Guard Your Eyes

GuardUrEyes
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601.


Friday  ~  21 Tishrei, 5770  ~  October 9, 2009
Hoshana Rabba ~ Ushpizin of David Hamelech

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After every 50 e-mails, we start a new page on our website (see all previous chizuk e-mails by clicking the numbers on the menu bars at the top of this page). Last year, e-mail #301 came out on Erev Yom Kippur and we all turned a NEW PAGE together. This e-mail, #601, falls out on Hoshana Rabba - which is also a time of Teshuvah and RENEWAL.

Hoshana Raba: Turning a New Page

A new member who calls himself "dmaot" (tears) joined the struggle today and begins a NEW PAGE in his life. He writes:

Ok, I have a problem and I'm finally admitting it. I am a 'good Jewish boy' - married, learn every day, I am makpid about davening, halachah etc. etc. except that I look at porn on the net. I have prayed to HaShem many many times to help me overcome this - but I still feel totally helpless. Yom Kippur was just last week, and I have fallen many times since then. I can even see how HaShem is pulling out all the stops to help me (tonight, my computer just turned itself off for no reason just as I was opening up a bad site!). But still I turn it back on, and fall... I'm so upset and I just don't know what to do any more. I'm so scared that HaShem will punish my family and any children that I may have IY"H, Chas VeShalom, and I desperately want to live a holy life... I try not to look at women on the street - I don't go to beaches/pools etc. but it's hopeless - at home and on my own, I just can't be trusted! I have now organized an internet filter on our internet but I still think it wont stop me (I'll just log on to neighbors etc.). Please help me!

Since today is a day of Teshuvah and we can all relate to "dmaot", I would like to bring a few of the beautiful welcoming posts. To see all the replies, click here. (Make sure not to miss Dov's welcome at the bottom. It brought "dmaot" to my eyes).

"Notalone" writes:

Welcome! Yes it is true. One who is taken over by his lust, even filters often won't stop him. What has to change is our attitude and our outlook. Take R' Guard's advice and READ THE HANDBOOKS. They are, as far as I can tell with my limited experience, the best way to change your outlook and yourself. 

"Kanesher" writes:

Congrats! You've just won 90% of your battle - you've reached out. You're not alone, so many of us - nice Jewish boys - struggle along with you. We're all in varying stages of recovery and many, many of us have fully recovered - people with worse addictions then you!

There are so many tools here - posting, accountability groups, phone groups - all anonymous, all really effective. Try it out. And if one thing doesn't work, try another. We're all in this together, and GYE really, really works. Hatzlacha!

"Nishmas" writes:

Dmaot are Tears. Tears are answered or saved up for future use. The gates of Tears are never locked up, not before Yom Kippur and not after Yom Kippur.

Welcome to the forum! You've taken a great step. The next steps might sometimes be smaller, they might sometimes be bigger, but never get discouraged. Take it one step at a time. And if you take two steps forward and one step backward, that's progress. Don't let the Yetzer Harah pull you down. Right now, you might feel that he's got you from all sides, but he doesn't. And over time, you'll be building a stronger protective fences against the Y"H. As someone else pointed out, start reading through the handbooks. Take what speaks to you and use it to be mechazek yourself, one step at a time.

"Holy Yid" writes:

Welcome, Welcome. Realizing it is hopeless is a wonderful thing. The first step to recovery is when we admit we are POWERLESS. When I started, I thought it was hopeless for me also. I was powerless in front of the computer. 

Chazal say that Hashem opens the way for someone who wants to sin. Why does He do this? Where is His kindness? The Alter of Slabodka says, that this is in fact an act of His kindness. We are not willing to change till we hit rock bottom, so Hashem lets us fall and fall and fall till WE CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. Then we want to change. Think of the falls since Yom Kippur as Hashem's Kindness. They pushed you over the edge and got you to come here!

"7Up" wrote:

"Dmaot". What a perfect name for one who is really sincere about changing. The Shaarei dima - the gates of tears are never ever closed to the cries of a Yid. Think about it; if we on GYE have heard your plea for help and are running to greet and welcome you, how much more so must your call be echoing through shamayim!

Welcome, and may your tears of pain soon become tears of thankfulness and gratitude. 

Dov writes:

Welcome to D'maot and others here, and ditto to 7Up:

Rav Noach Weinberg zt"l used to say:

"A guy came to Aish and heard me talk about how you can learn about G-d in a Yeshiva. He told me that he already knows about G-d, so he doesn't need to come here for that. I asked him about it and he told me about a miraculous landing he once had, falling off his bike and down a cliff - and walked away without a scratch! So he knew there must be a G-d! I asked him, "if there is a G-d, then why did he let you fall off the bike in the first place?... Do you think maybe He was trying to get your attention? Maybe he wants you to come to a Yeshiva to really get to know Him, no?"

I love it (and I loved Rav Noach). And Hashem loves you. You may blame this whole problem on yourself. I'd bet you do (as I always did).

But the facts may be that it really is not totally your fault. You may be just a little nuts (like many of us). Or you may be stuck in a pattern now and just can't get out on your own (like many of us).

You can blame yourself for the whole thing and give up, (which apparently hasn't been working very well for any of us till now, or we wouldn't be here), or you can consider that maybe Hashem is trying to get your attention. Maybe He wants us to need Him so much and to use Him so much, that we finally grow up and turn to Him the way He knows we can. That is one of the things you may find help with on this site.

Keep reading.

And, A-freilichen Yom Tov!!

"ClearEyes613" writes:

Dov, your post brought me to D'maot! Straight to the heart. Thank you!

"Dmaot" turns a NEW PAGE:

Thank you to everyone for the Chizuk - I can already see that Be'ezrat HaShem - and with all your help - my road to recovery will lead to success.

I'm sorry for posting so negatively in my first post. I was feeling like I hit rock bottom at the time. I'm going to start climbing out. Can't wait until I have 3 clean days so that I can post my status on the 90 day chart!

 

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12-Step Attitude
Daily Dose of Dov

Feeling Safe with Something Bigger than Ourselves.

The following post, which Dov posted yesterday, is very appropriate for Hoshana Raba - a day of Teshuvah. Dov explains to us how our recovery can help us not only find freedom from lust, but it can also help us find Hashem, re-discover Yiddishkeit, and do Teshuvah from all of our bad middos (which are the real causes for the lust in the first place).

Dov writes on the forum to someone who struggles with "anger" issues, along with lust:

The depression/anxiety, anger/resentment, fear/worry, pride/entitlement problems that we have, are, in my experience, just our associated disorders that lead us to be miserable with life, with people, and/or with ourselves. When an addict is uncomfortable enough, he/she will medicate using the addictive behavior.

The compulsive sex, lusting, drinking, cocaine, heroin, gambling, etc.. (any kind of addiction) seems to give us our power back. It gives us a real feeling of control and safety. Even though we are out of control and very unsafe, we use the addiction to plug into something much bigger than ourselves. It is more powerful, and more predictable than real life has been for us so far. And it is also so much more powerful and predictable than Hashem has been for us, too, by the way. You cannot argue/reason/hashkafa "away" a thing that we actually know that we feel in our very gut. "Go ahead, join my conscience and beg me to not believe what I know in my gut - good luck!"

Real or imagined, it is real to us, and seems to work for us - at least in the beginning. Addicts become stuck in it and cannot usually get out on their own. Then life really starts to stink - sometimes to everyone around us, too.

The 12 steps that I know about, are for anyone who has come to the conclusion that they are hopelessly unable to beat their addiction, or have come to really believe that they will be beaten if nothing radically changes. 

Once they are clean because they really accept that they are no longer able to drink, drug, lust, etc., they work the steps in order and they will face their associated disorders ("defects of character") that make life today so unbearable in the first place. (That is what steps 4-9 are about). And it never ends. We do not get fixed. We keep on growing, discovering and surrendering more defects, getting more and more free, and living with less and less pain, stress, anger, pride and fear. Slowly.

If we do not consent to face our defects of character and use those steps, it seems that we will eventually just fall back into the addictive (or a new addictive) behavior. So the solution is basically inescapable.

The good news is, that it makes for a great life for us and all those around us, and - in my case - it was the only way I found to really become a yid and find my own relationship with Hashem. And that isn't something that any money can buy :-)

The idea that Dov mentions here, of how addicts use the addiction to feel "safe" and in "control" by plugging into something bigger and more powerful than themselves, really struck a chord with me. If we can replace that need by relinquishing our "control" to Hashem - who is so much bigger than both "us" and "the lust", we can find the safety and comfort that we crave in Him. This leads to freedom from the lust and from all our bad Middos; and this, my friends, is what real Teshuvah is all about!

May we all be Zoche to true Teshuvah and a Gut Kvittle!

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To join an anonymous, frum, 12-Step, SA-type phone-conference group, see this Page. A new cycle of Duvid Chaim's group is beginning IY"H on Monday, Oct 19th, Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan.

 

602.


Monday  ~  24 Tishrei, 5770  ~  October 12, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Anecdote of the Day: Living with Hashem in All Times
  • Announcement: Get Ready for Next Week Monday!
  • Personal Victory of the Day: Haba Litaher Mesayin Lo
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: The Roller Coaster
  • 12-Step Attitude: Daily Dose of Dov

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Anecdote of the Day
Living with Hashem in All Times

On Motzai Simchas Torah, the Sassover Rebbe saw the Chassidim looking a little bit "down". After so many beautiful and uplifting days of Yom-Tov, they were facing now a cold and difficult winter back in the "real world"... The Sassover Rebbe called out to them, "my dear Chassidim, the G-d of "Ata Bechartanu" is the same G-d of "Ata Chonantanu"!

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Get Ready for Next Week Monday, October 19!

5770 - Can it be any better than 5769?
YES, if you use the TOOLS!

We've all been through this cycle before. Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkos and Simchas Torah - carrying us to lofty and spiritual levels. How can I even think about "acting out" when I'm so immersed in Mitzvot and family responsibilities?  I'm feeling pretty good about myself and may even think that I have finally "conquered" my disease.

Then, we put away our esrog and lulav, our boys go back to Yeshiva, we say goodbye to family and in-laws and then it's Cheshvan and we enter that long dry run until Chanukah.  We're back at work, our Tefillos go back to "normal" and that lofty status we held just a week ago starts to fade. What can we do? How do we guard ourselves to stay sober and to stay connected? How can we keep half of our New Year Resolutions that we declared before Hashem? I want to stay clean! I want to succeed this Year!

The answer starts with realizing that you don't have to go it alone. 

Maybe you're asking yourself:

Am I finding it too difficult to make a face-to-face SA meeting?

Do you want to be part of a fellowship of a small group of men who share your struggle?

Are you concerned about privacy and anonymity?

But you know that you would benefit by working a 12 Step Program.

GYE is proud to offer an In-depth B'Iyun 12 Step Big Book Study Group Lunch & Learn

Led by DuvidChaim, an experienced 12 Step Program Sponsor and Bucky for those who are unable or unwilling to make a face to face meetings. See this page for more info.

The Big Book Study Lunch & Learn (BBSGL&L) will use the traditional and proven format used by millions of 12 Step sponsors and sponsees who have; with G-d's help found recovery and freedom from their addiction.

The BBSGL&L will meet in a free conference call - 4 days a week, Monday thru Thursday at 12 Noon Eastern Standard Time.

The BBSGL&L is a TEXT STUDY Chabura; based on the AA Big Book (you can purchase a copy here).  We will cover 2 to 3 pages from the Big Book each day and WORK THE STEPS.

This program is a proven method of success! (Just ask the participants from the last Group!)

We will begin IY"H on Monday October 19th. This is a Program for men who are willing to make a serious commitment to finally find the freedom from their addiction; as literally promised by the Program.

Another "PLUS" to this upcoming session is that we will have an awesome group of veterans joining the Group who will be serving as "Big Brothers" - who will help participants keep up with the material. 

So please join this Fellowship by signing up and we will send you more details.  If you have any questions, please contact us at duvidchaim@gmail.com.

"Keep coming back because it works if you work it - and you're worth it!"

Thanks,

Duvid Chaim

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Personal Victory of the Day
Haba Litaher, Misayin Lo

Someone sent us an e-mail recently:

I've been doing pretty good lately B"H, using a combination of strong filters and vows to keep myself clean. This morning though, while I was just getting up and still feeling groggy, I got a crazy idea in my head. I had thought of something inappropriate that my filter would let me bypass, and "technically" it wouldn't be transgressing my vows either. The Yetzer Hara convinced me that I just "had to" check it out to see if it "really was" as bad as I thought, and if yes, I would need to put up better fences to block that too. Although I recognized the voice of the Yetzer Hara, I couldn't convince him that it was too dangerous for me to "check it out". So I went into my office and turned on the computer, planning to check it out right away. But the strangest thing happened. Just as the computer was loading up and logging into the internet, it jammed. I tried clicking on different things but nothing happened. This had never happened to me before (it's a new, top-of-the-line computer).

Well, you can imagine that I got the "message". I quickly made a vow not to access that particular site, and thanked G-d for miraculously saving me!

I was forced to press the "restart" button on the computer, and this time everything loaded up without a glitch.

How wondrous are the ways of Hashem! How much He loves us, even while we are slipping!

 

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Attitude Tip of the Day
The Roller Coaster
A Post by Uri

In this book that I read (and am re-reading) by a sexual addiction therapist called "The First Day of the Rest of My Life", this woman goes about a tremendous life-changing day-at an amusement park.

Basically, we have fallen into the addiction because we live lives of fear, and this is out attempt to control the fear. Porn is a means of "security" from our fears. But really, our fears are illusions caused by insecurity. In short, it is one big cycle of "uch!"

This woman began her recovery by facing a big fear of hers - one which she clearly had no control over; Roller coasters.

On the roller coaster, she just stopped worrying and let her fears be experienced.
And she realized that she could make it and there's nothing to be afraid of.

Today I went with my brothers to an amusement park. I went on the biggest roller coaster and got in the front seat (scariest place), and I just took a deep breath and let go. That's it. I realized there's no point "buggin out" and trying to mentally gain control of the situation. I just put my faith in G-d and let Him take over.

It was beautiful and so freeing, my friends.

I felt a weight off my chest, and I couldn't stop smiling.

And then I went on again and again, but these times I barely had any fear to begin with.

I had conquered the roller coaster.

With G-d's help, I hope to implement this into every part of my life and be able to just live.

To live without anxieties.
To live without fear.
To live without feeling the need to "control the situation".
To just let the world be, and just do the little jobs that are given to us.

Geshmack!

 

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12-Step Attitude

Daily Dose of Dov

If I could not talk openly with somebody about all the goofy and gross ideas that pop into my head, I'd certainly eventually act them out! "We are only as sick as our secrets", they so wisely say.

But thinking about how the addiction works and making a study of it, is an entirely different matter to me. It doesn't deserve all that much attention.

You see, it all depends on what I want. If I want to keep thinking about lust, or why I lust, then I'll be in it and I tend to do more of it. If, on the other hand, I just want to finally get free of it, then I'll find someone safe to dump it to, ask My Best Eternal Friend to help me out, and then focus 100% of my brain and body energies on thinking about and doing whatever it is that I am supposed to actually thinking about and doing. And most of the time it's "giving" - to my clients, wife, children, whoever. And I'll just have to be content assuming that I'm a bit of a nut for having really, honestly believed (for a minute) that doing such an asinine (or evil) thing could possibly have been in my best interest!  Nu. I'm nuts that way.

I am not telling you or anyone what to do, just admitting (again) that I can't think myself into right behavior. I can only live myself into right thinking. The analysis of it all is very tempting, but letting go of it and doing right does me a lot more good.

603.


Tuesday  ~  25 Tishrei, 5770  ~  October 13, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Announcing the GYE Revolution!
  • The 200th Yartzeit of Rav Levi Yitzchak Mi'Bardichev

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Announcing the GYE Revolution!

RATM ("Rage at the Machine") posted on the forum:

Guard talks a lot about "lust" being an addiction like alcoholism or drug abuse, and in many ways it is (and the tools to defeat those can be used to defeat this). But in one important way it is different: With this disease, the rest of the world encourages us to walk around with it... There is an active movement to spread it... It is a social cancer...

Now that I've been clean for over a month, I am starting to feel a bit like Charlton Heston stranded on a primate planet with all the apes and orangutans that have run it to the ground... I just look around me and wonder how the heck we got to this point.... Is this what G-d saw when he decreed man's desire to be just evil from its youth?... Was the world always this messed up and I've just been oblivious to it? Did things get worse at some point in recent history?... I mean, imagine a world where everywhere you turn, there are ads and programs and networks and government sponsored agencies encouraging you to become a heroin addict... You turn on TV for some mindless entertainment or go to the movies, and BOOM you're hit with the virtues of heroin in particular, and opium in general... Kids programs have characters that shoot up... the schools teach you about safe heroin use... and a junkie comes every day to your doorstep to drop a dime on you... This is the world we live in....
 
GuardYourEyes is like my little embassy on this planet... It's awful how much help is needed versus how much help is available... I can already hear the roar of a wave that can drown the whole world... Sometimes I feel like Guard has commandeered one of those tiny little rowboats coming off the Titanic and we're one of the lucky ones to get on... The rest of the hopeless idiots on the big ship are swaying to "Nearer, My God, to Thee"...

I responded to "RATM":

"I had a dream" that one day, GYE will be able to help thousands upon thousands of people who are drowning in the Titanic of Lust. GYE will be a Teivah (ark) in the Mabul of Taivah (in the flood of desire). We will have "FORUMS IN YIDDISH, HEBREW ETC.." as bardichev said... and chat rooms too, for all types of struggles. SA, SLAA, SSA, Male, Female, separate forums and chatrooms for each type of struggle and for each gender... And we'll have moderators for each one. RATM, you will be a moderator for one of the chatrooms and/or forums. So will Mr.b, and so will the Rebbetzin - for the women's chatrooms/forums... I can't do this all alone, but we'll have you all trained by then, IY"H. I already have an extensive "profile sign-up page" under design, looking for teams of web-designers to help me make GYE much more useful and user-friendly (using the donations from this year's appeal)... People will only be allowed into the chatrooms and forums of the gender and addiction that they are struggling with... They will be able to find partners and sponsors... We also plan to have 24 hour phone network for support with professionals on the line, in Israel, U.S, UK and other places... We will have books published, pamphlets, etc... We'll have a special web-development department, and a whole advertising department too!

You guys are going to make this happen.
 We will yet wrest control of this "planet of the Apes" back into human hands. But I need you all. Of-course we need to recover first, and then we all need to work together.

Be part of it. La viva revolution!

Dov responds with his usual wisdom:

A really, really wise man once said: "I really wanted to save the whole world. When I thought about it though, it became clear that the world was too big for little me. So, I decided to save all of Poland. Also too big. So I decided it'd have to be enough for me to save my town. Still too big. OK, my neighborhood. Oy, still too big. OK, my family. Not working.... I guess I'll get myself fixed up and leave the rest to Hashem."

Well, he (the Chafetz Chaim) went on to help bazillions of Jews live a more meaningful and clean life with "Shmiras Halashon, Mishna Berurah, Nidchei Yisroel, etc... and just by being a blinding example of what a real, holy yid is.

An addict who heard that story said: "Well, I tried to fix myself up and even that was too big for me - my middos, my past, my present, my future, oy!! So instead of saving the whole me, I tried to just save my own reputation. That wasn't working very well either... OK, I guess I'll just save my life. Kinda selfish, but...nu."

And in just trying to save his own life, this person got so much of Hashem's help that his middos, past, present, future, and his reputation all got fixed up more than he ever imagined they'd ever be. And, as if by accident, hundreds of others were helped to live a better life, too.

And he or she is every one of us GYE-nicks. So keep sharing.

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The 200th Yartzeit of Rav Levi Yitzchak Mi'Bardichev

Today is the 200th Yartzeit of the holy Badichever Rebbe, R' Levi Yitzchak (passed away in 5570). See this page for a few beautiful stories about this holy Tzadik. I particularly found this story ("Shmerel's Seder") inspiring, because as addicts, we can all relate to the drunken stupor that we often find ourselves in when lust fills our minds, and yet Hashem finds our simple avodah - when it is real and sincere - more precious than the avodah of the greatest Tzadikim!

We have a member on our forum who is a direct descendant from the holy Bardichiver Rebbe, and he calls himself "bardichev" (with a little "b"). You can see more of his story in Chizuk e-mail #506 on this page, and you can see his 38 page thread over here.

In his inimitable style that everyone loves (CAPS-LOCK ON of course), his posts always focus on the positive and uplift everyone - in the same style of his ancestor, the Bardichever Rebbe. In honor of the yartzeit today, I would like to bring some recent posts from his "einikle" below.

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"bardichev" writes in honor of the Yartzeit:

TODAY IS THE 200th YAHRZTIET OF THE HEILIGEH REB LEVI YITZCHOK OF BARDICHEV, ZECHUSO YAGEN ALEINU.

HE WAS CALLED "SINAGORYON SHEL YISROEL - THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY OF KLAL YISROEL". HE ONLY SAW YIDDEN IN A GOOD LIGHT, AND HE WOULD "CHALLENGE" HASHEM TO DO THE SAME.

I FEEL IN MY HEART OF HEARTS THAT I FOUND THIS FORUM IN HIS ZECHUS. HE WOULD HAVE USED THIS FORUM TO SHOW HASHEM HOW BELOVED HIS CHILDREN ARE!

IT IS KNOWN BY CHASSIDIM, THAT ON THE DAY OF THE YAHRZIET, ONE CAN HAVE A "SHAYCHUS" TO THE TZADDIK. WHAT CAN WE DO TO HAVE SHAYCUS TO THIS GREAT TZADDIK?

1. AHAVAS YISROEL, NO MATTER WHAT:
FORGET ALL THE SILLY JUDGMENTAL OPINIONS THAT WE HAVE OF PEOPLE.
WHEN YOU SEE A "YID", SEE THEIR NESHAMA! NOT KIPAH COLOR OR FABRIC TYPE, HAT SHAPE OR COLOR, OR IF THEY HAVE (OR HAD) A HAT, ETC...

2. IVDU ESS HASHEM BESIMCHA:
SERVE HASHEM WITH JOY JOY JOY!!!!
BRING JOY INTO OUR DAILY LIVES
BRING JOY INTO OUR STRUGGLE
SMILE AT PEOPLE.
DANCE AT PEOPLES WEDDINGS (NO, NOT THE SLOW DANCE. REALLY GET INTO IT)

3. LEARN KEDUSHAS LEVI. IF YOU DON'T OWN A COPY, BUY ONE:
JUST HAVING THE SEFER IN THE HOUSE IS A SHEMIRA

4. SAY THE TEFILLA "GUT FIN AVRAHAM" ON MOTZEI SHABBOS:
WHAT A WAY TO START THE WEEK!

5. AND LAST - BUT  NOT AT ALL LEAST:
FEEL THAT HASHEM LOVES YOU!!!

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"bardichev" writes to someone on the forum:

WHAT SHOULD I TELL YOU? I ALMOST ENDED UP IN GEHENNOM! BUSHA VACHERPA!!!

YES, ME; AN UPSTANDING BEN TORAH, MARBITZ TORAH, ASKEN PAR EXCELLANCE, FATHER, HUSBAND, SON, TALMID OF THE BIGGEST ROSHEI YESHIVA, ETC...

I WAS AT THE DOOR OF GEHHNOM!!

AND I ONLY GOT THERE BY BEING "CURIOUS".

ON YOM-KIPPUR THIS YEAR, I CRIED MY EYES OUT BY "VCOL HARISHAA KI-ASHAN TICHLEHHH": OY HASHEM, YOU ARE A KOL-YOCHOIL. GET RID OF YOUTUBE, IT'S A WMD!

ALSO YOU SHOULD KNOW MY FRIENDS,
THAT OTHER PEOPLE'S WIVES ARE NOT A TRIGGER.
NO MATTER HOW - OR WHY - SHE DRESSES THE WAY SHE DOES.
SHE IS NOT SHAYACH TO YOU!!!!!
SHE HAS AS MUCH SHAYCHUS TOO YOU AS THE MONA-LISA

WE ARE OUR OWN TRIGGERS.

BOTTOM LINE: I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACTIONS AND REACTIONS.

SO SHE IS WEARING BOOTS IN JULY,
OR EARRINGS THAT SPARKLE!
YES, HER MAKE-UP AND PERFUME MAKE ME WILD TOO!
BUT THAT IS HER BUSINESS.

OUR REACTIONS ARE OUR BUSINESS

FUGGEDABOUDIT!!!!!

OK, YOU LOOKED. SHOIN!! NU NU!!!

MOVE ON!! KEEP ON TRUCKING!!!

HABAAH LITA-HER MISAYIN OSO!!

bardichev

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"bardichev" makes some telephone calls on the "Taking Attendance" thread:

HELLO?

HI. I'M CALLING FROM GYE

YES, THE GROUP OF EX-ADDICTS. OK ADDICTS, WHATEVER.

WE NEED SOME MORE PEOPLE ON THIS FORUM
 
LET'S KEEP ON TRUCKING/FIGHTING/HUGGING/WHATEVER.

WE NEED 100,000 MEMERS ON THIS FORUM.

WE NEED FORUMS IN YIDDISH, HEBREW, ETC..

THERE IS WORK THAT'S GOTTA GET DONE!!!

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"bardichev" meets a fellow forum member (and chasid of his) for the first time in real life:

LAST NIGHT AT NE'ILASS HACHAG, IN A SHUL ON THE WESTERN END OF LONG ISLAND (I.E. BOOKLYN, NY), I HAD THE ZECHUS TO DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY WITH "EFSHAR LETAKEN"!!

WE DANCED LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW AND NEVER WAS A YESTERDAY!!

(ME'RAKDIN = MERAK DIN = ERASE DINIM).

AND THIS IS WHAT WE RESOLVED:

SIMCHA AND JOY.

AGANTZ YUR FREILACHH!!!!!

NO MATTER WHAT.

NO MATTER WHEN.

NO MATTER HOW.

NO MATTER SLIP, FALL, BOTH, OR NEITHER.

SIMCHA SIMCHA SIMCHA!!!!

bardichev

P.S. E.L POURED ME SOME SPRITE. I SAID, "I WANT 7UP". HE SAYS, "SHAA, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO ELSE IS HERE FROM THE FORUM!"

604.


Wednesday  ~  26 Tishrei, 5770  ~  October 14, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Quote of the Day: SMILE!
  • Today's Topic: Low Self Esteem & Depression
    • Depression (By Uri): "Give Him What You Got"
    • Pain & Depression (By Battleworn): It's About What I Do
    • Thoughts of Suicide: Some People Need More Help
  • Get Ready for This Coming Monday:
    • New FAQ Page for Duvid Chaim's Group
    • Testimonials on Dovid Chaim's Group

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Quote of the Day
SMILE!

By "7Up"

Life really is a good place to be visiting. Force yourself to notice the sunshine, the fall leaves, the chirping birds. Take a walk and notice the gurgling baby in his stroller, the school kids laughing and running home to play. Notice life, everyday, 'boring' life. Notice the colors, how many different shades of green and blue the world is made up of. You are the REASON for that picture. You are a kaleidoscope of all those colors and hues. There is holiness even in your falls, because you are crying your eyes out each time, begging to be holy. Even falling can bring you closer to Hashem. How much more so NOT falling! "Bishvili nivra ha'olam - for me, the world was created". Hashem doesn't make mistakes. And He doesn't create worlds for second class citizens.

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

Low Self-Esteem and Depression

People who suffer from low self-esteem and/or depression are often more prone to addictive behaviors (be it alcohol, drugs, or lust). We use the addiction to "self-sooth" feelings of inadequacy, and to escape from ourselves and from the harsh world around us.

Also, the "low self-esteem" is - in itself - a form of addiction as well. "It" wants us to believe we are un-likeable, incapable, and that no one really cares about us. This is a kind of self-defense mechanism that we often use as a sort-of shell to hide within. Instead of facing our real issues (which we find too hard to face), we use "low self-esteem" to say, "Heck, we aren't worth it anyway; no one cares anyway; we can't anyway". etc. etc... and we close up within ourselves.

So what are the "real issues" that we are trying to escape from?

Usually, this is all caused by a general "disconnect" from life - and from the Source of life (Hashem). Through the 12-Steps, millions of people around the world have learned how to reconnect to life and to G-d, and they have learned how live right - so that they aren't so uncomfortable inside that they feel a need to act out (in their addiction) or hide within a shell of self-pity.

(Duvid Chaim's Anonymous 12-Step group is starting a new cycle this coming Monday. See the announcement below).

The 12-Steps also take work, but it's a very different kind of work than what we are used to. Until now, we worked hard in FIGHTING the addiction, depression, and the low-self-esteem. With the 12-Steps however, the only type of work we have to do is; show up for the meetings, follow the instructions to a "T", and take the program seriously (as if our lives depend on it - because it often DOES). But the "other" type of work that we are used to ("white-knuckling" it) will slowly vanish as we progress in working the steps into our lives and become more connected to G-d and to feeling His love, and as we learn to "get out of the driver's seat" and let Him take over...

I would like to bring some posts below (from the forum) that address the feelings of depression and low-self-esteem:

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

Give Him What You Got

A Post By Uri

Most of here struggle greatly with depression.
We are depressed that we are depressed.
And we are depressed that we are in this cycle of depression.

Firstly, I would like to clarify a major misconception.
Many people think that we are depressed because we are sinning.
And that our neshama is depressed, therefore we are depressed.
This is not true.
I strive to serve Hashem as much as I can (for the most part),
And I still suffer greatly from depression.

Depression can come from several reasons:

1) Chemical imbalance - This happens. Some people are just biologically prone to be depressed.

2) Emotional discontent - Lack of feeling of security, and the occurrence of bad circumstances.

There are obviously more reasons, but these are two major ones that I think are the basic reasons for depression for people like us here on the forum.

We are not to blame for our depression!
We are not bad people!
We do not "deserve to be depressed"!

Depression is not something to fight.
It is something to heal.
If it is chemical imbalance, medicine helps greatly for this.
We can accept what Hashem gives us with love.
Sometimes He gives us happiness, and sometimes He makes us depressed.
Reb Tzadok says that this is a great Kapparas Avonos (see Battleworn's post below).
Because, as we all know, depression is like hell sometimes.
So thank You Hashem!

More often, depression comes from feelings of discontent inside us.
All of us here have this.
That's why we're here, isn't it?
This is something we are working on.
It takes time.
It will be healed.
Do not worry.

So when you are depressed, don't say to yourself:
"Oh man! Why can't I just be happy?!"
This is where Hashem put us right now.

Thank you Hashem for making me depressed today!
If You decided that I should be depressed, then I'm happy with it!

(Notice the irony in that statement?)

(Irony? Or the solution?)

Don't say:
"Oh man! My davening now will be weak anyway.
Any mitzva I do will be weak.
I might as well not do it."

Wrong!

Hashem wants us to give Him what we have.
If all we can do is learn for 10 minutes, then that is perfect!
Not ok. Perfect!

He put us here, depression and all.
Don't beat yourself up.
Give Him what you got.
It's all that He asks for.

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

It's Not About What I Have, It's About What I DO.
A Post by "Battleworn":

Pain and depression are topics that I have whole lot of experience with. First of all, about pain. Emotional pain hurts WAY more than physical pain. But the gain is according to the pain. Physical surgery involves physical pain and gives physical benefit. Spiritual surgery involves emotional pain, and it gives REAL ETERNAL SPIRITUAL benefit. 

The same is true about the time issue. Physical surgery may take a few hours and benefit us for a few decades. Spiritual surgery may take a few decades (the Mesilas Yeshorim says that this is proof that this world is just a preparation for the next), and it benefits us for ETERNITY. The question is not how to avoid the pain, but rather how to handle the pain. When we learn to have bitachon and make our live's focus on "What do I need to do right now?" instead of being self-centered; when we develop an intimate relationship with Hashem, the pain becomes much much easier to handle. 

Depression is a different question, because it is partially in our hands. In general, depression comes from the notion that things could have been and/or should have been different. So of course, as you strengthen your Emunah and Bitachon more and more, the depression gets less and less. But even more important, is the question of how we react to feelings of depression. We all know that depression is extremely destructive, so when we start feeling depressed, we tend to get very depressed about being depressed.

About 15 years ago, I learned the sefer Tzidkas Hatzadik. It had a humongously positive effect on my life, but there was one thing I couldn't begin to understand. He says (in #57) that Hashem gives a person ("mi she'zocheh - who is worthy") depression as a tikkun for his sins. (He explains that this is considered gehinom and such a person does not need to go to gehinom afterwords.) I couldn't imagine how this can be. To me, depression is the most evil thing and it brings a person down in the most vicious way. What kind of tikkun is that?

But recently, I was zocheh to understand. Everything that Hashem gives us is GOOD, even depression. The important question is - as always, "what do we do with it?". This is the key to a happy life: stop thinking about what you have or don't have, and start thinking about what you need to do. (That's other words for: stop living the problem; start living the solution). R' Tzadok is telling us the most genius advice over here. When you feel depression, instead of getting upset about it, REJOICE - thank Hashem for finding you worthy of giving you your tikkun the - relatively - easy way! Instead of getting in to a whole phase of depression, be happy about it!

When I understood this, I couldn't help but to picture the Yetzer Hara eating himself up alive over this discovery. If we can just internalize this, he's dead meat!

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

Some People Need More Help
From a post today on the forum:

The past couple of days have been bad for me. I've fallen a couple of times, surfed a lot, and had many thoughts of suicide. But, yesterday I went to see Rav Shlachter (a religious sex-addiction therapist in Jerusalem, author of the book "The First Day of the Rest of my Life") for the first time. I think we connected, and I liked what I heard from him. I left him with a feeling of hope that I haven't felt in a while. I was actually somewhat happy this morning. I am scheduled to see him again next week.

It's disappointing that many people seem to join GuardYourEyes and run with the 90 days thing, while I've struggled and really tried for the pst 8 months, without being able to pull off significant stretches of staying clean.

I think the answer is, that for some, this site is enough. For others, like me, we need more help. We need to find out the root of why we go to the internet in the first place, and replace our subconscious needs with something more positive and constructive.

Like the GYE handbook points out (as you progress through the 18 tools), there's a solution for everyone - but we just have to find it. And it's different for each of us. Ask yourself: "Do I need therapy? And if I am already going to therapy, am I seeing the right type of therapist for me?" Also ask yourself,
"Can I benefit from the 12-Steps? And if I am already in a 12-Step group, am I really working the steps with a sponsor?"

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

For more on "Depression", see Chizuk e-mail #428 on this page.

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

Get Ready for this Coming Monday!

JOIN

Duvid Chaim's Anonymous 12-Step phone conference
Starting a new cycle this coming Monday, Oct. 19.


See this page for Frequently Asked Questions about the Group.

Some Testimonials from the first cycle:

"Momo" wrote:

"Duvid Chaim invests hundreds of hours of his personal time to mentor each person who attends his meetings. He has not only helped me try to deal with my addiction, but he has also opened my eyes to a new way of living; most importantly, how to build a proper relationship with HaShem in the way Chazal intended. His down-to earth approach and his unabashed honesty make him very easy to talk to and relate with. It is certainly worth the time to try out the program, and this is coming from someone who calls in long distance from Israel. What do you have to lose, besides your addiction?!"

"Shimi" wrote:

I would like to thank you, Duvid Chaim, for all the support, and for being my sponsor for the 12 Steps. Since I have been with your Group Call, I want to express my appreciation for the most amazing group of men, from all walks of life; Chasidish, Litvish, Modern Orthodox, FFBs or BTs - You United us all. All of us silent sufferers thought we were alone and had no way out. But you showed us the light. You made it possible to find recovery and to realize that we can attain the "freedom" from the disease. You gave us clarity and conviction. I saw how people that joined the Group continued to return to the Call. These were people who shared my difficulties and who I can identify with. Together, we read and we shmoozed and everyone added something to the Group. And even though we did not agree all the time, there was respect and we were able to work on ourselves. Yasher Koach to all the Talmidim!

For me to have been in the Program made my Elul so much more meaningful along with my Tefilot. It was clear to me that my goal was to make Hashem the King. I was able to surrender my will to Him, to listen, to learn, and to love Him like I was never able to do before.

Duvid Chaim, you were able to bring out things in me I never tapped into before - the deep emotions - the feelings - the enlightenment, and most of all, the joy in my life.

Thank you Hashem for letting me get to know Duvid Chaim. Me'omek halev I say, Hashem should give you the Koach to continue all your avodah and bring out the most from all your talmidim and future talmidim.

605.


Thursday  ~  27 Tishrei, 5770  ~  October 15, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Daily Dose of Dov: Living to Give
  • Testimonial of the Day: Pinocchio
  • Quote of the Day: By Thomas Edison
  • Personal Victory of the Day: Uri's Win
  • Anecdote of the Day: Yankel Hits Bottom
  • Announcement: Two New Phone Groups Starting Next Week

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Daily Dose of Dov

Living to Give

If we are holding our breath, it will get harder and harder. Guaranteed. On the other hand... If we are giving up a little bit on getting, and living to give a bit more than we were before, then it starts getting easier.

How to do that without being together with others who are learning to do the same, escapes me. I have to be with recovery people, and I have to be reading recovery literature, like AA member stories, etc....

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

Testimonial of the Day

Pinocchio
By RATM

Since I started this journey, I've been less numb... I'm starting to feel a little like Pinocchio in a way, turning from wood into a real live boy...

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

Quote of the Day

Inventing the Light Bulb
By Thomas Edison

When Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who boldly asked Mr. Edison if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now. Perplexed, Edison replied, "Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 3,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp." And shortly after that, and after over 4,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb.


When asked about the failures he said, "I didn't fail 3000 times. I found 3000 ways how not to create a light bulb".

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

Personal Victory of the Day

Uri's Win

We all know Uri on the forum... He's one of the most "colorful" GYE members; musical, poetic, deep and funny... Well, everyone's tests are different, and Uri, being a real sex-addict (and Ba'al Teshuvah), had taught himself since his early teenage years to run away and have relations with various girl-friends that he had. Since finding GuardYourEyes, Uri is currently in his longest stretch clean from real relations since the age of 14, having made that his "red-line" that he would not cross (see "Uri's Party" in Chizuk e-mail #578 on this page).

But Uri suffers from chronic depression (we all saw Uri's inspiring post about that in yesterday's e-mail). And precisely yesterday, Uri posted that he was having
"a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day". And we all know what that means for a sex-addict.

Finally he wrote:

"Ok, I can't take it anymore. Red line, shmed line. Sorry guys.
I still have the number of a girl I almost met up with a month ago, and I called her and we're meeting up tonight.
I don't know if we'll go all the way,
I just want a girl to walk down along the beach with, that's all.

I love you all, and appreciate your concern.
I'm just a little too far gone right now.
And no guilt trips, please.
And while I'm gone, someone please try to summarize the Tehillim thread.
It keeps people interested."

(The Tehillim Thread, which was Uri's idea, is where the forum community post about one perek of Tehillim that they say for each other each day. Often, Uri posts beautiful insights on that day's Kapitle).


After this post, Uri signed off of the forum and he wouldn't answer his phone either...

But the love and support of all of Uri's friends from the forum over the past few months, didn't let him rest. He ended up crashing at the house of one of his close friends/partners from the forum, who made a BBQ in his honor and had long talks with him till late into the night. He ended up pushing it off "just for today", and he called the girl to tell her that he couldn't make it, saying that maybe he'd come tomorrow instead. She tried calling him back later, but this time Uri didn't pick up.

This morning, Uri returned to the Forum and wrote the following:

"I was in such a bad place yesterday morning, that I was basically placed in front of a train with my hands bound. But my Tatte in Shamayim is sending me hugs, left and right. The least I can give back to Him, is not to spend the night in a beach-front hotel with this girl...."

And then on his Tehillim thread, Uri posted today one of the most beautiful posts that he has ever written (and that is saying a lot!). See Uri's post/story below.

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

Anecdote of the Day

Yankel Hits Bottom

A Story from the Bal Shem Tov

By Uri

Today's perek (on the Tehillim thread) is perek 38, Mizmor Levodid.

"Your arrows have been shot into me, and Your hand has come down upon me."
"My heart is in storm, my strength has forsaken me, and the light of my eyes - they, too, are no longer with me."
"For I am prone to crippling pain, and my ache is always before me."

A depressing psalm at best; hopeless at worst.
Sounds like what I've been feeling like lately.

What is Dovid telling us?
What does he want from us?

Let me share with you a story about the Baal Shem Tov....

