts to lust, we must be extra careful about where we go. It is best to refrain from frequenting malls and other such public places where we know we will have difficulty guarding our eyes. If we must be in such places, we can try to spend as little time there as possible, and perhaps even wear sunglasses covered inside with non-see through lamination (see Chizuk e-mail #76 on this page for a nice story about this), or color the inside of a special pair of glasses with a black magic marker, leaving only a small hole to pear through (the Steipler gave someone this idea). Even weddings, Simchos and family gatherings can be problematic for us, and we can try to prepare ourselves mentally before hand. We can resolve to remain in the non-mixed areas as much as possible, or try to find a seat facing in a direction opposite from any possible triggers.
 
If we will have to be in an area where we know there will be a struggle, we can try to offer a short prayer before leaving the house: "Please Hashem, help me not to take any second looks". And if we find that we do stumble and take a second look, we can quickly offer another short prayer and say "Hashem, I surrender my lust to you! Please take it away from me". 

 

Guarding our eyes off-line

 
If we are serious about breaking free of Lust addiction, we need to try to refrain from watching TV, movies and reading non-Jewish magazines and newspapers, all of which are full of promiscuity. Even the most innocent-sounding children's movies today are filled with imagery which can be very triggering for a lust addict and we must therefore try to avoid them.
 
Let's talk about movies, for example. Movies are one of the biggest stumbling blocks to a proper healing from lust addiction, because often we find them very hard to give up. They serve as a source of entertainment for millions of people around the world, and they are often a welcome distraction from the difficult realities of life. But movies are filled to the brim with triggers to lust. (See this humorous article about movies from Arutz Sheva Blogger, Tzvi Fishman). And even if one is successful to find a movie with absolutely no provocatively dressed women or kissing scenes in them (almost impossible today), will there still not even be any attractive female actors in the movie at all? Therefore, if we are trying to guard our eyes in the street - and we must be; how can we allow ourselves to stare at attractive women in a movie for about 2 hours straight? As lust addicts, most of us simply cannot look at attractive women - even modestly dressed - and not think or feel any undercurrent of lust. The nature of the addiction has taken this ability away from us. And we must admit this truth to ourselves, that as long as we are lusting - we are still feeding the addiction.
 
Therefore, in the GYE community, we know that if we are truly serious about breaking free from the poison of lust, we must let this be our sacrifice for Hashem's glory and give up non-Jewish movies for good. And surely this will be considered a most precious sacrifice in Hashem's eyes, a sacrifice brought on the alter of our hearts!
 
For more practical tips on guarding the eyes see this page, and for some great attitude tips on guarding our eyes that can really make it easier, read through this page.

577.


In Today's Issue

  • Mazal Tov to Jack (Part 2): Reactions & Responses
  • Quote of the Day: "Turning to Hashem"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "Giving in won't help"
  • Personal Experience: "ClearEyes" shares...
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 11. Guard Your Eyes, Part 4

--------------------------------------------------------------

Mazal Tov To Jack - Part 2
Responses & Reactions


In response to yesterday's Mazal Tov to "Jack" on his one year anniversary
(and the links to his 90 day time-line) "MosheF" wrote:

For 15 years, every single time I needed it, I just followed it until I was sick, and then resolved never to do it again. That lasted for a day or two, maximum a week, and then I was right back. So now, what do I expect of myself - that it's going to be easy?! I know it will be hard, but I'm trying all the same.

It was good timing that today's chizuk email spoke about Jack, I followed his story a year ago and he really is mechayev (obligates) us all. I don't usually cry (I leave that to my wife), but I read his posts and story and my eyes were filled with tears.

"On the Road" wrote:


Jack's story is unbelievable. I am so encouraged when I see people that did it. Real people. Normal people who make me realize that I can do it too. Unbelievable.

I sent these responses to "Jack" and he wrote me back:


Yes, it's hard for me to believe myself. I went through torture, if you remember. But it was worth it, boy was it worth it. It would have been much much easier not to do anything about it, but I grabbed on to you guys, and I never let go. And I don't plan on ever letting go.

I have to remember that I can fall any time at the drop of a hat. So far I haven't, but I know I have to be on my guard every second. Just this morning I thought about what would be born from my actions if I would stumble, and it stopped me. I AM an addict and I have to watch it.

And by the way, Rabbi Twerski says that someone can become an addict to anything, such as alcohol, as long as it fills a void. Remember the 'void' that I cried about last year and you wrote to Rabbi Twerski twice for me (see here and here)? Well, B"H I don't feel that void anymore. Don't ask me why, because I won't be able to tell you, but I just don't feel it anymore.

Jack asked me to post the following to everyone:


Dear GYE family,

As you know, I only have sporadic access to GYE these days at the library (if there's no line). So, I want to wish everybody a CLEAN year, and I want to tell you that I love you all for the efforts you are making. Yes, it's extremely difficult, but the rewards are worth it. Any addiction can ruin our lives if carried too far. It ruins families - do you want that? Taken to its extreme, it can even be deadly - do you want that? Do you want your picture on the front page of the New York Post with the following headline: 'JEWISH ORTHODOX MAN SEEN IN THE MOST DECADENT PLACE ON EARTH!'? The post would love to print that story - and your life will be ruined. Do you think they care? They just want one thing - to sell papers, period. THINK man, THINK!! This is all BESIDES transgressing the will of G-d!!!!

Do Teshuva now. It is before Rosh Hashanah - one day now counts more than any other time of year! Please, get the treatment you need. And remember to have patience. Help might not come right away, it might take time to find the right support, the right people; but at least you're trying! And above all, DON'T GIVE UP! NEVER give up the fight! No matter how many falls; as it says "seven times the Tzadik falls and gets up". Seven is just an arbitrary number. It means even a thousand! And remember, you can't do it alone. It is only a rare person that can do it alone.

And lastly, if you get clean, don't let gaava (pride) get you! Gaava can bring you down faster than you can blink an eye! Never let your guard down!

A good and blessed year to everyone,
Jack


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
"Why does Elul seem even harder?"
By 7Up

When all is going smoothly, we don't feel as much of a need to speak to Hashem and request His help. Sorta like a wealthy person rarely feels the need to ask Hashem to give him parnassa as often as a poor person does. But the reality is, that BOTH are just as dependant on His chesed every second, and at any point the cheshbon could switch.

Our sudden weakness and vulnerability now, remind us to turn to Hashem. "SAVE ME, I don't want to fall!!!" Davka during Elul Hashem wants to hear this more than any other time of the year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daily Dose of Dov
Saying of the Day

"I have never felt bad enough - or been in a situation that is bad enough, that a little lusting wouldn't make it even worse!"

Ani ma'amin be'emunah sheleimah that however much it hurts not to act out, acting out will only make things even more complicated and even more difficult for me. There's gottabe something else I can do!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Personal Experience of the Day
"Can There Be Anything Greater Than This?"

A very inspiring post by "ClearEyes" (clean already 50 days!)

One of the main tactics for me is filling the emptiness with spiritual pursuits. When I actually think about it, I have made such strides and should be dancing in the streets, but the Y"H does wonders in concealing our accomplishments and revealing only our setbacks.

Before my recent change, I was devoid of any ruchnius. No learning, no minyan; davening was a joke. I was empty. In the beginning of my journey on GYE, my change was mainly "sur me'ra". I avoided lust at all costs and spent hours on end reading GYE to penetrate my heart and soul. Amazingly, growth in other areas began to take place. My davening went from under a minute, to 2-3 minutes. I began davening from a siddur, as a tikkun. I surprised myself by driving by a shul on Sunday and somehow ended up inside for Mincha. I even made an effort to get up and daven shachris with a minyan, but even with going to bed on time and having had enough sleep, I could not get up 1 minute before I needed to get to work on time. Then came Elul. Boy was it hard, but I managed to break the ice and get myself to shul. After 30+ days clean, I am now going to shul for shachris every morning. 

My learning also did not take place till after a full month clean. I had thoughts to learn already before 30 days, but I did not. I knew I needed to spend every spare minute immersed in GYE, taking in as much medicine as I could. I was sick and if I had wasted hours daily taking in the poison, I needed to spend hours with the cure. If the y"h tried to have me leave GYE dressed up as a tzadik crying "Bitul Torah", I answered back that GYE is Torah!

Before I opened a sefer, I had to be ready.
I needed distance from the tumah.
I wanted my head in the sefer.
I needed distance from the tumah.

I wanted the sefer to stay open more than a few minutes.
I needed distance from the tumah.

I wanted to be able to apply the same energy as I did towards my addiction.
I needed distance from the tumah.


I would (and still do) daven to Hashem to fill my "void". During davening, I place special focus on "p'sach libi betorasecha, u'vimitzvosecha tirdoph nafshi".

Please Hashem, break open my heart,
even just a little.
Soften up my heart,
even just a little.
Let me want, stay focused, and understand your Torah,
even just a little.
Let me desire You, Your Torah and Your mitzvos like I desired my addiction,
even just a little.
Let me run towards You like I literally ran towards my addiction,
even just a little  


I have distanced myself from the tumah. It is now time for "ve'ase tov". I have begun learning the parsha, halacha, and gemara. It's not easy, and I need to stay focused, but the desire is there. Albeit small, something has been ignited within. I work and have a wife and kids, so I don't have hours to spend in learning. I am now working on keeping my head in my sefer during my train ride to and from work. 

Yesterday I was having trouble understanding a gemara and I gave up. But I need to realize how far I've come in such a short time and be happy that I'm on the correct path. So I'm having trouble understanding a gemara! Big deal! So I'll read the mishna again. So I'll be behind on the daf. I need to focus on the quality. The harder it is to understand - and the harder I try, the better. This is the best tikkun possible. We are all here to change our lives. The greater the result (overcoming our addiction), then the greater effort is needed to be put in. Can there be anything greater than overcoming our addiction?! Certainly not! Then we can't expect it to be easy. This is what we were created for. Its going to be hard, very hard, but we can do it!!! 

May Hashem continue to steer us clear of lust and may we continue moving upward on the path of righteousness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #11
Tool #2: Guard Your Eyes
Part 4
 

The Cornerstone

 
It is important to realize that guarding the eyes is not just "Tool #2" of the tools in this Handbook, but rather it's the cornerstone of all the tools. Without guarding our eyes, we continue to lust and feed the addiction, and no matter what other steps we may take, we are still acting like an alcoholic who takes small sips of whiskey to get his high. We have to learn to let go of lust and not allow ourselves to have that "first drink". There is no "drinking like a gentleman" for an alcoholic, and neither is there for us. Once we taste it a little, we are easily drawn back in and will often lose control. (See the SA Guide called "Why Stop Lusting?").
 
Although we present this tool in the very beginning, guarding our eyes applies throughout all the tools. Even those who are more seriously addicted and are working already with Tools #14 and on (of this handbook), they will still need to guard their eyes. True "lust addicts" do not have control in this area. No matter how many years they manage to stay clean and no matter what steps they takes, if they are faced head-on with lust, they will feel powerless. As the saying goes: "Once an addict, always an addict". As scary as this may seem, it really is not so bad. Someone who has a deficiency of Iron in their body, even if it's a chronic condition, they can still lead perfectly normal lives as long as they take their daily Iron pill.
 
With the 12 Steps (Tool #14 below) we learn how to admit powerlessness and surrender our lust to Hashem. By following the steps of this Handbook, we can learn to keep the addiction completely in check, and lead happy and fulfilling lives. But we must never let our guard down. The number one symptom of this disease is that when we are faced head-on with lust, we cannot help lusting. And that is why the very first practical tool in recovering from lust addiction is to guard our eyes and avoid lust at all costs.

578.


In Today's Issue

  • Jack's Anniversary (Part 3): What is Jack's secret?
  • Uri's Party: A Lesson in Group Support
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "Anyone but me"
  • Laugh of the Day: "Light at the end of the tunnel"
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 12: Guard Your Eyes, Part 5

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Jack's Anniversary - Part 3
What is Jack's Secret?


In response to our Mazal Tov to "Jack" on his one year anniversary
(and the links to his 90 day time-line) "Mendy" wrote:

I want you to know that I have thought about Jack many times over the past year and I was sure that by now he had relapsed, big time. The fact that is still clean give me HUGE hope, although I would love to know if he doing anything to keep himself sober (maintenance), or was his original 90 days enough to keep him going till now?

I forwarded Mendy's question to "Jack" who responded as follows:


Please tell him that the 90 days was VERY important in the struggle. One must have those 90 days under his belt. After that, I wouldn't say it's a breeze, but it's a lot easier. But even then, we have to keep in mind that a fall CAN lead back into the addictive cycle if we're not careful. But those initial 90 days are CRUCIAL - I can't emphasize this enough; and that means 90 days with NO falls. It's like taking antibiotics, it has to be continuous for it to have an effect on the bloodstream. Here too, we have to have a continuous streak to effect the nervous system. And the studies show that 90 days is the time needed for this. AA knew this already 80 years ago, even BEFORE there were any studies. In AA they suggest 90 meetings in 90 days to really get a person started.

One more thing - no, the 90 days alone isn't enough. You have to keep the kesher (connection) with your support people, otherwise you may slip back into the addictive cycle. So, I have kept up my kesher with our leader (yup that's me, the humble "guard") and I call my sponsors from time to time, just to keep up my kesher. Without my sponsor Elya (see our hotline here), I NEVER could have accomplished what I accomplished. He was always there, and I mean always. He listened to me scream and cry over the phone and he didn't say anything, because he knew what I was going through. And I did it! It was the most unbearable voluntary pain that I ever put myself through. But I had people to support me, and that made ALL the difference in the world. I felt their love through the phone and emails and the forum, and for the first time in my life I felt loved, even though I never met or spoke by phone to our our leader. And "Mevakesh" showed me that he loves me too, even though I never met him, but I did talk to him on the phone (see Mevakesh's story here). Love and acceptance is what it's all about; and that's what I was missing in my life. Some Rabbis who don't understand the power of addiction will just tell you to stop, and I don't criticize them, because how can they know better if they didn't study addictions? Do they know about dentistry? No, because they didn't study it. Addiction is a medical condition; and that's why Rabbi Twerski knows about it, because he studied it.

So anyway, here I am now, one year clean (with only one slip), and I can't believe my own progress in this area. And I wish the same for you!

Jack

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Uri's Party
A Lesson in Group Support


I'm sure a lot of you are wondering what all that noise was last night on the forum (see from reply #731 and on, at Uri's place), what with all that blaring music and dancing till the wee hours of the morning...

So let me give you some background...

Yesterday Uri posted a last gasp of a drowning man:


I'm falling big time here.
This is my last call for help.
I have two tabs open now, one of them is GYE, the other...
I also have had enough of falling by myself. I have my finger on the phone waiting to call a girl which I know for certain will lead to *** tonight.
I don't even know why I'm posting.
I was feeling good a minute ago.
Now I feel low.
Uch

 
Uri immediately got a bunch of replies of support on the forum.

Battleworn posted:
"YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY PUSH HASHEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE!!!! HE LOVES YOU AND CARES ABOUT YOU WAY WAY TO MUCH FOR THAT!!!"

 

After a few minutes, Uri replied:


Your posts just shook me up, especially Battleworn's comment that you can't push Hashem away. I feel like I've asked Hashem to leave the room, and now I'm alone. But Battleworn is right, that's not possible.

So I'm gonna take a break for a bit, but I'm not saying that I'm not gonna fall. I'm already into it. I'm just taking a break. That's it.

 
Meanwhile, some of Uri's dear friends, such as Battleworn, Struggle and Momo tried to call Uri by phone, but at first he wouldn't pick up. Finally he picked up the phone. It was Momo on the line.

Momo writes:

 
Ok, so I got through to Uri and I told him that I can't go back to work if he falls. We made a deal. He'll leave the room NOW and go for a walk to cool off if I go back to work.
 

A few minutes later Momo posts:


I just wanted to update everyone. Uri called me. He went for a walk (hurray, I'm proud of you Uri for taking my advice!).

His computer is off, and he's going to spend most of the afternoon/night in a very kosher place away from his computer, so he most likely won't be posting until tomorrow. So, don't worry if he doesn't post until tomorrow. He's doing alright.

Then I (the humble Guard) happened upon Uri's thread while making my rounds, and I posted to Uri the following:

Uri, you're so strong. I think I'll be repeating your name during Ne'ilah this Yom Kippur... All the prosecuting angels will surely flee when they hear your name!

But Uri, I just want to mention one important thing. You wrote:

"I also have had enough of falling by myself. I have my finger on the phone waiting to call a girl which I know for certain will lead to *** tonight".


You should know, that sinning with someone live is very serious. Nidda is an Issur Kares, and even touching "bi'derech chiba" is ye'hareg ve'al ya'avor since that is "abizraya de'arayos" (see the sefer Nidchai Yisrael from the Chafetz Chaim)... Now I'm not here to give mussar or try to sound scary, but in the book "The First Day of the Rest of My Life" by R' Shraga, he suggests drawing red lines; i.e. conquering one territory at a time (see Day 6-7 in the PDF file). Please Uri, make sinning with others your red line. We all believe that you can do that. Count 90 days clean in that territory, and then you can move on to conquer more territory. Can you take this upon yourself now in front of us all here on the forum, your brothers and sisters who love you, now, right before Rosh Hashana??? Can you do it?? Go Uri, Go! Make the announcement and we'll throw a party for you!!!!  

A few hours later, Uri posted on the forum:

 

Guard,
After carefully considering your offer,
and after consulting with Mom ("7Up") at length on the matter,
I accept you challenge.
My red line now is officially no physical contact with girls.
That includes anything from hugging to ***.
No matter how low I fall, that is my limit.
Happy?
-uri

 

Then Uri goes on to respond to everyone else's posts of support (which spanned already two pages in the two short hours he was gone). He writes:

You guys are so amazing.
I was so touched when I read the last 2 pages.
I am at a loss for words.
Mom (7Up) contacted me today (she doesn't do that often)
Apparently she received several SOS's for me.
These 2 pages are gonna be something that will be mechazek me for a while.
I will return to them when I'm down IY"H.
My heart feels very full now:   

I was drowning
no way to get out
I was losing air,
water in my mouth.

I thought my final thoughts
as the water covered me.
I thought what life could've been,
what it was meant to be.

But now I would die,
drowned by self love.
I gave the evil one my heart,
instead of The One Above.

But as my head went under
I sensed movement up on high
A hand reached down,
and called to me with a cry.

I didn't have strength left 
to reach for my life.
But the person just reached down 
cut the cords with a knife.

As I was pulled up,
I realized who my savior was.
It was Momo, my friend,
who did what an angel does.

I understood what had happened
as I was drawing my last breath.
My friends, who I love so much
had come and fought lust to the death.

He had run away screaming
"these people are nuts!!"
I hugged them all tightly
"now whose in the dust?"

Anyway, you can imagine the party we threw for Uri on the forum (see from reply #731 and on at Uri's place).

I even uploaded a special song in honor of Uri's PARTY!! Download it Here
(if you don't know Hebrew, the theme of the song is translated as "We Shall Overcome").
 
