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651.


Tuesday  ~  21 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 8, 2009

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In Today's Issue

  • Battle Communication: Loneliness
  • Battle Communication 2: Loneliness - and - Davening
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Davening - and - Being Happy that we're Sober!
  • Testimonial of the Day: Being Happy that we're Sober!
  • Link of the Day: Sunday Morning Agudah Convention - Streaming Video
  • Q & A of the Day: Double Life

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Battle Communication

On "Loneliness"

"SilentBattle" writes on the forum:

Most of my friends are married and/or living in a different state/country. This is a major part of my problem. Honestly, the reason I got involved in the aveiros I did was because I needed to feel like I was connecting to something; I wanted to feel less alone.

And that's part of the reason that GYE helps me - I feel like I'm part of something, a group of friends... I get support - and can give it as well. Thank you!

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More on "Loneliness"
- and on -
"Davening"


"Ovadia" writes on the forum:


Dear everyone, thank you all for your care and concern - and most of all - your love. Yesterday was Sunday, which is my hardest day, as I am usually alone in the office. Well, by the time I had finished with the Chizuk email and reading through all your replies in my thread, I could not even THINK of looking at anything inappropriate.

This morning, I listened to a Shiur about Chanuka from Rabbi Akiva Tatz. (The shiur can be found
here).

Here's a quote from the Shiur:


"Darkness brings a natural fear. Not the fear of being attacked, but the fear of being alone. One who is spiritually developed does not fear being alone. On the contrary, he feels a tremendous thrill in being alone. The Greeks extinguished that. Western culture is afraid to be alone. The Jewish idea of meditation is not to switch off and relax, but to switch on the real mind and connect. We are supposed to do this at least three times a day."

Which made me think: Why do I/we find davening so hard? It is because we are so uncomfortable being alone.

And this is also one of the major triggers for the addiction. We need to try to feel Hashem more, and stop fearing loneliness.

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Daily Dose of Dov


More on "Davening"
- and on -

"Being Happy that we're Sober!"


In Ovadia's post above, he mentioned the difficulties of an addict in recovery with regards to davening. This reminded me of a post from the past, where Moshe described a conversation that goes on in his head before davening each morning:

Yetzer Hara: You're such a shaigetz, you need to go to shul and daven the entire thing. If you don't go to shul, your worthless, and even if you do go, you have to be zoche for your teffilos to reach Hashem. Shaigetz.

Me: Right, I am a shaigetz, I give up, I hate myself.

... I put teffilin on at home, and 4 minutes later I get into my car and drive to office, feeling guiltier and guiltier every second...

Yetzer Hara: I told you you're a goy, you're going to have a lousy day today, I promise you.  How could you have a good day after skipping davening?

Me: your right, I'm a shiagetz, I give up, I'm such a loser.

Dov Responds:


Moshe - Though I don't know you, and as I'm not trying to convince you of anything, this "share" is probably safe:

What you describe here was a regular for me too, for many years, until about two and a half years sober when things started to radically improve.

Anyway, at times like those, I need to remember things like this: The Gemara is Berachos says:
"If you want to accept completely that Hashem is your king, wash your hands, go to the bathroom, say k'riyas sh'ma and daven sh'moneh esrei." I know that halacha developed to include brachos, p'sukei d'zimrah, birchos k'riyas sh'ma, kedusha, borchu, aleinu, etc, etc, all for our own good, but: There is something very, very big to be said for a Yid who does just those 4 simple steps. Very big.

When even that doesn't work for me for some reason, I would remember that I was sober. If that isn't great news enough for me to be happy about, regardless of what I am doing wrong (or not doing right), I'd paraphrase the powerful Lecevitcher story that Guard once posted:

(The Lechevitcher Rebbe, a student of R'Shlomo of Karlin, once went as far as to say that even if a person just killed someone and the knife is still dripping with blood, but he feels can't stand up and pray Mincha with all his strength and with all his heart, then he has not yet tasted from the waters of Chassidus!)

"If the fact that an addict is sober today is not good enough for him, he has not yet tasted from the waters of recovery."

This, I believe, is the spirit of "Dayeinu" at the seder: "Even if He would have taken us to har sinai and not given us the Torah; etc, etc... It would have been enough for us." Enough for what? Enough for us to feel like we got a good deal, i.e. to feel OK about things - even without x, y, and z.
 
For more from Dov on the difficulties of Davening when starting out in recovery, see this page for a whole discussion on the issue. [Scroll to the bottom to see Dov's beautiful reply].

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Testimonial of the Day

More on "Being Happy that we're Sober!"

 

Dov's post above reminds me of a great post from "RATM" today:


In all honesty, I feel like you guys have given me a new life here...

I was once so sick and tired of seeing myself in the mirror... "that hypocrite, loser, no-life"... But now I can continue living without feeling like a constant loser...

Where once I would look back on even the best of days and say: "Yeah, I was successful at work or I did that mitzvah or accomplished these things, but I still messed up my life today by doing ****..."

Now I look back on the worst of days and say: "Yeah, I may have blown that deal or forgot to daven "veten tal ummatar" at Mincha or accomplished jack-black today, but I still feel like a winner because today I did not let my addiction beat me...."

So there may be hard days, but no more bad days, only good ones.... A complete reversal of fortunes...

Thank you...


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Link of the Day

Sunday Morning Agudah Convention

4lashon

Yesterday we brought some excerpts from an article here on YeshivaWorld.com.

Aguda has graciously granted permission to circulate the link below. There are 5 presentations. The first 2 speakers, Malcolm Hoenlein and Tzvi Richter, discussed  the dangerous situation facing us worldwide. The final 3 speakers discussed serious issues we are facing in our community - Rabbi Abraham Twerski, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman and Rabbi Rosenshine.


To watch the entire session in streaming video, copy and paste this address into your browser's address bar:

http://216.53.64.1/plenary_session_sunday_500k.asx

At about 1:09 is the beginning of the "Addiction Session"

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See this thread on our forum where we mentioned how our network was discussed at the Agudah Convention.

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Q & A of the Day

Double Life

A newcomer to the forum asks:

Does this website/forum breed even more confusion by just giving you another double life?

"RATM" responds:

It seems to me that our addiction is what caused us to maintain a second life, not GYE... GYE is there to address our addiction so, yes, GYE is part of that second life, but the way I see it, you can either have this whole other second life that does not have GYE a part of it, or one that does... I'd rather one that does... Eventually, as some of the masters here will tell you, treatment of the addiction will close that second life for you so you just have one life...

If you do not address your addiction and just pretend that it was never there, it won't go away by itself... That I know because I tried the "ignore-it" method and it led me to bad, bad places....

Uri Responds:

I am not one of the pros here, but I can respond from personal experience:

When I found GYE, it opened a new parsha in my life. It began a period of sincerity, trust, sharing and honesty with myself and others. Outside of GYE, I was still pretty much the same. But the longer I was on GYE and the more I opened up, this sincerity transferred to my "real life" too.

All the best
-Uri

 

652.


Wednesday  ~  22 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 9, 2009

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In Today's Issue

  • 12-Step Attitude: "I can live in the real world without lusting!?"
  • 12-Step Attitude (Part 2): "I Want Life!"
  • Q & A of the Day: What's the Secret Power Behind the Fourth Step?
  • Quote of the Day: Self-Sufficiency vs. G-d-Sufficiency

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12-Step Attitude

"I can live in the real world without lusting!?"

"Tomim" describes the transformation that he and others are undergoing on Duvid Chaim's Phone Conference

For my first few weeks here at GYE, I didn't really leave my house at all (since my work allows for that). The only woman I came in contact with was my mother. Going to the mailbox was risky, as I might get a glance of the female joggers that would be jogging by my house. If I'd go to the bank or to a store, I'd have to give myself a pep-talk beforehand so that I should be able to remain focused during the time I was there. If I'd be hit by sudden lust, I would use one of many methods (such as jogging, doing jumping jacks, taking cold showers, etc.) to get an endorphin rush, which I hoped would compensate for the drug-like effect that acting-out would have had on me.

Only later did I realize that all the measures I was taking were only making things harder for me. The more I fought, the harder things were. It's true that I was able to achieve some clean streaks that I thought were pretty impressive, but ultimately - it all ended the same way. No matter how hard I fought, it could never keep me away from the neediness that was driving me to fall.

When our minds are set on fighting-off lust, and this is certainly so for an addict (as addicts have got very tricky minds), it's easy to slip into the cracks with dozens of excuses. In my case, I found myself slipping and telling myself: "Well, according to the rules here on GYE, there's no reason this should be considered masturbation!". I continued with such "slips" until, ultimately, they turned into falls. I kept trying to learn from my falls, but honestly: There was no way out! I'd fall again and again.
 
Later it became clear to me that I wasn't dealing with the real issues. SA's 12-Steps makes everything black and white. "Where is it coming from?" we ask ourselves. We identify with the root of lust and accept that it's always been our outlet, our coping method and our drug of choice, so that we can self-medicate and numb ourselves from feeling - from living! We realize that we, as addicts, have manipulated all those around us so that we can "use" them to our best interest in facilitating this cause - "our" cause. We've been taking, using, and abusing all along. We begin to ask ourselves, "What's our motive? Are we giving, or are we taking?".
 
I started seeing things different when I realized that I don't have to fight. During our very first days on the call, Duvid Chaim told us that we weren't going to fight anymore and that we wouldn't even need to! Duvid Chaim insisted that we can be normal again! Shocked by what I heard, I felt I needed to call him up personally for a more detailed discussion in which Duvid Chaim spelled out for me how the program takes us to a healthy place where I'll no longer need a filter on my computer, where I'll be able to walk the streets, go to the bank, the supermarket, and even look or talk to the woman behind the counter without lusting her. Wow! That was news for me! "I can live in the real world without lusting!?".

Since I've subscribed to the program, my world has become much brighter and much more colorful! True - the program has asked us to see things way past our addiction (where we're talking about a Higher Power, ego, and other stuff). And we're even beginning to take certain steps (we're working on step 4 right now) that are hard and painful! "But what's the alternative?" we ask. It's either go through pain, or have to deal with the sickness itself! Yes it's true that no-one wants to go through chemotherapy! But it's our only option in making it out of this alive! Living with the addiction (even fighting it) is no way of living! We choose life at any cost! For us, fighting the addiction doesn't work. We've got to be better and less selfish people overall! It's our only hope for living!

The attitudes and guidance of SA and the 12-Steps has greatly helped me in getting free from the addiction, and I'm certain that you can get the same results. I'd recommend everyone join Duvid Chaim's Anonymous 12-Step Phone Conference. Everybody knows that Duvid Chaim is non-judgmental, a great source of guidance and knowledge, and an overall great guy who really cares!

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I Want Life!

Steve wrote this beautiful letter after one of Duvid Chaim's calls:

Today's call was so eye-opening for me! If I may paraphrase the amazing revelation that Duvid Chaim shared:

Always being "on guard" against lust by consciously avoiding it, either via willpower, or by putting in place "S.M.O.G" (Some Mechanisms Of Guard) like filters, etc. is NOT real Recovery. True Recovery is the "Living in Tranquility without R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritability, Discontent)", so that the underlying and real causes of the "lust need" are removed from my life.

THIS IS IT FOR ME. I've only been fooling myself all along. If being "on guard" can not ultimately save me, then I really am powerless against this addiction. I know that I am at Step 1 now. And I thank G-d and "y'all" for sparing me from hitting bottom before I got there!

The ending of this call was so cathartic for me. The emotion in Duvid Chaim's voice echoed the wounds and unfulfilled dreams hidden in my heart. I so want to get into recovery, it hurts. I WANT that LIFE he described so beautifully;

  • A life without the shame, anger and self hate and pain that stares back at me from the mirror.
  • A life of shalom bayis where my children and my wife feel totally comfortable around me, and they don't see any spectre of "something" separating us from an easy comfort with each other.
  • A life where I can feel connected to my Father in Heaven every day, maybe even every moment.
  • A life of dedication to others, to help make their lives better.
     

Simply put, I WANT A LIFE.

Please, my dear fellow members of this holy fellowship, let's all accept it once and for all that being "on guard" is not the real solution. It never was, and it never will be. Let's all move forward together. LET'S ALL GET A LIFE!!

Your teary-eyed friend,

Steve.

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Q & A of the Day

What's the Secret Power Behind the 4th Step?

"On the Road" asks on the forum:

I'm at about a month of no mast. and no p**n. I started reading the SA White Book yesterday, and have begun writing down my fourth step ("We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"). If someone can clarify for me please, what is the point of this inventory?

Since many people on Duvid Chaim's 12-Step Phone Conference are currently working on their "Fourth Step", I would like to bring here some great links for those who want to really try and get a better understanding of what this step is all about, and how it holds the "Keys to the Dungeon", as Duvid Chaim once said. Although we can read the literature on the 4th step in the Big Book and in the 12 & 12, there's nothing like hearing what it did for people who we can relate to, like Duvid-Chaim, Miri and Dov, who are from within our own community.

  • In Chizuk e-mail #503 on this page (scroll down), Miri talks about how the 4th step changed her. When Duvid Chaim read that chizuk e-mail, he was very impressed and he sent me an article that he wrote called "The Keys to the Dungeon". (This was before Duvid Chaim started the conference calls)
  • I subsequently brought Duvid Chaim's article in Chizuk e-mail #504 the next day (it's on the same page as above). I encourage everyone working on their 4th step to read those two chizuk e-mails again.
  • In Chizuk e-mail #555 on this page (scroll down to the bottom of the e-mail), Dovid Chaim again talks about Step #4.
  • And in #557 on that same page, "Moti" summarizes Duvid Chaim's description of the 4th step. (Again, scroll down in the e-mail to find it).
  • See also Duvid Chaim's Conference thread on our forum over here, where Duvid Chaim posts inspirational articles about the various steps that his phone group is covering, and where members discuss the calls. (See this post by "Tomim" from yesterday, where he summarizes the call beautifully and brings more clarity to the ideas behind the 4th step).
     

Our dear member Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. He posts a lot on our forum, and everyone benefits from his profound wisdom and experience. To see some great stuff that Dov has written about the 4th Step over the past months, please see:

  • Chizuk e-mail #487 on this page.
  • The "Daily Dose of Dov" in Chizuk e-mail #610 on this page
     
  • The "Daily Dose of Dov" in Chizuk e-mail #612 (same page)
  • The "Daily Dose of Dov" in Chizuk e-mail #619 (same page)

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Quote of the Day

Self-Sufficiency vs. G-d-Sufficiency

By Duvid Chaim

It doesn't matter if our problems include trouble with personal relationships, feelings of uselessness, depression, fear, etc. - we all need a "simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe."

I know that when I become "self-reliant", I am literally carving G-d out of my life. No wonder I feel so isolated!!
 
We're told that it all boils down to Self-Sufficiency versus G-d-Sufficiency. All you need to do is look back and ask yourself, "which has worked best in my life?"
 
Can we finally take that necessary steps to cross the Bridge of Reason to reach the Shore of Faith?

 

653.


Thursday  ~  23 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 10, 2009

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In Today's Issue

  • Chanukah: A Revolution Within
  • Tip of the Day: Filtering Ipods
  • Quote of the Day: Talking to My Zadei
  • Parsha Thought: Er & Onan
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Not a Dummy
  • Testimonial 1: Finding Out I'm Not Alone
  • Testimonial 2: Other Outlets

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Chanukah

A Revolution Within

By Benyamin Bresinger
Director of www.ProjectPride.org

4lashon"Don't stop before the miracle!" This statement can apply to so many different circumstances in our lives. We tell this to many people who are struggling with the disease of addiction. And it is one of the most powerful lessons from the Chanukah story.

When confronted with adversity, the Hasmoneans did not give up. Where did they get the strength and resolve to insist on not giving up in their search for the pure jar of olive oil? How can we tap into that very same place -- so we can discover our purity within?

The Hasmoneans defied all limitations by winning the war and by rekindling the Menorah. Their commitment to persevere and their willingness to sacrifice their lives revealed their true essence. It is the highest part of the soul, and once revealed, this spirit enables us to cause a revolution within.

Once a person finds this spiritual core, all things are possible. We are exposing the inner recesses of our soul that is absolutely one with G-d. At this level, what seems to be an obstacle too great to deal with, is exposed as an illusion; a test that is there only to awaken this powerfully-connected part of our soul.

The addict who says "It's too much; I just don't see how things will ever be different!" -- is right! As long as he stays the same, he will have the same results. Chanukah teaches us that by being willing to surrender ourselves we can tap into that very same place that our ancestors did. Once that's done, we become different. We see things differently; we see ourselves differently. We have a new pair of glasses; so much so, that one day at a time, one surrender at a time, we live on a higher plane. This is a place where we can walk with certainty and know that G-d is doing for us what we can't do for ourselves.

Once the Menorah was lit, it not only stayed lit in a miraculous way, it also shined the brightest. This reminds me of a quote from the Big Book of A.A: "See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others." By the Hasmoneans insisting on only using an unadulterated jar of oil, they were teaching us a valuable lesson: Don't settle for anything less than the holiest.

And, for sure, don't stop before the miracle!

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Tip of the Day

Filtering IPods

"Rashkebehag" posts on the forum:

I had a scare this week and feel it should be known for others to watch out. I bought a used Ipod and when it arrived, it came with youtube and access to internet with no filter. I thought I was in for it, so I quickly asked someone more savvy than me what to do about it. He blocked the Youtube and removed the "Safari", which is the open internet. He then put on Bsecure instead, which is internet with a filter. Plus, he put on a password which only he knows, so that I can't unblock whatever he blocked for me. I can breath easier now.

For more on filters for handheld devices, see this thread on our forum (scroll down through the replies).
 

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Quote of the Day

Talking to My Zadie

By "Struggla"

My journey to recovery is a beautiful journey. I have realized that we need to find the good in everything. Even in a situation where I have the urge to fall or slip, I stop myself and say: "I know what's happening here, and I'm not gonna fall for it. Hashem loves me and this is just a test that I have to pass."

Emunah
- that's my new word! Everything happens for a reason, we just gotta have faith in Hashem.

I heard this Rabbi say that when you are talking to Hashem, picture that you are talking to your Zadie. Hashem is like Zadie, he listens to you, he gives you everything you want, he spoils you, even gives you candies and chocolates. Your grandparents are the safest people, and their home is the safest home. You can tell them anything and they will listen to you and give you everything you ever need or want - and MORE!

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Parsha Thought

Er & Onan

"LampLighter" wrote on the forum:

This week's parsha is talking to US! It deals with Yehuda's sons, who were killed for wasting seed, and this is the source brought down in Shulchan-Aruch for this aveira! We should always try to see the Torah as being given to us "hayom" - TODAY, afresh. This absolutely applies to our holy group! As we go through the pesukim this Shabbos, let's redouble our efforts to commit to not wasting seed, taking it to heart.

"Eye-nonymous" also wrote:

While I was working on 'shnayim mikra vechad targum' this week, it was a great relief to read about Er and Onan. There it says that they were "Evil in Hashem's eyes", but instead of feeling guilty of the same action myself, for the first time I could feel happy that I have real hope to break free of this addiction.

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years

Not A Dummy

Am I a tzaddik for not shooting myself in the head by looking at a magazine rack on the street, or for not clicking on a dirty pop-up ad? Or am I just not a dummy? I choose the latter. Halevai Hashem should call me up after 120 and announce: "Here comes Dov... and he's no dummy!"

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Two Inspiring Testimonials

Finding Out I'm Not Alone

"BeatYetzer" sent us an e-mail yesterday:

I've been meaning to write in for a while now and say thank you. I have been "clean" since a few days before Rosh Chodesh Elul (close to 4 months). My story is, I'm sure, not unique. I have tried over time to control myself, sometimes succeeding for one or two months, but never with the level of dedication and commitment that I have now. 

What's interesting is, when I first became aware of your site (through the Aish article), I skimmed your handbook and signed up for both daily chizuk emails. They go to a hidden filter in my In-Box. At first I would read them maybe every other day, maybe less, sometimes more often. Today, I read them even less, but it's amazing that the mere knowledge that there are people out there struggling with the same things I am, has made the struggle easier to handle. I couldn't imagine that anyone else was really doing the things I was doing. Just knowing that I'm not alone has made all the difference. And while it definitely helps to know that people have succeeded, I really believe it isn't that knowledge that is helping so much, as is the simple knowledge that people are dealing with the same things I am. (I do go back and read the unread chizuk e-mails in my in-box when I feel a weakness coming on.)

For close to four months, I haven't been on any improper sites, and I can count on one hand how often I have even had an erection not for the Mitzva (with nothing further happening, and it ending quickly).

Honestly, the ONLY thing that really gives me the strength to stop and continue to control myself, is that when I don't, it ruins my life. I stay up too late, waste time, lie to my wife, generally feel like dirt etc. I'm not stopping because it's assur. I've tried that motivation in the past and it hasn't worked for me. I know that even indulging occasionally would cause me to spiral immediately. Being honest with myself about that seems to be helping.

So as I said, I've been meaning to give hakoras hatov to you for a while now. Thank you for making me feel like a mentsch again.

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Other Outlets

"Sci1977" writes on the forum:

It seems weird that almost three weeks clean have passed. I spent the last day or so forcing myself find other outlets for the time I spent.

The best distraction has actually been working. I have been working like a mad man. I used to sit at my desk and figure out what I was going to next for "my desire".  Now I work and I'm accomplishing much more.

I also have discovered other outlets, like actually trying to talk to my wife and play with the kids.

The stress of the day does not get to me anymore. I think I have taken a step in not letting stress be a trigger. I wake up every morning now and I tell myself it's going to be a good day. G-d granted me another day to be here, to be with my wife and kids. It's a weird feeling knowing that just changing my attitude towards life really works. Simple but true. No slips or falls, and none needed or wanted.  

Thank you for continued support and I thank G-d everyday for this website and the people on it.

 

654.


Friday  ~  24 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 11, 2009
Erev Shabbos Parshas Vayeshev ~ Erev Chanukah

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In Today's Issue

  • Chanukah: Inner Change - Adding a Little Light Each Day
  • Battle Communication: It's An Allergy
  • Link of the Day: Shiur on Chanukah
  • Testimonial 1: The Hidden Kindness of a Stranger
  • Testimonial 2: We're all in this Together

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Chanukah

Our addiction often has its roots in an inner discontent. Many people escape to the addiction when they feel unfulfilled, aimless or unproductive in their career. Others use it to make themselves feel better when experiencing problems or boredom in their marriage...

Inner Change - Adding a Little Light Each Day

By Rabbi Moss
www.nefesh.com.au

Question of the Week:
 
My life has come to a standstill. I'm bored at work, and my relationship is going nowhere. I think I need a change of scenery. Should I move away, or do you think a career change will be enough?
 
Answer:
 
There's only one problem with changing scenery. Wherever you go, you'll still be there. Even if everything around you changes - your address, your job, your partner, your car - as long as you are the same old you, you will be living the same old life.
 
The human soul has a deep need for growth. Stagnation is poison to the soul. What was good enough yesterday is insufficient for today, and the me of the past will not satisfy us in the future. We need to be constantly adding new insights, facing new challenges and charting new territory. To achieve this, we need not go anywhere. We need just to look inside ourselves and change our inner scenery.
 
You don't need a career move. You need a soul move. Embark on some new challenges in your spiritual life. Go and buy an inspiring and meaningful book and read a little every day. Feed your mind with new ideas. Challenge yourself to work on a character weakness, like being more patient with your kids or with your parents, or thinking before you speak. Take on a new mitzvah, like putting on Tefillin in the morning or saying a blessing before and after eating.
 
The changes need not be big and dramatic, but they must be consistent. We learn this lesson from the Chanukah candles.
 
On the first night of Chanukah we light one candle, on the second two, and we continue to add one new candle each night, until the eighth and final night when we light eight candles. This means that what was enough yesterday is not enough today. If on the fourth night of Chanukah I light four candles, I have fulfilled the mitzvah perfectly. But if I light the same four candles on the fifth night, I am lacking, I have fallen behind. Every new day requires another new candle.
 
If you aren't growing spiritually, if you haven't added more light, you are stagnating and falling. Not even a new Lexus can fill that void. But if you just add one candle, a single spiritual challenge and one solitary step further in your soul journey, then you have changed from within, and the whole world changes with you.
 
Good Shabbos and Happy Chanukah,
Rabbi Moss

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The need to change our "inner scenery" reminds me of something Rabbi Twerski said at the recent Agudah convention (Quoted in Chizuk e-mail #650):

An addict doesn't think logically. Which is why addicts cannot be reasoned with - or even treated - by any mental health professional. Only a specialist in addiction can undertake the task of guiding an addict to reform.

And that process does not end with the end of the addict's indulgence of his addiction. That is, rather, on the beginning. We have a term for an alcoholic who has stopped drinking: a 'dry drunk.

Only a "major personality overhaul" can have truly long-term good effects. That reflects what the Rambam says about a baal teshuva, that the person who truly repents has changed essentially; that he is, in the Rambam's words, "no longer the same person."

Dr. Twerski endorsed the idea of "12 step programs," saying "they work" and denying that they need to have a Christian component. Each of the steps they entail, he said, "is in Chazal."

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See also the "Daily Dose of Dov" in Chizuk e-mail #628 on this page where Dov discusses the inner change that we need to undergo, and how we need to let go of the "familiar setting" of our inner attitudes & reactions if we expect to recover from the hold of the addiction.

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

Battle Communication

It's An Allergy

"KolelGuy" wrote on the forum:

I've been doing really well since my last fall, which just "happened" to be the day before I joined the GYE crew. The main issue for me has always been that I would forget my weakness and get too confident. But since I'm here, I keep myself aware of my goal and what will get me there, and it's been a whole different experience. Here, I got a whole new perspective on the benefits of knowledge about the nature of this thing, and how the best way to win is not to allow the fight to start in the 1st place. Up until now, my only weapons have been my seforim. But recently I've begun to notice that this isn't really a sefer issue.

Agav, this forum is the greatest thing since penicillin!

Steve, who is on Duvid Chaim's daily phone conference for the past few months, responds to "KollelGuy":


You got it!! That is what being addicted is all about. It's like an allergy to peanuts; some people are allergic, some are not. It's how Hashem made us, and it's part of His individual plan for each of us. The allergy never goes away. You can wait another 20 years between bites of peanut butter, but then - WAMMO - you can't breathe, and you hit yourself and say, "I shoulda known better..."

So how do we best avoid the fight from the beginning?

The BIG emergency first-aid plan, which we got from the 12 steps discussions, is to realize that the Yetzer Hara hides in the dark and then SUDDENLY jumps out at you, makes you feel like you've gotta act and make your choice right away, and not give you time to think, just react, which usually means a fall. And he knows EXACTLY what the best ways are to get your attention. He even got Rebbe Meir to drop everything and swim after him, cuz he knew exactly what kind of IMAGE would knock down even the greatest Tzaddik's barriers
(see footnote below).

DON'T LET HIM FOOL YOU! You've got time. Stop, look away, don't confront him yet, just count to ten or more, take some deep breaths, the urge will lessen. Then walk away & do something else, think about something else.

YOU KNOW what'll happen if you even GO NEAR that peanut. You're allergic, you won't be able to stop 'cuz it's not in your control. If you think you are in control, you're fooling yourself. Just look at your track record: "Yeah, I can quit any time I want! I've quit 100 times already...!"

And if you fall, C"V, just say, "Sorry Tatty, I'm trying, but I need more time...". Dust yourself off, climb back on the horse and keep on riding. We're all only human, "trying to do the best we can". 

Just don't get down on yourself if you fell. Don't call yourself names. Focus on turning the experience it into something positive - figure out what was the trigger that tripped you up, and what response you would have wanted to have instead. Then play back the scenario in your mind, and this time have it go the way you would have wanted it to. This is called "visualization" (like when we learned to drive, we imagined like in a movie how we would handle spinning on ice, so when the time comes we would be programmed to act that way).

*********************

Footnote:

This is a reference to a series of stories recorded in Gemara Kiddushin (80a-81a) where Hashem demonstrated the power of the Yetzer Hara to some of of the Tanoim who had felt powerful over it and belittled it's influence: The Gemara relates that the Satan presented himself to R' Akivah as a seductive woman in a treetop. He became so inflamed by her that he was unable to resist, and he started to climb the tree so he could sin with her. Halfway up the tree, the woman turned into the Satan and said: "If it wouldn't be that it had been said in the Heavens to respect R' Akivah and his teachings, I'd take your life!". A similar story is recorded with R' Meir swimming across a river to sin with a woman, and upon reaching the halfway point, the woman turned into the Satan, rebuking him with those same words.

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Link of the Day

Shiur on Chanukah by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz

Chanukah - Hidden Light

 

Bardichev Writes:

 

THIS IS A MASSIVELY IMPORTANT SHIUR!! LISTEN TO IT!!

ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW!!

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Two Inspiring Testimonials

The Hidden Kindness of a Stranger

Yosef Writes:

My name is Yosef. I posted on this forum only one time in the past, more than 6 months ago. At that time, I also reached out to someone here on the forum, but not believing that he would ever answer my PM (private messages), I never checked my messages - until today... until a second before I was planning to act out big time with this computer. Somehow, with practically no will left to do anything besides log in to some shmutz, my frozen fingers typed in this site. Immediately I was reading a series of three PMs that this guy send me back in June and July, practically begging me to contact him. Instead of falling into lust, I fell into tears... and after a few minutes of deep sobbing, the poison inside me seemed to be gone. I was filled with new strength and the Yetzer had lost his grip. Please know that these kind of things don't usually happen to me; the hidden kindness of a "stranger" just waiting to come out at the right time. Hashem - How great are your Works!

A few days Later Yosef Posts:

I want to thank all of you for reaching out to me with love in my time of pain. I cannot describe how empowered I am feeling by your responses to my post. I feel connected to you all. The way that this community has responded to me inspired me to look into the Twelve and Twelve (something I have not done for a while). As I opened the book, "it" turned to page 27. There staring me in the face were the following words:

"Many a man like you has begun to solve the problem (of Faith) by the method of substitution. You can, if you wish, make A.A. (substitute GYE) itself your "Higher Power". Here's a very large group of people who have solved their Alcohol (substitute lust) problem. In this respect, they (the GYE Community) are certainly a 'Power greater than you', who have not even come close to a solution. Surely you can have faith in them. Even this minimum of faith will be enough. You will find many members who have crossed the threshold just this way. All of them will tell you that, once across, their faith broadened and deepened. Then relieved of the (lust) obsession...they began to (truly) Believe in a Higher Power and speak of G-D."

AIN OYD MILVADO! I love you all.

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We're All in this Together

"Silentbattle" writes on the forum:

One thing I love about this site is that it deals with different levels of addiction, different types (levels) of aveiros - but everyone helps each grow! Yeah, it could be easy for every person in their own way to look at others and breathe a sigh of relief. And I'm pretty sure that ANYONE here could find some way that they're "not as bad" as other people. But we don't, and I think that's incredible. Instead, we use each other's stories to help promote even more growth.

Dov (sober in SA for over 10 years) responds to "Silentbattle":

Nice point! Thank you for pointing that out. It is a beautiful place here! What you wrote is actually a basic yesod of AA.