One Thursday morning, the Baal Shem Tov turned to his Chassidim and said:
"Prepare the carriage. We're going somewhere for Shabbos."
He did not disclose their destination, and the Chassidim knew better than to ask.
So they headed out and traveled all day until they got to a remote village.
They continued to the edge of the village and came to a stop by the most broken-down shack that any of them had ever seen.
Out came running a poshut yid who, judging by his patched-up clothes, did not have much money to his name.
"Guests! Please come in! Have something to eat! Will you please stay by us for Shabbos?
The Baal Shem Tov agreed, and as the yid went running inside to find some food, the Baal Shem turned to his Chassidim and said, "No matter what, do not tell this man who I am."
The yid, Yankel was his name, was meanwhile begging his wife to let him shecht the cow.
"We never have guests, my wife. What a zechus! They need a proper meal!"
The wife solemnly answered:
"But we need this cow for milk for our kids. Do you want them to starve??"
"The guests come first. Hashem will provide."
So he slaughtered the cow and served his guests a nice lunch.
The Chassidim felt bad eating at all, because they knew that this man obviously was taking food from his own children's mouths.
But the Baal Shem Tov finished everything in sight.
The next morning, he finished whatever was left from the previous night.
His Chassidim were shocked, but they didn't say anything.
After breakfast, the Baal Shem said to his host:
"Now I will give you my menu for shabbos. I want two types of fish, soup, chicken, meat, wine, challas, cakes, etc."
Yankel rushed to his wife. 
"My wife, we need to give our guests a special Shabbos meal."
"But Yankel, we have no money! And we slaughtered the cow yesterday! What are we supposed to feed them with?!"
But Yankel was not deterred.
"We have only one choice. We must sell our house."
"WHAT?!"
"Yes. For the honor of our guests and for the honor of Shabbos, I am going to sell the house."
So he went to the local real estate agent and sold the house.
A broken-down shack, how much is it even worth?
Just enough for three Shabbos meals, really.
Yankel made the sale and agreed that he would hand over the house next week.
That shabbos, the Chassidim felt sick.
They knew that this meal was finishing off Yankel for good.
They'd rather have died than be sitting there at that Shabbos table.
But the Baal Shem Tov ate everything that they left over.
He did not leave a morsel.

After Shabbos, the Chassidim rushed to the wagon, desperate to leave.
But the Baal Shem walked slowly out.
As the wagon pulled away, the Baal Shem Tov leaned out and said:
"I just want you to know. I am the Baal Shem Tov!"

Yankel watched them disappear and slowly realized his situation.
He had nothing.
No house.
No money.
No food.
His wife wasn't speaking with him.

What was there to do?

Yankel made for the woods.
He went to his regular secluded spot and burst out in tears.
"Hashem! What am I to do?! I have nothing! I have given it all to you! If only I had some money, I would host a thousand guests every shabbos! Please Hashem, help me so that my children won't die of hunger."
And he cried.
And cried.
Finally, dried out of tears, he slowly trekked home.

On the way, he bumped into Velvel, the town drunk. Velvel said to him:
"Yankel, I have been looking all over for you. Yankel, I want to tell you something. I feel my days are numbered. I will die soon and I have no one to pass my money on to. My children show me no respect. They curse me and mock me. You are the only one who ever treats me respectfully. Therefore, I will share this secret with you. Though people don't know it, I am a very rich man. I have a treasure hidden in this forest and I want you to have it when I die."

Any doubt that Yankel had vanished when Velvel took him to his hiding spot, which revealed a massive amount of gold hidden under a tree.


The next day there was a big commotion in town.
Velvel the drunkard had passed away during the night.
Yankel was now a very rich man.
As he had promised, he had many guests every Shabbos.

When he went to visit the Baal Shem Tov, the Rebbe explained:
This life is a cycle. I saw in Shamayim that there was great wealth waiting for you. But you were always happy with your lot and you didn't have the vessel for it; you had to hit rock-bottom first. So I had to be mean to you and empty you out to get you to cry out to Hashem, as you did. 
And only then you would be zoche to receive all the bracha as you did.

Why do I bring this story?
There comes a time in a person's life when he feels completely beaten down.
He is empty.
He has nothing.
He has hit rock-bottom.
Some people get this once in their lifetime.
Some people get this more than once.
But either way, it is a blessing.
Every person I know that has recovered from addiction, has done so after hitting rock-bottom.
They're life became unbearable.
One person told me how they went to their rebbe's house and fell at his feet crying for an hour.
Another person told me that his wife was about to divorce him.

And a cry comes from the depths.
"Hashem, before You is all my yearning, my sighs are not hidden from You!"

We realize we are helpless.
And we reach out to Hashem.
We place ourselves in His hands.
Our feeling of bottomness brings out the deepest from our neshamos.
Our deepest yearnings.
Our deepest desires.

Hashem sometimes needs to knock us down so that we can soar up.
I don't know if I'm expressing myself well here, but the times that I felt closest to Hashem were not when I was doing well.
It was right after a fall.
When I had just cried out everything I had.
When my eyes hurt from crying so much.
When I yelled "ENOUGH!!!!" 

When I realized I was nothing.

And that was when I became something. 

I am who I am, because of my falls.
Every time I fall, I'm actually getting closer to my eventual goal.
I'm not just talking about acting out.
I'm talking about being down to the utmost.
Somehow, these always bring me higher.

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

Announcement

Two New Phone Groups Starting Next Week!

Join Duvid Chaim's Anonymous 12-Step phone conference, starting a new cycle this coming Monday, Oct. 19. 

See
this page for more information (see the Testimonials at the bottom of the page!), and see this page for FAQ about this Group.


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

Join Zeva - a professional addiction counselor for the frum community, in her Tuesday evening phone group, which is starting a new cycle this coming Tuesday, Oct. 20. See this page for more information, and see this page for more details as well.

Note: Zeva recently presented her phone group's success - and its findings on the DBT method that she uses - to the International SASH conference in San Diego. It was well received by the professionals in the field!

 
606.


Friday  ~  28 Tishrei, 5770  ~  October 16, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Saying of the Day: One Day At a Time; But Doing What?
  • Testimonial of the Day: Hashem is Helping Me
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Bereishis - The End is the Beginning
  • Daily Dose of Dov - Don't miss this one if you're married!
  • Announcement: Two New Phone Groups Starting Next Week

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Saying of the Day

 One Day At a Time; But Doing What?
By Dov

I hope you are in recovery one day at a time, rather than just "holding on" one day at a time.

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

Testimonial of the Day

Hashem is Helping Me
By "Gam Zu"

B"H, I just updated my chart to a streak of 33 days. I honestly can't believe it. Since my addiction started, I never got past two weeks - and here I am at 33 days and b'chasdei Hashem going strong. Obviously, there have been a number of bumps and tests along the way and I am no where near my destination; yet, I could not have more hakaros hatov to HKB"H for helping me get this far.

There were times during this first month in which I was positive it was over, but HaShem sent little messages to keep me pushing. Two examples which I immediately recall:

1) One late night after a long stressful day, my urges were at their highest. I was about to fall until I heard my son let out a loud shriek from his crib. Once I heard him yell, I paused to think how can I chas veshalom give in when I have so much to be thankful for.  I quickly ran to his room to check on him, and by the time I got there he was fine, sound asleep. I realized what a huge tovah Hashem was doing by allowing me to catch myself. 

2) One afternoon while home alone, I found myself in a similar heated moment when my blackberry buzzed with an email from none other than Guard. I paused for a little (even chuckled at Hashem's humor) and caught myself before it was too late. (Thanks Guard!)

There is no question - I would not have gotten past 3 days without siyata dishmaya and I daven that it continues for myself, the amazing individuals associated with this site, and for all of klal yisrael. 

All the best,
GZ

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

Torah Thought of the Day
Beraishis - The End is The Beginning
By "Yechida"

The key to Torah is Beraishis
The key to Life is Beraishis.
Because we always have to begin Anew.

Hashem tells us, do not think that I created your world and then left it.
I am constantly and continuously creating the world,
Every single second.
Because if I don't, everything that exists will not be.
It will disappear as if it never was.

The Torah ends with "Leynai Kol Yisroel"
Rashi says that this refers to the Luchos that were broken.
The Torah ends with us being broken by the broken Luchos.
It end in failure.
Moshe dead.
Luchos Shattered.
What now?

The answer is very simple yet very profound;
A great kindness from Hashem, a great healing;
we connect to the beginning.
The end of the Torah and the beginning - is one.
It's brokenness; the shattered Luchos, become whole again.
Because we are back to Berashis,
where it all began.
We are born anew.

The Lamed at the end of the Torah,
and the Bais at the beginning of the Torah,
make up the word: "Lev"
The heart.

That very broken heart,
becomes whole again.

It's very brokenness,
is what makes it whole.

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

12 Step Attitude
Daily Dose of Dov

The Currency of Marriage

I admit that it is challenging to me when I feel my wife is becoming unattractive, the weight thing, whatever. But I remember that it is all a trap of my addiction to remove all joy from the relationship. I know that this type of thinking is a slippery slope for me, so I need to stay way out of the whole thing and love her and do more things for her (and more, and more, and more actions of love), as I start to think about it more. That is the only medication I know of.

You know, this ain't a Torah source, but I read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" many years ago and it struck a chord with me. Not so much the big point he makes about men and women thinking entirely differently, but the idea of how we react in different - and often unexpected - ways to each others' signals and behavior.

But knowledge wasn't enough for me... It took a lot for me to agree to start communicating to her in her way, for a change, instead of davka my way. Before my long fall and subsequent recovery, it was probably impossible...

It takes a lot of surrender of ego for me to regularly use her "currency" in the relationship, such as: sharing the load of the kids and responsibilities, being on time, being happy rather than so serious and deep, being able to be near her and close without necessarily being sexual, and taking actions of love (giving of any kind without expectations of getting anything in return). My "currency" in the relationship on the other hand, is naturally, well, you can guess what it is... But I'm getting better though, b"H!

It's a slow, slow process but well worth it. When real life happens, it is surely entirely different if you know what love is and are really together with someone, not a fantasy. But it can't happen as long as I'm demanding.  

It says in Koheles (more or less):

"s'mach im ha'isha she'ahavta. Ki hoo chelkecha mei'elokim bechayei hevlecha - be happy/satisfied (see Twerski on "simcha" in his book "Let us Make Man") with the woman you love, for that is your portion in this hollow life."

Shouldn't he have written "for she is your portion"? What is "that"?

I think "that" is referring to "the relationship" - which must become something much bigger than either spouse. To heck with me, it's all about what we create together by giving. (This attitude may have been the only thing that got me and my wife through my horrible early recovery).

I really hope this helps somebody, cuz I'm dumping out personal, mushy stuff here, and GYE isn't offering me a raise at all....  :-)

Someone responded on the forum:

The stuff about the weight, I hear you 100%... us addicts have a one track mind and that track can only lead to bad places, I get that... but all this stuff about "true love" between a husband and wife actually existing entirely outside of any physical attraction, based completely upon this closeness and togetherness.. I don't know, bro, I don't know...

Dov Responds:

I don't know either. Inside, I know that I really don't know. I'm not there yet, just tasting it and sharing it with you. The point is, that we grow in that direction, not that we are there. I have found that even a little taste of a true perspective coming from inside of me, changes the entire ball game - a little bit.

Nu, it ain't much, but it's great anyway!

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

I love this line from Dov:

The point is, that we grow in that direction, not that we are there.

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

Announcement

Two New Phone Groups Starting Next Week!

Join Duvid Chaim's Anonymous 12-Step phone conference, starting a new cycle this coming Monday, Oct. 19. 

See
this page for more information (check out the Testimonials at the bottom of the page!). And see this page for FAQ about this Group.


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

Join Zeva - a professional addiction counselor for the frum community, in her Tuesday evening phone group - starting a new cycle this coming Tuesday, Oct. 20.

See
this page for more information, and see also this page for even more details.

Note: Zeva recently presented her phone group's success - and its findings on the DBT method that she uses - to the International SASH conference in San Diego. It was well received by the professionals in the field!

 
607.


Sunday  ~  30 Tishrei, 5770  ~  October 18, 2009

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

Mazal Tov to "ClearEyes613"
upon reaching 90 days clean and earning his place on the
Wall of Honor

ClearEyes posted today:

"Happy 90th clean day to me. Thank you Reb Guard, Group #3 and all the holy members of GYE for making this dream a reality. Thank you all for saving my life!!!".

ClearEyes has been clean since the day he found GuardYourEyes (as indicated in a post he made on day 39):

"I'm working on day 39!! That's 39 days since I found GYE. Without it, I would have been as successful as my last 100 tries to stop (not very). Thank you GYE!!!"

A few months ago, we started something called "Accountability Groups" where a group of struggling members join and try to reach 90 days together. Although they keep their own 90-day counts separate, they also have a "group count", which is reset if one of the members of the group falls. This adds more accountability, and also encourages the members of the group - who post in a special "group thread" - to give each other Chizuk, much like a "virtual SA" group.

The "Accountability Groups" idea took a while to take off. Group #1 and #2 didn't really get off the ground, but when we started Group #3, we struck gold. A bunch of great guys got together, and they've been posting such amazing chizuk to each other for the past 3 months or so. One of the biggest players in this special group is ClearEyes613. He joined this group after being 30 days clean, and his inspiring posts and commitment to the group is incredible to watch.

This was ClearEyes613's first post on the group:

"I am 28, married with kids. I live in Brooklyn and have been addicted for the past 13 years. Yesterday was my 30th day clean. I am scared of going back".

Today's Chizuk e-mail is dedicated to ClearEyes, and we will bring a few of his powerful and inspiring posts, which include lots of great tips and Chizuk that we can all learn from.

Mazal Tov ClearEyes. May you continue to inspire group #3 and ALL of us on the forum, for many years to come!

ClearEyes describes the "Areyvus" of GYE:

The Torah writes "Hanistaros L'Hashem Elokeinu"... I do not punish you for "hidden things", for they are for Hashem. But the "revealed" are for us and for our children to remove from our midst.

Rabosai, maybe 10 years ago the problem with the internet was hidden. But today, can we possible call it hidden?? So it takes place alone in a room. Come on, we all know what's really going on. These are lives we are talking about. People, spouses, children, even jobs are being destroyed by the internet. This is not a hidden event.

Rashi says that the 'areyvus' (mutual responsibility of one Jew for another) did not start until Bnei Yisroel left the desert and entered into Eretz Yisroel.

While we were wandering in the desert, we were responsible for ourselves. Only after we have left the desert into Eretz Yisroel were we responsible for one another. 

Anyone who is reading this has left their personal desert by crossing over to GYE. While walking blindly in our addiction, what could we possibly do? But now we are part of GYE. We have crossed over onto the path of recovery. We are all now responsible for one another - and for all of k'lal yisroel.

You may ask, "what if I'm not ready yet? I still struggle with my addiction!" It doesn't matter. The obligation of "areyvus" did not wait until Bnai Yisroel conquered and settled Eretz Yisroel (as many other mitzvos did), but rather it began once they left the desert and stopped wandering. Once they were on the right path, the path towards Hashem, the path of GYE!!!!

May we all be zoche to continue on the right path, of 'returning' (which is the real meaning of Teshuva) to our Tatte is shamayim, along with all of Hashem's children.

Day 37:

The eyes are the gateway to the mind. If we've stopped looking at the p*rn, the Yetzer Hara tried to gain entrance by feeding our urges outside in the street, and then by clicking on banners, ads, or whatever... He tells us "just peek, its not that bad". 

Outside is so dangerous because we let our guard down. My commute to work is on the train, and a full block in the city. I can transgress
"lo sosuro acharei aynechem" ("do not stray after your eyes") 100 times during this time, and I am sure I have in the past. Now, I keep my head in my sefer and walk without my glasses. It was hard at first, but it is getting much easier. Three weeks later, my glasses are in my hands before I even think about it. And now I spend that city block walking with Hashem, and I am less aware of who is or may be walking next to me each passing day.

The pleasure of looking is great, but on occasion, the pleasure of not looking is even greater. "What?! How can one get pleasure from not looking?!" Well, it's happened to me. After making it unscathed through a trouble spot and putting my glasses back on, a huge grin appeared on my face. I was experiencing true joy. This resulted from accomplishing a tremendous feat, and for maintaining control over myself. 

Though this joyous feeling does not usually happen, deep inside of us we all experience more joy by not looking.

Day 40:

Over the past few weeks I have seen a huge change. I still want/enjoy watching movies like I used to. 'Before GYE', watching movies seemed harmless compared to all the other crap I subjected myself to. But post-GYE, I do (or am trying) my best with shmiras einayim. I've become more sensitive and began turning away from the screen. When I see a trigger, I look away. And boy I can tell you that the screen is full of triggers. And this applies even to non rated R movies. If the female star of the show would pass by me in the street, I would (hopefully) look away. So how can I stare at her for 90 minutes straight? Its against everything I'm trying so hard not to do. 

But I didn't just decide, ok- no more TV/movies. It was self-evolving. Like the change in our attitude. Hopefully this new phenomenon I'm experiencing with movies will happen to all of you, as you continue working on
"v'lo sosuru acharei eneychim.

Another post from around Day 40:

I had the same Elul experiences for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I would start earlier, sometimes later. I'd fall before Rosh Hashanna, after Rosh Hashanna, before Yom Kippur. I don't know if I ever made it to Succos. But this Elul is already different. Why? Because I have GYE. My Elul is already different. But the real question is, "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 thru Tishrei past and Yom Kippur, will experience the Elul they always wanted, and more importantly, they'll have the year and become the person they always wanted!!

Day 43:

I carry GYE around with me, literally in my pocket. This, for me, has been instrumental in fighting my addiction. 

"Shvisi Hashem l'negdi tamid" - the principal idea is the first thing brought down in the shulchan aruch for a reason. When I acted out I would consciously or subconsciously push, hide, or ignore Hashem. How else can we view those images on the screen for hours on end? Today, I may not be at the level of "shevisi Hashem" but I can tell you that "shevisi GYE l'negdi tamid" has been a lifesaver.

ClearEyes Gives Chizuk to a Fellow Member on Day 52:


1- Take it one day at a time. You only need to worry about today. Not about making 90 days.

2- Give it over to Hashem. Realize we have no control over our addiction. Tell Hashem your problem, your lack of control, and that any control is really from Him, and ask if He could switch this desire - which would move you away from Him - to a desire to move closer to Him.

3- Nu, you have an urge, so what? We can't possibly reach 90 days without any urges. We may have days of feeling above the addiction, but most days it will be there. We do our best to avoid all triggers, the rest just "is". Just because an urge is building does not mean we have to act on it. 

Hope this helps. It just helped me.

Day 56:

I recently experienced a fear of going back. I do not feel the same level of fear anymore, but I do remind myself daily of how I am not the one in control, but Hashem is. Anyway, during this fearful time I would say, "Hashem, please help me not go back". After a few minutes of this, I got more scared and I started to cry out tearfully, "Nooo! Hashem, I can't go back!!!!!! Please don't make me go back!!!!!!", over and over.  (I wasn't interested in "help" or "trying", I have fallen so so so many times in the past already, I was sick to my stomach. I was done going back. DONE).

A positive state of mind is very important, but I've recently learned not to have any expectations. "Expecting" to feel a certain way and then not feeling that way, leads to depressed feelings. A few weeks ago, I thought that being clean makes you feel holy. This is 90% false. Nothing good comes from this. You will occasionally feel good about yourself for being clean, but this feeling does not come often and can not be relied on. We don't control our emotions. I found that removing this expectation of "feeling good about myself" has helped me tremendously in my battle.

Day 60:

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. '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!!!!

Day 77:

It's not about fighting the Yetzer Hara head on and winning all the battles. It's about living a better, more connected life with Hashem.

Day 85:

Last night during maariv I almost started to cry. Yom Tov was over. The days of Elul - "ani l'dodi v'dodi li" are over. Aseres yemei teshuva is over. Succos is over. Shimini aseres is over. Simchas Torah is over. The days when Hashem is closest to us are over. I felt like a person in recovery learning how to walk with the help of crutches, and now, without warning, those crutches were kicked away!! The days of special siyata dishmaya are over! 

In the past, feeling like this may have gotten me down. But not anymore. I have changed so much since I started. I feel like a new person. Instead, I realize how lucky am I to have this feeling of worry after Simchas Torah! Oy vey to me if I left Yom Tov feeling confident! How can I expect to enter the long winter months being overly confident and expect to stay clean? Obstacles will come. B"H that I have a healthy fear that keeps me grounded in recognizing my constant need for Hashem.

So how will I manage this year? I don't need to go far for that answer. After Elul, Rosh Hoshana, Aseres Yimei Teshuva, Yom Kippur and Succos - Hashem says don't leave just yet, stay for ONE more day, a special day 'lachem - for you' before taking your leave back to your 'regular life'. And what do Chazal do with this final day? We celebrate, Simchas Torah. What are the lessons of this "one last day" that we can take with us into the winter? I clearly see three important lessons:

1) When Hashem tells us to stay for one more day, he is giving us an attitude to take with us for the whole year: Take it ONE day at a time:
How do we take this close relationship that we attained during the holidays with us throughout the year? We leave our succah's, put aside our arbeh minim. How do we make this impression last? Hashem imparts this lesson to us by telling us to spend ONE more day with Him. We are being told to take it ONE day at a time. This is the valuable lesson of shmini atzeres.

2) The gift of giving:
Hashem gave us shmini atzeres to be a holiday - "lachem" - for us. A day of parting that we are to enjoy. But what do we do? We give this day to Hashem by dancing and celebrating with His torah. We make a Simchas Torah. True enjoyment does not come by taking, but by giving. Can you imagine a Shmini Atzeres without a Simchas Torah? All the giving that we do, is what makes the Yom Tov so great. 
If we want to have an enjoyable year, we need to stop focusing on "me, me, me". By focusing on others and by giving, we are on the path to a happy year (and beating our addictions!)

3) Torah!!!!
The need to learn Torah every day! The last thing we do before starting our year is strengthening our love for the torah. "Barasi y"h, barasi torah tavlin". Torah keeps the Yetzer Hara at bay. A day without learning, and the Yetzer Hara will be on top of you. Torah will always be part of the cure, no matter what society we live in. If we want to continue our connection with Hashem, we can't forget His Torah even for ONE day!

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

Attention:

Duvid Chaim's Phone Group Starts Tomorrow.
Don't miss this unique opportunity!

Duvid Chaim's Anonymous 12-Step phone conference is starting a new cycle this Monday, Oct. 19. 

See
this page for more information (check out the Testimonials at the bottom of the page!). And see this page for FAQ about this Group.


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

Starting This Tuesday:


Join Zeva - a professional addiction counselor for the frum community, in her Tuesday evening phone group - starting a new cycle this coming Tuesday, Oct. 20.

See
this page for more information, and see also this page for even more details.

Note: Zeva recently presented her phone group's success - and its findings on the DBT method that she uses - to the International SASH conference in San Diego. It was well received by the professionals in the field!

 
608.


Monday  ~  Rosh Chodesh ~ 1 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 19, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Daily Dose of Dov: Become a Child Again
  • Torah Thought of: TODAY
  • Advice & Tips: From the Steipler
  • Anecdote of the Day: Turbulence
  • Poem of the Day: The Two Boxes
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 24: Tool #7 - Part 2

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


12 Step Attitude

Become A Child Again

Daily Dose of Dov

I imagine that Hashem looks at us like I sometimes look at my three-year-old. I think, boy, I'll miss the pitter-patter slapping of her feet in a year Iy"h when she starts walking more "normally" instead of excitedly rushing everywhere! The way her mop of hair flops up and down as she runs down the hall. The way she doesn't really know (or care) what the heck is "really going on" because she is all wrapped up in whatever's right in front of her; it's the most important thing in the world, of course! Usually it is a doll with lots of hopelessly tangled hair, or something. Then she'll drop it on the floor and go on to the next thing... She trusts her parents implicitly and totally - there is no room for any other provider of her needs. No room for fear of the future nor for regret about the past. As most kids do, she quickly accepts things exactly as they are and figures out how to have fun with it because, guess what? There's nothing else to have fun with but reality, is there? I look at her her and think, "My, how cute and sweet!" I feel certain that Hashem sees us that way, especially in early recovery when just getting through the day often requires simple, single-minded focus on the next right step.

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


Torah Thought of
Today
Posted by "Yechida"

Lekutai Maharan #272 (a translation):


"Hayom Im Kekolo Tishmau" (Tehillim 95-7) - "Today!! If you heed His voice".

This is an important rule in the service of God: One should focus only on today. Whether with regard to livelihood and personal needs, one should not think about one day to the next, as is brought in the holy books. Also with regard to his serving God, one should not consider anything beyond this day and this moment.

For when a person wants to enter the service of God, it seems to him a heavy burden; he cannot possibly bear such a heavy load. However, when a person considers that he only has that day (to deal with), he will find it no burden at all.

In addition, a person should not procrastinate from one day to the next saying, "I'll start tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll pray more attentively, and with more enthusiasm"; and likewise for other devotions. For a person's world consists only of the present day and moment. Tomorrow is a different world entirely. "Today!! - if you heed His voice" - specifically, "TODAY'.

Understand this.

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


Advice & Tips From the Steipler

The Steipler talks about these nisyonos in Kraina de'igrisa, and he tells us not to think about the past, but only to look forward. Even Teshuvah, the Steipler writes, should be left for once a person is married, lest it bring him to "atzvus".

He also tells people not to think they will be able to change completely right away, but that it will take time and effort... Every time we say "no" eventually comes together, and we will find the strength to be free of these sins altogether.

The Steipler also advises people to keep davening - even 100 times a day, a short teffilah, like: "Hashem, please save me!". We may not see Hashem's answer right away, but no teffilah is lost and it all adds up and comes together in the end.

And, he writes, the best medicine against these nisyonos is to learn Torah with true yegiyah - effort and diligence, and to make sure that we are always in a good environment, surrounded by serious Yidden - ovdei Hashem, especially in times when we feel weak.

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


Anecdote of the Day

Turbulence

By " Efshar Letaken"

A guy was on a flight back home from a trip. The weather was very stormy and the flight was full of Turbulence. It got very scary many times throughout the flight, even for him - as an adult.

But he noticed in the isle next to him, a 4 year old sitting there very calmly, not a bit afraid. So he asks him how come he is so relaxed. "Aren't you afraid?", he asks the boy.

The 4 year old Boy says with a smile on his face, "NO! NOT AT ALL!"

"How's that?" asks the Guy.

The boy turns to him and says, "THE PILOT IS MY FATHER! I KNOW HE WILL GET ME HOME SAFE!"

Raboisai! The pilot of this world, Hashem, is our Father! There's no need to worry about the turbulence that we all experience on our flight called "Life!"

He Will Get Us Home Safe!

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


Poem of the Day

The Two Boxes

Sent by "7Up"

I have in my hands two boxes,

which Hashem gave me to hold.

He said, 'Put all your sorrows in the black box,

and all your joys in the gold.'

I heeded His words, and in the two boxes,

both my joys and sorrows I stored,

but though the gold became heavier each day,

the black was as light as before.

 

With curiosity, I opened the black, 

I wanted to find out why,

and I saw, in the base of the box, a hole,

which my sorrows had fallen out by.

 

I showed the hole to Hashem and mused,

I wonder where my sorrows could be!'

He smiled a gentle smile and said,

My child, they're all here with me..'

 

I asked Hashem, why He gave me the boxes,

why the gold and the black with the hole?

The gold is for you to count your blessings,

the black is for you to let go.

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

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 #24
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #7: Cutting Down
Part 2

 
As we work on progressively cutting down, we build up our virtues. In the merit of saying "no" to ourselves thousands of times, Hashem will give us special divine assistance to ultimately find real freedom from the addiction.

The Gemara says: "Habah letaher misaayen lo - He who comes to be purified, they help him", and Chazal also say: "Biderech she'adom rotzeh leilech molichin osoh - in the way a person wants to go, they lead him". Why does the Gemara speak always in plural form: "they help him", and "they lead him"? The Maharsha explains that every effort a person makes creates an angel. And when the army of angels gets large enough, it has the power to help one overcome all the obstacles and lead him to where he wants to go!

Every time we say "no" to the addiction, a priceless coin is added to our spiritual bank. Even if and when we do end up falling, we do not lose what we had previously gained. When we have enough "spiritual coins" in our account, Hashem helps us to completely break free. (See the "Attitude Handbook" for more on these important principles).
 
However, it is important to emphasize that these tactics will only be effective if our goal is to stop completely over time by progressively cutting down more and more. But if we allow ourselves to become complacent by simply keeping our addiction "under control", we will remain addicted to these behaviors. And as we often end up learning later the hard way, addictions don't get better, they only get worse.

 
609.


Tuesday  ~  2 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 20, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Big Book Study Group - Launched! Hear what Duvid Chaim has to say.
  • What will I gain from Duvid Chaim's group? "Tomim" and Steve share.
  • Mazal Tov to "YankelD" on 90 Days: Some posts from Yankel.
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 25: Tool #8 - Part 1

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

The Big-Book Study Group is Under Way!

Duvid Chaim writes after the first call:

Thank you everyone for joining on Board our voyage of the Big Book Study Group Lunch & Learn. (Click here for more info on this anonymous phone group, 4 times a week. Suitable for both U.S and Israel time-zones).
 
It was very inspiring to have 14 brave participants join this Fellowship on our first call yesterday. The questions were very profound and insightful. I can already imagine what kinds of discussions we will have once we get into the "real" material. (All we did today was cover the forwards).
 
Newcomers are welcome at any time, and now is a great time to start. Please join us tomorrow as we begin the reading of "The Doctor's Opinion" in the Big Book, on Roman numeral page "xxv" - (25).
 
(Please read about 4 pages and underline those phrases that have meaning to you or you want to discuss).
 
And please don't forget the latest "Take Out Menu" Exercise - The A&W Moments (Awe and Wonder).  For the next 23 hours, be "on the alert" as you build your awareness of how G-d's hand was in your life today.  It could be as small as realizing how blessed you are to go to the bathroom or as major as seeing how you barely missed a car that had stopped in front of you without warning.  It could be the smell of a freshly bloomed rose to seeing the sun set over the ocean.
(See also the "Feel the Hugs" thread on the forum, where you can post your A&W moments).
 
For example, I clearly remember the first time I went on a Cruise and what it was like to go to the Port before boarding the Ship. I remember getting out of the taxi and seeing the Ship up close for the first time. I remember thinking how enormous the Ship was and wondering how could something so large not sink in the water. Not only did the Ship stretch from one end of the port 5 football fields out into the canal but it was also 10 stories tall. It looked like the Empire State Building on it's side in the water!

And I was told that our Ship would carry 1,000 crewmen just to serve the passengers, enough food to eat 5 times a day, plenty of fuel and safety measures to weather any storm. All this just so I could take a week long journey throughout the Caribbean.

I was quite impressed.

That's how I feel right now as I know that I'm aboard our Journey with a group of men, just like me. We are embarking on a Journey in our own "vessel." A vessel that will be safe and comfortable. One that can take us out into the deepest waters that the world has to offer, and yet we can stay afloat - together. Yes, there may be rough waters ahead. But as long as we stay on board, we will reach our destination G-d willing.

There are many awesome moments full of wonder that come into our life which we ignore or overlook. PLEASE take time today to see or feel them.

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

After Tuesday's call, Duvid Chaim writes:

The "Chidush" of today was the introduction of the "Doctor's opinion", that our disease is an "allergy" - meaning that our disease is actually out of our control. Not that we are bad, immoral or sinful people, but that we are under the effects of a disease - not only physical, but also spiritual and mental. Accordingly, the pathway to our freedom from the disease is a spiritual one - one that implies that our efforts should be directed towards becoming more "aware" and connected of Hashem in our lives. That's why we discussed "The A&W Moments" (Awe and Wonder) as a way to stay "connected."

 

Please join us tomorrow as we continue the reading of "The Doctor's Opinion" on roman numeral page "xxviii" - (28).

 

(Please read about 3 pages and underline those phrases that have meaning to you or you want to discuss).

 

Looking forward to our Wednesday call,
(Click here for the call-in info).

Until then, I am yours truly,

Duvid Chaim

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


What will I gain from Duvid Chaim's Group?

"Tomim" Posted Today on the forum, after the first call:

I was surprised when I realized that this group is much more involving than I thought. Seems to me that Duvid Chaim isn't just looking for listeners; he wants participators too! (Although you're free to just listen in, if you're uncomfortable talking).

If you are able to join the calls, I would absolutely recommend it! From the lengthy conversation that I had with Duvid Chaim just after the meeting, I learned so much about his care, devotion, knowledge, and for me - balance. The honesty and openness in the group is amazing (and this is just the beginning)! I have no doubt that anyone who invests himself into this and follows Duvid Chaim's lead in working the steps into his life, will see tremendous success and ultimately earn back his freedom.

Let me add: The 12-Steps is a holistic approach, in that it does not attempt to just alleviate the symptom (Actually: once into the program, "lusting" isn't even the topic). Instead, it digs deeper, into the underlying issues which are able to correct the person from bottom up. When a person is in a healthy "place", he doesn't feel the need to medicate himself with his drug of choice (in our case, Lust). I'm sure you can see from your time here at GYE, that addicts, from all walks of life, can be very good people and even exemplify great characteristics. "So why then do we falter?", a person can ask. "How can we be good people, and just a moment later we fall into utter evil?. Doesn't that mean that we are not really good?" The answer is NO! But there is one flaw, in that we are all missing a very valuable key! The 12-Steps intends to give us that key. When we have learned what this key is, how to attain it, and we proceed on our journey to incorporate it into our lives, we will not only be free of lusting, but we will be all-around better people with growth and improvement in many areas.

If you want to learn how to win without fighting, and also leave an everlasting effect, this is the place to be! "

As Duvid Chaim says, "It works if you work it. And you're worth it!"

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

Steve writes to Duvid Chaim, after the first call:

Hi. Thanx so much for the first session. I'm looking forward to continuing with each session very much. I am SOOO looking forward to success. It's like I've been hard-wired for this disease since I started girl-watching as a kid. So many things you  said were really on-target. It's amazing how much hashkafah we forget, and how important the 12-Steps are to remind us, not just in concept, but to believe in the practice of it through sharing.

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


Mazal Tov to "YankelD" on reaching 90 Days
and earning a place on the
Wall of Honor

If you haven't signed up yet for your 90 Day journey, click here
to join the 90 Day Chart.

Here's Yankel's first post on the forum (from a few months ago):

 
Hi, I'm new here. I'm happy I found this place. I've been struggling in shmiras ainayim since before I was frum, and 15 years later, although I'm married and have a beautiful baby boy, I'm still struggling.

I have not yet read the Attitude handbook / GYE Handbook - their long and I need to find the time to read them when no one is around.  

The chizuk email's are great. I'm not "clean" yet currently for 3 days, but B'ezras Hashem I hope to be soon.

We installed a internet filter recently on my laptop, as I've been falling for inappropriate sites too much - my wife doesn't know that. I told her I just wanted to block out other shtus - hulu, youtube, CNN, et al.  She doesn't know that even though she found something on my computer a little over a year ago - and gave me major mussar - that I've been falling since. 

 

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

Yankel posted in Elul:

"Barasi Torah Tavlin" - take advantage gentlemen. It's the only foolproof system.  Torah is always the key. Shteig!  Shteig!  Shteig!

Learn up a storm on a Tosfos! Demand truth of the world and of yourself! Grow and learn and strive to live up to the emes of the Torah, for that is the only way. See past the sheker and live for the challenge. We are going to daven now for the "sefer ha'chaim - the book of life" - a life full of meaning, away from the challenges of the past and living up to the ones in the present. 

What does Hashem demand of us? T'mimus - be simple. Walk the other way from the Y"H menuval, and live with simplicity and kedusha.  

Running to night seder.... :-)

 

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

Yesterday Yankel posted:

 
I passed the 90 day mark a little while ago. I've actually lost track since...

A tremendous thanks to all of you out there giving support and chizuk, and to Reb Guard for the Chizuk e-mails each day. This makes a big difference.

Signing with tears of joy!
YankelD

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

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 #25
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #8: Breaking the Addictive Pattern
Part 1

 
If slowly cutting down doesn't seem to do the trick, and we find after a while that it doesn't lead to a complete cessation of the addictive behaviors, we need to take a more drastic "Leap of Faith" and try to cut these behaviors out of our lives completely.

There was a recent scientific study that found it takes 90 days to change the neuron pathways created by addictive behaviors in the brain. It was shown that if an addict refrains from their addictive behavior for 90 days, they will find it far easier to stop the addictive thought patterns.

Members of the world-wide 12-Step groups (for beating addictions) are given a "red" recovery chip when they reach 90 days. We can also find the idea of 90 in Chazal. The Halacha is, that if one is not sure if he said "v'sen tal u'matar", he must repeat the Shmoneh Esrei. However after 30 days, one no longer needs to repeat Shmoneh Esrei when in doubt, because we assume that his mind has already gotten used to saying it. 30 days is 90 Shmoneh Esreis! Chazal knew that it takes 90 times of doing something to get the mind used to it.

 
610.


Wednesday  ~  3 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 21, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Parable of the Day: The Two Bikers
  • Personal Victory of the Day: PM from Hashem (Part 1 & 2)
  • 12-Step Attitude: Daily Dose of Dov
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 25: Tool #8 - Part 1

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

Parable of the Day

The Two Bikers
By JD

I heard a parable that helped me recently. I was listening to a shmuz by Rav Shafier about the tests we have in life, and he gave the mashal of two bikers that you see pass you. One guy, barely breaking a sweat, is cruising along, wind in his hair, no struggle at all, enjoying life, speeding by. The other, is struggling greatly, sweating, panting, and you can see the pain on his face. Normally, everyone assumes the 1st guy is the better biker. The only difference is, that the 1st guy is going downhill and the 2nd guy is going uphill.... Bottom line, it's the trying that counts.


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

 

Personal Victory of the Day

PM From Hashem
By "Lamed Vavnik"


I had a not very great experience over Shabbos, but it ended well. I was bored and restless in the middle of Shabbos night, and my old habits came back to me. I wasn't even in the mood - I didn't even have desire. But acting out is a strong habit. You do it sometimes just to do it, just because you can. I thought about doing things that I shouldn't do, things that would for sure lead me to act out. As I started, I was asking myself, "why am I doing this? I don't need this". Just then, my little 2 year old boy made a sound. I waited and he got up and started coming to me. I quickly stopped what I was going to do and turned to him. He came to my bed with a stuffed toy Sefer Torah, gave it to me and left.

I said to myself, "this is nuts. It would be enough to stop me if he had just come  himself, but he came with a message!"

I got up and found him in the bathroom and asked him if he wanted to sleep with me tonight. He said yes. We both felt safer that night.

I'm not proud that I was too weak to stop myself, but I am proud that Hashem sent me a PM to stop me. I didn't let myself get down over the weakness, because if Hashem sent me this message, he must love me. I thought to myself, "Hashem wants you closer to Him. Don't waste time being depressed, just get closer to him!"

I had a pretty good Shabbos after that.

I just wanted to share, that sometimes Hashem comes and grabs us in the worst times and shows us, "look, I'm here with you. I care what you do. Stop!".  

May we all be Zoicheh to feel Hashem's love and attention like that, all the time.


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

 

PM From Hashem (Part 2)

We recieved an e-mail from "ILOVEHASHEM"


I'm writing from my cell-phone now. I am presently in one of the newest, most gashmiusdik airport terminals, and I was beginning to get carried away by all the sights and smells.... Suddenly I felt a vibration in my pocket; it was the GYE email with tons of chizuk! That will hopefully will help me get through this place. Thank you!


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

 

12 Step Attitude

Daily Dose of Dov

Someone wrote on the forum:

I've failed the 12 steps because I got stuck on step 3 ("We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God"). I don't have much faith in myself succeeding at this point.

Uri Responds:


A kid is always unsure that he will ever be able to bike, swim, or anything. But everyone else knows that he'll be okay.

Dov (sober in SA for almost 12 years) responds:


Absolutely beautiful! (and true). Never thought of it quite that way Uri, thanks!

Who does the third step perfectly? Who even does it well? I never did, for sure!

That it why it reads: "Made a decision to turn... over to G-d" and not "turned our will... over to G-d". Practically no one turns their will over. It takes a lifetime for most folks I know, and so far, for me.

The fourth step ("We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"), and basically all the rest of the 12 Steps, are needed precisely because none of us succeed at "turning over our will..." - because we are messed up a bit, emotionally and mentally. We are addicts, after all. We really need some work and a lot of help.