Later, Momo posted to Uri on the forum:

Uri, I'd like to tell you what you did for me. After we spoke, I actually felt good about myself, and that's not a given for someone suffering from depression and low self esteem. I felt that I actually made a difference in someone's life, even if it was for a moment. That gave me the motivation to work extra hard yesterday afternoon. In addition, I didn't stay late at work, instead, I was motivated to go to a shiur! I used to go to a daily shiur, but I stopped about 2 months ago, and it felt great to go back. So Uri, I thank YOU. You see, not only does mitzva gorreret mitzva, but I think that the kedusha that YOU, Uri, brought into the world by saying "No" to the Y"H and passing a very difficult test, fell on me too and raised me up. What I'm trying to say is, that not only did I NOT inconvenience myself by calling you, we helped each other. Please feel free to call me anytime!

So Rabbosai, if this isn't what Teshuva, Ahavas Yisrael and "Kol Yisrael Areivim" is all about, what is? Is this not the best preparation for the Yomim Nora'im? Let us all take a lesson from these heroes, and learn the power of "group support", and of calling out to others when we feel weak.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daily Dose of Dov
Quote of the Day

Sometimes when I feel a little squirrely inside my old head, I need to actually shut up (a tall order for me!!) and follow someone else's advice. It could be Hashem's, it could be another person's - no matter. As long as it isn't me.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Laugh of the Day
By "Rage at the Machine"


I'm on day 12... feeling strengthened by this network.... I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel... but I'm pretty sure it's an oncoming train...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #12
Tool #2: Guard Your Eyes
Part 5
 

It's a Process

 
As we discussed, guarding our eyes is the starting point, middle point, and the final frontier of this struggle. Even when we have already learned to control the more seriously damaging addictive behaviors, we may still find that it takes us yet another few years to learn how to fully surrender our lusting to Hashem and gain complete control over our eyes. So don't get discouraged if you break free of the inappropriate behaviors but still find it difficult to guard your eyes on the street. It is a process. But if we stay determined to get our lives and priorities back on track, we will see progress in this area, slowly but surely. And we must progress. Staying in the same place keeps us vulnerable to relapse, and if we don't try to move forward a little every day in learning how to guard our eyes, we will remain susceptible to being drawn back into the harmful addictive behaviors as well.
 

Some GuardYourEyes Tips

 
They say in SA that, "the first look is on G-d, the second one is on us". In other words, we can't help if we saw something triggering in the street unintentionally. But if we take a second look, we are feeding our addiction. Here are some GuardYourEyes training tips that might help us get started in learning to guard our eyes when on the street. We can try to accept upon ourselves (not forever, just for "x" amount of days or weeks, at first) that every time we take that second look at something triggering, we will (either):

  • give ourselves a pinch that hurts,
  • give 25 cents to tzedaka,
  • or give our eyes a "time out" by closing them for 6 seconds.
     

And let us also reflect for a moment. If we were blind, chas veshalom, we wouldn't struggle with lust. If we didn't have this amazing gift of sight that Hashem gave us, would we be able to lust through our eyes? Scientists tell us that the human mind makes billions of calculations per second when processing information from the zillions of nerve endings that connect our eyes to our brains. How can we take this amazing gift and use it against Hashem's will?

579.


In Today's Issue

  • Uri's New Red Line: "Living in Recovery"
  • Testimonial of the Day: And "Laugh of the Day" too!
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "Bringing G-d back into Yiddishkeit"
  • Personal Victory of the Day: An Opportunity for Teshuvah
  • Therapy Tip of the Day: Logo-Therapy
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 13: Guard Your Eyes, Part 6

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Uri's New Red Line


Yesterday we spoke about drawing "red-lines" and about how Uri had drawn his red-line at not being with real people (see "Uri's party" in yesterday's Chizuk e-mail). In response, someone asked me to share the following:


Rav Dessler writes in his Michtav Eliyahu that when people create goals for themselves, it is of utmost importance that they create two opposite goals. One goal is for aiming to reach further top. The other goal is for a RED LINE, not to reach below it. In other words, one needs a "range"; not to fall below a certain rung and to try reaching a certain height. This will ensure, Rav Dessler explains, that just because a person didn't reach the height he set out for, it is a lot less likely that he will give up. Why? Because he DID accomplish another goal of his, namely by not falling beyond the lower goal of a red line!

In continuation of Uri's Saga; Uri later posted the following on the forum (yesterday):


Good evening chevra,

Today was an interesting day. I had a meeting with my sex-addiction therapist, which I discuss on a separate thread (see this eye-opening thread over here).

I don't know for sure why I'm sharing this, but I just want to say that yesterday I almost fell worse than anyone here even knows, except for Mom (7Up).

I just want to thank you guys for saving me from doing something very stupid.

Anyway, my meeting was a real eye-opener and I came out feeling excited about this new approach in dealing with my addiction. I would even go so far as to say that I was feeling better than I have been in quite a while.

And I was feeling even better when I passed a few girls and I noticed something quite interesting. The "aura" that I usually sense by girls - that bright gleam, was not there! And these were decent looking girls, but I was not interested in the slightest. I guess it's maybe because I was in such a positive mood.

But on the bus on the way to my friend's town (where I'm staying the night), I was listening to my MP3 when I felt someone bump against my arm. I looked up and there was this really good looking girl smiling at me.
"Sorry", she was still smiling.
"Mmhm", I mumbled back incoherently, trying to go back to looking at the window.
("Not now, please G-d!")
"So where are you headed?", she asked me (in Hebrew).
Ever notice how stupid you sound sometimes when you mumble?
"Komnnkdf"
"What??"
I cleared my throat and told her which Yishuv I was headed to.
"Hey, me too!" 
Another smile.
I could swear that she also winked at me.
"Very nice", I answered.
I finally pulled myself together and put my music back on and stared out the window until I sensed that she had walked away.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
I could imagine what she was probably telling her friend at the moment:
"I think that guy is retarded".

Well, as they say, "Better to be considered a fool in this world your whole life then for one moment in the World to Come."
I guess I'm a natural.
-Uri

 

After getting some praise on the forum, Uri replied:

Hey, it wasn't too hard (sheepishly and modestly)
I mean, I have a red-line now, no?

I also want to apologize if this girl is someone who uses the forum :-)
I might've been a bit rude.
Sorry.
-Uri

 

"Hoping" replies to Uri:

Mazal Tov Uri, on your victory!!

When you mentioned that you passed those good looking girls and weren't interested in the slightest, that sounds to me like you have just felt the essence of recovery. (And thank you for crystallizing it - it really helped me). Recovery for me, means living in a way that I don't need the lust. This way of life is what I fight to maintain every day. I do not - and cannot - fight the lust itself. Anyway, feeling the recovery is really sweet, no? That is worth fighting for!

I would like to bring another post of "Hoping", where he writes more along the lines of this profound idea:

I can not live my life on autopilot anymore. I KNOW where that takes me. I spent many years living in autopilot mode; even growing in learning (Torah) and other areas, all while running on auto. For me, recovery is a change to manual shift. I have to proactively live in recovery so that I don't need the lust. That includes living with Hashem and focusing on fulfilling the needs of others rather than my own needs. I hope that I will succeed today in living as I need to. I fear falling backwards if I do not continue to move forwards.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Testimonial of the Day
(Oh, and "Laugh of the Day" too :-)

By "Rage At the Machine"

 

When RAM (Rage at Machine) first joined us, he posted (partly in jest):


I came upon this site recently. Truth be told, I was googling "porn" when this came up. I was not looking for anything like this. I first browsed this site with a mix of curiosity and contempt. Like many here, I have been battling (and often not battling) for over 15 years. I tried all sorts of ways out and nothing worked. At first browse, I was pretty convinced that this site will not work - certainly not for me. 

I see myself as different than others here. I am not at all like "7up" or "Bardichev", God bless them, with their "my tatty in shamayim this" and "my tatty that". I don't mix Hebrew and Yiddish into my sentences, nor will I write poems about my struggles. So I saw this site as a place for flakes. Flakes who cry. I am not a flake, and I don't cry. 

But there is something very real here; I sense that now, and I want this to work (and I need your help, you flakes!). I have been both porn and mast**n free for almost a week now, which may be pretty insignificant for most people, but for me is nothing short of a miracle. I cannot fathom 90 days. I can't even imagine 30 now. Instead, I will work on 8 days clean. 

Now (about a week later) "Rage At Machine" posted:

 
Today is my bar mitzvah... 13 days of continued "Rage Against the Machine".... Last night I cried so much, and I cried out to my tatty is shamayim "oh thank you for those 12 clean days, hold me, hug me..." and I wrote a three page poem about my feelings....

No, man, I'm just messin'...

But I am quite happy to be alive though, and I'm pretty thankful for this network and especially to Guard...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
Bringing G-d back into Yiddishkeit
~ Daily Dose of Dov ~

You know, some say that the reason why Shavuos and Shmini Atzeres/Simchas Torah don't have mitzvos like the other holidays is because they are about everything - the whole package deal. A specific mitzva observance would narrow it down, and that would be antithetical to the message. It's the same with this addiction. It's all about mis-connection and isolation. It's like taking G-d out of yiddishkeit, but keeping the religion "looking" just the same. I think it's tragic that yidden allow that to happen as much as it does, and we - as addicts - are lucky to be unable to survive that way. In a sense, my addiction caused me to be "thrown" at Hashem.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Personal Victory of the Day
An Opportunity for Teshuvah
By "JD"


Today is day 25. B'H I see improvement everyday, but I still have a long way to go. I had an amazing thing happen to me yesterday. I was driving around near my office looking for a place to park, and a woman in a car drove in front of me. After the first look, I unfortunately made the mistake of a quick second look. That was a bad mistake, and I felt bad about it right away. However, shortly after, I was driving in the same spot, and a car was about to pass in front of me again, and I noticed for second that it was the same woman! It was the exact same situation! So for like half of a second I was like, "come on, another nisayon?!", but then I realized that Hashem is doing a chesed with me, giving me the opportunity of doing Teshuva moments after a mistake! That's Elul; Hashem is coming close and giving me the opportunity for Teshuva. It was amazing, and B'H I looked away quickly this time. Chasdei Hashem!

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Therapy Tip of the Day

Logo-Therapy
Posted by "Tomim"


Download the fascinating Audio-Book


In his book, Dr. Victor Frankl (a yid) tells his experiences of the Holocaust, and how a person can find meaning in the worst possible situations. Hearing this first hand from a Holocaust survivor, backed up with his many studies, is a very powerful thing. This book has inspired - and continues to inspire - millions of people, helping them find meaning within their challenges, and rise above.

To download the audio-book, and for more information about the book, see this page of our website.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Excerpt #13
Tool #2: Guard Your Eyes
Part 6
 

Letting Go of Lust

 
The world is full of temptations. If we want to hold on to lust, we will have endless opportunities to continue lusting at every turn. We will be fighting a losing battle by constantly trying not to look at things that we do want to look at so badly. Instead, the real trick to success is to learn how to let go of the lusting all together. Instead of fighting it head-on, we need to simply let go of it.
 
As someone who is working the 12-Steps once wrote:
 
"Today, the fight is much easier for me. When I have urges, I admit powerlessness, acknowledge that Hashem is the only One that can - and will - help me, and I ask Hashem to remove the lust from me. I am frankly surprised by how much better this works than fighting the urges head on".
 

Get daily chizuk on "Guarding Our Eyes"

 
To receive daily chizuk on Shmiras Ainayim, sign up to our Shmiras Ainayim Chizuk e-mail list.
 
The eyes are the windows to our souls and must be guarded diligently if we are to make real spiritual progress at all. Download a free e-Book called "Windows of the Soul" by the Salant foundation, for a 30-day Chizuk program to help us learn how to guard our eyes properly.

580.


Friday ~  September 11, 2009 ~  22 Elul, 5769

In Today's Issue

  • Most Powerful Week of the Year: The end reflects on the beginning
  • Saying of the Day: Souls & Teshuvah
  • My Take on Elul: This Year IS Different
  • Quote of the Day: "Everything's from Him"
  • Testimonial of the Day: The GYE Congregation
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Some Refreshing Perspective
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 14: Making Fences, Part 1

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The Most Powerful Week of the Year
The end reflects on the beginning


It is brought down in many Sefarim that in the last week of the year we can fix the entire year! "Sofo mareh al t'chilaso - the end reflects on the beginning". So, for example, this Shabbos we can fix all the Shabbosim of the past year. And with this coming Sunday, we can fix all the Sunday's of the past year, and so on. What an awesome opportunity!

So let's all make a serious effort to do a proper Teshuvah this week!

Teshuvah? That sounds scary...

Well, what reallyis Teshuvah?

A man once came to Reb Nachman of Breslav and told him that he doesn't hold by doing teshuvah because he knows that he'll just go back to doing the same things again. Reb Nachman answered him that Teshuvah is not about not doing the same sins again, but rather it's all about bringing Hashem down into the world and into our hearts. Every soul is a peice of Hashem and is connected to Him, but our sins make a blockage between the light of Hashem and us. When we say Viddui and confess our sins, it helps us remove the heavy "shell" that our sins have caused, and this allows the light of Hashem to flow down into the world and into us. Teshuvah is not about beating ourselves up over our past, but rather about LIVING for Hashem's honor in the present. The more we seek to bring Hashem's honor and glory down to the world, the more Teshuvah we do! Automatically, all the past sins are forgiven, and automatically, we won't end up repeating our past mistakes.

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Sayings of the Day
Posted by "Yechidah" from a book by Tzvi Freeman; "365 meditations of the Lubavitcher Rebbe"

#235:

"Our souls cannot be broken that they should need repair, nor deficient that they should need anything added. Our souls only need to be uncovered and allowed to shine".

#244:

"Do not repent. Repentance means to stop being bad and to become good. Instead, return. Return to the essential self and to what is rightfully yours. This is what we call T'shuva".

"Net" commented on #244 on the forum:

 

I'm a lubavitcher chossid, so I know the source of this saying. It was a Sicha in Chodesh Elul. I can try and explain it. The Dictionary defines Repentance as follows:
 

1. To feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often fol. by of): He repented after his thoughtless act.

2. To feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent.


What the Rebbe was saying is that that's not really the correct translation of Teshuva. "Teshuva" is from the word "Toshuv", which means returning to who we really are; to our essence and to Hashem. A yid in essence does not want to sin, his Yetzer Harah just tricks him into it. Like the Rambam says, that sometimes Beis Din is allowed to flog a man until he says "I want to". Even though this seems forced, the truth of the matter is, that a Jew really doesn't want to sin and really wants to do what's right.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

My Take on Elul
By "Me3"


This is my take on this Elul / Yomim Noraim, and I think many of us here can relate:

For several years I've come before the Ribono Shel Olam before Rosh Hashana with one kabalah. 

"Ribono Shel Olam, this year I plan on being better with my Shmiras Anayim. 
Both in the street & on the computer.
No Internet surfing
No image searches
No blog searches
No inappropriate blog reading
etc...

And Ribono Shel Olam, although You and I know that I made this same kabalah last year and I have nothing to show for it; and I am not worthy of your mercy or of being kept alive this year; it was not because I wanted to go against Your will, it's because of this terrible addiction that plagues me. So, Ribono Shel Olam, please forgive me for my aveiros of last year, and grant me another year of life and give me the strength to do Your will this year."

This year I will be making almost the same kabalah and much of the same statements, with one important difference.

Ribono Shel Olam, during this past year, and especially recently...

I WAS BETTER! 
I MADE IMPROVEMENTS!
I FOUND GYE!
I GUARDED MY EYES!
I INSTALLED AN INTERNET FILTER!
I GAVE AWAY THE PASSWORD!
I EVEN HELPED INSPIRE OTHERS!

Now You and I know that I was far, far, far from perfect, and I still have worlds to improve in this area, but please grant me a new year of life and
allow me to continue to grow and improve.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
By Nat

I am B"H very successful in everything in life, besides for in my addiction. I feel that Hashem gave me this struggle to remind me that everything is from Him! If not, I would forget about Hashem completely and only focus about my success - and how I am on top of the world. Hashem created this shame so we could want to come close to Him and realize that He is the one running the show completely!


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Testimonial of the Day
By Noorah

This shabbos I found a Zohar (brought down in the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh Devorim 15:7) which says: "If one congregation or gathering will awaken with Teshuvah, then immediately the son of David will come"

I ask you, dearest friends - is this not referring to the GYE forum?  

Awaiting Moshiach's imminent arrival!

- Noorah


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Daily Dose of Dov
Seeing the addiction through Dov's crystal clear glasses

I am not an expert on anything, and certainly not on addiction or recovery. (I'm pretty good with wild mushrooms, though!). I am, however, able to share my experience, and I am gifted with the faith that I need to share it in order to remain sober.

I became an addict because my inner life was too painful, and did not work for me. My drug of choice was just the one that fit the bill the best and most conveniently for me, that's all. To recover, I need action, not cheshboinos. Cheshboinos and meforshim never got me sober, just Honesty, Openness, and Acceptance.

I am not teaching Torah here, just sharing myself as honestly as I can. So, I am not focusing on right or wrong, good or bad. That is why I don't say moral stuff, nor tell people what they should be doing. This is also why I never participate in telling (or begging) a member not to act out. Let the Rabbis do that. Addicts like me (and the ones I know), really believe people will do what they feel they need to do, and will come around and "hear" when they feel they need to. All we do is share, daven, and maybe - cry.

I hope this is not a cop-out, but I am convinced that anything else will twist my brain up, grow my pride, and make me useless. And I will soon act out too. And I am not going to act out to save you or anybody (chayecha kodmin, right?). This is far different from kiruv, soul-saving or chizzuk, per se, which are all certainly very worthy endeavors, none of which I am qualified to do. When talking with sexaholics, I am mainly concerned with sanity. My sanity and their sanity. Sanity, so we can each get to (or maintain) a life that we believe is right.

For me, living together with my Creator is the only thing there really is, though I relatively rarely actually live that way... (nu, He's not done with me yet!)

As far as recovery itself is concerned, it has nothing to do with being an eved Hashem. In that respect, it's just like any other terminal, progressive illness. Bladder cancer l"a, is not a Jewish problem. In fact, I feel very sorry for addicted yidden who feel they can only have Jewish or frum recovery mentors, only because I have seen that they often do not get long term sobriety. If it were still about Torah to me, I believe it is doubtful I ever would have grasped the depth of what was going on here. I was/am broken in the very foundations of sanity, not in my yir'as Shomayim, at all.

99% of the successful people I have met in this arena have told the same story that the successful Alcoholics tell: "When I finally accepted the fact that I didn't have what it takes and probably never would; that I was hopelessly powerless to win this fight, I started getting better because I really reached out for my G-d and kept using His help from that point forward." 

As your sanity grows, your latent yir'as Shomayim and ahavas Hashem will start to show itself more than you ever dreamed possible. The mussar and Torah that you learned - and which was sterile in the past - will start to bear fruit! It may take some time in sobriety for that to happen, but it is worth the wait.

For me, the only other choice was ultimately a pathetic death. Not a bad deal, huh?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #14
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #3: Making Fences
Part 1
 

The addiction is more powerful than us, and if we try to fight it head on we will almost always lose. Once we are standing at the edge of the cliff, we are very vulnerable to falling off of it. Instead, we must stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as possible. (See Principle 15 in the "Attitude Handbook"). Therefore, one of the most powerful tools in this struggle is making good fences.