You can find the idea in Igerres haRMB"N, sort of, (where he talks about seeing each person as better than us in some way). Also, in the B'nei Yisoscher's sefer on kavonoh in mitzvos called "Derech Pikudecha", he describes an inyan and goes out of his way to suggest it as a tool for how to judge ourselves as lower, in certain respects, than another yid who we know is still being mezaneheven though we are clean of z'nus.

Obviously, we are not to feel any bit above anyone else. The trick is to do it.

 

655.


Sunday  ~  26 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 13, 2009
2cd Day of Chanukah

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

In Today's Issue

  • Chanukah: A Chanukah Tikkun (Rabbi Twerski)
  • Q & A of the Day: What Should We Tell Kids? (Rabbi Twerski)
  • Story of the Day: The Addiction Was all About "Me"
  • Sayings of the Day: From "Tomim"

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Chanukah



A Chanukah Tikkun

Rabbi Twerski sent us today:

Now that it is Chanuka, there is a tikkun, that after lighting the Chanuka candles (or oil), one should look at the lights and meditate, "hanerot hallalu kodesh heim - these lights are holy." The sefarim say that they represent the original light of creation. Concentrating on the kedusha of the Chanuka lights helps prevent misuse of one's eyes. Some people mediate on the Chanuka lights for the full half hour that is the minimum time the candles should burn.

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Q & A of the Day

What Should We Tell Kids?

We sent Rabbi Twerski the following question:

Dear Rabbi Twerski,

There was a lively discussion on our forum over here recently about whether or not we should tell children how babies are born, and at what age, and how much to reveal, etc... 

If the Rav has time to read some of the points of view that were expressed on the forum (my own included), the Rav will see that there are many good points brought up in each direction, and we would greatly appreciate some guidance from the Rav on this issue if possible.

Some people feel it is best to hide it for as long as possible (sometimes until the wedding). This saves the children from thinking about things they don't need to, and from the risks of masturbation, addiction, starting up with the opposite gender, etc... Others hold that this approach is too dangerous because children will find out on their own in a worse way, and not get the Hadracha that parents could give. Also, they may end up not trusting their parents since they weren't told - or they were lied to about this issue all the years. 

The answer to this question may depend on how sheltered the children are, and what are the chances of them finding out on their own.

But even if we should tell them, should we try to get away with as few details as possible? And at what age? etc...

This week's parsha with Er and Onan, Yehudah and Tamar, Yosef and Eshes Potifar, is just one example of why this issue is so pressing. Any child who learns this parsha will have many questions... How do we respond if asked? Or should we pre-empt and explain?

We would be honored if the Rav could share his thoughts with us on this sensitive issue.

Thank you for your guidance and Happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Twerski responds:

Just several months ago, Sara Diament M.A, wrote a booklet "Talking to Your Children About Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents." It is worth reading.

Twerski

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

"Talking to Your Children About Intimacy" can be purchased on Amazon here.

See also here and here for more about the book.
For an excerpt from the book, click here.

Incidentally, while we are on the subject, Rabbi Twerski once suggested to me (as a parent) to read the book called "Building Self-Esteem in Children" by Patricia H. Berne. This is a wonderful book to help us ensure that we give our children what is perhaps the most important ingredient of all in a healthy upbringing: Self-Esteem. When children have a healthy self-esteem, they are also much less prone to addictions later on in life.

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

Story of the Day

The Addiction Was all About "Me"

"Tomim" describes the start of his journey:

About 9 months ago, in the throws of the addiction, I woke up one morning feeling that I no longer recognized myself. I don't know what it was, but a terrible sensation tore through me and hit me at the very core. "What happened to me?" I thought. "Where did the old me go? And who is this guy who's taken over? He scares me!".

All my relationships were broken. It wasn't that people didn't try to lovingly reach out to me. It was me, throwing away my family and friends! I didn't let anyone in! I barricaded myself into my own life, my own mind, caring nothing about anything that had no relation to me. I was so preoccupied in seeking out my own gratification that it didn't occur to me that there were other people. The vibes I gave off shouted out loud: "Get out of my way! This is all about ME!". And that's exactly what people did. They gave me my own space!

Though I had always prided myself being very studious, my interest in learning Torah was rapidly deteriorating. I'd get up sometime late in the afternoon, switch on my computer and start my day. Within minutes, I'd have dozens of porn sites open in front of me, in front of which I'd sit for the remaining part of the day. Since I had effectively chased everyone away, my room became my own personal space where I could act out for hours undisturbed.

Acting out for hours at a time, I left no time in my day for G-d. Davening didn't happen! For an entire year, I didn't ever daven a full davening, let alone an entire Shmone Esrei. I'd grab my tefillin minutes before sunset, quickly throw them on, and mumble bits and pieces of the Shema. My tefillin would be off before you could even say "Boo!", and so that I could quickly get into the next porn video, I wouldn't even wrap my tefillin up. I'd throw them on the side, where they'd wait until the next day. Sometimes I was so caught up in what I was doing, that I'd look up at the time and realize that it was already night and I hadn't even put on the tefillin. Sadly so, nothing meant anything to me anymore! To me, the Shulchan Aruch was nothing but a book! There was nothing left but the addiction! And it had robbed me of my life!

It's not that this all happened suddenly. I mean, I did see the digression. But it didn't occur to me that it would be this way. I've always looked at it as something very external to the real me, and that with work, I'd be able to make it go away. I never had a problem representing utmost frumkeit when I was in public. But here I was, having gone through scores of Mussar and Chassidus seforim, and even self-help books, and I remain the same! I'd made vows, kept a journal, wrote a 5 year life plan as well as a mission statement, but nothing had ever helped.

In despair, I took out a pen and wrote a letter to my Rebbe and mentor (in the World of Truth), the Lubavitcher Rebbe:

"In tremendous pain I write to you about my present state. I don't recall a time in my life where I have ever sunk to such great depths. In my present state I am completely absorbed in bad things - and in a constant way, growing and continuing by the day. The days of old are no longer!

I write to you in concern to matters pertaining to my learning, to my davening, in keeping Shulchan Aruch ( - simply keeping halacha), in regard to my personal character, and in matters of which I relate to my fellow man.

Even if I do manage to pull myself out of this terrible state and to focus my energies in good things, I feel as if nothing is able to effect me in an internal way, and everything remains superficial.

Not too distant from the time of shidduchim - a new stage in my life, I am completely distraught and in search of guidance.".


Putting some action behind my words, I pulled out a deck of index cards and began jotting some notes for myself. You see, a few days earlier I had watched a movie (and I don't condone movies here) which had really struck home. In this very realistic movie portraying an inside peek at the life of a sex addict, I watched how his addiction was destroying his marriage. There he was, acting out, unable to stop himself even at the verge of divorce.

Somewhere in the movie, his father, feeling that there was a lot of tension in his son's marriage, attempts to help him. His father hands him a book with 90 pages - an exercise a day, and tells him that if he applies himself to the what is written in the book, he will see a most rewarding marriage. For the remaining part of the movie I watched the progressive change take place. On the first day, he brought his wife a bouquet of flowers (which she immediately tossed in the trash), followed a card, a cooked meal, and a clean house. Eventually, and after many tests, the man reaches the last and final pages of the book where he is asked to remove anything from his house which blocks him in his relationship with his wife. He decides to take the computer (which his wife despises) out of his house, and smash it into bits. His wife, seeing his commitment to her over the last 90 days and finally with this, can't hold herself back from loving him again.

For me, this wasn't just a movie. It was a strong lesson in the only way I'd understand. When I finished writing my letter to the Rebbe, I decided that I'd have to take the same kind of steps, doing selfless actions for those around me. That movie really made an impression on me!

This is when I pulled out these index cards and began listing out all sorts of selfless actions or approaches that I could adopt. In the cards that I'd incorporate into my life (one or two cards a day) I wrote the following:

  • Don't be sarcastic.
  • Compliment the cook.
  • Surprise the family with a supper, and pickup food from a local restaurant.
  • In the event that you may need to do so, put your reputation on the side and do the right thing. 
  • Compliment someone you normally wouldn't.
  • Write a card and make someone feel loved.
  • If asked to do something (big or small) for somebody, do it, and don't make excuses.
  • Be empathetic to someone. Show them that you care.
  • Avoid arguments.
  • Visit a Hospital.
  • Take the positive approach when discussing a difficult subject with another.
  • Make yourself of service, offering your skills.
  • Expect nothing in return for what you've done for someone.
  • If an opportunity arises and you are asked to do something, do it right away.
  • Make a person feel good when he thanks you, and respond with "you're welcome!".
  • Understand that accepting is very important to the one giving, so make it a point to accept a compliment or a kind gesture. It will make them feel good!
  • Accept a "hard word" directed towards you, with love!
  • Admit when you are wrong.
  • Remind yourself of the gratitude you owe towards others.
  • Greet everyone with a smile and some nice words.
  • Before going to sleep, say "good night" to those who are still up.
  • Be honest.
  • Call a sibling on the phone and make the conversation all about them.
  • Express interest in other peoples work and investment, and allow them to take pride.
  • While shopping, have someone else in mind, and purchase for them something you think they might like.
  • Cook supper.
  • Give tzedaka at the first opportunity, not counting out bills before you give.
  • Offer help if you see a situation which might require it.
  • Don't be abrasive.
  • Cheer someone up.
  • Don't interject while people are speaking. Wait till they are entirely finished with what they have to say before saying your piece.
  • Don't mix into other people's quarrels.
  • Clean up - even if it isn't your mess.
  • Phone up a relative and make it their conversation.
  • Apologize if applicable.
  • Buy a baby toy for one of your nieces or nephews.
  • Randomly buy someone a gift out of appreciation.
  • Call someone you haven't spoken to in a while.
  • Call a friend and ask about his well-being. Make it his conversation.
  • Remember to always say "please".
  • Remember to always say "thank you".
  • Add another 15 cards to the deck.
     

Each morning, just after getting out of bed, I'd shuffle the deck and select a card. That card, together with yesterday's card, would be my mission for the day! Since then, I started to see a change in myself. My world suddenly wasn't so dark anymore! Slowly but surely, people began relating to me in a whole different way. This was my first step on the road towards improvement!

It was shortly after, that I was led with Hashem's guidance to GYE! 

I encourage you to apply this into your own life. I guarantee that if you apply this - one or two cards at a time, together with the guidance of the 12-Step program, you will see a very very powerful recovery!

 

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

Sayings of the Day

 

Posted by "Tomim"

THE EASIEST WAY TO STAY SOBER:
a) Breathe in.
b) Breathe out.
c) Don't lust in between!


"The monkey may be off my back, but the circus is still in my head"


"Self-will is banging on the tray of my highchair"

 

656.


Monday  ~  27 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 14, 2009
3rd Day of Chanukah

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

In Today's Issue

  • Chanukah: Beware of Mixed-Gender Parties!
  • Chanukah: The King is Visiting the Jail
  • Q & A of the Day: What do I do if she's rarely interested?
  • Quote of the Day: Chocolate's Better
  • THE GYE MACCABEES: Inspiring Posts from the Warriors of GYE

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

Chanukah


Beware of Mixed-Gender Chanukah Parties!

Read through this thread on our forum for some chizuk.

  • Try to get out of going, if possible.
  • If not, make a plan in advance.
  • Schedule how long you have to be there, and stick to it.
  • Set an alarm to remind you when to leave.
  • Prepare an excuse to leave in advance.
  • Give yourself a pep-talk before going.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror and tell your eyes, "today, we won't stray!"
  • Bring a sefer or a book to read instead of "mingling".
  • Avoid socializing with the opposite gender as much as possible
  • Sit facing away from the opposite gender.
     

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

The King is Visiting the Jail

"Misgaber" sent us an e-mail:

I just heard a tape from Rabbi Yosef Chaim Greenwald saying that the Divrei Chaim of Sanz said that on Chanukah a person can do Teshuvah even on aveiros that the Zohar says that one cannot do Teshuvah on, because when the King comes to visit the jail, everyone can ask for anything.

(Lighting below 10 Tefachim where the Sh'chinah never goes, symbolizes how the King comes to visit even the darkest and lowest places on Chanukah...)

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

Q & A of the Day


"What do I do if she's rarely interested?"

Elya K. is a moderator on the hotline and phone conference. He and his wife have helped many marriages through the hotline.

Someone sent Elya the following question:

I have a question regarding marital intimacy and perhaps you can offer some advice. I feel that my wife and I are on two different wavelengths and that is causing some hotzaas zera at nights. I am in the mood to be intimate almost every night while my wife is not a nidah, and she is interested much less (0 - 1 times a week). Because of this, we are together only (0 - 1 times a week). I have not expressed this to my wife, as I am embarrassed and don't want her to do something she doesn't want to. Do you think this is an issue that I should be more open with her about? At this point I have not said anything and just try to quell my desires. 

Elya Responds:

Men and women have different templates about sex. A woman links sex with her feeling during the day. If she has a romantic good feeling during the day with her husband, she will be more in the mood.  Women do not just jump in bed and have sex. They do in the movies, on TV and in p**n, but not in real life!!
 
Part our disease is that we sexualize women, INCLUDING OUR WIVES. I did this for over 20 years to my own wife. Once she found about my addiction and some of the details, she told me that I had been manipulating her into sex for over 20 years. I was not consciously trying to do this, but it was part of my sex and love addiction. Women are not sex objects. Sex is a spiritual bond between two people.  Sex is a mutual understanding that this is ONE way to show their love for one another. Yet to a woman, you are physically entering her body and she has to feel safe enough to let you do that. If she senses that you are full of LUST and just want to have sex for your own physical desires, SHE AIN'T INTERESTED.
 
Now, for the remedy to fix all of this: The SLAA book says,

"The crucial change in attitude came when we admitted we were powerless over our addiction and we withdrew from our habit. For some it meant no sex with themselves, for others it meant no sex with their spouse for a while to recover from Lust. We discovered that we could stop, that not feeding the hunger didn't kill us, that SEX WAS INDEED OPTIONAL. There was hope for freedom and we began to feel alive.  We turned away from our obsession with sex and self, and turned to G-d and others."
 
So here's what I want you to do, if you're open to my suggestions.  The next time your wife is a nidah, I want you to buy her flowers DURING THE WEEK, not for Shabbos. (If you don't usually do it for Shabbos, you can buy them for her for Shabbos).  The point here is to train yourself that you need to show compassion, love, intimacy and romance in OTHER WAYS besides sex. She will be surprised, and then you can begin to talk to her about all this. You don't have to go into details. Just say that you realize that you seem to want to have sex more often than she does, and you would like to discuss it with her. Find out why she is not interested and tell her you would like to make amends IF she senses that you constantly want sex.  Tell her you were embarrassed to talk to her about it because you don't want to hurt her or make her do things she doesn't want to do. THIS IS GOING TO BE SO POWERFUL IN IMPROVING YOUR MARRIAGE.
 
Work together on other ways to feel close. Don't wait for her to tell you to take out the garbage or wash the dishes or help with the kids. You take charge. (They say that romance for a man is a candle-light dinner, while romance for a woman is when her husband does the dishes :-). Your job from now on is to do nice things for your wife, whether she reciprocates or not. No matter when it is during the month, Nida or not. Got me? I promise you, she will reciprocate.
 
I guarantee, when you do this, things will start to change. It may take a few months or a year, but your intimacy will be richer, both in bed and out.

But you have to talk to her. Part of our problem is isolation. Your wife can be your biggest fan and help in all these matters. Tell her you get frustrated sometimes when she's not a nidah, and you really need to talk about this. It's not easy. Nothing we change in ourselves is easy, and that's why we have to talk about it with others to heal.
 
Stay in touch and let me know what happens. If you run into a roadblock call or write me, and we'll solve it together.

Have a meaningful, spiritually intimate week for Chanukah. You can do it.
 
Elya

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

For some related FAQ pages on our site (about the women's lack of interest) see here and here.

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

Quote of the Day

Chocolate's Better

From "Rashkebehag" on the forum:

Lust is an illusion. A friend of mine told me that during all his years single he thought that sex must be Heaven. Now that he's married, he sees it's no different than any other need. "A good piece of chocolate is better", he says.

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

THE GYE MACCABEES


 

Here are some beautiful and inspiring posts from the MACCABEES of GYE
who are facing off against the YEVANIM of LUST i.e. the rest of the world!

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

"RATM" (Rage at the Machine) writes:

There's a thin line between entertainment and war... The little kiss between the 15 year old's on the innocent "Disney movies" today, is not so innocent... It's a very important part of lust's attack on us... It's where we are taught - from the youngest age - that this stuff is beautiful and Ok and should be virtued... "It's innocent puppy love"...

Well, you know what? I RAGE against that! Because this is "step one" on our way to this addiction. We can't let the Greeks win... Not then, Not this time, Not Ever... We are stronger than them...

Thank you GYE, for standing by me in this war against lust...

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

"HelpmeGYE" writes:

I have to say that the Chizuk emails have become my lifeline. I come in to my office after the pritzus in the street, and as I open my computer I have that familiar tingling feeling, but the Chizuk email keeps me in focus. Even more importantly, I am in correspondence with two other members of the GYE family and I/we keep strong for each other's sake. I daven that I should be able to keep this up, and not lose my enthusiasm. The Y'H has a lot of tricks.

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

"Becomeholy" writes:

Last night was a tough night. I basically ended up spending all night reading GYE. Often I would be doing other not-so-good things instead. As they say, spend the time on "healing" instead of the addiction.

What I realized is, that life is a challenge. I need to "play the game" and move up in "levels." Every single thing in life is tailor-made to challenge me to get to the next level. It's not about "ME". If I'm out to "receive" instead of to "give", I'm missing the point. I need to shift my thinking and realize that every single pleasure I get is a gift, an extra. It's not a right, or even an expectation.

By realizing that God is in control, and focusing on what God wants from me EVERY moment, I will be able to connect to God and achieve true happiness. By being giving to others and expecting NOTHING in return, I can achieve even greater happiness, since anything I do receive from them will be an extra, a plus; something special. Once I achieve this paradigm shift, I will be a different person - nothing will faze me.

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

"Ano-Nymous" writes:

I was walking around a few minutes ago on a large street. I got myself something to eat, and I did a little shopping. As is always the case, there were many women walking around. My instinct, of course, told me to give the "initial peek" (which is really just used to determine if "staring" is warranted, right? :-). Surprisingly, I just didn't do it.

Whereas in the past, when the same thing happened, I'd give myself a pat on the back and my ego would go up a notch, this time I just felt a tremendous feeling of joy and connection to God, and an endless amount of gratitude to Him for simply taking the battle away. I'm no Tzaddik, but I sure feel a lot closer to God now than I ever have in the past. And the pleasure and serenity I gained from that feeling of "connectedness" was 1000x greater than what I have ever felt from patting myself on the back and telling myself what a Tzaddik I am (not to mention how much more effective it is, in helping me avoid it all for the long term). I can only hope it will continue this way...

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

"Silentbattle" writes:

Sometimes I think it would be nice to get the gift of freedom from the Yetzer Hara... But would it really? We aren't just given challenges in life. Life is ALL about challenges. Without them, there'd be no purpose in our being here. So yes, facing nisyonos isn't fun, and we certainly don't ask for extra tests, but remember that the falling and getting up that you're doing is exactly what you've been put here for. And by working on it, you're already winning - by accomplishing what you're supposed to!

Ha - it's like back in camp, on the sides of the color-war songs they'd write, "Smile - you're on the winning team!"

But we ARE on the winning team because, without a doubt, signing into GYE is signing up to Hashem's team.

 

657.


Tuesday  ~  28 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 15, 2009
4th Day of Chanukah

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

In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: New Phone Group Starting
  • Practical Tip of the Day: Get Enough Sleep
  • Saying of the Day: The Times I Fail...
  • Story of the Day: "This time, I surrender!"
  • 12-Step Attitude: Feeling Hashem's Hugs
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Hashem is With Us

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

Announcement

New Phone Group Starting

An anonymous support group, where people can get their stories and feelings out, in a structured manner.

To join, either post on this thread or contact yiddle2@gmail.com

"Yiddle" writes:

I sometimes call in to a non-Jewish SA phone group. They don't have a sponsor run the call, rather they just have people like me and you, in recovery. There's literature and they read questions and go around to people on the call and answer the questions. Everyone has like two minutes maximum to answer each question. I think this would be a great idea for us to do. We could make our own support group where we would just talk about our struggles and answer questions, and where everyone would get a chance to speak. (If you want you can just listen, but the call is based on people speaking up).

This is not a 12 step program like Duvid Chaim's call. This will not be your road to recovery. But this can put you on the road if you are not there, and also guide you along if you are already there. 

Right now, we have about 6 people interested so far, and we're shooting for some time this coming Sunday for our first call. We could use some more people on the call, so please sign-up to join. Hopefully this will work for everyone, just let me know now which times are best for you!

Remember, the best way to break this addiction is to GET OUT OF ISOLATION.

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

Practical Tip of the Day

Get Enough Sleep

As addicts, we are much more prone to falling when we're tired - especially at work. Feeling unproductive and "aimless" can easily lead to acting out.

Steve offers some practical advice for those who suffer from
sleep deprivation:

A Rebbe of mine once told me that "your day starts the night before". And he explained that this is a big trick of the Yetzer Hara to make us stay up late at night and not get enough sleep. He even tricks us into becoming "temporary Tzaddikim" by giving us an inspiration to LEARN late, cuz he knows we're gonna miss davening in the morning AND forget the learning anyway, since we were tired when we studied it.

My prescription? Try this for 3 days: Don't eat after 8 pm, but water is OK. Absolutely no video stimulation for the 2 hours before bed. Turn off the phone. Set up some quiet instrumental background music, or get one of those cheep sound machines that makes pastoral or rain sounds for noise. At the same time, curl up IN BED with a nice "Visions of Greatness" book, or something with SHORT inspirational stories (and read the happy ones, not the Holocaust ones). Limit yourself to 20 minutes of reading AFTER you take one of the following sleep aids: Sip a nice cup of Wisskotsky's Sweet Lullaby Tea (it's decaf). Or, if you're the type, (and nobody yell at me, this is only for temporary use), take some over the counter melatonin or Sleep MD (all natural sleep aids). Of course check with your doctor first, and also to know how much to take. Do NOT take too much, even if the box says it's not habit forming. BUT GO TO BED THE FIRST NIGHT WITH 10-12 HOURS available before you have to get up. At least 9 hours. Cancel a chavrusa if you have to - this is an investment in your future.

Do this for 3 nights in a row. No excuses. See what happens. You need to reset your internal clock. And you need a safe and healthy way to get you to sleep long enough to experience REM sleep and proper dreaming.

If you're still exhausted, even after being asleep for 8 hours for three days in a row, then please consider getting a sleep-study to test for sleep apnea. Many people have this without even realizing it.

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

Saying of the Day
By "Struggling in UK"

 "The times I fail are when I ignore the fact that I have chosen a different path for my life."

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

Story of the Day

"This time, I surrender!"

A 21 year old Bochur ("ano-nymous") posted the following on the forum:

Before I joined GYE last year, I was being constantly attacked by lust. I was a heavy "user". It was an everyday pastime, and sometimes many times a day. I never considered it abnormal because I had great excuses, such as "My friends are doing it" and "it's healthy for you," but somehow it just didn't feel right. After coming to GYE, I got 7 months clean, but every day was a battle. Then it got easier, and I started to relax my guard and started slipping gradually again. So gradually, in fact, that I hardly noticed. But after falling twice in one day, I finally decided that enough is enough. Even if I "only" need a drink once in a while, I cannot live life like that, and I knew that it would inevitably get worse if I let it keep going.

This time, I wanted to switch from the fighting method to the "surrender and connect to God" method, because I didn't want to live a life of "only" watching porn here or there. It is unacceptable for a civilized human being (which I consider myself to be), even if you leave aside the religious issues, and it will wreak havoc on a marriage (lots of proof to that here on the website). And if I am doing something - which I DO NOT want to do - even occasionally, it means I am not in control of myself at all. This is not the way a human being is supposed to live.

So I rejoined the forum again, and I'm going to attempt to work God into my life and let Him help me out (you just have to LET him in!). I joined Duvid Chaim's calls and I'm surprised that he doesn't have more people on the calls (there were 14 the first time I called in). The calls are GREAT, and they leave me feeling so inspired.

I believe that the reason more people don't call in is because they think "only addicts call in, and I am certainly NOT an addict." But according to Rabbi Twerski's definition of an addict, if on a regular basis you find yourself doing things which you KNOW you should not do and do NOT want to do, you ARE an addict. Anyone who fits this definition (which probably includes almost everyone visiting this website) will most likely benefit from applying the 12 Steps in their daily lives.

I wish I would have joined Duvid Chaim's group sooner. I love the style of the call, as well as his brutal honesty (which is not presented in a brutal manner at all!). I plan to call in as often as I can now.

Thanks so much Duvid Chaim!

P.S. I've set up my cell phone in such a way that I can send and receive calls for free, so the phone conference call, which is an hour each day, is totally free for me! Check out this post where I describe in more detail how you can also set up your phone to make and receive free calls! (I also use this method to call my accountability partner for free).

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

12- Step Attitude

Feeling Hashem's Hugs

"Steve", a Talmid of Duvid Chaim's phone group, writes:

I saw a friend this morning who wasn't smiling. I asked him if his children had clothes. He said yes. I asked him if he had food on his table today. He said yes. I asked him if his roof leaks when it rains. He smiled and said no.

Count your blessings. Don't take the things you always have for granted. Start with counting your toes.

You are hugged by Hashem all the time. The trick is to feel it at least one a day. The hug doesn't have to be a volcanic miracle. It can be as quiet as a new understanding/awareness of Hashem's role in your life, or even of the BEAUTY of His creation.

I just saw a National Geographic article about pollen. Unbelievable close-up color photographs of the beauty and complexity and PURE GENIUS of how these many diversified shaped and colored particles look & function. Realizing that Hashem orchestrates the release, travel, and deposit of these things to continue to create flowers & plants was a pure "Awe & Wonder Moment" for me.

4lashon

Click the image to see in full size

So too, Hashem is in control of MY life, even if I think from my microscopic view of the universe that I am just being blown by the wind for no rhyme or reason.

HKB"H sends a gazillion messages our way each day. We just gotta LOOK and ASK Him for help, in anything and everything. Just "Let Go and Let G-d". TRUST him.

This DOES work.

Have an "awesome" day,

Steve

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

Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years

Hashem is With Us

Chuck C. (Author of the White Book of SA) once said: "What you are looking for, you're looking with; and what you found, came here with you."

We've all got Hashem with us, period.

When Hashem told the Avos not to fear, "for I am with you," He was not informing them of anything. They always knew he was with them. Rather, Hashem was speaking it out to them to make the relationship work for them. Just like a nisayon: Hashem "tests" us just to bring out the greatness that is already within us. Hashem was letting them actually hearHis love and attachment to them, even though it was already there, to make it the kind of awareness that works.

Plenty of us have faith in G-d. But that is not enough for addicts. We need a faith that works. And that usually seems to take time, work, pain, and patience. (Unless you've got nevu'ah... but it seems that getting nevu'ah requires those things, too. Darn).

 

658.


Wednesday  ~  29 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 16, 2009
5th Day of Chanukah

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

In Today's Issue

  • Story of the Day: "Tatty, when are you coming home?"
  • The GYE Lighthouse: We're Up Against the Whole World!
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Eyeball Upgrade

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

Story of the Day

"Tatty, when are you coming home?"

Steve posted his story on the forum for the first time:

So here I am, 52 years old, finally beginning my journey into my New Way of Living, thanx to Reb Guard, Duvid Chaim & the fearless crew on his calls, and the GYE family.

I got here about a year and a half ago, in July 2008, while searching for chizuk for shmiras eiynayim. I signed up for the emails, but then I wasted over a year letting them collect in an inbox folder hoping to get to read them one day. The forum looked too intricate for me to navigate, so I didn't even try.

B"H for "falls" at the right time, cuz picking myself up from one led me to finally read one email. And THAT ONE, ladies and gents, is where I saw the advertisement for Duvid Chaim's new 12-Step Program Group Call, and thank G-D I followed the links to find out more. Again, Hashem was stretching out His hand to me, but THIS time, I TOOK IT!! I joined his group when it started in October.

I NEVER would have suspected I was a sexaholic, I just thought I was a guy with a very big Yetzer Hara that just got out of hand with the ease of internet access. But when I read the description that an addict is ONE WHO KNOWS HE SHOULD STOP, BUT CAN NOT, or described as someone who loses time from work and family because of this uncontrollable drive; someone whose life is heading to ruination, it hit me. Those words described me 'to a T'. I was seeing myself and my uncontrollable life mirrored in the words of so many others, I couldn't believe it! I WAS NOT ALONE. 

All the years of acting out; the guilt and the shame; the hours glued to bad sites while family time and parnassa slipped away; the lying to my children who'd call me at work and ask "Tatty, when are you coming home?" And I'd close my eyes to the screen to say "I have to work late", then open them up again after the call to keep watching for hours more... And the self hate, the loathing, the name calling and cursing of myself that I did when I'd drive home at 3 am, the promises to Hashem, and then breaking them the very next morning. Days, months, YEARS lost, and I thought I could climb out of it on my own one day. 

GuardYourEyes, along with Duvid Chaim and the brave members of our crew, have shown me the real way out of this decrepit existence, toward a life of freedom from this "lust addiction", and hopefully from my other shortcomings as well.

On the calls, I found people whom I could talk to through the blessed veil of anonymity, to discover who I really am and find how I could heal. And on the forum I found the rest of you, both inspirational and needy, and I've been blessed that I could help a little here and there. What I love best, is that the time I would have spent on my computer pushing Hashem out of the world, I am now using to pull Him back in; into my life and into the life of others.

Thanx to Duvid Chaim, I am on the road to recovery. It was hard to accept that "I'm a pickle, and will never be a cucumber again." (i.e. that an addict has permanently altered his way of thinking and will never be the same). He showed me logically the truth behind it. But I never really understood the depth of my emotional loss at that recognition until I read Letakein's amazing poem, The Falling Leaves. She wrote that to help herself heal, but by sharing it, she MADE me heal. I wasn't afraid to take the next step, to "Let Go and Let G-d", to trust His re-creating me into something new, even though I still do not know where it's heading.

So, my friends (and it means so much to me to be able to call y'all that), THIS is the place on earth for real Milchemes Hashem.

Starting this Chanukah, may we all be blessed together to move far away from the Great Darkness that has owned us until now, and come into the GREAT LIGHT of Hashem's Love. Kein Yehi Ratzon.

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

The GYE Lighthouse

"RATM" (Rage At The Machine) wrote today on the forum:

So CNN did an important news piece yesterday... I think it was part of their business report... very important business news... The story was about an entrepreneur that was expanding his business in the face of the economic difficulties we all face... It was some important business news that I am sure many good young boys and girls whose parents are careful that they don't watch shmutz (and therefore they can only watch CNN) viewed with great interest... And what was the business? A whorehouse in Nevada that was now offering new services never offered before... The CNN anchor spoke seriously about the career minded people that can no longer afford the time or money of relationships, inferring that here was a suitable replacement...