So "swim, bike, or jog" right into the 4th step, fresh and new as if you never saw it before, with a fearless gusto! And please don't fall prey to the silly idea that you can do any of the steps (including the 3rd step!) without another person. For me, that game would be just trying the same crapola I had always tried, just trying it harder. Oy vei....

Someone else posted on the forum:


The 12 steps sound like they are the "end all" and "be all" for us to recover from our void left by this disgusting addiction. I, however, have yet to find a good way to go through the 12-Steps. For me, reading them through, even thoroughly, just doesn't work. I really don't internalize it that way. I have suggested in the past, and will make another bid now, to have someone give a shiur on it.

Dov Replies:


Please don't strangle me, but: The 12 steps are not read about, learned about, or darshened. They are done, literally and simply. We don't need shiurim, we need to watch others do them more often. You witness a lot of that in healthy 12 step meetings.

Now, if you'd be a ger and just read the Torah, even the Shulchan Aruch, you'd still have a hard time getting yiddishkeit "right". Sort of like driving - from a manual. You'd need to meet practicing Jews and see how it's really done. (Hopefully they'd be ehrlich and have a mesora and sechel too!)

Le'havdil, it's like that with the 12 Steps. The minhag of AAs was generally to do the steps in order and with a sponsor, or at least with another recovering AA who is ahead of you in the steps (and sober). It was generally to do it on paper and to share it with others.

The best "shiur" I know on how to do the 12 steps is reading the Big Book and the 12&12 of AA for more detail, but when all is said and done, the only thing that will get us better seems to be actually just doing the steps with others - awkwardly and geekily, but simply.

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

Speaking of a "Shiur" on the 12-Steps and about doing them along with others, join Duvid Chaim's anonymous 12-Step phone group, 4 times a week. A new cycle just began this week. This is a unique opportunity to retain your anonymity and yet do the steps along with other frum Yidden - and a sponsor!


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

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 #26
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #8: Breaking the Addictive Pattern
Part 2


We should be aware though, that this 90 day journey may not be easy. We may experience withdrawal symptoms (see this PDF) and feel depressed, down and needy for stretches of time. We may occasionally find that the fight feels unbearable, to the point where we even feel a taste of "death". But these feelings never last for more that a few hours at a time. And no great feat can come without some Messiras Nefesh. (See Chizuk e-mail #420 on this page).

Knowing in advance that we may experience withdrawal symptoms will make it easier to deal with them when they occur. And if we believe, like so many of us have found to be true, that after 90 days we will feel much freer from the addiction (see this page for a few testimonials), we can find the inner strength to hold out no matter what it takes! Indeed, so many people have reached 90 days already on our website and forum, and they have experienced great subsequent success in finding freedom from their addiction.

GYE created a 90 Day Chart to help people track their progress. Check it out and see for yourself how many people are currently on their way to 90 days!

To join the 90 Day Chart, please sign up on this page. (See here for the rules and here for the levels). For those who do not wish to sign up on-line, we provide a personal 90-Day chart that can be printed out from this page.

We also have a special chart called "The Wall of Hashem's Honor" for those who have already made the 90 day journey, and thank G-d it is growing all the time!

Also, to help us on this journey and provide a framework of group support for the duration of the 90 days and beyond, we set up a special "Wall of honor board" on our forum where we can post a log of our journey, every day or every few days.

There are even 90-Day groups on the forum, where between 5 and 10 members get together and take the 90-Day journey together (using a special "group count", being separate than our own personal counts). See this board for the "Accountability Groups" and this page for the rules.

By using the forum for our journey, we will get tons of chizuk and be an inspiration to everyone else in the community as well. It also helps us track our progress over time and provides a certain amount of accountability among the other warriors, whom we quickly come to view as our "spiritual family"; after all, we don't want to let them down! Also, by joining the community on the forum, we obtain the ability to strengthen others as well, which in itself is a big factor in recovery (see tool #12 below).

 
611.


Thursday  ~  4 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 22, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Testimonial of the Day: What's Working So Far
  • 12-Step Attitude: Getting rid of R.I.D
  • Torah Thought of the Day: "Who creates darkness"
  • Personal Victory of the Day: "Save me from myself!"
  • Saying of the Day: The Oak Tree
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Positive Focus
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 27: Tool #9 - Part 1

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

Testimonial of the Day

What's Working So Far
"Ba'hava" Posts his first post on the forum:

I got an anonymous e-mail about this site and I've been lurking around for about a month now (thank you anonymous yid for e-mailing me!). I figure it's finally time I post a bit about my experiences.

I just made it to level 3 in the 90 day journey. I'm 14 days clean! That's a record for the past 12 months, yishtabach shemo.   

My main problem seem to be the standard P and M issues, r"l. I'm in my lower 20s, single, and in college.

Here are some steps I've taken that are working great so far:

1. Working through the GYE handbook and the Attitude Handbook.

2. Stepping out of the room and praying for 10 seconds if inappropriate content appears on my screen, no matter how it got there.

3. Reading the daily Chizuk emails.

4. A daily five minute seder in Esah Einai, a new sefer on shmiras enayim.

5. Prozac, which I've been on for a year. (Helps with depression, anxiety and compulsive or obsessive behaviors)

6. Weekly appointments with a therapist, where we discuss this among other issues.

7. Keeping the door open when web surfing in a room by myself.

8. Installing a good internet filter.

9. Praying for help with these issues, for myself and for klal yisroel.

10. Helping a friend work out his issues in these areas.

11. Reading through the forum and seeing holy Jews in much worse situations break free! What a geshmak to see how much hope there is!

12. Keeping track on the 90 day program.

13. Trying to watch my eyes outside in general.


Breaking free of this is really my number one priority right now - and it's working!!! I've made it 2 weeks now pretty bump-free, yishtabach shemo, probably because of the constant chizuk I'm getting throughout the day (as-per the list above).

Thank you so much. I love all of you and I pray that you'll all break free.


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

 

12 Step Attitude

Getting Rid of R.I.D

By Duvid Chaim, moderator of the 12-Step phone conference

 

In yesterday's group call, we discussed how literally our entire approach to life, our perspectives and our responses, have got to be thoroughly re-examined.  In the Big Book, Dr. Silkworth tells us that we need a "psychic change" to a magnitude above and beyond our "human power". Only a "Higher Power" can help us. And without a "new design for living", our chances of recovery are low.

 

Underlying our addiction is our "Restlessness, Irritability and Discontent" - which we will refer to as "R.I.D." from now on. We are working on getting rid or our R.I.D.

We were also introduced (in yesterday's call) to the vicious cycle of R.I.D:
~> Acting Out
~> Regret and Shame
~> Resolution to Quit.

 

Unfortunately, "Life" comes in the way and sends us on this cycle again and again and again....

Here is one thought provoking comment from our "Ship's Crew" (sent to Duvid Chaim after yesterday's call):

I really identify with what you said, since, before my most recent fall, I had been clean by the rules for over 200 days. I think the 90 day and beyond efforts are an important part of the process, but I am finally beginning to understand the need for what we are trying to do in this group.

As I said, I was clean by the rules. But the issue is, that I have a virtual library of images, stories, and experiences (going back to before I got married) at my beck and call, in that gray matter between my ears. I find myself in need of an "entire psychic change." I do not believe that any change in my life will last without that more fundamental inner change.

The whole issue with lust being our "drug of choice" is also resonating with me. In past battles against my sexaholism, I've always wondered how it could be that I was able to act out even when I had the flu. Even when I could barely get out of bed, somehow I would find the energy to act out. Looking at my acting out - my lust - as my "drug of choice" though, explains where the energy came from.


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


Torah Thought of the Day


"Who Creates Darkness"

By Duvid Chaim, moderator of the 12-Step Phone Conference

The paragraph right after Borchu in our Shachris prayers (pg 84 in the Artscroll Siddur) states: "Boruch Atah Hashem Elokanu Melech HaOlam Yozar Oar U'Vora Choshech, Oseh Shalom U'Vora Es HaKol - Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who forms light and creates Darkness, makes peace and creates all."

 

What a profound concept, to realize that the Ribbono Shel Olam, the One who is all Good, is also the Creator of Darkness.  No other religion views Darkness or the Yetzer Hara this way, only the Torah view tells us that there is a Positive and G-dly purpose to Darkness.

 

In our call yesterday, we discussed how it is through our performance of mitzvot, and in particular those mitzvot that are at our point of Bechira (where we actually have to struggle to perform them) that we reveal His light into the World!! (see this great article for more about our "point of Bechira" from the renowned therapist, Dr.Sorotzkin).

 

It is precisely at THIS POINT that we are at in our quest for freedom from lust, that should be a point of encouragement, not shame or fear - as we work the 12 Steps.

 

Even more, please see Bava Basra to see something that blew my mind away, on Daf 16 Amud Aleph middle of the page (16a2 in Artscroll) where we learn from R. Levi that both the Satan - who persecuted Iyov, and Peninah who persecuted Chana (in the story of Shmuel Hanavi's birth), in both cases, their motives were - and I quote - "Lishaim Shamayim".

 

So we clearly see that even "Satan" - is rooting for us!!  He doesn't want us to stumble and fall.  He wants us to pass His tests!!  Much like a personal trainer who loads the barbells with more weight when we are working out, as we get stronger. Amazing, isn't it?!

 

So, let's all begin to alter our perception and our response to life and the struggles we are blessed to have. And let's bring tons of light to the world!

 

Looking FORWARD to our next Call,

Duvid Chaim

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


Join Duvid Chaim's anonymous 12-Step phone group, 4 times a week. A new cycle just began this week. This is a unique opportunity to retain your anonymity and yet work the steps along with other frum Yidden - and a sponsor!


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

 

Personal Victory of the Day

Save me from Myself!
By "5770"

This morning I woke up very early (4:30 AM) and I was tempted to see what I could find on my Sky-TV. I am so sorry that I fell for this temptation in the first place and nearly slipped. However, I flicked through a few channels to try and get something which I should not be looking at, and I found this religious xtian channel... Normally I wouldn't mention anything to do with xtians, but this channel showed three musicians in the old city of Jerusalem singing part of Hallel, "Anah Hashem Hosheah Nah" (Please Hasham save us now!). 

This was so beautiful, it stopped me in my tracks and tears welled up in my eyes. Even though I do not deserve it, Hashem literally did save me from myself. 

This seems to be a hard time for me, I am being tested a lot and I really don't want to be tested. Please Hashem, save me now! Save me from myself.


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

 

Saying of the Day
Posted by "7Up"

Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.


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

 

Daily Dose of Dov

Positive Focus

"Ineedhelp" posted on the forum:

The Gemara relates that when Rebi Yochanan Ben Zakai was sick and about to die, his Talmidim came to him and said, "Rebbe give us a Bracha on how to live!" Rebi Yochanan Ben Zakai replied with an amazing bracha (that we should all be Zocheh to get). He said, "May the fear that you have for Hashem be like the fear you have for your fellow man".

I give us all this bracha, that we should have the "fear of man" - even when only Hashem is seeing our sins.

Dov (sober in SA for almost 12 years) responds:

 
May recovery bring us to really know that Hashem is seeing our mitzvos.

And to become constantly aware (like we are of our noses) that He is together with you and me (bishvili nivra ha'olam! right here!) while we are eating, sleeping, playing, learning, yelling at our kids, worrying, showering, regretting, lying, crying, laughing, posting, brushing our teeth, smiling at a friend (or "enemy"), trying, helping, giving up, davening, being born and dying (not necessarily in that order for the last two ;-). It is a pity that some folks (but very few addicts in 12 step recovery) may wait till they are about to die, to really, really try to get comfortable being with their very own G-d. 

Now that's what I expect out of recovery: real life!

Who needs to reach for any escape when you have inescapable, real life?

Who has time to even worry about acting out?

May Hashem help us all get closer, starting today.


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

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 #27
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #9: Accountability
Part 1

 
The first eight tools of this handbook focused mainly on our own private struggle with the addiction. If we haven't been successful yet with the tools above, it is time to bring the struggle to the next level and introduce others into the picture. We won't go it alone anymore. Our own strengths have proved insufficient in dealing with our addiction. We need to start exploiting strength from outside ourselves, to help us succeed.
 
The Pasuk in Mishlai (18:1) says: "Le'taava yevakesh nifrad - Desire seeks isolation". Being isolated causes us to go after our Taavah - our lust. The addiction wants us to withdraw into ourselves and disconnect from life. A partner in this struggle can do wonders in helping us reconnect to the world around us and ultimately break free. Going into detail with someone else about what we've done, is also known to be one of the best ways to get out the shame, guilt and remorse, and move on.
 
In addition to the above, simply telling over our feelings and thoughts to a friend or mentor, has tremendous power to help us break the insidious power of the addiction. As the Tzetel Katan of the great Chassidic master, R' Elimelech of Lizentzk states:

One should relate before one's teacher, who instructs him in the way of HaShem, or even before a good friend, all of one's thoughts that are contrary to the Holy Torah that the Yetzer HaRah causes to arise in his mind or heart. [Whether they occur] when he is learning Torah, praying, sitting in his bed, or during the day. And one should not withhold anything because of shame. He will find that by relating these things, he will gain the power to break the strength of the Yetzer HaRah so that it will no longer be able to overcome him other times. This is in addition to the good advice that he will receive from his friend in the ways of Hashem. And this is a wonderful remedy.

We see from the above, that simply relating ones struggles to a friend or mentor has the power to break the strength of the Yetzer Hara.

 
612.


Friday  ~  5 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 23, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Testimonial of the Day: Enter the TEIVA of GYE
  • 12-Step Attitude: "Nine months ago, it was inconceivable."
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Do you have a GPS?
  • Parable of the Day: The Arcade Game
  • Daily Dose of Dov: A Nice, Shiny Blue Tricycle
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 28: Tool #9 - Part 2

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

Testimonial of the Day

Enter the TEIVA of GYE
"Snax" Posted on the forum:

When I read this forum, I feel like Noach in the Teiva. Surrounded by the Mabul of shmutz on the web, there is a little Teiva where yidden from all over the globe can come and hide and get the much needed chizuk. Let us all choose this heilige "Teiva" and not let ourselves drown Chas Vesholom in the Mabul of "Taiva".

Yidden if you haven't joined yet - or if you fell out, join us now! The doors are open! The Mabul is almost over, Moshiach is on his way!


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

 

12 Step Attitude

"Nine months ago, it was inconceivable".

By Boruch, moderator of GYE's bi-Weekly 12-Step phone conference


I have compulsively masturbated from a very young age. I know that by age 7, I was masturbating frequently. I was an addict and was unable to stop. Yes, I tried to stop many times with varying success, but I was never able to stop for more than a few weeks. I was hopelessly addicted. 


Here is what helped, for me. The last time I masturbated was January 19th of this year. It is now over 9 months later and I have not masturbated since. What changed? I got desperate, very desperate. I made a firm resolution to do a permanent teshuva and I began posting on the GYE forum. Seven days later, Hashem led me to SA, a 12-Step program for sex and lust addicts. By working the program that I got in one particular SA group that was focused on an intensely spiritual solution to my problem, I was helped in more ways than I could ever have dreamed. 

Also, today - nine months later, thanks to the 12-Step program of OA (Overeaters Anon), I have lost all my extra body weight. I was 80 lbs overweight at my all-time high, and as a result of working the program daily, food is no longer a problem for me in any sense.

I also had a very serious money problem - I was incurring large amounts of debt, thousands of dollars in overdraft and check bouncing fees, and had a very serious problem with my career. Today, thanks to the 12-Step program of
DA (Debtors Anon), I have not incurred any new debt for months, have not bounced a check in months and I have a new and much healthier career vision. 

Most importantly of all, I was deeply unhappy, very frustrated, anxious and fearful. Today, I feel liberated. I had serious internal problems with both my Yiddishkeit and my learning, despite tremendous effort. Today I am able to live my Yiddishkeit in a way that I was unable to before. Today I am learning what I enjoy and thrive on, and I am no longer trying to be someone or something that I am not.

Nine months ago, it was inconceivable and unimaginable that I would be able to stop masturbating for over a month. Today I know that with daily application to my program, I never have to masturbate again. 

Could I have stopped some other way? Maybe. But this is the way Hashem has led me, and I am very grateful.

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

Join Boruch's "Back-to-Basics" 12-Step phone conference (fully anonymous). You can choose either the Sunday morning call, or the the Thursday evening call. Learn how to stop living in the problem and live in the solution! See this page for details on how to join the calls.


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


Attitude Tip of the Day


Do you have a GPS?

 

"Letakein" Posted:


Yesterday, I was feeling sad and I realized that I hadn't spoken to Hashem in English in a really long time. I was driving and I just started talking out loud as if Hashem was in the passenger seat right next to me. As soon as I started with, "Hi Hashem, it's Letakain", I just burst out crying. I didn't even realize how much I missed my connection with Him until I decided to get it back. We spoke for a while, and I felt so relieved and comforted!
 

"7up" Responds:

 
He wasn't in the  passenger seat. He was the driver. You were just sitting on His lap - like a little kid sitting on Dad's lap and pretending he's the one driving as he helps turn the wheel!

Trust the GPS:
G - G-d's
P - Personal
S - Supervision

 

"Kanesher" Responds:


A friend of mine took R' Yakov Friedman (Rosh Yeshiva of Sha'ar Meir in Betar) on a fundraising trip - with a GPS. He wasn't the world's best navigator and they constantly heard the voice say "recalculating route", over and over again. R' Yakov smiled- "what a mussar haskel - a person loses his way, once, twice, again and again,  and he's thinks he's never get there - but the Ribono Shel Olam watches him, and again and again show's him his path from were he is - recalculating the route over and over again".

 

"Kedusha" responds:


Rav Yisroel Reisman took this Mussar from his GPS: When things don't go our way, instead of getting angry or frustrated, we should think (or say) calmly, "recalculating route."

This is so true. Anyone who has used a GPS can relate to the fact that no matter how many times we mess up the route the GPS never gets angry or upset, it just simply recalculates the route. If only we could look at life that way! Throughout the day, countless things happen that are not the way we wanted or expected, and we get all frizzled, upset, angry, resentfull, etc, etc... If we could only imagine that we are just "machines of Hashem's will" in the world and that our job is to just calmly continue recalculating the route at every point that Hashem puts something different than we expected in front of us. If we could internalize this, our lives would be calm and peaceful, and we would get rid of most of the R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritability and Discontent) that causes us to run to our addictions.


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Parable of the Day

The Arcade Game
By "ILoveHashem"

The Holy yidden of GYE that are uniting together in this spiritually dangerous world are probably causing a great commotion in Heaven. We are all fighting the Mabul that is threatening to engulf us all. What can be more pleasing to Hashem than this wonderful group, who are giving up these physical pleasures for Hashem's sake?

Recently, after fighting a really difficult battle with my Yetzer Hara for sixty days, I fell. I was really disheartened. After SIXTY DAYS, two thirds of the way to ninety, I felt like I was back to square one. (B"h, I have now reached nine days clean again).

After I fell, I thought of an amazing moshol of my situation that really helped me begin the
ninety day journey again, and I would like to share it with you.

Our fight is like a computer game with seven levels. The player has only 'three lives' throughout the game. We begin playing level one. Not being so experienced, we barely makes it through the first level, but we lose two lives in the process. We finally get to level two, but soon after, we lose that last life. That's it; Game over! We may think to ourselves, "what's it worth beginning at level one again? I will undoubtedly lose again, so what's the point?" But if a person thinks a bit deeper they'll realize that when they play level one again, they'll have more experience this time around. They'll likely still be left with all three lives when they get to level two, this time around. And yes, they may have to keep starting over again, but eventually they'll make it through all seven levels.

When a person gets through a week, sixty days, or even ninety days and has a fall, he hasn't lost his previous experience. When he starts again this time, it'll be much easier. And even if this happens many times, eventually he'll get through it completely.

That is the meaning of sheva yipol Tzadik vekom. I used to always think, "why is the seventh try any better than the first?", but this explains it all.

DEAR YIDDEN, DON'T GIVE UP! A PERSON'S EFFORTS ARE NEVER LOST.


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Daily Dose of Dov

A Nice, Shiny Blue Tricycle

"MosheF" posted on the forum:

So I have a void, a spiritual void, now what? How am I going to fill it? Should I sit and learn all day, say tikunei zohar, work on my middos? It's not going to work. I know I should just learn to accept ordinary life the way life is, and live in the present moment, and not dream of being rich and famous, just living the present. Before I fell last time, I could have gone home and played with my kids but that wasn't good enough, I needed more. To prove my point, when I have a real exciting day and made a major sale or met with important people and felt important and good, lust usually stays away on those days because I'm feeling good about myself. But when life is ordinary, it's just not good enough for me and I need real stimulation.

Dov (sober in SA for almost 12 years) responds:

 
In my case too, my problem was clearly not the acting out. It was being sober! I couldn't tolerate it after a while, because life was always either too boring or too complicated, or both. Staying sober under all circumstances necessitated the 12 Steps. And of all things, it was the fourth step (especially my second round at it) that finally made living tolerable. Then sobriety started getting easier.
 
I learned the hard way, but Yshu'as hashem k'heref ayin! You may get a bit of something and then find you have grown more than you imagined was possible. It often happens this way for me. The condition seems to be, that I stay off the 18-wheeler and keep things simple. Especially when I feel like I've grown a great deal, I still picture myself as just beginning. A nice, shiny blue tricycle (with silver accents!) does me best...


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

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 #28
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #9: Accountability
Part 2

 
Aside from the fact that the very act of talking it out already lessens the struggle, the main purpose of a partner is that it introduces the vital element of "accountability" into the equation. As Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai blessed his students, "May your fear of heaven be equal to your fear of man". And his students asked him: "Rebbe, is that all?". And he answered: "Halevai!".

The truth of Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai's blessing is pointedly illustrated by this story of Rav Amram Raban Shel Chassidim (Kidushin 81/a):

Some women who had been taken captive were redeemed and brought to Nehardai. They were kept in the attic of Rav Amram the Chasid and the ladder was removed. At night, a beam of light reflected off one of the women, revealing her beauty. Rav Amram was seized with lust and he moved the ladder (which normally needed 10 people to move it) and began to ascend. As he was halfway up, he screamed "There is a fire in Rav Amram's house!" and the Rabanan flocked to his house. After they saw that there was no fire they said to him "You embarrassed us (with your behavior)!". Answered Rav Amram: "It is better to suffer embarrassment in this world than in the next".

We may ask, if Rav Amram had so much Fear of Heaven that he was determined enough to call out "Fire!", why couldn't he just have stopped himself? The answer is, that Rav Amram knew that unless other human beings would be introduced into the equation, he was powerless to stop himself from the power of the lust. This amazing story shows us the immense value of "human" accountability.

Is there anyone among us who will say he is stronger than Rav Amram? We are faced with these desires every day, in the privacy of our homes and only a mouse-click away! We must have accountability to succeed in breaking the addiction. If the fact that Hashem watching him was still too "abstract" to stop Reb Amram Chasid from the power of lust, it is surely too abstract to stop us when we are faced with lust. We need someone - in the flesh - who will hear us scream "Fire!" when we feel weak, and someone we can feel accountable to.

 
613.


Sunday  ~  7 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 25, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Torah Thought of the Day: E-Mail No. 613
  • Personal Victory of the Day: License Plate "ATA 3469"
  • MP3 Audio Downloads: Mindfulness in the Present Moment
  • Miracle after Miracle: Another Hug from Hashem
  • Practical Tips of the Day: Krazy-Glue
  • Testimonial of the Day: 7 Months & 4 Lessons
  • Saying of the Day: Problem Solving
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Humble, not Humiliated
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 29: Tool #9 - Part 3

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Torah Thought of the Day

E-Mail No. 613

Chazal say that every human has 248 limbs that correspond to the 248 Mitzvos Aseh, and 365 sinews that correspond to the 365 Mitzvos Lo Saseh. Altogether = 613 Mitzvos. The Sefarim bring down that the Bris (or Yesod) is the one limb in a person that reflects all the others. Why? Because through the Yesod, all the other limbs of a person are created. The Bris contains within it the power to create all the other limbs. Therefore, the Sefarim say, the main test of a man in this world is in relation to the bris, and when one successfully guards it, it is as if he guarded his entire body as well!

Rebbe Nachman says, that these desires are the greatest test that a man faces in this world (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom 115). He said that he was able to overcome this desire, but he had to cry out to Hashem again and again. The Satan wanted so much for him to slip on this desire that he was willing to let Rebbe Nachman overcome every other desire, if only he would slip up on this once. Rebbe Nachman did the opposite though, and said he would ignore his other desires and not work to control them at all, but the sexual desire he would completely eradicate (Shevachay Haran 16). As a young man, even amidst the fire burning inside him, he overcame this desire completely. He later said, "I do not have any feeling of desire at all. Men and women are all the same to me". When he came in contact with a woman, he didn't even have an extraneous thought. (ibid)

Our sages 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 fragile and in grave danger of collapse. And if the "foundation" is strong, one can build sky-scrapers of holiness on top of it!


In honor of e-mail 613 - and in honor of us reaching 1000 unique subscribers to the Chizuk e-mails this week, please help us help more Yidden by printing out the following professionally designed flyer and hanging it up (discreetly) in your shuls, neighborhood bulletins, or - better yet - send it in to your neighborhood newspapers and sponsor it as an ad! The Zechus of the Rabbim will be in your hands!

Click here to download the flyer


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Personal Victory of the Day

License Plate "ATA 3469"
By "Kutan"


Last night while waiting for a red light to change, I saw some poison. Except it looked appetizing.

I looked away immediately, but felt the voices in my head saying, "hey, you looked! I think you looked for a second too long anyway, why not look again? You anyway blew it!"

But then I noticed the license place of the car in front of me, and it was:

ATA 3469


Well, I happen to be a big time fan of the vort that Guard posted once from the Ohr Hachayim Hakadosh, "V'ata Yisroel mu Hashem Elokecha sho'el may'imuch.... ki im l'yirah, etc.... - And now, Yisrael, what does Hashem your G-d ask of you, but to fear him, etc..." and the Torah continues with a whole list of wonderful madreigos.

The Torah is emphasizing that we CAN reach all these wonderful things, if we focus on one thing... V'ata - NOW; not what happened a second ago, nor a day ago, nor a year ago, and also not what WILL happen. Just the present. That is all Hashem asks of us, the ATA - the NOW.

Well, there was the license plate, clearly telling me that I need to do the right thing NOW, and forget what happened 2 seconds ago.

WOW. What a hug from Hashem!


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MP3 Audio Downloads

Mindfulness in the Present Moment

Sent to us by Elya, moderator of the
Thursday Phone Conference

Download Here

Mindfulness of the present moment is the key to sobriety and serenity.

 

These audio files are actual exercises to walk you through to be able to focus your mind and not get distracted so easily.


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Another Hug from Hashem!

JD posted:

 
Something pretty amazing just happened to me. I was about to start Googling certain things (with my fake "innocent" thoughts that "it's not so bad"), and all the sudden my internet just completely stopped working. I couldnt click on anything. Hashem was saying to me, "you have asked for help to guard your eyes, I will guard them for you".

I still have urges, but that obviously struck me pretty hard.

 
Bli neder, I am going to make a stronger commitment to reading the handbooks. I also find that reading Windows to the Soul daily helps me. I also need to spend more time on the forum involved with other people. Instead of surfing nothingness, (since I spend a lot of time on the phone and "on hold" it happens), I will spend more time reading and posting on the forum. If I am going to be in front of a computer, I need to make it - not only something that isn't negative, but make it positive.

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


Dear friends,

Lately, we are seeing again and again how people who take upon themselves to work on this area merit special divine intervention. Besides the two stories in today's e-mail, we brought a few stories like this in recent e-mails as well:

"Save me from myself" - Chizuk e-mail #611

"PMs from Hashem" Part 1 & 2 - Chizuk e-mail #610

"Hashem is helping me" - Chizuk e-mail #606

"Haba Litaher Misayon Oso" - Chizuk e-mail #602

That's 7 stories of clear divine intervention  - all from AFTER SUKKOS (less than 2 weeks)!

Perhaps because this is our generation's greatest test, whoever takes this struggle seriously becomes worthy of seeing Hashem's hand more clearly than others. Welcome to the ranks of Hashem's front line soldiers!


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Practical Tips of the Day

Krazy-Glue

Chizkiyahu Posted

Like many people, I have tried and failed many times to be free of my addiction. Since I became aware that I had a problem about six years ago, my longest sobriety period has been a little over 50 days. That run was pure will-power. Recently, I managed to stay clean for over 30 days (because my I didn't have internet access).  

Here's what I'm doing differently this time around:

1. I'm taking time to learn about this addiction every day. Here's an article I received today that opened my eyes. (Interestingly, they talk about seeing repair after 100 days, similar to the 90-day goal popularized here.)

2. My computer has no battery; it runs on an AC adaptor. Yesterday, I krazy-glued the adaptor to a part of my house which has no privacy. That prevents me from taking my computer and hiding with it in a dark corner somewhere.  


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Testimonial of the Day

7 Months & 4 Lessons
By "Bardichev"
(who always posts with CAPS-LOCK on)

HELLO ALL HEILIGEHS AND HEILIGOS,

TODAY IS SEVEN MONTHS THAT I AM OFF THE CYCLE OF:
SHTUSS/SHMUTZ/CRY/DAVEN, SHTUSS/SHMUTZ/CRY/DAVEN
SHTUSS/SHMUTZ/CRY/DAVEN, SHTUSS/SHMUTZ/CRY/DAVEN
SHTUSS/SHMUTZ...


OK, WITHOUT ANY FANFARE AND ONE SHOT OF WOODFORD, HERE GOES:

I LEARNED 4 POWERFUL LESSONS DURING THESE HOLY 7 MONTHS.

1.
SLIPPING IS NORMAL, BUT STAYING DOWN AFTER YOU SLIPPED? NEVER! GET OFF THE FLOOR, WIPE YOUSELF OFF... KEEP ON MOVING, KEEP ON TRUCKING!


2.
I LEARNED THAT JOHN OR HARRY'S WIFE HAS "NOTHING' TO DO WITH ME.
END OF STORY...
NOTHING!
I DON"T CARE IF SHE IS...
OR WHAT SHE IS...
OR WHY SHE IS - OR ISN'T...
I WILL NOT SOLVE THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS
NOR THE HEALTHCARE DEBATE.
AND I WILL NOT SOLVE THE TZNIUS ISSUE EITHER.
SHE MAY BE A PROBLEM, BUT SHE'S NOT "MY" PROBLEM
IF IT AINT YOUR RING-TONE, DON'T PICK UP THE PHONE!!
YES, TIGHT CLOTHES AND TALL BOOTS ETC WILL STILL TRIGGER ME,
BUT I DONT GO TO THE BANK OR THE MALL TO FIND THOSE TRIGGERS ANYMORE.
WE MAY HAVE CAUGHT A FIRST LOOK, BUT WE CAN CHOOSE NOT TO LOOK A SECOND TIME.
THE LUST IS STILL THERE, BUT I LOVE MYSELF AND I LOVE HASHEM AND I LOVE MY WIFE AND MY KIDS MUCH MUCH MORE THAN MY LUST.

3.
THE 3RD THING I LEARNED IS JUST HOW CLOSE WE ARE TO HASHEM.

HASHEM SEES US IN ALL OUR SITUATIONS, AND HE ACCEPTS ALL OUR MISTAKES AND LOVES US JUST THE SAME.
THE SADDEST THING IS, THAT WE NEEDED TO FALL FIRST IN ORDER TO BE PICKED UP AND FEEL THAT LOVE!

4.
AND THE LAST THING I LEARNED IS THAT THIS FORUM IS ALL ABOUT AHAVAS YISROEL!! WOW, WHAT A KOACH!!

 

Noorah Responds:

 
A truer statement could not be said about the Ahavas Yisrael here!! I've thought about this a lot: Why is it that the chabura kadisha here at GYE is infused with such a spirit of ahavas yisrael?

Here are my thoughts. The anonymity that previously had been the very source of our descent into the nether worlds of he**, is also a blessing in disguise to us all here on GYE. The common denominator of our quest for recovery, for returning to Hashem, for spirituality, these are the things that unites us.


All the usual human pettiness, resentments and jealousy that are at the root of all divisiveness - don't exist here on GYE. 

On GYE, our unity and purity of quest bond us at the deepest levels of our very souls, where some might say we are not anonymous but rather - WE ARE All ONE!!!!

With fiery love to all,

Noorah


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Saying of the Day

Problem Solving
By Albert Einstein

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.


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12-Step Attitude

Humble, not Humiliated
Daily Dose of Dov

We work the steps because we have no choice but to stay sober and we recognize that we need to learn to think and live a different way, rather than just improve ourselves - while keeping most of what we had before that got us in this mess to begin with! (editor's note: see the saying above by Albert Einstein)

Surprisingly, this sometimes uncomfortable attitude (of admitting we are sick and have no choice - step 1), may be our only hope for any humility. Our old way of looking at ourselves as "bad people getting good" (which was all about living up to a standard - "perfectionism" in disguise) just didn't lead to any success for us. It meant we were humiliated rather than humble, and so, we couldn't get Hashem's help.

We looked for events, rather than a process, didn't we? And who can blame us, for nothing we ever tried before really worked!

Instead, we are grateful that we recognize that we are addicts (step 1). Being "sick people getting well" is a perspective that really works for us... and that is why we can have fun at meetings, and in life in general. We trust that it's going to be OK.


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

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 #29
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #9: Accountability
Part 3

 
We can try to find a close friend or a Rabbi we respect, to whom we can confide about our struggles. And even more importantly, we need to make sure to keep in touch with them about our progress and give them honest updates every few days. Obviously for this to work properly, we must remain completely honest and open with our accountability partners, at all cost. If we fall, the shame we will feel in reporting it will be an atonement in itself, as well as providing a strong incentive to remain clean next time.

We can also hook up with someone else who is struggling like us, and give each other Chizuk. It may be helpful to be in touch on a daily basis at first, either by phone or by e-mail. As we progress, the updates can be less frequent, but they should still be at set intervals which can be decided in advance.

If our wives know about our struggle, they can be one of the best accountability partners there are. We will feel their pain when we are slipping even more acutely than with others, and this will be a big incentive for us to remain clean. If our wives do not know, it may be extremely helpful in the long term for them to find out. However, this should be done only once we are taking serious steps to recover and are seeing good progress. Also, it should best be done with careful preparation and preferably in the presence of a therapist or Rabbi that can help her understand the nature of the addiction and offer guidance on how to cope. Although it is often very painful for the wife to find out about our struggles in this area, in the long term it generally does more good than damage. Aside from the strong "accountability" that this provides us with, a couple can ultimately grow much closer together when there are no secrets between them. (See also this page for more on the wife finding out).

 
614.


Monday  ~  8 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 26, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Q & A of the Day: Advice from Rabbi Twerski on Dating
  • Testimonial of the Day: 15 Months Clean!
  • 12 Step Attitude: Daily Dose of Dov
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Dealing with Stress
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 30: Tool #9 - Part 4

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Q & A of the Day

Advice From Rabbi Avraham Twerski

Can an Addict Start Dating?

 

Hello Rabbi Twerski,

I am a 21 year old Yeshivah Bochur and college student. I started lusting at the very end of 8th grade. I've been involved masturbation, pornography and even bad chatting, but B'H I have been shomer Negiah throughout high school. I joined GuardYourEyes in the end of April '09 when I saw an ad for it on Vozisneis. It was that day that I realized I had an addiction. In the past few months, although there have been times where I've been very good and very close to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, there were times where I felt like abandoning Judaism out of sheer frustration. Right after falling I'd say to myself, "I cant live this double life. I need to choose one. I've tried giving up the porn, but it just stays with me". When I get a streak of even a few days its such a great feeling though. Like I am king and nothing can stop me...

I am getting to the age where I need to start consider dating for marriage. I have 3 very close friends who are all engaged and I feel maybe now is the time in my life, once I get my issues in order, to look for my one and only. I don't think this recurring issue will ever leave me. Be'ezras Hashem I will grow stronger everyday in order to be prepared to fight it off when it comes next, but I don't think I can get rid of the images that are carved into my head. So how do I know when I should start dating? My friends ask to get me a Shidduch and I repeatedly turn them down without giving them a specific reason. My plan is to get a streak of 30 days in which I am clean. I think this itself is enough to build a relationship with. I would like to think that going into dating with a 30 day streak (which I have only done once since I have been an addict) will help me continue and become stronger. If the Rav can please give me straight forward, honest feedback. Thank you very much.

Rabbi Twerski Replies:

 

I don't know of any hard and fast rules on how long one must be abstinent.

It is important to know that the addiction is under control before considering marriage. Marriage is not a hospital and does not cure addiction, and continuation of the addiction is likely to ruin a marriage.

Attendance at SA meetings and getting support from the group can be very helpful.

An excellent therapist is Dr.Richard Leedes in NJ. 609-497-9323.

At the risk of nepotism, I can also recommend my son, Dr. Benzion Twerski in Brooklyn, 718-437-4118.

Twerski

 

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See also this page, for advice from Rabbi Twerski in regard to whether we should tell our prospective marriage partner about our addiction.


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Testimonial of the Day

15 Months Clean

We recieved an update today from Ahron whose story appears here on our site, and which also appeared on Aish.com over here.

How are you doing? 1,000 unique chizuk e-mail members... wow. You're one busy guy, keep up the good work! Since you're still my accountability partner (from over a year ago), here's an update:

B"H I'm still clean based on the rules of the Wall Of Honor for 15 months now. The key to staying sober, as many have stated (including me, and I'm repeating it now because it's only being reinforced for me over time) is not to focus on staying clean, but rather to focus on positive growth, a connection to Hashem, and to identify and banish thoughts of lust as soon as they begin to form. This means being aware of your thoughts and correctly identifying those that stem from the addiction, even if they're seemingly unrelated at the outset. It also means that no matter how "pure" your intentions seem, (e.g. 'I'm trying to use the GYE Handbook techniques on this woman - I only want the very best for her... for who?  Oh, that woman)', the only honest and proper step is to STOP those thoughts in their tracks and replace them with something else.  


This is not easy to do, partly because you need to have something else to think about that is compelling and interesting. We addicts have not developed many deep interests outside of the addiction because we've been chained to it. The addiction won't allow anything else to co-exist, so it takes time to do this even after you're clean for a while. Developing positive interests and pursuing positive goals is what we should have been doing all along (and it's what non-addicts spend their lives doing), so it's not surprising that it takes time. Although I can write this and know that it's true, I still get impatient and frustrated that I'm not progressing more quickly at times. The challenge is to adopt something - anything - that I want to work on and STICK WITH IT. Because I'm so focused on making sure it's emotionally fulfilling (so it can replace the addiction which was also an attempt at emotional fulfillment, albeit a momentary and ultimately destructive one), I have a hard time getting myself to open a sefer when the emotions are not there. But by doing even when I don't want to, the emotions eventually kick in.


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

 

12-Step Attitude

Daily Dose of Dov

The desire and power of the lust experience is huge. It's definitely bigger than my power, I believe. Still, in my heart it rings painfully true that whatever it is that I really want deep down, the acting out - and whatever desires and "lust hopes" I am holding on to, just don't come near to satisfying it. Knowing that is powerful and changes me.

But still, that alone won't stop me from acting out. I still need a G-d, a program, and a chevra.


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

Attitude Tip the Day

Dealing with Stress
By Tomim

Stress often leads and addict to his "drug". When we feel stress, it's important to immediately pinpoint the cause. Once we've pinpointed it, we can than ask ourselves: "Is acting-out going to 'solve' this?" - "Can it take away the 'cause' of my stress?". The answer to this question usually is: "Not only will it not solve this issue, but I'll only be more stressed". When we train ourselves to think like this, it usually isn't hard to direct our stress away from us acting-out. This is one way we can choose to "respond" to stress.

It's also important to be able to identify if our stress is coming from that which we can or cannot control.

When the stressful situation is in our control:


Imagine a wealthy businessman, whom we'll call Bill, in the clutches of an alcohol addiction. You see, he's the guy who medicates himself into a state of comfort every time the bills arrived in the mail. It's not that he doesn't have the funds to pay. Just that the feeling of debt, even just momentarily, digs deep within him. Every time the bills arrive, he goes digging through his cabinet in search for a bottle of comfort.

Bill doesn't need to rely on self medication. Even though he may be experiencing real anxiety, it comes from something well within his control. Instead of seeking comfort, let him pay the bills with no delay. All the "comfort" does is bring him trouble; trouble that he did not need. When there's a solution, you don't need a comfort. The solution is the comfort!