One great way to make "a fence" is to create a list of things that we will do before allowing ourselves to fall. The list can be made up of various items, such as "call mother", say a Kappitle Tehilim, take a 10 minute walk, etc... Often, just pulling out the list and looking at it may already be enough to dissuade us from acting out!

581.


Sunday ~  September 13, 2009 ~  24 Elul, 5769
 

In Today's Issue

  • Some Tips From the Warriors: "What works for me?"
  • Personal Victory of the Day: Stopped Short
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Stepping Out of the Ring
  • Saying of the Day: By Dov
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 15: Making Fences, Part 2

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Some Tips From the Warriors of GYE

 

Moshe Writes:


I used to have a big problem with having bad thoughts as I was going to sleep, which let to slip-ups many times. Recently I found something that really helps a lot - it's a bit of Bresslov mantra mediation. Just close your eyes and keep on repeating to yourself the words "Ribono Shel Olam." This really helped me - I hope it can help you too!

A.A Writes:


It's just a few days before Yom Hadin - to show Hashem we really mean business in staying away from this sin, those that do not have internet filters on their computer must simply take the jump and get them installed right away and give the password away to someone else. Then, when they do Teshuvah, they are really showing they cannot go back. We must all take the jump!

Jack Writes:


Reb Avigdor Miller says that we should repeat over and over to ourselves that we are a holy people. At first, it sounds like a lie, but eventually, it makes its way into our consciousness.

"On the Road" Writes:


I want to share an eitza which occurred to me. While on the road to 90 days, one can fall into a monotonous routine... Once this happens, the propensity to act out increases. I just started planning posts on the forum. Thoughts and ideas that I want to post, or reactions that I have to other posts but don't have time to get to everyday. So I 'plan' what I am going to do in a week. And it gives me something to look forward to and to focus on.

"Eye.Nonymous" Writes:


I've been trying to write down in my pocket calendar how many times I've looked at women in the street each day. I'm only counting if I see someone and keep on looking, or if I intentionally look around. I used to think this happens nearly a hundred times in a day. Now that I'm keeping track, I see it is much less than I thought. Yesterday I made about 4 check marks. Though I was more careful, because I was writing down my progress, the times I was challenged was incredibly less than I thought. So, I see two benefits of charting your progress.

1) With the 90 day chart on GYE, I had assumed that my falls with mas***n was once every few months. After I started keeping track, I realized it was much more often -- I NEEDED TO WORK ON THIS, AND I HAD IGNORED IT, THINKING I WAS DOING SO WELL.

2) And now with this personal chart to keep track of how many times I was looking at women, I THOUGHT IT HAPPENED SO MANY TIMES THAT I THOUGHT THE BATTLE WAS COMPLETELY HOPELESS. Now, I see it is much more manageable.

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Personal Victory of the Day

Someone posted on the forum:

I didn't want to get into my work today (Sundays are always hard to get back to work), so I surfed around. I wanted to surf lightly, not anything too arousing because I didn't want to fall this week. But of course, one thing led to another, and next thing I know, I'm surfing and getting aroused. Then I went to the bathroom. But right before the "moment", I stopped myself. I said, "I'm not doing this a few days before Rosh HaShana!" And, I thought of the forum and of my GYE friends.

The Y"H told me, "just finish the job, you practically did it anyway!", but then I remembered the Chazal that Yosef actually released a few drops (when he was tested with Potifar's wife), and as a result, he had only had 2 tribes come from him instead of 12. He lost 10 tribes! But had he gone "all the way", he would have lost being a tribe completely. And by stopping himself from falling farther, he achieved tremendous things. So, even thought I lost a lot, I hope that I gained something by stopping myself.

I also remembered the Chazal that complete teshuva is when we are in a situation with the same desire and we don't do it. I certainly felt that I was on the edge of the cliff and pulled myself back.


Of course, I should have never surfed where I shouldn't, and going to the bathroom afterwards was also a mistake. But after saying "Yes" to the Y"H a few times, at least I said "No" once at the end.


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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov had written once on the forum:


"I started getting better because I really reached out for my G-d and kept using His help, from that point forward."

Someone asked Dov to clarify:


Please help me understand this. How do I do this??? When I am caught in overwhelming lust, what do I do? "Hashem, help me out of this"? I have not found that very effective. I have instead found myself alone with the yetzer hara in a battle that I have virtually no chance of winning. How do I get G-d to step into the ring???
 

Dov Replies:


What I was told was: Instead of getting Hashem to step into the ring, you need to learn how to step out of the ring. And it worked.

But to step out of the ring, I cannot be going-it alone, I need to bring other sober people into my struggle, and as often as possible in the heat of the moment. Because if I am doing it alone, I am most likely saying inside: "I can beat this! I have the trick now!". There are no tricks and no easy ways out.

It doesn't seem to ever work if I am really saying to Hashem: "Take it away G-d, so I don't have to give it up"! (as the White-Book puts it so well).

And we cannot assume that our faith in Hashem is so real that when we talk to Him it has the same emotional value to us as talking to another person does. If that were so, we'd never hide from people when acting out - would we? So we must really have a disconnect there. Face it.

And the answer, for me, was to establish real connections with people, and only then with my G-d. And as I have posted before to someone (see Chizuk e-mail #553 on this page), this is the way Hashem made us. We were created to establish human relations (parents, then friends, then a spouse, then children) all to model and develop our relationship with Hashem.

Trouble is, addicts get short-circuited somewhere, and they remain eleven-year-olds in their own head, still fighting their parents. Hashem becomes a ritual, to some extent. If you were G-d, you would not want to be a ritual, would you? And the relationship with G-d doesn't work either.

So How to do it? The 12 Steps spelled it out simply and clearly for me, and I worked them with my sponsor and continue to work them today, with Hashem's help. And if I can, anyone can. Trust me. You may not know how screwed up I was, and how grandiose, self-centered and fearful I am, by nature. ANYONE can do this.

The trick is to stop thinking about it. Just stop. Work the steps, in order, and with another person who already did it and for whom it is still working. No deep meforshim and cheshboinos need apply.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Saying of the Day

From Dov (above)

"If you were G-d, you would not want to be a ritual, would you?"

 

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For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #15
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #3: Making Fences
Part 2
 

Vows

In order to ensure that our fences are strong, we can use a very powerful tool called Nedarim or vows. Normally making vows is frowned upon by our sages as with someone playing with fire, but when it comes to girding oneself from sexual temptation, we find that making vows is praised by the Torah and by Chazal. As the Pasuk says "Nishbati va'akayeima, lishmor mishpatei tzidkecha - I have vowed and will uphold it, to guard your righteous laws". And as it says "Nishba lehora velo yamir - oseh eileh lo yimot le'olam - He who swears to prevent bad and does not nullify... he will never falter". And Chazal also say that Bo'az swore to guard himself from transgressing when Ruth came to him at night, as it says: "Chai Hashem, Shichvi ad haboker - In the name of G-d (a vow), lay here until the morning".

However, as important and helpful vows can be in fighting addiction, they are also dangerous. The addiction is very often more powerful than vows. Therefore, it is vital that we learn how to make vows in a way that will work and be safe. Instead of fighting the addiction head-on through the vows, we can make vows that will help us "walk around" the addiction. For example, we can try to make a vow for just two weeks, at first, that before we give in, we will first do the things that we wrote on our list (mentioned above), or make a vow to give a generous donation to Tzedaka in the event of a fall.

582.
 

Monday  ~  25 Elul, 5769  ~  September 14, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • One Year Clean: A Bochur Shares
  • Kabbalos for the New Year: Small Steps, Red Lines
  • Daily Dose of Dov: The Triggers are in Us
  • Quote of the Day: Today is Precious
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 16: Making Fences, Part 3

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A Bochur Describes One Year Clean


About a half a year ago an older Bochur sent me
this story where he described how he has been clean for a half a year, working together with other Bochurim on Shmiras Habris as a group. His story was so inspiring that I included excerpts from it in the GYE handbook (Tool #10). Today we received an update from this Bochur, who is happy to share that he reached a full year clean. Here is his e-mail to us:

Baruch atah Hashem shehechiyanu v'kiyemanu! I am in a bit of disbelief right now. What began as many attempts to go for just forty days, and what was always an ongoing battle for me, has turned into one complete year. I wrote to you a few months ago in regard to some friends of mine and our small group devoted to the ongoing struggle of shmiras habris. Over the past few months, the members have grown tremendously in their own avodah, and the group has grown into a larger network, growing larger still, as members of the group discuss the importance of the issue with friends of theirs, who in turn talk to friends of theirs. B'ezras Hashem we will soon lose track of how far this network has grown. It's still very hard for me to believe that all this has taken place over the course of this past year. The stories of each and every individual are both heart-breaking and inspiring at once.

We say "Achas sha'alti me'eis hashem osa avakesh... shivti b'veis hashem - I asked only one thing from Hashem.. to sit in the house of Hashem (all the days of my life)". I really feel that it is the sole motto and underlying desire of this network of young men. This unmarried group who so desire to connect to Hashem that they are willing to do all that it takes to repeatedly tear their thoughts away from sin; and from the vise-like grip of today's yetzer hara which threatens to engulf us all.

There are no words to describe the success, which is shared by us all. If one falls, we all have fallen, and if one holds off just one time, we are all that much stronger because of it. Chazal say, "Kol machlokes leshem shamayim sofo lehiskayem - every argument that is for the sake of Heaven is destined to endure". Well, if that is the destiny for arguments, imagine what is destined for a group that is unified in their avodas Hashem sharing one positive and necessary goal. "Sofo lehiskayem - it is destined to endure" is probably as big of an understatement as it gets in regard to the level of success to be expected, be"h.

All the members of your site are aware of the importance of the on-going battle, and the inspiration I get from the stories on your site shakes me to the core.

It is said that when a soul is questioned on its final day of judgement, it will try various excuses, such as how poor or wealthy it was, and in response, it will be shown various lives of hardship and struggle and preoccupation; people who nevertheless ultimately succeeded. The neshama will have no response. When we are in that courtroom on that final day, I shudder to think of what we will answer if we don't fight with all of our strength. The stories on your site... Jack, who is now going strong for a full year, after years of fall after fall, kept going strong! What will we answer? Sure the battle is hard, but did we have it as difficult as Yosef Hatzadik, tempted as a young man, day after day? Perhaps in some sense we do. And perhaps if we continue with the same on-going level of desire, hope, devotion, siyata d'shmaya and vigor, perhaps our neshama will be able to respond with a resounding "YES!... We did have it hard, and look how far we went".

B'ezras Hashem we will all continue to grow to tremendous levels in this area. "Never give up!" is the banner we carry. With tefilla anything is possible. Baruch Hashem for GuardYourEyes and its members. Chazak v'ematz.

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Let's take an example from this Bochur and join a group of guys on the forum who make the push to 90 days TOGETHER. See this special board on our forum called "Accountability Groups". (Group #3 there is shaking the Heavens with their Ahavas Yisrael and their strengthening of each other!)

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Kabalos for the New Year
Come to Rosh Hashana with Something Solid!
An idea by "Bardichev"

It's before Rosh Hashana. Can we completely change our ways? That is doubtful. But we CAN start with small steps. As Bardichev wrote on this thread called "Kabalos for the New Year":

LET'S MAKE A SMALL KABBALLA, BUT A HONEST KABBALLA

ONE THAT WILL BE A RED LINE IN THE SAND.
ONE THAT YOU CAN TELL HASHEM
"TATTEH IN HIMMEL, I WILL CHANGE !!!
YOU WILL SEE NEXT YEAR
I WILL NOT HAVE TO RE-VISIT THIS ISSUE"

LET THIS BE DONE AS A TZIBBUR.

CAN WE IMAGINE THE ZECHUS??!!!

And "Yechidah" Posted as well:


Rav Pam zt"l used to tell people to make kabbolos that are doable and realistic, not those earth-shattering "let's change the whole world" stuff.


He said it's like you owe someone $10,000 and you cannot afford to pay it back, you simply do not have it. So you send in $100 every 2 weeks, consistently, and on time. This is very appreciated by the one who lends the money, if he is a decent person. He knows that this guy is struggling, he cannot pay the whole thing now, so he does his best and tries. And by giving the $100, he is telling the rich man, "look, I respect you, I thank you. If I could, I would give everything back now, I really would, but I can't. But you see that I seriously plan to pay back every single penny".

The same is with Hashem. We owe him an endless amount. But we can make a few small kabolos that we will keep. It could be small, like the $100, not the $10,000. And Hashem sees this and appreciates it. And he accepts this as true Teshuva. "Small steps", Rav Pam used to say, "small steps".  

Each person can draw a red-line at the level that they're at. A few days ago we brought in the Chizuk e-mail (#579) how Uri had made himself a red-line of not being with anyone in real life. For his level, that was a big step.

Another person who kept having repeated falls, made himself a red line that no matter what, "NO porn". In other words, if he feels that he's falling - or gonna fall, he will not use stimulation to feed his addiction and lust. If he falls, it will only be with his mind. That's a good first step for someone who's just starting out. As someone responded:


That was my first step too, when I started out. And it helped a great deal. The images start getting blurry in your mind after a while, and you can't feed it with more..

And another person already committed on that thread, not to watch anything on YouTube anymore.

So what will your new RED LINE be this year? What will you come to Rosh Hashana with? Post it on the thread and inspire us all!


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Daily Dose of Dov
The Triggers are in Us

Someone was complaining how difficult it is to remain clean with lust triggers being everywhere! Dov writes:

 

They may seem like they are everywhere, but we all go through times like that. Thanks for reminding me. I passed the same pretty lady twice yesterday - first at work and later on my way home from work, and I had to make a phone call to a recovering addict (while I was davening for her), because the second time I passed her, apparently something inside told me she must be destined for me (and dinner will stay warm an extra half hour anyway while I get another good look at her!). Oy vei.

Besides, is there lust in your toes? can you think through or write out a short, 5 minute gratitude list for your toes. (Maybe Uri can help you write a song about them). There is plenty to sing about regarding our toes, clothes, food, etc., and much gratitude that can help you get out of yourself.

Cuz, my friend, the lust triggers aren't really out there, they are in us. We carry them and keep them.

Dov's posts are often short and sound sometimes funny/strange. But I have found that the more I re-read them, the more I discover in them. Let's examine this post more carefully. Here are 6 profound things that I learned from Dov's post today:

1. Even guys like Dov, sober for 11 years in SA, still struggle with triggers.

2. The diseased mind of the addict seems to feel subconsciously that anyone attractive in our vicinity is somehow "destined for us" (even if we don't usually act out on it - B"H!).

3. The best way to deal with these goofy feelings are to get them out into the open with safe people, by making a phone call to a fellow addict ("Lust glows in the dark").

4. Daven for the object of your lust (after turning away, of-course). This turns the selfish inward-desires "outwards".

5. Another great way to get "out of ourselves" is to make gratitude lists in our head for all the wonderful things Hashem has given us in our lives, even our toes! Who ever thought about the wonder of our toes; how they keep us in perfect balance when we walk... And our toes don't feel lust, do they? Look how much good we have in our bodies that are completely unrelated to lust!

6. There are unlimited amount of things to lust for all around us. Our only hope is to let go of the lust, because the triggers are really inside us. As Dov wrote, we are the ones carrying them and keeping them. If we learn to let go of the lust, we will no longer be surrounded by "impossible" triggers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Quote of the Day

By someone starting out

"I may have fallen now, but I know that my struggle of the last 10 days clean was not lost. It was very hard and it is mine to keep. I will try again, not because I think I can get to 90 days, but because if I can make it through today it will already have been worth it."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #16
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #3: Making Fences
Part 3
 

Vows

Really Strong Fences

 
The farther we have fallen into this addiction, the more desperate we will need to become to break free of its clutches. Sometimes, extreme vows can be a wondrous tool. For example, one guy wrote that he vowed to give $200 to tzedaka after every fall. Within 4 falls, he was free of his addiction. Another person wrote that he kept matches next to his bed and vowed to burn his fingers before giving in. And a third guy (in Israel) wrote that he succeeded breaking free by vowing that every time he fell, he would have to take a trip by bus to the Kotel and stay there for two hours. This ultimately helped him to stop completely, because each time he felt that he was about to give in he would remember what he would have to do and be deterred.
 
However, even less extreme vows - as mentioned before, such as doing 10 minutes of exercise before giving in, or vowing that if we fall we will go to the Mikva or take a half hour walk, can be great deterrents and tremendously helpful over the long term (in less severe cases of addiction).

583.

Tuesday  ~  26 Elul, 5769  ~  September 15, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • Testimonial of the Day: By "Rage at the Machine"
  • 12-Step Tip of the Day: Getting Ourselves Out of the Way
  • Inspirational Link of the Day: From Aish.com
  • Quote of the Day: By "Anon-nymous"
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Teshuva Me'Yirah, Teshuva Me'Ahava
  • Saying of the Day: By "Nishmas"
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 17: Making Fences, Part 4

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Testimonial of the Day
By "Rage at the Machine"

17 days, I'm still alive and I'm feeling better about it all the time.

I am starting to believe I can do this... Not in a cocky "I've got this all figured out in 17 days" kinda way, because I really don't, but I feel like yesterday I may have had my toughest test yet and I passed, and it wasn't impossible... I know and recognize that I am a long ways away still and I am considering to call in on
Boruch's Thursday night call and keep pushing...

I was contemplating something Dov said yesterday (that Guard quoted in yesterday's Chizuk e-mail); that an addict always thinks that the woman passing by / girl in the coffee shop, etc... is interested... somehow "destined" for him... and she never is... I've been telling myself that over and over again... I can't really explain why, but just keeping that in mind helps me stay focused... My real problem is p. and m., so you would think Dov's message would ring hollow for me, but it doesn't... So thank you Dov...

One more thing that is helping too: That song Guard posted for Uri's Party: "Anachnu Nitgaber"... I use that as a mantra when I need it, it's great, so thank you Guard.

 

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12-Step Tip of the Day
Getting Ourselves Out of the Way

Daily Dose of Dov

Not only can't I cure myself from my sickness, but as the Kotzker might say, perhaps neither can G-d Himself, necessarily, for He only comes in where people "let" Him in.

The 12 Steps are about letting G-d in, by learning how to get ourselves out of the way. This is not always simple for people who engaged for years in self-gratification. Especially since even our religious experiences are all revolving around our Teshuva, our sins, our mitzvos, our kavanah, our blah, blah, blah... you know what I mean?

 

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Inspirational Link of the Day

Been working on yourself for years and still feel like you're at square #1?

Watch this inspirational clip from Aish.com

The Chinese Bamboo

 

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Quote of the Day
By "Anon-nymous"

My primary resolution for this year is that I WILL NEVER get down on myself and use that as an excuse to follow the Yetzer Hara. Next time I am seized by lust, I will head out right away to the GYE forum.

 

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Torah Thought of the Day
Teshuva Mi'yirah and Teshuva Mi'ahava
By "Battleworn"

Teshuva mi'yirah is basically when one realizes that the sin that he did is not without consequence and he therefore regrets having done it and wants to erase it. In a sense though, he is still living in the self centered fantasy world where his focus is still on himself and he's worried about his future. 