Chevra, this is the war we are facing! The active push to legitimize Sex and Lust Addiction... The world-wide effort to remove it from the shadows and the bathroom, and place it on our dining room tablecloth - and for our children too!

... And it's only getting worse...

If it weren't for the efforts of GuardYourEyes, we would have nothing at all to counter this and our children would be born dead... Stillborn souls....

But because I do believe in GYE, we will change the tide... one person at a time...

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

Rabbosai, here is a SHOCKING e-mail that I recently received from a Rebbe in a vibrant Jewish community:

I am a Rebbe in a small Yeshivah where I deal with regular frum middle-school age boys who have not had much success in the regular school systems for various reasons. It was recently brought to my attention that many of these boys, ages 11-14 are addicted to pornography and hotzoas zera livatala. They view this as if it were normal and not even something to work on. After speaking with my Rav, I have been working privately, and recently in a more public setting, with them in this matter. I have a honest and non-judgmental  relationship with them which helps them stay honest with me, knowing that I am there for them. I have instituted rewards and almost daily "check-ups" to help them fight these urges for the first time. Already I have seen a lot of success... more than I expected, actually. Many of them do not even know that this is assur, and they couldn't believe me when I said looking and thinking about these things is not allowed from the Torah. Hopefully, I will slowly and persistently work with them on this topic. I have even read some of the stories from your website to them, to show them where this can lead, in the hopes of sparking their input.

All the kids who were involved could not imagine stopping for even a few weeks at a time, so I guess they are addicted. I offered a two week, and then a 4 week, incentive to any boy who took up the challenge to be free from both porn and hotzoas zera. Two boys are already on their 3rd week. One boy did ask me how he would be able to sustain this when he feels very bored and doesn't have enough to do to fill his free time, and pornography is an easy time consumer. Another boy said he used it as a way to fall asleep at night. And yet another boy said his father caught him and did nothing about it! 

An additional problem is most of these boys have iPod touches or other devices with Wifi, so that having blockers on their computer wouldn't really solve their problem. Others are very savvy and can break - in their own words - "any block" on a computer.

Some boys did become interested when I told them that there was a hot-line on this site for people who needed chizuk... Is this something practical and accessible for this age group? They did say that having someone to talk to when they were feeling weak would help a lot, and I encouraged them to call me, but maybe another venue would help.

One amazing thing that I did see, was that after our discussions, they were discussing the matter with each other in an open way about their nisyonos and giving each other their own brand of advice. Either way, I think a small revolution was created in this class to overcome a topic which I know I never heard about in Yeshivah. 

Would you suggest anything else that I can practically implement and help all the boys in the Yeshivah understand and, if need be, change this dangerous habit?

(We sent this Rebbe our handbooks along with other useful advice and tips on dealing with this issue). But Rabbosai, if Klal Yisrael doesn't awaken to the dangers that we face today,
we will be raising an entire generation of addicts - Rachmana Letzlan! Think about how the marriages and Yiddishkeit of such children will be affected one day!

Every Mashgiach and Rebbe in today's generation needs to be equipped with the tools and knowledge of how to deal with these issues. GuardYourEyes has set for itself a goal to make this a main-stream issue in today's religious world, and to provide information to all Mechanchim on how to deal with these issues. The handbooks we have today are just a start. They will IY"H be expanded and split into different versions, one of which will be designed specifically with Mechanchim in mind.

Besides for helping those who struggle, GYE plans on having an entire division (one day) dedicated just to "PREVENTION". But... we can't do this ALONE. We are Rabbim neged me'Atim. A few Maccabees, standing off against an entire WORLD.

Mi LaHashem Alai!

 

4lashon


Click the image above to view a clip from AISH.com
about the power of each individual light


Rabbosai, with your help we can change the world, one person at a time. If each of you does his part to heal themselves; and if each of you helps spread the word about our work amongst your e-mail contacts, or by writing anonymous letters to Rabbanim, askanim, mashgichim; and/or if each person donates what they can (see the bottom of this e-mail for donation options)... Together we can light up the NIGHT, one candle at a time!

A little light banishes a LOT of darkness!

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

Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years

Eyeball Upgrade

"Eye.nonymous" writes:

When I first joined this forum I was thinking, "I don't have such a big problem. I just have a lot of trouble controlling my eyes on the street.  But po** and mast** I just slip up on once in while, and it's really not my fault because I'm trying so hard to overcome it."

I've discovered, first of all, that the po** and mast** was actually more frequent than I realized, and that there were some major underlying issues fueling these two behaviors. I feel like I'm in a much healthier place now. I have uncovered frustration, worries, tension, depressing thoughts, and I'm doing fairly well at warding them off. I'm trying to focus on positive thinking and on LIVING more and more.

But, regarding that first problem which, at first, was the only one I really admitted was a problem--controlling my eyes on the street, I feel like I haven't made any progress. My eyes seem just as hefker now as they were before.

What am I missing?

We Replied:

As the GYE handbook states, guarding our eyes usually takes a lot longer for us to master than stopping our "bottom line" behaviors... Please read tool #2 of the handbook again. Also, here's a page with lots of great tips and attitude ideas that can help us with guarding the eyes out there (read from the top of the page till the bottom).

Dov Replies:

Reb Eye, Here are some things you may wish to consider:

1) At least you are a "somewhat more humble, honest, and mature person" - in other words: "a more useful person", now. So you are still lusting out there sometimes. Did you really expect perfection?    

...or...

2) You may be mistaken. Our "progress" is not readily apparent to us because we are looking at it from inside of ourselves. We judge its seriousness/badness exactly by how frustrated/upset we are with it right now.

So, today, you may have a much higher standard, say, in how much pleasure you take from it, how much fantasy you attach to it, or how much guilt and self-loathing you spend on it (the guilt and self-loathing being perhaps even more damaging than the fantasy...). Progress in these areas is progress, too.

So if you have progressed, it is likely that you feel worse about doing even less than you did before, because of your current improved state of sanity.

Make any sense to you? (I posted more about this idea over here last week)

...or...

3) I'd ask you if you are working the 12-Steps in order, with help from other recovering people. If yes, great! Look back at either steps 1 or 2. (In my case, I made no apparent progress before I worked the steps).

...or...

4) Maybe you are ready to start working on "controlling" your eyes in a new sort of way now. Here's something that works for me: Have a prayer to say for each and every one of the women you tend to stare at. (At least don't stare at them while saying the tefilla...). Then say it again if you still feel selfish. Try to feel genuine concern about their lives, self-respect, health, connection with Hashem (it's really huge for everyone to have a relationship with Hashem, rather than be fooled by chazerai and living death, no? And not just Yidden, right?). Aren't you a nice guy?
("Of course I am!"). Don't you wish good for everyone? ("er, sure..."). So? Daven for her!!! And hey: I doubt using her image to lust is called caring. (".....ummm...."). 

Also, you can try to give your eyeballs to the Ribono Shel Olam (as a sacrifice) while you are driving/walking to work/yeshiva. I used to say the parsha of the Tomid (bal peh, of course) while driving into work, instead of taking that "second look" at the first image of a woman that I noticed in an adjacent car (or walking/jogging by) every morning. I treated the ta'ayvo - that I excruciatingly painfully gave up - as a korban to Hashem. I made it more real to me by saying the parsha, as Chazal tell us to do in lieu of giving the korban.
(Note from admin: The words "zeh ha'Ishe asher Takrivu LaHashem" can be translated to mean "this is the woman that you should sacrifice to Hashem :-)

BTW - it was very important for it not to be the parsha of an olah or a chatos - it isn't kaporo I am interested in here at all. Guilt/Teshuva and kaporo are all strictly Hashem's business, as they have proven to be far too poisonous for me to worry about. My natural approach to them was infected with my old ways of "sick thinking" that got me screwed up in the first place. Chas vesholom for me to go back there, no matter how "frum" it may seem.

So it's a Korban Tomid. Just a gift for Hashem, cuz He's my Best Friend, My G-d, and I serve Him - rather than myself or Lust - as often as possible. A nice thing to do, no?

Besides, I found that "setting the table" well by giving up the very first "second look" made the entire trip to work safer for me! It was a really nice eyeball upgrade, though temporary - after all, it required daily rebooting and frequent refreshing for a few months, till it becomes much more natural.

I'm rambling again, but "Nu". Hope it helps somehow. It's not advice nor preaching, just sharing one addict's personal experience with another.

 

659.


Thursday  ~  30 Kislev, 5770  ~  December 17, 2009
6th Day of Chanukah

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

In Today's Issue

  • Practical Tip the Day: Visualization
  • Q & A of the Day: "Why have we been burdened with these onerous tasks?"
  • Battle Communication: The Teffilah from the Other Me
  • The GYE Lighthouse (part 2): Klal Yisrael's Best & Brightest

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

Practicle Tip of the Day


Visualization

"silentbattle" writes some advice on the forum:

When things are calm, picture yourself being faced with a challenge and in your mind picture yourself, instead of acting out, doing something specific instead, like getting up and going to a different room, going for a jog, calling a friend, e-mailing someone, etc... Picture this scenario again and again, so that when the time comes, that will almost be your natural reaction to the situation.

"becomeholy" reinforces this idea:

Excellent advice! Basically what you're doing is re-training your subconscious to do something other than act out when you're challenged. Since this is an addiction, you're NOT in control when it happens. "Practicing" a different course of action helps re-train yourself to act differently when your subconscious is in charge and not you.

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

Q & A of the Day

"Why have we been burdened with these onerous tasks?"

A Non-Jew, who has been getting the Chizuk e-mails for almost two years, wrote me an e-mail today:

Dear Guard,

Recently, I have been thinking to myself that God wants us to fulfill our full potential. However, how can we do that if we've been weakened, bloodied and scarred by the consequences of masturbation, lust and pornography?

I'm not angry with God or feeling sorry for myself, but the truth is, that the time, energy, health and opportunities that so many of us have lost because of this - can never be fully replaced, if at all.

Though it is true that I am no longer addicted to those horrors and I'm not in a hell on earth anymore, I know that the effects of those lost years are following me, and will be with me till the day I die. Sure, I discovered the truth through an ordeal of suffering, and I learnt a lot about human nature and life, but the cost, even today, seems too heavy a price to have paid. 

I know that we very well could be the generation before Messiach, but why have we been burdened with these onerous tasks? 

I hope I haven't angered and annoyed you by my questions Reb G, but your insight and wisdom have put me at peace so many times before. Thanks for your time and help.

We replied:

One day we will all understand why we needed to be hammered out of the walls of a deep underground cave, gathered piece by piece, filtered through water, cleansed through fire, melted in a huge smelting pot, and poured into a mold... all so that ultimately we will be beautiful statues of pure gold, standing tall in the Palace of the King, where he will take great pride in us - and we will bask in His glory and love, as He recalls the long and difficult journey that it took to get us there! :-)

On a related note, Dov wrote today on the forum:

I heard an alcoholic once say that he believed that "it took every single drink I ever  had ... to get me to the point in recovery that I am at right now."It's a painful - but beautiful - experience to shed guilt and let go of our evils.

And that's what life's all about. The pain and suffering that we endured, is all part of the beautiful journey. Without it, we'd never get where we need to.
 

Battle Communication

The Teffilah from the Other Me

"Letakein" writes on the forum:

I just listened to the new Boruch Levine CD and one of the songs has the coolest message...

The song is about a shnorer who decides to become a fake Rebbe so that people will donate to him in return for his giving them a bracha. The plan works out fabulous. He rakes in the money as a real crook... One day, a mother comes in and cries to him that her daughter is dying, and she begs him to pray for her. He realizes that this woman is depending on him and he goes into a locked room and begins crying to Hashem. He says: "Hashem, I know I'm a crook and I don't have the merit to save this girl, but this mother is depending on me through her simple faith in Tzadikim. I know that only You, Hashem, can do this. So please listen to my tears and heal this innocent girl."

The girl is miraculously healed, and the song ends with the words:

A lesson we can learn from this, the lesson rings so true,
the essence of a prayer's weighed by what's inside of you.
The tears we shed are always there - a little or a lot,
though at times we may pretend to be someone who we're not.

How amazing are those last 2 lines! I've thought like that so many times! I'd act out and then cry my eyes out during Mincha. And I would think to myself, "you're such a hypocrite! Now you cry to Hashem after you just did THAT?". But this story clearly shows us the power of a sincere Tefilla at anytime, from anyone!

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

The GYE Lighthouse
(Part 2)

Klal Yisrael's Best & Brightest

"shmiratainayim" wrote on the forum two days ago:

Ok, so I accept this addiction as a fact, but it's so hard to fight it. I'm single, in the parsha of Shidduchim, and gifted with the capabilities to create an uprising in the Jewish world (in chinuch, kiruv krovim or kiruv rechokim). But I'm wasting my potential at the computer screen. When away from the computer, I learn from early morning to late nights, with hislahavus, amailus, etc. I can take a Maharal and compile/summarize it into such an understandable manner that even non-religious Yidden see it as sensible, understandable and pertinent. I can address large audiences and present a powerful and heartfelt message that leaves them truly touched - and with a smile on their face. I have a lot of potential, but I waste it all by not giving up on this one vise!!!! If only for the sake of the people I can help later on in life, please help me break this addiction. Please!

"Kollel Guy" Responds:

I have a scary thing to tell you. Being that you are an addict, there is absolutely nothing that anyone can tell you that will "convince" you not to go back to it. It might make an impression on you, you might not do it now, you might not do it tomorrow either, but when it's 'addiction' vs. 'divrei hisorerus', 'addiction' wins - by hook or by crook. Addiction is a disease, and it must be dealt with using a different set of tools than you're used to thinking of.

I tried for years to kick my p**n habit by 'getting my act together' in numerous ways. And while everything else in my life fell into place through 'getting serious' and 'shaping up', this just wouldn't budge. And I'd go through streak after streak, fall after fall, each time thinking that a different 'nekudah' was really what was causing the problem. And then I'd try to work on that nekudah, thinking that had I only worked on it sooner - I would have been done with this long ago. And I'd be confident that now that I was going to develop that new 'mindset' or start that new 'hanhagah', I would no longer have the problem.

Needless to say, I'd be back to the same question of "where did I go wrong this time?" a week, or a month, or 3 months later.

And this continued until I found this site and learned what an addiction is, and it's nature, and how it controls a person's thinking, and how a different set of tools are necessary to beat it.

Until we don't recognize that distinction, we are like people trying to blow up a tire with a hole in it. No matter how hard you try, unless you patch up that hole first, you won't get very far.

I seriously hope you read the handbook and "Hit bottom while you're still on top".

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

"baLetaher" wrote on the forum yesterday:

Hello to everyone,

This is my first foray into the world of GYE, and I'm really hoping that it will become a real force in my life, as I've been battling the other forces for too long.

I'm happily married to a beautiful and loving woman, and together we are raising a bunch of wonderful children, yet there is a side of me that no one knows about, a side of me that has been eating away at me for almost as long as I can remember. That side of me is the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekkyl, the crazed sicko who gets set loose at night and does horrifically shameful things. Being a true Ohaiv Ha-shem, who really loves the Aibishter and his Torah and Mitzvos, this creates an enormous amount of conflict in my life, leading me to feelings of isolation - despite being surrounded by people who love me; and despair - despite leading a relatively successful life. 

To compound those feelings, I am involved in Avodas Hakodesh, so while people are looking to me for inspiration, I'm sometimes involved in things that if they had the slightest clue of, they would pillory me in the town square. This makes me feel even more like a fake and a fraud, despite the fact that all I really want to do in my life is bring people closer to Avinu Shebashamayim. Many times, I have thought about quitting my job, recognizing that I'll never really be able to inspire others if there's no gas in my fuel tank, but I'm reminded of the fish's response to Rabbi Akiva, "If in the water, the place of our life, we need to fear, how much more so on dry land, the place of our death!" So I guess I will try to stay close to the water. Besides all the teaching I do, I personally learn for hours every day, sometimes immediately followed by a most inglorious session of shmutz!. I just keep trying to slog through the muck.

Today is day 1 of my journey. I hope you can give me the chizzuk I need to make it out of my living hell.

 

Besides for our usual welcoming post with links to the handbooks, we responded as follows:

Dear baLetaher,

Your story is the same as so many others on this site. It brings tears to my eyes to see how our best and brightest are finding themselves wallowing in the mud. Someone just sent me the following yesterday:

I heard a medrash quoted by Rav Kessin. It relays a conversation between Moshiach ben Yosef and Hashem.. Moshiach ben Yosef has become aware of the possibility that many of the Jewish people will not make it through to the times of Moshiach. This upsets him greatly and he declares his readiness to do whatever it takes so that they should survive. Hashem responds and says that in order to save them, he will have to descend to the depths of impurity in order to save every last soul, as many of them will be entrenched in evil. He agrees to this, and as he is sent down into the spiritual abyss, Moshiach ben Yosef screams in horror at the depths of the depravity he encounters, but nevertheless does accomplish his goal.

Who knows if your soul - and other holy souls like yours - don't perhaps contain a spark of Moshiach Ben Yosef that had to enter the depths of depravity, so that WHEN YOU FINALLY BREAK FREE of this though your own personal journey of Messiras Nefesh, you will be able - through the wisdom you gained thereby - to pull hundreds of OTHER Yidden out as well, along with you!

So let's begin this journey to the light, for the honor of Hashem, TODAY, on Chanukah - in a time when the king descends limata me'asara and when one can do Teshuvah from even the lowest sins! (see the Divrei Chaim - quoted in Chizuk e-mail #656)

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

About a year ago, a prestigious Mechanech wrote us once for help:


Dear GUE,


Sorry For anonymity but it would be a Chillul Hashem to show my real face. I am a prestigious mechanech and respected marriage counselor. I helped a lot of Bachurim and couples in their own sexual problems. But as chazal say "ain chovish matir atzmoh", I can't be in command of myself at all, I need access to the net for my profession, and being a computer guru, I have outsmarted the filters & locks.

If you would know who the writer is you would weep for weeks. I can't tolerate it any longer. It seems to me that he only way is by including outside help. However SA meetings are out of question due to my caliber, and letting my wife in does also not come in consideration. Do you think I can be helped without blowing my secret?
 

We answered him and got him involved in our network and forum.
About
4 months later
he writes:

R' Guard, you can not visualize the effect that GYE has had on my life.
Since I joined the forum my life has simply CHANGED for the better
Like a turtle slowly (actually rapidly) emerging from his shell.
Starting to live a lively life, a life of control and reason.
To understand myself, and the others around me.
I opened my eyes, grasped my deterring situation, and made a swift U-turn.
WOW!! One hundred twenty five days.
125 days ago I joined the forum
125 days ago I was reborn
Right, I consider myself an infant of 4 months old.
I watch my soul growing daily, as a kid would regularly appraise his height.
My Davening has not been with such devotion for a very long time.
The learning has become superior, since the tranquility of my conscious.
I observe my social life advancing, like a professional PR entering a club.
My kith and kin have never been closer to me, then the last few months.
My friends encircle me, as bees would surround their comb
And the list goes on and on...

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

Mi LaHashem Alai!

4lashon

Click the image above to view a clip from AISH.com
about the power of each individual light

Rabbosai, our very best and brightest are being pulled into she'ol tachtis! But with your help we can change the world, one person at a time. If each of you does his part to heal themselves; and if each of you helps spread the word about our work amongst your e-mail contacts, or by writing anonymous letters to Rabbanim, askanim, mashgichim; and/or if each person donates what they can (see the bottom of this e-mail for donation options)... Together we can light up the NIGHT, one candle at a time!

A little light banishes a LOT of darkness!

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


 

It's the few of us MACCABEES up against the rest of the world. Help us fight the great tests of today's generation, which are seeping in to the very best of our homes. Help us light up the night, one candle at a time.

Through your donation, many more Yidden will be able to be helped.

Please ask us how to donate through PayPal.

To donate anonymously, please see this page for details.

For larger amounts, we have a FULLY ANONYMOUS tax deductible donating option. Ask us How!

If you can't afford a donation, help GYE with your old STUFF! Click here for more information.

 

660.


Friday  ~  1 Teves, 5770  ~  December 18, 2009
7th Day of Chanukah ~ Erev "Zos Chanukah"
Erev Shabbos Parshas Miketz

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

In Today's Issue

  • Chanukah: "Zos Chanukah" and King Menashe
  • Saying of the Day: Never Say Never
  • The GYE Lighthouse (part 3): Clip from Rabbi Twerski - and MORE!

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

Chanukah

"Zos Chanukah" & King Menashe

Many Sefarim bring down that the final judgement that began on Rosh Hashana can still be reversed until Zos Chanukah. One of the Karliner Rebbes once said that "the shmattes can shelp their Teshuvah until Zos Chanukah". We're all shmattes, and we can all grab ahold of this last opportunity for the Teshuvah that we began on Rosh Hashana.

In this light, I would like to bring a powerful post about Teshuvah from our forum by "MosheW", based on a lecture he once head from Rabbi Wachsman of Monsey:

There is an amazing (yet little known) medrash about King Menasha that I would like to share with the chevra:

At about the midpoint of Menasha's reign, the Babylonians (or Assyrians, depending on the source) kidnapped him and brought him back to Babylon (as stated in Divrei HaYamim / Chronicles). They placed him in a giant pot at started cooking him alive. Suddenly, as things were heating up, Menasha started calling out to all the pagan deities he worshiped, pleading with them to save him. As thing were getting hotter and hotter to the point where he could no longer take it, he suddenly remembered that his father once told him that "even if a sharp sword is resting on your neck, don't give up, the Ribono Shel Olamcan still have mercy". Left with no choice, he called out to Hashem and brazenly said,"if You help me - good, and if not, You are no better than all the other pagan deities that I worship". The medrash continues that when the Angels heard this, they went ballistic. "How dare he talk to God that way!" they said. Quickly, they sealed all the doors and windows leading to Hashem's heavenly chamber, in an effort to block his prayers. In response, our loving Father in Heaven dug a small tunnel under His Kisei HaKavod (Holy Throne), allowing Menasha's prayers to come before Him. The Angels were perplexed as to why Hashem would allow and accept such a brazen attempt of repentance. Hashem explained that "if I close the door of repentance before Menasha then I have to close the door of repentance before every single sinner in the future". Suddenly Menasha found himself back in Jerusalem on his throne. 

Let us analyze this story, if we may. Who was Menasha? Chaza"l tell us that Menasha was a mass murderer. He built idols that were so enormous and heavy that it took one thousand people to move them, and many people were crushed by their weight in the process. He sacrificed his own children to the Baal. He placed multiple brazen images in the holy of holies so that regardless of which direction the divine presence turned, it would be forced to see the images and get angry. Chaza"l further relate that Menasha had relations with his sister just for spite (not for pleasure). Basically, we are talking about someone who was the worst of the worst, who sinned just for spite, all the while forcing others to sin as well. Menasha was so successful in eradicating Torah from the Jewish people, that his own grandson Yoshiyahu (Josiah) did not see an actual Sefer Torah for the first 20 years of his life.

Looking at Menasha and the way he lived, one would think that perhaps he had a difficult childhood, or maybe he came from a broken home, maybe his father was abusive;  bad friends, etc. Who was Menasha's father? His father was Chezkiah (Hezekiah). The Gemara states that Chezkiah was among the greatest kings from the house of King David, second only to King David himself. He was so great and lofty that Hashem wanted to make Chezkiah the Moshiach. After his passing, they placed aSefer Torah on his bier proclaiming: "this one fulfilled everything that is written in this one". Basically, Menasha was the worst of the worst, and at the same time, he was the son of the best of the best. Yet Hashem lovingly accepted his brazen repentance, so much so, that he built a special tunnel for it to come directly before Him.  

Why did Hashem do this? The commentaries explain that at that moment of Teshuvah, Menasha was sincere and truly wanted to return to God (even though he was slowly becoming soup). As a matter of fact, he did indeed spend his remaining years trying to reverse all the atrocities he committed.

Sit back and think for a moment. We are not Menasha, nor have we committed anything close to what he did. Therefore, how much more so will our loving Father in Heaven accept us and ourTeshuvah?

As you are reading this posting, He is sitting on his Kisei HaKavod looking into that tunnel and waiting for us to come home. As bad or dark as it may seem to be, even if we have fallen so deep "into the soup" that we can't crawl out, ALWAYS remember Menasha, what he did, and how Hashem took him back.  

Good Shabbos and ah freilichen Chanukah!
 

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

Saying of the Day

NEVER SAY NEVER

The Rambam in Mishne Torah, Hilchos Teshuva 3:14 writes:
 

"WE CAN NEVER SAY TO OURSELVES THAT WE ARE SO DEEPLY ENTRENCHED IN SIN THAT NOTHING CAN HELP US. WITH COURAGE AND CONVICTION WE CAN MOVE FORWARD IN REPENTACE, KNOWNING THAT HASHEM WILL HELP."

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

The GYE Lighthouse
(Part 3)

If the sections called "The GYE Lighthouse" (parts 1 and 2) in the Chizuk e-mails of the past two days haven't been enough to convince anyone of the terrible darkness of our generation and of the vital importance to Klal Yisrael of the work that we are doing at GYE, maybe this 4 minute audio clip from Rabbi Twerski can help convince them :-).

This clip is from a talk that Rabbi Twerski gave just two days ago (I cut out the part that is the most relevant to us). In the clip, he discusses how internet addiction has become the most destructive addiction in our community today, and how easy it is to get addicted (less than a second!!). He also discusses how we are losing our BEST & BRIGHTEST to it. (He ties it in with Chanukah, so make sure to listen to the clip before Chanukah is over :-)

The rest of the shiur is about Tikkun Hamidos, which is the underlying Yesod of the 12-Steps. To hear the entire shiur, download it here (it's only 14.30 minutes).

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

"Kollel guy" responds to the audio clip (on the forum):

"If I hadn't personally experienced what he's describing, I would definitely think he's exaggerating."

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

"MGSBMS" wrote on the forum yesterday, after reading the "GYE lighthouse" section in the Chizuk e-mail:

Hi every one! I haven't updated this forum for a while, I have a few things to shake out so I'll get right to it. Before I joined this site, I was slipping and falling on a daily basis for about a year. Not "live" acting out, but I was getting there. Then, besiyata d'shmaya, I found this site a few days after Pesach and I had a clean streak for four months. After a fall at the end of August, I had another clean streak from beginning of Elul till I fell again this week without rhyme or reason (another 4 month streak). While I was on these clean streaks, I hardly had to fight. Just reading the daily e-mails and counting the days was a great motivator!

I opened today's email after being depressed for two days after my fall, and I was shocked to see that it was written just for me. Without going into details (because I feel it could cause a chilul Hashem), I was able to identify with this quote fully:

"To compound those feelings, I am involved in Avodas Hakodesh, so while people are looking to me for inspiration, I'm sometimes involved in things that if they had the slightest clue of, they would pillory me in the town square. This makes me feel even more like a fake and a fraud, despite the fact that all I really want to do in my life is bring people closer to Avinu Shebashamayim. Many times, I have thought about quitting my job, recognizing that I'll never really be able to inspire others if there's no gas in my fuel tank, but I'm reminded of the fish's response to Rabbi Akiva, "If in the water, the place of our life, we need to fear, how much more so on dry land, the place of our death!" So I guess I will try to stay close to the water. Besides all the teaching I do, I personally learn for hours every day, sometimes immediately followed by a most inglorious session of shmutz!. I just keep trying to slog through the muck"


I related to that so much, that it felt as if someone was reading my mind! And I must add that it gave me a tremendous amount of chizuk to know that I'm not alone in this kind of conflict. But this is all more reason for the Marbitzei Torah on this forum to blaze the path and show the way of milchemes hayetzer - and not let it take over our lives!
 

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

 

To the Talmid Chacham who recently joined us (quoted above in blue), "RATM" (Rage at the Machine) wrote yesterday:


Welcome to our community. I am not as big a Talmid Chacham as you, but I also felt the "contradicting life"... It hurt... But the thing is, an addiction is a disease... Just like a Talmid Chacham and an Am ha'Aretz can both get rabies or allergies or prostate cancer, they can both get this addiction... And the truth is, contracting this disease was hardly our fault - if at all... We were born into a world that didn't give us much of a chance in this war... We were born into an age where the efforts to turn everyone into "mindless drones" that worship sex and lust is too great... But as the Titanic is sinking, this little paddle boat of GYE is filling up... And we're not just gonna paddle to the shore, but we're gonna fill that hole that's sinking the ship... So we need you, especially since you are a Talmid Chacham... Thank you for joining the revolution!

 

661.


Sunday  ~  3 Teves, 5770  ~  December 20, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • The GYE Lighthouse (part 4): Clip from Rabbi Twerski - and more.
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "What does being a nut have to do with Yiddishkeit?"
  • Breaking News: The First Live GYE Meeting / Kumzitz

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

The GYE Lighthouse
(Part 4)

An Audio Clip from Rabbi Twerski - A MUST HEAR!!


 

If the sections called "The GYE Lighthouse" (parts 1 through 3) in the Chizuk e-mails of the past few days haven't been enough to convince anyone of the terrible darkness of our generation and of the vital importance to Klal Yisrael of the work that we are doing at GYE, maybe this 4 minute audio clip from Rabbi Twerski can help :-).

This clip is from a talk that Rabbi Twerski gave just a few days ago. In the clip, he discusses how the world is changing faster than we can keep up with, and how internet addiction has become the most destructive addiction in our community today. He also discusses how easy it is to get addicted (less than a second!!), and how we are losing our BEST & BRIGHTEST to this "horrible addiction".

The rest of the talk is about Tikkun Hamidos, which is the underlying Yesod of the 12-Steps. To hear the entire speech, download it on this page (it's only 14.30 minutes).

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

 

4lashon


Click the image above to view a clip from AISH.com
about the power of each individual light


Rabbosai, our very best and brightest are being pulled into she'ol tachtis! But with your help we can change the world, one person at a time. If each of you does his part to heal themselves; and if each of you helps spread the word about our work amongst your e-mail contacts, or by writing anonymous letters to Rabbanim, askanim, mashgichim; and/or if each person donates what they can (see the bottom of this e-mail for donation options)... Together we can change the tide.

The lesson we need to take from Chanukah for the whole year, is that "a little light banishes a LOT of darkness"!

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

Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.

"What does being a nut have to do with yiddishkeit?"

There was some discussion on the forum about where the idea of "addiction" is possibly mentioned in Chazal and/or various s'farim. Dov responds:

You may be completely different than I, but maybe not, so I'll share:

Facing the facts about myself is basically the only thing that has been of value to me in getting free - one day at a time. And to do that, I need to be explicit and totally open with other (safe) people.

By contrast, understanding how my problem and its solution fits into my understanding of Torah, was of no use use at all in changing my behavior.

If it mattered enough to stop me, then I would not have habitually and frequently done so many things that I knew were wrong in the first place! After all, I knew in my heart that it was wrong from day 1.

For example, I read Yesod Yosef (the one that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch refers to, not the one written by the Rebbe of the Kav Hayashar), and knowing the issur and its damage and gravity helped me know exactly how guilty, confused, and afraid of punishment to be. That was all. Those things got me good and desperate.... to act out some more, in order to feel better.