When the stressful situation is out of our control:


If we can't control the cause of the stress, we can actually take comfort in the very fact that it's not in our control. Sometimes we "think" we have control, but on this forum, we all "know" we don't! "Who has control?" we ask. "Only Hashem!". So we let go and let G-d. This itself, brings on a feeling of liberation!


As the Yiddish saying goes, "A Mentch tracht un G-t lacht - A Man plans and G-d laughs". Go ahead and laugh with him!

All worldly comforts are cheap, temporary and meaningless, when contrasted with the comfort and ease that a person can get from giving himself - his life, up to Hashem. No matter what the situation, Hashem is always there for you - and He's got a plan with your best interest in mind. Trust Him. Trust that everything He does is for the best - and you'll be worry free.

When we realize that the situation is out of our control, it is easier for us to come to the awareness of Hashem, who has our best interest in mind, and does only for our good. When a situation is in our control, we tend to magnify our effect on it - and we forget that He only gave us a "part" in it. (In reality, we never really have control over anything!) But in a situation where it's clear we have no control, we're given an easy opportunity to surrender ourselves to Hashem. This is our acceptance. We accept that there is nothing we can do, but only to rely on Hashem.

No level of comfort is good enough to replace "acceptance". We can continue upping the dosage level of our "drug of choice", but at the end of the day, if we haven't got some basic level of acceptance, all of this comfort will be in vain.

Now, if our "comfort" is detached from our "acceptance" (and it is!), it can numb our awareness, interfere, and block us from this "acceptance". In actuality, our comfort works against us. Instead of attaining a "true comfort", we're left with something meaningless, temporary, and full of hot air; something that will numb our minds to reality. We can't attain this "true comfort" as long as we are still fixed on the comfort we find in lust.


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

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 #30
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #9: Accountability
Part 4

 
It is most effective if our partner or sponsor is indeed someone we know. This adds an element of personal honor, which boosts the efficiency of the accountability. However, if this is not an option for us, the GuardYourEyes network provides a framework to help us find an accountability partner or sponsor from the network. You can choose to be in touch with them by either e-mail, chatting or phone. Download this questionnaire and send it to our Partner/Sponsor Department at  partner.gye@gmail.com. We will enter you into our database and try to find a partner or sponsor that matches your gender, marriage status, location and other constraints which best match your situation. Ultimately, we plan to develop a system at GuardYourEyes where each member will have the ability to search for partners or sponsors themselves, based on their personal profile.

The GYE network is looking for volunteers who can provide us with either their e-mail address or phone number to share with others who are trying to find a partner or sponsor. As we discuss more in detail (in tool #12) below, there is no greater way to assure our own recovery than to be there for others as well. If you would like to help others, please send us your e-mail address or phone number, location, current sobriety status, marriage status, and the times you are available to answer e-mails or talk with other strugglers on the phone. (Let us also know if you feel you can handle more than one partner or sponsee at a time).

Anyone can be a partner already from day one of their journey to provide accountability and exchange understanding, chizuk and hope. However, to be a sponsor, we must have at least 90 days sobriety.

If we still feel inadequate to provide others with chizuk, we can use the GYE Attitude Handbook as a basis for great material to discuss with our partner. Or we can read to each other and discuss the many tips on the website or material from any of the hundreds of past chizuk e-mails sent out.

Those who join 12-Step SA groups (tool #15 below) will be able to find a sponsor in the group who will serve both as an accountability partner, as well as a guide to help them work through the 12 steps. As one SA member beautifully summed up the power of accountability and of having others help us in our struggle:

I have had enough of the silent suffering, the hiding, the lying and the living a double life. Today, I talk to people in my (SA) program every day, besides going to meetings twice a week. The whole truth about me needs to be on the outside, with safe people.

See here for more on the importance of having a partner in this journey.

 
615.


Tuesday  ~  9 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 27, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • 12 Step Attitude: Excerpts from the SA White Book - Surrender
  • Personal Victory of the Day: The Power of Surrender
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 31: Tool #10 - Part 1

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I just received for the first time yesterday, an electronic version of the White-Book of SA (Sexaholics Anonymous) from Boruch, moderator of the "Back-2-Basics" phone conference. This is something I have wanted for a long time!

Download it HERE

(Right Click the link and select "Save Target/Link As")

Today, I would like to share some some excerpts from the White-Book (from the chapter called "Getting Started" or "Step Zero").

 

This particular part (below) can change your life, so read it carefully :-)


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

 

12 Step Attitude

Surrender

The program doesn't tell us how to stop - we had done that a thousand and one times - it shows us how to keep from starting again. We had it backwards; before, we always wanted the therapist, spouse, or God to do the stopping for us - to fix us. Now, we stop; and then, in our surrender, the power of God becomes effective in us....

Joining a group doesn't automatically make the problem vanish. Most of us had tried stopping countless times. The problem was we couldn't stay stopped; we had never surrendered. So, the first time the craving hits again, when we get that urge for a fix, we give it up, even though it feels like we'll die without it. And at times, in our new frame of mind, the craving may seem stronger than ever. But we don't fight it like we used to; that was always a losing battle, giving it more strength to fight back.  Neither do we feed or give in to it. We surrender. We win by giving up. Each time. 

Coming off our habit can be confusing. 

 

"My head turns automatically! I can't help feeding it. I don't have any choice!"


But we always fed our habit. We simply weren't aware of it. So whenever this happens, we simply acknowledge our powerlessness. Instead of either fighting or indulging, we surrender. We pick up the phone, we ask for help (from G-d), we go to a meeting. We even admit we may not fully want victory over lust; most of us don't have pure motives in wanting to get sober.

Recovery is a slow process.


The first time we walk through the stress of withdrawal without resorting to the drug, we discover that we don't die without that fix. Instead, we feel better, stronger, that maybe there's hope. We talk about the temptation in a phone call or at the next meeting and tell all. Telling the deep truth in an attitude of surrender helps break the power the memory of the incident holds over us. And if we're hit with lust again, we keep coming back and talking it out, regardless of how shameful and defeated we feel. We've all been there; we know how it feels. We also know the release and joy that surrender brings as we come back into the light. 

Usually we find that our initial surrender was incomplete and we begin to see some loose ends.  We discover some rain checks secretly stashed against future need.  Like alcoholics hiding their bottles.  

                

"It's her key; I can't throw that away." 
"I'll keep his phone number; I may be able to help him sometime." 
"I'll get rid of the magazines later..." 


In recovery, we simply throw the stuff away. No one has to tell us, we just know. We always knew; we just never had the power to let them go. The Next Test, and the Next... Sooner or later, the urge strikes again, sometimes out of nowhere, like a tidal wave crashing over us. Wham! Maybe it's the first time we feel rejected. Any of countless triggers can do it; it really doesn't matter what they are. We all have them.  

"I never thought I'd hear from that girl again. Now what do I do?"
"It's too overpowering!... No one will know the difference." 
"A look never killed anyone..." 
"Everyone's doing it!"  


Often it begins in the privacy of our innermost thoughts, when we're alone, when we're living inside our head and the emotions we could never face overwhelm us. So what do we do? Naturally, we want to reach for the drug again; that's what we programmed ourselves to do. Instead, we surrender. Again. Just like the first time. And the cry for help goes up again: I'm powerless (G-d); please help me! 

And we take the action of getting out of ourselves and making contact with another member. As soon as possible. The closer to the heat of the action the better. We use the phone. We make the call. Not because we want to, because we don't want to. We call because we know we have to. Our survival instinct comes to life. And we go to a meeting as soon as possible.  

When we first come into the program, this cry for help is, in effect, a shotgun working of Steps One, Two, and Three. Surrender, of whatever sort. That's all it takes, and not one of us does it with all the right motives. When the craving hits again, we repeat this surrender at the very point of our terror, in the pit of our hell. For that's where the admission of powerlessness really works, when we're in the raw heat of temptation and craving. Again, it's the change of attitude that brings relief. Instead of, "I've got to have it or I'll die!" our attitude becomes, "I give up; I'm willing not to have it, even if I do die." 

And we don't die! We get a reprieve. Again. For seconds, minutes, hours, perhaps even days and weeks. The tidal wave is spent. The craving passes. And we're okay. We are learning the truth of the program maxim, "One Day at a Time".

But there will be another wave behind it, and sooner or later we get hit again. This may knock us off balance.  
 

"Why do I always feel recovered after each bout and then get caught off guard by the next wave?" 


Often, seeing we've stopped acting out our habit for a time, we feel we're free of it forever. This may just be the time it strikes again. So the realization slowly dawns that we may always be subject to temptation and powerless over lust. We come to see that it's all right to be tempted and feel absolutely powerless over it as long as we can get the power to overcome. The fear of our vulnerability gradually diminishes as we stay sober and work the Steps. We can look forward to the time when the obsession - not temptations - will be gone.  

We begin to see that there's no power over the craving in advance; we have to work this as it happens each time. Therefore, each temptation, every time we want to give in to lust or any other negative emotion, is a gift toward recovery, healing, and freedom - another opportunity to change our attitude and find union with God. We didn't get here in a day; it took practice to burn the addictive process into our being. And it takes practice to make our true Connection as well.  

Reprieve


At the first sign of relief from the obsession, we may get complacent.  Once we've learned to live without the most obvious stuff, we may sit back and relax-take it easy.  
                

"It's like the switch just turned off.  Sobriety's a snap; there's nothing to it." 


We may feel as though the obsession was really something foreign to us, pulled out like a thorn from a finger; and that we can remain unchanged, with the same attitudes and thinking as before.
  

"I'll just get outta here and go see that movie. I can always close my eyes on the bad scenes." 


Like it or not, that's the way many of us seem to do it. By degrees. Instead of running joyously to heaven, we seem to back away from our hell, one step at a time. Thus, often shying away from full slips, some of us think we can allow ourselves partial slips, enjoying the temporary relief they bring. Testing our limits. We have all sorts of strategies for denial.  
 
We may start looking around, just free enough of the compulsion to start noticing what's out there again. And we see that everyone seems to be doing what we can no longer get away with. We feel the pull of it inside.  
                

"How can anything that looks and feels that good be so bad for me?" 


A sadness may come over us. We may find it hard to go to sleep. We may get fidgety, feel at a loss, feel empty, not knowing what's wrong. The old inner panic hits again, and we reach for our drug.  

That's when we get into action again. The pain-not to mention the fear of falling-jolts us into reality. We go to a meeting, get on the phone, contact someone we trust. We get out of ourselves and get moving.  

"If I stay inside my head now, I'm dead!" 


Again, we acknowledge that we are powerless over the obsession, only now we may add a little more to our cry of desperation: "Please help me (G-d). Thy will, not mine, be done." 

And another breath of relief and comfort comes. Reprieve again. Respite. Even though we may be lulled into complacency again, this is a moment of inner peace, the likes of which we never knew before.  

We can be deceived because we may have surrendered "on a full stomach". We'd just finished a destructive bout and sworn off, "Never again!" And we meant it. (Didn't we always?) But the very next time we have the urge and the wave breaks over us again knocking us off our feet, we don't act out our habit, we don't resort to our drug - one day at a time, one hour at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. And the craving passes! 

Surrender is a constant thing. Practice. Day by day, hour by hour. Put into practice so often, it becomes habitual. That's how we get the attitude change that lets the grace of God enter to expel the obsession!


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

Personal Victory of the Day

The Power of Surrender

By Luria

Day 1 was surprisingly easy, but Day 2 was a perfect example of where I would have fallen before finding this website. Throughout the day, from doing work to lying in bed, my whole body was just screaming for release. There were a few times it got so bad that I couldn't focus at all anymore -  I really felt like I was drugged. 

And that's when my good old friend (the Yetzer Hara) started speaking - 

"Come on, you aren't even 2 full days in. You picked a bad time to start being clean - your body can't physically do it right now. It's not any fault of your own. You can start clean tomorrow."

"Look at what this staying clean is doing to you. Hashem knows you can't fight this. This is obviously a test you weren't meant to pass."

"Look at yourself. You're a wreck. You know the Possuk says V'chai Bo'hem. Hashem wants you to live a normal and enjoyable  life - not to be in pain like this."

This is the point where I have always fallen before. I am a fighter and I always will be. It's just my nature. But I've always lost the fight when the lust gets this bad - when I can't focus or get anything done. The only way I can continue with life is to give in to my taaivos "just one last time".

So I did something I have never done before and it actually worked!! When I first read the GYE handbooks and joined the forum I saw this strategy of "surrendering" and I said to myself, "Lame. This is Not for me. Giving up and admitting you're too weak to fight? That's for wimps. Nothing can control anyone so much that they can't beat it." But there were a few times yesterday that I was literally tearing out my hair to stop myself from sinning. So what did I do?

I just closed my eyes and said, "Hashem, I can't do this on my own any more. You know that I have tried fighting in these type of situations and lost, time and time again. Please! I need You to help me through this."

I did this at least four or five times during the day when my taaivos felt unbeatable, and Hashem was really there for me!!

It's funny because I am not the type of person that "talks" to Hashem outside of davening. Interestingly, I don't think I ever would have reached that level of feeling close to Hashem if it wasn't for reaching that low level of having nowhere else to turn.


And this is just after 72 hours clean!! Onwards! Day 3 - going on 90!


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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 #31
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #10: Group Support
Part 1

 
If a single partner or sponsor still does not give us the strength we need to stop completely stop acting out, there is nothing more powerful than group support to help addicts break free from addictions. Rabbi Avraham Twerski consistently stresses this to people who seek his council on dealing with addictions. (See here for a short piece from Rabbi Twerski on the value of group support).
 
On the GuardYourEyes network, there are a few group support options. Firstly, we can join the forum and post there frequently. We quickly come to view the fellow warriors there as our spiritual "family". We get tons of support and are able to share chizuk with so many others. This is very helpful for our own recovery. We no longer feel alone in our struggle, and we watch how others, perhaps even worse off than we are, making great progress.
 
Besides this, GuardYourEyes network offers a few free 12-Step phone conference groups throughout the week where we can share anonymously with a group of Yidden like us, and get chizuk from the 12-Step program and from each other. See this page for more info on the various phone groups (scroll down to see them all).
 
One of the previous Slonimer Rebbes had a Chassid that embarked on a business trip. Being away from the comfort and protection of his home, he was tempted with the Nisayon of Yosef Hatzaddik. In a moment of cheshbon hanefesh he said to himself: "when I come back, my Rebbe will see that I sinned". But then he thought: "I will avoid my Rebbe". Then he thought to himself, "but my friends will notice on my behavior that I sinned, and can I live without my friends? NO, I need my friends!" And that is what helped him overcome his Yetzer Hara. When he got back, his Rebbe told him: "What even a Rebbe can not accomplish, having good friends CAN".

 
616.


Wednesday  ~  10 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 28, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Announcing: The GYE Partner Program
  • Yartzeit: Mamme Rachel
  • 12-Step Attitude: Don't delay even one more day!
  • Daily excerpts from the GYE Handbook: 32: Tool #10 - Part 2

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The GYE Partner Program

E-Mail / Chat / Phone Partners

In the SA groups, one of the main strategies for staying "clean" when feeling weak is to pick up the phone and make a call to another struggling member. As they say, "Lust glows in the dark". When we get our goofy thoughts into the open, the lust quickly fades. Also, simply talking it out helps us "get out of our head" and reconnect to real life instead of staying our nutty fantasy worlds.

To help everyone find the best partner for them, we developed a Questionnaire.

 

NEW: The questionnaire now includes PHONE options!

 

Download the Questionnaire Here

(Right-click and choose "Save Target/Link As")

After you've filled out the questionnaire, e-mail it to our Partner/Sponsor Gabai at partner.gye@gmail.com. We will enter you into our database and try and find you a partner/sponsor that best suits your preferences and situation.


If you don't want to use your regular e-mail address for keeping in touch with your partner, you can make an anonymous e-mail address like pureJew@gmail.com.

And here's a great tip for if you don't want to put down your real phone number in the questionnaire: You can use Google Voice. As one addict wrote on the forum:

"Google Voice is a virtual phone number that is forwarded to any phone you want, has text capabilities, also converts voice mail to texts, really cool and it's FREE by Google. I use it as my anonymous phone number for addiction purposes only, so I can give my phone number without revealing who I am."

Being able to call someone when feeling weak is a cornerstone of recovery for lust addicts. As Dov, who is 11 years sober in SA, recently wrote to someone on the forum:


When I knew I had a pattern of weakness or habitual trouble, having someone to call and talk to - to get current with in a minute or less, really helps me in at least three ways:

1) It ruins the familiarity of the old pattern by adding something very different to the mix (this is something we need to experience to understand).

2) It gets me a little out of my goofy head and back into what I was really supposed to be doing when the lust hit.

3) It helps me learn that there are always consequences to everything I do, whether it's good, bad or even real close to "parve" (there's really no such thing as parve, for me). At first it would be the shame (boo-hoo) of having to call and admit to someone else that I didn't surrender and win this time (i.e. "fell"), but after a while (through the calling) it becomes second nature to me that consequences are inescapable. Eventually, that is what we call "integrity".


Although the questionnaire we supply (above) helps us make matches, it is not necessarily that important for the partners to be the same age-frame or in the same situation. See the following story from the SA White Book, where two people helped each other stay sober when they had no group:

"I found one other member in a Twelve Step program who also wanted sexual sobriety. I was forty-nine and he was twenty-one. He was single and I was married. I was a college graduate and he was a high school dropout. We had little in common, but we started calling each other almost daily. We would get current with our lust temptations, telling each other what we were going through to break the power that experience or fantasy had over us. Then, we also started getting current with our resentments. Lust and resentment thus began to evaporate as we brought them to the light, much as sunlight dispels a fog. I call it the "daily double" - getting rid of both daily. When temptation was especially intense, we'd pick up the phone and call right away. Sometimes we'd pray together. 

Giving up our lust and resentments to one another as they came up turned out to be a very effective form of surrender. What a marvelous freedom and joy it brought. And in the process, we were breaking out of that deadly isolation we had locked ourselves into. I look back on that time as one of the highlights of my entrance into the program. I was beginning to come to life".

We also have a board on our forum dedicated to helping people find partners/sponsors for e-mailing and chatting, and another board dedicated to helping people find "phone partners". It's called "Speed-Dial".

Eventually, we hope that this whole process will be automated. Users will be able to use their profile page to specify whether they want a partner or sponsor, by e-mail or by phone. And they will have the opportunity to search through the database for a partner that best suits their needs (complete "gender" seperation of-course).

Donate to GYE to help us pay for the extensive web development that will make these dreams become a reality faster! (See the donation options at the bottom of the page). Tizke Lemitzvos!


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

Mamme Rachel

 

As is well known, the more we get out of ourselves and do for others, the less control the addiction has over us. Tonight is the Yartzeit of Rachel Imeinu... Whenever I picture her self-sacrifice at giving away her username and password :-) to her sister Leah on the very night that she was supposed to be marrying Yakov Avinu, I am mind-boggled anew! Let us all learn from our Matriarch Rachel the meaning of self-sacrifice and Chesed!

 

The Yartzeit of Rachel also happens to be Uri's 21st Birthday.
Mazal Tov Uri!

 

A few days ago, Uri posted on his thread on the forum:


I had a long talk with my sponsor last night who insisted that, no matter what, today I have to "live life".
So I went to shacharis in the morning...
But I was still in an awful mood.
Suddenly a bus pulled up in front of me.
I looked up at the destination.
Kever Rachel.
I got on.
For those who have not been there yet, Kever Rachel is surrounded by Arabs, and your visit is direct. In. Daven. Out.
So I went up to the tomb and cried for a bit.

I whispered:


"Mama Rochel, why do you cry?
I have what to cry about.
My life sucks.
And I'm probably gonna be on the direct route to h*ll.
Mom, I know why you're crying.
Because you love us and feel our pain.
Please feel my pain.
Please accept me, for my own mother does not....

Truth is, your life was pretty bad too.

We're in the same boat, Mom.
We both just want/ed love.
Cruddy home life, depression, etc...
But you became Mama Rochel.
And I'm just Uri, the sex addict."

And I cried.

But I felt better as I returned to Yerushalayim...


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

12-Step Attitude

Don't Delay Even One More Day

Daily Dose of Dov

We tried to offer advice to someone who posted for help on the forum and suggested things like phone groups, therapy, partners, etc... He replied as follows:

"My wife knows nothing of my addiction, so any phone group really wouldn't work. Going to a therapist is also a problem. I don't know how I'll be able to get that by without her knowing. And I'm really not ready to tell her everything."

Dov Replies:


Hi, I'm an addict who is active on this forum and in recovery. All I have to share is my experience in more than a decade of recovery. Not expertise, just experience.

I called R' Twerski up in ~1990, described my behavior to him exactly, and he told me I needed to get into a 12 step group or intensive therapy. I said "thanks", knew he was right, and said "forget it", cuz I could never do all that and still keep it hidden from my wife. Same as you. I kept acting out and got worse and worse. 

I got caught by my wife five years later, which was hell; and went to a shrink, took meds, tried to work the steps by myself, etc... I kept acting out, getting worse, and the pain just grew. When the pain boruch Hashem finally got bad enough without getting caught again, I pathetically and desperately made a call to a new shrink and she sent me to SA. I have been going to meetings ever since, doing the work, and have been sober since then, as of today's writing. It's been more than 10 years since then, still married, and life is amazing, though certainly difficult at times. But hey, any real life is difficult at times. Now I see that nothing can happen to me that would be so bad that acting out wouldn't make it even worse. It never made things better for me, just a poor excuse for a poor escape, it was. 

And the whole experience of getting into recovery was not at all the way I thought it would be. All of my deepest fears about being revealed to my wife were: BS. Besides, my life has become incredibly easier overall, there's no more shame, and it gets easier all the time, as long as I face things (with help from Hashem and my group) and do the work I need to do to stay in real life rather than escape. The whole "double life" and "running" garbage (it sounds like you know exactly what I mean by that) was just a big, smelly lie. I didn't really need it, at all, even though at the time, I felt clearly that if I had to stop permanently, I'd just die. I am now sober one day at a time, with Hashem's help.

So, getting caught now is better than later, especially if what you're involved with ain't that bad yet.

I didn't get better because I tried harder - I did that for 15 years before getting better. It only gets worse if kept a secret. And we all try to save our secrets as long as we can, poor idiots :-)

Why not, with Hashem's help, find some person - or people - with whom you can safely be completely open and direct about exactly what you are doing today and have done in the past, and then go from there? Why delay getting better, even one more day? 

Hatzlocha, chaver.
- Dov


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

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 #32
(Right-click the link and press "Save Link/Target As" to download the e-Book)

Tool #10: Group Support
Part 2

 
I would like to quote from a letter that an older Bochur (who is clean already for over a year):

Yes, it is possible to be shomer habris, both before marriage and after. How did I make it this far? At the time it seemed impossible but, Baruch Hashem, I have a few friends who realize the importance of this mitzva as well. The six of us are unmarried bachurim, currently learning in a prominent yeshiva. Together with my friends, we formed a group based on the idea that this is an important focus of our lives. We meet once a month to stress the importance and beauty of what we have undertaken, and also to make some pledges. The rules of this group require that if one falls chas v'shalom, we are required to inform all other members of the group and to pay a fine of 200 dollars to the tzedaka of our choice. The number is arbitrary and serves as a number that is a significant amount, yet doable. The members have managed to be shomer habris from one month to six months, as of today, Baruch Hashem. Your amazing website offers many aspects of our group. It all starts with accountability. If you have someone to answer to, and especially to a group, it will be that much easier and it becomes that much more real.

If we know even one or two friends that also struggle in these areas, we can perhaps start our own little group - which would meet at set intervals to discuss the importance of these matters, and where we could offer each other chizuk and provide accountability for one another. As time goes on, the group may grow to include additional members.

To make this work even better, besides our personal 'clean-day count', there could be a separate count for the "group" as well. If one of the members of the group experienced a fall, the "group" count would have to be reset (and perhaps everyone would have to give a set amount to Tzedaka as well). This would provide a very strong incentive to the members of the group not to be the one to cause the "group count" to be reset! Also, each time someone fell, he would need to discuss with the group what steps he will take to ensure that he does better next time. This would help everyone in the group become strengthened as well. Obviously, these ideas would only work if every member of the group is committed to being 100% honest. (And that should perhaps be the first condition to being accepted to such a group: a commitment to complete honesty).

GYE offers on-line Accountability Groups on the forum, that follow this basic format. See the "Accountability Groups" Board here. To join a new group (between 5 and 10 members) post in this thread. To see the Rules on how these groups work, please see this page.

If you are a Bochur learning in Yeshiva, you could start a revolution (discreetly, of course) and earn unfathomable reward in the next world if you can find the inner strength to overcome your natural feelings of shame, and try to begin a discreet group of serious Bochurim who would meet at set intervals, as discussed above. The group can start with even two boys, and gradually it would grow as word would spread from ear to ear (no 'signs' of course). Imagine the merit you would have for such an undertaking! Not only would this help you tremendously in your own struggle, but it would help countless others, especially if the idea continues on after your time for perhaps many years to come! And who knows, maybe in your merit, this idea would even spread to other Yeshivos as well? What an unbelievable opportunity this could be to do something great for yourself, for Klal Yisrael and for Hakadosh Baruch Hu!

(For the most powerful form of face-to-face group support, see Tool #15 - 'Live 12-Step Groups' - below).

 
617.


Thursday  ~  11 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 29, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Mazal Tov to "Nezach": 90 Days Clean!
  • Announcement: Boruch's "Back-to-Basics" Group Restarting
  • The Sobriety Definition of SA: A Desire to Stop Lusting
  • Testimonial of the Day: "It took over 20 years to find you!"
  • Therapy Tip of the Day: The Need to Control
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Giving for Free
  • Saying of the Day: The Mountain
  • Announcement: New e-mail list for excerpts from the GYE Handbook

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Mazal Tov to "Nezach"
Upon Reaching 90 Days Clean & Joining the warriors on

The Wall of Hashem's Honor

 

Nezach posted on the forum:


11th of Cheshvan, 5770 (significance of this date).

The above date marks 90 complete days from which I have broken free and preserved cleanliness. 

Boruch Hashem, I can now tell you (first hand) that despite the unbelievable challenge and a spirit that has been torn apart, through strength and determination I now feel released from previous burden.

It has been a long, rough and wasteful past life, that is all it was. It's in the past. Its over. I have truly surrendered my compulsive behaviors to Hashem, who has granted me the blessing of victory.

"Nezach" means to be victorious, in addition to translating as 'forever'; may it be eternal.

My brothers and sisters, it is only by walking with Hashem, the eternal one, that we have any chance of succeeding or surviving our difficult tests.

Any time that I previously faced a challenge of such nature, without completely being dependant on Hashem I might not have survived. Internalize this core message, for it is the only way to reach the place that you want to be.

I have now reached a view point of tremendous heights, like I have climbed the highest mountains and despite the sweat, blood and tears - it's all worthwhile. The scenery at the top is fantastic. Its the greatest pleasure imaginable.

Please commit yourselves to quitting the imaginary pleasures of the mind, and dedicate yourselves wholeheartedly to walk with Hashem, just to reflect in his shaddow is bliss!

"The 11th of Cheshvan marks the new growth in the Divine root within us even in times of loss and destruction, just as Rachel is the root of her exiled children. It is the seed of Tishrei growing underground: we cannot see it, but we know it is there".

Life is far from perfect. But we must have ideals and dreams and strive to reach them. Time is precious because it's short and uncertain. Let's make each and every day count... Just do at least one thing worthwhile.

I have no idea how my life is going to develop from here, but at least now I believe more in myself and trust in Hashem that I am deserving of a good life and the blessings that I strive for.

BE STRONG AND DETERMINED AND YOUR INNER BEAUTY WILL SHINE.

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

 

Join Nezach's Example and sign up for the 90 Day journey over here.


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Announcement

Boruch's "Back to Basics" Group

 

Boruch Wrote:

 

Tonight we begin Session One.

 

PLEASE NOTE SOME IMPORTANT CHANGES:

 
1) In the near future, there will only be ONE phone group on THURSDAY nights. Until further notice there will be NO Sunday phone group.
 
2) Download here a new text that more directly matches the latest edition of the "Back to Basics" book. If you intend to join the call, please have this available.
 
The call is tonight October 29th and every Thursday 10:15 PM EDT/EST
 
For more info on the call and for the call-in number and PIN#, see this page.


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The Sobriety Definition of SA:
A DESIRE TO STOP LUSTING

By Boruch, moderator of the Back to Basics Phone Conference

 

When I started posting on GYE and then shortly afterwards joined SA, I desperately wanted to stop masturbating and to stop looking at pornography. I knew that sexual lust was a problem, but I was not especially concerned with it as a problem in its own right. If I could just get away from the pornography and masturbation, "dayeinu"!!!! That would have been fine for me. 

My attitude was, that when I start working to become as great as the Chofetz Chaim then I'll worry about lust, but in the meantime I have more serious worries (like not transgressing the Shulchan Aruch).

When I joined SA, I heard a lot about the addiction being lust and I started to use the phrase myself, but it took weeks until it sunk in. The pornography and masturbation are only symptoms, the problem and the addiction were actually to sexual lust. The program I got from my SA sponsor is the program of the Big Book, but simply substituting the word "lust" for alcohol. Lust is a form of sex that is often as powerful - if not more powerful, than physical sexual acts.

That's how I personally understand the Gemara in Brochos that "kosho hihurei aveiro yoser meiaveiro atzmo - the thoughts of sin are worse than sin". For anyone (addict and non-addict alike) sexually lustful thoughts are more toxic than sexual acts.

In a letter that SA founder Roy K wrote to Australian SA, he pointed out that in order to even qualify for membership in SA, just as alcoholics must have a desire to abstain from alcohol to belong to AA, so for SA there is a requirement for a desire to stop lusting in order to belong. Therefore, Roy wrote, those who just want to stop sex outside marriage or even masturbation, but they have no interest in stopping lusting, do not even qualify for membership in SA.

I am personally very grateful for this major stress on the "lust addiction" because I personally believe that I would never have been free of my addiction if I had limited my focus to sexual acts and ignored sexual lust, and I believe that I would not have had any meaningful recovery at all.


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Testimonial of the Day

It took over 20 years to find you!

We recieved an e-mail today from Avraham:

 

There are no words to thank you, whoever you are. When I discovered your site (the details of how I discovered it are blurry, which is puzzling altogether) my life was changed. It was emotional at first when I realized that I was part of a group and not alone anymore. When that initial emotion wore off, I fell. I was not disappointed or depressed, rather I expected it to happen. But now, now I'm proud to say it's an emotional and intellectual realization of freedom from the yetzer horah. I know he'll be back doing an honest day's work trying to ambush me and make me fall. So when I feel like I'm slipping, I imagine that I'm literally standing in a circle holding hands with all the others here, and if I let go, everyone is pulling me back into the circle of closeness to Hashem where my neshama really wants to be.

One turning point was
the 90 day chart which works tremendously for me. At the time of this writing I have accomplished two weeks which is a pretty good feeling, since even if I have a fall, at least I have a plan now. At least I have direction now.

Another turning point is that now that I have a realization that I'm not the only one looking at shmutz, I felt comfortable reaching out and picking up the phone and making myself an appointment (by a therapist).

It took over 20 years to find you. I tried every Tachbulah that came my way. but I'm glad you and you're community are part of my journey/life!

Avraham


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Therapy Tip of the Day

The Need to Control

Someone posted on the forum:


Last night I met with Rav Shlachter, (a sex-addiction therapist and author of the book "The First Day of the Rest of My Life"). He thought that the insights I had about my childhood trauma were on the mark, but he doesn't like to dwell on the past. That's history! What's done is done. What's important is how I feel NOW as a result of my history, and what I can do NOW to rectify it. 

If I understood him, I feel insecure and unloved today due to a number of events that happened in my childhood. I feel powerless and helpless, so I look for control in my life. To feel in control, I either get angry, or surf and act out. The problem is, that since I'm addicted to the internet, when I surf/act out I feel a loss of control afterward. That makes me angry and feel powerless and helpless again. And round and round the mulberry bush we go!

The key for me is to feel loved and secure. I must do that by stop being such a loner, by deepening my relationship with my wife, by hanging out with people and making friends outside of work (I have none besides my wife!). Hopefully, once I feel loved and secure, my need to surf will drop, and I'll like my life and myself better.

He explained that I'm living most of my life in my virtual reality (because that's where I feel control - over which virtual relationships I have, with which women, when I want). I have no real relationships outside of my family. Also, I'm living my "non-virtual real life" as a bedieved life in "survival mode". I have to switch that around, I've got it backward.

In future sessions we'll work on how I can stop living a virtual life as a loner and start really living with real relationships, and start enjoying life! Beezrat HaShem!

I don't think there's a contradiction between the 12 step approach that I'm learning on Duvid Chaim's phone conference, and the approach that Rav Shlachter has for me. The 12-Steps helps me build a relationship with G-d, while Rav Shlachter is helping me build a healthy relationship with myself. You can feel good about yourself and still be humbled before G-d (have a small ego). Take Moshe Rabeinu as an example.

I think these are just 2 different approaches doing 2 different things, and I probably can do both of them at the same time.


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12-Step Attitude

Giving For Free
Daily Dose of Dov

Dov Replies to the post above.

 

Great post, thanks for sharing all that. I don't feel qualified to get into definitions of 12 steps and comparisons to what your therapist is talking about. But I do have one comment. From what I have found in recovery, it seems that the approach we are recommended to take is that we need to love and to give, much more than we need to be loved and to get.

Without twisting our brains into a knot to figure out how it all works (cuz giving, loving, and being loved are connected, of course), I like to keep my focus on giving for free and for fun, not for the relationship or for anything else. Then I allow things develop as they develop.

The growth I've had so far (and freedom from lust - my desire in me, for my pleasure) stems much more from the giving I have done than from the approval and love I have received. Nu, that's my opinion. Getting better is ultimately about growing up, it seems, not about feeling good. But hey, how bad can we feel if we are growing up, giving, and free of lust?! :-)


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Saying of the Day

The Mountain

By "ImTrying25"

 

Life is like a mountain; YOU GOTTA LOOK UP TO SEE HOW MUCH THERE IS TO DO, BUT YOU GOTTA LOOK DOWN TO SEE HOW MUCH YOU'VE ACCOMPLISHED.


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Announcement

New E-mail List for Excerpts of the GYE Handbook


A few months ago, we started bringing excerpts from the GYE handbook in the daily e-mails, for those who have trouble finding time to read through the entire handbook. The idea was that this way, everyone would be able to cover the entire handbook over a period of a few months, in bits and pieces.

However, since the daily e-mails are long enough as it is, we decided to start a separate list for the daily excerpts.

By default, who ever was signed up to the current Chizuk list of "Breaking Free" will automatically receive the daily excerpt e-mails as well. If you do not want to receive e-mails from the new "GYE Handbook" e-mail list, simply click "Update Profile/E-mail address" at the bottom of this e-mail and opt-out from the "GYE Handbook" list.

 
618.


Friday  ~  Erev Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha
12 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  October 30, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Anecdote of the Day (1): "Lost my Internet for the Night"
  • Anecdote of the Day (2): "Holy Rage"
  • Torah Thought of the Day: The Bright Colors of Sedom
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "Surrender" - Part 1
  • Personal Victory of the Day: "Surrender" - Part 2
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Self Knowledge
  • Saying of the Day: The Challenge

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Anecdotes of the Day


"Lost my Internet for the night"

"LevBasar" joined us a few days ago on the forum, writing that he had fallen so low that he didn't believe he could ever get back up. After getting lots of great Chizuk on his thread, he began his journey to Teshuvah. Today he wrote about something that happened to him only one day into his journey:

I am doing pretty well and got to see first hand some of the hashgacha pratis that I have read about on this site. It happened two days ago. I was pretty low and it was late and I found myself typing out an all-too familiar web address. I told myself that I didn't really want to, and it is true that I didn't feel nearly as much excitement or as willing as I used to, but I was acting out of habit more than real desire. Anyway, I was just about to click on the link to enter the site and the screen disappeared - and I lost all internet for the rest of the night.

It was an amazing feeling of relief that even as I was about to turn my back on all my good intentions, Hashem was watching and pulled the poison away from me. It made me realize that it is not just me against the Yetzer Hara, but that HKB"H is helping me become what I am supposed to be.

With love to all you Holy warriors.

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

HOLY RAGE

 

"Rage at the Machine" (everyone calls him "Rage" for short) joined us on the forum over 2 months ago and has been clean ever since. This past Sunday he sent us an email as follows:

I was feeling down, thinking I'm fooling myself for thinking that I can be a clean and holy person... I aint holy... thinking it's gonna come a-crashin down soon... I went to get a bagel and I saw the cover of the New York Post and had a change of heart. It said:

HOLY RAGE
JANITOR STABBED PRIEST 32 TIMES


I'll tell you, I am starting to see G-d's hand more clearly... I'm almost expecting the hand one time to just rear back and smack me a good one on the backside of my head... I sure earned it...

Tomorrow is 60 days... I really can't believe I'm 2 months clean... Do you understand that I have never been more than 2 or 3 days clean... ever... since I hit puberty?

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

 

Divine Intervention


Dear friends, we are seeing again and again how people who take upon themselves to work on this area merit special divine intervention. Look how many stories like these we brought just in recent e-mails (read them on this page, all of them are from after Sukkos!):

  1. "Haba Litaher Misayon Oso" - Chizuk e-mail #602
  2. "Hashem is helping me" - Chizuk e-mail #606
  3. "PM from Hashem" - Chizuk e-mail #610
  4. "PM from Hashem" (Part 2) - Chizuk e-mail #610
  5. "Save me from myself" - Chizuk e-mail #611 
  6. "License Plate 'ATA 3469'" - Chizuk e-mail #613
  7. "Another Hug from Hashem!" - Chizuk e-mail #613
  8. "Lost my Internet for the night" - Today's Chizuk e-mail
  9. "Holy Rage"- Today's Chizuk e-mail
  10. And see another amazing story from "Rage" in Chizuk e-mail #586 on this page called "Haba Litaher Misayin Lo".
     

Perhaps because this is our generation's greatest test, whoever takes this struggle seriously becomes worthy of seeing Hashem's hand.


Welcome to the ranks of Hashem's front line soldiers!


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Torah Thought of the Day

The Bright Colors of Sedom

Adapted from an article by Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz over here.

 

The posuk relates that Lot saw that the Kikar Hayardein was blessed with fertile abundance and chose it as the area where he would settle. He was looking for a quick fix. He left the company of Avrohom, the holiest and kindest man alive, to go live among the most wicked and selfish people ever to walk the earth.

We are all affected by outer appearances. Promises of instant gratification tempt many people. The things we chase after may not be good for us, but we don't admit that. We rationalize and fall prey to the lure of Sedom. The glitter dazzles us and blinds us to what lies beneath the veneer.

We look out at the beautiful foliage and comment on how gorgeous the trees are. All summer long, they seem bland; they are all the same color. But with fall, the trees change to brilliant red, bright orange and yellow. Warm brown hues emerge and we are all taken by the blast of beauty. But it doesn't last long. The colorful exhibition is a signal that the end is coming. The brilliant red means that the leaves are about to die, fall off and be swept away to eternal oblivion.

As long as the leaves are green, we know that they will live and endure. The bright colors are a sign that they are about to meet the fate of Sedom and all of Lot's friends and neighbors there.

Let's not fall prey to the bright colors and glitter of Sedom!


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Attitude Tip of the Day

Surrender (Part 1)

"Luria" writes about Chizuk e-mail #615 (on this page), where we brought excerpts from the White-Book about "Surrender" (note: e-mail #615 is A MUST READ for everyone on this Chizuk list!):


The part quoting from the White Book is pure gold!! It really felt like someone was reading my thoughts and analyzing my feelings. A little scary, to be honest!!

I've always enjoyed and had a knack for analyzing and understanding how people behave and function. I occasionally browse through some of these self-help books, usually in areas that I have never struggled in or are not relevant to me (e.g parenting) and am often not  impressed. I find that much of what is written is fairly obvious ; I feel that given a few years of experience,  I could have written the book too. But then every once in a while, I find an author who just "gets it"; who really understands how people work. 

A couple of months ago, I was  browsing through a book by Rav Twerski called "addictive thinking" and was completely blown away. Not only did he "get it", but much more than that -  I really felt like he was talking directly to me. I thought this was strange, as the topic was not relevant to me at all - "addiction"?... (cue: eerie music here) but I never really gave much thought to it (I'm starting to think I understand why).

Well anyway, I got practically the exact same feeling reading the SA book. It is excellent and should be mandatory reading for anyone struggling with this addiction.