Teshuva mi'ahava is when a person wants to drop the whole fantasy world and return all the way to Hashem. He realizes that the fantasy world of "self" has nothing for him and Hashem has everything for him. His aim is not to erase the sins per-se, rather it's to turn his life around and really return to Hashem. He has come to understand what Hashem told us: "Choose Life!" Hashem is the source of all life, all existence, all happiness and all good. And pushing Hashem out of our life is the source of all trouble and all problems. 

In theory, both paths are acceptable. But the good news is that Hashem loves us to much to let us continue wasting our life in the fantasy world. He wants the best for us, and since He's the Boss, we don't have a say in the matter. And so He put us in a situation where the Teshuva Miyirah approach simply can't work for us addicts here on GYE. Here are some reasons it can't work:

1) The Zohar says (Shemos 214-b) that the only Teshuva that works for p'gam habris is "Teshuvah that is worthy of covering over all his deeds". R' Tzadok (Tzidkas Hatzadik #243) explains that this means Teshuva mi'ahava, which is a complete return to Hashem. Teshuva mi'yirah erases the sins - and these sins are not erasable. But Teshuva mi'ahava doesn't erase the sins, rather it is misaken them (fixes them) and turns them in to merits.

2) An addict (even a relatively mild case) is much too entrenched in his behavior to stop the behavior without a major change in his whole life.

3) In our generation, yir'ah doesn't talk to most people very much. Even if it does talk to you, chances are that it can't affect your behavior that much. In fact, it can very often have the opposite effect, making us all the more desperate for distraction. 

Teshuva mi'ahava, on the other hand, works for all people, in all situations. As soon as you start to taste what it means to live your life with Hashem, you would never dream of going back to being the person that you were before; a person who lived a life of never-ending pain. 

In the tochacha of parshas Bechukosai - which Chazal say is referring to churban bayis rishon, we don't find  anything about Teshuva mi'ahava. Rather the pesukim talk about how the sins will get erased through the suffering. But by the Tochacha in parshas Ki Sovoh  - which is referring to this golus, we find nothing about atoning for sins, rather it talks about how after we suffer the curses of being far from Hashem, we will return to Hashem with all our hearts, and Hashem will have mercy on us and gather us in from around the world, and He will circumcise our hearts to love Him with all our heart and soul - so that we may LIVE.

This is not about making peace with Hashem, rather it's about "I shall go and return to my first love". We finally realize that there is no other way and we turn our whole life around. 

The Zohar says: "If people would know the love that Hashem has for the yidden, they would roar like lions to run after Him".

Hashem is - Kaviyochol - crazy over us, and He is waiting for us with open arms. We have nothing to fear, as Yehoshua said: "Hashem is with us, do not fear them" shortly after the chet ha'egel - the mother of all sins.

Hashem just wants our hearts, as it says: "Give your heart to me, my son". And when we give it to Him, life becomes SO SO much better!

On Rosh Hashanah, we are going to stand in front of Hashem in judgment. Instead of trying to bargain with Him, let's tell Him: "Yes Hashem, all I want is You, there is nothing else. Please help me get close to You, and please give me a year of Kirvas Elokim".

That is Teshuva Me'Ahava.

 

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Saying of the Day
Posted by "Nishmas"

"If G-d had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring. He sends you a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He listens. He can live anywhere in the universe, but He chose...... your heart. Face it, Friend, He is crazy about you!"

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #17
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #3: Making Fences
Part 4
 

Vows

Taking Great Caution

 
Any and all vows we make should be made very carefully and only for short periods of time. As we learn which vows are the most helpful for us in fighting our addiction, we can make the vows for progressively longer periods of time. It is important to write up a list of the vows for our records, and also to enable us to review them carefully before making them each time. In addition, having a list of the vows will help us refine them as we discover the ones that worked for better or for worse, and we can then use this refined list to make the vows again for progressively longer periods of time. It is important to renew our vows before they expire, because once they expire, we often get lazy about renewing them and become vulnerable to falling once again.
 
Please see this page and this page for more information on how to make vows in the safest and most effective ways.

 

584.

Wednesday  ~  27 Elul, 5769  ~  September 16, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • Personal Victory of the Day: The Edge of the Cliff
  • 12-Step Tip of the Day: The First Drink
  • Inspirational Link of the Day: Sky Diving
  • Quote of the Day: Don't Walk, Jump!
  • Tip of the Day: Don't fall on a whim!
  • Testimonial of the Day: "We have a plan!"
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: Excerpt 18: Tool #3, Part 5

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

Personal Victory of the Day
The Edge of the Cliff

Someone posted on the forum today:

I just pulled myself back from the edge of the cliff again, for the second time this week.

I usually fall on Sundays. However, in honor of R"H, I didn't fall Sunday.
I didn't fall Monday.
I didn't fall Tuesday.

But I've been unable to stop myself from surfing on the internet, not p*rn, but photos that stir the coals.

I say to myself, "only for today, don't fall!". But, as you all know, it's very, very hard.

I tell myself, "this time I'll make it through, for the sake of R"H and the aseret yamei teshuva".

I don't know how many days it is since I last fell, because I stopped keeping track (it put too much pressure on me), but I estimate about 15 days.

I want so badly to last and stay clean at least until Y"K.

Can I do it?

I don't know.

Writing it out helps, but chizuk from my friends will help more.

I have to add, this is so crazy. When I was on the edge of the cliff, literally looking down and about to jump off (figuratively of course), I heard Guard's voice (not his real voice which is a secret, but a G-d like voice, kind of like in the movie the 10 commandments but without the echo, quoting Guard) telling me:

"Say to yourself that you will not do it no matter what! Your tuches won't fall off!"

I felt like a lunatic, I was having a conversation back and forth in my mind.

"Just do it, you'll feel better",

"No! I will feel so badly afterward and get depressed. It's almost R"H."


and back and forth...

until I just said "No", and walked away from the cliff.

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We answered:

Yes, I admit. That voice was me. I have secret ways of communicating with people I really love :-)

(One second, did you say there was no echo? Well, then it must have been someone else 'cuz mine goes with an echo).

Look Tzadik, you did great, but the thing with us addicts is, that once we take that "first drink" the game is basically over. So how about this? Let's take it one step at a time. Can you make yourself a red line for one month not to browse anything inappropriate on the web?

I mean, how you do manage to stop yourself sometimes at the edge of the cliff is beyond amazing. But that's NOT the way to go; it won't - and can't  last for the long term.

The only way to really succeed is not to take that first drink. In your honor, I will quote in today's Chizuk e-mail something that Dov wrote recently which can bring out this idea much better than I can
(see directly below, for today's "Dose of Dov").

If you stay far from the edge of the cliff and a hole opens up in the ground underneath you and you suddenly fall, well - at least you didn't bring it about by walking at the edge.

So can you make a commitment now before Rosh hashana, for one month, that you won't browse inappropriate stuff? For the sake of all of us here, your brothers and sisters on GYE... (We'll throw a party for you if you do!)

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He Replied:

It will be hard for me to do, since that's my drug when I'm feeling irritable, but I know it's not good for me. Of course you're right that walking at the edge of the cliff is an impossible situation.  

It's time for me to grow up, and there is no better time than 3 days before R"H.

So bli neder, I take upon myself not to browse to inappropriate sites on the web for one month.

I think that with the support of my GYE friends I can do it.

May HaShem help me.


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We Announced:

PARTY TIME EVERYONE!!

I uploaded a most beautiful song in honor of your commitment
Download it here


The Pesuk,
"Gol Al Hashem Darkecha, Bitach Alav Ve'hu Yaa'seh - Throw your ways onto Hashem; trust in Him and He will do", this is truly the 3rd step of the 12-Steps. "Let Go and Let G-d" in the holy words of David Hamelech.

Hashem will do it for you; He is already doing it. Just watch the miracle unfold!


P.S. It takes a few times to truly appreciate the beauty of this song... Play it again and again. I must have listened to this song 50 times! I sing along with it now, with tears in my eyes. Listen to it when you feel weak. Truly let the words enter your heart!

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Everyone reading this Chizuk e-mail is invited to the party!! Post your encouragement and Chizuk to this holy Jew on his thread over here.

 

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12-Step Tip of the Day
The First Drink

Daily Dose of Dov

Someone wrote:

When it gets impossibly hard, all it takes is for me to drop my guard for one stupid second, and I'm a gonner. That's what I really need help with.

Dov replies:

I understand the "dropping guard for a second" business, but how do you tolerate living in an "impossibly hard" situation to begin with?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it really, really is not the last drink that gets us in trouble, it's the first one. Maybe you know this, but - for me - putting it into action means one thing: pain. It just plain hurts to walk the other way and not take the "drink" after noticing something tantalizing, for example. For me, it feels like mourning a real loss, crazy as it may be - to mourn over poison.

But like I always need to remember, surrender and freedom from temptation ultimately has nothing whatever to do with goodness, intelligence, Torah, G-d's Will, my potential, my neshoma, or how I should be / could be, etc. Yes, being truly aware of these things may prove useful tools, but for me - and the addicts I know, they remain "half-measures" in the end.

It eventually comes down to acceptance of my inability to successfully use lust, and learning to live honestly with the implications. This grows out of the 1st step (which is; "admitting powerlessness").

I do not believe that anyone who is not an addict can ever understand that pain without judging it or trying to analyze it (which is just as useless for me!). It's like becoming an expert about all aspects of driving, but without ever getting into a car. Useless, really.

Oops, I got off point again - the question was, "how do things get bad first?" I have almost no will-power, nor any real strength, and I am more powerless today over lust than I ever was! I just can't afford for the fantasies to start, nor to take that "second look", even though I may wish I could, much of the time.

(Admittedly though, my early surrender mechanism took a while to engage)...

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Let's learn from Dov (who is sober for 11.5 years in SA) and get our "surrender mechanism" engaged NOW. In other words, we need to truly admit that we are powerless over lust and that we simply cannot afford for lust to start!

 

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Inspirational Link of the Day

Feel like you're falling fast and hard?

Watch this cute animation from Chabad.org

SKY DIVING

Presented in honor of Uri's ROLLER-COASTER RIDE last week.

To quote Uri's post (#814 on this page):

"I just can't handle this roller coaster life. I don't want to do it anymore"...

Uri, why do people go on roller coasters? Aren't they afraid of dying? The answer is that they are not, because they trust the maker of the roller coaster. Uri, you are right. Life is a roller coaster. And you're on a sheer drop now, nothing you can do about that. The decision that lays in your hands right now is: "Will you trust the One who designed and runs the roller coaster?" If you do, you can scream your head off - but you'll still come off the ride with a SMILE!

 

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Quote of the Day
Posted by "Yechida"

From the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Words and condensation by Tzvi Freeman.

There are two ways to ascend: You can step upward, leaving one foot in its place as the other moves ahead. Or you can crouch down and jump.

This is the true meaning of failure: It is the way we have of tearing ourselves out of our past so we can leap into the future.

When a person is always successful,  he only moves forward step by step. Which really means that he remains always within the same dimension of reality as before.

When he fails, however, he is then able to look back and say, "This is not where I should be!" Then he tears himself out of his pattern and leaps into a whole new dimension of life.

Anyone who has worked with an addict in recovery has seen this in very practical terms.

 

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Tip of the Day
Don't fall on a whim!
By "Kedusha"

Don't fall on a whim. I'll say it again: Don't fall on a whim. Falling is too painful to do just like that. If a person c"v feels like he must fall, he should at least think it through. Write down 10 reasons you don't want to fall. Then write down 10 reasons you do want to fall (if you can come up with that many). Then, take the matter "under advisement", and don't issue a decision before tomorrow.

Someone posted in response on the Forum:

Thank you kedusha. I just wanted you to know that your post helped me today. It made me push it off and think it through a bit. Thank you!

 

Testimonial of the Day
"Battleworn" posted on the forum last year

Chevra, this is something new and amazing, we're coming to Rosh Hashana with a plan. That's the most important part of Teshuva. And we also have each other. This is great and it's all thanks to guardureyes, he should be blessed with all the berochos there could possibly be. And so should the rest of you. I want to suggest that we all agree to daven for each other. It dosen't matter that we don't know the names, Hashem knows. And anyway, what better names to use than these (pseudo-names), that are used for teshuva and for "zikuy harabim"?

 

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For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #18
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #3: Making Fences
Part 5
 

Bein Hazmanim

 
Vacations and Bein Hazmanim are a good example of situations that can be bigger tests for us, since there is more free time available and less structure. Such situations may require a more detailed set of fences and safeguards than usual. We can try to draw up a "Battle Plan" in advance, to plan for some structure in our days - as much as possible. We can set specific times for particular activities, such as learning with a chavrusah or other things that can keep us busy. We can even draw up emergency plans of various activities that we can do, for times when we might start feeling bored or vulnerable, (such as "read a book" or "ride my bicycle", etc...)
 
We can also draft a special "Bein Hazmanim" list of fences in advance, to help us avoid having to fight the Yetzer Hara head-on. Some of the fences could include:

  • Setting up a filter on our home computers
  • Not using the computer when alone in the room (or at least if no one is home)
  • Setting ourselves time-limits on the computer (at least for non-work related activity)
  • Making a list of websites that we are allowed to visit - and not visiting any other sites (at least when alone)
  • Avoiding certain triggering places that we used to "hang out" at
  • Avoiding movies

The secret to success in this area is learning where we are vulnerable and preparing fences in advance. We all need to learn our Yetzer Hara well, as it says in Mishlei (12:10): "Yode'ah Tzadik nefesh be'hemto - The Tzadik knows the nature of his animal".

 

585.

Thursday  ~  28 Elul, 5769  ~  September 17, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • Pronounce Hashem as King: Help others do Teshuvah!
  • Torah Thought of the Day: "Who Am I?"
  • Inspirational Link of the Day: "Big Trouble Meets Small Shofar"
  • Quotes of the Day: Two powerful Posts from Uri

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Earn Yourself Immeasurable Merit for the Yomim Nora'im

Now's YOUR chance to bring Hashem down to the world!

Please Help GuardYourEyes continue helping Yidden do Teshuva.

Someone recently sent out the following e-mail to his contacts:


Dear all,

This is a topic of a truly sensitive nature which is rarely talked about  - strictly men only. Open the attachment to this e-mail and you'll see why.

I don't normally forward chain e-mails, but after receiving this one and reading the attachment, I felt it right that this time I do.

Please read, donate and most importantly... pass it on. Because of anonymity, it is run single handedly - nobody knows of his cause. 

Wishing you a ketivah v'chatima tovah.

- Please see the attachment "Guard Your Eyes Appeal"

After sending out the e-mail to his contacts, he wrote to us:

"I sent out this e-mail to about 70 people, most - if not all of them, frum, married, working people. B'ezrath Hashem, you should raise many thousands of dollars and may your website and all it does - go from strength to strength in keeping all Jewish men out of trouble".

Please everyone, we need your help!

We can't do this without you. Not enough funding is coming through, and it's becoming difficult to keep going at the current pace. Please donate if you can, but even more importantly - PLEASE COPY THE FORMAT ABOVE AND PASS THIS E-MAIL ON, WHETHER YOU DONATE OR NOT. (The above format makes it look like the e-mail came from someone else - and you're just passing it on). Download the attachment here by right-clicking and pressing "Save Target/Link As". Then, simply attach the PDF file to the e-mail you send out.

Together we can change the world!

GuardYourEyes is growing and expanding its activities every day. We are working with a programming team now to design a whole new profile page where users will be able to sign up for accountability partners and sponsors, as well as join the 90 day chart. We are working on chat-rooms (separate for men and women) click here for an example (it's still a work-in-progress) where people will be able to chat in real-time for Chizuk, RSS feeds, and so many more features to make our network more useful and user friendly for everyone. We hope one day to have a world-wide network of hotlines where people can call in for Chizuk 24 hours a day - with real professionals on the line, and we dream of publishing books, pamphlets and doing so much more!

PLEASE HELP US MAKE ALL THIS A REALITY!

Rosh Hashana is about proclaiming Hashem as King in the world. Sins in these areas distance Hashem from the world like no other sins do. By helping us help other Yidden in these areas, we are drawing Hashem back down to this world and proclaiming Him as our King.

May you all have a Ksiva Vachasima Tova, and may this year be a year of physical and spiritual health, sobriety and growth for everyone!

 

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Torah Thought of the Day
WHO AM I?

By "Battleworn"

Rosh Hashanah is almost here and I think it's time for each of us to address a very basic question: "Who am I?"  Sometimes you feel like a good person. Perhaps more often, you feel like a bad person. Sometimes you feel successful; probably more often, you feel unsuccessful. So who are you really?

R' Tzadok Hacohen in Tzidkas Hatzadik (111) says the following:

"In the last period before Moshiach comes, the main avoda/tikun is ONLY to take the good out FROM the bad. And only in the place (situation) of the Yetzer Hara and the powerful rise of sin will Hashem redeem us, specifically through Teshuva (as opposed to not sinning in the first place). As it says, "Moshiach will come in a generation that's all guilty". 

AND A PERSON LIKE THAT (that by nature is pulled to sin and has to pull himself out by Teshuva) IS FROM "THE ELEMENT OF MOSHIACH", meaning that his soul belongs to a special group that have the power to facilitate the Geulah. As we find, that Dovid Hamelech (who was the root of Moshiach) was the one to raise up the banner/power of Teshuva.

As it is known, that the head of the neshomoh of klal Yisroel (which is made up of all the individual neshomos) is very high, but it's feet go down to the lowest of the low. And before Moshiach, the souls are from the feet - where there is a great force of evil and Yetzer Hara. 

AND THEREFORE, ONLY A GENERATION OF SOULS LIKE THAT WILL MERIT MOSHIACH, AS CHAZAL SAY ON THE PASUK: "AND HASHEM SAW THAT IT WAS VERY GOOD"; "VERY GOOD" REFERS TO THE YETZER HARA. 

Also Moshiach himself comes from such a source. As it is known from the "Midrash Hane'elam" in Parshas Vayera about the daughters of Lot - and Lot himself, that they are the ROOT OF THE POWER OF THE YETZER HARA, AND OUT FROM THERE GREW THE TREE/FAMILY OF MOSHIACH.

THIS IS BECAUSE, THAT IS PRECISELY THE EPITOME OF THE COMPLETE PERFECTION THAT WILL BE WHEN MOSHIACH COMES; THAT THE VERY ROOT OF BAD WILL BE TURNED INTO GOOD. AND THAT IS THE MEANING OF "THE SLAUGHTERING OF THE YETZER HARA" THAT IS MENTIONED IN GEMOROH IN SUKAH"

R' Tzadok is telling us that it's our job to bring Moshiach and no Tzadik could ever do the job. Hashem entrusted us with this mission. He believes in us! In fact, the Chidushei Ha'rim says that in order to be able to go so low and come out of it, you have to be from a very high source. This shouldn't be surprising to anyone around here on
the forum. Just look at the powerful retzonos and yearning of the holy holy people here.

We asked "who am I?". WELL, THIS RATZON IS YOU! THAT'S WHO YOU ARE! Yes, it's true that you have some very low weaknesses. But that's part of the great shlichus that Hashem gave you; the shlichus to bring Moshiach.

DO YOU REALIZE WHO YOU ARE? YOU ARE THE SHLI'ACH OF HASHEM TO BRING MOSHIACH!