Actually, maybe it stopped me twice. And some people out there will say that "the whole thing was worth it even just to stop you from doing it those two times!,". To them I say: Very nice, but tell that to the devastated wife and wrecked family that developed over years of sick behavior and a hidden double life. Those scars may never heal, for generations. It's no consolation for them that your Olam Haba is a bit better because "at least Tatty or Mommy were spared from acting out a few times...". They (and we) need recovery, today. Period.


"Kanesher" responds:

I think that Dov is trying to tell us that our focus is wrong. Our "whole question" should be elsewhere; IY"H after a year of recovery, we can discuss the halachic and haskafchik ins and outs. But now, our focus needs to be on the nature of our addiction, not the fire and brimstone. Seriously, FORGET ABOUT the rest. Just recover.

Is that what you mean, Dov?


Dov responds:

You're right on, as far as I am concerned.

A frum yid, a lamdan, starts doing something that is really, really stupid. He does it once. He does it again. He regrets it each time and feels terrible about it. Slowly he makes this stupid mistake fifty times and it starts to get expanded into something even more stupid. When he thinks it over, he realizes that he is, in fact, acting like a total idiot. He therefore hides his behavior and only does it in the utmost secrecy and privacy. He continues acting like a jackass for ten years and finds out that he'd better not let his wife get wind of it, for it'd mess their marriage up a great deal. He is violating trust and undermining his own self-respect by acting in this immature and idiotic way, but he finds that as much as he tries, he cannot succeed at stopping. He figures he must just be a moron. After all, he is doing the same really dumb stuff habitually. And he can't stop!

You'd agree that he's got some kind of major mental problem. Seriously, no?

Would you say that this fellow has a problem that is dealt with in s'forim? Mishlei spends a lot of time telling us not to be jerks. Have you checked it out? It also talks a lot about alcoholism, womanizing, gambling, raging and lusting. It doesn't matter if it's in a sefer. After all, don't you feel that doing all - or any - of these things is, in fact, just plain stupid?

Yet we do them, anyway. Even though these things are stupid, and we are smart. 

Or are we?

If you find that you keep doing this stuff even though it's stupid, then what does being a "nut" have to do with yiddishkeit at all? That is what I'd like to know.

There are plenty of s'forim that discuss these issues, and there are even some that outline a program like the 12-Steps. But to me, the more relevant question may be, why is there no group movement of people in Yiddishkeit to deal with these issues?


We respond to Dov:

Good question, Dov. Well, maybe the time has come... Maybe people like you, me, and the rest of the good folks at GYE will help answer this need one day. Perhaps...

Rabbosai, we CAN make a world-wide revolution. But to do that, we need YOU.

If we fix ourselves, we have fixed the world
.

With G-d's help, one person at a time, we will change the tide.

Someone told me a nice vort yesterday. Why does it say in Al Hanissim: "You (Hashem) revenged THEIR revenge"? Shouldn't it say "you revenged YOUR revenge"? After all, they were doing it for Hashem's sake! Answers the Chidah, that the Chashmona'yim felt that a life without Torah and Mitzvos was not worth living at all. It was not just for "Hashem". They felt that their OWN lives were at stake!

And that is why all you good folks at GYE, who understand and have experienced the pain and scars of the nisyonos of our generation, are the most qualified to fight this war of Hashem. We are standing off against an entire world full of lust-glorification, but we are fighting for our very own LIVES. And when Hashem sees that it is a matter of life-and-death for us, he will step in and give over the POWERFUL into the hands of the WEAK.

As Dov once said:
"I don't care what 'lav' suicide is. I don't want it for other reasons!"

When Hashem sees that we want to stop - and help other Yidden stop as well - because we recognize that continuing these behaviors is suicide, then Hashem will step in and make miracles for us!

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

Breaking News!

The First Live GYE Meeting / Kumzitz!

A member who calls himself "ImTrying" on our forum, arranged for a live Kumzitz on Chanukah for some of the other "brave" members of our forum in Israel. We hope that this will be the beginning of BIGGER things one day, be"h.

Connecting with others in the same boat as us, and getting "out of isolation" are cornerstones of recovery.


"Imtrying" hopes to arrange such a gathering at least once a month, and we hope that it will grow and grow. Perhaps the idea will spread to the U.S too!

To find out info on the next live gathering, contact Imtrying or post on this thread.

Since anonymity is vital to such gatherings, no one will be allowed to join unless they have been posting on the forum for a while and are recognized by everyone to be sincere.

If anyone wants to pioneer such a group in the U.S, in a place with a large Jewish community such as Lakewood, Boro-Park, Monsey, Baltimore, etc... please post the idea on the forum and see if you get any bites!

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

"Eye.nonymous" wrote us an e-mail after the Kumzitz:

The kumzits was really inspiring. Also, thanks for calling in. It really meant a lot to us.

As we sat around the table singing together, about 7 of us, I got this vision. You know how all these big Yeshivos today started off about 20 years ago with a handful of guys in a cheap one-room apartment?

I thought of this little chevra, and that there would be more of them, and more of them, and bigger and bigger, worldwide! ... Groups of people joining together in this fight against Tumah.

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

"Imtrying" posted on the forum:


I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all those who came to the Kumzitz. It was really nice and couldn't of been done without all of you. We hope in the future we'll get even more members!

Special thanks to my Holy Brothers; Momo, sturggle, Uri, Levite, eye.nonymous, and ilovehashem, who joined us.

I would like to also thank our Holy Guard for calling in and sharing such beautiful insights with us, and for the GYE Rebbetzin (7Up) for calling in
as well. I think it meant so much to all of us to really get to talk to - and hear from - those who guide us here on GYE daily.
 

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

"Momo" posted on the forum:


First, a huge thank you to Imtrying for organizing it, hosting it, and providing the food (along with the extra special surprise cake!).

Next, a big thanks to everyone who came. It was so nice to finally meet Imtrying, Struggle, Eye.nonymous, Levite, and of course URI!!!

Lastly, a big thanks to Guard and 7Up who "attended" the party by phone. For me, that was the highlight of the evening. 

What did we do there? We ate, drank, talked, took turns reading a chizuk email together, and sang along with Uri and his guitar!

Yasher kochachem, and I hope we do it again every month.
 

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

"KollelGuy" posted:

One of the hardest things I will ever have to accept, is that I chickened out of going at the last minute, due to nothing other than fear of showing my face. Sad

I really wish I could rewind the clock and make my way over there.

So when is the next Kumzitz?

 

662.


Monday  ~  4 Teves, 5770  ~  December 21, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • Q & A of the Day: "How do I get out of this rut?"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "He found a way to get your attention!"
  • Battle Communication 1: Appreciating our Ears
  • Battle Communication 2: The Opposite of Taivah is Bitachon
  • Battle Communication 3: We Can Only Change Ourselves
  • Battle Communication 4: The Yetzer Hara is a Big Liar

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

Q & A of the Day

"The joy of the challenge is gone.
How do I get out of this rut?"

"B'ahava" asks on the forum: 

I am struggling with depression and I can't pinpoint what's causing these feelings.

From an objective perspective, my life is just fine. In fact, better than ever. I'm 70 days clean! That was unimaginable for me for the past 8 years. I feel like I've figured out how to beat my biggest test. It's a big deal. I should feel proud.

But I'm not fulfilled. I just don't get it.

Maybe it's davka because I feel that this struggle is behind me. In the first 40 days, my tefilah was different. My thoughts were different. My life was dedicated to beating this yetzer harah. It was my only priority.

I guess I liked the challenge. I liked that I was finally seeing success. I liked that I could see Hashem's hand guide me through the struggle, by sending me this website, and by sending me the right friends and Rabbe'im.

But the joy of all that is gone now. Somehow, it no longer feels like an accomplishment. It feels like an expectation. It's turned into a 'been there, done that' sort of feeling.

Learning can be so good. But I haven't been to morning seder or shacharit for 3 weeks. I know it would be great if I'd go, but I just feel stuck in this rut.

Can any of you identify with my feelings? How do you deal with it?

Love always,
B'ahava

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

We Responded:

Dear B'ahava, what you are feeling is very common. For many years, we used the addiction helped us "escape" from our real feelings. We stopped "feeling" life, and for every "bump" in the road, we had a solution. We would "medicate" ourselves with our "drug" whenever things weren't going smooth, or whenever we felt an inner discontent. 

As we remove the "drug", we start to feel again. 

Now for many, the beginning isn't so hard. Like you described, there is a feeling of "triumph" over the addiction and a new found happiness and purpose in life. But as time goes on and we get used to being clean, we start to really FEEL again. And this is not always a pleasant experience.

That is where the 12-Steps come in. They help addicts learn how to deal with real life once they start to really "feel" once again. You may want to join Duvid Chaim's anonymous phone conference .

May Hashem be with you!

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

Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.

He Found A Way to Get Your Attention!

Dov Responds to B'ahava's question above:

 

Dear B'ahava,

It's nice to be a baby again, isn't it? I mean, we are all babies here, just beginning on the path of sanity. And to finally be more sane means that in some respect I am finally beginning real avodas Hashem (as a shoteh is patur because his avoda is meaningless. A fruitcake can not do a miztva ;-).

"Pischu li sha'arei tzedek - Hashem! Please! Open the gates for me! Even if I'm a big Tzaddik already (Guard told us we are), and a ba'al teshuva already (he told us that, too) - I am still  a baby just starting out and standing just outside your door, Tatty! I'm not even inside the front gate yet!

Let me in to get started at being your real servant today!"

Zeh Hashar La'Hashem - this, i.e. knowing we haven't even started, is the gate to Hashem.

... and Dovid Hamelech said that many times in many different ways over his relatively short and relatively bitter life, even knowing that he had ruach hakodesh, etc., etc. He was always starting.

Don't just think it - that doesn't work. Feel it for a minute.

Repeat the pesukim of Hallel, if you think it'd help (I do). Look for the same idea in other parts of davening, like mizmor shir chanukas habayis l'dovid, etc. 

Why? Dovid hamelech answers: Zeh hasha'ar laShem! This is the attitude for success - Tzadikim yavo'u vo - even great tzadikim (like us ;-) use it over and over!! Humility is very useful.

As Golda Meir (oy vei) said, "Don't be humble, you're not that great". We have little to be "humble" about, because we have even less to be proud about. 

Don't be fooled. I cannot accept that Hashem brought you through this problem just to get you out of it so you could just move on from here as though nothing happened. He could have protected you from getting into the problem in the first place then, no?

Listen closely, my sweet Yid: To quote Rav Noach Weinberg,"He found a way to get your attention", probably because he was missing you a whole lot. Just look at the beautiful posts coming out of you here on this forum! This IS your trip, not just an accident He "saved" you from.

Hatzlocha!!

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

Battle Communication

Appreciating Our Ears

"Lamed Vavnik" posted:

I went out with the family yesterday on a trip, and my shmiras eynayim was greatly tested. I kept my cool though-out, and I practiced closing my eyes on the bus and appreciating my ears. It was actually fun! I heard many more things with my eyes closed, and it gave them a break from the nisyoinos. Thank you Hashem for giving me eye-lids and for giving me ears.
     

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

The Opposite of Taivah is Bitachon

Another great post by "Lamed Vavnik":


The Vilna Goan writes (in Even Sh'laymo) that bitachon (Trust in Hashem) is the opposite of taivah for physical pleasure. Taivos are based on a drive to fill a physical need that we feel we must have ... or we'll die. We must have it NOW. We feel that we must provide ourselves with it. WE feel that we have to take care of ourselves because if we don't, who will? Take it, steal it, etc... or you won't get it. To battle taivah we need to trust in Hashem. Trust teaches us the opposite. Hashem provides. Hashem takes care of us. Hashem gives us what we need. Let go and let G-d care for you.

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

We Can Only Change Ourselves

"BecomeHoly" posted on the forum:

Do you tell Laticia walking down the street in her tank and short shorts to "realize" what she's doing to you? YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE YOURSELF! TRYING TO CHANGE OTHERS ALWAYS BACKFIRES. We can only change others by example. Perhaps they will make the changes to be like us once they're ready. But meanwhile, we can only work on ourselves. The Yetzer Hara wants us to blame it on the environment.... "It's not my fault... it's hers..." WRONG! I am responsible for me. I can only change me. I can only be a shining example to others.

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

The Yetzer Hara is a Big Liar

"NOYA" (a 21 Year Old Bochur) rants on the forum:

Okay, I miss the lust. I want to act out. But what will happen then? Once I do it, I'll feel miserable about myself. I'll feel "out of it" for days. I'll feel dejected and I won't be able to concentrate on my davening and learning until I go to the mikvah, and that's a long walk in the cold. And even after that, I'll still feel out of it for a while. 

And how much pleasure is it anyway? It's maybe a few minutes of fun and games before you feel like a loser and an idiot. Compare that to how I feel when I'm doing well; learning with hasmada, davening well, etc... Now THAT feels good for a long time!

And it's a much better feeling than lust (albeit more subtle)... The Yetzer Hara augments the true pleasure before it happens, telling you it feels much better than it actually does. He's lying!

And come on man, there's something you gotta do for G-d. Just like you can't eat Cheeseburgers and drive on Shabbos, because those things destroy you spiritually. That's just the way it is. If you want to be able to function spiritually, you absolutely cannot look at this trash and spill seed. If you do, there will be a serious ''p'gam" in your spiritual blueprint and you won't be a tenth of the lamdan or chosid that you really could become. 

Okay, I don't want the lust anymore. Thanks for listening!

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

Help us Help Others!

4lashon

MosheW posted on the forum:

The other day I was listening to a Torah CD from a very famous Admor in Israel (it was from a weekly chumash shiurthat over a hundred people attend each week). He was talking about simchas ha'chaim and learning Torah. Out of the blue, he said that over the past weeks he has been dealing with two people; one a magid shiur and the other a mechaber of seforim, and both have fallen victim to a Yetzer Hara called "internet". He then when on to explain how they got hooked. I guess people are starting to approached Rabbonim about this issue more and more.

Rabbosai, Help us fight the great tests of today's generation, which are seeping in to the very best of our homes. Through your donation, many more Yidden will be able to be helped.

Please ask us how to donate through PayPal.


To donate anonymously, please see this page for details.

For larger amounts, we have a FULLY ANONYMOUS tax deductible donating option. Ask us How!

If you can't afford a donation, help GYE with your old STUFF! Click here for more information.

 

663.


Tuesday  ~  5 Teves, 5770  ~  December 22, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: Zeva Starting New Group
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: "Need = Connection"
  • Story of the Day: "I've Changed my Ways"
  • 12-Step Attitude: The Power of Live Groups

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

Announcement

Professional Clinical Therapy with:
 
Zeva Citronenbaum LCSWR CSAT



Zeva's group begins new cycle in January.

Strictly confidential

Only $200 for 10 weeks.

Please fill out the applications on this page.

Looking forward to an exciting new group. 

For more info contact:
Mrs. Zeva Citronenbaum
Confidential Hotline: 845-222-0580
e-mail: acoachservice@yahoo.com


 

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

Attitude Tip of the Day

"Need = Connection"

A number of great warriors have experienced falls in recent days after long clean-streaks. "Holy Yid" writes:

Tonight, less than one hour ago, I fell after 139 days clean. I am very sad but trying not to beat myself up over it. I grew a lot over the last 4 and half months, and one thing that I feel now is that I won't go to bed hating myself, only very sad.

I am proud that I can admit to you all that I fell.

I will look at where I should have been more cautious and make better fences. I cut many corners over the last 4 months.

From now on -

1. Better filters

2. I thought I no longer had to keep other rules I have about where and when to use web. Now I see that I must be more strict with myself.

3. I also did not have any structure today. I have to be aware of how dangerous such situations are.

Tonight I learned where I am holding and I am working to accept it. From now on, I will have be more cautious and think much more like a recovering addict.

I really need to review the handbooks.

The bottom line is, that I am humbled by the force inside of me.

I love you all.

A response to Holy-Yid:

Dear very holy-Yid,

Like you expressed so eloquently, one of the most meaningful things that we can take out of a fall (particularly after a long clean streak) besides for brushing up on our defenses and strengthening our barriers, is simply the humility that we get when we realize that in spite of how well we were doing, we were able to fall - just like that.

This humility renews our connection with Hashem. The more we feel how much we NEED Hashem's constant mercy and help each day, the more connected and dependant we are on Him. And this kesher is so precious to Hashem, that sometimes He brings a Tzadik to fall for that reason alone.

Similarly, we quoted Dov yesterday:

I cannot accept that Hashem brought you through this problem just to get you out of it so you could just move on from here as though nothing happened. He could have protected you from getting into the problem in the first place, no? To quote Rav Noach Weinberg,"He found a way to get your attention", probably because he was missing you a whole lot. This IS your trip, not just an accident He "saved" you from.

And that is perhaps why Hashem sometimes brings us to fall, even when we are doing so well. Hashem gave us this disease because He wanted our attention. And maybe we start to get too complacent and self-confident after a while, and we begin to lose this precious kesher with Hashem... So He starts missing us again and wants to get our attention back - and BAM! - we fall and cry out to Him for help once again. After doing so well, we are shocked back into the reality of how dependant we really are on Him every moment. And this realization causes us to need Him more, which causes us to connect to Him on a deeper level.


And that is HUGE.

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Story of the Day

"I Have Changed My Ways"

"Sci1977" tells his story for the first time:

After much soul searching and deep honesty, I finally feel ready to share this story as I have a little bit of sobriety under my belt (no pun intended ;-)...

I was trying to write out my story now for about a week, but I had a lot of trouble doing so. I found myself repulsed by how I had let myself get this way. Since I started writing, all that keeps pouring into my mind is, "How sick have I been?" and "what did I do to my wife?" I question whether my wife can ever forgive me, or if I can even forgive myself fully. I hope that getting it all out will help in healing me.

The beginning of my story is one of much shame. When I was little, between the ages of 7 and 10, I was molested almost every day by a close family member. This caused me to never learn what true love meant. I could only relate to "lust". When I was around 17, I started to look at p**n and did that very frequently. As I got older, it was something I would do as a stress reliever.

I got married and had my first child, and all of a sudden I felt stress related issues hit me like a ton of bricks. I started looking more and more at p**n. After being married for about a year, it escalated from porn to prostitution. I acted out and went to inappropriate places. I got hooked and I couldn't get out. I battled with the fact that I was cheating on my wife, however I couldn't stop.

About year ago, I struggled hard to kick the habit. It didn't work. I then acted out even more; more porn, more prostitution, etc...

It seems that Hashem had seen my efforts to stop though, and He stepped in. Not long ago, my wife found out and confronted me about it. That was my real wake-up call. She was terribly angry and almost left me right then and there. But when we started talking again she said, "we will get through this together and I will help you find help".

I ended my acting out and I have been clean now for 33 days since finding this website together with my wife.

It is very hard to admit all that I have done, but when you release everything about yourself to others, it becomes clearer in your own mind. The more you tell and the more honest you are with yourself and with G-d, the more it helps. 

I admit that I used to lust for women to make me feel better. What I did not realize in all of this, is that my sex life had never been about deeper feelings like true love. Nothing was an "emotion", as my emotion had been damaged by the molestation I endured as a boy. I never thought about the other person for real. She was just an "object" for a physical act.

From now on, my actions must be more then that. They need to actions of love, not just lust. I need to have compassion, and most of all, my heart needs to be in what I do. 

I have changed my ways with the help of this website. I have worked on the 12-steps and I am reading the Handbook very slowly and carefully. I pray and talk to G-d a lot. I work on myself by learning to LIVE, and by just realizing what is around me; my wonderful family and all that surrounds me in life - like taking an extra second just to look up at the sky. I am also learning to feel G-d's embrace at all times, especially when things go well, like when I make a good business deal.

Today I am living with the knowledge that I am clean, and without the constant feeling that I am destroying my mind and soul. I was given a "wake-up call" by G-d and I need to use it in the right fashion.

I am thinking positive and living every second. I'm working hard on letting G-d take control over everything, and when I make a decision I ask myself, "is this something that G-d would approve of?" My heart - and all of me - feels so much better. 

I look back now and feel very degraded that I once had to do all those things to feel good. I should have just stayed at home and not looked elsewhere, but I can't do anything about the past. I can only move forward and pray that with G-d's help, everything will turn out OK with me and my marriage.

I am living life to its utmost now. I put my life in G-d's hands and try to focus on that which is good and decent about me.

With G-d's help, I WILL WIN THE BATTLES AND THE WAR!!

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12-Step Attitude

The Power of Live Groups

"Elya K" (moderator of the hotline and phone group) posted:

About 70 years ago, a doctor and a drunk went to the famous Carl Jung and asked him what it would take to get rid of the guilt and shame, the stigma and the hopelessness from drinking too much alcohol, raging and then feeling bad about it later.

Carl Jung answered: "let people get together in a group and tell their stories and when they are finished telling their stories, do not criticize or give advice - just accept that person for who they are."

We are all in this together. The proven way to get better and heal is to literally speak the shame and guilt out of your mouth and out of your body, similar to what we do on Yom Kippur at Viduy time. It is difficult to admit your faults and falls in public, AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHY WE MUST DO IT. We co-dependent, addictive, compulsive, lonely souls must learn to fill up the gaping holes in our souls with honesty instead of with acting out in our disease (dis-ease).

What we hold in our bodies and our minds grows more powerful, like le'havdil a cancer, chas v'sholom, and the more power we give it and let it grow the more it affects us negatively.. Rigorous honesty is the key.

The power of the 'group concept' cannot be overstated. Isolation and loneliness are our worst enemies and our addiction's most treasured friend. The addiction reminds us constantly that our isolation will shield us from having to be honest with ourselves and others. And this is the power it has over us, until we kill the obsession by talking about it.... about our feelings... about our loneliness.... and yes, about the details of our acting out. Not in vague generalities like, "I did that m-word-thing"  but actually saying it and getting it out. Not necessarily just on the forum, but also in person.

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

Help us Help Others!

4lashon

"On the Road" posted on the forum:

There was a recent scandal which has rocked the frum community involving the issues we are working on here on GYE. I though to myself that the Rav involved could have been me, and it scared the heck out of me. G-d knows I am trying very hard to get out of this. I recently got a job (that is not very bekavodik, but it will help me put food on the table and keep me away from the computer for a few hours a day. I think that just being out and doing work outside of a computer terminal is going to be helpful for me. Thanks GYE family!

Rabbosai, Help us fight the great tests of today's generation, which are seeping in to the very best of our homes. Through your donation, many more Yidden will be able to be helped.

Please ask us how to donate through PayPal.


To donate anonymously, please see this page for details.

For larger amounts, we have a FULLY ANONYMOUS tax deductible donating option. Ask us How!

If you can't afford a donation, help GYE with your old STUFF! Click here for more information.

 

664.


Wednesday  ~  6 Teves, 5770  ~  December 23, 2009

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

In Today's Issue

  • Correspondence with Rabbi Twerski
  • Article of the Day: The Cancer of the Internet - By Rabbi Twerski
  • Daily Dose of Dov 1: The Big Book
  • Daily Dose of Dov 2: "I've had enough for a life-time!"
  • Testimonial of the Day: A Community Just Like Me
  • Announcement: Zeva Starting New Group

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Correspondence with Rabbi Twerski

We wrote an e-mail to Rabbi Twerski yesterday:

Dear Rabbi Twerski,

 

Here's a PDF file called "The GYE Lighthouse" (right-click and press "Save Target/Link As"). It has a link to a short audio clip from a speech that the Rav recently gave (on Chanukah). It also documents a few of the many cries for help that we are getting from the best and brightest of our community... There's even a letter inside from a Rebbe of children ages 11-14 (!) who claims that many of these kids are addicted to this stuff and don't even know it's wrong!
 

I wanted to ask that when the Rav speaks about this issue in public gatherings and forums, if the Rav could please mention our work at GuardYourEyes.org? 

 

There is nothing out there like what we have going on today at GYE. We have currently 4 different 12-Step phone conferences (all anonymous), we have over 1,100 members on our two different daily Chizuk e-mail lists, we have two websites, hundreds of tips and stories, a thriving forum with hundreds of members, tons of FAQ and Q&A pages, and lots of great guidance and correspondence from the Rav... We also have handbooks set up, with step by step information and guidance on how to beat this addiction in all it's many different stages.
 

We are B"H getting in testimonials every single day of people whose lives have been changed around completely through our network.
 

Thanks so much for everything!

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

 

Rabbi Twerski Responded:

I recommend GYE at every opportunity I get. I can't put it in Hamodia because they are not permitted to acknowledge that internet even exists.

I'm sending you here (below) an article that was in Hamodia. I don't know if you want to use it.

Twerski

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

Article of the Day

The Cancer of Internet
By Rabbi Twerski

Not a week goes by that I don't get several calls about new casualties to the internet. Some people call in desperation about themselves, feeling trapped into a habit from which they have unsuccessfully tried to extricate themselves. Others, equally desperate, call about a family member. There is no immunity. People would be shocked to know the caliber of the people who have fallen prey to this problem.

While restricting access to the internet would appear to be a logical solution, it is simply not realistic. The use of internet, even just for business needs, is widespread. Filters can be effective to prevent accidental exposure to improper scenes, and can be helpful for people who sincerely want to stop. But the Satan has become overpowering and is claiming victims, destroying spiritual lives, marriages and families.

A man recently told me that he is traveling to a city 600 miles distant by car. Why? Because he is in contact with his infant grandchildren and is afraid of exposure to a carrier of the swine flu virus at the airport or on a plane. The awareness of the gravity of the problem and the possible consequences warrant his driving ten hours! This man has no false illusions about immunity. Even if we are secure about ourselves, we should be seriously concerned about our children. The technology is advancing every day. There is no safe place to hide out.

What can we do? One phrase comes to mind, that of Avraham Avinu to Avimelech, "There is just no fear of G-d in this place" (Bereishis 20:11). Whatever else one may do, if there is no yiras shamayim, everything is possible, even the most immoral behavior.

But don't we have strong yiras shamayim? B"H, we have wonderful yeshivos and seminaries. We have glatt kosher meat, chalav yisrael, pas Yisrael and kemach yashan. But listen to the Talmud. When Raban Yohanan ben Zakai was in his last days, his talmidim asked for his beracha. He said, "May your fear of Hashem be as great as your fear of people." His talmidim were shocked. "Is that what you think of us?" Raban Yohanan said, "Halevai you would achieve that! When a person does an aveira he is concerned that no person should see him. It does not bother him that Hashem sees him" (Berachos 25b).

Just think of it! The talmidim of Raban Yohanan ben Zakai! People whose greatness in Torah and kedusha is beyond what we can imagine, yet he felt that they might be lacking in yiras shamayim. How can we say about ourselves that we have adequate yiras shamayim? Remember what Chovas Halevavos says, "You may be asleep, but the yetzer hara is awake." Awake and unrelenting.

What can we do to increase yiras shamayim? Rashi provides the answer." To observe those mitzvos that we tend to trample on" (Devarim 7:12). B"H, we do not trample on kashrus,on Shabbos, or on chametz on Pesach, but unfortunately, we may trample on middos: kaas, lashon hara, kinah, sinah, ga'ava, shekker. We should keep before us the words of Rebbe Chaim Vital, that we should take even greater precaution with middos than we do with aveiros! Middos is the key to yiras shamayim. Middos gives the person a sense of kedusha and dignity that he would not allow himself to soiled with the tumah of the internet.

Let us be honest with ourselves. Do we sometimes lose our temper? The Talmud says that this is equivalent to avodah zara. Do we sometimes listen to or speak lashon hara, which is equivalent to the three cardinal sins of avodah zara, shefichas damim and ariyos? Do we sometimes deviate from the truth? No amount of chumros can be considered yiras shamayim if we are not meticulously careful about middos.

It is easy to buy kosher food. It is not easy to become master of our middos. It may be the most difficult challenge of our lives. But think of the person who will drive ten hours for fear that he may be exposed to the swine flu virus and how disastrous this can be to his grandchildren. If our homes do not become fortresses of true yiras shamayim, our children are at risk of being infected by the virus of the internet. Remember the words of Avraham Avinu "There is just no fear of G-d in this place." Without true yiras shamayim nothing else will work.

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. His story can be found here.

The Big Book

Holy Jews,

Please consider getting hold of a copy of "Alcoholics Anonymous" and reading it, especially chapters 2 and 3. Just substitute the word "Lust" in place of "alcohol". You can download it here for free, but I like holding a good old-fashioned book in my hands.... (what a weirdo!)

If you actually read what it has to say and like it, then I'd suggest looking at the last two pages of "Step Two" in the other main AA text called "The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions" (download that here). It talks there about religious folks like us who nevertheless are in this crazy mess.

Hatzlocha Rabba!

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

"I've Had Enough for a Lifetime"

Dov writes:

I have not knowingly lusted today and b"H have not acted out in a while, but when I share in meetings I still say things like "when I act out, I... blah, blah, blah... but b"H I don't need to do that today", because I believe that the day I start saying stuff like, "way back when I used to act out, I would...blah, blah, blah", I'll start to think I am now cured and can now control lust and "use it like a gentleman", as AA puts it quite humorously (regarding drinking).

No thanks! As Rav Noach Weinberg, zt"l liked to say, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!" I've had enough for a lifetime.

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

Testimonial of the Day

A Community Just Like Me

"KollelGuy" posted on the forum:

I came on this site looking for help, half expecting either "yeshivishe raid" which won't have the slightest effect on my life, or mystical hallucinations about how you need to balance all the energetic forces within you - using love for nature.

Instead, what I found was a whole community of frum Jews JUST LIKE ME, who share the same difficulties and frustrations as I do, and who also seek to free themselves of the self-destructive habit they find themselves caught in, and who all help and support each other in truth, and with wisdom - usually from experience.

It's an amazing thing, and I'm just beginning to realize how it's changing my life in more than just one way.

 

665.


Thursday  ~  7 Teves, 5770  ~  December 24, 2009

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In Today's Issue

  • Daily Dose of Dov: Reconnecting to Reality
  • Sayings of the Day: Some Great 12-Step Slogans
  • Quote of the Day: By "RATM"
  • Personal Victory of the Day: "I don't have to"
  • Q&A of the Day: Do the 12-Steps Have Christian ideas?
  • Link of the Day: Setting Limits

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. His story can be found here.

Reconnecting to Reality

Dov wrote to someone who felt that they were about to fall after having had to sit next to a triggering woman on a flight and having also seen triggering videos on the plane against their will...

Just last week I was on the way home on a bus and had a similar experience. It was a good thing I called a few folks including an addict who I used to sponsor, my wife (who thinks she sponsors me sometimes), and just a friend out of the blue - all just to reconnect with reality. Cuz my body's reality is that the women of the world would all 'attack me' if only nobody was watching. (What a nuuuuutttt!!!!!!!!!) And there will always be a cadre of 'hotties' out there for more of my home-grown BS to grow a farm on. That kind of BS, we have all had enough of, hopefully....

But, that's my pickle. My body goes right there. I mean pek'le.....whatever.