There is a step that I should have taken a while ago in my battle, but I have been pushing it off till now. The quote from the SA book made me realize that I've got to take that step. Here's the quote:

Usually we find that our initial surrender was incomplete and we begin to see some loose ends.  We discover some rain checks secretly stashed against future need. Like alcoholics hiding their bottles.  
                
"It's her key; I can't throw that away." 
"I'll keep his phone number; I may be able to help him sometime." 
"I'll get rid of the magazines later..." 

I actually worked up the courage today to call someone about my issues and hopefully by tonight I'll throw my shmutz away. One more loose end tied up!!


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Personal Victory of the Day

Surrender (Part 2)

"Gam Zu" posted on the forum:


Overall, the battle is going pretty well. I just recorded day 47!!! However, the other day I faced the most difficult test yet: I was sitting at a friend's computer, when I clicked on the wrong link which accidentally brought me into the world of tumah. I literally jumped back when I first noticed my findings and just sat there in disbelief. The urge of 40+ days and the excitement from the surprising discovery put me in a deep dilemma. I put my head down by his computer as my mind raced back and forth. I was about to give in to the Yetzer Hara, when I did something which I read from one of the recent e-mails (#615 - "Surrender"). I started to talk to HKB"H. I have always thought the techniques wouldn't work for me, since in the heat of the moment I truly believed I would be too weak to use them. But somehow I began and said, "Hashem, here I am at 40+ days. I'm trying really hard and everyday it's a battle. I'll be honest; I want to give in sooooooo badly. I want to throw it away for the few moments of ha'naah; but I know 20 minutes from now I'll be kicking myself. Please let me get past this. I cant do it without You." And B"H, completely through siyata dishmaya, somehow I found the strength to get up and press the power button and continue on my way.

Thanks for the simple yet most effective eitzah!


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12-Step Attitude

Self-Knowledge

Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for 11 years)

 

My own experience has been that self-knowledge is a double-edged sword. It can draw me deeper into the Problem, deeper into my fantasy that I have the power to "make" myself better on my own, and deeper into mental isolation from others.

For me, the gift of self-knowledge typically comes after recovery and often quite unexpectedly, not before it. If I held onto my self-directed and very self-absorbed need to "figure it all out", I believe it would still be "all about me and my own satisfaction" all over again.

I'm not suggesting that defining the Problem is unnecessary, just that my very life depends on my not confusing "the Problem" (or understanding it) with "the Solution".

After I admit my problem, the work is ready to begin. The Solution for me, is always Surrender, followed by a Gift from my Higher Power. Recovery requires me to discover and discard the problem, by learning new ideas and trying new behaviors, rather than improving on the old ones.

Chuck C.'s well-work motto is for me: "You can't think yourself into right living. You've got to live yourself into right thinking."


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

Saying of the Day

A Challenge

Posted by "Ineedhelp"

 

The important thing about a challenge is not its solution, but the strength we gain in finding the solution.

 
619.


Sunday  ~  14 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 1, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Battle Communication: Some great posts from a new warrior!
  • Torah Thought of the Day: 90 = Tzadik
  • Therapy Tip of the Day: Addictive Thought Patterns
  • Daily Dose of Dov: My Real Problem is Sobriety
  • Saying of the Day: "Love"

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Battle Communication


A few great posts from a new warrior!

"Levite" joined us a few days ago on the forum. He is 25 years old, happily married with children and living in Bne-Braq. He was raised in Manchester and has been struggling with lust since the age of 13. He is now a full week clean and I would like to share a few inspiring posts of his, many of them laced with wisdom from Rebbe Nachman.

  • Last Motzai Shabbos I felt that my life was over unless I read the handbooks, so I read them both through and through (in one sitting, LOL) and they gave me the push to start the journey. So here I am posting on my 5th day! It's just great. Life is so wonderful when lust is out! The world looks and feels and seems like a different and happier world!
  • You know I've been thinking... I quit smoking using the Allen Carr method. I wish someone would modify it for SA! It worked wonders for me, and made it easy right from the beginning. I haven't smoked in almost two years. The main attitude they use there, is to be happy from the first second that you are free!
  • Rabbi Nachman said: "yesh inyan shehakol mishapech letovah" which literally means that there is a way - or maybe even a place in the heavenly spheres - that everything we ever did is for the best! It's a very deep thought which keeps me going... Maybe there is rhyme and reason for our addicted minds?!
  • There is something I remember from Reb Nachman's works. He relates that when he wanted to break the desire of "niuf" (lust) the Yetzer Hara told him, I'll give in to any other fight in your life, just let me win this one battle. And Reb Nachman answered, I'LL GIVE IN TO ANYTHING THAT YOU WANT, BUT THERE IS NO WAY I'M GIVING IN TO THIS BATTLE!"
  • I once heard a novel idea. It says in Chazal that the sages killed the Yetzer Hara of idol worship and they wanted to kill the Yetzer Hara of lust too. They actually managed to tie him up, but the world couldn't take it. The chickens didn't lay eggs, etc. So they had to free the Yetzer Hara. The question is asked, why didn't they kill the Yetzer Hara of theft or the Yetzer Hara of murder as well? I heard once a mashpiah explain that "THERE IS NO OTHER YETZER HARA! ALL CRIMES, IF YOU SEEK DEEPLY YOU WILL FIND THAT THEY ARE ROOTED IN THE YETZER HARA OF LUST!".... So guys, when we are free of lust we've sorted it all out!
  • The Zohar asks, who is the winner in the battle with the Yetzer Hara? The one who has the ammunition in his hand. Asks Reb Nosson of Breslov, this seems strange. How do we know who has won in a real-life war? The side that comes home from battle and puts away their ammo! So why does the Zohar say that in the war with Yetzer Hara, the one holding the ammo in his hand in the winner? Explains Reb Nosson that in this war with the Yetzer Hara, you want to know who has won the war? The one who is still ready to fight again and go into the battlefield even when all seems lost. The one who says, "I don't care, I'm ready to fight again and again". HE'S the one who will win. And not only will he win, but the Zohar says he has ALREADY WON!
  • I was at a wedding on Thursday and I met this guy who told me that he was on Cocaine for one and a half years but he is clean now for 1,078 days. I looked at him with raised eyebrows so he tells me, "listen, tomorrow I have no control over! I wake up in the morning and ask G-d to please give me one more day!" He said it with so much sincerity, I could tell he wasn't just saying it! And I pray too, "Please G-d, give me one more day clean and the strength to go on counting each day as the first day of the rest of my life free of this addiction".


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Torah Thought of the Day

90 = Tzadik

Scientific studies have shown that it takes 90 days to change a neural thought pattern that was ingrained in the brain through addictive behaviors.


"Mevakesh" sent us recently:

 

I was listening to a shiur from Rav Pam Zatz"al about how saying 90 times Mashiv HaRuach makes it "ingrained in our minds"... and he said  (in yiddish) "Az Mir Zogt Tzaddik P'amim..." and it hit me. The letter Tzadik is the gematria 90! So if you hit 90 days clean, not only have to made sobriety engrained in your mind - but you're a Tzadik too!

Join our 90 day chart by signing up over here.


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Therapy Tip of the Day

Addictive Thought Patterns

By "On the Road"


I've had some addiction counseling in the past and the therapist said that addiction is base on a cycle of thought; premise, action, confirmation.

It begins:
1 - I am bad so I do bad things (premise)
2 - Then we act out and do something we know is bad/wrong etc... (action)
3 - Our mind tells us, "see? you are bad!" (confirmation)

This is common in some fashion to addicts across the board.

Another thing common is a fear/punishment - cause/effect relationship between our acting out on the addiction and some perceived negative ramification... 

This cycle is again; premise, action, confirmation.
1 - I do bad things (because I am bad - as above) so bad things will befall me (premise)
2 - then we act out and do bad things (action)
3 - Our mind tells us, "now, you will be severely punished" (confirmation)

It's something we all struggle with, in some form or another. It helps me tremendously to get it out in the open and see it for what it is: a negative thought pattern that is common to others with the same illness as me. 

And the more we take it on together, the more we can overcome it!


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12-Step Attitude

My Real Problem is Sobriety

Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for 11 years)

 

B"H, a recovering drunk (his name is Sandy Beach. Really! :-) taught me that in sobriety he eventually came to see that his real problem actually isn't drinking. His actual living problem is - sobriety! Living sober "really drives him to drink"!  :-) Yup.

Through his struggles and by working his steps, he discovered this. He found out that he simply didn't have the tools he needed in order to just live. It was just too hard, too painful, too scary, too whatever (see your own 4th step for further details...).

I feel the same way. The 12 steps - not "the 12 steps" as an entity at all, but the work I did/do using them - gives me the ability to live the life that Hashem gives me today, without lusting and acting out, same as it did for that alkie. Otherwise I'd be out there and dead by now.

I believe that if I sit back now and rely on whatever I tried to use before, I'd be failing again, just like before. Anyway, I stopped running when I realized I have no one to run from but myself, and running from me wouldn't work anyway, because the addiction would kill (the running) me first... 

As it turns out, I think the last "entity" for me to ever, ever be afraid of is: Hashem. I hope I'll never be so confused as to become afraid of Hashem, c"v. Of course, by "afraid", I mean being afraid of Him because of what He may do to me (as opposed to Yiras Hromemus - fear of His Awesomeness). While such an understanding of yir'as Shomayim and Hashem (fear of what he may do to me) in general may work for some yidden (who knows?), it doesn't work for me at all, so I don't use it.

Love ya,
Dov


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

Saying of the Day

LOVE

By Bardichev

 

"DON'T LOVE SOMETHING THAT WON'T LOVE YOU BACK"

 
620.


Monday  ~  15 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 2, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Story of the Day: No Matter How Many Times You Fall, Try Again
  • Q & A of the Day: Is Lust A Problem in Marriage?
  • Quote of the Day: Past, Present & Future

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


Story of the Day


No Matter How Many Times You Fall, Try Again

We brought some inspiring posts yesterday from "Levite" who joined us a few days ago on the forum. Today he posted his story in more detail, and I'd like to share some excerpts with you. (To see the full story, see his thread here).

... I got older and managed to find easy access to the net for my fix... This carried on until I was 18. I was hardly keeping anything at that point. I was in Israel, clubbing every night and still using p**n as my crutch and getting into deep trouble. I didn't actually do anything, but I saw rock-bottom before I hit it and I knew that I was screwing up my life.

Around that time, I met this wonderful guy that introduced me to the works of the great Chassidic master, my holy Rebbe, Reb Nachman of Breslov Zatzal, and I made a U-turn. Honestly, a U-turn isn't enough to describe what I did. It was more an O-turn. From the lowest place on earth, I came up to place that I only dream of today. I divined hours, learned Torah and Chassidus, and just felt so close to Hashem. I didn't fall for over 4 months at that time. I couldn't. I was getting my "fix" through dveykus to the holiest ideas. But I knew at the time that this feeling wouldn't last forever so I made a decision then, that no matter what, I'd always try again. This way, I could take my "peak" with me for life, so that whatever happened in the future - even if I did fall, I'd pick myself up again.

I fell on Sukkos 4 months later. I felt so bad, but thank G-d, I got back up straight afterwards. But from then on it went down, it became so hard. I was grasping at my new-found position in yiddishkeit, but with my last strengths. Two months later, I fell again and I called my mentor. Although I was very close to him, I had never divulged my personal details until that point, but then I told him what happened and I cried like I never did  - before or after - in my life. He told me that Hashem sees my broken heart -
"ki chol levovois doresh Hashem - for Hashem explores all hearts", and he told me to keep strong and pray right then, because when a person is at his lowest, Hashem is nearest. "Lev nishbor venidkeh eloikim loi tivzeh - a broken and suppressed heart G-d does not forsake".
 
I know this sounds crazy, but within a week I was engaged to be married to my wife - a top shidduch! To this day I can't believe it. Five months before my shidduch I was a guy in the lowest depths, and now such a shidduch!
 
I had a couple of falls later, but I kept myself up. I think that the biggest lesson that I got out of Reb Nachman's works is that no matter how many times you fall, try and try - and try again.
 
I got married and that's when the problems started again. I was very happy B"H, but once I had to be with my wife... as Chazal say, 
"there is a small limb in a man, if one feeds it, it is hungry, if one starves it, it is satiated"...  I felt like I couldn't keep myself back and I started to fall again quite often. It broke me, and slowly it broke off bits of my warmth in yiddishkeit as well. I fell again and again and again, and no matter what I did or tried, I just went down!

I tried so many ways to stop, but having never looked at it as an addiction I kept falling through and being triggered by the smallest things. It broke me so much, "why cant I break free?!". Whenever I had five minutes of access to the net, I was on p**n. So I stopped using the net, but I still found it on my phone, so I stopped using my phone too. Then I found an internet shop for any excuse, and I was again on the p**n. I decided to have a PC at home that I could use for healthy purposes and there I could install a filter that worked (well, kind of), but Hashem decided that for the business I was in, I needed a phone with internet. So I continued falling, until one day while surfing online at onlysimchos.com (and looking where I shouldn't) I came across an ad for this site. And as soon as I came here, I knew I'd arrived!


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In Levite's Story above, he tells how the "inevitable" lust in marriage led him to continue being embroiled in his addiction; which leads us to the

Q & A of the Day:

Is Lust a Problem in Marriage?

 

Someone sent in a question:

I have a question for you. I'm trying to stop lusting for people in the streets, etc. but do I also have to give up the lust that I have towards my wife?

(Note: although Boruch's answer below is a bit long, it is well worth your while to carefully read and even re-read the quotes that Boruch brings below from the White-Book of SA. If you are married, it can change your entire perspective and give you a much deeper understanding of what exactly it is that we are trying to "break free" of. If you don't have time to read it now, perhaps print it out to read later).


Boruch, moderator of the "Back to Basics" phone conference
answers:


You're right on target. Natural desire is fine, but lust, even in marriage, is a serious problem for the lust addict and can be fatal. 

What is the difference between natural sexual desire and the sexual desire that we (in SA) call lust?

The natural desire for sex is a desire to encourage us to have children, to encourage us to naturally give love to our wives, rather than taking love from our wives, and to enhance our relationships with our wives and bring us closer together. That is not what we call "lust" in SA. However, that very same desire for sex with one's wife used selfishly and self-centeredly to make ourselves feel better and to "drug" on, is most certainly a problem.

In AA's "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" (p. 42) there is a great piece on instincts:

"Creation gave us instincts for a purpose. Without them we wouldn't be complete human beings. If men and women didn't exert themselves to be secure in their persons, made no effort to harvest food or construct shelter, there wouldn't be any survival. If they didn't reproduce the earth wouldn't be populated. If there were no social instinct, if man cared nothing for the society of one another, there would be no society, So these desires for the sex relation, for material and emotional security, and for companionship are perfectly necessary and right, and surely God-given. 

Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper functions. Powerfully, blindly, many times subtly, they drive us, dominate us, and insist upon ruling our lives. Our desires for sex, for material and emotional security, and for an important place in society often tyrannize us. When thus out of joint, man's natural desires cause him great trouble, practically all the trouble there is. No human being, however good, is exempt from these troubles. Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct. When that happens, our great natural assets, the instincts, have turned into physical and mental liabilities."

SA's White Book (p. 40) makes the point powerfully and practically when it comes to sex:

"... sex is a natural function... The real problem of this addiction seems to be what we call lust - an attitude demanding that a natural instinct serve unnatural desires. When we try to use sex to reduce isolation, loneliness, insecurity, fear, tension, or to cover our emotions, make us feel alive, help us escape, or satisfy our God-hunger, we create an unnatural appetite that misuses and abuses the natural instinct. It is not only more intense than the natural but becomes something totally different... sex enters a different dimension; ... it takes on an unnatural spiritual component."

And the White Book takes the point further (on p. 41):

"What Is Lust? ... A Personal Point of View...

Lust is not sex, and it is not physical. It seems to be a screen of self-indulgent fantasy separating me from reality - either the reality of my own person (in sex with myself) or the reality of my spouse. It works the same way whether with a girlfriend, a prostitute, or my wife. It thus negates identity, either mine or the other person's, and is anti-real, working against my own reality, working against me.

I can't have true union with my wife while lust is active because she as a person really doesn't matter; she's even in the way; she's merely the sexual instrument... With lust, the sex act is not the result of personal union; sex doesn't flow from that union. Sex energized by lust makes true union impossible... 

... Seen in this light, lust can exist apart from sex.  Indeed, there are those who say they are obsessed with lust who can no longer have sex. In my experience, lust is not physical; it is not even strong sexual desire. It seems to be a spiritual force that distorts my instincts; and whenever let loose in one area, seems to want to infect other areas as well...

Therefore, my basic problem as a recovering sexaholic is to live free from my lust. When I entertain it in any form, sooner or later it tries to express itself in every form. And lust becomes the indicator of not only what I do, but what I am.

But there is great hope here. By surrendering lust and its acting out each time I'm tempted by it, and then experiencing God's life-giving deliverance from its power, recovery and healing are taking place, and wholeness is being restored - true union within myself first, then with others and the Source of my life.  

And the White Book puts it most powerfully here (on p. 192):

"Of course, we recognize that one can be sexually "dry" but not sober from lust or dependency. The "dry drunk" syndrome (being technically sober but having all the problems and misery of the "drunk") discovered in AA, applies to us as well, single or married... The real problem for all of us (single, married, man, woman, from whatever lifestyle) is one and the same: the spiritual misconnection...

... Physical sobriety is not an end in itself but a means toward an end - victory over the obsession and progress in recovery. We are often the only ones who know on the inside of our souls whether we are truly in sobriety and recovery. (It is also possible we can be fooling ourselves.) Better to acknowledge where we really are than hide behind the badge of our sobriety date, cheat ourselves, and threaten our union with one another.

The fact that marrieds can have sex with their spouse and call themselves "sober" is no advantage at all. It can even work against recovery. Some marrieds confess that even though they aren't "acting out" any more, victory over lust still eludes them. As a matter of fact, it often seems harder for marrieds to get victory over lust and dependency unless they go through the experience of total sexual abstinence. And more often than we might suppose, marrieds can be heard complaining that singles have it easier! Let's face it: sexaholics (recovering or not, single or married) can expect to have problems with sex! (Not to mention the host of other problems entailed in trying to live with and relate to others).

What we strive toward is not only the negative sobriety of not acting out our sexaholism, but progressive victory over the obsession in the looking and thinking. We also strive toward the positive sobriety of acting out true union of persons. The great blessing (or curse, as the case may be) of our condition is that unless and until we can give unconditionally and relate with others, the vacuum left inside us from withdrawal will never be filled. All along, we had thought we could make the Connection by taking; we see now that we get it by giving. Our whole concept of sex begins to change. Sex finds a simple and natural place it could never have before and becomes merely one of the things that flows from true union in committed marriage. And even here, we've discovered that sex is optional."

This is how the founder of SA described recovery in his marriage:

"Healing in my marriage and in the family is one of the most blessed areas of this new life, even though things aren't always a bed of roses. I've found something better than lust - reality. But I have to be willing to give up any thought of changing partners, either actually or in fantasy, even if it means not having sex at all. Each time, I have to surrender my right to sex and depend on the grace of God. What else can you call it? And there are times my wife and I have gone without sex for extended periods. But it's all right; sex is optional now. I have a choice. And mutually voluntary periods of abstinence for a year or so have proven to be the most constructive-and happy-times of our entire marriage. For me the key was finally giving up all expectation of either sex or affection, and working on myself and my defective relations with others.

It has been a totally new beginning for us. I'm just starting to get acquainted with my wife of seventeen years. I discover to my delight she's a person: unique, independent, an individual, a whole universe of personality I was blind to before. And the more I die to any thought of resorting to someone else and commit myself to this one union, the more pleasure and love and freedom I find.

I can't believe that the person I'm writing about today is the same one who used to think and do the things I've been describing. Actually, that other person was a slave; he was living in a world of fantasy and illusion, only for himself, and always alone. He had never matured through emotional adolescence and was spiritually dead. He could not cope either with his own emotions or with life in the big world out there, and was constantly running. Running to satisfy demands and lusts that could never be satisfied. Running from who he really was; running from others; running from life; running from God, the source of his life.

The running is over. I've found what I was really looking for.


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Quote of the Day

Past, Present & Future

By IneedHelp

 

Don't forget to thank Hashem who helped you in the past (Hayah), is helping you now (Hoveh), and be"H will help you in the future (Ve'Yehiyeh). And the beginning letters of those words spells out Hashem's name: Yud Kay Vav Kay.

 
621.


Tuesday  ~  16 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 3, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Story / Testimonial of the Day: A Tiny Flickering Flame
  • Surrender (Part 1): "Thy Will be Done, Not Mine"
  • Surrender (Part 2): Counter-intuitive - but it Seems to Work!
  • Surrender (Part 3): Daily Dose of Dov
  • Quote of the Day: The Main Thing

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Story / Testimonial of the Day


A Tiny Flickering Flame

RATM (Rage at the Machine) joined our community over 2 months ago. He's about 25 years old, a lawyer and an unaffiliated Orthodox Jew, who never seemed to find himself in any particular 'conformist' community. He sent me his story a while ago and wrote as follows:

I was born into a very hareidi family... lots of brothers and sisters... my father is a well known posek and Rav... I learned for many years and even started on smicha... Since then, I've never been non-observant, chas veshalom, but I've rejected the seclusion of hareidi life in many ways (even if I do wear a black hat still on Shabbat)... To be true, I was thrown out on my tuchus from hareidi life... I was rejected by them and I returned the favor... Maybe this was my biggest mistake.... I now believe that it is better to live hareidi in a box than to go out into this disgusting world and live a "good Jewish life" out here... Anyway, I'm raising my kids hareidi (they go to the most hareidi of schools) but it's too late for me... I can never go back to live in the box... In a way, I've got no place to go... I don't want to be a Modern-Orthodox, I don't want to be hareidi, I don't want to be a part of any world... in sum, I dont belong anywhere...

Then he found GYE and seemed to feel quite at home! Within no time, he was an indispensable member of the GYE Family... Yesterday, RATM sent me an e-mail:

Whenever I feel the slightest spark of lust, I rage at my addiction, "Go to h**!! I WONT DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!!!"... I say it over and over again until the addiction knows that it is going to need to get the h** out or get its backside kicked.... I have not slipped or fell or even come close since I've raged against the machine (66 days ago)... I sure don't want to start the count over again, I'm thinking of you guys 24/7... I can't escape you!!!!
 
If I was rich, I'd throw a lot of money at your work. I can't give you enough.... You are fighting the holy war.... Prior to my happening upon GYE, I saw this world as a world hit by a giant hurricane, tsunami and monsoon... the wave that can drown the whole world... Everything was destroyed, but more importantly everything was flooded... I thought G-d had lost the war (or just didn't give a damn anymore).... Then I saw you: a tiny flickering flame in a world completely wet... such a tiny little flame... there in the corner, flickering... not even a flame at all... more like a tiny dot of fire surrounded by water... but you flickered... and it gave me hope... and I huddled... we all huddle around your little flame... all of us at GYE do... And my ultimate dream is that the tiny little flame becomes a roaring fire that dries up the destruction of the wave... You certainly saved my life and my belief in Judaism and humanity as well....
 
Good luck,
I DO love you guys,
Rage


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Surrender: Part 1

"Thy Will be Done, not Mine"

 

We brought "Levite's" story in yesterday's e-mail.
Today, Levite posted on his thread:

Thanks for putting my story in the chizuk e-mail... BTW, those e-mails make my day, everyday! Today is day 10. You know it's interesting, I've stopped many times before and been clean for long stretches, but this time it's so different, especially since yesterday's e-mail where you discussed the question about "Lust in marriage". It really hit the nail on the head! I printed it out to read in depth, and it's given me a new perspective on life. I haven't got the words to express it yet, but I hope that I will in time. At the moment, I just feel elated!

A Few days ago, Levite posted something that we can all learn from:

I had a hard night last night so I said the teffilah of 'hareini moiser atzmi - I hereby give myself entirely over to you, G-d'. It's an idea that Reb Nachman suggests (see below). It's basically the same idea as they discuss in the 12 steps. I'm feeling better this morning! Hey, Rome wasn't built in one day... but I've got a feeling that Yerushalayim will be!
 
Sichos Hara"n: 2 (a translation):
 
"It is a very good idea for a person to throw himself into G-d's hands and to rely on Him. As soon as the day starts, I give over all the happenings of myself - and the people that are relying on me, to G-d, to do as His will sees fit.

And this is very good, for then one does not have to worry or question if he did right or not, for he is relying not on his judgement, but on G-d's impeccable judgement, and if G-d would want him to do different than what he is doing, he is ready to change according to the will of Hashem. And the same before Shabbos or Yom Tov, I give over all the happenings and all my doings of that Shabbos or Yom Tov to Hashem so that it should all be according to His will. And then, regardless of how he was on that Shabbos or Yom Tov, after he surrendered it all and relied on Hashem, he need not need worry at all about whether he succeeded entirely correctly in his upkeeping of these holy days"...


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Surrender: Part 2

Counter-intuitive - but it Seems to Work!

 

"Postal", who is a member of Boruch's "Back to Basics" phone conference for a while, posted recently to a fellow warrior on the forum:

Something I've noticed lately of myself, maybe you're the same...

When my mind is trying to convince me to act out, white will seem like black, up will seem like down, etc. I have found that I am powerless against this addiction. It doesn't matter how strong any kabbalah I make is. It doesn't matter how great the punishment will be. All will be easily forgotten and overcome by an obsessive addict's mind. But what can I do? I'm an addict. 

Instead of fighting, I try let go of wanting to act out and give it over to Hashem. I try to let Hashem do whatever He wants to do with the lust, because I don't want it anymore. I try to turn over my will and my life to G-d. And if I do this adequately and sufficiently, that strong desire to act out seems to go away (if even for the moment).

I know it sounds completely counter-intuitive and crazy... but it just seems to work!


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Surrender: Part 3

Daily Dose of Dov

 

Dov, who is sober in SA for over 10 years, responds to "Postal" above:

What Postal wrote is just right for me, too. When I fell lust I need to open my mouth and share with the Ribono shel Olam that:

1) I am powerless to win against lust,

2) that I really want Hashem to help me to be dependent on Him completely, and to really trust that He'll take good care of me and give me everything I need, and

3) that I need his help, help, help to make it through the day. I am ready to share my life with Him and with people other than myself.

I need to also open up to other (safe!) people and share on a daily basis what's going on with me. Thank G-d I have a program (SA) and go to meetings weekly, and I have many friends to talk to freely about this.

I Love you heligeh yidden!
- Dov


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Quote of the Day

The Main Thing

By Tomim

 

A quote from Stephen Covey, the author of the best-selling "7 Habits of Highly Effective People":

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."


Don't be taken aback by slips or even falls. As long as this battle is in your focus, you're headed in the right direction. With time, patience, and persistence you will conquer this.

Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

 
622.


Wednesday  ~  17 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 4, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • 12-Step Attitude of the Day: Let Go of the Stick
  • Quote of the Day: It Makes No Sense
  • Testimonial of the Day: Reading the White-Book
  • Tip of the Day: Break it Down into Bite Sized Chunks
  • Daily Dose of Dov: The Pain of Living

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12-Step Attitude of the Day


Let Go of the Stick!
Real Life Experience By Duvid Chaim,
moderator of the
Big-Book Phone Conference Study Group

We all gained a lot from reading Chapter 1 - Bill's Story in the Big Book (or should we say, "We read OUR Story?")

 

How familiar are we all with Bill's high and lows and his self centered belief that he was in control?  Fortunately for Bill (and hopefully for us), he came to terms with his powerlessness and realized that his only choice was to turn it over to his Higher Power. Through this, Bill found recovery and tranquility - even "under pressure and difficulty."

 

I wanted to respond to the calls/emails I've been getting where I'm hearing how hard it is to accept the Program's message that we need to trust and "let go" and be willing to step into the unknown.

Of course it's hard to come to terms with this request.  We've spent the better part of our lives leading what seems to be mostly successful lives - in our minds thinking that our success in life comes from how hard we try and how much effort we put into it.

 

Unfortunately for those of us with this mind set, we have to learn a new design for living. At the foundation of our Recovery is learning to surrender and let go.

 

I actually have had first hand experience with the necessity - yes, the necessity of letting go - not just as a good attitude in life - but in fact to save my life!!

 

I'm referring to the experience I had when I was trained to be a private pilot and learned to fly airplanes. This experience was not only thrilling but something that I will remember the rest of my life.

 

Over the course of my training, the flight instructor had to teach me how to respond in "emergency situations." The instructor would intentionally force the plane into a "stall" and into a "spin." This means that he tilted the nose up and we lost airspeed until the plane lost its "lift" and starting falling straight down towards the earth. Then the plane started twisting like a corkscrew plunging over 2,000 feet in seconds!! (Prior to this training, the instructor told me that if we didn't regain control of the plane within four spins, we would crash nose first into the ground!!)

 

You can imagine that when we entered the spin, my instinct (besides yelling at the top of my lungs) was to grab the control stick and hold on for dear life! 

 

But guess what the instructor demanded of me - not just to test my ability to listen to him - but to literally save my life? THE INSTRUCTION I HAD TO LEARN WAS TO LET GO OF THE STICK.

 

The plane was designed in such a way that if you allow it, the plane will literally self-correct itself back into a safe position to continue flight. BUT, if you fight it, the plane will over-respond and lose all control until it plummets to the ground! You just simply have to let go of the stick.

 

So too with our addiction, our instinct tells us that when our life starts to stall or spin out of control - we need to grab hold and use all our might and will power to regain control. But as we all know, this never had - and never will - work.

 

Stay tuned to our Program and join us in the reading and Group Call and learn how to let go of the stick!! (Click here for information on joining the calls).

 

Looking FORWARD,

Duvid Chaim


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Quote of the Day

It Makes No Sense

 

We've been brining quotes from "Levite" in the e-mails of the past few days.
Today, Levite posted on his thread:

I'm honored to be here, between people that are striving for tikkun yesod - the foundation of our holy nation! I was thinking yesterday about how much I davened for shmiras habris over the years, and how Hashem really listened to my prayers in the strongest way possible by bringing me to this site!

I'm on day 11, and what can I say? I don't miss lust, I don't feel withdrawal pangs! I just feel gooooood! Free, really free! 'Cuz for once, I've changed my perspective rather than challenging the issue head-on, which obviously is doomed from the onset! MY VERY VIEWS OF DAY-TO-DAY LIFE HAVE CHANGED, especially with the idea of surrendering the lust to Hashem.

I heard an audio-book on the AA Big-Book, and he asks the obvious. How will surrendering my addiction to G-d help me, it should only make it harder!? The answer is, that there is no answer - it just works!
*

Just like chasing lust makes no sense, the solution makes no sense. Think about it; you're depressed, had a bad day or bored, so you want to have a few fantasies... make sense?

Holy brothers and sisters, let Hashem do our job! He wants to help us, we just have to let Him! Reb Nachman says that any person who understands the intrinsic holiness and spirituality of a Jew, knows that "sin" has no relationship with a Jew at all; just the opposite; a Jew can't naturally reside in sin!

We shall overcome!

* (The secret of "surrender" just seems to work for millions of people around the world in 12-Step groups for all types of addictions, although no one really understands "HOW" it works! See Chizuk e-mail #615 on this page for more on the nuances of "Surrender")


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Testimonial of the Day

Reading the White-Book
By Luria

I'm in middle of reading the White Book that Reb Guard sent as a link in the Chizuk email. It is one of the most incredible things I have ever read. Every bit of it I read, I keep getting the chills. 

I'm reading about this man who describes his descent into the world of lust and I realized - The only reason I haven't crossed the line from p*** and the imaginary world to worse sins, is that it feels to me to be an unacceptable line to cross, as I still consider myself a "good Orthodox boy". But my "barrier" can only hold up for so long. I felt it getting weaker and weaker, especially this last little while. That made me start to introspect and reach out for help. Reading this man's story makes me thank Hashem and his messengers (the people on this forum) that I didn't sink lower.


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

Tip of the Day

Break it Down into Bite Sized Chunks

"NotAlone" writes on the forum:

I fell about a week ago because I became disinterested in the battle. I could have easily won. In fact, after 50 days clean, my habits had set me not to fall. But I broke it anyway because I had lost my inspiration to stay in the fight, as easy as it was. I think it was because for the entire duration of those 50 days I was telling myself:

  • "It's Elul. You can't stop fighting now."
  • "It's Erev Rosh Hashana! How can you even consider this?"
  • "YOM KIPPUR! I DON'T WANNA DIE!"
  • "Eh... Glad that's over...
  • Wait, I can't relax, Sukkos is in a few days. Sukkos is so holy, I should be celebrating my success, not destroying it."
     

And then... Nothing. No special or auspicious time to keep me interested in the fight.

So I wasn't interested. I'd forgotten, or wanted to forget, the reasons I had given up my addiction. And therefore, I considered and concluded (wrongly) that I pretty much was fighting for no reason.

My fall though, acted as a wake-up call, reminding me of my previous life and how much I hated it.

Now I've dragged myself out again, and this time I know that winning is possible. I know that it's not so hard at all. And, most importantly of all, I remember why I'm doing this, and I'm not doing it just because of the time of year; I'm doing it because I believe in it.

And this time, I will (IY"H, BL"N, and all the other quotified abbreviations) succeed!
 

Unfortunately, I'm one of the younger generation, who's grown up with everything being easy and convenient. Every time I take upon myself to complete a difficult task, I feel disheartened and I cannot complete it if I believe that it is truly difficult.

So I analyze it, and break it up into bite-size chunks, and consider each.

  • "Is not watching p*** or stopping m* easy? No! How can I ever accomplish it?"
  • "Wait, is closing the browser easy? Yep, just hit the little x."
  • "Is shutting the computer easy? Yep. Hit shut down."
  • "Is looking away easy? Yep, just turn your head."
     

And so forth. Little actions that I believe I can accomplish. 

Then I take them and add them up. Easy!
I can do this!


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

Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years)

The Pain of Living

 

The first step to recovery is to stop using your drug and to do whatever you need to do to stay clean. Then, as the pain of living happens, have the help you need to live through it usefully. And that pain will come, for the stuff that drives us crazy in life (about ourselves, others and their behavior) is what drove/drives us to act out in the first place. But we will certainly not face it sanely while we are drugging with p-rn, masturb-tion, s-x, etc.

Now, I tried this many times over many long, hard, rotten years. After all, we really are good people, yir'ei Shomayim, and we do try to stop. But I could not do it successfully until I finally gave up on the luxuries of secrecy - and even normalcy - by joining other sick folks like me who are getting better (in my case, SA) and admitting that I was actually ill.

If we start on this road and stay the course one day at a time, we are forced to work (use) the 12-steps in order to face life and are automatically, shockingly healed - even without knowing or understanding what we are doing. And it's better that way, 'cuz, as they say, "my own best thinking is exactly what got me into this mess in the first place". Leave me out of my recovery as much as possible, thank-you.

 
623.


Thursday  ~  18 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 5, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • 12-Step Attitude of the Day: Making the Connection
  • Therapy Tip of the Day: Let Go - Starting with the Eyes
  • Testimonial of the Day: Living for the First Time
  • Battle Communication: Warriors Talk About "Surrender"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Priorities
  • Poem of the Day: Reality

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


12-Step Attitude of the Day


Making the Connection
By "Postal", leader of Accountability Group #6 - and a member of Boruch's "Back to Basics" 12-Step phone conference.

Looking back at the times that I've fallen (or felt a very strong pull towards falling), I had always been in a very uneasy state of mind. Maybe I was restless, or irritable, or discontent. Maybe I was feeling tired, stressed out, lonely, angry, or anxious. Or maybe it was something else. Whatever it was, I wasn't in a great spiritual/mental state.

Why is it important to make this connect? I don't know about you, but for me, I had always used lusting/acting-out to ESCAPE from these emotional states that I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO HANDLE OR DEAL WITH PROPERLY. Lusting/Acting-out helped me deal with these emotions UNTIL I CAME BACK TO REALITY. And after over a decade of mentally training myself to go directly and immediately towards my "fix" the minute I feel this way, it has become second nature.

It's important for me to make this connection because if I find myself in such an uneasy mental/spiritual state, I know that it won't be long before my mind will instinctively go to the only medicine it knows will help ease the pain: Lusting/Acting Out.

Therefore, it's important to be mindful and identify when one is in such a state of mind and what one is actually feeling. And instead of instinctively going towards our drug of choice (Lust), we should try dealing with these emotions constructively and head-on as a normal non-addict would. Lusting and acting out won't cure whatever is bothering us, it's only a escape. 

Hopefully this may help someone in dealing with this addiction.


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Therapy Tip of the Day

Let Go - Starting with the Eyes!

 

From health.msn.com

Learn to relax while you are doing your work. Tension is a habit. Relaxing is a habit. And bad habits can be broken and good habits can be formed.

How do you relax? Do you start with your mind, or do you start with your nerves?

You don't start with either, you always begin to relax with your muscles.

Did you know that the most important organ of this relaxing technique is the eye? It has been said that if you can completely relax the muscles of the eyes, you can forget your troubles. Why is that? Because they burn up one fourth of all the nervous energies consumed by the body.

So let go, let go and relax.


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Testimonial of the Day

Living for the First Time
"Hoping", clean for almost half a year, posted today on the forum:

It is my greatest joy to log in from time to time and see so many new members joining this Milchemes Hashem. These past 5+ months have been much more than a relief from my horrible addiction. Thanks to everyone here at GYE, I have been living for the first time in my life. Life is infinitely more interesting when I am not obsessed with self-serving activities. Giving up my addiction to Hashem has been, for me, an opening to let Him in to my entire life. I feel His presence in my life, and I never want to go back to the other situation that I used to call life.

When I began this journey, one of the things that scared me the most was the idea that I would have to work on staying in recovery every day for the rest of my life. I mean, as an addict, all I wanted to do was get as far away from the garbage and become a normal, self-serving non-addict. But after tasting the sweet feeling of living with the purpose of doing Hashem's will, I actually look forward to the opportunity to work on living this way every day of my life. Some days are easier, some are harder, sometimes I don't remember Hashem as I should, but every day has a purpose and a reason for living. What a sweet feeling!


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

Battle Communication

Warriors Talk About "Surrender"

"Chizkiyahu" writes:


For a while, I thought that the battle was simply yetzer tov vs. yetzer hara. I thought that if I simply strengthened my yetzer tov by learning more Torah, doing more mitzvos, etc. that the yetzer hara would simply fall away on its own. Instead, the yetzer hara just got stronger. I couldn't understand how I was making all of these teary resolutions to STOP - ONCE AND FOR ALL! and yet the yetzer hara wouldn't listen!  

Then I learned to surrender. By that, I mean acknowledging that I have an addiction and I am powerless to fight it on my own.    

Now, when I feel myself starting to slip I say, "Hashem, I am powerless to fight this addiction on my own. I have tried and failed. I give up. Please, Hashem, fight this battle for me." And Baruch Hashem, it seems to be working.

I do this in tandem with:
1. Trying to read up on the nature of this addiction every day.
2. Only using internet at work.
3. Mikvah every day, if possible.
4. Praying to Hashem for help every day.

I don't know if I will ever be "cured", but I will never despair of trying to enlist Hashem to help me.

"Levite" replies:

 

Hi, keep up the good work! We shall never surrender! LOL. I've been thinking about the idea of surrender in Chazal. It says that Dovid Hamelech asked G-d to test him, but when he was tested - he fell through. Regarding the Yetzer Hara Chazal say, "If Hashem would not help him, he could not overcome him". When we want to fight the Yetzer Hara what we are actually doing is telling G-d, "please let me fight this out by myself" - as Bar Kochva said (he asked G-d not to come with him into war), and the inevitable outcome is failure. Why? Because after all, the Yetzer Hara is a G-dly angel of fire, and we are mere flesh and blood. How can we win him? But when we surrender ourselves by saying; "I give myself over to you, G-d" (or something similar), we are asking the Almighty to help us - and He does!

One more thing that I thought of... The Ohr Hachayim says regarding chava and the snake that the reason why she fell was because she allowed the snake to engage her in conversation. Once she got into the conversation, she started entertaining the idea of saying "yes" even though she had originally entered the conversation with the intent of saying "no". She said no, he said "yes", she said "no", he said "why not?"... So she started explaing why not, but by the time the conversation had finished she had fallen through.

Reb Nachman of Breslov brings this idea as well and says: don't challenge your Yetzer Hara or your bad thoughts. Just leave them - and think or do something else.