You are one of the very few neshomos that are able to survive - and even fight back - amid such overwhelming tumah! That's who you are!

You are bringing Hashem down into places where Tzadikim of previous generations could never have brought Him down. AND THAT IS THE TRUE MEANING OF DECLARING HASHEM KING IN THE WORLD!

 

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Inspirational Link of the Day

No matter how bad you think you've been, your precious Neshama is never harmed.

BIG TROUBLE MEETS SMALL SHOFAR

 

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Quotes of the Day
From Uri

We all love reading Uri's posts on the forum. Not only do they make a great read, but they are written passionately and from the heart. Somehow, Uri's posts talk to everyone's Neshamos. I think it is appropriate to bring two of his beautiful posts now before Rosh Hashana, as they show the power of Teshuva and of the Jewish soul, and of Hashem's great love for us.

As many of us know, Uri had a very difficult week last week. It could only be called "Hitting Rock Bottom". But somehow, it seems that when things just can't get any worse and we think we're gonna die, new life sprouts forth. As the Pasuk says -
"Zos Hatorah, Adam ki Yamus Ba'Ohel - This is the Torah, a man who dies in the tent". And - lehavdil - the White-Book of SA says: "We must die to ourselves before we can begin to live".

Here are two recent posts from Uri:

I've spent the last two nights drifting in and out of consciousness with high fever.
I had quite crazy dreams, images flying by in my mind, one after another...
Somehow I found myself in the old city...
A friend was standing next to me saying:
"Just daven with your heart, man"
And I opened the siddur and started crying.
What followed next is pretty hard to describe, but I will to attempt to, regardless...
As I stood there crying, lost in the words of the first few brachos of the Amidah, all of a sudden I felt a wave of the most beautiful pleasure pass over me.
It was as beautiful a pleasure as any person could possibly imagine.
And I continued davening.....
And the feeling stayed just as strong (maybe even getting stronger).
And I woke up.

At that moment it was so clear what is happening to me...
I am stripping myself completely.
I am shedding all the layers of "false protection",
all the coats of filth and fantasy,
and the all too powerful blanket of lust that I hid under all these years.
Now I am empty.
And I cry.
And only now, precisely now, can G-d fill every part of me.

Last night He gave me a taste of what a relationship with Him can be.
And I davened today for the first time in a week.
And I said half of tehillim.
And I spoke to Hashem every time I woke up last night (after I had that dream), feverish and chilly, just to smile at Him and say "Thank you"
And I'm gonna start sleeping with a Tehillim clutched to my heart, (I did today during my nap already).

I'm starting to see the pieces of the puzzle fitting together.
Sometimes one has to become empty to experience true fullness.

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I had an insight yesterday when davening Mincha that I'd like to share:

I was having trouble concentrating (the story of my life)
But I didn't beat myself up as I usually do.
My relationship with Hashem is changing
It is now so very clear to me that He doesn't love me for who I'll be in 10 years, 5 years, or even in a month.
What kind of love would that be?
He loves me for who I am now.
Me, with all my chesronos; lust addict, rebellious, lazy, etc... (I could go on all day).
He doesn't expect me to daven all of shmone esrei with crazy kavanah!!!!
'cuz I'm not there yet!!!!!
That would be someone else's tefilla!
And He wants mine!
Mine - with my "space in - space out - space in - space out"....
Mine - with my eyes drifting every once in a bit while I run to catch them...
Me - with my laziness...
etc...

If I was perfect....
I wouldn't be me
And He wants me!!!!

Do you guys hear what I'm saying??!!!!!
This idea is earth-shattering!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Rosh Hashana we don't tell Hashem, "ok, this year I'm gonna be perfect".
He doesn't need to hear that!!!!
He wants us to say, "ok Hashem, this is where I'm holding. And since I love You so so very much, I am gonna do my best with what I've got to give You".

How simple and beautiful is this idea?!
Hashem! I love you so much!!!!!

 

586.

Friday  ~  Erev Rosh Hashana ~ 29 Elul, 5769  ~  September 18, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • Personal Victory of the Day: REALLY Wanting
  • Torah Thought of the Day: The Harder the More Growth
  • Quote of the Day: Miracles Do Happen
  • Some Rosh Hashana Torah #1: Malchiyus: Kavod Shamayim
  • Some Rosh Hashana Torah #2: Making Hashem King over Our Will
  • Repeat of Appeal: Get in your last minute merits of 5769!

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UPDATE: Since yesterday's pre-Rosh Hashana appeal which was sent out to nearly 1000 e-mail subscribers in both daily Chizuk lists (see bottom of e-mail for a repeat), we received only 6 donations. We also received no long-term monthly commitments and no indication that anyone sent out the letter (and attachment) to their e-mail contacts.

Rabbosai, we do understand that the financial situation today is difficult, but the least we can do is to send out
the attachment to our e-mail contacts! The format we demonstrated (below) makes it look like it's a "chain e-mail" that you are simply passing on, so there's no reason to fear that anyone will guess you struggle in these areas.

Please help us continue spreading Kavod Shamayim in the world!

 

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Personal Victory of the Day
Do you Really Want or Just WANT to Want?
A Inspiring post by "Momo"
(written to me, Guard)

 

I remember a while back, I posted about my struggles and how I wanted to change, and you asked me if I really wanted to change. That rubbed me the wrong way a bit, because I felt you were minimizing my efforts. But now, being honest, I see that I still wanted to hold on to the lust as a "back-up plan" for when things got really rough. So you were right, and although I was trying hard, I was also fooling myself at the same time. I wanted to want, but I didn't fully want. I wasn't ready for that kind of commitment. Now though, I feel that I really, really want it, and I'm willing to give up the lusting 100%.   

One of the things that impacted me and helped me reach this decision is something you quoted in a chizuk email. You had a special chizuk email when "7Up" reached 90 days (#572 on
this page) and you quoted from her the following:

"NOTHING is more important to me than Ratzon Hashem. Daily, I daven with all my heart that I should be a source of a kiddush Hashem and for the chance to grow closer. I would do ANYTHING to reach this goal. Even giving up all physical pleasure on every level forever, would be a small sacrifice towards that goal".

It seemed from the chizuk email that this was the turning point in 7Up's recovery, and this attitude is what enabled her to reach 90 days. You have to be VERY committed to write that. It hit me like a ton of bricks because it didn't come from a 20 year old, but from a grown woman. I then understood that one has to have that level of commitment before really succeeding.

 

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Torah Thought of the Day
Where its Hardest is Where we Grow the Most

Nishmas writes to "Battleworn"

I just read through what you wrote from the Tzidkas Hatzadik (111) in the daily Chizuk Email (yesterday). Thank you so much! This is really good stuff and is really mechazek me. Whenever I see something from Reb Tzadok Hakohen, my eyes and ears perk up. I once heard the following as well:

"Reb Tzadok HaCohen (i.e. Tzidkas Hatzadik) writes that if a person sees that he is having an especially difficult time in controlling a certain trait or refraining from a certain kind of action, he should not view this as a sign of weakness on his part. Rather, he should view it as an indication from Heaven that it is precisely in this area that he has the greatest potential for growth. The difficulties he is experiencing are a means for him to apply greater effort in overcoming the challenge, and developing that trait in which he, in fact, has the greatest potential to grow."

Yakov Shwartz Replies:

Yes, this can be found in #49 and #181. This yesod changed my life. I live by this yesod. In fact, to date, I consider shmiras eiynayim to be my biggest accomplishment. I went from a terrible p**n and MB addict, to aversions to any sort of unhealthy sight. I try with all my might to not even get a first "drink" of anything un-tzeniyus. I am careful with the way I walk (head down). And I can tell you that this did not come naturally. I used to be a hardcore addict with no shame. But when you learn not to settle for "nebach, that's who I am" and realize that davka in this area you can rise to the top, then davka in this area you do rise to the top!

I daven everyday for Hashem to protect me from pritzus. The trick is to take one step at a time and always know that there is yet another step ahead for you to climb.

 

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Quote of the Day

"Haba Litaher Misayin Lo" - Miracles Do Happen
From "Rage At the Machine"

RATM found us about 3 weeks ago and wrote as follows:

I was googling "p*rn" when this site came up. I was not looking for anything like this. I first browsed this site with a mix of curiosity and contempt. Like many here, I have been battling (and often not battling at all) for over 15 years. I tried all sorts of ways out and nothing worked. At first browse, I was pretty convinced that this site will not work - certainly not for me. But after browsing the forum a bit, I saw that there is something very real here. I want this to work...

Anyway, RATM is now almost 3 weeks clean - for the first time in 15 years. Yesterday though, he was about to give up when Hashem popped in to say "hello". Let's hear what he writes:

Pretty crazy, I tell ya. Pretty gosh darn tootin crazy... Last night, I came back from work late, and for the first time since I started this journey, my body felt the way people describe withdrawal... nervous, tense, tingly... I finally felt it physically affect me and I started to think that maybe this 90 days aint really gonna happen after all... I went to the fridge and had a tall boy but it didn't help... I needed some physical activity, and the ground outside was wet so I couldn't go skating... I thought of hitting my building's gym but decided to be productive instead, so, since I'm moving apartments in a few weeks, I thought I'll pack all my sefarim into boxes... And as I'm doing this I'm thinking, "oh well, 18 days wasn't so bad, I didn't think I'll even get 8 days, or even 8 hours!".

Suddenly I hit a book called "Starting Over" by Sima D. Schloss from Judaica press... The book was about taking the 12 Steps of AA and applying it through the Torah... "What the H*, man? First of all, how on earth did that book end up in my library?"

I began going through the book and let's just say I'm happy to be up to day 19 again... It was a step by step guide on how to control bad habits using the 12 steps in a Torah way... It even had an endorsement from Rabbi Twersky!.. I dunno if I'll join a live 12 Step meeting, but I think I'm closer now to understanding what this all about. I am going to try to go through the entire book and figure out all 12 steps...

Everything has an explanation, but to me, a miracle does not cease being one just because it can be explained... If a giant tsunami hit the sea of reeds and split it when the Jews were leaving Egypt, it does not negate that a miracle happened. The miracle was that the Jews, with the Egyptians riding their tails, needed a giant tsunami to hit at that exact moment!

This morning I remembered buying that book for my wife three years ago when we had a fight. (I had thought she was too controlling so I went out and got it). So that's how it ended up in my library... but that it ended up in my hands last night... that was a miracle.... And ya know, it's a little startling to see G-d jump me like that and say, "hellooo, here I am, you moron". Quite frankly, I'm surprised he still even gave a darn... So, thank you, G-d.

Truth be told, and this is the honest truth: G-d stepped in - in a major way to give me day 19, but it's all of y'alls (with G-d's help, of course) that gave me day 1-18... So thanks all of y'alls, too! I know it's still way early, but I'm still grateful for even this little accomplishment.

 

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MALCHIYUS: Kavod Shamayim

By "Yakov Shwartz"

The main avodah of Rosh Hashana is Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim - Accepting the yoke of Heaven. This is why Malchiyus is recite in Kedushas Hayom. The sanctity of the day is Malchiyus, and this is our main avodah.

And the heavenly judgement is based on this as well. On Rosh Hashana, Hashem hands out "roles" for the coming year. Our "roles" are mainly based on how much we believe in - and desire - kavod shamayim (the honor of Heaven). And that is why the focus of the tefillos are for this.

For those that struggle with the Yetzer Hara (who doesn't?), let's try to take our attention away from our difficulties for now, and instead turn our attention to our inner desire to do the will of Hashem.

On R"H we blow a bent shofar, because it is a day when we "hide" our sins. The reason is, because our sins are not who we are. The Yid at his core is his will, and he wants to do the will of Hashem. On R"H, we focus on our ratzon to do the will of Hashem and our desire for the revelation of His glory in the world. Any focus of our "struggles" should be geared to its impact on kavod shamyim. We also need to realize how much each victory (even if we fall afterwards) brings down kavod shamayim to the world.  

This is especially true for our addictions - which are sins in private. As Rav Dessler writes (pt 5, page 23):

"The greatest revelation of G-d is in the most private places. Through privacy and secrecy comes revelation. When a tzadik is tested, and especially in private areas of his life and eventually succeeds, he is bringing down kavod shamyim to the world."

P.S. It is worthwhile to get your hands on the special tefilla for zera l'vatala that is recited during musaf of R"H during "u'mipnei chateinu". I have been saying it for the past nine years. Very uplifting. It is printed in many machzorim.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Making Hashem King Over Our Will

By "TaharasHakodesh"

The Michtav Meliyahu explains (in the new sefer on Rosh Hashana pg 137):

The avodah of
Malchiyos is not enough to subjugate everything we do to Hashem's will by just not doing any sins, but rather we should have no self-will other than doing the Ratzon of Hashem.

How can we get to that level?

This is the Gemora's question,
"u'Ba'meh? - and with what?". The Gemara answers, "B'shofar - Tekiya shevarim teruah". The Gemorah on 33b clarifies, "genuchi, viyenuchi, vi'yeluli - sighs, cries and wails" (which are represented by the sounds of the Shofar).

The Shlah (R"H perek Torah Ohr) explains
"genuchi" to mean "hasagas choli hanefesh" i.e. recognizing the sickness of the soul. Meaning, to realize that we are really sick and need to completely rely on Hashem - i.e. "to let go and let G-d".

And
"Yeluli" means "aveylus al chatoyim gedolim shehem misas hanefesh - mourning over our big sins that kill our souls". As it says, "reshayim bichayehem kruyim maisim - evil ones are considered dead, even in their life time".

When we realize that lusting and acting out is ruining our lives and making life not worth living, it causes us to mourn our own existence.

B"H on GuardYourEyes we have all been working on
Malchiyos, and we will all continue to do so together!

Wishing everyone a great and blessed year!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Earn yourself immeasurable merit for the Yomim Nora'im!

Please Help GuardYourEyes continue its holy work!

Someone recently sent out the following e-mail to his contacts:

E-Mail Subject:
"A sensitive matter, A unique appeal - Strictly for men only"

Dear all,

This is a topic of a truly sensitive nature which is rarely talked about  - strictly men only. Open the attachment to this e-mail and you'll see why.

I don't normally forward chain e-mails, but after receiving this one and reading the attachment, I felt it right that this time I do.

Please read, donate and most importantly... pass it on. Because of anonymity, it is run single handedly - nobody knows of his cause. 

Wishing you a ketivah v'chatima tovah.

- Please see the attachment "Guard Your Eyes Appeal"

After sending out the e-mail to his contacts, he wrote to us:

"I sent out this e-mail to about 70 people, most - if not all of them, frum, married, working people. B'ezrath Hashem, you should raise many thousands of dollars and may your website and all it does - go from strength to strength in keeping all Jewish men out of trouble".

Please everyone, we need your help!

We can't do this without you. Not enough funding is coming through, and it's becoming difficult to keep going at the current pace. Please donate if you can, but even more importantly - PLEASE COPY THE FORMAT ABOVE AND PASS THIS E-MAIL ON, WHETHER YOU DONATE OR NOT. (The above format makes it look like the e-mail came from someone else - and you're just passing it on). Download the attachment here by right-clicking and pressing "Save Target/Link As". Then, simply attach the PDF file to the e-mail you send out.

Make a monthly commitment for the new year using the new PayPal options on the right side of the page on our website www.guardyoureyes.org. You can choose to donate $18 X 12 - or any other combination that would be comfortable.

Together we can change the world!

GuardYourEyes is growing and expanding its activities every day. We are working with a programming team now to design a whole new profile page where users will be able to sign up for accountability partners and sponsors, as well as join the 90 day chart. We are working on chat-rooms (separate for men and women) click here for an example (it's still a work-in-progress) where people will be able to chat in real-time for Chizuk, RSS feeds, and so many more features to make our network more useful and user friendly for everyone. We hope one day to have a world-wide network of hotlines where people can call in for Chizuk 24 hours a day - with real professionals on the line, and we dream of publishing books, pamphlets and doing so much more!

PLEASE HELP US MAKE ALL THIS A REALITY!

Rosh Hashana is about proclaiming Hashem as King in the world. Sins in these areas distance Hashem from the world like no other sins do. By helping us help other Yidden in these areas, we are drawing Hashem back down to this world and proclaiming Him as our King.

May you all have a Ksiva Vachasima Tova, and may this year be a year of physical and spiritual health, sobriety and growth for everyone!

 

587.

Monday  ~  Tzom Gedalia ~ 3 Tishrei, 5770  ~  September 21, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • Bracha From Bardichev: Eye Power
  • Rosh Hashana Testimonials: This year was very different
  • The Annual GYE Appeal: Update
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Face it Now
  • Quote of the Day: We only have NOW
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 19: Tool #4 - Daily Chizuk

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

A Bracha From "Bardichev" for the new year:



And as "Kedusha" pointed out, "Ain' = Eye. That makes it the year of Eye power!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Few Beautiful Pre-Rosh Hashana Testimonials

"Shomer" Wrote:

I just wanted to take a minute before Rosh Hashana to express the gratitude I have for the GYE network.

I don't think it necessary to go into all the ways the GYE network and especially Moreno Guard has helped me, you guys know how much it has helped all of you, first hand.

I do want to say that I have put my money where my mouth is and have made donations to the GYE network in the past, and again after yesterday's appeal.

I may not be a wealthy person, but I feel that it was my obligation to give back just a little bit of what has been given so freely to me.

Wishing you all a kasiva v'chasima tova and a gut g'benched yur!!!!

"ClearEyes" wrote:

"U'kisov l'chaim tovim - Write us for a good life" - Last year Hashem answered my prayers!!

Every Yomim Noraim I would ask Hashem for life and the good things that come with it. And of course I told Hashem and myself how bad I feel, and how this year I will be clean. 

This was not working so well for me, and after doing it for so many years I was getting sick of it.

Last year I prayed differently. I was sick of my yo-yo life. Up - down, up - down, up - down. Day after day, week after week, and year after year. And before long, decade after decade. I knew that no matter how hard I davened, no matter how much I cried, no matter how honestly I felt that I would not go back, it would not last, like every year before.

So I cried and cried some more. 'U'kisov l'chaim' - I was not suicidal, but thought about my request for life. True, on these days my life for the year was being sealed, but was I actually worried that I may die? Not really. I've been sinning pretty badly my entire life and yet I'm still granted life each year. Ok, so I won't beg for life this year. It's not like I'm doing such a great job utilizing it. 

'lechayim Tovim' - Good Life?! What's this?! hmmm... to be written down for a good life this year. Well, there was only one thing I could think of that would make this year a good year. And it wasn't winning the Lotto. It was to break free of my life-long addiction, to put an end to this yearly predictable ritual during the high holy days.

So I begged and I begged.

Hashem, I don't need life, what for? I am screwing it up anyways. You want to keep me around another year, fine, but on one condition, You give me a good year. Hashem, I am sick and tired of these bad years. I can't live through them anymore. I can't. Hashem, I want; no... I need a good life. I need one. Living with this addiction is not life! Please, please, please, I am begging You, write me down for a good life!!!!

Ten months later. Months of struggling. Months of ups and downs (with a lot of downs). Hashem answered my prayers. I certainly forgot what I asked for, but Hashem did not. He answered me. He sent to me His loyal servant Reb' Guard along with his holy army on GYE. 