Hang in there, brother.

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

Sayings of the Day

Some Great 12-Step Slogans

Posted by "Eye.nonymous" on the forum from this website:

 

I can't, He can, I think I'll let Him (Steps 1,2,3).

Sobriety is a journey, not a destination.

Live in the NOW.

If God seems far away, who moved?

Nothing is so bad, that a little lusting won't make it worse.

We are only as sick as our secrets.

Be part of the solution, not the problem.

I can't handle it God; you take over.

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

Quote of the Day

After almost 4 months clean, "RATM" posted to someone on the forum:

As an addict, I fear my mind still wants to act-out with anything that's not buried in the ground... I can't hang around my head much, you see, because it is diseased... I need to be outside my head as much as possible, and to try to get into God's "head" so to speak... And trust me, there's a lot of good life out there to be had...

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

Personal Victory of the Day

"I don't have to"

"SilentBattle" posted on the forum:

I got on the bus today, and it was like a sudden epiphany of freedom - I realized that "hey, I don't have to look around and see which girls are pretty!"

I hope it lasts...

I think the interesting thing was that it actually came to me as a kind of, "huh... y'know, I really don't have to do this." Kinda like realizing that there was this chore that I has scheduled every day, that I suddenly realized was optional all along.

"You mean I don't have to take out the garbage?" Cool, I can deal with that...

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

Q & A of the Day

Do the 12-Steps have Christian Ideas?

At the Agudah Convention in New York, 2009, Rabbi Twerski endorsed the idea of 12 step programs, saying "they work" and denying that they need to have a Christian component. Each of the steps they entail, he said, "is in Chazal." Rabbi Twerski also put out a book called "Self Improvement? I'm Jewish" which shows how the 12-Steps can all be found in Chazal. For more from Rabbi Twerski on the 12-Steps vs. Chazal, see this page of correspondence that we had with him on this issue.

There's also a great article called "Addiction & Recovery Through Jewish Eyes" by Carol Glass, which compares the 12-Step program to the Teshuvah Templates of the Rambam and Rabbeinu Yona, finding remarkable similarities. (Right-Click the link and press "Save Target/Link As" to save the PDF article to your computer).

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Link of the Day

Setting Limits

This website/blog is intended to be a resource for those who wish to manage their internet browsing (surfing) behavior. On this page, there are a few interesting ideas on how to limit our time on the computer. This can be helpful in battling internet addiction, where the "bad stuff" often happens because we simply can't break away from the computer when we know we should.

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Battle Communications

"BeHoly" rants on the forum:

I read "Garden of Emunah" over Shabbos... it really makes everything so simple. We need to plain-and-simply connect to God. Fulfilling my selfish desires is against Emuna, because it means I feel that "I need to do this now or else I'll be _______". So instead of "let go & let god", I am doing the opposite every time I give in.

I need to refocus. Everything I do needs be with God's help. I need to focus on the fact that God is providing. Right now, God will help me finish this post. EVERYTHING. If I'm constantly thinking about God, I won't have time for other things... 

I'm in the process of setting up a Gvoice# so I will have an anonymous telephone number to use with a sponsor / partner soon. 

I read something today which I believe can be applied to us (from sefer Chofetz Chaim):

"The quality of shmiras haloshon should be attained gradually. The first step is to accustom oneself to avoid groups involved in idle conversation and to train oneself not to inquire about the latest gossip. One should train himself, little by little, until he reaches the point where he does not even want to be informed of any gossip. With the passage of time, Hashem will help him so that shmiras haloshon will become a part of his very nature. He will find it incredible that others can transgress the sin of speaking loshon hora, which to him has become something repulsive, like anything else which the Torah prohibits."

It's like imagining someone would eat cockroaches. I gag just thinking about it. (Not about the person. But about the action). And I also wonder why in the world people would subject themselves to that. They're obviously not well.... which means I can treat them like sick people.... I want to be repulsed by the sin...

 

666.


The number 6 represents "Yesod". Imagine the power of Triple 6! :-)

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Friday  ~  8 Teves, 5770  ~  December 25, 2009
Erev Shabbos Parshas Vayigash

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In Today's Issue

  • Parsha Thought 1: "And he cried on his shoulders more"
  • Parsha Thought 2: BE HAPPY, DO TESHUVAH
  • Tip of the Day: Dealing with Bad Thoughts & Fantasies
  • Sayings of the Day: Great Slogans from AA
  • Testimonial of the Day: G-d is Behind it All

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Parsha Thought 1

"And he cried on his shoulders more"

B'ahava had a fall after being clean for 74 days. He was terribly pained - and for the first time in his life, he found himself crying over it... Today (a few days later), he posted this beautiful vort on the Parsha:

I heard something nice from the Ktav Sofer that explains some of my behavior after my fall this week.

When Yaakov goes down to Egypt and finally sees Yosef, it says "va'yevch al tzavarav od," that Yosef cried on Yaakov's neck. Rashi explains that the word 'od' means that he cried more than the regular amount.

The Ktav Sofer explains that Yosef cried double, for 2 reasons. The first being the obvious and natural cry of joy, for reuniting with his father after all those years. The second though, was a cry of sadness, for all the years that he missed the guidance of his father.

But why was he crying over the missed years now? That part his life was done with! If anything, he should have cried davka when Yaakov was NOT there!

The Ktav Sofer answers that only when Yosef saw Yaakov again could he really understand what he missed out on all those years. You see, all the years of separation made Yosef forget about how much he would have gained from his father. He had become numb, unable to understand the greatness of Yaakov. Only now, when Yosef once again realized what was lacking in his life, could he cry.

Similarly, the Jewish people will shed tears of sadness with the coming of Moshiach. "Im lo a'aleh et Yerushalayim al rosh simchati" - The "rosh simcha" of the coming of the Moshiach is when we will fully understand how terrible the galus has been, and how much we were lacking by not having Yerushalayim.

This hit home for me because I cried over a sin for the first time in my life after my fall this week. I've always felt terrible about my falls, and it always bothered me why I couldn't cry.

Based on this Ktav Sofer, I see that over the past 8 years the Yetzer Harah had me in his clutches, and he made me numb to the feeling of kedusha and tahara. I had forgotten what it meant to live a life of purity.

Thank God, I was zocheh to 74 days of cleanliness. And the feelings came back.

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Parsha Thought 2

"BE HAPPY, DO TESHUVAH"


By "Bardichev"
(in his indelible style and CAPS-LOCK)

IN THIS WEEK'S PARSHA - VAYIGASH, AFTER YOSEF REVEALED HIMSELF TO HIS BROTHERS, THEY WERE SO ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES THAT THEY TRIED TO HIDE FROM HIM.

YOSEF HATZADIK PULLED THEM CLOSE AND TELLS HIS BROTHERS:

"VA'ATTA AL TIE'ATZVU - AND NOW, DON'T BE SAD".

SAYS THE HELIGER RADOMSKER REBBE ZT"L IN HIS CLASSIC SEFER TIFERS SHLOMO (IF YOU DON'T OWN ONE, BUY IT):

VA'ATTA IS A LASHON OF TESHUVA

VI'ATTA, WHEN YOU DO TESHUVAH, DO IT BESIMCHA!!!!

AL TEI-ATZVU, DON'T GET DEPRESSED!!!

WHEN WE DO TESHUVAH, WE ARE TURNING OUR BACK ON OUR OLD WAYS.

THE YETZER HARA FREAKS OUT.

WHAT'S THE LAST AMMO IN HIS ARSENAL??

THAT'S RIGHT, THE "D" BOMB.

"DEPRESSION".

HE HITS YOU BETWEEN THE EYES AND SAYS:

"UCHHH!! YOU VERMIN! YOU SINNED! HASHEM WILL NEVER, EVER ACCEPT YOUR TESHUVAH!!"

HE CAN TURN YOUR VERY OWN TESHUVAH JOURNEY INTO A DIVING BOARD RIGHT BACK INTO THE SEWER.

SO INSTEAD, WHEN WE DO TESHUVAH, WE SING, WE DANCE, WE SMILE, WE DRINK L'CHAIM!

YES, WE ARE HAPPY.

BUT WHAT OF THE OLD STUFF; THE BAGGAGE, THE SEWAGE, THE TAINTED MIND, ETC??

GOOD QUESTION, BUT HERE IS THE SECRET:

VI'ATTA!!!

THE "V" BOMB!!!

VI'ATTA = NOW.

WHAT WAS, WAS.

FROM HERE AND ON!!

KEEP ON TRUCKIN!!!

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For the same idea, listen to this great 5 minute clip from a shiur by Rabbi Shafier (www.theshmuz.com). To hear the whole shiur, click here.

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Tip of the Day

Dealing with Bad Thoughts & Fantasies

"YishuvHadas" came onto the forum asking how to deal with sexual fantasies... We sent him this link, which contains many great ideas on dealing with inappropriate thoughts. He responded:

Thank you for that link. There were many useful ideas and techniques there. Ideas for how to positively react and deal with the thoughts, and practical techniques for managing them. I like the idea of "welcoming them" rather than fighting the losing battle of actively trying to reject them.

I saw an interesting Maharsha yesterday that I think is also very useful on this topic. On daf 10b of Makkos, there is the famous statement: "B'derech sh'adam rotze lelech, molichim osso - the way that a person wants to go, he will be lead". It is usually understood that Hashem will lead the person in the way that that the person wants to go - for better or for worse. The Maharsha points out that "malochim" is plural and literally means "they" will lead him. Who are "they"? Also, it bothered me that Hashem would lead the person in possibly a bad direction. Why would Hashem do that? The Maharsha suggests that the "they" are actually malachim (angels). For every thought, word and action taken, a person creates a malach. For good thoughts, etc. a good malach is created. For bad thoughts, etc. a bad malach is created. Therefore, the person, by creating these malachim (angels) is actually causing himself to be directed. 

The GYE Handbook and Attitude Handbook talk about the neuron pathways that our behavior creates. These pathways may be the malachim that our behavior creates. The GYE community, by joining and working together, is certainly assisting everyone to create numerous good malachim to counter the bad malachim that we have created in the past, which is something that most people could not do on their own.

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"KollelGuy" writes some practical tips on dealing with fantasies:

I heard from the pele yoetz that anybody who desires that a bad thought should never enter his mind, "Eino ela taavoh" (this in itself is nothing but desire). Why? Either because he wants to be on such a high level that he doesn't have to deal with these things at all, or because he knows he will have to remove it, and that is not enjoyable and can be frustrating.

Some practical advice I can offer, is to make times during the day, say between 2pm - 4pm, and during that time every day - to be strong and not allow yourself any leeway to slip and intentionally daydream about these things. And if they pop in, then GENTLY let the thoughts out of your head.

Gradually, you can move the hours up along with your success, until you got the whole day in there :-)

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Sayings of the Day

Some 12-Step Slogans

Posted by "Eye.nonymous" on the forum from this website

Read them slowly, they contain great truths!


Willingness is the key.


No pain, no gain.

Just for today.

Decisions aren't forever.


Before you say I can't, say I'll try.

Don't quit before the miracle happens.

We're all here because we're not all there.

Practice an attitude of gratitude.

The road to sobriety is a simple journey for confused people with a complicated disease.

Have a good day, unless of course you have made other plans.

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Testimonial of the Day

G-d is Behind it All

"Sci1977" posted in his log on the forum:

Day 35. I am very pleased to report that my wife and I are making progress, and our marriage is getting stronger. I am feeling good and strong, no slips or falls and needed or wanted. I've worked hard over the past 35 days to have a strong will and great attitude. Now, acting this way is starting to become a real inner change.

I was looking at the blank Google homepage yesterday and it hit me that the same page that would have lead me to all the bad places - leads me to GYE! But then I realized that G-d is the one that helps me to GYE everyday. I can say that I have strong-will or say that my attitude is great - and it is, but the real reason I come here is G-d. I left this all to G-d, and I am truly blessed that I am lead here everyday.

He must have done something to my wife as well, because she is beside me more and more each day. She read my story (Chizuk e-mail #663) and my entire thread, and afterwards, I was not sure how she would react, but she was fine and told me that she was proud of me. That felt amazing.

I WILL WIN THE BATTLES AND THE WARS - WITH G-D'S HELP!!

 

667.


Sunday  ~  10 Teves, 5770  ~  December 27, 2009

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.

Dov's Story - and the Deep Lessons He Learned

This is a long piece by Dov, but well worth reading. If it's easier, print it out and read at your leisure.
(See the bottom for a short summary of the main Yesodos that I understood from Dov's words)

The issue of "addiction" vs. "Yetzer Hara, Aveiros and Teshuvah" has been discussed many times before on GYE, with me as a participant, too.

I love these issues, as they touch on the core of recovery for me and what it has done for my life, my wife's life, and the lives of my children.

I am absolutely convinced that if I had not surrendered to the facts about myself, I'd have continued down the exact same useless and deadly path I was on, for yet another 20 years or so, until I'd have died from it. And on the way, the lives of my wife and children would have been irrevocably damaged. That would mean another few generations of severe pain and chilul Hashem, too.

I became frum over the years of my adolescence, as do many. My parents are not what you'd call "really frum", but are traditional. Nonetheless, I chose to learn in a post high school yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel and continued after that in an unpaid kollel arrangement for about 3 more years after getting married, then went to school and am now working in a profession, learning (Torah) quite a bit on the side b"H, and helping raise a family. 

That is what you'd have seen, had you seen me as a neighbor, in shul, yeshiva, etc. My wife knew me pretty much as that guy, too.

The truth was, that I was busy trying to get in as much lusting and acting out as I could - to remain comfortable, while doing all those "real life" things. Not that I was really seeing it that way. My attitude was that I was preoccupied with trying to stop!! Ha.

My inner preoccupation was not about tosfos, RMB"N, loving my wife and kids better, kiruv and doing for klal yisroel, or making a nachas ruach for my very Best Friend (Hashem, of course), at all. My struggle was in finally beating this damn yetzer hora that was torturing me. I was reading mussar seforim to try and overcome it, and I would cry in the shower after acting out almost every time. And my acting out drove me extra crazy, knowing in my heart that I'd never honestly be able to expect the non-frum yidden I was trying to be mekarev to give up their cheeseburgers, girls, and other "freedoms", as long as I was still using my favorite diversion, pleasure pill and stimulant, lust. I just couldn't seem to stop, and I knew that it made me a hypocrite. I was inescapably a hypocrite.

I read the Yesod Yosef that the kitzur suggests to use to stop from doing lust activities, searched many library stacks for articles in frum psychology journals on the yetzer hora and such, memorized much of messilas yeshorim, fasted occasionally, and cried in davening, especially in Eretz Yisroel while davening at kivrei tzadikim. I was into d'veikus (not just the album...) and expected to be close to Hashem, yet I felt confused and frustrated that I was continually "falling," as folks like to say it here.

I spoke to Rav Mendel Weinbach, The Steipeler, and other great people, my Rebbis in yeshiva, a few Rabonim in my town, went to a few shrinks under the pretense of "having marriage problems" (I had to hide behind the marriage issue to get my wife to be OK with me going to a shrink). Needless to say, by the time I was done trying to secretly do teshuva, I had a whole double life. I was a "normalish" frum guy on the outside, but a tortured yid on the inside.

To make matters worse, I viewed the lust problems I had - and the "teshuva" from them - as "the struggle of my life"; "My secret mission." At times, it placed me in a category above others, for I was "working on big things". I - as I see many do here on GYE - romanticized the struggle with the Yetzer Hara, as though it were some epic battle of good vs. evil that I alone could wage for the honor of Hashem. Some people go as far as to view whether they succeed or fail as something that will bring Moshiach - or delay his arrival, c"v. 

If my attitude upsets you at this point, please at least give me a chance to explain. I understand that it does not sound like what most of us are told in yeshiva and s'forim:

I never got better until I saw that the extent and quality of my acting out was indeed, ill. The frum approach that I was familiar with was not working, and I could see that. The reason it wasn't working was not because I wasn't trying hard enough, but rather because there was something wrong with my approach. After all, Hashem's Torah is perfect!

And something was wrong with me. Not being absolutely sure what it was, I went to a shrink and laid out my entire acting out history, mind games, inner tortured life, etc. to the very last detail, and she suggested I go to a 12-step fellowship called SA.

I came to SA the next week and discovered that I was in a room filled with other people who were stuck in a pattern of using sex and lust in a way that was destroying their lives - and in spite of it destroying their lives, but many of them finally got out of it and stayed out of it. In other words, they were sexually perverted, but found a way to live differently.

A) I discovered that as long as I looked at myself as separate from the acting out, meaning: "I am a regular, healthy guy on the whole, but sadly have this terrible habit" - I'd never get better.
[Dov is saying that it is not just a habit, it is a reflection of who we have become; i.e. we are 'ill']

B) By the same token, I discovered that as long as I remained absolutely disgusted with myself - which I was (and I was sure there was a whole litany of secrets I'd quietly take to the grave with me) - I'd also never get better.
[We are not 'bad' people who need to become 'good', but simply 'ill' people who need to get 'better']

C) I discovered that whether or not the process qualified as "Teshuva", is something that I need to leave up to Hashem, for a change. Thinking into these types of things has always been just another way for me to feel a sense of control over my "madreiga". Now, Hashem gifts me with what you may call "madreigos", if He wishes to. I am getting better on His schedule, not mine. My business is doing His will for me today to the best of my ability, period.

I have no interest in being a big Tzaddik one day. Neither do I think about never acting out again! Thinking about "getting free of it, or never doing it again" was always poison for me. I live one day at a time.

"Asher anochi metzav'cho hayom" - only hayom. I believe that "now" is all that He wants from me. Really.

I don't ask Hashem - tempting as it is - for sobriety this week, or year, etc. I ask Him for today only. 

You see, the lusting and acting out struggle was so intertwined in my development as a frum yid, that I believe it twisted my idea of Hashem, punishments, right and wrong, Teshuva, you name it. For if those things were not all screwed up, I ask you: How could I have ended up so messed up?

"Shlach al Hashem y'hovecha" and I send this entire pekk'el of "frumkeit/teshuvah/yetzer hora winning and losing" stuff onto Hashem. For I see that that was the pekk'el that was weighing me down all along.

The Dubno Magid has a beautiful moshol about packages. He teaches that avodas Hashem - if done right - is a relatively light package. After all: I'm doing what makes my Tatty so happy! What could be more natural and simple? Not easy but simple.

This was the opposite of my way back then. I dare not go back.  

So, in acting out, either I am sick or a rasha - you choose. I pick sick. I did and I got better.

Was it my Yetzer Hara all along? Maybe. My beef is just that all the thinking and cheshb'ning of the "aveiro approach" got me sicker and kept me sicker.

Am I running away from the truth?

My answer is: No.

But, what difference does it make anyway?

Am I serving Hashem now? Yes.

Was I then? Not really.

I believe that I was really serving lust. I depended on it (kind of like bitachon), it took up my entire mind so often (like ahavas Hashem is supposed to), I did it in private (like my relationship with Hashem is supposed to be), and I protected my access to it by keeping it safe and secret - because even though I hated myself so much for it, I desperately feared losing it. Just try to force any addict to quit and see how long it takes him to feel absolutely desperate - after the bravado of "sure I can go without it" is over and done with...

I see little difference between being preoccupied with fighting lust, and lusting. For me, they inexorably lead to the same thing.

My job in recovery (after working my steps) is to focus on Hashem and being useful to Him. Anything else is a distraction, including lust/acting out. That's all. And I can't get distracted by lust, of all things, because if I do I won't be able to control it. So I can't struggle with lust any more than I can use it. 

Recovery, in my experience so far, is about a different focus that the one I used to espouse. And that is why the "Yetzer Hara model" is useless to me and many other frum addicts who are sober today.

If saying such things is an aveiro, (to paraphrase Reb Chayim of Brisk) "I'd like to see the gehinom for it." 

A disclaimer: There may be plenty of folks who are really not preoccupied with lust (or the struggle with it - same thing), who's lives are not being controlled by it, and who just act out occasionally and see no progression of their problem nor any powerlessness.

For these people, the normal Teshuva derech may be wonderful! The only question I'd ask them is why it has gone on for so long - if it has. I also wonder what poison the secrecy is putting into their relationships - especially the most important and far-reaching of all human relationships: their marriage. Funny, how that one relationship is sexual, and sexuality vs. lust is just where their problem lies... For after all, lust is not sexuality at all.

We need to be honest with ourselves, above all, for "v'yad kol odom bo," as it we say in Unesaneh Tokef - there is no way to run from the truth about ourselves, in the end.

Hatzlocha with everything. If I offended at all, you have my sincere apologies. I love you without any question. Hashem will take care of you as He takes care of all of us.

- Dov

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Some lessons we can take out of this phenomenal piece from Dov:

We need to face the facts about ourselves before we can begin to heal. For a real addict, lust is no longer an "epic struggle" with the Yetzer Hara. It is a disease. We need to accept that we are not 'bad' people who need to become 'good', but we are 'ill' and need to get 'better'. And our illness does not allow us to deal with lust at all, because we can't control it. Therefore, lust must not be treated as a "romantic struggle", but simply as a "distraction"; as it distracts us from being useful to Hashem. Our focus needs to be only on doing Hashem's will for us today, and not on "beating lust" (even for Hashem's Honor). Because if an addict focuses on beating it, he'll often just be pulled back into it. We need to leave the entire "Yetzer Hara struggle" and "Teshuvah issue" to Hashem. It's His business, not ours. We need to focus only on doing His will for us today, to the best of our ability.

 

668.


Monday  ~  11 Teves, 5770  ~  December 28, 2009


In Today's Issue

  • Daily Dose of Dov - and Rabbi Twerski's Response: Wrestling with the Mud
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Fell Shmell
  • Quote of the Day: "I don't want to be a slave"
  • Links of the Day: The Top Ten - and another great clip from Aish

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Daily Dose of Dov - & Rabbi Twerski's Response
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.

Wrestling With the Mud

An excerpt from yesterday's Chizuk e-mail (#667) called "Dov's Story - and the Deep Lessons he learned"... Dov wrote:

I see little difference between being preoccupied with fighting lust, and lusting. For me, they inexorably lead to the same thing.

My job in recovery (after working my steps) is to focus on Hashem and being useful to Him. Anything else is a distraction, including lust/acting out. That's all. And I can't get distracted by lust, of all things, because if I do, I won't be able to control it. So I can't struggle with lust any more than I can use it. 

Recovery, in my experience so far, is about a different focus that the one I used to espouse. Whether or not the process qualifies as "Teshuva" is something that I need to leave up to Hashem, for a change. I am getting better on His schedule, not mine. My business is doing His will for me today to the best of my ability, period.

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I forwarded yesterday's Chizuk e-mail to Rabbi Twerski and wrote as follows:


Dear Rabbi Twerski, 

I would greatly appreciate if the Rav could read through this piece by "Dov"... Today Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years and he posts very wise advice on our forum almost every day. However, his approach may sound a little "strange" to some, as it "seems" to go against some of the standard things we are taught in mainstream Yiddishkeit (perhaps). That is why I'd be most curious to hear the Rav's take on the issue.

Rabbi Twerski Replied:

I think that Dov's statement that one needs to focus primarily on being with Hashem and doing what Hashem wants, and to stop preoccupation with the yetzer hara is valid. The rebbe of Kotzk said, "An aveira is like mud. Whichever way you handle the mud, you get dirty."

Twerski

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In response, "Yechida" posted on the forum a similar quote from the Tanya (volume 1, Perek 28):

"In response to a bad thought, do not reply at all, no argument or answer whatsoever, for he who wrestles with a Menuval is bound to become soiled himself (misnavel gam ken)."

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

In response to Dov's e-mail yesterday, someone wrote:


I think it's an interesting approach. If one can do it, I think it is certainly ideal, but I don't think I have what it takes to do this. It's just not realistic for me to transform my thought process to that approach. Maybe if I work on it little by little I will eventually get there, but that is probably a lifetime's work, and frankly, I don't have that much time. I need freedom from lust NOW.

Response:

Personally, I think this approach is a lot easier and quicker than "struggling with the Yetzer Hara" all the time. We simply need to learn to ignore the struggle and say: "this struggle might be good for others, but I can't deal with it at all, because I am lust-addict. Instead, I leave the whole "struggle issue" to Hashem. It's His business. For me, lust is a distraction, that's all. It distracts me from my "outward" focus and from doing Hashem's will for me today, to the best of my ability."

The 12-Step approach that Dov is sharing with us, makes freedom from the addiction a lot easier than those who are always having epic-"struggles" with their lust (and ultimately falling).

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Attitude Tip of the Day

"Fell Shmell"

"Imtrying25" wrote on the forum to someone who had experienced a fall after a long clean streak and was very discouraged:

You fell? So what. Like "Bardichev" always says, "fell shmell". We are not perfect and we are not supposed to be perfect. We are meant to fall. If not, why would we be here? So I don't really give a hoot that you fell. Yes, when I first heard about it, I was down. Not because you fell, but because I knew how YOU must be feeling - and that got to me. But don't feel bad, friend. You're human like the rest of us. You've got strong willpower and determination. A fall can't undermine that. Keep leading the way for us, brother. You're still in the driver's seat. This is not about being clean and falling. It's about showing the world that we will fight what they all stand for. We will fight till the bitter end. With the falls and with the cleans, we won't give in!

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Quote of the Day


I Don't Want to Be a Slave

"Rage" wrote on the forum to a woman who struggled with these behaviors:

This may be something of "heresy" to say on GYE, but mast** for a woman is not that bad. ... But that's not the point... I strive to eradicate p**n and mast** altogether not because of how bad it is, but because I had become a slave to lust - and lust has destroyed everything that I am....

I have come to learn that I am an addict, and if I continue down this road where I worship lust and let lust control every part of who I am, I will certainly be destroyed... I will lose everything, and most importantly, I will lose myself...

I make this stand because I refuse to let that happen... And the fact that G-d may look down and smile, really, for me, that's a nice fringe benefit...

I know that to free myself from the chains of this addiction, I must utterly and completely not allow lust a place anywhere in my life... I do it so that I can live.

Alcohol isn't "bad" (unless you're Muslim), but an alcoholic has become a slave to alcohol... It has consumed him... So he must get rid of it... Same here... The only difference is that society has recognized the evils of over indulgence in alcohol, whereas with lust, we live - unfortunately - in a society that encourages each and everyone of us to become an addict...

So we are here... a small band of fighters against the army of destroyers... here to reverse this and save this world, one Jew at a time, one small step at a time...

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Links of the Day

The Top 10
Articles of Aish.com from the Past Decade!

The article called "X-Rated" from Aish.com, written by a member of GYE who got sober through our site (his story first appeared here), made it onto the TOP TEN articles of Aish from the past DECADE! (That's out of THOUSANDS of articles!!)

P.S. Many people who joined our site and began their successful journey to sobriety, later told me that they found us through this article :-)

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While we're on the subject of Aish.com, here's a great video clip that can help us keep our focus on sobriety each day (click the pic below).

4lashon

 
669.


Tuesday  ~  12 Teves, 5770  ~  December 29, 2009


In Today's Issue

  • Daily Dose of Dov: A 'Paradigm Shift' in Thinking
  • Anecdote of the Day: What are you needed for?
  • The Second GYE Kumzitz: A Smashing Success!
  • Quote of the Day: A Beautiful Teffliah
  • Links of the Day: The Top Ten - and another great clip from Aish

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.

A 'Paradigm Shift' in Thinking

In a discussion on dating and "whether those with attractive wives have it any easier with their addiction" (see this thread), Dov posted a beautiful reply that can really open our eyes to what recovery is supposed to be all about. Dov writes:

I feel that this entire discussion is nice in theory, but the missing "context" is very loud in its absence.

Please bear with me on this...

A Rebbe of mine, who was a great gadol b'yisrael (and my mesader kiddushin) told us in a shmuz that being in Yeshiva is all about self-development, improving your learning ability and your knowledge, your quality of kiyum hamitzvos, learning how to be a real y'rei Shomayim, and doing Teshuva. 

In other words, it's basically a self-centered endeavor. Right? He didn't say it's bad, mind you, just that it is self-centered, because it has to be.

Even working on your anivus is basically a self-centered activity (all Novardok jokes aside)... but what else are we to do? The job needs to get done somehow! "im ein ani li mi li"!

Now it seems to me that for a normal person, the "system" should work just fine. But just about every addict that I have met is a "self-absorbed" person, and that is the root of their problem. Therefore, I think that the Yeshivishe system - which I would not replace for anything - has an inherent problem for addicts. It stokes the flames of self-absorption and self-centeredness tremendously, by telling us that these are wonderful things. Not being selfish, but being basically totally self-centered and self-absorbed.

So while the points being raised in this thread make for interesting moral, mental, and Torah hashkofa exercises, the elephant in the room is: When will you turn from being all wrapped up in what you need and want, and open yourself up to making your main focus in all your avodah to become the man that your future wife will need and want?

All the great gems that the folks here have dropped for us will likely remain useless tools, as long as they are all about "finally" satisfying ourselves. Your context is far more important than your facts or knowledge. And context is real hard to measure. Only Hashem, and you - in your own heart - can tell. It's what the Shulchan Aruch is referring to when it says "kol ma'asecha yihi'yu l'Shem Shomayim". And that mainly means not l'shem us. Simple.

And it's what addicts call the Third Step.
("We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him").

Once we get that right, what concerns us will change to matters that really have a solution.

Hatzlocha!

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Anecdote of the Day

What are you needed for?

 

Dov's post (above) reminds me of a story I read this past Shabbos... 


A wealthy and learned Chasid came to the Bal Hatanya complaining that his business was going bad and he was losing all of his money fast. He told the Rebbe that if Hashem wills him to be poor, he accepts it with love, but he can't bear the pain of all the people he owes money to. Many poor people, orphans and widows had entrusted him with their money, and he can't even pay them back! The Rebbe was leaning on his arms listening, and finally said "you seem to be worried about what you need, but you haven't perhaps considered what you are needed for?" The Chassid fell into a dead faint. When they revived him, he left the Rebbe's office and went straight to the Beis Medrash where he sat for days on end, completely ignoring this world and any past worries of his... Finally the Rebbe called him and told him that Hashem wants us to serve him through this world, not by ignoring this world, and the Rebbe blessed him and sent him home. From that point on, he saw much success and recovered all his fortune...


What I found beautiful about this story is that although it is true that this Yid had very valid reasons to be worried and feel tremendous pain - and we would even go as far as to assume that it was his "Yetzer Tov" who was making him worry (after all, he was feeling the pain of others, to whom he owed money) - still, the Rebbe's reply to him was not to focus on what HE NEEDED, even for the good (i.e. yetzer hara, struggle, reward, nachas ruach, etc...) and instead focus on what he is needed for, i.e. being useful to HASHEM. And when a Jew succeeds to make this paradigm shift in his thinking, he ends up seeing success anyway Smiley

It's a subtle but MAJOR distinction. This is that "nekudah" that is spoken about in Chassidic Sefarim... the difference between Chametz and Matza, between Lishma and Shelo lishma. (But as Dov will surely tell you, the only things that matters to him is that it's the ultimate difference between sobriety and insanity, life and death  Wink
).
 