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Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years)

Priorities

 

As an addict, my life was basically taken over by lust. My life was in the toilet. and that means that so was my davening and learning. Not a nice place for those things, right? Getting clean is simply the #1 priority for an addict. Nothing else really matters. No, my learning and davening did not stop (what kind of a yid doesn't learn or daven at all?) But I made changes in them to try and focus them on gaining sanity and sobriety. Any person with a severe disease understands this, I think. The refuah you desperately need takes over your entire life, plain and simple. And the main thing I needed, especially early on, was getting out of my head and letting go of self-concern whenever possible. That can only be done by doing for others without thoughts of repayment of any kind.

I am sure I made many mistakes along the way (may Hashem protect me and forgive me for any I make today!) and I will screw up at times in the future, but we keep our eye on the prize, that's all: Priorities. For some people, getting clean is not a question of lichatchila or bidi'eved - it is really pikuach nefesh.

When I was finally tired of living my own life in my own cave, I started asking Him to help me start living His life.

It bothers me a bit when some folks act as though they have to be on a high madreiga to recover, since recovery is based on giving your life to Hashem. I don't believe that approach would work for me. "Living His life", "being with Hashem", and "giving myself and my struggles to Him" does not necessarily mean that we are becoming kedoshim, in the traditional sense. But it does mean that we are going in that direction. Now, maybe I am wrong, but I prefer to be wrong then, 'cuz this attitude is working for me so far, thank G-d. The ultimate truth is none of my business. Reconciling my "Hashkafah" never got me anywhere but deeper into my gehinom!

It's strange how - as frum addicts - we can be doing the "frum things" while being on the down elevator. The stuff we do must slowly change to have a completely different flavor in recovery, b'ezras Hashem.


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

Poem of the Day
By LamedVavnik

 

P**n is poison

life is great.
Fantasy's a drug 

I really hate.

Choose reality
every day
and happiness
will come your way!

 
624.


Friday  ~  19 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 6, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Testimonial of the Day: The Story of Mar Ukva
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Who really does the circumcision?
  • Q & A of the Day: How do I deal with life's responsibilities?
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "He's taking perfect care of us - without our help"

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Testimonial of the Day

The Story of Mar Ukva
By Mr.Smith

Dear Chevre,

I have been doing some major, personal, internal, spiritual work lately. My wife and I found ourselves in a position of a very, very long niddah period (with no birth to announce its coming). As of now we're holding at 5 weeks, but G-d willing it will be over shortly.

I have to concede to the Big Guy though, it has been uplifting in a way (not that I'd have chosen it, obviously), which was of course His purpose, or part of it. I didn't think I was going to survive. There were days when I wanted to jump off a cliff. I was going out of my mind. 

Maybe you remember from my previous posts that there's this one girl nearby who really gets to me. I davened not to see her. I was terrified of what might happen if circumstances turned against me. But Hashem is kind. I davened very sincerely that He should keep that girl away from me. (I wouldn't even mention her name in my prayers, so as to think about it less.) I was terrified she'd show up at my door one day asking for a cup of sugar or something.

And then I saw a Rashi on the bottom of Sanhedrin 31b. Mar Ukva (one of the earliest amoraim) says Rashi, was a baal teshuva. He relates that Mar Ukva had set his eyes upon a certain married woman. His heart was filled with lust for her. He was so desirous of her that he actually fell ill. (Sound familiar, anyone?) Came a time when she was forced to borrow money from him. Out of her financial pressures, she consented to him. Mar Ukva then conquered his desire and sent her away with a generous loan in peace. Incredible! He regained his health, and from then on, his face emitted a heavenly glow comparable to that of Moses! UNBELIEVABLE!!! 

This story hit me like a ton of bricks. This is the very situation I have dreaded - that she should show up at my door and need me for something. I believed that if that happened I would screw up in a very bad way, or else have a nervous breakdown. And here G-d has shown me that it's not the case. We can choose G-d even in the most difficult times.
 
These past few weeks have been tough. But I have been thinking about things I've learned on this site and elsewhere, things about me. And I've noticed gradual changes. I worked on turning my mind from any kinds of fantasies to just thoughts about my wife. As a cumulative result of it all, I've found that I am having less fantasies about non-wife people.  And in fact, when I do, it's not hard at all for me to tap into a feeling of disgust about the thought. After all, we all know that intimacy with one's wife is meant to also be a spiritual endeavor, whereas with the girl down the street it would just be animalistic desire. So I've managed to bring that idea down from my head into my heart, just a little bit. It's a terrific feeling.

Another upshot of this, is that it's been easier working on shmiras einayim. I really feel that it's a disrespect to my wife and that it's just gross.

I don't imagine that there will never be any challenges, any steps back, but I really feel I've made progress. I've come to believe that I can live a normal life in a world where lust is everywhere. It's heartening. (Oh, and p**nography doesn't even get off the ground with me right now. Early on I had some urges - now I can actually feel gross about it. What a change.)

As the end of this big 5 week nisayon approaches, G-d threw me a bone. He showed me this Rashi, encouraging me with the rewards of overcoming the yetzer. I could hardly have imagined a more relevant story to me than the one Rashi brings about Mar Ukva. I nearly cried in the beis medrash when I read it.

I hope this will encourage some of you too. I'm glad there are people with whom I can share this. Continued hatzlacha to all in your holy endeavors!


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

Torah Thought of the Day

Who Really Does the Circumcision?

By "ClearEyes613"

 

"And Avraham was 99... BE'HIMOLO - WHEN HE WAS CIRCUMCISED... on the flesh of his foreskin"

Shouldn't the posuk say "when he circumcised himself"?

Rashi quotes a Medrash:

'Avraham took a knife and took hold of his foreskin and wanted to cut. But he was afraid because he was old. What did Hashem do? He sent forth His hand, and held together with him. As the posuk says, "v'karos imo habris - and He cut with him the covenant." It does not say "for him", but "with him". This is found in Bereishis Rabbah 49:2 '

WOW!!!! See how from day one the bris was given to us! (actually, from day 8 :-)

What does the medrash mean that Avraham didn't have the strength? He was about to have another child! He ran that day and circumcised his entire household! Only 3 days later after being circumcised, he was running to serve his guests on the hottest day of the year! He lived another 76 years! Avraham should have been able to do it himself. Clearly he still had the physical strength required.

So why couldn't he? To teach us.

To teach us that one does not have the strength to keep the bris by himself, not even Avraham.
One can only do it with the help of Hashem!!

Rabosai, the only way to be shomer habris is by giving it over to Hashem. Without giving it over to Hashem, it can not be done. We were not created with the strength to overcome this desire alone. That is why Hashem was "kores" the bris with Avraham - hand in hand.

This doesn't mean that we aren't required to do anything. The act itself of giving it over means we recognize Hashem as the creator of this world, Who created us and our desires. It shows we recognize what we really are, afar v'efer, and we cannot so much as move a pinky without Hashem willing it. This recognition of Hashem's complete control over the universe along with our inability to act without His will is the yesod of creation. This merits us the gift of overcoming our desires.

Plus, we have to do our part. We need to pick up the knife to cut. We have to be ready to have the lust cut out of our hearts. Like they discuss in the 12-Step groups how we often beg G-d to take it away from us so that we don't have to give it up ourselves. That won't work. We have to be ready to give it up.

"Being ready" means following the halochos of shmiras enayim. Don't look at what you shouldn't, avoid walking through bad places, and get a good filter. And every time we mess up, we need do something about it. Make the filter stronger, move the computer to another room, read the daily chizuk, and if needed get help! Tell a friend about your problem. Find an accountability partner. Call in to a 12 steps group. Join a live group. The solutions are endless.

Keep working at it. Just please don't try it alone - "v'charos IMO habris".


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

Q & A of the Day

How do I deal with Life's Responsibilities?

 

Question by "Not-Alone"

Before I started on my road to recovery, I was pretty numb to reality. Words and actions spoken and performed by others and myself mattered little to me, since any bruises from the bumps in life could be numbed by an unhealthy painkiller.

Now that I am emerging from the mess, I find myself much more attuned to the world around me. I can gain joy from everyday life again, and I've recaptured some of the happiness of childhood. However, as an adult, I have to face a lot more responsibilities than I did as a child, responsibilities that snuck up on me as I was in my medicated daze, which I had handled clumsily or half-heartedly.

When I was under the influence, I could act brazenly and haughtily, insult and shame without repercussion, since any pain or insult I collected in the process would be taken away.

So together with the joy of cleanliness and reality, I have to face the bumps in the road as well. I have never learned to cope with stress in human interactions in a healthy way, and I need guidance.

What is the right way to deal with the stress of living?

Answer:


I really like how you expressed your question. You hit the nail on the head - and you are NOT-ALONE! That is literally the entire purpose of the 12-Step program; not to teach us how to STOP acting-out, rather to address HOW TO LIVE REAL LIFE without resorting to the drug.. i.e. letting go of stress, resentments, the need for control, etc... This is what we learn in 12-Step groups and through working the steps with a sponsor. Can you join an
SA group in your area? Or have you considered joining Duvid Chaim's 12-Step phone group - or Boruch's group? See this page for the various options.

P.S. See also Chizuk e-mail #478 on this page for more on "Dealing with Stress"


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Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years)

"He's taking perfect care of us - without our help"

 

You are Hashem's deeply loved child. 
He looks at you from inside your own eyes and heart, even in your painful inner struggles, and smiles. 
Because He knows you are already a winner. 
We are winners because we are loved by Him and everything is going to be alright, no matter what. 
Don't believe any lies lust tells you to the contrary.

Lust tells us that life is not worth a dime if we don't give in to a temptation! Then it tells us we aren't worth a dime when we do!

At times like that, we need emunah p'shuta that we are winners and Hashem is already taking perfect care of us without our "help", period!

Love, 
Dov

 
625.


Sunday  ~  21 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 8, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: New Board on the Forum for Duvid Chaim's Calls
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: That Sinking Feeling
  • Battle Communication: Fall Leads to Spring
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "We need to start doing things differently"

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Announcement

New Board on the Forum
Duvid Chaim's Phone Conference

 

We are please to announce a new board on our forum for Duvid Chaim's calls. If you want to get a feel for what is discussed on the calls, check out Duvid Chaim's beautiful insights on the board. We encourage everyone, even those who can't join the calls, to read through Duvid Chaim's profound insights into the addiction, and on how to live a lust-free life.

For those who are on Duvid Chaim's calls (everyone's invited!), feel free to post summaries of the daily calls on that board, or create threads for discussion. You can also use the board for posting your questions and comments on the calls, and/or on the Big-Book material.

To Join Duvid Chaim's calls Monday - Thursday, see this page for the info.


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Attitude Tip of the Day

That Sinking Feeling
By Eye.nonymous

I had this very wise roommate in Yeshiva. After watching my long and futile struggle to get up in time for minyan he pointed out, "the secret to getting up in time is to go to bed on time."

Sometimes we're just fighting the yetzer hara at the wrong end.

After a recent fall, I realized that the struggle wasn't so much the desire to act out as much as it was this "sinking feeling" that would eat me up for days until I felt compelled to act out. This sinking feeling was really the beginning of a crash with lust.

A couple of times recently I've managed to catch this feeling at the beginning and to deflect it by coming up with a positive outlook on the same situation, and thereby avoid another fall. Two recent examples:

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

On Thursday I woke up late. I was an hour and a half behind my ideal schedule. On my way out the door I got this sinking feeling in my heart -- "OH NO, I'M NOT GOING TO GET ANYTHING DONE TODAY!"

I started to get caught up in it. THEN I recognized it: "this is that depressed feeling that starts to eat me up, and keeps on eating me up, sometimes for days or even for a week, until I eventually fall!"

Instead, I told myself that I'll manage to do whatever I manage to do, and I'll be happy with it. After all, I still have a full day ahead of me. An hour and a half isn't the end of the world.

This realization cheered me up and put an end to that sinking feeling.

And for that day, the yetzer hara was defeated.

 

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


On Friday night, Thank God, I had a repeat performance.

After I came home from Shul, I felt far short of being "inspired". It was really chaotic - with the kids just being themselves. That sinking feeling set in again.

This time I couldn't pinpoint exactly why I was feeling down. It was just a general feeling of being overwhelmed.

BUT, the feeling was familiar. I knew I couldn't fall for it, or I'd end up falling.

So I just said to myself, "here's that feeling again, but I can't let myself be depressed". I somehow managed to project myself out of the situation. I realized that despite the chaos, I'm probably doing the best job I can as a father.

I actually starting singing, "TOV L'HODOS L'HASHEM".

And thank God, I'm still clean! I know I would have fallen a couple of days ago already if not for this lesson that I took out of my last fall:
"beware of that sinking feeling. It's not real, it's just the yetzer hara trying to drag you down. There's so much about life you can just find to be happy about".

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

 

Dov Responds:

 
What beautiful victories! Thank-you so much for sharing that, Reb Eye. Sometimes I just hold on to the little victories for the whole day by writing the gratitude down on a note and saying "thanks Hashem for doing this for me, or for helping me do that..." a few times over the course of the day, then reading it before or after the bedtime sh'ma. It's nice to go to sleep with a little smile, even if nothing else feels like it went right that day.

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


Battle Communication


Fall
(Down) Leads to Spring (Up)

After a heroic 88 days clean, "Letakein" had a small fall, after which she posted the following heartfelt poem:

The Falling Leaves

I huddled in my jacket
As the wind began to blow
I felt the leaves crunch underfoot
So dead, so lost, so low

I watched as more leaves fell
And they tumbled to the ground
The people would all step on them
Their loss would then resound

Yellow brown and orange
holding tightly to the tree
knowing if they fell off
that there their end would be

The leaves are broken now
And they won't be whole once more
Instead they're being buried
Deep inside the earthly floor

Laying in the darkness
They'll be wet and crumbled, cold
Waiting for the earth to hold them
For Spring to then unfold

Giving of their nutrients
Becoming something new
They will never be those leaves again
A new task they must do

So I huddle in my jacket
Like the leaves inside the earth
And I try to focus on my task
On what I'm really worth

I see one more leaf falling
I catch it and I kneel
I bury it inside the earth
To help me learn to heal



How beautiful and profound this poem is! When we fall, we are actually falling out of our previous selves; off of our previous level... Through Teshuvah, we are given the ability to become something entirely NEW. By dying to our old selves, we give birth to new life! That is why Balei Teshuvah can reach higher levels than Tzadikim. With each fall and renewal, we become a whole new creation with a whole new task!

E.L Writes:


Gevald! what a poem!

It's amazing to see how after a fall we get such great & deep thoughts out.

We get this extra feeling of Kirvas Elokim from Hashem after a Slip or Fall; this big Hug after we fall off the bike.

The Ohr (Light) only comes after the Choshech (Darkness).

We have to take every Yerida (Fall) in life, big or small (and we will always have them as long as we live because this is why we are here for) & grow from there.

The hardest part is to work on ourselves to the point that we can feel close to Hashem no matter in what situation we find ourselves.

I wish you & all of us great strength to be able to get to that level not to get shaken up after any kind of Yerida in life & be able to get up a shake ourselves off brush off the dirt & walk away as if nothing has happened.

If only we can get to that level to get up & Keep Trucking, the Menuval automatically already lost, even if he was able to give us some punches & even if he knocked us down, because his only goal is to keep us down, I repeat, "His Only Goal Is Too KEEP Us Down!" 

There's no looking back! Lots wife did & she turned into a pillar of salt.

If there is Hurt, Pain, Suffering, Destruction, Falls, Slips or Anything Negative, we have to always look forward never back.

If we turn around, we stay right there where we are at that time & situation, as they say in Yiddish, "Aingezaltsen", like the Dead Sea that has no Life.

If we get up and look towards the future, there's life once again!

 

"Cry2Tatty" (previously RATM) Posted:


Rule number one is, don't get into a fight unless you've already accepted that you will get hit... The goal isn't to not get hit but rather sometimes the goal is to win and more often, the goal is just to stand up and fight for what you believe in and what is right, even if you know you won't win; To fight for justice... and you WILL get hit... Each black eye is a witness to your stand, and each fat lip is a monument for justice, and each scar is a gold medal for courage... Take pride in them!

You have chosen to fight... you could've run, but you didn't.... you have said ENOUGH to the addiction and to the "yetzer hara" and to the world that shoves lust in your face at every turn... As long as you always get up at the end, you have accomplished your goal. Wear your scars with pride...

So lets go! Last time I checked, there was a revolution going down here at GYE...
Viva La Revolution!!


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

Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years)

"We need to start doing things differently"

 

When I hit bottom and first started real recovery, I made my priority doing whatever it takes to stay sober today. I wouldn't call it "working on my addiction", because for me, that puts too much power into my ego. After all, my addiction was really working on me. I did my part to live right: worked the steps with my sponsor, went to meetings regularly, and acted like I was really sick, cuz I am. And just doing that, made me change and slowly get healthier. I give all the credit for any improvement in myself to two things: (1) Hashem and, (2) l'havdil, my addiction. For me, it's like gravity: you get stronger and stronger just by walking around and not falling on your butt. But you have to be walking, not just standing there and "trying not to fall".

You can see how concentrating on "not acting out" can short-circuit the entire thing, because it's a sure way to keep me living in the problem, rather than in the solution.

In my case and others', the addict needed to give something up, to break free of the shame and admit the truth of their inability to stop - to themselves and to other (safe) people, and ask for help.

They also needed to stop doing what is not working for them. As long as they keep trying the same exact thing and expecting a completely different result (it'll work/I really mean it this time!), they are doomed to keep having taynos (complaints) on Hashem, thinking "why is He not helping me?!".

The things they are trying are:

1) Acting out (Yup! In the heat of the moment, we all figured that if we just gave in, the annoying tayva would finally leave us alone for a while, right?),

2) Davening for "help" (even though they are not letting go of the sheretz and doing nothing really different) - the SA white book calls this "begging G-d to take it away so that we do not have to give it up!"),

3) Learning/davening/doing every normal thing the same as we always have, as though nothing is wrong (hiding at all costs).

None of these things worked for me to quit, at all, and they only made the habit of living within the problem deeper and worse. (Sort of like not breaking the luchos, if you know what I mean. They were the luchos, after all... not very nice to throw luchos on the floor, you know....)

I am not saying davening does not help, nor am I suggesting we stop living normally. What I am talking about is admitting that our davening and learning, family time (or lack thereof), and other habits, have not been innocent bystanders in our problem. WE ARE one person. These good parts of our lives have most likely been molded and twisted, perverted, to allow us to live the sick way we have been living. They do not need to stop, but they need to change.

 
626.


Monday  ~  22 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 9, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Attitude Tips of the Day: "I Fell, Now What?"
  • Battle Communication: Reality Check: "I Can't Control Me"
  • Anecdote of the Day: "I Blew It!" - The Lawyer & the Drowning Girl
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Avoiding a Fall when Feeling Aimless and Dejected

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Attitude Tips of the Day

"I Fell, Now What?"

A few warriors posted on the forum recently about falls, so I wanted to bring some helpful responses and tips today. One guy wrote about his fall:
 
I had a great few days, but I was feeling weak today. I just convinced myself that I needed one quick peek and then I lost control.

I need to install K9 on my computer. No more half measures. How can I get someone else to hold the password for me? (Preferably someone who is on-line a lot in case I honestly need to make changes).

It seems that whenever I fall once, a second fall happens soon after... Once I am down in the dirt, I often end up exploring...

I'm feeling sorta down now - any ideas how to give myself a kick in the pants to get back up? Day "0" seems infinitely far from "90" :-(

 

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

"7Up" Replied:

 
I'm so sorry to hear about your fall.
You are right; there are no half measures in this war.

Once you're down in the dirt and exploring the area...
...search until you find that little treasure Hashem hid there just for you...
...see it? There it is!
A tiny seed. Got it?
Now plant it, right there next to you.
Done?
Good. Now get up, cuz you need to go find some water for it.
Keep a good eye on that spot...
Because soon a little sprout will show its head, and then a branch and trunk and leaves.
Before you know it, the world will be enjoying the fruits of that tree...

- and all because you used that fall in the dirt and turned it into something positive!

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

 

See this cute "Kabbala Toons" Clip from Chabad.org!

 

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

 

We Replied:

Dear Yid,

Sorry to hear... Sometimes Hashem causes us to fall just so we realize that we're beat. I remember how you once mentioned on the forum that you're "a fighter by nature"... It's funny because we've had a few guys who have expressed similar sentiments on the forum in the past, but somehow none of those guys did very well until they finally admitted that this addiction had them whipped. Once they reached that recognition of powerlessness, they were able to start building a true connection to Hashem (by virtue of our "needing" Him to help us). Ironically, "Powerlessness" is like a foundation upon which we can start to build our recovery. Once we truly know that only He can help us, we are able to ask for His help with humility and a broken heart, and He really does help!

What you write about how that "one quick peek" led to total loss of control is so typical of addictions. You see, most people can "drink like a gentleman" (as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous) or lust "just a little" and then move on... But an addict can not do that. We have developed an "allergy" to our drug, in our case - lust. We "go to pieces" over that "first sip" and simply can't stop. So there's one important lesson you learned from your fall: Just like an Alkie must avoid that "first sip" at all costs, we must avoid that "first slip" at all cost!

Have you considered joining Duvid Chaim or Boruch's 12-Step phone groups to learn the secrets to finding freedom from this addiction? (See this page for info on the phone calls).

As far as installing a filter... we have a special "filter Gabai" now on GYE. You can reach him at filter.gye@gmail.com. He can save your password for you, as well as help you whenever you need to make any changes. He is on-line almost all the time. Please follow the instructions on this page. (See also the important comments at the bottom).

As far as motivation goes, did you know that today is the FIRST DAY of the rest of your life?? :-) ... Don't look at 90 days. All we have is TODAY. We aren't aiming for 90 days as a goal in-and-of-itself, it is just a step in our goal to get closer to Hashem. By learning the lessons of this fall, and by admitting to Hashem that you can't do it without His help, and by putting up better fences, you can achieve TODAY a closeness to Hashem that is even more profound than when you'll be at day 90!!

And of course, I can't emphasize enough the importance of reading through the GYE Handbook and the Attitude Handbook. Through them you can explore all the tools available for breaking free of the addiction, plus learn the proper attitude to maintain in this struggle.

Stick with us. We'll get through this TOGETHER.


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


Battle Communication


Reality Check: "I Can't Control Me"

Another warrior discusses what he learned from his recent fall:


First of all, I'd like to explain why I probably fell. I am pretty sure it is stress related and I was trying to escape the pressures of the stress. Second order of business is, to explain the two reasons why perhaps it was necessary for me to fall:

1) I needed a reality check; a smack in the face. This has been my longest streak in a while and it's no secret that it's thanks to the 12 step program that I am attending (with Duvid Chaim over the phone). I thought I was doing so well that I was in control of it; that I would never fall again. This could not be further from the truth. Hashem wanted me to fall in order to realize that I REALLY AM NOT IN CONTROL. And every time we think that we can control this, He is going to give us a nice fat reality check in the form of lust. 

2) I needed to really understand the first of the 12-Steps, that "our lives had become unmanageable". When I went through this step originally, I didn't hesitate to answer yes, I fully believed it, and I even preached it. But I didn't really understand what it meant. Yesterday, for the first time in my life I started crying because I fell; right afterwards. I am not a very emotional person, so when I cry something's gotta give. My life is completely unmanageable like this. I need Hashem to control me; I can't control me.


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


Anecdote of the Day


"I BLEW IT!"

The Lawyer and the Drowning Girl
Posted by "7Up"

 

A True Story told over by HaRav Fishel Schachter, Parshas Va'era, 2008


There was a chareidi family that took a vacation to Teveria. The wife and 2 daughters went down to the kineret to go swimming. The husband went to daven by Reb Meir Baal HaNeis. The girls start to wade in the water, and the older daughter steps too far in and is swept into a current, but she couldn't swim, and begins to go under. The mother is watching as the daughter is pleading for her life, but the mother couldn't swim. The mother runs onto the highway and is desperately trying to flag down cars for help. They are swerving around her, honking at her, screaming to get out of the road. Finally an elegant car stops and a well dressed man asks what's happening. The mother screams my daughter is drowning. He throws off his coat and runs and dives into the water. The man's wife is screaming to him saying,  "Remember you just had a heart attack." He dives into the water and comes up with the little girl. The mother breathes a sigh of relief for a moment, until she realizes that this was the younger daughter who must have jumped in to save the older daughter. She screams "I have another daughter there!" He jumps back in and screams "Where is she? Where is she?" The mother is pointing to him, "Over there, over there."  He dives to the bottom and begins to drag her limp body to the shore, but now there are people on the shore, who are screaming "Her head is still in the water! Her head is still in the water. Lift it out!!!"  He lifts her head and puts it on his shoulder and brings her ashore. There was an Arab man was on the beach, who started doing CPR on the girl. They called the ambulance and the ambulance crew said they took a pulse, but her head was in the water too long, there's nothing they can do. They go off to the hospital, and the doctors say there's no hope. The family began davening for a miracle. They're waiting and waiting, davening. The Doctor took an MRI, and when he saw the results, runs back in and said, "I can't believe it, regular brain activity resumed". The daughter finally wakes up and leaves the hospital two days later. The doctors said they never saw anything like it, she was deprived of oxygen for so long, it was impossible to have this outcome.

A few days later, the family makes a Seudas Hod'ah (meal of thanks) to thank H" for the miracle, and wanted to invite the man who jumped into the water to save their daughter. They couldn't find him, so thought maybe he called into the hospital to see how she was, and they were right. They found him. He was an attorney from a non observant kibbutz, with no connection to yiddishkeit his whole life. They invited him to the seudah and he told them this story. He was recovering from a heart attack before this incident, and he and his wife were headed up North for a vacation, when he saw this chareidi woman in the street. His wife said keep driving, she's a meshuganah, but he said she looks desperate, so decided to help. He told the family that he had been sick for awhile, and used to be an Olympic swimmer, but hadn't swam in YEARS. But just last week, as part of his therapy for the heart attack, he was in a hotel that had a pool, and he started to swim laps during the week. His wife was yelling at him that it was dangerous, and he told her that for some reason, he felt that he had to do this for some reason. He felt that he just loved it. He told them that If he hadn't done this he wouldn't have been in shape enough to rescue their daughters. "So I jumped in and saved your first daughter, but then you told me there's another daughter. I went back in, and as I was pulling your 2nd daughter to shore, and realized that I didn't bring her head above the water, I was going out of my mind - during those crucial last few moments, I didn't bring her head above the water, I was going out of my mind." Afterwards, I came home and cried to my wife, "I killed that girl." My wife said what are you talking about, you saved her, you risked your life. "But I'm so stupid, I didn't take her head out of the water." No, she said, you just didn't realize. "NO, She died because of my stupidity" I said, "It was my fault, she would have lived!". So I ran back to that place, and climbed to the top of a mountain, and I said, "Ribbono Shel Olam, never in my life did I pray to you. I was raised on a kibbutz, and laughed at prayer. I wouldn't be caught dead praying, I would have been so embarrassed. G-d, this is the first time in my life I'm praying to you. I'll never be able to live this down. I won't be able to go on. PLEASE, Hashem", consider it as if I prayed to you my whole life, and combine all those prayers that I could have said, and use them to save this girl. Please G-d" He continued to tell the family, that "I went back home and called the hospital, and they told me that an hour ago (as I was saying this prayer) she woke up!"

Think about this story, was he a hero because he took off his jacket and jumped in? Was it because he jumped in twice? Where was the gift of life? It was at the moment that he said, "I blew it, I tried and I tried and blew it." Instead of falling to despair, he took that broken heart, and instead of letting it turn into depression and sadness, he converted it into Tefillah. A tefillah that he never had before in his life. A Teffilah that brought miracles!

There are moments in life that we think we blew it. We have to realize that those very moments, if used correctly, are the seeds for redemption, Moshiach, refuah and yeshuah for everyone.

- Transcribed from a shiur by Rav Fishel Schachter, shlita.


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

Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years)

"How can we avoid a fall when feeling aimless and dejected?"

 

One guy wrote:


Todays' fall happened in slow motion. I got depressed about the state of my marriage over some stupid comment my wife said. I then went to a meeting that had it's location changed, but no one cared to tell me about. I wandered around, in a depressed funk, knowing exactly where it was going to end up, but having no choice, like some sort of a sick bystander watching a tractor trailer about to run over a stroller but unable to do anything about it...

Another guy wrote:


Having a real hard day... I'm just so in the mood of falling ... Feeling aimless and dejected...

We asked Dov the following:

Dov, what do you do when feeling aimless and dejected? It seems to be a recipe for disaster. So many people are posting lately about how these type of feelings lead them to fall...


Dov Replies:


I do not have the luxury of basking in dejectedness or sadness. I get involved in whatever I am supposed to be doing, de-isolate, make a call to a program friend or my sponsor, and talk to my G-d a lot more - and calmly. I do not expect miracles, but they really tend to occur. Usually I discover by the time I go to sleep that I snapped out of my self-pity attack a few hours before, but was not paying attention!

Oh, and assessing my mood just to keep tabs on it ("am I really happy?") is another childish habit that I cannot afford any more, so I gave it up slowly and with the help of others, over about 2 years of work (at the ripe age of about 45! Waaa!!!!). I don't do it now. My life is much better without "my help", thank-you. I let Hashem worry about my moods, I do not need to assess or guide them any more.

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

 

To another person who felt like he was about to fall, Dov writes:


If you wish to stay sober you may need to:

  • Ask for help (from Hashem)
  • Get open about exactly what's going on - with someone safe.
  • Do what you need to do to give up the "right" to screw your day up.

Oh yeah, and even if things have to go badly, find a friend to smile with, no matter what :-)

 
627.


Tuesday  ~  23 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 10, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Article of the Day: Sexual Addiction  (Fox News)
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "Stop Surviving & Start Living!"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Shmiras Habris - or - Staying Alive?
  • Saying of the Day: A Classic  (By Dov)
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Up Against the Whole World
  • Poem of the Day: We're Almost Home (a link)

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Article of the Day

Sexual Addiction

Fox News 

November 5th, 2009

by Dr. Keith Ablow

One of the fortunate - and sometimes unfortunate - aspects of human biology is that we contain within us the physiology for extraordinary pleasures. When we are psychologically in balance, our capacity to derive enjoyment from our senses and our bodies, whether through eating or exercise or sex, enriches our lives immeasurably. But when we face underlying turmoil or pain or unhappiness, we can use our inborn capacities for pleasure as shields against thinking and feeling our emotions - literally harnessing our brain chemical messengers and neurotransmitters like infusions of drugs.

Sexual addiction is one of the dark roads men and women travel in order to avoid their feelings and the complexities of their life stories. They turn to sex to "drug" themselves and relieve deeper feelings of anxiety or depression or boredom or loneliness.  In doing so they not only deprive themselves of journeying toward a true understanding of the roots of their negative feelings, they cause a lot of collateral damage. That damage can include shattered families, a loss of respect in the community, legal problems, financial problems and health problems.
 
Sexual addiction is also unique in that it can now be "fed" 24/7 through the Internet, which provides countless graphic images and videos that are the equivalent of a constant infusion of alcohol or heroin. Gambling addicts at least have the rate-limiting step of their own finances as a potential brake on their dependency. Drug addicts have to procure their substances. But sex addicts can mainline their drug through magazines, the Web and relationships built only around physical satisfaction.
 
For these reasons, it can take a long time for sex addicts to come to terms with the fact that their addiction is harming them or others.

Most sex addicts aren't arrested in hotel rooms; they're wasting good years in one emotionally anonymous relationship after another, or wasting hours and hours on the Internet, or wasting the potential for true closeness with their children because they are driven to divorce by their needs or distracted by planning their next binge. 

What are the signs and symptoms of sexual addiction?  Here are some to consider:

- Underlying anxiety or depression when the activity related to sex is resisted.

- A need for exposure to sexually stimulating material or relationships that overshadows the need for real emotional, interpersonal connections.

- A preoccupation with sexual fulfillment or fantasies that interferes with daily life, one's employment or one's marriage.

If you or someone you love has any of these symptoms, a psychiatrist or psychologist is a good place to turn for help. Remember, the fact that we have the anatomy and physiology for pleasure of many kinds means that we are, as human beings, also at risk for redirecting those healthy pleasures into pathology.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatry correspondent for FOX News Channel and a New York Times bestselling author. His book, "Living the Truth: Transform Your Life through the Power of Insight and Honesty" has launched a new self-help movement including www.livingthetruth.com. Dr. Ablow can be emailed at info@keithablow.com.


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


Attitude Tip of the Day


"Stop Surviving & Start Living!"

Uri wrote on the forum to someone who had a recent fall well into their journey to 90 days, and was feeling really down about it:


You're not to blame.
Hashem has given us an illness.
Simple as that.
You were handed today's fall.
He gave us this sickness because if we approach it correctly, it can lead us to the greatest heights!!
Through the sickness & From the sickness!
You're not a bad person.
Chas veshalom!
In fact, I can't imagine calling anyone on this forum "bad".
Struggling souls.
Yidden with the amazing courage to face their deepest secrets and insecurities.
Bad?
The HOLIEST OF THE HOLY!!
G-d is not angry at you for falling.
I can pretty much promise you that.
He's obsessed with you!!

You think 90 days is what it's all about?
I am finally living a more lust-free life than I have lived in a long time.
What counts is that I am clean today!

The therapy
... is where its at.
Duvid Chaim's phone calls...
Reshaping our perspective on Hashem and life... is what it's about.
Connecting with people... is where it's at.
 
I think the real turning point for me in not getting tortured by my falls was when I realized that my life had become about falling or not falling.
And my addiction therapist said STOP.
Since when was life supposed to be about "surviving?"
Another day making it without acting-out or going crazy?
I was always worried about one or the other.
Either I was acting out or trying to survive without acting out.
And life SUCKED.
Because I wasn't able to just live life with all my heart and soul.
I wasn't able to relax.
It's like I was always drowning and trying to keep my head above the water.
But everyone knows that when a drowning person struggles, he's in great danger.
The way not to drown is to just "let go".
Let yourself sink.
And you'll naturally float back up.
By struggling, you're just wasting all of your energy.
And at that moment, I firmly decided that from then on, I would start living.
And the past weeks have been so beautiful.
I can breathe in the air freely.
I spent half the afternoon the other day rolling down hills with my younger siblings...
A freedom I never thought I would have.
I have just started living.
Not "surviving".
And it's beautiful.

Now when I fall (which incidentally is much less often) I just say to myself,
"I guess I'll have to work a little harder on connecting to life again".
I don't have to go crazy.
My life is not dependant on acting out - or not.
I'm just...
LIVING


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

Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years)

Shmiras Habris - or - Staying Alive?

 

Someone wrote on the forum:


I've been avoiding shabbos naps ever since the time change. You're better off staying up through shabbos, learning and spending time with family and friends - and then going to bed at a normal hour. Otherwise, you end up awake and alone at the computer at 2 am when everyone else is sleeping... and we all know what that leads to... What does everyone else think? Avoid Shabbos naps for the sake of shmirat habrit?

Dov Responds:

Dear Yid,

If you are asking a halachic question, maybe ask a Rav.

If you are talking about advice to avoid doing an "aveira", nu, maybe ask a Rav, too.

But if you are talking about saving yourself from putting you life into the toilet of insanity again by going down the road of compulsive sexual acting out... hmmm... then I ask you: What in the world does that have to do with "shmiras habrit"?

I can't speak for you, but for me, what you are referring to as "shmirat habrit" has to do with whether I have a chance at having a real conscience, at being a father to my children, a husband to my wife, a sane yid (an insane yid doing mitzvos? Is a shoteh even yotzei, I wonder?), and in my particular case, staying alive at all.

To me, this is not at all like avodah zora, which chazal tell us is like breaking the entire Torah. It is much, much worse than that: It is giving up my entire tzurah of a mentch and accepting insanity into my life. And insanity of this disease, for me, is "memaleh kol almin and sovev kol almin" - it fills, poisons and perverts my entire life (and the life of those around me). At its root, sobriety and the program is not there to create holy yidden out of us. It is to create useful mentchen. From there, I can become a yid, if I want. But without it, I have no choice and remain basically a mess.

At least that is the way it is for me and others. I'm not alone in the feeling that to act-out is to die. I do not particularly care exactly which "lav" suicide is. I'm not interested in it for other reasons! ;-)

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

Saying of the Day
From Dov (above)


"I do not particularly care exactly which 'lav' suicide is. I'm not interested in it for other reasons!"


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

Torah Thought of the Day


Up Against the Whole World

Sent to us by "HelpMeGYE"


R' Ezriel Tauber Shlit"a was once asked to speak in a certain school where the principal had discovered that the kids were sharing blue movies. This is what he told them.

He said that the 6000 years of creation are split into three parts. The first part corresponds to Eloikai Avraham, the second to Elokai Yitschok and the third to Elokai Yaakov. However the generation before Moshiach is the Chasima (stamp) of creation, and it corresponds to Magen Avraham - as in the first Bracha of Shmoneh Esrei. And that's where we are now.

What was the greatness of Avraham Avinu? That he was able to stand up against an entire world that worshiped Avoda Zora and preach monotheism.

Said R Tauber: When we face a computer with access to the whole world, every one of us is an individual Avrohom Avinu, because we each face-off against an entire world. That is why our generation corresponds to Avraham - and that's why we will be the generation to bring Moshiach!


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


Poem of the Day


We're Almost Home

By "Mevakesh"

 
628.


Wednesday  ~  24 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 11, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Article of the Day: Advice From an Addiction Expert
  • Therapy Tip of the Day: Guided Meditation
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "Let Go & Let G-d": Let Go of What?
  • Battle Communications (Part 1): "It Doesn't Compare to Kedusha"
  • Battle Communications (Part 2): "Stealing My Humanity"
  • Saying of the Day: By "ClearEyes613"

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

 

Article of the Day

Advice From an Addiction Expert

From Matzav.com Here

 

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, founder of Drugsline, received a prestigious honor from Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his groundbreaking work tackling substance and alcohol abuse. Lubavitch.com spoke with him about his organization's achievements. One of the questions they asked him was the following:

Undeniably, it is a difficult time to be a teen, confronting real adult issues on a daily basis. What advice do you have for teenagers themselves?

When a teen approaches us with a problem, we must recognize their issues. We cannot pretend they don't exist. We have a rule here at Drugsline: if someone comes with a problem, it is a problem (even if we don't necessarily think it is). Recognize that what they say is real. Think about the tremendous courage it takes to ask for help to begin with.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed with their mammoth problem, teach them to deal with one particular area at a time. Let them solve it and it will build up their confidence in that area. It may be a tiny notch on the ladder, but in due course they can look back and see how much they have achieved.

Conclude one challenge and then go on to the next one.

Teens must realize that challenges are part of our development, our growth, our maturity. We will face challenges throughout our lives. Dealing with a particular struggle, in bite-size proportions, will give us the strength to overcome future challenges, without the temptation to turn to drugs, alcohol, or gambling.

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

I brought this excerpt today because I thought there was a lot of wisdom that we can learn from his advice in relation to our struggles with lust addiction:

1) Think about the tremendous courage it takes to ask for help to begin with. Everyone on our e-mail list and forum is already a HERO just for "reaching out".


2) Don't try and tackle "mammoth problems" all at once. They should be broken down into smaller areas that can be solved bit by bit, helping us build up our confidence as we progress until we are ready to take on the next challenge.

3) Little steps add up to impressive progress, before we know it.

4) Challenges are part of our development, our growth and our maturity.

5) Succeeding in bite-size steps will give us the strength to continue, without the temptation to turn to our "drug" of lust.


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


Therapy Tip of the Day


Meditation

By Elya


Guided meditation works wonders. It's a form of hypnosis, I think. Some people use this addiction as their way to medicate themselves when they are anxious, angry, bored, etc. Some people use alcohol, work, food, etc. But the calm peace, learning to live in the moment, is the single, most effective way to stay sober. When you're not worrying about the future, because you have Emunah in Hashem and you've made amends with your past, you cannot act out in your addiction. It's taking these past experiences and traumas which sometimes still haunt us, making peace with them and then getting on with the business of life. Learn mindfulness, learn meditation (Aryeh Kaplan's Jewish Meditation), learn how to live in the present moment and you will heal.

For more on Hypnosis and Meditation techniques see this page of our website, as well as this thread
of the forum.


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

Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years)

"Let Go & Let G-d": Let Go of What?

 

Dov wrote recently on the forum (quoted in Chizuk e-mail #625):

 
As long as they keep trying the same exact thing and expecting a completely different result (it'll work/I really mean it this time!), they are doomed to keep having taynos (complaints) on Hashem, thinking "why is He not helping me?!".

The things they are trying are:

1) Acting out (Yup! In the heat of the moment, we all figured that if we just gave in, the annoying tayva would finally leave us alone for a while, right?),

2) Davening for "help" (even though they are not letting go of the sheretz and doing nothing really different) - the SA white book calls this "begging G-d to take it away so that we do not have to give it up!").