Thank you Hashem!!!! Thank you for the gift of life!!!! Thank you for making it a Good life!!!!! Thank you for 60 clean days!!!!! Thank you!!!!

"U'kisov l'chaim tovim, KOL BNEI BRIOSECHA". Hashem, last year I prayed for a good year, and You answered. This year please answer others like you answered me. For all of your fighters of your bris, please write them for a good year. 

"Bardichev" wrote:

HEILIGEH YIDDEN,

THIS WEBSITE AND
FORUM ARE THE "SANAYGAR" THAT REB LEVI YITZCHOK BEN SARAH ZUSHA, THE HEILIGER BARDICHEVER, WILL USE TO SHOW HK"BH HOW WONDERFUL HIS KINDERLACH ARE.

I HAVE 2 THINGS TO SAY:

ONE IS THAT ON ROSH HASHANAH I WILL BE 6 MONTHS CLEAN!!

BARDICHIVER NIGGUN PLEASE (Click here to download)

SECOND, WITHOUT REVEALING MY ANON. (I NEVER SAID THIS ON THE FORUM BEFORE)... I CALL MY SELF "bardichev" BECAUSE I AM AN "EINIKEL" OF THE HEILIGER BARDICHEVER.

IN THE PAST, I ALWAYS THOUGHT TO MYSELF, "WHAT WOULD I DO IF I AM EVER ZOCHE TO MEET MY ELTER ELTER .... ZAIDEH?

NOW I KNOW.

I WILL SHOW HIM THIS FORUM.

"Rage at the Machine" wrote (today):

I blew Shofar this year for the local nursing homes. In recent years I took myself out of this task as a "mumar ledavar echad". But thanks to GYE, I'm back. So I and a bunch of older folks in NYC thank you Guard, for that too...

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Annual GYE Aseres Yimei Teshuvah Appeal

Here is a list of the donations we received so far since the appeal started:

N.W: $54
A.G: $100
D.B: $100
J.W: $250
A.W: $101
A.C: $50
L.M: $72
C.G: $10
A.P: $360
Y.K: $18 X 12
M.A: $10 X 12
E.S: $18 X 12
D.B: $18 X 24
M.L: $36
D.G: $100
A.K: $180
Y.L: $400
(Collected through a friend)

It's Aseres Yimei Teshuvah now, and the biggest Teshuvah is to help OTHERS do Teshuvah. And that's what you're doing when you help support GYE. To donate, go to www.guardyoureyes.org and use the various PayPal options on the right side of the page (scroll down). 

This is a once a year appeal. Please try and make
monthly commitments for the duration of the year.

For $18 X 12 you will earn the title of
"GYE Sponsor"! (That might not sound like much on this world, but GYE sponsors have special "pull" in Shamayim :-)

And please pass on the "Chain e-mail" that we talked about in the previous issues, to all your e-mail contacts. Not only does this help us raise money, but it helps spread awareness of our work throughout the Jewish world. You could be saving lives!

Thank you all, and Tizke Lemitzvos! May you be inscribed in the book of LIFE; REAL LIFE i.e. Living with Hashem, and may you all see success in Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus in the coming year!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daily Dose of Dov
FACE IT NOW

12-Step Tip of the Day

One very frustrated addict wrote on the forum (while trying to break his filter):

Aaahhh! i hate this! stupid yetzer! i can't take it anymore! i hate this part of me! wasting my time! making me do stupid things! I'm still trying to break my filter! somebody call me stupid! i wasted another hour tonight on nothing!!!! nobody be nice to me! call me an idiot! please somebody smack me! I'm about to go out to selichos and I'm trying to bust my filter even on a high level, just to get some skin fix!!! AAAAAHHHH!!! i know my attitude stinks!! (read the GYE attitude handbook!!). I need some tough love. stop loving me and tell me I'm a ridiculous idiot!! i want to hear it!! i blocked myself so well, I'm scraping the walls having lust attacks and getting nowhere!!! he's just making me hit my head against a brick wall for nothing!!! this is insanity!!   

Dov Responds:

Dear Yid,

First of all, please be moichel me for liking you so much. I'm really sorry but I can't help myself. 

Please consider: Where the heck did you get the idea that NOT doing stupid stuff like lusting, playing with the filter, or whatever, would immediately lead to to happiness? If you want to laugh at yourself, laugh about that.

If you can accept that you were not only lusting out of habit, but also to comfort yourself, then it's obvious that when the acting out and other nahrishkeiten are removed from the equation, you will go a little 
bonkers. We all do, temporarily.

After that, it is your choice: to either ride the storm holding our hands while you find peace (I use the 12-steps for that), or go back out there and comfort yourself some more with the sweet poison. Oh yeah, there's a third choice. You can just keep kvetching about it. I certainly did my share. But these SA guys don't seem to have much room for pity... tough bunch.... 

Whatever you (and we) are hurting or annoyed about - or scared of - is still going to need facing.

We need peace, not more painful adventure. We can either face it now while aching a bit in sobriety and really attain the peace we deserve, or we can medicate again, to deal with it perhaps in the next gigul, or - if/when the medicating finally stops working - in this one.

Nu. At least in this one you have our hands to hold! It seems that "Someone" is looking out for you and is giving you the help you need in this trip!

So make a lechayim for a sweet new year together with some flaky people who really understand you, for a change.

To sum up the way I understand what Dov is saying (in short):

Even if we succeed to stop acting out, it won't solve our problems. There's obviously something we are annoyed about or scared of (or whatever), that we are using the acting out to medicate. When we stop medicating, we can finally face the real issues head on. And that's where it gets hard. But Hashem sent you to a group of people who understand you, and we'll all hold your hands while you find the peace you seek (and deserve).

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day

We can't do 90 days now. We can't even do 2 days now! Can we EAT or go to the bathroom for tomorrow?? We can only do TODAY. Forget about yesterday's slip, forget about today's slip, and forget about the future. The Pasuk says: "Ve'ata Yisrael Ma Hashem elokecha Sho'el Me'imcha - and NOW Yisrael (is) what Hashem asks of you". Ve'Ata: RIGHT NOW. That is ALL Hashem asks of us!

How freeing is THAT?

(Hint: "very")

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #19

(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #4: Daily Chizuk
 

To succeed in this struggle, it is important for us to get fresh perspective and Chizuk each day. Chazal say that the Yetzer Hara renews his attack on us every day. He plays real nasty, and will use every trick in the book (and not in the book) to get us to fall. To counter this, we need new Chizuk and tips every day. There is so much material on our website and on other sites as well, but it's often overwhelming and not practically within reach when we need it most. Our network provides a daily Chizuk e-mail with antidotes, tips, articles, and quotes from the holy texts, therapists, and fellow strugglers, to help us break free of this addiction. We have hundreds of members signed up already, and for many people it is literally their life-line.

So let's sign up today and make sure to read each day's Chizuk e-mail. The Yetzer Hara will do his best to get us to ignore the e-mails after a while, but if we are determined to break free - we must make sure to read and internalize their messages every day. Like drops of water on Rabbi Akiva's rock, a little Chizuk every day can make a very strong impression over time.

Our new dynamic blog-site at www.guardyoureyes.org has 10 different categories, such as Tips, Stories, Personal Victories, Quotes, Testimonials, Torah Thoughts and more, which are updated almost every day. There are also RSS feeds where we can get each new post straight to our Readers without even having to visit the website. With all these great tools, we will never stop learning new things and getting stronger all the time!

The GYE Forum is also a great source of daily Chizuk. Hundreds of members post daily about their struggles and successes, and they share Chizuk, inspiration and hope between each other. For many, the forum is literally a life-line of daily Chizuk; keeping strong as a community.

We can also browse through the archives of hundreds of previously sent chizuk e-mails on these pages as well. Or we can browse the hundreds of great tips on our website here (or on the new blog-site here), divided into intuitive categories, such as Practical Tips, Spiritual Tips, Therapy Tips, Mind Tips, and "Tips from Fellow Strugglers".

Let's not try to bite too much at once though. It is better to read less and internalize it, than to read tons of material and quickly forget it. We need to find a balance that works best for us, where we read a few articles or tips every day; just enough for us to be able to swallow, digest and feel a little stronger until tomorrow.

 

588.

Tuesday  ~  4 Tishrei, 5770  ~  September 22, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • MAZAL TOV TO LETAKEIN! "We are only as sick as our secrets"
  • The Annual GYE Appeal: Help us reach our goal!
  • Parable of the Day: Rock Climbing
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Change your Shoes
  • Quote of the Day: Always Hungry for More
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 20: Tool #5 - The Tools of GYE

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mazal Tov! "Letakein" is a Kalla!

Her nickname comes from the famous saying, "As long as the candle still burns, 'efshar
Letakein' - one can still fix"

In honor of her joyful announcement, we uploaded a beautiful niggun called "The candle still burns" - a perfect song for her story, and particularly for the Aseres Yimei Teshuvah! (Right click the link and select "Save Link/Target As" to download the song).

About 45 days ago, Letakein joined the women's forum. She wrote:

This is about the millionth time I'm trying to be clean but my first time as a member of this site. I discovered the site 3 days ago and I'm really hopeful about improving!

I can't believe I'm here,
been struggling for years,
Kept thinking I was bad,
wish this website I had.
You guys are all so kind,
Much Hatzlacha I hope to find!

"Letakein" fit right in to the "family" on the forum, and she quickly came to call the other girls there ("Habib613" and "Trying") sisters, and 7Up - "Mom"... Her upbeat attitude and sincere determination has been an inspiration to us all, ever since she joined.

A few weeks ago she wrote to me that she is going out with a very special boy and wanted to know if I feel that she needs to bring up her (past?) addiction with him. I felt unqualified to answer this weighty question, and I sent a query to Rabbi Avraham Twerski - with whom we often consult for guidance on our website. Rabbi Twerski answered as follows:

There is an adage, "You're only as sick as your secrets." Revealing information that may ruin a shidduch is understandably very difficult, but keeping it secret creates a constant anxiety and a barrier to mutual trust and sincere communication. Marriages have enough problems without adding secrets.

In the case of alcohol or drug addiction, we generally tell people to avoid even getting into a relationship before one year of solid recovery and with the approval of one's sponsor. One month sobriety is hardly a beginning.

There are many variables. How long was the addiction? Does the person still have urges?

Whenever one decides to tell, one should say, "I must tell you something about myself, but it is with "Bal Tomar." You must promise not to tell it to anyone else.

Twerski

The full story appears on this page. Read for yourself the amazing way that the events unfolded!

Here is "Letakein's" poem for today's announcement that she's a Kalla:

I have so much to share with you,
I don't know where to start.
I guess I'll just start typing,
it will come right from my heart.
A few short weeks and days ago
I won't say just how long,
I started going out
and things started going strong.
So I had this huge dilemma,
"should I tell him, should I never?"
So I asked our heilige guard
to help me in my endeavor.
He emailed Rabbi Twerski
who said I had to tell,
and let me tell you, chevre,
I was not sleeping very well.
I was shaking like a leaf,
and that's for real - just ask my "sisters".
I had a serious case
of the shakes and of the shivers.
But Guard just reassured me
that everything was grand,
and Hashem would help me through this
with His loving guiding hand.
(even though I know Guard's heart thumped too - it sounded like a band!)
So I went to tell this boy and to my joy and great delight,
he really helped me out and now my heart feels like in flight.
We went to see a therapist
who's words just made me smile.
I was nervous before I went,
but it was really worth our while.
The boy is now my chosson,
and I'm a kallah now.
Hashem is so amazing,
all I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!!

MAZEL TOV EVERYBODY!

Rabbi Twerski was so impressed with how it all turned out, that he wrote me:

I think this is a significant triumph. I would like to use this story as an example to show people how being truthful and not concealing secrets can succeed.

Twerski

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Annual GYE Aseres Yimei Teshuvah Appeal
Please help us reach our goal of $10,000!

Here is a list of the donations we received so far since the appeal started:

N.W: $54
A.G: $100
D.B: $100
J.W: $250
A.W: $101
A.C: $50
L.M: $72
C.G: $10
A.P: $360
Y.K: $18 X 12
M.A: $10 X 12
E.S: $18 X 12
D.B: $18 X 24
M.L: $36
D.G: $100
A.K: $180
Y.L: $400
(Collected through a friend)
A.T: 18 X 12
A.S: $33
Y.T: $100
M.P: $50
E.K: $36
J.R: $500
E.Z: $72
S.B: $150
L.M: $250

---------------
$3122
+
another $1100 in future monthly payments (red above)
$4222 Total (so far)

Another reader of our Chizuk e-mails just wrote in:

In response to your fundraising plea, I have committed that any deals I get during a specific time period will have a percentage allocated to helping to further your phenomenal work. This way it will be a zechus for me, and a help for you at the same time.

Dear friends, this is a once a year appeal. Please help us reach our goal of $10,000 before the appeal ends on Yom Kippur. This amount will help tide us through until next year's appeal! Please try and make monthly commitments for the duration of the year. For example, for only $18 X 12 you will earn the title of "GYE Sponsor"! (That might not sound like much, but we have inside information that GYE sponsors have special "pull" in Shamayim :-)

It's Aseres Yimei Teshuvah now, and the biggest Teshuvah is to help OTHERS do Teshuvah. And that's what you're doing when you help support GYE. To donate, please go to www.guardyoureyes.org and use the various PayPal options on the right side of the page (scroll down). 

And please pass on the "Chain e-mail" that we talked about in the previous issues, to all your e-mail contacts - along with this attachment. If you are afraid to send it out yourself, send US a list of your e-mail contacts and we'll do it anonymously! Not only does this help us raise money, but it helps spread awareness of our work throughout the Jewish world. You could be saving lives!

Thank you all, and Tizke Lemitzvos! May you be inscribed in the book of LIFE; REAL LIFE i.e. Living with Hashem, and may you all see success in Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus in the coming year!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Parable of the Day
Rock Climbing

By BenAvraham

Before I became frum, I used to be very involved in rock climbing. Though I never did any multi-day climbs, I frequently read accounts of them in books and magazines. According to these accounts, when you encounter a particularly difficult spot in a climb, you should look around for anything that was left behind by the climbers who passed the same way and blazed the path before you. Not infrequently, someone will leave behind a piece of gear or even inscribe a hint onto the rock face so that future climbers will know how to get past the tricky spot.

Beating the addiction is a cliff that takes a lifetime to scale, but
90 days at least gets us past the most difficult parts. And although I fell off the cliff recently after only thirty days, I acquired knowledge and experience in those days that I know will help me as I start ascending once more. Where did this knowledge come from? From all of you here on the forum, who inscribed tips into the face of the rock at every difficult spot!

Thanks, folks; the climb is more fun with company.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daily Dose of Dov
Change Your Shoes

12-Step Tip of the Day

I have not met too many folks who did not have to live any differently to get a different life. Meaning, if you expect to actually have a different and better life, a life without the garbage of the Lust, P, and M-words, you may not be able to live it while remaining in the same shoes you wore last year (and getting odor-eaters may not be enough). For those guys who keep trying and falling, this may be their missing ingredient. Getting away without this bullet-biting may be a luxury that we just don't "deserve". I didn't, for sure.

Yes, I know the tzadikim teach us that our intentions are powerful, but in my case, I had to actually go to meetings, tell my story publicly (in an anonymous meeting, of course), and live my life (a little) differently - as an addict.

I really have nothing more to add. Wisdom, support and love you've got here aplenty already. 

- Dov

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
Always Hungry for More
By "Rage at the Machine" to someone who was feeling pain that his own wife wasn't enough.

Let me speak from experience: If there is no holiness in your life, you will get bored/sick/frustrated with your wife no matter how beautiful she is. If you think that had you married the "ditz" you wouldn't be looking at other women, then you are dead wrong. As a human, but especially as a lust addict, you will ALWAYS be hungry for more. Whether your wife is hot as H* or not, it makes no difference at all.

About three weeks ago, while in the middle of surfing for p**n, when that night my very beautiful wife was going to the mikva, I came upon this site and I said to myself, "I am not an animal". I wanted to regain some form of Jewish dignity. 

Whether you are currently in a healthy, long lasting marriage, I don't know. But I do know that (1) you will NEVER be able to tell until you rid yourself of this addiction and (2) your addiction will NEVER EVER make your life better, and will absolutely never make you happier, and it certainly won't convert your relationship into one that is a healthy long-lasting relationship. 

Keep fighting!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #20

(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #5: Using the Tools on our Website
 

On the menu bar of our website at www.guardyoureyes.org there is an item called "Tools". When you roll over this item, a drop down of many useful tools will appear, many of which have their own sub-menu drop-down's as well. Let's use these many tools; they were designed for US!

Just to mention a few that aren't mentioned in the other tools of this handbook:

We can read through the FAQ page where we will likely find answers to many questions that bothered us, or simply to get some good perspective on a host of issues relating to the addiction. On our new website, we have a "Q&A" category as well.

When feeling bored or vulnerable, we can check out the Kosher Isle of our network, for Kosher entertainment sites, activity ideas, and lots of Torah audio and video shiurim.

When in the need for some Simcha or some emotional inspiration, we can click on our Music page for a selection of music that can bring us to tears or make us want to dance!

We can read the Recovery Stories on our site (and on our new web site here) and see how we are not alone. We will read how others - even worse off than us - were able to break free, and we will be inspired to follow their examples!

We can check out the Links Section of our website, where we will find other great websites and other ideas to help us battle this addiction.

And of course, like we mentioned in the previous tools as well, we can use the Tips Section on the site (or on the new site here) to get new ideas all the time of how to succeed, and we can browse through the hundreds of previous chizuk e-mails to help us continue refining our perspective on this struggle. 

Breaking an addiction is a little like "mind surgery", and in the same way that no one can become a good "neurosurgeon" without huge amounts of studying, we must also be ready to "study" well, to succeed in this battle for our souls.

 

589.

Wednesday  ~  5 Tishrei, 5770  ~  September 23, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • A Diamond is a Diamond: SIN = Self Imposed Nonsense
  • The Annual GYE Appeal: We're Half Way There, B"H!
  • Torah Thought of the Day: The Satan's Going Wild
  • Personal Victory of the Day: "Nice try, Loser!"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "Schar, anyone?"
  • Teffilah Thought of the Day: Machshevos Soneinu
  • Quote of the Day: "I won't do what you want!"
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 21: Tool #6 - Part 1

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

A Diamond is a Diamond is a Diamond!
By Benyamin Bresinger - Chabad
Project Pride
It gets dirty; it can even lose its shine.
But a diamond always remains a precious stone.

On Yom Kippur we ask forgiveness for what we have done; not who we are. Our sins (or our Self-Imposed Nonsense) are the actions that get in the way between us and G-d. There are certain things about our personalities that give rise to self-destructive behavior. The Talmud says that the only way we could do anything contrary to G-d's will is because we are under the influence of a state of "folly" or "nonsense."

Over the year we have done plenty of things that cause dirt to gather on our precious soul. The challenge is to communicate this to the struggling addict: That the dirt is acquired and not what defines us. We may be dirty, but we are not dirt!