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The Connecting of 7 Beautiful Neshamos

The Second GYE Kumzitz: A Smashing Success!

To download an MP3 file of the singing at the first GYE Kumzitz (on Chanukah), click on this link and press "Download".

To find out when the next Kumzitz will be in Israel, be in touch with "Imtrying" at
imtrying25@gmail.com

"Imtrying", who hosted the Kumzitz last night (which was a goodbye party to "Uri" who is leaving to America), wrote:

So the second GYE kumzitz has come to an end. Thank you to all those that attended. Eye.nonymous, Momo, Uri, Loi-misyaoish, sturggle, and the chashuveh R' Battleworn. Seven guys altogether. We really appreciated Battleworn coming. We learned so much from him and we hope this is only the beginning of many good things to come. It was really beautiful. It was hard to say goodbye to Uri, but that's the way of life. All good things come to an end. We will miss you Uri. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our esteemed moderator "Kedusha" for calling in and sharing some very special thoughts with us. Thank you.

"Momo" wrote:

My take about last night: Absolutely beautiful!

Thank you Imtrying for hosting again a very special evening.

I found it was even better than the first one. It was less awkward since most of us had already met each other.

Nice to see everyone, and to meet "Loi Tisyaaish" for the first time.

It was also very special for "Kedusha" to call in (thanks!)

I think the highlight was having Battleworn come. He added a sense of kedusha and leadership to the gathering. His divrei Torah were out of this world!

Guys, if you are in Israel and didn't come, you missed out big time. It was such a special evening; I can't stop thinking about it. The Torah, the singing (can't wait to hear the MP3!), the shmoozing. This wasn't about a bunch of lust addicts getting together, this was the connecting of seven beautiful neshamot with one common goal; giving each other chizuk just from the fact that we are going through this together and keep on trucking! Of course the fact that this gives us the opportunity to turn virtual relationships into real relationships is priceless. 

I feel so lucky to have the z'chus to be invited and have attended this, and I hope we do it again soon. I already suggested that at the latest, we do it again when Eye reaches 90 days (a month from now), if not sooner.

Again, to the super 7, thank you all for an absolutely beautiful and spiritual evening.

"Battleworn" wrote:

My dear brothers and sisters!

Last night I had the tremendous privilege of meeting six of the Gedolei Hador. Not the conventional kind of Gedolim, but rather the ones who are considered the Gedolim by the "Olam Ha'emes" view. It gave me such a tremendous chizuk and infused me with so much hope. 

I think these meetings are a tremendous step forward for us and all of klal Yisrael. I hope they only get better and bigger. Imtrying and everyone, Thank you SO SO MUCH for doing this!!! 

I hope to post soon a powerful thought on a posuk in Shir Hashirim, on the new board.

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For the reason why we created a special board for R' Battleworn, please see this post.

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Quote of the Day

A Beautiful Teffilah

"Levite" posted:

Yesterday was a hard day for me. I actually told Hashem, "Hashem, I am powerless over this struggle, if you want me to fall - I will, for I have no strength that is my own. Hashem what do you want? Perhaps you want me to fall so that I recognize that I have no power, but please accept my words as if I would have fallen, cuz I sooooo know that I am useless without You!"

 
670.


Wednesday  ~  13 Teves, 5770  ~  December 30, 2009


In Today's Issue

  • Attitude Tip of the Day: There is Only the Melody
  • Parable of the Day: Ants on a Log
  • Q&A of the Day: An Anonymous Halachic Question
  • Testimonial of the Day: By "TheMan"
  • Sayings of the Day: Great Slogans from AA

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Attitude Tip of the Day

There is Only The Melody

By "Kanesher"

Yesterday we brought a beautiful post from Dov under the title: A 'Paradigm Shift' in Thinking. In a beautiful post, "Kanesher" explains how he understands this "Paradigm Shift" that we addicts often need to under-go in order to recover. "Kanesher" writes:

The question is always the "self".
"I" fight for Hashem. "I" do for you. "I" had a bad day. The reference point of my existence - is me. I feel my self-identity very deeply. And the paradox is, that when I hold onto to the self, I do not truly have it.

You see, it could be that we truly did - and do - for others, and even for Hashem. But our reference point is always our own self.

We over-focus on what the 'self' should be doing; what Hashem wants of it; what our wives / husbands / children / Rebbeim, and even GOD(!) want it to be. And when we feel that we are not fulfilling those perceived requirements to others, the VOID IN THE SELF IS HUGE! The 'self' begs to be medicated! FILL THE SELF! Because we focus on the self so much, and deem it empty.

We need to realize that the self just is. That is what is meant by "living for God". Not what "I" should be doing. What does the "I" have to do with it?

R' Aharon Kotler once said - I would jump in Hell itself to understand this Rashba. He didn't care for the self, the self wasn't suppose to learn the Rashba, the Rashba was to be learned!

We need to learn not do for others because we should be doing for others. But to purely do for others - empty of pretense, of desire, of hope, of SELF... And that is the deepest expression of the true self.

This is so essential in any healthy relationship. We should not be in a relationship with anyone "BECAUSE" or "SHOULD" or "HAVE TO" or "HASHEM WANTS IT SO" or "MY SPOUSE WANTS IT SO" but simply because the world is meant to be a certain way. Nothing to do with ME. I am part of the world. I am in harmony with the world.

Here's a metaphor:

The good violinist plays the notes that the conductor wants. But the Master violinist? HE IS TOTALLY UNAWARE OF THE VIOLIN, OF THE SELF, OF THE NOTES THAT SHOULD BE PLAYED OR WHAT HE IS DOING.

To him there is ONLY THE MELODY! ONLY THE ORCHESTRA! ONLY THE MUSIC!

And this is the deepest self. The fullest and truest self. And we only taste it when we totally let go of everything and hear only the beating of our own hearts and existence, and the song of the tzelem Elokim within us that truly has no individuality but is merely part of the melody of Kavod Shamayim which must fill the world. And there is no US. Only the Music!

And if we fall, well, the melody must go on. What does my fall have to do with anything? Guilt? Pain? That's again the "Self"... I

If we fell- well, the melody is Teshuva, and then onward!

NO pretense. NO desire. NO goals. Just Music!

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Parable of the Day

Ants on a Log

Duvid Chaim often used the analogy of "Ants on a log" to represent Surrender and Tranquility (in his 12-Step phone group).
 
It doesn't matter if the log is floating on calm or turbulent waters, the ants just walk around nonchalantly - and they definitely don't try to control the log!

We have to realize that we are but ants on the "log" of life. No matter what happens to the log, we aren't in control. So let go and let G-d - and feel the serenity and tranquility!

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Q & A of the Day

An Anonymous Halachic Question

I was continually molested as a child, and to cut a long story short, I have been seeing a renowned therapist for the past year who has helped me tremendously. My therapist said I need to use a therapy called "masturbatory reconditioning". He said that this technique has proven to be very affective for cases like mine. I just wanted to check if this therapy is halachicaly allowed in a situation where this is an integral part of my recovery?

Hi, I am not a Rav, but you may be able to ask your question on-line anonymously. I set up a page now, especially for you, where people can ask intimate halachic questions on-line. See here:

ASK THE RABBI

Personally, I feel that this is a strange approach. I am sure that many other therapists could find you a different approach. Would it be possible for you to look into finding a different therapist, or for your therapist to look into alternate treatments? (Perhaps look into EMDR treatment).

See below what someone recently sent me in regard to the halachic severity of wasting seed:

I was recently discussing with my wife about infertility problems and how sad it is for some people that we know etc. She mentioned a certain fact to me that gave me a shiver right up my spine. I want to tell you about it in case this is something that may help some people overcome the problem of masturbation.

She told me that when frum couple have to begin infertility treatment, before even entertaining the possibility that the husband may be the problem and doing anything about it, they first have to ascertain that the wife is not the problem. This can take months and months - maybe longer. Why do they do that? Wouldn't checking out the husband at the same time make the chances of having a child improve? The answer is... Yes, it will. But since this will require the husband to produce a sample of his sperm, it cannot be done until we know for a fact that his wife is not the source of them being childless. So severe is it to waste seed, that even though they may have long been able to hold and cradle a child of their own... and wake up to the sound of a crying baby.... - it cannot override the issue of wasting seed. Even that is considered wasting it!

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Testimonial of the Day

"TheMan" posted:

I was completely addicted to p**n. Nobody knew. My wife and I went to our local Rav regarding how to deal with issues that every couple deals with. In front of them both, I admitted to looking at p**n. The Rav told my wife how lucky she was and how impressed he was that I came clean like that. My wife was upset but we spoke about it. Now my wife and I have a really amazing relationship, and since then (9 months) I have never gone back to those websites. Lately I have been having feelings to go back, but thanks to this site I am able to withstand the temptations.

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Sayings of the Day
 
Some Great AA Slogans

You are not alone.


Wherever you go, there you are.

Use the 24-hour plan.

Stay sober for yourself.

Remember your last fall

Remember that the addiction is incurable, progressive, and fatal.

When all else fails, follow directions.

Count your blessings.

Share your happiness.

Share your pain.

Let go of old ideas.

Try to replace guilt with gratitude.

Change is a process, not an event.

Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.

Call your sponsor before, not after, you take the first drink.

Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

It's the first drink that gets you drunk.

The price for serenity and sanity is self-sacrifice.

Take what you can use and leave the rest.

 
671.


Thursday  ~  14 Teves, 5770  ~  December 31, 2009

As I was sending today's chizuk e-mail I noticed that we have exactly 999 members on this Chizuk list, as the year '09 comes to a close...


In Today's Issue

  • Daily Dose of Dov: Reality Check
  • Anecdote of the Day: Life is About Choices
  • Q&A Link of the Day: How can I do Teshuvah for the worst sins imaginable?
  • Quote of the Day: Eyelids
  • Sayings of the Day: More Great Slogans from AA

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.


Reality Check

"Bardichev" wrote on the forum:

So yes, I am past 90 days - but believe it or not, I also need a little Chizuk!

1) It's not fun any more.
2) There is no WAR.
3) The "C" bomb: Complacency
4) I want shmutz, but I really don't want it, but I really do, yet I really don't.

While I await chizuk, I will get up front in my cab, fire up the old engine and KEEP ON TRUCKIN!!!

Dov Responds:

Just a reality check first. My wife just called me to let me know that an old friend of mine just lost his wife from a sudden illness, R"l. All I can say is boruch Dayan ha'emess while my heart drips tears. Hashem must know exactly what He is doing. Gevalt, Gevalt. How is a person supposed to go on bichlal? I have no idea, no idea. May Hashem give him superhuman strength, show him love from people that goes way beyond normal, and shine into his heart that is breaking open and somehow give him the ability to stay sane and be His eved. Please Hashem, help this man remember his children and all the other riches he has in this life and have some kind of a nechoma.. I don't know what else to say, and I keep stopping to cry.. Please. May the folks on GYE, Hashem's sensitive bunch with beautiful hearts, daven for this man.

I'm going to go home be"H as soon as I'm done with GYE and say Hi to my wife and try to tell her how I feel about her being my partner here and in the hereafter. Better yet, I'll spend less time that I want to on GYE and go home to her a bit early. Actions speak louder than words...
  
(I actually wrote the below earlier but couldn't finish it until after unburdening my heart and so I put the reality check first because something told me it was min haShomayim, maybe to help you somehow, or just to share it and help me somehow... what's the difference?)

As far as it not being fun anymore, it goes both ways for an addict. The schmutz is no longer fun, as the AA's say, "being a drunk ruins your drinking" (i.e. the results of indulging ruin the indulging too!). Yeah, it won't be fun any more. I commiserate. And as far as recovery not being fun is concerned, yeh, recovery gets real boring until I get a fire lit under my tush by complacency, and then the struggle begins - and suddenly it's fun again! (not). It's amazing what a challenge it is to actually find a real big chunk of wood in shark-infested waters after a shipwreck! And looking for it is just riveting (and exciting)! No? Hmm... well, maybe not so "fun", technically....

As far as "I want, blah, blah...", it's OK (not good, just OK) to want it. We, of all Hashem's people, need to go easy on ourselves when we do. And our response needs to be a little smile and a "well.....there I go again! heh, heh.." and call someone (or post) about it as soon as possible. It means nothing. Absolutely nothing. If we struggle or incriminate ourselves "for stooping so low!" then we are dead. We need to view it just as a blip, bump, or bleep. Probably more like a bleep.... and then get straight back to what we were doing before we got distracted.

I love you, bardy (but not a scratch of a scratch as much as Hashem does!)

- Dov

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Anecdote of the Day


Life Is About Choices

Posted by "TheOne"
 

I think this is an amazing story. It gives me a lot of chizuk in my daily struggle:


Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say.

When someone would ask him how he was doing, would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all  the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today.

  • You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.
  • Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or ... I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.
  • Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. Choose the positive side of life.
     

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Michael said.

"Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood.

The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he  was, he replied. "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or ... I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Michael continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.

In their eyes, I read "he's a dead man." I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael.

"She asked if I was allergic to anything. "Yes, I replied." The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

"Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.

My real struggle is about choosing. I'm now 11 days clean. I keep telling myself: it's all about choosing. You can give in and let the Yetzer Hara win one more time, or you can give the biggest nachas ruach to Hashem... For me, it's all about making the right choice.

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Q & A Link of the Day

How can I do Teshuvah for the worst sins imaginable?

A 19 year old boy reaches out for help from the depths of sin.

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Quote of the Day

Eyelids

"Eye.nonymous" posted:

I love my eyelids, they're awesome. They're always there for me. In the middle of the street if I have trouble, I just pull down the shades for a second and *poof* no more problem! Thank you Hashem!

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Sayings of the Day
 
More Great AA Slogans

Once is too much, a thousand times is never enough.

"Anger" is but one letter away from "danger".

Easy does it, but DO it.

"Fear" is the darkroom where my negatives are developed.

 
672.


Friday  ~  15 Teves, 5770  ~  January 1, 2010
Erev Shabbos, Parshas Vayechi -
Chazak Chazak Ve'nischazek!

In Honor of the new year - and my son's Bar Mitzva this Shabbos, we've broken the 1000 member barrier on this e-mail list. We are at 1005 members today!

Mazal Tov to one and all!

Help us grow bigger and advertise more. Send your donations to GYE using the links at the bottom of the e-mail!


In Today's Issue

  • Torah Thought of the Day: Bar Mitzva vs. Ba'al Aveira
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Honesty in Gehinom over dishonesty in Gan Eden
  • Testimonial of the Day: Making Great Progress
  • Parable of the Day: Which wall is your ladder leaning against?

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Torah Thought of the Day

Bar Mitzva vs. Ba'al Aveiro

I'm making Bar Mitzva for my Bechor this Shabbos, Parshas Vayechi - Chazak.

Mazal Tov to everyone. I will hold you all in my heart this Shabbos by the Kiddush!!


If you want to post a Mazal Tov, feel free to use this thread on the forum :-)

Click here to read a D'var Torah on the Parsha from "Bardichev" in honor of the Bar Mitzva. (Thank you bardichev!)

 

Noorah B'Amram Posted a nice vort for the Bar Mitzva that we can all use to be Mischazek:


Why is it that we call it a "Bar" Mitzvah - literally a "son of a mitzvah", as opposed to a sinner who we call a "Ba'al" Aveira? Why don't we call a sinner a "Bar" Aveira too?

Answered the holy Chofetz Chaim: 

"Baal" in lashon hakodesh can also mean a husband. A husband can get rid of his wife by granting her a divorce.

So too, we can get rid of an aveira by divorcing it, through Teshuvah.

On the other hand, a son can never ever be divorced from his father.

The same goes for a Mitzvah. When we do a Mitzva, we strengthen the relationship we have to our Father in Heaven. And we are always a "bar mitzvah", we can never get rid of the closeness that we created when we did a Mitzvah.

Warmest and Heartiest Mazal Tov!!!!

May the Bar Mitzvah Bachur grow up to be a true "Bar Mitzvah" and become a great mezakeh es harabim like his father!!! Amen

Fiery burning love from,
Noorah, the smallest in the house of Amram.

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.

"I choose honesty in Gehinom over dishonesty in Gan Eden"

Dov writes to someone on the forum:

You asked about SA's use of the term "Lust". You are bringing up chazals to understand the term, rather than using examples from your own personal experience - with your own problem. I'm all for chazal, but if we  are trying to uncover what is really going on within us, it would seem that being honest with ourselves is far more important than what a sefer says.

If folks say this borders on apikorsus, then my response to them is that I'll gladly choose honesty in Gehinom over dishonesty in Gan eden, any day. Why? Because the only thing that saved me from my personal gehinom in addiction - and it was gehinom (I need no chazal or sefer to tell me that) - was honesty. And in my case, I needed also a chevra (group) and a sponsor to help me do that. I found that in SA.

Besides, chazal tell us that this world is an olam hafuch (upside-down) - those who are high here, are low there. To me, that includes us when our frumkeit that is external - only in our brains, like Eisav's big head. Trust me, when we inject some shameless personal honesty into the mix, Torah becomes incredibly more powerful as a force in our lives. V'anavim yirshu aretz. The one's who seem low on the outside, are really high. Kapeesh?  

On the other hand, being frummer did me no good, it was doomed to forever be a half-measure (and as they say in AA, "Half measures availed us nothing") because - after all - I was the one defining and enacting the "frumkeit". (Torah is like water, it takes the shape of the vessel it's in. So if the vessel is crooked, well...)

Do you get what I mean?

What do chazal mean when they tell us: "Derech Eretz Kodmah L'Torah"? To me, this is exactly what they are talking about.

Don't look to the Torah to save you when you are insane. How can you expect to succeed while you'll be the one applying and measuring it? The basis of all frumkeit is personal responsibility. Darf men zeyn a mentch, ershtence (we need to be a mentch first). The yidden at Har Sinai had to be healed before they could accept the Torah, right? Yidden need to have some basic mental health - specifically self-honesty - to use Torah successfully as instructions for living. Otherwise it's known, but not applied. Hey, kind of like in our case, right? The typical GYE-Jew: a frum yid who just can't "get frum" in this area... drives us nuts, doesn't it?

In fact, a true shoteh is totally patur from the mitzvos. We in addiction are not true shotim, only we are full of "ruach shtus". We are not p'turim, but we seem doomed to fail at it. This insanity is clearly discussed in all 12 step literature.

If you want to talk about it more, I'll gladly share my insanity with you (that sounds funny, doesn't it?).

So, I ask you (as chazal put it): how can a prisoner extract himself from prison? Chazal inform us that he can't. And who is more of a chavush (prisoner) than an addict? No one, to me.

Isn't the self-application of Torah exactly what all of us do for years and years until we make enough of a mess of things that we finally reach out for help, as you are?

Well, keep reaching for help. It's here.

Now, maybe we can talk about lust a bit.. ;-)

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

Testimonial of the Day

Making Great Progress

One of the members of our forum sent us an update on his progress:


I've been seeing the therapist (that you suggested) for a while; B"H we have a good repertoire and have been dealing a lot with core issues. We've spoke about acting out and the like; he's been on top of it and we've been using both hypnosis and practical methods. B"H I am down to mast* only like once a week - sometimes even less. And we've managed to totally disconnected it from lust.

And remember how I used to kvetch about my eshes chayil (that maybe if she was only prettier I would have less of an issue)? Yeah, well that's pretty much gone. She's beautiful.  Now I finally see my addiction for what it really is - a "stress coping mechanism" (or just an all-around coping mechanism). That I owe directly to my therapist and his analysis of what the heck I wanted. My learning, my marriage, my "giving capability" and my ability to cope with life are all much much much better. I feel very hopeful.

The other day my wife's computer fuzzed out and I had to erase everything. Including the filter. But my neighbor has unfiltered internet over Wifi! My wife was asleep in the next room. I gritted my teeth - and excuse my French - said to H* with you, not today! And I woke her up. She wandered out, sleepy - whaah? - and I downloaded K9 and made her put in a password and sent her to bed. And I smiled. When I do act out  these days, it is must less "lustful", but p**n means death. Period. End of story.

Thanks for everything!,

P.S. I hope to join Duvid Chaim's calls on his next time through the 12-Steps, hopefully starting in a few weeks!

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Parable of the Day
 
Which Wall is Your Ladder Leaning Against?


By "7Up"

To a Ba'al Teshuva who was just starting to keep Shabbos and felt overwhelmed by the work ahead of him, especially upon learning the severity of the sin of mast**, "7Up" wrote:

Hashem cares very little as to where we are now in our religiosity. What He notices is WHERE WE ARE HEADING.

Picture a room bare of anything other than four walls, a ladder, and no ceiling. 
Each wall faces a different direction, and the view on top of each is very different than the other 3. 
Which wall will you place that ladder against as you begin your climb out?
What view do you eventually wish to gaze upon once you've reached the top of that wall?
Times square at midnight?
The Mets stadium?
Wall street?
... Heaven?
True you may not reach the top for a while, 
but against which wall are you placing your ladder NOW? 

DO NOT try and conquer everything in one day. 
You will not manage to keep Shabbos and not masturbate and not, and not, and not, etc. overnight.
And if you try too, you will fail. 
Growth is a ladder, not an escalator or even a flight of steps.
Escalators require no effort at all on our part.
Steps can be skipped and you can climb them two at a time.
A ladder needs climbing rung by rung. One at a time.

Religious growth must be on a ladder.
And the view on top of that wall will take your breath away with its absolute beauty.

As long as your ladder is leaning on the right wall...

 

673.


Sunday  ~  17 Teves, 5770  ~  January 3, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Torah Thought of the Day: Shovavim
  • Daily Dose of Dov: My 7th Mitzva T'midi
  • Testimonial of the Day: A Non-Jew Shares his Progress

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Torah Thought of the Day

Shovavim

Today begins the six week period known as Shovavim. Shovavim is an acronym for the six weekly Torah portions Shemot, Vaera, Bo, Beshelah, Yitro and Mishpatim. The word Shovavim alludes to the Pasuk in Yirmiya (3:14), "Shuvu Banim Shovavim" - "return oh wayward children"... The Arizal taught that these weeks are especially auspicious for doing Teshuvah in the area of Shmiras Habris.

The six weekly Parshiyos of Shovavim deal with the slavery of the Jewish people in Mitzrayim and their subsequent redemption, all the way through the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai. The struggle for moral purity often follows the same theme, where a person often feels trapped and enslaved to their animalistic desires. Through Teshuvah and divine intervention, one can succeed to break free of the bondage to these destructive behaviors and become a servant of G-d.

The weeks where we read about the Jewish people's journey from slavery to divine servitude, are especially auspicious for own personal journeys from slavery - to becoming men of G-d.

(See here for more information on Shovavim).

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.

My 7th Mitzva T'midi

I have come to see that there really is something broken with me and that I need Hashem's help to be saved from it. I am an addict. That is the 1st step, as I do it.

And I do it every day and all the time, whenever I remember. It's no big deal, it's just the truth about me. Just like doing the six mitzvos t'midios for any Jew. That's life. This is my 7th mitzvah t'midi, that's all. This is not a cute vort, a metaphor, or a moshol. It's the plain truth, or else I'm fooling myself and soon I'll be dead.

And talking about it whenever possible, helps keep it alive in my mind. It's the difference between Chochma and Da'asDa'as is a continual awareness that makes the knowledge real, natural, and usable in life. But enough shmuz...

The only reason I need for why I acted out on my lust addiction and "became" an addict, is: I am an addict.

And the only reason I am aware of that I'd ever act out again now, is that I did not take care of myself by adequately working the 12 Steps in my life. And that, of course, includes the 1st step (admission) that I mentioned above.

Of course, if you embark on the journey of 12 Step recovery, you'll understand what I'm talking about a lot better, so perhaps it's best to wait to go into details until then...

When I share how - and what - I do when I act out, I tell people "what I do when I act out" (not what I "used to do", or "did"), even though boruch Hashem I have not acted out in years, because I have no evidence that I can't do it again. I learned this from my sponsor.

Like many addicts, I have plenty of ga'avah telling me I won't do it again, but no evidence, at all. So I don't test it any more. That's why I'm here, rather than still "searching for the answer" as so many are, or dead - or worse.

I thank G-d that as of today, I have not fallen prey to the stupidity of checking whether I can use lust like a normal person can (and they obviously can) without ruining my life.

My wife and children would thank Hashem, too, if they understood.

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Testimonial of the Day

A Non-Jew Shares His Progress

Click here to see his original story from about two years ago.
We can all learn a lot from these posts below.

Hello Guard,

First of all, let me wish you a very happy new year. May be it a great one for everybody on GYE. 

You have helped me so much in the past two years, and I am very grateful for all the support and guidance that you have given, and continue to give me. I know that I will always have an immense amount of progress to make, but looking back to where I was a few years ago, my life has been totally transformed. You have played a large and indispensable part in all of this. Thanks be to God for guiding me to you.

I thought long and hard about whether I should e-mail you since I don't want to keep on taking your time. However, I feel that I should be honest and open with you, since I regard you as my mentor as well my friend in this struggle. 

Yesterday night, I fell again. Whilst almost asleep in bed, I somehow managed to masturbate without realizing the severity of what I was doing until it was too late. 

To be frank though, I think that overconfidence led to this episode. I thought that I was stronger than I was about 6 months to a year ago, so some of my previous precautions and fences no longer applied.

There is nothing I wouldn't do to conquer this disease, but I'm constantly torn between wanting to live a 'normal' life and being ultra-careful, but failing to maintain that degree of moral tension for long. This is especially more difficult since I am a non-Jew and really do enjoy things like films, books etc etc. 

Anyway, thanks for your time and help.

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

A few days later he sent me an e-mail:

Hey Guard,

Sorry to bother you again, but I wanted to let you know what I've done in response to my recent spate of falls. Looking over the past couple of years, I have realized that although I've made a huge amount of progress, I have an even greater amount of work to do both now and in the future. 

Also, whilst reading your handbooks, I realized that I'm just a "dry drunk" when it comes to SA. All I've effectively been doing is trying to avoid pornography and masturbation, rather than making a real and serious effort to overhaul my entire being. I've been running away from God and postponing something that I perceived as painful and burdensome.

I started by deleting all the links and bookmarks I could that led to websites with pictures of models, attractive young girls etc. Yesterday I also wiped all the games (including all saved data) from my computers. This was something I've wanted to do for the past two years, but never had the strength to fulfill. I was like Isildur from the Lord of the Rings who could not give up and destroy the ring. I must have wasted about 15-20 hours a week playing games. From now on, I will use this time to read, exercise, play the piano, learn languages and help my mum with the housework.

Finally, that dangerous book I've been reading that has caused me to fall multiple times will be given to a charity shop. I can't bring myself to burn a beautiful leather bound book with a gold and green covering that is considered a classic, so I guess this is the next best thing.

I've also made a whole list of new year's resolutions that I intend to review every day. Studying the GYE handbooks is also included as one of my goals, and by the end of March, I hope to have reached 90 days clean and to have internalized the GYE philosophy.

Thank you for all your time and help and I hope your son's Bar Mitzvah was great fun! May God bless you, your family and all the members of GYE.

Take care and best wishes!

P.S. I really want to e-mail you with a happy story in three months time.

 

674.


Monday  ~  18 Teves, 5770  ~  January 4, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Thank You Duvid Chaim: Another great voyage comes to an end!
  • Q & A of the Day: Doesn't being "ill" absolve me of responsibility?
  • Testimonial of the Day: What Makes us Great

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Thank you Duvid Chaim!

Duvid Chaim's Anonymous 12-Step phone group

finishes another 3 month voyage through the Big-Big.

 

Duvid Chaim wrote me today:

Well, we finished up another round of the Lunch & Learn Program. I was so impressed with this bunch. Very insightful, very committed. And full of hope and "willingness".

Looking FORWARD to the new Group in February,

Duvid Chaim

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

One of the guys from the group wrote me today:

I just had to thank you personally for everything you've done for all of us and the world by creating and managing GYE so well. Especially for hosting the platform of the 12 Step calls, and specially Duvid Chaim's group. I don't know how you found him or how he found you, but this shidduch is a blessing to the world. We just finished the last day of the official Call. It's definitely bittersweet. Hard to enjoy the accomplishment when faced with the loss of the "automatic" daily contact and chizuk.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. May HKB"H shower you and your mishpacha with a life of blessing and parnassa, ad bli dei.

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

And to Duvid Chaim he wrote:

Dear Duvid Chaim,

You have no idea how much you have done for me by choosing to become a sponsor for GYE - and for becoming mine as well. I will be indebted to you for the rest of my life. That does not entitle you to any privileges, BTW, especially loans, but it DOES mean that I consider you a very close friend, and I look forward to the day when I can give you a great big bear hug in person. I am going to miss my daily connection to you SOOOOOOOOOOO much! But like you said, my recovery can't be dependent on anyone else - just on Hashem and me. So I know we've gotta cut the apron strings. I'm just glad that you are so good at what you do. I think I can speak for everyone who has finished today to say that not one of us ever felt you were in this for yourself. Your genuine sincerity is obvious to us all.

Thank you for the chizuk, and for the wise suggestions to underline and take notes on the calls. I originally thought that was for helping others later, but now I see it's for myself mostly, cuz it will help me re-live the calls better when re-reading the book, which I intend to begin this week. I also will try to keep a separate journal to record my impressions and thoughts, bli neder, as I read.

I still have a lot to learn from you, my friend, so you're not getting rid of me that easy.

I'll look forward to your email announcing the next time our chevra can speak together as a group, and of course to hear when you are starting in Feb. IY"H.

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

Q & A of the Day

Doesn't being "ill" absolve me from responsibility?

Why do the 12-Step groups call the addiction an "allergy" or "disease". Won't that absolve people of responsibility for their acting out?

The idea of this being an "illness" has nothing to do with absolving ourselves from responsibility at all. And to prove this, let me bring a few quotes from a 12-Step book I have (from the First Step).

  • We realized we were acting insane. It's not sane to repeat self-destructive behaviors.
  • We recognized how insidious the addiction is, how it continues to tell us lies, getting us to continue to act out again and again.
  • We recognized that will power alone, is not effective in dealing with the complex problem of sex addiction.
  • We cannot think our way out, we need to act our way into a new pattern of thinking.
  • Powerless does not mean helpless.
  • Powerless is never an excuse to continue.
  • We are responsible for our recovery.
  • Determination is completely up to us.
     

Let me explain what the 12-Steps mean by it being a disease: If a cucumber falls into brine and you take it out right away, you can just wash it off and it will be a cucumber again. But if it sits in the brine for a little longer - it will become a pickle, and nothing you can ever do will make it a cucumber again. It's the same with this addiction. Someone who fell once or twice out of curiosity can be washed off and get out of it. But once a person has sunk his mind into this stuff for years, and he has trained himself to use lust as an escape mechanism from life whenever feeling R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritability, Discontent) and he has trained his mind to be triggered by everything he sees, this person develops an "allergy" to lust that never really goes away. What that simply means is, that for the rest of his life, he knows that he can not take even the first sip of lust, because if he does, he can easily lose control. His acting out all these years burned neuron pathways into his brain by "conditioning" himself to be aroused by everything he saw.