Someone asks on the forum:


But there will always be this part of me that doesn't want to give it up. So how do we really "Let go & Let G-d"?

Dov Responds:

Yes, it is very hard to imaging what "letting go and letting G-d" would be actually be like. After all, aren't we all ma'aminim (believers) already? Of course we are. So, the better question may be: What are we not letting go of right now, that is keeping us tied to our patterns, our sick boundaries, and our desires?

Heroin addicts know more than anyone how desperately they need to drop their old shooting gallery friends, stop frequenting the places they bought drugs, etc. We all hold onto those kinds of familiar patterns for our much needed comfort. Familiarity is comforting, for sure. But we need to find and substitute it with other, real comfort, if we are to 'make it'. That comfort is perhaps the main power of GYE and (- in my opinion - much greater power) in the 12-step fellowships. It's a new chevra. Fitting in somewhere else. (BTW, I absolutely needed the face-to-face program meetings and real-person sponsorship for that... oh, I said that already...oops! ;-)

But there is another "familiar setting" beside the external one that we see with our eyes that we need to learn to let go of - or rather - substitute for, and  for me it's the main work of the very program itself: The "familiar setting" of our inner attitudes and reactions to stuff that we feel with our hearts. That is the main work and fruit of the steps. "It's an inside job."

If we expect to get better; to behave differently - i.e. that we will not have to resort to acting out with lust when stress, pride, fear, and life hits us, but we want to remain the same people we were before... forget it.

As long as we remain the same people, we will just keep fighting ourselves. "Knowledge" we have already... we need an inner change.

So: "Letting go"of what? 
When that question is answered, the "letting G-d" flows more naturally.


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

Battle Communications


"It Doesn't Compare to Kedusha"

By "JD"


I had a fall again a few days ago and I was fed up. I just couldn't figure out what I was doing right when I had my recent streak of 42 days, and why I have not been able to come close to that since. Yesterday, it hit me a little bit. It's no great chiddush, it just finally clicked a little. The key isn't just to keep busy and avoid the bad things, because eventually you will not be busy at some point. The point is to be busy with Kedusha and Torah. Yesterday, I started taking notes while listening to the daf-yomi shiur on my computer (usually I just listen without taking notes, which inevitably leads to spacing out). And then later at night, I went to a fantastic chassidus shiur on the parsha. I felt like I was living, and I realized as I was driving home that I had no interest in the shmutz. It doesn't compare to Kedusha. So while I knew that I had to live clean and grow, I had forgotten what it really meant. Yesterday I finally felt it again for the first time in a while, and hopefully I can continue to chase it. This very much relates to yesterday's "Shmiras Ainayim" e-mail (#272) which discussed how by focusing on aseh tov, we will be sur mera de facto.

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

 

"Stealing My Humanity!"
By Ahron


I went to a work related seminar in NYC and had the misfortune of sitting next to an improperly dressed woman. Afterwards I went outside and was hit with billboards that keep getting worse. It can't be any clearer that they're not trying to sell a product, they're simply selling lust. I was disheartened because I felt the old spark of lust and did not want to!  I tried working the steps, getting out of my head, and focusing on giving rather than taking. That last part - telling myself to stop taking - made me realize something profound. In a way, when I lust in response to the billboard, I'm not really taking. I'm being raped. I'm being taken from. Not only are they trying to take my money (the p***n industry and/or the manufacturer of the product), they're taking my humanity too, they're stealing my life. In exchange for what?? A fleeting sense of (false) pleasure? Do I not have a choice here? Am I at the mercy of the lowest elements of society? Does that bum on the corner have me wrapped around his finger because all he has to do is flash a magazine in my face to control me??

Although I can't say that this insight caused an instant, permanent transformation, I was angry and upset that I let them control me. (Although being angry and upset is usually a bad thing, in this context I think that reaction is a good one!).


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


Saying of the Day
By "ClearEyes613"

"We may eventually fall, but does it have to be TODAY??"

 
629.


Thursday  ~  25 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 12, 2009

In Today's Issue

  • Q & A of the Day: Should I See a Therapist?
  • Therapy Tip of the Day: Free Hypnosis MP3
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Getting Better Can Be Dangerous Too
  • Parables from the Warriors (Part 1): Hurting All Over
  • Parables from the Warriors (Part 2): Don't Get on the Wrong Train
  • Sayings of the Day: Meditations of the Rebbe

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Q & A of the Day

Should I See a Therapist?

 

4lashon


Dear R' Twersky shlita,

I am a yeshiva bochur who recently joined the Guardureyes website after many years of struggling with my addiction. From when I was a very young kid I began to take an enormous amount of interest in females. Over time, it turned into a full blown addiction. Every woman or girl, or pictures of either, would get me excited. Unfortunately it led to masturbating and porn etc. B"h, I chanced upon this amazing website and that was the beginning of changing the course of my life. At first I managed for approx sixty days 'clean' but fell in again after that. I am on my second time around (hopefully be"h the last) and I am so far about 30 days clean. Recently, my anonymous "partner" (that GYE helped me find), who is going through the same problems as me, told me that he had gone to a sex-addiction therapist and that it had really helped him a lot, and he thought it would do a great deal for me too, if I would go. 
 
I wanted to ask your daas torah, being that I am still skeptical about going. The surroundings I was brought up in, and my yeshiva too, don't hold too much of psychologists, therapists and the likes. But if it's the right thing for me to do, I'm fully prepared to go. I just do not want to go only on the basis of my partner's advice, since he is just a young anonymous person from the GYE website. What do you suggest? 
 
Thank you.
From a real admirer (we've got basically every one of your books at home).
 

Rabbi Twerski Replies:


Because Freud was an atheist who was anti-religion, psychology got a bad rap years ago (which was well deserved). Modern psychology is generally not anti-religion.
 
A good sex-addiction therapist is not going to lead anyone off-the-derech. A person who is sexually addicted is, in that area, off-the-derech already, and getting help with the addiction can actually enable him to strengthen his Yiddishkeit.
 
Of course, I cannot vouch for all therapists. If he has a good reputation, that should be OK.

Twerski

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For a list of addiction therapists in both Israel and the U.S.A,
please see
this page of our website.


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Therapy Tip of the Day


Free Hypnosis MP3
(Right click the link and select "Save Link/Target As")

Posted by "withgdshelp"


Many of us turn to our addiction because we are feeling angry, sad or afraid of something. Recently, I was very angry about something and I tried this hypnosis MP3. I followed all of the instructions, and just let the nice man's voice guide me. After I "woke up" from the hypnosis, I didn't feel any negative emotions anymore!

This is 100% completely free and legal to download  (I think they give away this one to attract more people to their website. There are other freebies available on the same site).

Try it and post here to let me know if it worked for you.


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Daily Dose of Dov
(Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years)

Getting Better Can Be Dangerous Too

 

Dov writes:

 

"The only thing worse for an addict than bad fortune, is good fortune."
- Chuck C.

"Nobody ever got sober over profundity... it's a program of love and action."

 
Hey, you know I love the profundity at least as much as the next guy does. But to really succeed, we need to focus on taking concrete steps together

Get a toothpick or some floss. This one is pithy:

It seems that two things consistently make it harder for me and other addicts to simply keep on doing exactly what worked for us at our very start: (1) seeing a little failure, and (2) seeing a little success.

... and in my experience, the realization that we are getting better is by far the more common trap for addicts. As soon as we start to actually get better we figure we no longer really need those desperate, childlike and simple measures we once took that got us out of our worst state in the very beginning. We need to remain wet behind the ears, it seems.

I hope and pray that I never get too sophisticated to be Hashem's little baby any more. Really.

Sorry if it's a little profound. You'll get over it. 

 

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"Kanesher" wrote recently:


I finally figured out something - and this I believe is based on "Dovian Metaphysics" (see what Dov wrote above :-) that after two days I always get overconfident. Go figure. I realize I've been switching between "I'm so addicted there's nothing I can do" and "foo.... now it's just a matter of time". The 12 steps place, that we realize that we are always vulnerable is a bit of a challenge for me. Hence, like Dov said - a little success is dangerous, as is a little failure.

So I have to change my attitude. I'm addicted and I always will be. It doesn't mean I will always act out. But it means that if I let go of the simple things that help me - like meditating, listening to an ipod full of inspiring songs and keeping it with me, or giving a shout out on the forum - like an epi pen - like the manic depressive who drops his meds because he's better, duh, because of his meds.

And I've spoken about watching all this unfold in slow motion, and now I realize that as an addict, my bechirah isn't after I get depressed and watch things hit the wall - my bechirah is the very instant I feel that depression and that need for comfort, the slightest bit of unbalance, the "poor-poor-me-I-deserve-to-escape"ness - even if I'm not near acting out. Because if I leave it alone, then I will - I can't stop it later. I need to stop it then. I need to start realizing where I'm going and take out the epi pen. 

I can't live by halves anymore.

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

 

"7Up" wrote a beautiful post in response to Kansher who is seeing a therapist:


The hardest part of therapy, is the pain which the digging exposes. Remember, most addicts are using the addiction as a band-aid over the pain within us. The escape and comfort may literally have saved our lives at times. Not to mention our sanity. 

A festering, infected wound will not heal simply because we cover it with a plaster. The infection digs deeper and deeper, while the band-aids get bigger and bigger. Therapy entails removing that band-aid, and healing the wound once and for all. AND THAT HURTS. Not only is it hard to look at all it, but healing it entails painful procedures after such neglect. Dead tissue needs to be cut away, strident antibiotic medications need to be applied. 

And you wonder why you didn't just stick with the band-aid. Sure, it still hurt underneath, but nothing like the surgery hurts!

And worst is yet to come: All you want to do is get a nice white bandage and cover up the hole so at least you don't have to see it 24/7. But the doctor says 'nope'; I want you to leave this open to the air, because this way it will heal quicker. 

So many buried, festering wounds are currently being dealt with in therapy. Of-course you want to re-cover it with the band-aid called addiction. Davka when the pain is worst we want to avoid it the most.

But stay strong and "Bite the bullet", because eventually the wound WILL heal, b'ezras Hashem, and the pain will disappear.

And the scar which remains will always remind you of the war you won.


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Parables from the Warriors


Hurting All Over

By Uri


There's a classic joke where this guy walks into the doctor's office:
Patient: Doctor, I hurt all over.
Doctor: What do you mean?
Patient: Look!
    (touches knee) - Ouch!
    (touches elbow) - Ouch!
    (touches shoulder) - Ouch!
Doctor: You have a sprained finger.

This joke/parable applies to us too.
Life sometimes hurts.
We complain that it's because of this reason, or because of that, etc...
We try to survive, but finally we fall back into our "medicating"...
It's not life that hurts.
It's not the circumstances that hurt.
It's us that hurt.
It's us that are feeling a void.
We must stop living in "survival mode".
Who can relax and "feel" when they are always trying to survive??
Accept to just LIVE LIFE - with all that comes along with it.

The ideas I share I learned from my therapist, and from people like Dov on the forum.
Sometimes people who are wiser than us take us on a completely different path than we expected, or that we're used to.
They tell us to go left when we feel like going right.
The Messilas Yesharim says that the only people who we can really trust are those who have gotten out of life's maze.
When it comes to Torah (and life), we need to listen to our Rabbanim.
With addiction, we need to listen to those who have truly beaten it.
Follow their path.
You won't be sorry.

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Don't Get on the Wrong Train

"RATM" writes to a single who was feeling weak:


When you get to Penn Station in NYC, sometimes, when there are a lot of trains, they will put an Amtrack train on the track right over from a LIRR train. They share the same platform. You get on the platform and the two trains are standing a few feet from each other. The people on each train see each other and they can wave and smile at each other. It is so easy to jump from one to the next. All it takes is a 5 second hop across the platform. Track 13 to track 14. So easy. 

But then the trains begin to leave Penn Station. One is headed east to Ronkonkoma. The other? South, to Virginia. In 10 minutes they will be hundreds of miles apart. In a half hour? You'll have to take a plane to get from one to the next. If you get on the wrong train in Penn Station, all it takes is 20 minutes and you're in some serious trouble. 

Don't get on the wrong train. Please. 

You're standing at the dawn of adulthood. Soon enough (despite your disbelief), your life will be kickin-it in full gear. It is NOW that you need to make sure to get on the right train. Because if you don't tackle the addiction now, you will wrestle with it until you do. And it will bring you to the darkest deepest caves of hell. And to untangle the mess later will be much harder. 

So let's go! Don't fall today. That's all. Just today.
Please.


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Sayings of the Day

"Meditations of the Rebbe" by Tzvi Freeman
Posted By "Yechidah"

#120:
Much depression stems from haughtiness. If you would realize who you really are, you wouldn't be so disappointed in yourself.

#123:
Despair is a cheap excuse for avoiding one's purpose in life. And a sense of purpose is the best way to avoid despair.

#105:
All of your world is G-d speaking to you. Listen carefully.

 
630.


Friday  ~  26 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 13, 2009

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Mazal Tov to "Me3" upon reaching 90 Days Clean and joining the Holy Warriors on "Hashem's Wall of Honor"


"Me3" is a very inspiring guy who does a lot of "spirit lifting" on the forum with his upbeat attitude and great sense of humor! He spends most of the time helping others.

Yesterday "Me3" posted:


So I actually managed to find my own thread. Excuse me while I get rid of the dust and open some windows here.

Today I hit 90 days, and now - just as promised, poof! I have no more desire to look at inappropriate sites. Amazing!

OK fine, maybe not exactly.

So what did I accomplish?

Well, the internet hit me hard when I left yeshiva and went to work, and when I was exposed to high speed internet it was a disaster. Not at first, but as I became bored with my job and needed something to amuse myself, I fell in hard.

I've wasted countless hours destroying my soul.

I tried everything and nothing helped.
I promised myself I would improve.
I made nedarim.
I stopped going online, except to 1 or 2 sites.

And sure I stopped, like a smoker quits a thousand times.
It could even be that I stopped for 90 days in the past (I never counted).

So what's different now?

Well the story is still in progress, but here are some things I've done:

1. I installed k9 and I don't have the password.
(See this page for info on how to do this).

2. I've found a solution for boredom; it's called GYE. Not only does it keep me busy and give me chizuk, it allows me an opportunity to rectify some of my past wrongdoings by helping others who are struggling.

On the way to work this morning I looked up at the grey overcast horizon, and I never saw a brighter sky in my life.

Thank you GYE!

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

 

In honor of Me3's 90 days celebration, we will bring today a few inspiring posts of his - from the past 90 days.

 

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Exactly 3 months ago - on August 13, Me3 joined us and wrote:


Well, here's Me3, giving it a shot (for the umpteenth time, but 1st time here). I'm in my 30's, married with kids & living in Brooklyn. I signed up for the 90 day chart. Nice to meet you all. Ok, so I'm clean for about 5 minutes now, do I count today as day 1 or day 0?

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Daven, "Hashem I can't do this by myself, I need You to fight this for/with me. You know it is my will to do Your will, it's just this horrible addiction (the Yetzer hara) that is pushing me to fall. Please help me overcome him/it - just for today!"

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Last week I had a lousy day and I would have fallen, save the fact that I couldn't break my filter; that darn K9 screen kept on popping up, B'H! Those bad days don't go away so easily but the more access you remove, the less likely you will be to fall. I know a filter is never fool proof, but it's still pretty good. I think that's the best kabala anyone starting out can make.

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Here's an observation (nothing new that hasn't been said here countless times, but nevertheless, I think it's worth repeating):

There are 2 aspects to our fight, or really in any fight against the Y'H.

1. The battle not to fall.

2. The battle not to fall into depression - if we fell.

The second battle, I feel, is the more important one, because that stops us from picking ourselves up after a fall. However, I believe that a big part of winning the 2nd battle is just recognizing it for what it is. We read about certain members feeling hopeless, suicidal, unable to even put on tefillin after falling, etc... This, my friends, is plain old depression rearing its ugly head; nothing more and nothing less. This needs to be addressed, before you can get back on track with battling fight #1.

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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 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. However, 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, 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 GUARDED MY EYES!
I INSTALLED AN INTERNET FILTER!
I GAVE AWAY THE PASSWORD!

Now You and I know that I was far far far from perfect, and that 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."

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


The most important thing in this journey is to always bounce back and not give the Y'H a double victory.

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


I have B'H been on the 90-day chart for a month now and I feel like I've broken my old surfing habits, etc. I feel great and I see the difference in my life. However, I also know how easy it is to fall back, and to be honest, I'm petrified of doing so.

Another thing, I'm being extremely careful to keep myself in a positive state of mind, to keep the Y'H from getting me down, because that's the 1st step in falling.

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


I feel weak... I'm tired and bored, not interested in doing the work in front of me. Which of course is the start of all bad things. 

But you know, this is the biggest benefit I get from GYE. I'm so busy following the happenings here that I don't have time to do anything else, I don't even follow the news I'm so busy here!

Anyway just posting this helped. I think I've made it past the crisis point.

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A humorous post by "Me3" before Rosh Hashana:


It has come to my attention that people have been neglecting the forum to attend to matters in the outside world.
This is not acceptable.
I understand that there are some times that you need to take care of things.
However, these things should be done quickly,
as to allow you to immediately return here to your real home.
Don't use the outside world as an escape,
to avoid your real family.
You are not required to have an outside life,
but you need to have a GYE life!
(Take Guard's example; he he sleeps right here on the forum)

That said (swallow hard), we will be closed till after Rosh Hashana.
I want everyone to be brave.
Try to be positive on Rosh Hashana,
even though you are away from home.
But please call home immediately after Yom Tov,
so as not to worry the family!

A Gut Gebencht Yur!

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


I think what is important in beating this thing is not surfing because you are controlling yourself, as opposed to not surfing because there is a filter blocking you. Because no filter is fool proof, and it is impossible to never again have access an unfiltered computer. Also, if you are controlling yourself you will resist "seeing if you can beat the filter" or "testing just how good the filter is", etc... and all the other clever tricks the Y'H has up his sleeve.

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

 

Me3 writes chizuk to someone who feels he is a BAD person after repeated falls:


Of course if you want, you can decide that all is lost, you're a jerk, loser, reincarnation of the Satan and stay in your bed all day moping about your sorry life, etc.

That will help a lot!

We can't stress this enough. If you were a bad person, you would not be here on this site. You would be somewhere surfing and m**ing to your hearts content right now.

Why come here?

The people who come here, come because they are good people. In fact, although I can't prove this, I think that a good percentage of the people here are respected as "better than average" members of their respective communities.

These people have a problem, a serious problem, that they want to beat more than anything else in the whole world. Granted, they may have ended up in this mess due to their own failings and shortcomings. They, however, regret their actions and desperately want to be free of this addiction.

You have a flaw that you are aware of, and you are working on correcting it and making progress. So you didn't beat it in one shot (shock of shocks!), but progress has been made.

You, my friend, are a good person (now say it 10 times!).

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My yom kippur thought:

Every person on this site,
no matter how long they have been clean,
and no matter how many times they fell -
are engaged in fighting their Y'H.
They are not sitting passively.
Yes, they don't always win,
but they are fighting.
And that is exactly what Hashem wants from us.

Basically everybody here is more successful in this battle since they found this site.
And we have Guard to thank for enabling us.

 

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Rosh Hashana was good, I focused on being Mamlich Hashem as one should.

I wasn't sure where I was going regarding Yom Kippur. I had plenty to ask forgiveness on, however I was also going in with a 45 day streak behind me B'H. I always try to bring myself to tears as one should, but I was feeling that I had already put into place the things that I planned on working on this year.

So I began davening, went through Kol Nidrei, started Maariv and I reached the words in Shemona Esrai of "Somaych Noflim - He supports those who fall"

And I thought of falls. 
And I thought of GYE.
And of the feelings that come with a fall.

The darkness,
The despair,
The depression,
The blackness,
The guilt,
The numbness.

And then I thought of Hashem Who is Somaych Noflim
He lifts us up after a fall, 
He puts us back on the right path. 
He gives us the strength to continue.

And I started crying.

 

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How to fall
A Step by step Guide
By: The Yetzer Hara


It's his favorite tactic.
 
It starts with the simple, innocent Google search.
Then, after you've searched 60 pages for absolutely no reason, and even though you've already found what you wanted on page 2, you are bound to find something inappropriate.
Then it's: "Let's just click on the link to see if it's really inappropriate or just looks that way".
Then it's: "I can't believe you can find this stuff looking for such an innocent item!"
And: "look! that too!"
"Tsk, Tsk, really terrible..."
"I'm going to "X" this out in a second"
"Wow, did you see that?!"

Do I need to continue?

 

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

 
The Yetzer Hara is a very smart guy.

First he tells you, "it's nothing, just curiosity. I'm just looking. I have no interest in this stuff."

Then he says, "it's harmless chatting. No big deal!"

And before you know it, he has you falling so far and so fast that you don't even know what hit you!

He's an old pro.. been in the business for thousands of years!

Baruch Hashem, you've come here before you've fallen too far.

But it's imperative for you to realize that you are at the brink. And it's a long nasty way down from here.

So grab onto the lifeline GYE is throwing you.

Don't look back!

And sign up for the 90 day chart.

May today be
the first day of the rest of your life!

 
631.


Sunday  ~  28 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 15, 2009

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Uri's Back!


Uri is a 21 year old with SA (sexual addiction). He suffers from depression and comes from an insecure home. He's been "rocking" our forum for the past half a year with his emotional and inspiring posts, but he took a break from the forum for a few weeks when his sex-addiction therapist suggested that he connect more with real life as opposed to the "virtual life" on the computer. But now he's back in full swing - and in honor of his return I'd like to bring today a bunch of great posts from Uri from the past few days. Uri's posts are especially precious because in them, Uri shares with us the wisdom that he is internalizing from his sex-addiction therapist.

After a few weeks break, Uri posted last week:

 

Sorry I haven't posted here in a while.

I was at
Rav Shlachter and today we discussed "feelings".

First, let's review the three basics of life:
- Fear
- Control
- Trust
According to his opinion (and I challenged it no end till I saw its truth), life basically revolves around these three things.

We have fear (insecurities and such) and we need a feeling of security - a feeling of being emotionally alive; existential security. That is most fundamental thing of all.

We often run to "controls", which are illusionary forms of escape.
This could be: sex, shutting down, food, alcohol, sleep, depression, etc...

The secret is, that if we would just not run to those controls and instead just be aware of our fears, then naturally we would come to a feeling of trust. We'd find trust naturally. By just being honest with ourselves and with how we feel, and by doing the right thing by being real, this alone would give us the courage to face our fears.

The more we turn to these "controls", the less we trust and know how to trust.

And along those lines, we discussed emotions and talked about being honest with ourselves about how we feel.

"I am feeling a strong sense of insecurity."
"I feel helpless."
"I feel afraid."
"I feel angry."

Get this...
The more we run from a fear, the more it controls us. Because now we've "sealed" our fate. We can't face this fear. We will always be on the defense from it, and we will always be worried that it will creep up on us.

By escaping to p**n, we are handing control over to the p**n.
Let it go.

Rav Shlachter has full faith that anyone who undertakes to be real with themselves about their emotions and accept them, will advance greatly in healing from their addiction.

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

Update on my life...

I now have a job working in a sefarim store. Geshmak! 
I'm with seforim and people all day...
And they love me because I know the seforim and pick things up quickly.
In general, my life's been on the up.
I'm becoming much happier with myself and therefore less depressed.
Life can be a bit scary sometimes, but aren't all adventures?

As I feel more internal strength and build up security, I feel the courage to start facing more issues of mine and dealing with them much more productively than ever before. It is definitely a process, which requires time & patience... (my patience still needs a lot of work, but that too takes patience ;-)

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A new member posted a question on the forum:


In yeshiva the answer to everything was always: "Learn and Daven, that will take away your problems". Well, it didn't. Now learning and davening has become the most unpleasant chore. Does that mean there is no hope?


Uri Responds:


Welcome to the chevra. 
There are many different approaches here.
Some are more focused on staying sober.
Some on connecting more to life.
Some on connecting more to Hashem.
The ideal should be to attain all 3.
Find whatever tools work for you and use them.

I can share my story a bit here, cuz I think we are similar in where we are coming from.
I went to one of the most prestigious yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael.
I was one of the top bochurim in my year, and was admired by rebbeim and friends alike.
But I could not stop masturbating and falling here and there, going to places I shouldn't and sleeping around.
Every time I fell, I just reinforced my determination to stay clean and grow and focus more on learning and davening. I was sure that if I just became a "complete real masmid" then I would be happy with myself and not be depressed anymore and not have to go sin.
So I shteiged away for months.
And I became steadily more and more depressed till once again, I hit rock bottom.
I was so depressed that I almost killed myself.
And I went out and sinned.
And that's where I stayed.
I left my yeshiva.
I was nobody now. I couldn't learn nothing.
I knew finally that the answer was not in learning and davening.
I was messed up. And I needed help.

After months of intensive therapy, my addiction was revealed (yes it took that long).
I was desperate for love and security, and I had always thought that I could "find it" in sex.

Today I work in a sefarim store and learn when I can.
I am going to college, and my emuna and bitachon are getting stronger all the time.
I am still in therapy and have changed in ways I never would've dreamed imaginable.
And I'm a bunch of months without sex, and pretty much over it.
And I'm much happier and in touch with life and with people than I can ever remember.

We addicts usually have a messed up view of life, and usually had a messed up childhood too.
Those problems need to be addressed.
Until then, you can learn as much as Rav Elyashiv, but that won't change anything.

Stick with us.
We've been there, and countless people have healed through this forum - which has some of the bravest warriors this world has ever seen.

Kol tuv
-Uri

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

 

Uri writes to another struggling warrior on the forum:


Instead of fighting the lust and urge to "act-out" on a daily basis, we need to deal with the core issue.
What is the core issue?
That we have no feeling of emotional existential security.
Meaning: I don't feel happy with myself. I don't feel alive. I don't feel secure.
Acting-out brings an illusion of security.
It's a security from those feelings of insecurity and fear.
It's an understandable attempt (though futile of course) at controlling that fear, if only for a few moments.
"Here is a place where I am safe".

It's very secure feeling insecure.
We want to control this feeling of fear.
We want to control events around us.
Hiding and escaping is a form of control.

But is there another option?
I sure hope so, cuz that first option sucks.

We need to build a feeling of security and comfort with ourselves and our lives.
We need to confront and experience the fear.
We can say, "I am afraid. I feel insecure."
Acknowledge our helplessness.
Accept our helplessness.

That's step one.


And if we just hold off on the need to be in control, then naturally "trust" will cure the fear. This is a fact.

We just have to be aware of our fears and insecurities and be honest with ourselves. And just the fact that we no longer run to try and control it will give us faith that we can make it.

"Hashem, I am afraid, I am weak. Take care of me cuz I can't take care of myself."

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

 

Someone posted on the forum how they are falling down a slippery slope by using chat rooms to find potential partners for sin. Uri writes:

Hashem desires the heart, my friend, and it is clear how badly you want to be good. Unfortunately, we are addicted to lust, and this is not something we can change without a serious change in us.

A red line would be useful though.
A few months ago, I decided that my red line would be no sex.

(See Chizuk e-mail #579 on this page for "Uri's Red-Line")

Masturbation was a story of its own, but live relationships a "no go".
And you know what?
It wasn't such a hard decision to make.
Why?
I've been in several relationships in my young life, and they have all caused me serious pain.
There's always an intense amount of insecurity on both sides (no matter how hidden), and the emotional damage that these relationships do is far more than the trouble's worth.
So I beg of you.
Stop playing with fire.
Especially when you won't even enjoy the fire.

 

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

 

I learned something today in the Ramchal that I simply must share.

His question is often asked:
- Why are some people poor and some rich?
- Why do some suffer while some have seemingly easier lives?
- Why do some of us struggle with SA, while other people can get by without it?
- Why are many of us depressed with so many insecurities, while others not?
- Why do so many of us come from insecure homes while others come from unconditionally loving families?

The answer:
Hashem created the world in an imperfect state.
This is our job: To perfect the world.
Hashem therefore sent certain neshamos down with certain missions to perfect parts of the creation.
It is known that there is a individual mission, and a global mission.
My neshama has certain imperfections which I have to work on.
And then there is the world's imperfections - which certain types of people have the koach to change.

Some people are rich so that they can work on "giving". Because the world needs a certain amount of giving to be fixed. And the world needs a certain amount of "mesiras nefesh" to be fixed. The more difficult the nisayon, the greater effect it has on the world at large. Those that are poor were hand-picked by Hashem for this mission, because they have the ability to withstand this nisayon.

Chevra, we all know one serious defect this world has - and has always had: Lust.
It's maybe the biggest one out there.
And Hashem hand-picked some of his greatest neshamos and sent us on this mission.
So we unknowingly come down to this world, and our house sucks, and our life is difficult, and the lust rages and burns within us.
And when we overcome it, hen we fix it....
chevra, we are fixing the world.
Gevaldig!

 
632.


Monday  ~  29 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  November 16, 2009

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

Two Announcements

 

1. A Special Guest


This coming Thursday night, Elya will be having a special guest on
his conference call; the famous Michelle Rappaport, CSAT, LPC.  She is a renowned addiction therapist who was on Elya's call once before, over a year ago. Please see this page for some notes from that memorable call. She was actually the one who introduced the entire concept of 90 days to GYE. (And on that phone-call, Jack undertook the 90 day journey. Today, Jack is over a year clean. See his inspiring time-line here, but I digress...) If you have a particular topic you would like Michelle to address, please send your idea to us here - or to Elya here.

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

 

2. If you want Professional Clinical Therapy, NOW is your chance!


Mrs. Zeva Citronenbaum LCSWR CSAT is starting a new cycle of her Tuesday night group very soon. Please see this page for more information on her group.

Mrs. Zeva Citronenbaum LCSWR CSAT is the expert known to the Jewish Chassidic and Litvish world in recovery, offering clinical help to healing individuals, couples, and families facing addiction and trauma. 


Please contact Zeva to register:

Tel: 845-222-0580
Confidential Hotline
acoachservice@yahoo.com

 


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

Testimonial of the Day

Forget About the Lust


A 24 year old Bochur writes a beautiful post that we can all learn a lot from:
 

Thank you GYE! I want you to know that I've only fallen once in watching inappropriate things since I joined GYE about 4 months ago. I can't believe it myself, and although I still fall occasionally with mast**, this is tremendous growth I never dreamed of. I used to act out for 8-9 hours a day on average - every day!

 

I'm very proud of my progress, and B"H the battle has gotten substantially easier.

 

I'm part of Duvid Chaim's 12-Step group and I'm working very hard in following the program, getting rid of my ego, and of R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritability & Discontent) in general, and in being more of a "giver". Both I and the people around me have been noticing the changes in my character and I feel like I'm a lighter, fresher person. For an addict in recovery, emunah and bitachon must be etched into our minds, hearts, and incorporated into our daily lives, and I see this slowly taking place in my own life.

 

As a fighter by nature, when I first joined GYE I was white-knuckling my way to sobriety. And although I was able to hit longer streaks clean, I can't say that I worked on the root of the problem. As a matter of fact, because I was fighting for control and power over my addiction, in place of ridding myself of my ego and my need to control, I was adding to it!

 

While "white-knuckling" may have given me quantity, I feel that the 12-Step program gives me quality. Duvid Chaim warned us that the 12-Steps program is for progressive change, and I certainly can't undo years and years of knots in a single sitting. Duvid Chaim recommended that I go to a hospital and visit sick and needy people (which I did). He mentioned that by focusing on my character, my "need" to change it, and my "need" to break away from my addiction, I continue to place myself in the spotlight of my mind (my own needs), and that focusing on someone else's needs will help me get "out of my head". Instead of fighting my lust, I should forget about it (and I don't mean to let my guard down and to tear down any fences) and forget about my R.I.D, and just work on being a better person of lesser ego (according to the guidelines of the program, of-course). Since my R.I.D and lust are fueled by my ego, the ego front (and all that that entails) is the only front I should really be battling. It's amazing to think that I can learn to deal with my lust problem without putting it in the scope at all!

 

On another note: I've had tremendous success in not crossing my red-line to not use visual stimulation on-line (i.e. p*rn) to feed my lust. Since the time I've been here on GYE, I've only fallen in this area only once, and that was nearly 90 days ago. Still, even with my success, I don't attribute it to myself and to my own strength, but only to Hashem, that in His kindness threw me a bone. And this is how I feel about passing any test. Whether we know it or not, it's not because of our own power. Although the 12-Step program speaks of powerlessness in the specific area of our addiction, I feel that in reality we are powerless in every area - only that in some areas Hashem makes it easier for us, while in this specific area, Hashem forces us to realize our powerlessness more than anywhere else. And that's really a blessing in disguise, because then we can start to see Hashem's hand much clearer in all our affairs!


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

It's Not About the Lust


Daily Dose of Dov


Dov adds/responds to the post above:
 

Practically speaking, recovery is not about lust at all, just as AA recovery is not about alcohol, per se. It's about us, right? And we aren't "lust", are we? It's just that we are so screwed up in the body, head, and heart that we actually act as though using lust will help us out!

Now, in recovery, annoyingly and sometimes painfully using the steps in our daily struggles of money, people, and stuff that happens to us - enables many of us to get ourselves out of the way. That helps because "self-concern", it turns out, is strangely our worst enemy of all. In fact, it may be our only enemy. Just as an aside, I, for one, do not consider "lust" my enemy at all. I do what I can to stay free of it because using it is deadly for me, yes, but today it's clear to me that Hashem was actually hiding from me in lust - the very last place I'd ever think to look for Him. He has quite a sense of humor, no?


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

Tips of the Day


Some Tips from a Newcomer

Nesanel Writes:
 

I am 20 years old and a good boy, overall. I discovered pornography and masturbation at about age 13 or so. I got very into both of those things and etched those neuron pathways in good and deep, turning it into an addiction. I've tried to stop countless times, but just couldn't.

This year in yeshiva is my strongest year ever. So far I've had a 42 day campaign, followed by a 33 day campaign (on the GYE chart). And now that I'm on the forum, I hope to get lots of support from my holy brothers here, and to give lots of support to others as well. 

Although I have not made it to Day 90 yet, I've assembled a list of things that work for me. Perhaps others can learn something from it. There are 3 categories:

Physical

The base level of trouble with regard to masturbating is physically stimulating the milah. Obviously touching the milah deliberately to excite is problematic, but even just casually rubbing or flicking or whatever can be problematic. Therefore, my first rule is never to touch the milah ever under any circumstances. Also, if a certain body position is associated with masturbation you must avoid it. For example, I psychologically associate lying on my back with this sin, so I make sure to never lie on my back. (All these tips are Halachos as well).

Visual

The handbook talks about this and it's pretty obvious, but you have to do your best to stay away from any and all inappropriate visual contact with anything triggering. Thank G-d I don't have an issue with the internet because I have a great filter, but even one glimpse at an attractive woman can set me haywire sometimes, if she strikes me a certain way. 

Therefore, one must avoid women in general, and if you must go out, make sure to enter "low-scan mode". That means to lower your gaze so you can see in front of you about 5-10 feet, so you don't see women from far away.

Mental

Fantasies come and go even to the greatest of people. You can't feel bad about the fact that you get them, because everyone does. The problem is when we continue thinking about them. The way to deal with fantasies is to distract yourself with other things. 

THE BIGGEST YESOD IN FIGHTING THE YETZER HARA IN GENERAL, IS TO REALIZE THAT HE IS STRONG AND WE ARE WEAK. How does one win a battle like that? By running away. Every time you feel a battle coming you MUST distract yourself immediately. (For me, learning or reviewing math helps distract me a lot).

 
633.


Tuesday  ~  30 Cheshvan, 5770  ~  Rosh Chodesh Kislev ~ November 17, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • Parable of the Day: The Prisoner Sees the End as Imminent
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Lust is a Fallen Urge of the Soul
  • Daily Dose of Dov: GYE Isn't Always Enough
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "Healing, Not Feelings"
  • Quote of the Day: E-Mail from G-d
  • Article of the Day: "Love Sick"
  • Repeat of Announcements: (1) Special Guest (2) Zeva's Group

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

Parable of the Day

The Prisoner Sees the End as Imminent


Rage (a lawyer) posted on the forum to someone who felt that they'd never make it to 90 days:
 

Last week I was in court and the case right before mine was a sentencing for a guy who held up some bodegas... I've never seen a sentencing before, it's really fascinating. The guy's wife and mom were there and the criminal got to make a statement too. And this poor fat stupid shlub was begging the judge to sentence him to the bottom end of the sentencing guidelines, which was 5 years in federal prison... The crook and the lawyer made such emotional pleas to get 63 months in jail... ("He's a good man who made mistakes."..."I have a wife to come back to that I must take care of," etc. etc.) and they were absolutely delighted when the judge gave him the 63 months.... He was smiling and laughing like he just won a trip to Hollywood... it made me realize that the prisoner truly sees the end of the five years as imminent... He sees it in front of his face... And that got me thinking, that if 5 years can be imminent, then so can 3 months... Keep strong! It'll be here soon, with G-d's help...


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

Torah Thought of the Day

Lust is a Fallen Urge of the Soul


Yechidah posted:
 

I have seen this concept in many places (including GYE), and also in "Flames of Faith" by Zev Reichman page 65, which I read this past Shabbos:

Lessons of the Body


What is the body's strongest impulse? I would argue that it is lust. Lust is a mask of a heavenly and soulful force, Chessed, the desire to spread out and connect with others.

In a footnote he explains this: It says in the Torah "A man who marries his sister... it is Chessed... and they will be cut off .." Chesed? That's a strange word for a terrible sin. The Baal Shem explained that the verse included the word Chesed to teach that lowly lustful desires are a misapplication of the Heavenly drive for Chessed. The verse is bemoaning the disgrace saying, "Lust? How could MISAPPLY CHESSED, the most radiant and important of character trait!

Lust is when I seek to connect with others, (especially of the opposite gender) for my own selfish pleasure.

Chessed is the elevated form of this urge; desire to connect with others in order to give and to help them, and an urge to attach oneself to God.

Lust, as the most virulent bodily desire, teaches that generous giving is the most powerful urge of the soul.

THE BODY'S LUST DRIVE IS ENORMOUSLY POWERFUL; THAT SHOULD TEACH US HOW DEEPLY THE SOUL DESIRES CHESSED.

Perhaps the following thought might help one overcome improper drives: The animal soul is ascendant when lust is actualized. If one acts according to the dictates of the selfish desires, one is little better than the beasts of the wild. On the other hand, when one displays selfless giving, the Heavenly soul shines through the body.

When experiencing lust temptation the body is reflecting a fallen urge of the soul. It is a moment to engage in Chesed - selfless giving to other humans and to do for G-d.


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

GYE Isn't Always Enough


Daily Dose of Dov


Dov writes to someone who keeps having repeated falls:
 

Dear friend,

You may need more support than you are getting, particularly the non-virtual kind. After all, our problem isn't just "virtual"...

I am absolutely positive that, in my case, there was no substitute for biting the bullet and meeting to talk in person with other guys who were sober. Specifically other guys who were at least as bad off as I was (or worse) to start with (in fact, worse off was better, cuz it proved more to me of the power of recovery!).

All of the people in the live SA groups know exactly what it feels like to think of something that is totally self-destructive and to desire it anyway. We all know the excruciating pain of not acting out our crazy ideas - even though they are totally nuts. So we are not ashamed of admitting it to each other, thank G-d, and we can finally get - and remain - completely honest about it with somebody.

How long will the addict remain afraid to get the gruesome details - in all their shameful stupidity - out into the light? Well however long it takes, that is probably how long this stupidity will still hold sway over him. (The tzetel koton of Reb Elimech of Lizensk is similar on this - he says that we need to tell our every deed and thought to a close friend in order to break the power of the evil)...

And that is just the very first step, you know. G-d has a lot of work to do on us, cuz we can get a lot better, you know.

Stop accepting the scraps off the table. Get a big bite of the main meal!!

This virtual thing (like the GYE forum) is a giant leap in the right direction, don't get me wrong please. But if we see that we need more to make it, then how much more do we need to suffer and put our precious relationships at risk before taking the necessary painful steps?

For me, those steps were coming face-to-face with other addicts who saw right through all my BS and also knew my pain exactly - and yet they came out the other side alive. I needed meetings, a sponsor, and a LIVE and open, open, open fellowship with others like me to get better.

We are all afraid of a different life, until the one we have becomes totally unbearable, of course.

It all depends on what you want: the same, or better?