How to get this message across to the people I work with, people suffering from addiction, is not only a challenge -- but it is the main challenge. There is so much self-loathing that they find it impossible to believe that G-d wants a new and intimate relationship. Addicts are usually filled with shame and guilt. Guilt is healthy and necessary for the recovery process to take place. Shame is different; it is not a regret of what I have done; it is a regret of who I am. "I am bad" vs. "what I have done in the past is wrong." The difference is that our character faults cannot define who we intrinsically are.

The essence of who we are remains unaffected; it needs dusting. And that's what Yom Kippur does. It's the annual buffing of the soul. The soul, like the diamond, always remains precious.

Recovering from addiction includes being able to see ourselves rightly. It is distorted thinking that can cause a person to continue to use (or act out). One of the thoughts that is so dangerous is that "I am bad." This thinking takes on a life of its own. It's called shame-based self-perception. I see myself as my actions and that's it. But, in reality, I am so much more than my actions and my speech -- and even more than my thoughts.

I need to own my own dirt. I need to go over all the actions that need cleansing. I also need to see myself as a diamond. My character defects are acquired; they are not me.

On Yom Kippur we stand before G-d. We have looked at ourselves rightly; we have repented and committed to a positive future. Our Creator now embraces us as only a parent can embrace a child.

Our true essence shines. The angels dance, and the world rejoices. And, finally, I am okay being me.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Annual GYE Aseres Yimei Teshuvah Appeal
Please help us reach our goal of $10k!

B"H, we're over HALF WAY THERE!


If you are unsure of how to donate anonymously and get a tax deductible receipt, send us an e-mail and we'll tell you how.

If you're not sure how to donate yet, make a pledge now before Yom-Kippur, and we'll contact you and figure out a way together later!

So many Jews are trapped in these behaviors with no idea that help is available. Send us your e-mail contacts and we'll send them all an anonymous e-mail about our network. You could be saving lives!



Here is a list of the donations we received so far since the appeal started:

N.W: $54
A.G: $100
D.B: $100
J.W: $250
A.W: $101
A.C: $50
STN: $36
- Pledge
L.M: $72
C.G: $10
A.P: $360
Y.K: $18 X 12
M.A: $10 X 12
E.S: $18 X 12
D.B: $18 X 24
M.L: $36
D.G: $100
A.K: $180
Y.L: $400
(Collected through a friend)
A.T: 18 X 12
A.S: $33
Y.T: $100
M.P: $50
E.K: $36
J.R: $500
E.Z: $72
S.B: $150
L.M: $250
NEW! B.J: $180
- Pledge
NEW! S.N: $36
NEW! N.F: $18 X 12
NEW!
J.A: $36
NEW! Y.L: $350
NEW! S.T: $18
--------------------
$3760
+
another $1298 in future monthly payments (red above)
$5058 Total (so far)

Dear friends, this is a once a year appeal. Please help us reach our goal of $10,000 before the appeal ends on Yom Kippur. This amount will help tide us through until next year's appeal, to pay for web development, advertising and other costs! Please try and make monthly commitments for the duration of the year. For example, for only $18 X 12 you will earn the title of "GYE Sponsor"! (And we have inside information that GYE sponsors have special "pull" in Shamayim :-)

It's Aseres Yimei Teshuvah now, and the biggest Teshuvah is to help OTHERS do Teshuvah. And that's what you're doing when you help support GYE. To donate, please go to www.guardyoureyes.org and use the various PayPal options on the right side of the page (scroll down). 

A reader of our Chizuk e-mails wrote in yesterday:

In response to your fundraising plea, I have committed that any deals I get during a specific time period will have a percentage allocated to helping to further your phenomenal work. This way it will be a zechus for me, and a help for you at the same time.

Thank you all, and Tizke Lemitzvos! May you be inscribed in the book of LIFE; REAL LIFE i.e. Living with Hashem, and may you all see success in Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus in the coming year!

 

Torah Thought of the Day
The Satan Goes Wild These Days
By "Battleworn"

Last week I heard R' Tzvi Meir speak. He spoke about the idea that davka because the power of these days is so strong, the Yetzer Hara really works overtime. Chazal say very clearly that we can get close to Hashem during the aseres yemei teshuva, more than the rest of the year. That means that even someone who is so far-removed from Hashem that the rest of the year he can't wake up the connection, during these days he can.

The Yetzer Hara really stands to lose a lot during these days, so he really goes totally wild. And all we have to do, is to NOT GET PHASED BY THE DARKNESS - TO ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES AND WEATHER THE STORM. We need to recognize the confusion for what it is, namely a dirty trick of the Yetzer Hara. We need to remember that it will soon pass and we will get back into focus. And we need to speak to Hashem and beg Him to make it pass fast and bring us back to our senses. 

But in truth, this very darkness is our greatest opportunity! This is the "Derech" and "Kli" - the "vessel" and key to tapping into the great power of these days! The Gemarah says that when one gives a gift, we can assume that he gave generously ("ha'nosein, be'aiyin yafe nosein"). So when Hashem gave us these ten days of closeness and Teshuvah, He also provided the "Derech". VERY VERY often that means a feeling of darkness. Because davka by trying to hold on and not let go even when feeling like that, we can merit the great segulah of these days.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Personal Victory of the Day
Nice Try, Loser!

By Shmilu

What most amuses me about my current situation is that soon after I fell, my evil inclination whispered to me, "Hey, buddy, you already fell and you're starting anew tomorrow. Might as well 'chap arein' and go see the real hardcore stuff and indulge, so that you will be, ahem, satisfied for a longer period of time!"

So, yeah, at first glance it seemed like the menuval would let me be for some time. But, no, he obviously wasn't gonna pass up on a last ditch effort to ensnare me even more. NO WAY, YOU PATHETIC LOSER!

What was, WAS. But don't try to get me to think that since I am already on the ground, nothing will happen if I roll in the dirt. Guess what, smart-aleck? I'll get dirtier! Nice try, loser! Go fly a kite!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daily Dose of Dov
Schar, anyone?

12-Step Tip of the Day

Someone wrote on the forum:

I am sure that after 120 years, all of us posting on this website will be dancing in the middle of klal yisrael's circle with all the tzadikim, because if we can overcome our Niyonos, we certainly deserve to be dancing with the likes of Moshe Rabbeinu and the Avos!

Dov Replies:

Amen V'chein Y'hi Ratzon! with one caveat for me:

I completely relinquish any s'char I may deserve - and may ever deserve - for what you call "overcoming my nisayon". I want no part of it.

And this is why:

When I'm sane, I calmly say, "Tatte, help me" whenever I notice a problematic image coming out of the corner of my eye, or a troubling memory growing out of a corner of my mind. I give the job of freeing me of the powerful desire to look more or to think about it more, to Hashem Yisborach alone. "Struggling with it" reminds me too much of how I got here in the first place! Not healthy....

Besides, every now and then, the desire will surely be much too powerful for me to resist. To admit that requires humility - which is also a gift from Him, I believe. But I'm in good company, as David Hamelech said, "va'ani l'tzelah nachon".

I remember that giving it up can sometimes really feel like a punch in the stomach; intolerable; as though I am really losing something that I desperately need for my own good!! I am not smart enough to rely on my wisdom then. After all, it was my wisdom that got me here in the first place...

So I give the credit to Him and do not assume that I am smarter or better now. That's what I always used to think... foolish fellow that I can be ;-)

What s'char do I deserve for running from lust like the fire that it is for me (or maybe just closing my eyes for a second) and quietly, humbly asking Hashem to take a second out of His busy schedule to help His little Doveleh out, so that I can move on to His work?

I am aware that this attitude may not work for everybody, but for me, it's the best so far.

S'char anyone?

-------------------------------------

Note from webmaster: Dov's approach is for those who work the 12-Steps; not for everyone. In step 1, we admit powerlessness, and in steps 2 and 3 we learn how to get out of the driver's seat (so to speak) and give over the addiction to Hashem to deal with. For a real 12-Stepper like Dov, these are not just "words". These guys really live with this awareness. They learn how to fully and completely surrender the struggle to Hashem, and therefore they truly feel that they have no claim to schar for "over-coming" their addiction, anymore than they have schar for breathing!

(But hey - we all know the truth... Dov will be dancing in the middle with the Tzadikim one day, that's for sure! :-)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Teffilah Thought of the Day
"Machshavos Soneinu"
From "GW"

These days we say Avinu Malkeinu. One of them is: "Batel Machshavos Soneinu - eliminate the thoughts of those who hate us". First of all, this is clearly a reference to the Yetzer Hara as well, who hates us and wants to kill us. However, we can also (loosely) explain this phrase as asking HaShem to eliminate the hateful thoughts in our minds which lead us to sin. Only He can rescue us, and we must constantly ask for His divine assistance to eradicate the impulses which attack us so many times each day.

So next time you get an impulse to act-out, daven to Hashem and say, "Avinu Malkeinu, Batel Machshavos Soneinu!"

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote of the Day
Time to tell the machine, "I won't do what you tell me!"
By "Rage at the Machine" to someone who fell and couldn't get up.

I don't know what to tell you to help you stand up... You're down, and this addiction is taking advantage, kicking you while you're down... You're taking blows to the head, blows to your ribs... It's an old fashioned beatdown... Maybe you don't have the strength to fight back right now... I understand that... But you can at least get up... Stand up! Don't just lie there... Get on your feet and look your addiction in the eye, at least make your addiction fight like a man....

I don't pretend to have any answers.... I'm not even a month clean, and I consider myself a full blown addict... But I can tell you that I know how you suffer... Trust me when I say, I used to have it so much rougher... It hurts... But there is a solution here... I know you've studied the 12 steps and even tried working them... Perhaps it's time to go to a live meeting? Don't try to build 90 days, 30 days or even 7 days... Just work on today...

And don't test yourself... Yes, you can break your filters... Yes, there is plenty of smut available out there... all the sites are still there... No, you can't give it a peek and then stop... And no, it won't make you feel any better... Don't try answering those questions anymore, I just gave you the answers... Just live this minute, this moment...

It's time to cut the puppet strings... Time to walk out of the port-o-potty you've been living in... Time to tell the machine, "I won't do what you tell me!"

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #21

(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #6: Finding Alternative Fulfillment
(Part 1)
 

We frequently focus on breaking the addiction by avoiding triggers and running away from the Yetzer Hara. But often the best way to deal with an addiction, is to remove the underlying "needs" that the addiction is trying to fill by proactively engaging in alternative fulfilling pursuits.

More often than not, an addiction is a psychological escape that we learned to use as a way to flee from the realities of life. If we can manage to keep ourselves occupied with healthy and fulfilling activities that we enjoy, the addiction will often fade away of its own accord.

We should try to find new jobs or projects that will enable us to express our creativity, find enjoyment, and reconnect with life and the world around us. This will help fill the "void" that we were subconsciously trying to satisfy with unhealthy pleasure seeking. Some ideas can be found in our Kosher Isle (and especially in Kosher Activities section).
 
As the book "The First Day of the Rest of My Life" puts it:
 
"Disconnecting from the imaginary world of fantasy and sensual stimulation and reconnecting anew to life can only happen if somehow in the beginning of the addiction, before things have gotten out of hand and it has caused irreversible damage, one succeeds in finding realistic and obtainable challenges and goals, and manages to achieve fulfillment and belonging through them."

 

590.

Thursday  ~  6 Tishrei, 5770  ~  September 24, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: Don't miss today's "Dose of Dov"!
  • Testimonials from the past few days...
  • The Annual GYE Appeal: Help us change the world!
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Who's Your Employer?
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 22: Tool #6 - Part 2

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

Announcement

Beneath the "Testimonials" and "Appeal" below, there's our usual "Dose of Dov" (who is sober in SA for over 11 years). But today's post is different; it is literally LIFE CHANGING. When Dov posted this on the forum yesterday, I heard a Bas Kol from Shamayim saying, "Who revealed these secrets to my children?"... No, but seriously, I wanted to jump up and dance around the room! So many things that weren't clear to me before, became clear in this post. There are so many people on our forum who keep struggling and falling, struggling and falling, and they beat up on themselves and can't figure out what they are doing wrong. So RABBOSAI, if you value your recovery and relationship with Hashem, please read through Dov's post till the end (it starts really getting profound about half way through). And then read it again. And you might want to print it out too, to make it easier to read. (If you do, I suggest framing it :-). I guarantee that those who can understand and internalize what Dov is saying here will have a very different Yom Kippur this year!

 

Some Inspiring Testimonials

In lieu of our on-going annual Aseres Yimei Teshuva Appeal (see below), we would like to bring here a few inspiring testimonials that we received in recent days:

In yesterday's e-mail, we quoted a short article by Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger, Director of Chabad Project Pride. He wrote me today:

I keep hearing fantastic, life saving news about GuardYourEyes. Can you include me the daily emails, please!

"Letakein", who recently became a Kalla, wrote how she and her Chassan went to a therapist to discuss her addiction. Afterwards she wrote:

The therapist was so nice and normal! I felt crazy for going but, hey! I had to do it and I'm really proud that I admitted that I need help! I told him my whole situation, from start to finish, with every tiny minute detail - it was very painful. I admitted to stuff in person that I'd never said to anyone in the whole wide world. But, to my shock, he thought it was the most normal thing in the world. He didn't think I was this, like, mutilated teenager or something. He was so logical and normal about it.
 
When I told him that I'm an active member of GYE, I wish you could've seen the smile on his face! He was so happy and he encouraged me to keep posting and to keep reading the emails- (he reads them too!). I told him not to worry - I'm hooked!

When I came out, I actually FELT CLEAN for the first time in my life. It was an indescribably happy feeling. I felt free- like I was walking on clouds- and guaranteed of Hashem's loving guiding hand. Me and my Chassan were both discussing it and we were laughing out loud with sheer joy!
 
We spoke to the Rav afterward and he spoke to the therapist - and then my unofficial "chassan" asked the rav, "so can we get married?" and the rav said YES and laughed out loud! I can't stop smiling!!!!!!!!!! Hodu la'hashem ki tov! and hodu GUARD!!!!!!!!
 
The words thank you will never be enough to tell describe how grateful I am. May you be zoche to see all the members of GuardUrEyes have such happiness because of you.

Someone on the forum sent us a message yesterday:

Dear Rabbeinu Guard,

I had no idea this site was run single-handedly, or that it was your full time job.

At one point I thought there was a whole team behind "Reb Guard," but then I didn't know how you managed to deal with people consistently.

Then I thought you were doing this part-time, with a full-time job for support. But I still didn't understand how Reb Guard always seems to be logged on!

I think your idea is genius, very professionally done, and for the clientele you have served, your success rate is one to make any professional therapist envious!

The work you are doing is incredible. I never thought I would ever be able to control my eyes on the street. Now, though some days are still harder than others, I am usually able to accomplish this. I haven't written any check-marks in my "shmiras ainayim notebook", because there usually aren't any intentional looks, or only one or two to keep track of lately.

May Hashem bless you with great success and great financial backing!


"Shomer Ain" - a Bochur who is clean over a year (see his story here) wrote me today:

There are no words to describe all of you who frequent GYE. Looking through the forums and letters, I am flooded by feelings of awe and respect for all of those who have taken on this task. One thing that stands out above all, is the ongoing perseverance which is so apparent in all those who write on these forums.

"Holy Yid" sent us an e-mail today:

I want to thank you for your work here. Only a few months ago, my life was full of such pain and I had no idea where to turn. The past yom kippors had such dread because I knew that there was little I could do. Today I got to 50 days clean. I could not have done it myself. I did not dream about this kind of thing a few months ago. Thank you again.

"Me3" wrote on the forum:
 
Thank you Guard. I owe you a debt that I can never repay.

"X-Addict" wrote us an e-mail two days ago:

Hi, I'm x-addict here, wow, my journey's been a long hard one, I'm up to 80 days now, I want to fly to Israel to make a le'chaim in your house on 90 days, I'm being serious, I want to meet you! You have changed my life, 80 days!!! I've given so many people inspiration, I'm speechless, because I'm a massive chevraman and people except me to be doing x y z, and to hear that I'm not, makes them also not want to.
Your dearest talmid, B.L.Y
London, England

"TaharasHakodesh" sent us an e-mail today:

Hi. I have a mainstream yeshiva background and have been in kollel for a few years. I can give shiurim on the sefer taharos hakodesh or maybe reb nachman's seforim to your members, if you think that would help.

I have, B"H, with your help, been clean now for a few weeks. I had the most beautiful davening in Uman where I davened for everyone at GYE. I finally felt I could mean when I said, "this year will be different" and I want a life of ruchniyos and not lust. Hopefully this year will be the first that I stay clean past Hoshana Rabba.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Annual Aseres Yimei Teshuvah Appeal

If you help others do Teshuvah, Hashem will surely help you too - Midah Kineged Midah!

Please help us reach our goal of $10k
B"H, we're over HALF WAY THERE!

If you can't afford to donate right now, here are a few ideas:

1) Make a pledge based on future income, like this member wrote in to us:

In response to your fundraising plea, I have committed that any deals I get during a specific time period will have a percentage allocated to helping further your phenomenal work. This way it will be a zechus for me, and a help for you at the same time.

2) Send us your pledge to allocate a certain percentage of your Maaser this year to GYE.

3) Pledge now to donate a certain amount sometime during the year, IF AND WHEN YOU CAN.

4) Send out this attachment to friends and family and ask them if they can donate. It will be in your Zechus!

If you make these commitments now, you will enter Yom Kippur with special merits for Teshuvah in the areas of
Shmiras Habris and Shmiras Ainayim.

If you are unsure of how to donate anonymously and get a tax deductible receipt, send us an e-mail and we'll tell you how.

If you're not sure how to donate at all, make a pledge anyway - before Yom-Kippur, and we'll contact you and figure out a way later together!

So many Jews are trapped in these behaviors with no idea that help is available. Send us your e-mail contacts (address books) and we'll send them all an anonymous e-mail about our network. You could be saving lives!




Here is a list of the donations we received so far since the appeal started:

N.W: $54
A.G: $100
D.B: $100
J.W: $250
A.W: $101
A.C: $50
STN: $36
- Pledge
L.M: $72
C.G: $10
A.P: $360
Y.K: $18 X 12
M.A: $10 X 12
E.S: $18 X 12
D.B: $18 X 24
M.L: $36
D.G: $100
A.K: $180
Y.L: $400
(Collected through a friend)
A.T: 18 X 12
A.S: $33
Y.T: $100
M.P: $50
E.K: $36
J.R: $500
E.Z: $72
S.B: $150
L.M: $250
B.J: $180
- Pledge
S.N: $36
N.F: $18 X 12
J.A: $36
Y.L: $350
S.T: $18
New! M.C: $36
New! S.C: $36
New! A.K: $100
New! M.W: $18 X 12
- Pledge
New! J.S: $100
New! N.R: $100
New! I.D: $18 X 12
--------------------
$4150
+
another $1712 in future monthly payments (red "X" above)
$5862 Total (so far)

Dear friends, this is a once a year appeal. Please help us reach our goal of $10,000 before the appeal ends on Yom Kippur. This amount will help tide us through until next year's appeal, to pay for web development, advertising and other costs! Please try and make monthly commitments for the duration of the year. For example, for only $18 X 12 you will earn the title of "GYE Sponsor"!