And this is a proven condition as well. A big psychiatrist (who doesn't even know much about the 12-Steps) once explained to me that an addict develops a medical condition known as "hyper-sexuality" by conditioning himself over time to react to triggers and get aroused. He explained to me that this condition can be tested by special sensors which show how an addict's dopamine levels spike high on the chart from the slightest triggers.

What the psychiatrist calls "hyper-sexuality" is what the 12-Steppers call an "allergy".

Knowing that one has this condition doesn't absolve him of anything. (After all, he is the one who sat in the brine all these years and became a pickle!) It's just called "getting honest about the facts about ourselves". And the reason why that is so important for an addict, is because once he knows that he has this condition (and that he is allergic to lust like someone who is allergic to peanuts), he changes his entire attitude in the following three ways:

1) He stops trying to "test" lust and see if he can maybe "lust a little", like most people can... He knows that he simply needs to stay away from lust completely and not let it in at all - because once he allows himself to "struggle" with it, he'll fall.

2) Also, he stops wallowing in guilt and realizes for a change that he is not someone "bad" who needs to become "good", but rather he is simply "ill" and needs to get "better". When attacked by lust he simply says to himself, "well I'm an addict after all, there I go again!", and he surrenders the lust to G-d - knowing that he can't afford to even battle with it at all.

3) Instead of "fighting it" and losing, like he always did for years, he changes his focus to simply doing G-d's will for him today, to the best of his ability. Instead of viewing it as a valiant "struggle" of good over evil, he begins to look at lust as simply a distraction from doing G-d's will, and he asks G-d humbly to remove it from him so he can continue to live for G-d and not for himself.

 

This is a beautiful and proven approach that has worked for millions of people around the world to find freedom from their addictions, be it alcohol, drugs, lust, or others.

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Testimonial of the Day

What Makes us Great

By RATM (Rage At The Machine)

What is it that I, Silentbattle, Tomim, Trying and Momo have in common? What makes them so important to me? Why do I love them?

We are so very different in so many ways... What makes GYE-ers great is not that we all share common backgrounds, common hashkafa, common sense of humor, common taste in food or music, or common likes or dislikes... In fact, that is what distinguishes us from all the other forums on this Great and (un)Holy internet... We're not here because we all like the Pittsburgh Steelers, are all members of the Church of Latter-day saints, all want to learn Chinese, like funny pictures of cats, or interested in finding bass notes for punk rock covers...

What makes GYE great is that we are all so different AND YET we are all battling together... What gives me strength is that I stand on the front lines and look at the people standing next to me - from all walks of life... All of you here decided: enough is enough! We will not surrender to this disease.... And because we are so different, we can present so many new ideas to each other; ideas that - having spent so much time around people that think like we do - we were never able to see before...

So thank you all for being different... Please do not change anything about you... Don't think like I think, don't hate who I hate and don't love who I love... Just be you.

And thank you for joining me in this revolution... We will overcome!

Viva La Revolucion!

 

675.


Tuesday  ~  19 Teves, 5770  ~  January 5, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • 12-Step Group Ends Cycle: Duvid Chaim Sums up the Lessons Learned
  • Q & A of the Day: I'm not a real addict, am I?
  • Link of the Day: The Second GYE Kumzitz

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Duvid Chaim's Anonymous 12-Step phone group

finishes another 3 month voyage through the 12-Steps.

Please read what Duvid Chaim wrote to his group today, as his 3 month voyage came to a close. What he writes here can shed a lot of light on the great lessons that we can learn from the Big-Book - and especially by joining Duvid Chaim on his new conference group that will be starting the cycle again, G-d willing, in February.

Chevra,

 

Maybe you heard it in my voice today at the end of our last Call (for now). And if we would have been on a Skype video conference call, you would have seen it. What am I talking about? - The tears that fell from my eyes...

 

And while there may have been others shedding a tear as our Journey comes to an end - in fact it was not an end BUT A NEW BEGINNING for us.

 

A New Beginning that includes:

 

*  Building the Awareness of our Perceptions & Motives...

*  Finally, taking the opportunity to Talk, to Trust, to Feel...

*  Creating a New Attitude...

*  Building a New Relationship with G-d...

*  Discovering the Obstacle in our Path...

*  Making good choices through the "Glasses" you wear as you look at life...

*  Making Amends, and forging authentic Relationships...

*  Striving not only for Emes - but also to be Emes...

* Living in Honesty, Humility and Fearlessness...

 

So welcome to your NEW LIFE, one that energizes you as you wake up every morning (no matter how many hours you slept). One that takes your breath away and keeps you coming back for more. Welcome to a life that may not always be rosy - but it's your life and you know the Author and you proudly proclaim "Heneini" as He calls out your name and Directs you to Front and Center Stage.

 

No longer are you resentful, fearful or jealous of the other actors on the stage. You come to appreciate that they too have their part to play.  And how lucky you are that this is your time on stage.  And that the Author knows not only what's best for you, but also best for His Universe.  And you're more than ready to do your part - finding yourself eager and excited about being of service, being able to help others and feeling others' pain and struggle.

 

And why can you feel their pain?  Because you've been there and you've done that.  And no longer does your sometimes ugly and tormented past haunt you.  Instead, you can now honor your past - you can give it meaning and purpose. And you finally realize that it is precisely BECAUSE of your past that you have so much to offer the Universe.

 

Now, you can know true love, because you can feel love. 

 

And nobody, and no-one can take it away from you.

 

This Journey has been your Journey. You have acquired it. And you finally see that you are priceless!

 

Just look inside yourself right now.  Peel away the layers - like an onion. 

 

Peel away the lust...

Peel away the R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritability, Discontent)...

Peel away the EGO..

And welcome to You, the new You, the one that is connected to THE ONE!!!

 

Mazel Tov, my Crew. My Graduates. My new found friends.

 

Until we meet again, I am - as always - LOOKING FORWARD,

 

Duvid Chaim

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Q & A of the Day

I'm Not a Real Addict, Am I?

Gabe writes for the first time on the forum:


Hi everyone,

This is my introductory post to the forum and beginning of my 90 day journey to sobriety and freedom from this terrible aveirah which has controlled me for far too long.

I first stumbled upon this site just two days ago. I was reading this article on vosizneias.com about how a husband's porn addiction was tormenting his wife, and  I happened to notice that someone mentioned this website in one of the comments at the bottom of the story. I Googled it and have to say that I was amazed by the amount of content and tools available. I was further amazed by this fabulous community, which is full of caring ovdei Hashem who support one another and are committed to overcoming their y"h and becoming better people and Jews. It really is an inspiration.

I have downloaded both of the handbooks and have already almost completed my first reading of the handbook. I have also signed up for the daily chizuk emails and just requested a license for the filter from the filter gabbai.

I feel that some of the handbook is probably not for me because I'm not a real "lust addict", am I?

Thank you all for reading this post and G-d bless. May we all benefit to succeed in our endeavors.

Yours,

Gabe.

 

Steve, a graduate of Duvid Chaim's 12-Step phone conference (see above) replies to Gabe:

 
Hi Gabe,

I'm gonna start out with the strong stuff, my friend, cuz you just gotta understand this yesod:

How do we define an addiction? An addiction is when you KNOW it's the wrong behavior; you see clearly how it's hurting you, and how it is - or will - ruin your life, but regardless, YOU STILL CAN'T STOP. Look at your words above. They remind me of the smoker who says, "I can quit smoking anytime I want - I've quit 5 times already...!"

You must understand that you ARE an addict; a LUST addict.

And we can not truly "control" this addiction. That's the definition of an addiction - it's out of our control. Once we start an act on lust, once we give in once, we can not pull out until we fall steeply. Do you not agree? Think of the addiction as an allergy. You have developed a sensitivity that is beyond your control. Like someone who is allergic to peanut butter, if you take that one small drop of peanut butter on your tongue, your throat will close up and you'll stop breathing. It doesn't matter how many years you've waited in-between exposures. One small taste and you're in mortal peril. What we are allergic to is poison for us, and like a heroin addiction, we crave it even though we know it's gonna kill us, cuz we think we can can control it and stop 'one day'.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THERE IS NO HOPE! We are not doomed. WE CAN BECOME FREE FROM THE DESIRE TO LUST. That's right. You can get to a place where you will no longer have the desire to lust ever again. Like the Yetzer Hara to eat a trief steak, which you do not have because it is below your "bechira point" in life, you can do the same for your Yetzer Hara for Lust. You can move on from it.

On this site you will find more than just chizuk to stay clean, my friend. You will find the challenge to explore WHY you got this way, why we all get this way, what our real driving motivations and fears are that lead us to WANT to LUST.

Feel inside yourself. Do you have a craving, a deep desire to lust, and to be lusted after? Did we not watch the P**n clips because we were projecting ourselves into the movie? Why? Be honest. Were we not seeking some sense of power or control? Or were we looking to numb ourselves from facing some uncomfortable realities in our lives? And even if you'll say you do it out of boredom, isolation or curiosity, I ask you to look inside yourself. Why are you "bored?" What's missing? Why are you in "isolation?" Who's missing? What are you "curious" about? Is not SOMETHING else in life more intriguing?

When you can answer those questions HONESTLY, then and only then can you get at the root of the reason for WHY you lust. Only then can you make positive steps to MOVE FORWARD toward getting those things that you are missing in a MEANINGFUL AND SPIRITUAL WAY. And when you are on THAT road, my dear friend, you'll never have to fear your peanut butter again, because you will be living a life of such profound meaning, one in which you will find all the excitement, adventure, and fulfillment you could have ever wanted.

All the excuses, the thinking, "OK, IT'S JUST A BATHING SUIT PICTURE, IT'S SAFER." which ends up dragging us further down into worse images, etc. And even without the internet, the provocatively dressed women you just pass on the street are potential triggers as well. You can - and should - do all you can to avoid triggers. But that is not the final ticket to freedom from lust. We need a system to avoid what the triggers do to us.

And the secret to THAT, my friend, can be found in an anonymous 12-Step Program, several of which you can find through this site. I'm sure they are all excellent, but I have just finished one with Duvid Chaim, and I can recommend him very highly. He is amazing, and SO good at what he does. He's starting another one in February, so look into them and see if you can join. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.

Meanwhile, keep up the good work!! Daven for help, and call out here for chizuk any time. 

Hatzlacha rabbah!!!

Steve.

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

Link of the Day

The Second GYE Kumzitz

The recording from the second GYE kumzitz is ready for your downloading pleasure over here.

See Chizuk e-mail #669 (on this page) for more details about this amazing Kumzitz.


To find out when the next Kumzitz will be in Israel, contact imtrying25@gmail.com

 
676.


Wednesday  ~  20 Teves, 5770  ~  January 6, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Attitude Tip of the Day: The Powerlessness of an Addict
  • 12-Step Attitude: "I'm Only Something If I am Nothing"
  • Testimonial of the Day: "Thank you everybody on GYE for changing my life"

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Attitude Tip of the Day

The Powerlessness of an Addict

A nice post from "Bardichev" on the forum:

Powerlessness is what the balei mussar call destroying the "Anochi"; the "self".

The Chassidishe seforim call it "being batul u'mevutal to the ohr ayn sof"

But being powerless does not make you one iota less responsible for your actions.

Being powerless does not mean helpless.

My zayda says in Kedushas Levy that we need to realize that we are nothing at all, but.. still... Hakadosh Boruch Hu only has nachas ruach from little me and little you!

Powerlessness is a paradigm shift in how a person looks at himself.

It's simply the recognition that "I can't do it alone".

If a person wants to do it alone because of his EGO, that person is toast!!

Why?

Because today Mr. Anochi wants to be the "shayner yid", the "shoimer aynayim", but tomorrow Mr. Anochi has new more powerful desires, like the need for shmutz!

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

12-Step Attitude

"I'm Only Something If I am Nothing"

Yosef shares some beautiful posts on the forum:

Hi. I am new to this forum. I recently slipped (33 days ago) after a clean streak of about 400 and something days. It was through this forum that I managed not slip again. I found it helpful to find people from the forum to speak to on the phone. There are many very selfless people to be found here.

What made me slip after close to a year and 5 months? More than anything, it was that I was feeling strong and confident in my sobriety (which was really much more fragile than I knew). It happened when I ventured out of my "comfortable"  Daled Amos. I didn't realize how unprepared I was to be away from my wife and my regular everyday routine. Man - I got clobbered, and the paper tiger was torn to shreds. You wouldn't believe, or maybe you will, how fast the obsession came back - and it was much much worse than I ever remembered it to be.

I went to an SA meeting (where I was staying) and an old timer shared that he has been sober for 21 years and yet he knows that his disease has worsened during this time. I wondered, how could this happen? How does he even know this, if he's been clean all this time? But since my slip, I think I can understand it now, at least a little bit on my level.

Something that that old timer said (he looks well into his 70's!) just resonated for me with real truth. He said that he still fantasizes, at times, about how quickly his sobriety would plummet (and even turn suicidal) if he had "a hotel room and a lot of time to use it". Something in me started to believe him. So, I started asking other guys with long-term sobriety about this idea that the disease worsens, even after so many years of being clean. They all agreed that it did.

You and I, together with lust addicts everywhere, should merit to learn from those who have so much more experience than we do in coping with this tricky illness.

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

Whether you want to think of sex addiction as Dov calls it, a "progressive" illness, or as Guard calls it, an illness that renders us increasingly "sensitive" albeit vulnerable to sexual stimuli, the phenomena exists and needs to be dealt with. If I can't accept, as Dov says, that this is a progressive and (potentially) fatal disease, then what am I to think when saying: "G-d, grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change..."

When I fell 36 days ago, it wasn't only that smaller amounts of the same stuff made me crazy, it was also that I thought nothing of venturing into far riskier territory - in fact, I felt compelled to. Afterward, I thought, "oh, this is just me again... my unique craziness" - until I shared my experience with other addicts who are clearly greater than I am in wisdom. Sharing at a face-to-face SA group and over the phone with people was tremendously comforting and healing for me. It wasn't scary to have my experience validated and corroborated. On the contrary, it was normalizing and reassuring. I need to know the reality of my illness, because that is my greatest protection against this happening again. My greatest weapon against a "nuclear meltdown" at age 70, is ACCEPTANCE and SURRENDER to the reality of my illness NOW - as opposed to denying it. My illness just gets fat on nutrients like denial, rationalization, dishonestly, self-will, anger, and all my other defects. 

The fall was B"H good for me, in a sense. I have had, as Guard and Dov both mentioned, a re-connection with Hashem. But what I think is helping me even more right now is a new appreciation for why people who have been sober much longer than myself are more frightened than I am to act out. I doubt that even people with a lot of sobriety would have taken the risk that I did, because they've already been through this learning experience and they understand the stakes a lot better than I do. I guess Hashem knew that my "bottom" (as in "hitting bottom") needed to be lowered a bit for me to take this more seriously. 

Halavei I should redo the sixth step where we ask ourselves if we are "entirely ready for Hashem to remove these defects of character". I certainly was not entirely ready, and I'm still not entirely ready - but I am more ready than before. I have the chance now for a more solid sobriety, not just in days, but in quality. I know a little better now hopefully, what powerlessness really means. I have no weapons of my own to fight this. I can only merit to be mekabel the light of Chochmah and Sechel through restriction and contraction of my "intelligence, will, strength and power". The negation of these illusions are what gives us the Ultimate power, i.e. the power of Hashem. I'm only something when I realize that I'm nothing.

Isn't that the good old Jewish way? Becharvi Ubekashti, says Onkelos and Rashi, don't mean with my sword and bow, they mean with Tefilla! And the same idea is expressed in Telhillim: "For I trust not in my bow, nor shall my sword save me, but rather in those who praise the Lord all day long"
.

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

Testimonial of the Day

"Thank you everybody here on GYE for changing my life"
By Jeff

Till the age of 18 I was masturbating and viewing porn 5-6 times a day. I had no idea what I was even doing to myself, I never thought it was that bad. By 18 I came to realize the severity of my actions and I got on the roller coaster of Teshuva and depression.

I got married at 20 and I thought my troubles were over. For the first 6 months of marriage I had no falls. Then we got high speed Internet and slowly but surely I slipped right back into the web. My marriage overall is good, but there were many issues that were directly related to my struggle (although my wife has no idea) and whenever I fell, my shalom bayis fell right with it.

Before I found GYE I was actually moving in the right direction, armed with "The Garden of Emunah" and a fierce determination. I was managing 3 week stretches of being clean, but I was still lacking something and every fall always triggered huge depressions. It felt like the longer I was clean, the worse the depression. Then Hashem sent me GYE and my life hasn't been the same since. I started reading the daily chizuk e-mails about 9 weeks ago and I've been reading and applying the handbooks, and the struggle is not the same anymore. I think, for me, the best information was in how to view myself as an "addict" and how to stop the depression after a fall. I am now B"H 6 weeks clean from porn and masturbation, and while I still have some tough struggles, my defenses are stronger then ever. Thank you everybody here on GYE for changing my life.

 
677.


Thursday  ~  21 Teves, 5770  ~  January 7, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • 12-Step Attitude: "Pride told me that I was somehow different"
  • Q&A of the day:"Can I not be Shomer Negia for the purpose of marriage?"
  • Parable of the Day: The Red Button
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: The Yetzer Hara's Most Successful Tactic

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

12-Step Attitude

"Pride told me that I was somehow different"

Yesterday we brought some great posts from Yosef.
Here's another beautiful post on the forum from him:

While I can't say that I'm grateful for my recent fall (after a long clean streak), I am grateful that I have come to see that I really wasn't getting the program. Someone with 25 years clean told me that "MY" program was not working for me. (Le'mashal - doctors do not self-diagnose and treat themselves. They go to another doctor, no matter how "smart" they are).

What was "my" program?
Well I was basically doing online SA meetings with an SA phone sponsor. He told me to read the Dr's opinion in the AA Big Book over and over and to study the critically important concepts of: Tolerance, and Toxicity (pgs. 30 & 32 in the SA White Book). He told me that because I did not fully understand these and other concepts such as trigger mechanisms (p. 33 SA) that I wasn't truly sober even during my 1 year and 5 months. I think he is right.

 

I was abstinent but I had not make a real deep commitment to stop fantasizing, putting a filter on my computer, not dipping into memories or guarding my eyes. I continued to feed the addiction and glossed over the day-to-day work on making a "progressive victory over lust", as they say in SA. My friend told me that I was fooling myself if I thought that I didn't need face-to-face meetings, and that the relinquishment of pride that would be required for me to attend would be my greatest gain. You see, Pride told me that I was somehow different than the rest of you guys, that I could cut the corners and get away with stuff. Like an alcoholic that stores a few bottles away for that rainy day. My brain neurons are loaded with bottles in the form of memories and fantasies, and as we know, there are no shortage of "hits" that we can take from the external world around us.

 

So now, lets see what I'm really made of. Will I finally realize how sick I really am and be willing to go much deeper into my brain and be more honest with myself about the junk that I'm thinking about? It says on p. 32 of the SA white book:

 

"In sobriety, once we have withdrawn from lust and then let it back in, the toxic effect is felt immediately and strongly. We can tolerate less of it than ever, and it produces a greater disturbance. Our sexaholism doesn't stand still; it progressively worsens."

 

Will I go to face-to-face meetings? You see I'm still not there yet. I'm still "bargaining with disaster". Am I really willing to go to any lengths to have a true Spirtual Awakening (not just intellectually). What will it take for me to join with those who really "believe in themselves and the Power that pulls chronic Alcoholics (lustaholics) back from the gates of death"? (Big Book, The Doctor's Opinion, p. 25.)

Thank you for letting me share,
Yosef (a gratefully recovering sex-addict)

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

Q & A of the Day

"Can I not be Shomer Negiyah for the purpose of marriage?
"

Click here
Great links, articles and quotes!

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

Parable of the Day

The Red Button

Posted by "Kollel Guy"

 

R' Shimshon Pincus gives a beautiful mashal on the subject of trials that we feel are too strong for us.


One time a doctor was given the task of managing an entire wing of a hospital. He was to asses each situation, and see to it that each patient gets proper attention.


The instructions given to him were as follows: "Usually there will be enough time for you to be able to juggle all the patients yourself. Occasionally though, we have more than expected. You will have to make that judgment though... In the event that there are too many for you to handle - push this red button, and we will send you more doctors to assist you".


So he starts his job and all is going very well, until one day the patient number starts increasing. He starts working harder, and more quickly, until he is literally running through the corridors of the hospital just trying to get to the next patient in time. This keeps up for a while, but as time went on, the work ultimately got too much for him, and he wasn't making it to the patients quickly enough.


Eventually, a few of them didn't make it, and the families sued the hospital, who naturally then went and brought him to court.


In court, the judge asked him to explain his negligence, to which he replied frustrated "In the beginning, when there were a normal amount of patients - I did get to everyone in time! It was only after the number flew so high, that it was literally impossible for one doctor - no matter how quick, efficient or responsible he might be - to take care of all of them, that I started losing them! How can you call me negligent? I was doing my absolute best!! You should have seen how fast I was running from room to room! I didn't even give myself time to breath! I never exerted so much effort in my entire life!!"


The judge then asked him the obvious question "If you saw it was too difficult for you, why didn't you push the red button?"


Sometimes when the tests become too hard for us to handle, it doesn't help to just "try harder". Instead, we need to push the red button and bring in help from a power greater than ourselves. We need to call out and say, "Tatty, please help me! Save me from lust, I can't deal with it! Help me focus on doing your will, not mine. Help me be useful to you today!"

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

Attitude Tip of the Day

The Yetzer Hara's Most Successful Tactic

 

"Me3" posts on the forum:

With me, the YH's most successful tactic is
when he makes me feel tired of fighting...
Not interested in battling...
Just want to give in.
He says:
"Enough already...
Block out all those thoughts of chizuk...
They are old, I heard them already...
They don't motivate me anymore....
Who cares, it's just not worth it anymore....
Just a few minutes, then I'll be fine...."

There's only one way to beat him.
You have to look him in the eye
And say:
"I know what you're trying to do.
It aint going to work. 
You can disguise yourself in any shape...
any form...
any emotion...
any lack of emotion...
But I'm there...
And I know it's you,
AND I'M NOT FALLING FOR IT!!!!!"


But this has to come from within us, 
we need to fight from within.
..

 
678.


Friday  ~  22 Teves, 5770  ~  January 8, 2010
Erev Shabbos Parshas Shemos


In Today's Issue

  • Daily Dose of Dov: "Light doesn't leak out of a broken K'li"
  • Parsha Thought Shemos: Will you investigate Hashem's Messages?
  • Parable of the Day: The Bumps on the Side of the Road
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Our Past Falls Can Bring us to True Emunah
  • Q & A of the Day: "How do I get to "Love (vs."Lust") in my marriage?

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

Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years

"Light doesn't leak out of a broken k'li"

I am a broken k'li. I used to be molei busha uch'limah (filled with shame and embarrassment) while acting out.
In recovery, I have come to see that I am a k'li sh'vurah (a broken vessel).
That's when all my busha and ch'lima leaked out.
Now I'm empty.
Only Hashem can fill me with his Light now.
And light does not leak out of a broken k'li.
And as long as I remember that I'm cracked, it'll stay empty of the busha and leave room for His Light.

B"H shelo asani oved!!!

Love you and wish you a great Shabbos!

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

Parsha Thought: Shemos

Will you Investigate Hashem's Messages?

Posted by "G38"

I noted an interesting point while learning the sedra.

Hashem showed Moshe Rabeinu the bush burning, nothing more, and Moshe could have easily shrugged his shoulders and continued. Only after Moshe went off his path to investigate, did Hashem speak to him.

Hashem sends us hidden messages sometimes, and only if we bother to investigate more can we take advantage of those revelations.

All of us who by some way or another stumbled upon GYE and investigated further, are bound to see clear guidance from heaven. May it just be easy.

Good Shabbos!

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

Parable of the Day

The Bumps on the Side of the Road

Posted by "Yiddle"
 

We sometimes need "bumps" in life to wake us up. As Duvid Chaim once shared, imagine if they didn't have those bumps on the shoulder of the highway! You could swerve off and never not realize it. I was once driving, fell asleep at the wheel and woke up because of the bumps on the shoulder of the highway!! The bumps are there to wake us up. Would you look back at the bumps on the highway and say: "My gosh, what a waste of money by the city!"?

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

Attitude Tip of the Day

Our Past Falls Can Bring Us to True Emunah

"Me" posts on the forum to Jeff (who we quoted in e-mail #676)

Hi Jeff, you mentioned that before you found GYE you were "moving in the right direction - armed with The Garden of Emunah", but that it wasn't enough on its own to prevent you from getting depressed after a fall... Did you see in this holy sefer (that has sold over 1 million copies), where Rav Shalom Arush says:

"When you are faced with a struggle of the Yetzer or whatever.... before you fall, you must know that you are obligated to do anything and everything possible NOT to fall (as the Torah commands us)... This is before the fact.But, after you have fallen, then you must attribute it to "min hashamayim",  they wanted me to fall... it was for my own good. This will help to remove the yetzer's, "you're no good, look what you did ..... etc, which will eventually lead to anxiety, sadness, and the depression which will once again lead to the next fall."

How can it be, you will ask yourself,: that I fell, I did an aveira,, and it was planned in shamayim?! Answer: Through Hashem's love for us, he sees what we cannot. It could be that this fall will actually help us in the future, and will strenghten us. A "nefeila l'tzurich Aliya".  Or, sometimes a person thinks they are very righteous, and so as a chessed he is thrown down. This will give him some of the anievus that he needs.
     
For someone to berate himself, and say, "how could I have fallen? Look at me, how could I have done such a thing?" Well, we MUST say this BEFORE we fall, i.e. (How can I DO such a thing?.....)  But, if nonetheless, we fell, then, it is GAIVA to say to myself, "how can I have fallen?". Do we hold ourselves to be such great Tzadikim that we can't/won't fall? EVERYONE, including Gedolim fall.

 

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

 

Jeff responds:

 

Thanks "Me", I did notice this, but until I started with GYE and saw that real people were struggling with what I was and they were fighting off the depression, it was all very theoretical - and I even found myself arguing this point (of Rav Arush). GYE is what gave me the strength to take the lesson and apply it to my life. My current 6 weeks  clean is only thanks to my last fall after I found GYE, and for the first time picked myself up immediately and started again without depression.

 

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

 

"Me" Responds:

 

Unfortunately, what you wrote and experienced (that it was all "theoretical") is  perhaps the global chisaron that many of us "frum Yidden" have today. Often, everything that we practice and are still learning, Torah, middos, hanhagos tovos, etc. seem to stay at the "theoretical" level. This is why Rav Shalom wrote this sefer. When you read the sefer, you see clearly that even the Emunah P'shuta is far, far away from us. We have not been living this way, even though we learned about it in Yeshiva...

 

We here at GYE, MUST put the "theoretical" into "action". There is no other way for us to succeed. AND, if we are successful in doing this, then we can see that our falls were all for our good in the end. For hopefully they will have brought us to true Emunah, B'poel - L'maaseh!

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

Q & A of the Day

How do I get to "Love" (vs. "Lust") in my marriage?

"YishuvHadaas" asks on the forum

I've seen various mentions on GYE about the difference between lust and love. One person mentioned that lust is Hashem's tool for encouraging marriage, but after marriage, lust should be relegated to the side and be replaced by true love.

After 2 1/2 decades of marriage - I don't think I have ever gotten beyond lust. I would be very interested in hearing any practical advice for how to start moving in this direction. Sometimes I see someone with a very unattractive wife (maybe she's very heavy) and I sense that they have a good marriage. I marvel at how they can have a good sexual relationship - because I don't think I could do that if my wife became very unattractive. This type of situation reveals to me how far I remain on the "lust" side of the equation - and I very much want to move to the "love" side of the equation. Is that possible?? Doesn't there always have to be - at least to some extent - the lust factor??

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

We replied:

On this page (at the bottom) you'll find a few great links from "Dov" to answer this question... I particularly suggest reading the piece called "currency of marriage".

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

After reading some of the links, "YishuvHadaas" responds:


Thanks for the reply and links. I see that often it boils down to the "me centered" world of selfishness. Lust is pure selfishness; doing or fantasizing about doing for the self. Our society promotes the self.

I will try to do for my wife without doing it just because it is my obligation (which  unfortunately I think has been my motivation over these years). When obligated, or when I feel obligated, or when I feel if I don't do I'll be "punished" by her reaction, then I do. It's hard to break away from the "self" after all these years.

B"H - we have had a good marriage, well - certainly not bad, (maybe just "very functional"?) It for sure could be much better - and I could cry from thinking about all the years of "just going through the motions." HaShem wants - and has designed the universe - for our relationships with our wives to be intensely beautiful. Being on GYE has brought this concept anew before me - and has caused me to again believe that it can be accomplished. Life is too short to have an "automatic pilot" marriage. After almost 25 years - I was sort of resigned to living and dying - and leaving it at that. How often have I mentioned to others that our wives are a reflection of how we treat them? How often have I rationalized not following my own advice?

I will, bli neder, try to take the leap away from my "self" towards my wife.

Thanks for letting me write this out - it need it :-)

 
679.


Sunday  ~  24 Teves, 5770  ~  January 10, 2010

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

24 Teves: Rav Dessler's Yartziet



Rav Dessler is one of the the most quoted Gedolim on our forum. So many things that he writes pertain to our struggle with the Yetzer Hara.

Here are a few posts from the forum:

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

The Michtav M'Eliahu (R. Dessler zt"l) writes that the mind is like a vast empty field. This field will not remain empty. If you do not fill it with good positive thoughts or busy yourself with something, whether it be learning, working, etc, the yetzer harah will surely fill all of this empty space.

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

Rav Dessler writes in his Michtav Eliyahu that when people create goals for themselves, it is of utmost importance that they create two opposite goals. One goal is for aiming to reach further top. The other goal is for a RED LINE, not to reach below it. In other words, one needs a "range"; not to fall below a certain rung and to try reaching a certain height. This will ensure, Rav Dessler explains, that just because a person didn't reach the height he set out for, it is a lot less likely that he will give up. Why? Because he DID accomplish another goal of his, namely by not falling beyond the lower goal of a red line!

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

R Dessler ZT"L explains that whereas we know that one is always influenced by his surroundings, however, if he succeeds in going against the tide, then the environment has the opposite effect on him.

Esav resisted the influence of Yitzchak and Rivka and became the epitome of evil. Ovadia resisted the influence of Achav and Ezevel and thereby elevated himself tremendously.

This made me think that even though being exposed to certain Yetzer Haras is dangerous - and we don't want them, however, if we are confronted by them and resist, we can reach much higher Madreigos!

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

Yakov_Shwartz writes:

Rav Dessler writes (pt 5, page 23): "The greatest revelation of G-d is in the most private places. Through privacy and secrecy comes revelation. When a tzadik is tested, and especially in private areas of his life and eventually succeeds, he is bringing down kavod shamyim to the world."

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

"Mevakesh" wrote:

Chaza"l say that when one says Krias Shema he should gaze at his Tzitzis. Seeing his Tzitzis (which were blue from Techeiles in the time of Chazal) will make him think of the sky, which  is blue, and thinking of the blue sky will lead to thoughts of Hashem who made the sky, which will lead to thoughts of serving Hashem, etc...
 