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

Attitude Tip of the Day


"HEALING, NOT FEELINGS!"

Chizkiyahu Writes:
 

I have wasted much time in the past obsessing about my feelings and mood swings. Depression and/or anxiety lead me to seek comfort and oblivion in my favorite "medicine".  

Of course this "medicine" (P and MB) is the sickness itself.  It merely leads to a new round of bad feelings, and the cycle repeats itself ad nausea ...

My new mantra is: "HEALING, NOT FEELINGS!"

It takes time to let the brain recover from this addiction and develop new thought patterns.   

For me, TRUE HEALING means breaking the negative cycle of addiction and developing a new, healthier mind-body chemistry. 

I am determined to give myself a 90-day break from this addiction NO MATTER HOW I FEEL!

I can't let the Yetzer Hara manipulate my feelings. I must focus on the healing.

For the rest of the 90 days, my mantra is: "HEALING, NOT FEELINGS!"

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

 

Join Chizukiyahu on his 90 Day Journey. Sign up here to the 90-Day chart!


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

Quote of the Day


An E-Mail From G-d
Posted by "7up"
 

To: YOU 
Date: TODAY 
From: GOD 
Subject: YOURSELF
Reference: LIFE 

This is God. Today I will be handling All of your problems for you. I do Not need your help. So have a nice day.

P.S. And, remember... if life delivers a situation to you that you cannot handle, do Not attempt to resolve it yourself! Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME. All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours...
I love you.


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

Article of the Day


"Love Sick"
Excerpts from an on-line article about sexual addiction
 

Silverman details that period of her life in her new memoir "Love Sick: One Woman's Journey Through Sexual Addiction'' (Norton, $24.95).

"I would use sex like a drug to numb pain,'' said Silverman, who now lives in the Lake Michigan community of Grand Haven. "I was using sex to numb out of the real pain, which was the pain of my childhood."

Research shows that sexual addiction affects an estimated 6 to 10 percent of people, said Elizabeth Griffin, chief operating officer of the American Foundation for Addiction Research in Minneapolis. The vast majority of those suffered emotional, sexual and/or physical abuse as children.

Sexual addiction is characterized by a compulsion to have sex, continuing the behavior despite its consequences and obsessively thinking about or planning for sex.

'Love Sick' provides an honest and deeply chilling account of what it's like to suffer from a compulsion to look for love in what are most definitely all the wrong places."

Silverman spent a month in an in-patient program to deal with her addiction in the late 1980s. She details her experiences, thoughts and feelings during those days in treatment in "Love Sick."

After leaving treatment, Silverman attended 12-step meetings and avoided turning on the TV or going to movies.

'It's really hard to be sober in a world that uses sex to sell everything,'' she said. "We use sex to sell love, movies, cars, children's clothing, art."

Griffin said it often takes more than one approach to overcome a sexual addiction.

"For most people, it also takes some therapy to deal with underlying issues, support from a 12-step group. It often takes using a psychiatrist, because depression and anxiety are earmarks of this disorder as well."


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

A Repeat of Yesterday's Two Announcements

 

1. A Special Guest


This coming Thursday night, Elya will be having a special guest on
his conference call; the famous Michelle Rappaport, CSAT, LPC.  She is a renowned addiction therapist who was on Elya's call once before, over a year ago. Please see this page for some notes from that memorable call. She was actually the one who introduced the entire concept of 90 days to GYE. (And on that phone-call, Jack undertook the 90 day journey. Today, Jack is over a year clean. See his inspiring time-line here, but I digress...) If you have a particular topic you would like Michelle to address, please send your idea to us here - or to Elya here.

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

 

2. If you want Professional Clinical Therapy, NOW is your chance!


Mrs. Zeva Citronenbaum LCSWR CSAT is starting a new cycle of her Tuesday night group very soon. Please see this page for more information on her group.

Mrs. Zeva Citronenbaum LCSWR CSAT is the expert known to the Jewish Chassidic and Litvish world in recovery, offering clinical help to healing individuals, couples, and families facing addiction and trauma. 


Please contact Zeva to register:

Tel: 845-222-0580
Confidential Hotline
acoachservice@yahoo.com

 
634.


Wednesday  ~  1 Kislev, 5770  ~  Rosh Chodesh ~ November 18, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • Mazal Tov to Kedusha: Half a Year Clean!
  • Q & A of the Day: The Recovery - Spiritual Connection
  • Quote of the Day: Happy I Fell
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Relationships & Sobriety
  • Saying of the Day: Just Don't Do It!
  • Last Repeat of Announcements: (1) Special Guest (2) Zeva's Group

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

MAZAL TOV TO "KEDUSHA"
Upon 6 Months Clean!
 

He has been upgraded to Level 8 on the "Wall of Honor" Chart.


"Kedusha" is one of GYE's most active members. He is always looking for ways to help promote GYE in the religious world, and to help other members grow. Just today, he posted a new incentive to help struggling members reach 90 days (see this post). And he was also the one to suggest the $90/90-Day initiative back in Elul (see here). He also recently sponsored some ads in a major Jewish magazine, and he sent letters to the Rabbanim of his community to make them aware of the dangers of the internet and of the work that we are doing in GYE (see here). He has sponsored various ads in the past, and has donated a number of times as well. He is in charge of arranging and encouraging the "Accountability Groups" (see this board) and he helps members find partners and sponsors as well (see this page). He has also tried to get interviews and write ups about GYE in various popular religious news outlets, and although he is not always successful, he never gives up!

If we had another few guys like Kedusha on the forum, GYE would be well known in every Jewish community throughout the world!

THANK YOU, KEDUSHA!

 

May you continue to be a source of inspiration and strength to us all, and may you go Mechayil El Choyil!

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

A Recent Testimonial by Kedusha for an ad in a Jewish Publication that he sponsored:

When I discovered GuardYourEyes, my life changed immensely. With the help of the anonymous forum, daily Chizuk e-mails, handbooks and, of course, G-d, I'm no longer ridden with guilt and, therefore, am in a much better position to work on being a good husband and father. Tremendous thanks - from me and my family!


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

Here are some inspiring posts from Kedusha from the past:

 

When "Kedusha" first joined he wrote:


I have faced Nisyonos in this area for years. Before Yom Kippur this year, I installed an Internet filter to which only my wife has the password (and if the password gets lost, only she can have it e-mailed to her account, to which I have no access).
 
I first got the Internet almost 12 years ago, and I stumbled the first day (I had my clean periods, but they never lasted. Instead, I kept doing Teshuva, sinning again, doing Teshuva, sinning again, etc.). I had serious issues before the Internet, as well.  

I have been aware of this site for a number of weeks, but only now have I registered. I have read and benefited from a great deal of the wonderful materials that you have to offer, including the newly published.

How did I stay clean for the past 7 days? On the first few days, by counting the hours, then by counting the days. But always concentrating on being clean for one day at a time, and receiving Chizuk from this site. I've been feeling better about myself each day, and appreciating my wife, who I am noticing is far more beautiful than the forbidden images will ever be.

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


I find that being clean and sober makes it much easier for me to sleep peacefully and wake up rejuvenated.  It's hard to put a price on a good night's sleep, which is very important for our physical and mental health.  For that alone, it is well worth it for me to stay clean.

Falling in this area robs us of sleep in several ways. First we stay up half the night (or more) viewing pornography and otherwise giving into our y"h. Afterwards, we are feeling too stimulated and/or guilty to fall asleep.

A good night's sleep is just one of the many fringe benefits of sobriety.

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


Here's an idea: If confronted by the Y"H, politely explain that you don't have time at the moment, but that you would be willing to make an appointment. Take out your calendar and explain that you're all booked for today, but are available at, say 3:00 P.M. tomorrow (I say "tomorrow," because that's consistent with the concept of "one day at a time").  In the meantime, do what you can to strengthen yourself, including getting support from others on or off this forum. Make sure you are in a safe place at the designated time, and apologize profusely, but explain that you need to reschedule again...  You get the picture!

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


I have my filter set to block Google Video and all such video search engines. Even though the filter limits all searches to "Safe-Search," there is no end to the Pritzus that would still be let through. On-line videos are just not for me at all, even for the kosher stuff. It's sort of like going to McDonald's to buy some kosher lettuce and tomatoes!

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

 

Yesterday I had to remove a dead bird from my basement.  It was quite unpleasant and disgusting.  But the feelings of unpleasantness and disgust were short-lived, and I "recovered" pretty quickly. Compare this to when we, chas veshalom, engage in disgusting behavior that affect our Neshama. In that case, the feelings of pain and disgust are much worse, and take much longer to go away.  So next time anyone is tempted, just remember: you'd be far better off picking up a dead bird than giving into your temptation!

Note: This reminds me of a story I heard with one of the previous Karliner Rebbe's. He was once served an expensive dish of cooked pigeon. When he felt pulled after the desire, he stopped himself and began to think about all the places the bird hung out, in garbage, in excrement. And he thought about the things the bird ate, worms, insects, until the Rebbe began to gag and pushed away the plate.

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

 

I just wanted to share the news that I've decided to aim for a life of pleasure. The question is, how to achieve that? By giving into lust and inappropriate sexual desire? I know from experience that, after experiencing some brief pleasure, I am totally miserable when I do that, and it takes days just to BEGIN recovering.

So, whatever it means to live a life of pleasure, it will require me to stay clean and sober, one day at a time.

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

 

Kedusha wrote today on the forum:


I just shared with Guard something remarkable. May 18, 2009, which was day #1 for me, was also the busiest day in the GYE forum history!

As it says:
"Most Online Ever: 227 (May 18, 2009, 12:46:26 AM)"

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

Two Sayings by Kedusha:

"Fall today? NO WAY!"
 
"An alcoholic needs to avoid that first sip;
a sexaholic need to avoid that first slip!"


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

Q & A of the Day

The Recovery - Spiritual Connection

 

Dear Reb Guard,

Is there any connection between working on ones self in regard to lust and one's feelings/belief in Hashem? There is something that is probably the most basic fundamental of yiddishkeit that I have never truly felt or believed until these last few days. It has only been a week or so clean so I don't want to give myself false hope, but I was just wondering if this makes sense.

Definitely! You should read the book called "Light of Ephrayim"... It's written in a story form, but it talks a lot about these issues and he mentions there that according to Kabbala, one of the strongest consequences of these sins is that they cut a person off from "feeling" spirituality and they distance his Emunah. That is perhaps why the Zohar says that one can't do Teshuvah for these sins. How can that be? A Jew can always do teshuvah! So of-course this is not literal, but what it probably means is that one can't do teshuvah because the more one does these sins, the less he FEELS a need/desire to do teshuvah... (see a great post from Dov 
over here about this)... And the opposite is true too. The more we cut down and purify ourselves, the more we start to feel spirituality and regain our Emunah... So, yes, Wow. That shows you are truly making some serious progress there. Keep up the great work!

That description from Kaballah seems really accurate. I've really felt spiritually dead for as long as I can remember and it sounds crazy, but now it's all coming back to life (or being born, more accurately). I've been davening to Hashem each night not to take this close feeling I have to Him away and I can really thank Him every morning that it is still there. I can't believe it, but this is all thanks to you and the 12 steps. Is that book "Light of Ephrayim" a good one to buy?

It's a good book to read... it has some great insights, but it mainly addresses the spiritual side of these issues, while on GYE we try to address both the spiritual, emotional and psychological issues as well... But sure, some people have told me that the book changed their life.

I just want to warn you that what you are feeling now (more spiritual) is a gift from Hashem to show you what your goal is and how much you can achieve. However, these feelings are sometimes taken away from a person after he was given a "taste of it", and then he must go it alone. It is important to train yourself not depend on these good feelings for recovery. Very often when these feelings leave, the person feels disillusioned and experiences as fall. However, if you try to see it now only as a gift and you prepare yourself properly, then even when the feelings are taken away, you will still be strong. Also, you should try to store these feelings for the future - to recall what it is like to be close to Hashem. In Jewish Hashkafic/Kabbalistic works, this is what is known as a "Reshima". We need to keep the Reshima from the "Highs" to keep us strong in the "lows".

Thank you for the advice and for always being there. I've really worked hard this past week on changing myself and recovering. The 12 Steps have been great - changing how I think and understanding that Hashem will take care of me through this. It's hard to explain but all the mitzvos I'm able to do I am starting to see in a different light and really appreciate.


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

Quote of the Day

Happy I Fell


"Withgdshelps" posted:
 

I fell today, but I'm actually happy that I fell!

I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty or angry at all!

I admitted, regretted, and resolved to do better, shortly after my fall.

Then I immersed in the mikvah, said tikkun haklali, and kept learning Torah all day.

I don't think I've ever been this happy before in my life!

Why?

Well for one, I was clean for a day longer this time than I was the last time!


Secondly - this gives me an opportunity to learn from my fall. I'm gonna stop watching all video media (except for Torah and mitzvah related videos) - no more TV, no more movies, nothing.

I got so accustomed to watching regular TV shows and movies, but I see now that this is what gets me on the slope to fall.

Baruch Hashem. The yetzer hara may have gotten this sin outta me, but he didn't get any anger, depression or guilt!

I love my Father in Heaven and I'm excited to have the opportunity to re-align my priorities and emerge from this fall even stronger!

I've been learning a lot of Breslov lately (can you tell?)  

There was one line in a Breslov pamphlet that really struck me: "You can't be happy and angry at the same time". You also can't be happy and depressed. You also can't be happy and worried."

By living life with pure joy, no negative emotions have any room to enter. No negative emotions, no feelings of deep lacking, no pathetic attempts at inappropriate stimulation to fill the void - because there is no void!

I'm not gonna grow payos and a long beard and go dancing in the streets (for the sake of shalom bayis :) ... but Rebbe Nachman was a genius and a True Tzaddik!


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

Relationships & Sobriety


Daily Dose of Dov


Dov talks about family relationships, before & after recovery:
 

Until today, my oldest son and I have deep difficulties in communication and basic lack of faith in each others' love that I trace directly to the fact that he was an obstacle to my lust back then, before I started in recovery. It actually gets more obvious (and more painful to see) as I get saner, even though things are definitely on the mend. In fact, while I was acting out - or as I like to put it: "when I act out" - everyone close to me is a pain in the a%%. The relationship I have with my "sobriety babies" (the ones born after I got sober and started recovery over 10 years ago) and the ones born before, in those years of turmoil, is very different.

And as far as the relationship of wife and I, it never ceases to amaze us how little we really had to do with each other before sobriety. I have come to believe that I avoided her emotionally. Even though I "seemed" to be  a decent husband and a nice guy to live with for the most part  - aside from the unsightly betrayal of frequent escapades in desperate search of that good 'ol lust-high, of course.

Just a thought.


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

Saying of the Day


Just Don't Do It
Posted by "Efshar lesaken"
 

You know that Nike line, "Just Do It!?"
Well after the fact you will say, "Ok, I Did It! Now What?"

Instead we say, "Just Don't Do It!"

You will love yourself for it later.


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

Last Repeat of Two Announcements

 

1. A Special Guest


This coming Thursday night, Elya will be having a special guest on
his conference call; the famous Michelle Rappaport, CSAT, LPC.  She is a renowned addiction therapist who was on Elya's call once before, over a year ago. Please see this page for some notes from that memorable call. She was actually the one who introduced the entire concept of 90 days to GYE. (And on that phone-call, Jack undertook the 90 day journey. Today, Jack is over a year clean. See his inspiring time-line here, but I digress...) If you have a particular topic you would like Michelle to address, please send your idea to us here - or to Elya here.

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

 

2. If you want Professional Clinical Therapy, NOW is your chance!


Mrs. Zeva Citronenbaum LCSWR CSAT is starting a new cycle of her Tuesday night group very soon. Please see this page for more information on her group.

Mrs. Zeva Citronenbaum LCSWR CSAT is the expert known to the Jewish Chassidic and Litvish world in recovery, offering clinical help to healing individuals, couples, and families facing addiction and trauma. 


Please contact Zeva to register:

Tel: 845-222-0580
Confidential Hotline
acoachservice@yahoo.com

 
635.


Thursday  ~  2 Kislev, 5770  ~  November 19, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • Testimonial of the Day: My Marriage Turned Around
  • Battle Communication: Insights from a Close Call
  • Q & A of the Day: Repression
  • Quote of the Day: "Why aren't they in a group yet?"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Hightail it out of Dodge!
  • Article of the Day: When Cancer Came Knocking
  • Saying of the Day: Tzadik vs. Malach
  • Two Announcements: (1) Special Guest TONIGHT (2) Boruch's Group

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

Testimonial of the Day


My Marriage Turned Around
 

Reb Guard,

First of all thanks for all that you do on daily basis on behalf of Klal Yisroel. 


In the past 2 weeks I've been in contact with Elya K on the hotline and b"h I've been clean for 10 days. But the most amazing change that has happened over the last 10 days has been my relationship with my wife. I used to have this subconscious resentment towards her, thinking that she was causing me slightly to turn to pornography based on her personality and moods. But after just one phone session with Elya, my marriage turned around. I've learned that this whole pornography issue is solely my responsibility, and my very supportive wife has been doing way more than her share in helping me get through this. I've come to appreciate her personality much more now, and I've also come to realize that her moods were a mere reflection of my feelings of subconscious resentment towards her that she was noticing. She really has changed in my eyes from a wife that (I thought) was turning me towards pornography to an Aishes Chayil that is supportive, understanding and a fan that wants nothing more than for me to overcome this.

I can go on and on about how positive I feel, but there is only that much that words can explain. It's an internal simcha that's been part of me for the past 10 days, from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep.


Guys, please continue your AWESOME work and notify other men to realize that from the moment you take the burden onto your shoulders and off of your spouses, there is no obstacle to the love that you should be feeling in a healthy marriage.

Thanks,
Yechiel


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

Battle Communication

Insights from a Close Call
Posted by Eye.Nonymous


This is the first time I had some major insights FROM A CLOSE CALL, instead of FROM A FALL, Thank G-d!

First of all, I used the forum in a way I never have before. I was desperate so I sent out distress PMs to some familiar names there. Until now, I've felt sort of impersonal just posting and reading posts. Now I feel a bit more part of the family.

I also sent in my questionnaire for a phone sponsor to the partner gabai.

The responses I got were basically to go for a walk or go for some coffee. I couldn't really go anywhere though. I was at home with just my 2 year old daughter, who was taking a nap, and my 8 year old son was due home in about a half hour.

I did change the atmosphere, though. I relaxed with some music, which I haven't really done in years.

I dropped my plans to work today. I'm translating this really frustrating booklet. In this mood, it would just bog me down.

I am generally a determined kinda' guy. I tend to set goals for myself and then run myself frantic to keep up with them. I set some rather ambitions learning goals about a week ago. I was suspicious already a couple of days ago that it would end up being counter-productive. I have decided to reduce them, relax a little bit about it, and to find something refreshing to learn some of the time.

I told my wife to get a babysitter for this evening and we should go for a walk together.

I feel like I'm slowly peeling away more and more layers, like an onion. I've recently noticed this depressed feeling that drags me down until I fall. And thank G-d, I've managed to avoid it.

Today I was bothered because I couldn't figure out WHAT was causing my attack.

I think that there may be a subtle (or maybe not so subtle) undercurrent of TENSION in my life. I wasn't so aware of it, because it felt like ACCOMPLISHMENT instead.

But somehow, listening to music was able to ward off the yetzer hara.

I think I needed to chill more.

Thank you everyone for your responses. You kept me from falling!


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

Q & A of the Day

Repression

Hi Reb Guard, My therapist mentioned to me that repression will lead to self hate and loathing. I was just interested to know your response.

It seems to me that your therapist is obviously not trained in addiction. As any addiction therapist knows, an alcoholic is allergic to alcohol and cannot take even the first sip or he will fall back into his destructive addiction. It is the same with lust addicts. We have to avoid even the first slip. If we are allergic to lust, once we start we can't stop, and can quickly spiral down out of control. A lust addict who takes that first lust-hit, even if clean for a while, can fall so fast and hard that he can hit rock-bottom in no time!
 
Chazal understood the nature of lust addiction and taught us that there is one limb in a man that: "the more you feed it, the more hungry it gets. The more you starve it, the more satiated it feels"...


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

Quote of the Day

Why Aren't They in a Group Yet?

"Steve" wrote:
 

There are so many people here that could benefit from a 12-Step program. MY HEART GOES OUT TO THEM. All those posts from the men & women on this fantastic forum, yet it seems they're just repeating an endless cycle of attempting 90+ days, Fall, Blog-a-lot, Sobriety, attempt 90+ days, feeling weak, Fall, blog-a-lot, etc.

From the program's "guarantee" (which is what brought me here), I think there could be a lot more permanent yeshuos for everyone if they would join a 12-Step group, or at least a phone conference like Duvid Chaim's call. Why are they not in a group yet? From what I am learning and what I hear, this seems to really be the ONLY WAY for an addict. The rest of the strategies are just trying to keep "on guard", which is not the real solution.


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

Daily Dose of Dov


Hightail it out of Dodge!


Someone posted that the struggle is too hard and he feels like giving up.
Dov responds:
 

When I feel that way, I get me to a meeting. We gotta get out of our heads and take actions of love whenever we are too filled up with self-concern, even good self-concern - and it's too much self-concern if it is leading me a direction like giving up, sadness, or anything else that can't possibly be what Tatty wants for me. Hightail it out of Dodge, buddy!

Are you really unable to use lust?

 

To another person Dov writes:


Ask yourself if you still really believe you are unable to use the behaviors you used to depend on, and if you are unable to control them at all and are really finished with them. Then, ask Hashem to help you stay clean today. I never ask for His help to tomorrow. (Ok, really I do because I'm not all that healthy, but I usually quickly correct my mistake and ask for only today!)

Take Hashem with you through each step you take. It'll be OK.


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

Article of the Day


An excerpt from an Article at Aish.com called:
"When Cancer Came Knocking"
 

I once asked our oncologist if it wasn't depressing to work with sick and dying people all the time. His answer blew me away. "Everyone is going to die," he said, leaning forward over his desk, "some sooner than later. It's how we choose to live our lives that matters. My job brings me into the company of wonderful people who, despite illness and suffering, have chosen to live. I can't think of any job more rewarding than that."

It really is all about how we choose to live. So many times over the past few years people have told me that they are amazed at how positive we are. And I tell them, "It's just a matter of attitude. We can choose to sit, cry and give in to depression, or we can say, Okay, this is my life, and I'm going to live it as best as I can!"


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

Saying of the Day


Tzadik vs. Malach
By "Mevakesh"
 

Someone who can stare temptation in the face without being swayed must be a Malach. A Tzaddik, on the other hand, is someone who avoids situations where he may be tempted.


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

Two Announcements

 

(1)
A Special Guest TONIGHT


Tonight, Thursday night, Elya will be having a special guest on
his conference call; the famous Michelle Rappaport, CSAT, LPC.  She is a renowned addiction therapist who was on Elya's call once before, over a year ago. Please see this page for some notes from that memorable call. She was actually the one who introduced the entire concept of 90 days to GYE. (And on that phone-call, Jack undertook the 90 day journey. Today, Jack is over a year clean. See his inspiring time-line here, but I digress...) If you have a particular topic you would like Michelle to address, please send your idea to us here - or to Elya here.

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

 

(2)
An announcement from Boruch about his weekly

"Back to Basics" phone group

Due to changes in schedule and my current involvement in three 12-Step fellowships (Sexaholics Anonymous for lust, Overeaters Anonymous for overeating and Debtors Anonymous for compulsive debting, irrational spending and compulsive under-earning) which includes setting up new groups in all three fellowships I need to combine our SA phone group with a live face-to-face Step Taking meeting in NYC on Monday evenings 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM EST/EDT.

Here is the new information:

The call is Monday November 23rd, and every Monday
7:00 PM - 7:45 PM EST/EDT
 
The number to call is 218-844-8230
PIN CODE: 262350#

 
636.


Friday  ~  3 Kislev, 5770  ~  November 20, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • Parsha Thought of the Day: There can only be Yaakov if there's Esav
  • Battle Communication: Hashem Gives Us Special Help
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "If you feel totally out of control, you may be in luck!"
  • Tips of the Day: Two Strategies Against the Yetzer Hara

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

Parsha Thought of the Day


There can only be Yaakov if there's Esav.
 Sent by "IloveHashem"

I just wanted to share something that I heard in name of R' Yerucham. It say in this weeks parsha that Rivka went to Beis Shem ve'Eiver to ask about her difficult pregnancy. They told her that she was going to have two entirely different types of children. The meforshim understand that after she was told that, she was comforted. The question is, once she knew she was about to bring one of the most wicked people into the world, why on earth was she comforted? R' Yerucham explains that she was told a Yesod: one can only grow from having a bad side too. There can only be a Yaakov if there is also an a Eisav.

And in order to become klal yisroel and develop into the generation that would get the Torah, they had to be in Mitzrayim, one of the most impure places in the world. We find that only one mamzer was born during that entire period, and that was by force. It was through the merit of upholding Kedusha davka in the most impure place on Earth, that made us worthy of becoming "The Chosen Nation".

Those who struggle with lust have special souls that were put in this world of today, the most impure period in history, to purify ourselves and become one of the greatest people of all time.

But as I'm beginning to realize more and more (especially since my recent fall), it's just not manageable alone. We need to be more involved with others who are struggling too; on the forum, on the phone groups - and in SA groups. We need to get a therapist, accountability partners, sponsors, etc... and open up to others. We can't go it alone.

FORWARD, ON THE WAY TO PURITY!!


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

Battle Communication

Hashem Gives Us Special Help
Posted by MosheW


Although going strong for 28 days now, I almost just lost it due to "a regular everyday news story". As I was logging on to my e-mail account, there was a story about a controversial picture on the front cover of a magazine. Out of habit I clicked on it, but soon came to my senses before going down the slippery slope. Although I came close to throwing in the towel (I believe this was my closet call), I am glad and lucky that Hashem is on my side and I was able to walk away.

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


Today marks the big 30, it has been 30 days since I started my battle against the Yetzer Hara/addiction. During the last 30 days, he has taken unprecedented steps to get me back onto his side. His latest attempt started last night around 5:30 AM, he had me up against the ropes, I was already seeing double, and wobbling. I was both physically  and emotionally drained (I have not slept well for the past few nights). My brain was spinning so fast that during Maariv I was so torn that I am still not sure if I even said half the words. At one point I turned to the Ribono Shel Olam and said "You created him. He is Your problem. You deal with him". 


This morning (after another sleepless night), I was so weak that I had to drag myself out of bed and as usual, I went to the mikvah. I was so weak that I didn't have the strength to climb back out of the mikvah. While I was standing there I said to myself "Moshe you can't stay here forever, lets go". I then finished up and slowly made my way to shul. I said the short Yehi Ratzon before donning my tefillin with some extra feeling, and as I was making the bracha, Hashem infused me with simcha and strength like nothing I have ever felt before.

And that's not the end of the story my friends.


Yesterday I was in a used book store for the first time, that was known to have a Jewish section. I was browsing when I notice a book titled Toras Shimon. I picked up thinking it was something else, but upon closer inspection I saw that it was divrei torah from Rebbe Shimon Yoruslaver, one of the great chasidic giants. Who among us doesn't have a little chasidus in our hearts - and besides, the book was only $1.50 so I bought it. This morning I had a few minutes so I decided to look up a vort on this week's parshah. There were two, I read the first one and here it is:

(Bereishis 27:27) "And he smelled the scent of his garments".

Says the Rebbe, the Zohar Hakodesh explains the Torah's use of the word "Beged" over the word "Levush" when referring to Yaakov's garments, as alluding to those descendants of Yaakov who were bound to betray his legacy. The word "begadov - garment" and "bogdov - his betrayers" are similar in their spelling. But, continues the Rebbe, they were promised that they would eventually find the strength to wholeheartedly repent and emit a Godly scent of Teshuvah. It was this scent, explains the Rebbe, the scent of eventual Teshuvah from those who had betrayed, that was emanating from Yaakov's garments.

WOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This gave me a lot of strength. The wonderful scent that Yitzchak smelled on Yaakov was coming davka coming from those who had rebelled and had done teshuvah!

There were thousands of books in the store and I mistakenly picked this one up, only hours before I need it most when I was feeling the weakest.

It is my wish that the Ribono Shel Olom should give me and all of us the strength the reach a level of holiness where not just us - but even our garments - should emanate with the scent of kedusha.

Thank you and good shabbos.


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

Daily Dose of Dov


"If you feel totally out of control, you may be in luck!"


Dov writes to someone who posts how their life and marriage is being destroyed by lust - and that they can't stop acting out in the worst ways:
 

Dear holy person - it sounds like you are reaching out for help.

If you feel that you are not just a sinner, but are actually out of your mind - meaning: out of control - and have come to believe that you are pretty much hopelessly self-destructive, you may be in luck. Most of the folks who actually get helped in serious 12 step work are in that category. It's the ones that don't feel too far gone that have the really bad odds. More head-banging is needed sometimes, but Oy, the wreckage, the wreckage....

If you still feel you are just a really, really terrible person and that you must continue the struggle with your "yetzer hara" for Hashem's sake or whatever, then I have little to say to you. Talk to a rabbi... I am relatively certain you have already... well, is it working?

Per the cumulative track record you describe in the little I was able to read of your story, it seems to me that you are way past anything like moral imperatives or values having any effect. But please don't let that disturb you a bit - you may be very ill. In my case, I started getting better after coming to terms with my illness too. Nu. And my life turned around completely.

Yours can, too. And you will not have to be party to ruining any other peoples' lives any more, either. 


If you fear that anything other than a standard religious or moral approach to working on this horrible problem would mean "a heter to just keep getting worse!", I'd ask you the obvious (and usually unanswerable) question: "Well, how well has your religious solution been working for you till now?"...

Coming for help is great, but it does not mean recovery. The moral roller coaster of teshuva, swearing off and then just more acting out, is a pain I wish on no one. It sounds like you know that already, though. Don't just reach out. After all, we don't just reach out to act out, do we? We need to reach out and get the help we need, and stick with it until we get helped, period. Because no matter how many rotten things we have done and no matter how much wreckage we have caused, we are still worth being saved for good use to Hashem and others!

Lust may be the loneliest and most painful way to mis-connect with people, you know.

G-d bless you.

You are not alone... at all.


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

Tips of the Day

Two Strategies against the Yetzer Hara

"Steve" wrote:
 

One of the Rabbeim in my yeshiva way back when, in a mussar shmuz, mentioned two strategies against the Yetzer Hara:

1) He said when faced with a Yetzer Hara that looks overwhelming that you are afraid to even start the battle, it helps to "chop the Yetzer Hara into bite-size pieces." Instead of saying I'll refrain from lusting for a month, etc., say "OK, no Lusting from now until lunch. No commitment for after that, just for the next 3 hours. I can handle that." Lunchtime comes, and we say, "hey, that wasn't so hard, let me make a commitment from now until dinner. No promises after that. We'll wait and see." And dinnertime, rinse and repeat, etc. After a few days like this, then take on 6-hr. intervals, building up to a day, etc.

And if the Yetzer Hara tricks you, and I'll bet it could only happen "suddenly", don't beat yourself up over it. You didn't ask for this Yetzer Hara, and the fact that we've got it isn't our fault, so don't get depressed and ridden with guilt. Look instead at how much you've accomplished, how fantastic it has been all those days, hours, minutes and seconds of tremendous zechusim you built up when your were able to keep "sober!" Do we even realize the love Hashem has for us, how aware he is of our struggle to break free? Winning is not up to us, that's up to Hashem - all that's in our power to do is to keep fighting.

2) And the second strategy he said was, "If the Yetzer Hara trips you up, consider it like a punch. Are you gonna stand there and just take the punch? NO! So, PUNCH HIM BACK!! C'mon, give him a "PUNCH FOR A PUNCH." He messed up your count, so PUNCH HIM BACK with an extra blatt of learning that day, or some extra tehillim, or a little more tzedakkah, or make your next tefillah slower with more kavanah, or do a "random act of kindness," or call your parents just to say hello and tell them you love them, or someone who'd appreciate it or who is lonely, or spend 15 minutes quality time with your kids, get down on the floor and read or play a game with them, etc. And when you do it, do it with kavannah and say to yourself that you're getting even, you're doing this to punch him back, so you'll be able to get closer to Hashem.

Imagine how good you'll feel after giving him that punch back. You'll remember how much of a "winner" you really are. So feel good about yourself. YOU'RE DOING GREAT!!!

(Just  a reminder: These are all "being on guard" tactics - and as we are are learning in
Duvid Chaim's 12-Step Program, they are just temporary band-aids, they're not the real solution that's deep below the smelly onion layers... but hey, we're only into week 5 with DC, so we didn't get there yet :-)

 
637.


Sunday  ~  5 Kislev, 5770  ~  November 22, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Failure is the True Test of Emunah
  • Tip of the Day: The "Three Second Rule"
  • Sayings of the Day: From Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach Z"L
  • 12-Step Thought of the Day: "I Live in Two Worlds"

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

Attitude Tip of the Day


Failure is the True Test of Emunah
 "TrYiNg" Posted today:

I've been slipping a lot lately and I felt like a total failure. This past Shabbos, the last thing I felt was holy. Then out of the blue I picked up the sefer 'The garden of Emunah' by Rav Arush and I opened it to a random page. And this is what I read as soon as I opened the book (believe it or not):

"I'm a Failure" is a Declaration of Arrogance:


"Sometimes people suffer from mistakes or failures that apparently seem to be their own fault. In such a case we need to remember an important rule. "Before making a mistake, a person has free choice not to make a mistake. But, after the fact, one must believe that Hashem willed the mistake! Knowing that Hashem willed the mistake, a person has no reason to feel disappointed, depressed, disheartened and certainly not self flagellating or guilt ridden.

With Emunah, we attribute our successes to Hashem's divine assistance. One who fails to acknowledge Hashem's assistance is arrogant for he or she declares, "I succeeded"... So if our successes are a result of Hashem's intervention in our lives, then our failures are also the result of Hashem's intervention in our lives. As Hashem knows what's good for us, we should accept our failures lovingly and with Emunah, just as we accept our successes. Failure is the true test of Emunah; by virtue of Emunah, we acknowledge that our mistake in judgment, bad decision, or any other setback was  Hashem's will. With Emunah, we refrain from persecuting ourselves day and night and therefore spare ourselves untold emotional wear and tear....

A person must believe that any sorrow or deficiency in life is the sole product of Hashem's will!"


So Hashem wants me to be where I'm right now.
Proof is that if not, I wouldn't be here. 
I suddenly saw it clearly:

Just like Hashem liked the TrYiNg that knew how to overcome all obstacles,

Just like He liked the TrYiNg that davened 3 times a day,
Just like He liked the TrYiNg that loved saying Tehilim and talking to Him all day,
Just like He liked the TrYiNg that smiled despite everything,
The TrYiNg who was brave...

In the same exact way, He loves the TrYiNg that's failing all the time.
The TrYiNg who falls even before getting up straight.
The TrYiNg who forgot He existed.
The TrYiNg who is too busy with the biggest filth in the world, to even remember why we are here in this world.
The TrYiNg who's defeated.
The TrYiNg who cries.

And just like I have to accept everything that comes my way, I need to accept that sometimes it's Ok to fail. Sometimes, that's what our Father in Heaven wants; that we should try and fail and try and fail... Why? So we get to believe and trust in Him that EVERYTHING He does is good. I have to accept the way I am 'cuz that's His will, and no matter what obstacles there are in front of me, I will believe that He's here with me all the time, no matter if I win or lose. And even if I'm so full of Tumah and everything seems lost, I know that someplace deep inside I'm still yearning to go back to Him. And during those few moments of sanity, I'll hold on and cry for Him to let me come back; to allow me to come closer to him.

"RATM" replies to this post:


We are not our addiction! The same TrYiNg that you described in the first stanza, is the same TrYiNg that you described in the second stanza. Only in the second one, TrYiNg was burning with an addiction - just as someone who is ill burns with fever... It's not our fault that we got it, and neither does it define who we are.

In this week's parasha we read that AFTER Esav sold his bechora to Yaakov, it says: "And he ate and drank, got up and left, and Esav degraded the Bechora".

The curious thing is, why does it say at the end that Esav degraded the bechora? Didn't Esav do that BEFORE he ate the soup - by selling the bechora in the first place? Why does it say only AFTER he ate that he degraded the bechora?

The answer is, that Esav is NOT considered a rasha for selling the bechora in the first place, because he only did that when he was cornered by temptation, feeling weak and desperately hungry. So he was facing his desires and was put to the test, and he fell... But that is not why he was rasha... You are not a rasha for falling to temptation... But after he did it, he looked back on it and said, "to heck with it!". He said to himself, "you know, I fell in the face of temptation, but I'm not gonna care... I'm not gonna feel bad and I'm not gonna regret it...". And for THAT he is considered a rasha; for not caring! TrYiNg, you are out here every single day fighting, and you WANT to be good and you are truly are driven to overcome this. And for that you are surely considered a Tzadik!


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

Tip of the Day

The Three Second Rule
Posted by "Kedusha"


As you may know, addiction therapist Michelle Rappaport was a guest on Elya's conference call this past Thursday night.  I would like to share one important point that was mentioned that really seems to help me:

The "Three-Second Rule:" If you see something inappropriate, implement the "three-second rule." Doing so involves three steps: alertavert, and affirm. The first step is to realize that you're seeing something inappropriate. That's the "alert" stage, and it may take a second or two. The second step is to close your eyes or look away. That's the "avert" stage. These two steps should take place within [about] three seconds. The third step is to give yourself a mental "pat on the back" thinking something like, "I saw that by mistake, and I quickly looked away. I'm still clean and, b'Ezras Hashem, I'm going to build on that, one day at a time." That's the "affirm" stage.

Adhering to the three-second rule appears to be fully consistent with what the Halacha requires, and will also prevent any "slips" within rule #8 of the GYE Wall of Honor Rules. This is crucial, because as addicts, it's often the first slip that does us in ("just as an alcoholic needs to avoid that first sip, a lust addict needs to avoid that first slip").


This "rule" has got to make it into the next edition of the GYE Handbook. I've been on a high since I heard it.

Many times, people on the forum say things like, "I looked away, but maybe I waited a drop longer than I had to". Then the Yetzer Hara makes this poor soul feel guilty, when he's done nothing wrong at all, and that can lead to slips and falls, c"v. The "three-second rule" recognizes that it may take a second or two to realize that something is amiss, and only then are you expected to look away.

(Highlights from the last time Ms. Rappaport appeared on Elya's call are available here).


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

Sayings of the Day


From Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach Z"L

 

1. To go beyond my mind, I wear a yamulka. G-d spoke to us; we are connected to that which is above - I can literally reach above my head.
 
2. Neshama (soul) comes from the word noshem, to breath. What is the closest to life I get? When I breathe; the breath is always new. A neshama-person is always new, every second.
 
3. Doing an aveira is bad, but feeling guilty is evil, because guilt kills the spirit. 
 
4. You know what G-d showed us when He gave us the Torah on Mount Sinai?  That Heaven and earth are so close!

Click here for the "Bardichev" Niggun Sung by Rav Shlomo.

G-d is in your hearts my sweetest brothers. Gevald!


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12 Step Thought of the Day

"I Live in Two Worlds"

 

By Duvid Chaim, moderator of the Big Book Study Group


We're up to Chapter 4 in the Big Book called "We Agnostics". The first time I read this Chapter, I was really offended and thought it a complete waste of time to be reading about - "We Agnostics."  The nerve of them (and my sponsor) to even suggest that I - a very Frum Yid - adherent to religious principles and practices - Shomer Torah & Mitzvos - Supporter of Torah Institutions - Treasurer of the Kollel - that I needed to read this chapter! I thought that I could skip it. How could I ever doubt the existence of G-d? Or that my knowledge of Him is limited to my experience?
 
Then I started looking at my disease and the way that I was so self-centered and manipulative - and how resentful I would get when things didn't go my way. And it dawned on me that I was living in Two Worlds.
 
One World was full of G-d - my Frum world.  I davened three times a day - plus all my brachos before eating, - my wearing a tallis and tefillin. This was a world full of acts of being Frum - and to the outside observer, there was no question I was Frum.
 
But what about that other World that I lived in? That Kingdom of Duvid Chaim - where I was the ruler and if anyone got out-of-line, then off with their head. This was MY World, full of personal pleasure; where everything and everyone was there to serve me.

In MY World, there is so much of me that there certainly isn't any room for G-d!!
 
In My World, G-d does not exist. And my knowledge of life is ALL ABOUT my experiences in it. I am the center of the Universe. In fact, I AM THE UNIVERSE!
 
Please join us on the call as we continue to explore the important