It's Aseres Yimei Teshuvah now, and the biggest Teshuvah is to help OTHERS do Teshuvah. And that's what you're doing when you help support GYE. To donate, please go to www.guardyoureyes.org and use the various PayPal options on the right side of the page (scroll down). 

Thank you all, and Tizke Lemitzvos! May you be inscribed in the book of LIFE; REAL LIFE i.e. Living with Hashem, and may you all see success in Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus in the coming year!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daily Dose of Dov
Who's Your Employer?

12-Step Tip of the Day

For me - in active addiction, staying clean was a religious struggle - that was really all about me. A clean day was another feather in my hat, a good deed, a great mitzva, and - as some here have stated - another feather in the "hat of the Ribono shel Olam". This did not get me any better, though. It's beautiful to know that a clean day is a kiddush Hashem and gives Him nachas Ruach, does a tikkun, etc. But by itself, that did nothing to change me, and I knew it.

The ikkar of recovery is not "not acting out". It is about the rest of what we are doing. Why is it that some of us have had a year-or-so of relatively clean time while in yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael or wherever? We were living differently, so we were different. (Then we went back home and back to the same way of life, and the rest is history).

As "Kedusha" has posted many times, the "best way" to guarantee that I'll think about lust is to try and focus on not thinking about lust. But I'm going a step further than that, perhaps. In my life so far, the way it works is that I simply can't struggle with lust. I can't struggle with it even for Hashem's sake. As the Pasuk says,
"Hashem ish milchama - G-d is the man of war". That means that I am not, at least in my case. In fact, the 12-steps don't even mention our drug/problem, besides in Step #1. So, the way I see it is, that if I want to guarantee that I'll keep struggling with it (and losing), I should just keep thinking about not struggling with it. "Counting the days I'm clean" is all the impetus I need to get back to work struggling (and losing). It happens so fast and so naturally, I don't even realize it's occurring. Then I wake up obsessed and fantasizing. For years though, the struggling and the counting were "lesheim shomayim", which doesn't make it right, of course. And it isn't "right" if it doesn't work.

I had/have to give the entire mess to Hashem. But how do we do that?

The answer is to learn how to continuously focus on living right - living for Hashem. And that takes work and is what the 4th-12th steps are all about: getting myself clean enough for Hashem to shine through me. Mainly by reducing ga'ava (haughtiness). The 3rd step - which is the program's condition for sanity and sobriety - is about one thing: deciding to live for G-d. Not about resisting temptation for G-d, and certainly not about "not acting out". (But these steps cannot be done successfully alone).

The Sfas Emes comments on the Pasuk:
"v'hyisem kedoshim leylokeichem - and you should be holy for your G-d" that Hashem does not have any interest in his people being "Kedoshim". What He wants his people to be is: "Kedoshim leylokeichem" - holy for Him. Jews for Hashem!

If I am acting out, even occasionally, or even if I'm just "slipping", my real malady is that I have slipped back into living for myself. And this needs quick correction. "Struggling with lust" isn't the solution - it is a symptom of the problem. Even I, myself, am not the issue; in other words, "how good I am" is irrelevant. I've just got the wrong employer, that's all. And nothing will "work", because I am an addict. A regular yid can "make it". I can't. And today, I thank G-d that I can't, (because I have no choice but to learn not to live for myself). How lucky can a man be?

A well-known vort:
"Ve'haboteyach baShem, chesed yisovevenhu - He who trusts in G-d, kindness will surround him". Even for one who is still a rasha; as long as he attaches himself to Hashem with trust, Hashem will connect with him with His love/chesed.

So, whether we lust a little or a lot, is not what the solution is about. It is about all the other things that we thought were not related to our acting out. Our motivation for living is what matters, not our motivations for acting out. Life gets good in a hurry when we are living for the right reasons, even if we are not doing it perfectly.

The 3rd step is about a decision, a start. But it has to be real. Chazal say that Hashem says,
"pischu li pesach kechudo shel machat, v'ani eftach lochem pesach kepischo shel ulam - open for me a hole the size of a needle, and I'll open it as wide as the gate of the Ulam". Says the Kotzker, it may be small but it has to be like a needle: all the way through. Meaning: He doesn't ask for perfect, just for "real".

If you are content with "winning one for the Ribono shel Olam" (between losses for both of you), gezunterheit. That has not been my experience or understanding of the program - or of recovery, at all. 

Don't worry, Hashem won't mind you engaging in some "enlightened self-interest" and leaving the glory of beating the Yetzer Hara to a pulp to others who are more qualified. (And there are some, it seems). Hashem really wants us to succeed at living a good Jewish life after all, no? Well the only way I could live, was by finally giving up the romanticized struggle, and getting to work for Hashem.

At some point, I had to admit that my whole struggle and torture (of about 20 years) was ultimately all about me deep inside, really. Even though it was cloaked in kedusha, Torah and Mitzvos, "for Hashem", etc., it was all about me, me me. Eventually, I saw that I was only fooling myself and that I'd be the star-crossed, tragic loser in the end. They'd be cheering for me at my grave. "What a fighter he was". Wow.

In Adon Olam we say:
"Hashem li, velo iroh - Hashem is for me, I shall not fear". He is for me. And I'm for Him. That is how we approach the Yomin Nora'im: E-l-u-l (Ani ledodi, ve'dodi li). If He is my banner and my employer, then I have absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

So to recap: It's not about lusting a little bit or a lot, nor even all about staying off the stuff altogether. Long-term sobriety (and I assume that's what we're all interested in) is not born solely of abstinence.

And after falling, getting back up and saying, "Ok, I guess I can try it again" is not necessarily the answer either. If you want a different life, you will need to start living differently. The focus cannot be on "stopping the lust" while leaving the rest of your life essentially the same. If the way I eat, sleep, learn, daven, love my wife and kids, see myself in a mirror, and breathe, have not changed an iota, I believe the whole thing is B with an S after it.

Now, living differently may take some time, but that change had to be my focus. The sobriety comes almost as an after thought - with phone calls and lots of quiet "Hashem help me!"s all day long, and meetings - where I got honest and poured all my garbage and shame out of me and into the light.

So, instead of worrying about slipping and falling so much, how can we change the way we are living the rest of our life so that it's for Him (or at least for people other than me?)

I love you, and all addicts.
- Dov

 

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For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #22

(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #6: Finding Alternative Fulfillment
(Part 2)
 

"False" fulfillment causes us to close up into ourselves and slowly destroys our lives and our souls. For those who can achieve it, obviously the best type of fulfillment and joy comes from a true connection with Hashem. This can be built up through learning Torah with enjoyment, adding Kedusha to one's life, and by seeking a deeper connection with Yiddishkeit in general. (See Chizuk e-mail #464 on this page for more on this concept, and see also what Rabbi Twerski writes in this Hamodia). Torah is like water, and as the author of this story puts it, "We can't put out a fire without water, even if we know it burns".

Other ideas to help us start living "outside of ourselves" could include Chesed projects or involvement in the community in various ways. If you are a Bochur in Yeshiva, you might try and get the job of organizing the Otzar Haseforim, running a canteen, providing dry cleaning services, haircuts, etc... If you are not learning and also unemployed, get a job! The main thing is to keep busy, reconnect with the world around us and find fulfillment in a variety of ways that will counteract the "false fulfillment" that the addiction tries to provide us with.

 

591.


Friday  ~  7 Tishrei, 5770  ~  September 25, 2009

 

In Today's Issue

  • The Marshmallow Experiment: Enlightened Self-Interest
  • Testimonial: "Just a Yid"
  • The Annual GYE Appeal: We're getting there, help us close the gap!
  • Anecdote of the Day: How Real is Hashem to You?
  • Link of the Day: Let go of your bags and JUMP!
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 23: Tool #7 - Part 1

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The Marshmallow Experiment

A older Bochur who is clean over a year (see his story here) wrote:

I heard a special thought about Teshuva that I feel is exemplified by all of you on the GuardYourEyes forum. On Yom Kippur, we read the story of Ninveh. Yona tells Ninveh that Hashem has decreed that Ninveh be overturned. The potential meaning of this was twofold. Either Ninveh repents and overturns their previous actions by doing Teshuva, or Hashem would have to literally overturn it. It was Ninveh's choice as to how this overturning would take place. Given the chance to interpret Hashem's word, Ninveh used their opportunity to overturn their ways.

Is there any greater Tshuva than that which is done by the GYE group daily? We speak of using our previously faulty faculties for positivity in Teshuva. And that's what everyone here is doing! Crying tears to counteract the times we have abused our eyesight. Feeling remorse with a broken heart to counteract our hearts leading us astray. Strengthening others who are struggling. Who has a better, more remarkable approach than these admirable warriors who replace their addiction to the illicit, with an addiction to words of beauty, an addiction to the chizuk of GYE and the closeness with Hashem that it ensures. Do you feel that connection? Sometimes it's so strong and overwhelming, enough to make us cry in love and hope - in appreciation for the power Hashem has granted us to rise above.
 
I was recently enlightened about an on-line study called the "Marshmallow Experiment" (with footage). In it, children are given a marshmallow and told that they can either eat it immediately, or wait a few minutes, at which point they will receive a second one. It was fascinating, funny and interesting all at once, but mostly it's scary. The children each take their own approach to refrain from eating it immediately, and some succeed in fully waiting for the second. Some can't resist a nibble, and some swallow it right away in one bite. Scarier still, are how differently the lives of those who were able to wait turned out. These children, when interviewed at age 18, had drastically more positive lives of growth and emotional health in many areas.

We are those children. We need to refrain from that enticing nibble, knowing that the sacrifice is well worth it for the real connection that we build with Hashem, every time, as our reward. There is no greater feeling.
 
Motzei Yom Kippur, when the gates have closed at the end of Neila, the wonderful, free, feeling of closeness with our Creator, after days, weeks and months of our labor, makes it clear that there really just isn't any other option. There is nothing else but us and Him. And that is real Simcha.

Gmar Chasima Tova, and may we all be included in the level of Tzadik Yesod Olam.

 

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Testimonial of the Day
Neither a Rasha nor a Tzadik...

"Just a Yid"

By "Hoping"

Dear Chevra (and especially Guard),

The Rosh Hashana that I just had is incomparable to any other that I had experienced in the past. I still have a very long way to go, but I felt that I have at least an opening in my life with which I can relate to Hashem. It is not that I am anywhere near where I should be, it is the fact that I can honestly assess where I am right now and make a commitment to improve. While acting out with my addiction, I never was able to look honestly at where I was. I felt like a big Rasha mixed up with a Tzaddik. Now I know that I am neither. Rather I am a Yid who is trying to get closer to Hashem. Before, I was not happy with who I was, always thinking that if only I learned/davened better, I wouldn't lust so much. I did not involve G-d too much; I would do this on my own. Now, my life revolves around Hashem. Not much has changed, yet everything has changed. I have not entirely lost my tendency towards lust, but my shemiras ainayim is at a level that I have never kept before. I have not suddenly begun to do everything right, but I can honestly say to Hashem that I am on the path to improvement and that I am fully accepting Him as my Boss. This, for me, was the first time that I was able to mean it when I declared the Malchiyus of Hashem on Rosh Hashana.

Thank you everyone. It is to you that I owe my new lease on life.

Dov Replies:

I can live my whole life with with these words!! Thank you!!
- Another fortunate yid

 

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The Annual Aseres Yimei Teshuvah Appeal

If you help others do Teshuvah, Hashem will surely help you too - Midah Kineged Midah!

To donate, please go to www.guardyoureyes.org and use the various PayPal options on the right side of the page (scroll down). 

GET IN YOUR PLEDGE BEFORE YOM-KIPPUR

Please help us reach our goal of $10k
~ Only $2,658 left to get there! ~

If you can't afford to donate right now, here are SIX ideas:

1) Make a pledge based on your own journey, as this member wrote in:

"MY PLEDGE:
I will give $5 to GYE for everyday I stay clean until 90 days. That is $70 as of now, and hopefully it will be a total of $450. Please daven for me and keep those great chizuk e-mails coming! Thanks for all your help".

2) Make a pledge based on future income, like this member wrote in to us:

"In response to your fundraising plea, I have committed that any deals I get during a specific time period will have a percentage allocated to helping further your phenomenal work. This way it will be a zechus for me, and a help for you at the same time".

3) Send us your pledge to allocate a certain percentage of your Maaser this year to GYE.

4) Pledge now to donate (x amount) sometime during the year, IF AND WHEN YOU CAN.

5) Help support GYE with your old STUFF! Click here for more information.

6) Send out this attachment to friends and family and ask them if they can donate. It will be in your Zechus!

If you make these commitments now, you will enter Yom Kippur with special merits for Teshuvah in the areas of
Shmiras Habris and Shmiras Ainayim.

If you are unsure of how to donate anonymously and get a tax deductible receipt, send us an e-mail and we'll tell you how.

If you're not sure how to donate at all, make a pledge anyway before Yom-Kippur, and we'll contact you and figure out a way together!

So many Jews are trapped in these behaviors with no idea that help is available.  Here are some other ways you can help GYE and spread the word:

1) Print out this flyer and hang it up in your neighborhood shuls and bulletin boards anonymously. Or sponsor an ad in your community's local paper, using this flyer.

2) Send us your e-mail contacts (address books) and we'll send them all an anonymous e-mail about our network. You could be saving lives!




Here is a list of the donations we received so far since the appeal started:

N.W: $54
A.G: $100
D.B: $100
J.W: $250
A.W: $101
A.C: $50
STN: $36
- Pledge
L.M: $72
C.G: $10
A.P: $360
Y.K: $18 X 12
M.A: $10 X 12
E.S: $18 X 12
D.B: $18 X 24
M.L: $36
D.G: $100
A.K: $180
Y.L: $400
(Collected through a friend)
A.T: 18 X 12
A.S: $33
Y.T: $100
M.P: $50
E.K: $36
J.R: $500
E.Z: $72
S.B: $150
L.M: $250
B.J: $180
- Pledge
S.N: $36
N.F: $18 X 12
J.A: $36
Y.L: $350
S.T: $18
M.C: $36
S.C: $36
A.K: $100
M.W: $18 X 12
- Pledge
J.S: $100
N.R: $100
I.D: $18 X 12
New! R.D: $180
New! Y.Y: $450 -
Pledge of $5/day for 90 days
New! J.K: $70
New! J.K: $36 X 12
New! H.G: $50
New! S.R: $100
New! M.C: $18
New! J.K: $180
- Pledge
--------------------
$4604
+
another $2738 in future monthly payments (red "X" above)
$7342 Total (so far)

Dear friends, this is a once a year appeal. Please help us reach our goal of $10,000 before the appeal ends on Erev Yom Kippur. This amount will help tide us through until next year's appeal, to pay for web development, advertising and other costs! Please try and make monthly commitments for the duration of the year. For example, for only $18 X 12 you will earn the title of "GYE Sponsor"!

It's Aseres Yimei Teshuvah now, and the biggest Teshuvah is to help OTHERS do Teshuvah. And that's what you're doing when you help support GYE.

Thank you all, and Tizke Lemitzvos! May you be inscribed in the book of LIFE and Living with Hashem, and may you all see success in Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus in the coming year!

 

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Anecdote of the day
"How Real is Hashem to You?"

A Story posted by Uri

All the Belzer chassidim were gathered for the first night of slichos.
The Belzer Rebbe walked in and looked around.
"Where is Yankel the tailor?", he asked.
The chassidim next to him responded;
"We don't know. He's not here. Why?"
"Go get him. We're not starting slichos till he comes."
"What?! Rebbe, there are 1000s of people waiting to start slichos! We can't just hold everyone for a tailor!"
"Well, we are about to. Go bring him, please."
So the chassidim went to Yankele the tailor's house to find him lying on the ground, drunk.
"Yankele, come to shul. The Rebbe is waiting for you."
"But I'm drunk! How can I go to slichos like this?"
"It doesn't matter. You have to come. Everyone's waiting for you."
So Yankel picked himself up and walked with the Rebbe's chassidim to shul.
When he came to the Rebbe, the Rebbe asked him:
"Tell me exactly the whole story of what happened, ending in you getting drunk tonight."

So Yankele the tailor told his story...

I work with material.
I have a hard time getting by.
Then, a high ranking officer in the army had me do some expensive work for him.
I was gonna finally have some money.
But he canceled half his order.
I said to Hashem:
"Hashem, you took away half my parnassa! From now on, I'm only doing half the mitzvos!"
And I did.
I only put on one tefillin in the morning. I only davened half of davening. I only washed one hand. Etc...
And then the officer lessened his order again.
So I said to Hashem:
"Ok. Now I'm gonna do even less."
And I did.
After a while, I realized that this is a bad cycle to be in.
So I said to Hashem:
"Hashem, let's make up. I'll start doing all the mitzvos again, and you give me my full parnassa. Okay?"
And then I did as all close friends do, when they make up.
I made a le'chaim.
I sat down at my table and poured two shots.
"To a long and loving relationship, Hashem! Lechaim!"
"Hashem, You didn't drink Your shot!"
So I drank it for Him.
And tell me, is one lechaim enough for the King of Kings?!
So I poured one lechaim after another, till I finished the whole bottle!
And that's why I was lying on the floor drunk tonight.

The Belzer Rebbe gave Yankel a big hug.
"You, my holy yid, are standing next me to tonight when we say slichos.
Because you have a relationship with Hashem.
You talk to Him.
You love Him.
And He is real to you.
So I want to be with you at this crucial time."

That story made me cry for some reason.
Hope you like it.

- Uri

 

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Link of the Day

Let go of your bags, and JUMP!

A deep lesson for Yom Kippur, by Aish.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

For those who find it hard to find the time to read through the GuardYourEyes Handbooks, we will try and bring an excerpt each day. In this way, everyone will have a chance to go through the handbooks over time. Currently, we are bringing daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook, which presents 18 tools to breaking free of Lust addiction in progressive order.

Daily excerpt from the GYE Handbook
Excerpt #23

(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #7: Cutting Down
(Part 1)
 

If you've tried the steps above and you still find that the addiction is controlling you and causing frequent falls, it could be helpful to apply the battle-tactic of conquering and securing one territory at a time, instead of trying to conquer everything at once.

Our sages have said: "There is a small organ in a man, if one feeds it - it is hungry, if one starves it - it is satiated". This is a very important Yesod to keep in mind, and it shows how much our Sages understood the nature of this addiction.
 
We can make ourselves red lines and try to cut down as much as we can. If we would act out every day until now, we can try - for starters - to cut it down only to once every two days. If it used to be twice a week, we can try cutting it down to once a week. Or we can try making a strong resolution for a period of time, that besides for, say, one particular day of the week, we will not even consider acting out, no matter what. As we do this and learn to cut down more and more, we will find that "the less we feed it, the less we need it". (See this page for more on this Yesod).
 
This tactic also teaches us not to use the addiction as an "escape mechanism" anymore. Very often, the subconscious reason that we became addicted in the first place was that we began to use the addiction as a kind of "escape" from the harsh - or difficult-to-deal-with realities of life. We used the addiction to sooth ourselves and medicate our feelings. But once we start to draw red lines and cut down on these behaviors with hard work and determination, we force ourselves to no longer instinctively use the behaviors to "escape" into ourselves. This causes a gradual change in our thinking that ultimately makes it much easier to break free completely.

 

592.