Somebody once told Rav Dessler Zt"l that he doesn't understand the above Chaza"l. Which person, he asked, when he sees his Tzitzis will have this whole domino effect in his mind to lead him to think of Hashem?! That is so far fetched!
 
Rav Dessler responded: Chaza"l say that one should not walk behind a woman, as walking behind her will lead him to think about her, and thus to think about other women and thus to think of sinning, and eventually lead him to sin. Asked Rav Dessler, "Can you identify with that thought process?" When the man responded in the affirmative, Rav Dessler explained: A persons thoughts go in the direction that the person is heading, in the direction that his heart leads him! If you are a person heading in the direction of sin, everything you see, hear or say can easily lead to thoughts of sin! If you are a person heading in the direction of Hashem, then everything you see, hear or say can easily lead to thoughts of Hashem!

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

"Shomer" once posted on the forum:

Just wanted to share something I saw in the Michtav M'Eliyahu from Rabbi Dessler z"l.

Chazal tell us that "im puga buch menuval ze, mashcheyhu l'bais medresh" (If you encounter this 'mevuval', drag him to the bais medresh).  Rabbi Dessler is medayak in the lashon of this statement and asks ... why does it say if you encounter this 'menuval'.  It should say if you encounter the yetzer hara, drag him to the bais medresh?

Rabbi Dessler goes on to explain that in order to fight the yetzer hara, you must first realize that he is a 'menuval'.  Rabbi Dessler elaborates that the yetzer is "oseh meseh nivlus" (performs actions of nivlus). The yetzer promises a person that he will bring them satisfaction and contentment, but leaves them only with sorrow and despair. There is no bigger Nivlus than that.

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

"Steve" writes to a newcomer:

I can tell from your story that you have an amazing inner strength, just waiting to be proven to yourself. Hashem has answered your tefillos and brought you to this site, the one place on earth that is filled with friends that are going to help you achieve FREEDOM from the urge to lust. Do you have a teivah to turn on a light switch on Shabbos? No? That's because it is beneath your "bechira point" as Rav Dessler would say. Would you believe me if I told you that you can get to a place where the urge to Lust and Act Out would fall back beneath your bechira point just like those other aveiros that don't even touch you? It's TRUE!! THAT'S the FREEDOM you will hopefully find through GYE and the 12-Steps.

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

"Eye.nonymous" writes:

Rav Dessler says: We don't give to someone because we love them; we love them because we give to them. (In fact the word "Ahava" comes from the root "Hav" which means to give!)

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

"Ovadia" writes:

The Navi Zecharia prophesied that when Moshiach comes there will be a great Hesped (according to some, this will be for the death of Mashiach Ben Yosef, while others say that this will be for the demise of the Satan/Yetzer Hora who will be killed by HaShem). The Pasuk tells us that at this Hesped the men and women will be seated separately. Rashi stresses that this is in the atmosphere of a Hesped, where one is certainly not lightheaded, and at a time when the Y"H will have been eradicated, and yet it will still be necessary for a separation between men and women, for fear that people will "fall". Rav Dessler ZT"L says that from here we see that once a person has been exposed to a particular Y"H, he is forever more prone to be triggered by that Y"H even if he has worked on himself and done complete Teshuva, and the ONLY thing that can help is a Mechitza (or a filter).

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

"Kedusha" writes:

I saw this quote from Rav Dessler in a great article by Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin about the Psychological factors in sexual acting out: "Hashem gave the Yetzer Horah the power to create illusions that resist the lessons of experience."

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

"Trying" writes:

In the Michtav Me'eliyahu, Rav Dessler says that the true separation of the shechinah from the Jewish people is not demonstrated by the ruin of the Beis Hamikdosh. The destruction was only a symptom and sign of the fact that the Jewish people had already severed the connection to Hakodosh Baruch Hu in their hearts. 

He writes that recognition of Hashem in a person's heart is the definition of Hashem dwelling amongst Klal yisroel.  It says "V'shachanti besocham - and I shall dwell in their midst". "besocham" means "within them" - within each and every individual Yid. 

There can be a severance of connection, a galus of the Shechinah, from each individual Jew, and also a galus of the shechinah from the entire Jewish people... c"v. When this state spreads throughout the nation, then there is a churban

This is the churban that we should be crying for. 

He goes on to say; If someone feels pain due to his lack of attachment to Hashem, and the pain is so profound that it brings him to tears, then he has already achieved a re-attachment between himself and HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

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

This e-mail is Le'Ilui Nishmas Miriam Breindel Bas Menachem, whose Yartzeit is also 24 Teves.

 
680.


Monday  ~  25 Teves, 5770  ~  January 11, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: Separating the Men's & Women's Forums
  • Daily Dose of Dov: A Hug From Hashem
  • Poem of the Day: Lessons of Failure
  • Link of the Day: Download this Book on Breaking P**n Addiction
  • Q & A of the Day: "Do things really change after 90 Days?"

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

Announcement

Separating the Men's & Women's Forums

 

Until today, the men and women on our forums were able to post on each other's forums and exchange Chizuk. This was always done in the most modest way, and no one ever posted anything "triggering" to the other gender. Unfortunately however, something happened recently that caused us to reconsider this approach. After consulting with experts, it was decided to completely separate the men's and women's forums.

If there any any men or women reading this who were reluctant to join our forum until today because of the mixing of genders, PLEASE JOIN US NOW. (Click here to sign up). We especially need more "women" to join the women's forum, as it is still relatively small.

After announcing the change on the "Announcement Board", some of the women who had been exchanging chizuk with the men for many months wrote "Goodbye" to the men that they had been getting so much chizuk from (and sharing chizuk with).

 

"Letakein" Wrote:

 

I just wanted to say thank you to all the holy warriors on GYE

for everything you did for me
for inspiring me
for encouraging me
for making me smile and laugh
for showing me what life is really about
for showing me that I am special
for helping me uncover the real me
for answering my calls for help
for caring
for letting me be a part of the "revolution"
for every smiley and post that made me feel that I could do it.

You guys are the best family in the world.

Keep improving and being the best you can be.

I'll be davening for you all.

 

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

"TrYing" Wrote:

There is no way I can ever thank all of you who have all single-handedly changed my life.

 

This isn't just about Lust addiction.

I've learned to how to climb mountains.

Even straight brick walls.

I learned how to fall gracefully and land in standing position.

I've learned how to continue "Trucking" despite the odds.

I learned that Hashem is always here no matter what we do.

I learned that inside, people aren't all that bad  (even men :-).

They're actually good and kind and oh so pure.

All of you.

I don't care what the world says, but you've shown me what true avodas Hashem is.

I've learned about real caring and about the greatness of the human spirit.

Oh yes, and I also learned that no matter how serious a situation is, a little laughter won't hurt. 


These lessons will remain with me forever.

Through every journey and bump in the road.

Through every mountain I'll have to climb.


When things are tough I will remember each "Gevaaaaldig".

Each KUTGW (Keep Up the Good Work).

Each ACE (Another Chizuk E-mail).

KOT (Keep on Trucking).

GTG (Go TrYing Go!)....

And one very important "You are someone special".


They will keep me going,

and ALL OF YOU will be part of my successes...

You will never be forgotten.

 

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

"Kollel Guy" Responds:

When I saw these two posts I started to cry. 
This is the first time I'm realizing just how special GYE really is.

 

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

"Habib613" Wrote:

 

I'm really going to miss giving and getting chizuk from all of you.

Thank you all (from the bottom of my heart) for EVERYTHING.
You all gave me a new lease on life...

Just a couple of reminders:

  • Keep on Truckin'
  • Don't go near triggers with a ten foot pole
  • Don't get depressed
  • Don't be bored
  • Give, give, give!
  • Call for help at the first sign of trouble
  • Be HAPPY :-)
     

Hatzlacha to all of you.

You will all be in my tefillos.

And thank you R' Guard for always doing what is right.

 

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

"Steve" writes to the women:

 

You women are the HANDPICKED ELITE of the NEW GYE WOMEN's FORUM. YOU are like saplings from the original tree. You have been transplanted now into a separate soil, but you have absorbed all you need to be the foundation and trunk of a new, fully grown giant redwood of support and strength for Jewish Women worldwide!! Like Sarah Schenirer, YOU will branch out and create something unique and feminine, that will speak to the hearts and minds of all women who join you.

Hashem has done this not to punish anyone, but to save many others. And you have no idea that you have such potential. BUT YOUR TATTY OBVIOUSLY DOES!

May you be zoche to see the fruits of your labors blossom quickly, to have more and more chizuk to strengthen yourselves and others!

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

Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years

A Hug From Hashem

After I first got sober, I had nothing to do all night long (when I'd have been out messing my life up acting out, of course) and just couldn't get adjusted to actually sleeping at night.

We had a little TV "just for the olympics" at first, that my sister bought us. To make a long story short, I watched it for hours each night and switched addictions, basically.... but at least I was sober!

Slowly it drove me crazy. I knew that it was a matter of time before I lost my sobriety over it....

One day, my wife calls me at work to tell me that the TV had caught fire just sitting there plugged in, and melted upon itself. It was dead.

We have not had a TV since...

Shomer p'so'im Hashem, no?

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

Poem of the Day

Lessons of Failure

Posted by "Yechidah"

 

Failure does not mean I'm a failure;
It does mean I have not yet succeeded.


Failure does not mean I have accomplished nothing;
It does mean I have learned something.


Failure does not mean I have disgraced;
It does mean I have dared to try.


Failure does not mean I don't have it;
It does mean I have something to do in a different way.


Failure does not mean I am inferior;
It does mean I am not perfect.


Failure does not mean I have wasted my life;
It does mean that I have an excuse to start over.


Failure does not mean that I should give up;
It does mean that I should try harder.


Failure does not mean that I will never make it;
It does mean that I need more practice.


Failure does not mean that you have abandoned me;
It does mean that you must have a better idea.

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

Link of the Day

Download this Book on Breaking P**n Addiction

Someone posted on the forum:

I've just started reading this book from the webmaster of no-porn.com, and it's brilliant!!

Here is the download link.

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

Q & A of the Day

Do things really change after 90 days?

"HumanBeing" asks on the forum

Where is the source of this 90 day "neural pathway change" thing? It seems that even after 90 Days, so many people still have falls.

 

"Ano-nymous" Replies:

 

There is certainly no magic pill, but I can tell you from experience that even though I have had falls after 90 days (I had a 7 month streak), the battle I have now is completely different. When I go to the bathroom, I do what I need to do and that's it. I don't have a desire to do anything else. Same with the shower. Once in a rare while, I'll get a sudden craving while on the computer, and that's where my falls have come from. However, I can testify that putting a large amount of time between me and the addiction has had a tremendous freeing effect on me. I'm still not perfect, but no one is. It's all about progress. And when I look back over the last year and some, I see a tremendous amount of that.

 
681.


Tuesday  ~  26 Teves, 5770  ~  January 12, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Practical Tip of the Day: Movies
  • 12-Step Attitude: Everyone is Doing their Best
  • Link of the Day: EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Discovering the Truth About Ourselves

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

Practical Tip of the Day

MOVIES

Movies are a no-no for any Jew serious about guarding his eyes, and a thousand times more so for a lust addict. Even the most "innocent" movies today are filled with triggers. 

 

Click here for an article on movies by the famous Arutz 7 blogger, Tzvi Fishman. 

 

If after reading this article, you still insist that you can't give up movies, click here for a prayer to recite before watching a movie :-)

 

"LeivTahor" posted today on the forum:

 

Baruch Hashem I got rid of my television in my apartment this year, but once in a while I still go to movies. I know it's not good, but last night I was going through the sefer The Path of Life: The Shabbos Drashos of Rabbi Avigdor Miller and truly felt like I had the wind knocked out of me upon reading the following:

Now there is a gemara in Perek Chaylek, how does one lose his portion in the World to Come? By reading seforim chitzyonim from the outside (books written by apikorsim). Not only are people not paying attention to the fact that it refers to reading material today, but they must also be told that television and movies are a thousand times worse. I do not care who you are, I do not care who comes against me, if you have a TV in your home you do not have a portion in the World to Come! Watching TV is far worse than eating pork. Going to a movie theater is far worse than going to the Salumuria (an Italian restaurant which serves all kinds of chazerai.). When we pass by a movie, we say the bracha, "Blessed are You, Hashem... Who separates us from those who go astray."

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

12-Step Attitude

Everyone is Doing Their Best

"Letakein" wrote:

 

I just wanna say that working the 12 steps on Duvid Chaim's phone group was totally life changing. I seriously look at people differently now.

One thing that Duvid Chaim said that really made a difference to me is that "everyone is doing their best".
All parents want to be good parents.
All parents want their children to feel loved.
All teachers want to be good teachers.
And all bosses want to be good bosses.
Sometimes they do wrong or hurtful things.
But it's not because they want to be mean and hurtful.
They just don't know how to do it differently.
They are doing what they think will yield the best results.

So for example, 
my boss yelled at me and I was resentful.
So I thought to myself, "she is doing what she thinks is best for the company. She does not know how to approach this problem properly (which would be in a calm and respectful manner). She is doing her best. She doesn't want me to be resentful. She just wants me to improve my work for the good of the company.

 

You see? I separated her goal from the way she approached me by thinking "she is doing her best" and asking her "what can I do to make you happier?"

 

When she gave me concrete ways to work differently, she was happy.

 

She totally did not want me to feel bad.

She just wanted my desk to be neater.
So Duvid Chaim was right.
The program is right.
Think "everyone is doing their best" and you will be happier!


(Of course this doesn't apply to people who are mentally ill and don't have control of what they do or don't have the capacity to make decisions properly. In that case, we simply pity them and do not take what they say personally because they did not mean to hurt us either).

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

Link of the Day

EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques

Someone sent me an e-mail:

Shalom Aleichem - this is truly a remarkable site. I recently stumbled upon it and I'm extremely grateful. For five years I have been using EFT "Emotional Freedom Techniques" [a mix between NLP and self-acupuncture], that B"H has greatly improved my physical and emotional health. When I read GYE and applied EFT to 'LUST', the results were amazing: the intensity of the nisayon greatly reduced; some relief! Due to the success of EFT - and the EFT originator aging, he is turning off his webiste on Jan 15. I suggest that you check it out and at least download the EFT manual. See here.

Hatzlacha Raba!

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

Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years. See his story here.

Discovering the Truth About Ourselves

Dov, who is over 10 years sober in SA, has been sharing with us his experience in 12-Step recovery for the past year or so.
 

There has been some recent discussion on the forum about the proper "approach" to recovery, and some people have tried to introduce alternatives to the 12-Step approach, such as more "rational" approaches based on strengthening our will-power and free-choice, or more "Torah'dik" approaches based on various Yesodos.

 

Dov saw this and posted the difference between "teaching" an approach - and simply "sharing" one's experience. Dov writes:

 

My experience bears out that sharing our insides, our hearts with each other, is precious. In fact, it is likely the only thing that matters. That can't be done though, when we have something to "prove", no matter how pure our intentions are. The heart just doesn't seem to open.


Discussing 'shittas of recovery' is very important to many people, but I have not met anyone doing well in recovery who has had the time or need to actually make that a major occupation of theirs.

 

When I say the words, "my experience", I don't mean anything like, "Hey, I'm telling you, it's the truth/the right thing to do/what you need to do - after all, I experienced it myself!" Quite the opposite, I mean to admit that I know nothing but what worked for me. So I can't tell you anything - I can only share with you. If you want what I have, I can share with you how I got it. That's all "sponsoring" is, as far as I am aware. There is no "teaching", per-se. This idea is repeated in AA literature many, many times.

 

The only reason I see fit to share my experience here on GYE, is that I have seen that it works for others who were interested, too. So if guys post that they have a problem with something I had a problem with, I share what I did to get better.

 

I love sharing Torah too, because I believe it's the truth for everyone. But recovery is totally different. The 12 steps are just suggested actions to take and motivations that recovering people can use to get better. And that's why I share my recovery with anyone who wants it. People in similar trouble as mine, have been helped by this. I do not tell them what to do. 

I have heard so many addicts share that they have come to see that judgementalism of themselves and others has been a great part of their problem. I have met very few guys with many years of sobriety who are sure about a lot of stuff. Especially about something outside of their own experience. That attitude tends to get folks like us in trouble. 

I have to post about my past and recent struggles, be they with lust or other stupidity (character defects) on a regular basis. Because I am not a teacher, Rebbe, nor an authority. I share my faults and foolishness along with the free gifts of Hashem and my successes, and it all helps others stay sober.  

I'm not a shrink, just another lust drunk who was helped to find a way to start getting better, and discovered (as have many others I know personally) that this recovery opens  his life of yiddishkeit to become what he (and his spouse) always dreamed it could be, and better.

 

A few months ago I spent a wonderful Shabbos with over 150 chassidish and yeshivishe yidden, rabonnim and otherwise. All 12-step lust recovery men with their wives. And often the wives, with their recovery, too. They do this twice per year. Attendance has tripled since few years ago when I first went with my wife and it will continue to grow be"H. The recovery was incredible there. We didn't tell each other what to do there. We didn't lecture about what we think everybody else needs to do. We just shared our pain in addiction, joy in recovery, what we have been shown through each, and listened to each other. We also had a great time. 

Even AA and SA groups themselves have no central authority or leaders - we vote and agree on a text that shares our experience, we listen to speakers share theirs.

 

A Torah lecture is about the Truth, not about personal experience. And we heard Torah lectures before we were in recovery, too. But what we never had was the truth about ourselves. Once we started to get that, we could begin learning how to live with the Torah.

 

It seems to me that most other folks don't absolutely need that process. I do not pity them at all. To each his own, and how can I ever measure the significance or beauty of anyone else's avodah?

 

I don't know if there are any non-addicts who understand addicts. "Addicts helping addicts" is how I've heard old-timers in AA describe AA. And that means something very similar to the Torah concept of the Halacha being decided according to the basroi (later generations). Isn't the main idea of it, that application of Halacha must be done through the people of that generation because they experience that generation? In my rather unlearned opinion, this is similar to the success of AA. Addicts seem to understand each other - at least my sponsor understands me. I see it and hear it from the guys at meetings.

If someone is an addict, they must discover the true nature of their own problem themselves. They can't be told. It does nothing for them in the end, for they don't yet understand in their hearts that they have no other choice but to stop - even though they feel equally sure that they can't stop. If they still need to experiment, we have no choice but to wish them the best. All the speeches in the world not to drink, will not get them to really stop anyway, if they are addicts.

 

Any addict that I know has agreed with this attitude, completely. We have found that at the end of the day, we don't actually help addicts by reminding them about "what's right". In fact, in the case of so many who I know personally, the finger shaking only added more pain that needed to be covered up the only way an addict knows in his heart - which is to act out some more. Eventually they come to see that they must be ready to pay the piper, and their own bris with Hashem quietly and devastatingly calls out to them from their own insides: "Ani Yosef. Ha'od Avi chai?"

 

How is finger-shaking going to produce that?

 

It seems that I and every other addict I know needed to be absolutely forced to admit that the tools that they had come to rely on, don't really work after all. And I have only seen it come to us through trial and error.

 

I thank the Ribono shel Olam that I and many of my fellows in recovery do not need to go through any more experimentation today, in His great Chesed.

 
682.


Wednesday  ~  27 Teves, 5770  ~  January 13, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Testimonials of the Day: Both Sides of the Religious Spectrum
  • 12-Step Attitude: Outwardly Religious vs. Inwardly Spiritual
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: No More Binging

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

Testimonials of the Day

We received two e-mails today - only 15 minutes apart, from both sides of the "religious spectrum".

E-Mail 1:

Rebbe of Thousands


Dear Yesod Oylam,
 
I am a Rov, Posek, Magid Shiur and Mechaber Sfarim. I have thousands of talmidim. I have been unsuccessfully battling this problem for at least 40 years. I read thoroughly the GYE handbook and would like to make the author my Rebbe. "K'mayim korim al nefesh ayefoh", this masterpiece of Gadlus and Katnus has re-instilled a hope within me that maybe I can really be what my talmidim think I am. 
 
I pour out my heart to the Aibishter that one day I'll be able to help you rather than enlisting your help. I wish there were words to convey the magnitude of my bracha to you, for your hatzlacha is the hatzlocha of Klal Yisrael.
 
Bahava Raba Vahavat Olam,
avodashashemyisborach
 

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

E-mail 2:

Not Yet Religious

Hello Guard,

I have been receiving your daily Chizuk emails for about 8 months now, I enjoy and look forward to reading them everyday. I am involved for the last year in SA groups. I am Jewish but not observant right now, I grew up very secular. That being said, I find the 12 steps with Torah commentary that you provide tremendously inspiring and helpful in my recovery. I tell all the frum Jews in my meetings about this site, I think it is absolutely amazing and contains the true spirit of recovery. I only wish sometimes my SA meetings had more of the spirit of this group.

I agree with many of the comments on the forums and emails that your organization is doing very holy work. Keep up the inspiration and emunah! And with much much gratitude and appreciation for what you do.
 
Humbly,
 
P.P

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

12-Step Attitude

Outwardly Religious vs. Inwardly Spiritual

"Steve" wrote on the forum:

 

On Duvid Chaim's phone group we defined the difference between being "outwardly religious" and being real spiritual people.

A "religious" person is one who believes there is a hell.


A spiritual person has BEEN to hell.

 

And that's step 1: Hitting bottom. And as a result of having been "in hell", the person's connection with Hashem is REAL and it's growing.


But even THAT'S not gonna save us.


What's gonna save us and get us to freedom is:


#1: To ACCEPT THAT OUR ADDICTION IS AN ALLERGY, meaning that I can't even touch Lust or I will not be able to stop myself from falling. So I need to make that fence very strong. (And here we talk a lot about advice and emergency measures).


But even THAT is not enough to save us!! We need:


#2: To REALIZE and INTERNALIZE the CAUSES THAT MAKE US WANT TO LUST. Those reasons are personal and specific to each of us, but they have the SAME EFFECT on each of us. They bring us to DEPRESSION and ANGER and wanting to be somewhat SELF-DESTRUCTIVE because inside we HATE OURSELVES. And when we fall and act out, it is either because we WANT to be self-destructive, or because we are ANGRY at Hashem and want to do something to get back at Him, or because WE ARE IN SO MUCH PAIN THAT WE WANT TO ESCAPE IT, we want to NUMB OURSELVES to avoid facing it for a while. And the DRUG OF CHOICE that we (lust-addicts) use to numb ourselves and escape from Life, is Lusting and Acting Out.

 

And lastly:


#3: TO ACT UPON THAT REALIZATION (in #2 above) and actually ERADICATE and uproot from the CORE, those forces that that creates the Depression. We need to learn how to overcome our resentments of life and our fears of being hurt - or of future failure.


Now, did you hear any "religious" Talk in those steps? NO!! Because just being religious is not a direct part of it.


However, where G-d does come in, is where we ask Him to guide us and help us, and to give us of HIS strength to overcome those forces. We can't do it on our own. (At least I know I couldn't!!)

 

And in doing that, we become more spiritually focused, because Hashem becomes a more prominent part of our daily life and struggles. Not through being more outwardly religious, but by being more inwardly SPIRITUAL.

 

For us Torah Yidden, that means D'veykus Ba'Hashem. And that is a POSITIVE FORCE that gives us tremendous Chizuk & renews our strength to stand up to our Yetzer Hara each day, and not get depressed if we slip or fall. 


The 12-Step Program WORKS, and many of us in Duvid Chaim's call (and in 12-Step SA groups around the world) have gotten to the point where the Yetzer Hara for lust can be pushed aside like a pesky fly on your shoulder, and you'll never nail-bite over it again.

 

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

 

Duvid Chaim will be starting a new cycle of the 12-Step anonymous phone group in Feburary, IY"H. Be in touch with duvidchaim@gmail.com to find out exact details.

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

Attitude Tip of the Day

No More Binging
Posted by a special warrior on our forum

I just wanted to mention that even though I had a fall yesterday after 70 days clean (due to some depression), I feel only mild urges to go back into the whole destructive cycle. I used to "binge" whenever I fell, but this time is much better.

So I can really see how the 90-Day idea helps. My 70 days of not acting out have completely changed my desires...

Also, I'm a different person from when I first joined GYE last year. I used to be very selfish, introverted, lonely, selfish, depressed, ruled by my addiction, selfish, etc...

Now I'm way more extroverted, friendly and content...

I'm still selfish... and I still get lonely and depressed... but man oh man is my life way better now than it was a year ago...

 
683.


Thursday  ~  28 Teves, 5770  ~  January 14, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Announcements: GYE is growing!
  • Story of the Day: Battleworn's Story
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Stronger than Life Itself
  • Quote of the Day: No One is Immune

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS

GYE IS GROWING.

Please Help Us Continue!

 

1) We hired someone to do data-entry on www.guardyoureyes.org. From now on, there will be hopefully new articles, stories, tips and Torah thoughts every day on the website. Make sure to subscribe to our RSS feeds to get all the latest articles straight to your feeders!

 

2) As we announced earlier in the week, upon the advice of Rabbanim/experts we finally took the jump and split the men and women's forums. The men can no longer view the women's forum, but the women can view the men's forum - but not post there (like a one way glass Mechitza :-). Although the split was difficult at first, most of the members have agreed that this is best for everyone in the long-term, and we are already seeing how the women are producing more beautiful posts then ever before between themselves. (I wonder if this has to do with the fact that statistically, in non-coed classrooms, girls produce better - when they aren't trying to get any attention from the guys ;-)

 

3) We started a new board for "Spouses of Addicts" (not visible to regular members). If your spouse knows about your addiction and is struggling to come to terms with it, they now have a forum where they can share their experiences and exchange chizuk with each other. Have your spouse sign up to the forum, and once we approve them, they should let us know who they are so we can give them access to the "Spouses Forum".

 

4) We also started a new forum for "Married Men" (also not visible to regular members), where guys can discuss issues that they may be uncomfortable discussing in the open forum among singles (such as Niddah cycles, relations, their wive's struggle with being married to an addict, and other similar issues).

 

5) We are also working hard to launch separate-gender chat-rooms, which will hopefully be linked to the forums. These chat-rooms will be great to help for addicts to "get out of isolation" and connect with other strugglers. And when someone feels weak, he'll be able to chat in real time with other friends in recovery.

 

All in all, GYE is growing and adding new options all the time. We hope you will find the new features beneficial to your recovery.

 

Please help us to continue expanding our work. Ask us by e-mail how you can donate to GYE.Corp.

 

Thank you and Tizke Lemitzvos!

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

Story of the Day

Battleworn's Story

 

I was an addict from a VERY young age (to young for me to remember how old I was) for about 20 years. During that time, I was under constant stress from the addiction and - for most of the years - it totally dominated my life. I would get triggered from something I saw - or from nothing, and the feeling was overwhelming. It completely took over every fiber of my body and I was liable to risk my life to get my fix.


I was forever trying desperately to stop, but I didn't seem to be getting anywhere. I often thought about suicide, but I didn't think it would help me since it would just be another huge sin that I would have to face the consequences for.


I'm a very strong believer in Truth, so I was always desperately searching for the truth. I knew in my heart that obviously something was wrong here, and I was searching to find what it is. When I learned that Chazal say that anyone who is alive can't complain because it's enough that he's alive, I asked, "What is a life of sin worth?" And I asked it again and again. 


When at 18 years old, I started to get some proper perspective, things started to get a little bit more bearable. A few years later, I began to understand that:

Life is not about how good I am, how bad I am, how successful I am, what people think of me, what has happened to me in the past etc........  Rather it's about DOING what Hashem wants me to do each second. 


That it's not sin I need to fight but rather lust.

  
That it's not 'me and the lust' with Hashem somewhere out there getting angry at me; but rather it's 'Hashem with me' with the lust trying to get in between.


And I began to understand many other truths. 


At that point, my addiction began to disappear. The more my life got clear direction and the more I developed a very personal relationship with Hashem, the more the addiction cycle disappeared.


There were ups and downs. I went clean for a few months or years, and then I fell. But when I fell, I didn't fall back in to the cycle like before (it was a gradual change). I did, however, get back up as a bigger and better person than I was before.


There's no question in the world that R' Tzadok's "Tzidkas Hatzadik" and R' Tzvi Meir's shiurim, changed me by changing my perspective on Hashem, on myself and on the Yetzer Hara.


Nothing that I see nowadays can fire me up or take me out of control.

 

But that doesn't mean that the battle is over. 


Almost five years ago, after a good few years of being totally removed from this stuff, Hashem turned my life upside down. I'll just write a few of the things that happened. A close relative of mine, that I was extremely close to, went from being a happy successful "top-notch" bachur, to a lifeless mess. The way it happened was extremely painful and I took it VERY hard. At the same time, four of my kids were suddenly in crisis (emotional or spiritual or medical) with their problems ranging from major to critical. 


Then I was blessed with a set of twins. One of them passed away at about one month, and the other one is very handicapped (At four and a half, he can hardly see, he can hardly eat, he can't talk or walk or stand or crawl.) A few months later, my wife informed me (after I was away for a few days) that life is better without me. [Our marriage is absolutely beautiful now B"H, since I learned not to rely on my wife for anything - including receiving my love or doing her part in raising the children.] 

My days were taken up with caring for my baby all day, leaving me no time to learn and almost no time to daven. I definitely didn't have the mind or heart for davening or learning. I had to spend weeks at a time in Tel-Aviv (where they give out free porn mags outside of stores). All this happened after having the best six months in my life. I felt so beaten, it can't be described. I don't have to tell you what I would have done if I had still been addicted when this all happened. What actually did happen, was that my shmiras einayim was blown away, and I acted out a few times in a few years.


When I found that I wasn't safe with a computer, I searched for help and found this holy network. I began to share my story and share the truths that saved me and I saw that it was very helpful to people. It was also very helpful to me. Others were doing the same, and things keep getting better and better.

 

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

 

To see more of Battleworn's story, see this page of our website where we bring his story in 7 installments.

 

Today, Battleworn posts chizuk on our forum in a special board we created called "Battleworn's Corner" which inspires many people.

 

He can also be reached on our hotline in Israel, throughout the week. (See the bottom of this page).

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

Torah Thought of the Day

Stronger than Life Itself

R' Kook writes:


When your will rises to that supernal level of holiness, it is cleared of all bad traits and all bad actions that exist in the world - even of the most inconsequential matters that most people ignore.

One might desire illicit relations more than life itself, because sexual relations are embedded in one's drive to give life to all generations. But through sexual holiness, you can rise to the level and archetype of the righteous man of all generations.

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

Quote of the Day

No One is Immune
"LeivTahor" posted on the forum in response to yesterday's testimonial:

I found yesterday's testimonial to be both jarring and comforting at the same time. I am referring to the letter by a certain Rav, Posek, and Mechaber of seforim who writes how he's happy to have found this site, given his "over forty years of struggling in these areas". It's comforting to read that because sometimes I think I've had these problems due to my non-religious background, growing up non-frum in a goyishe environment, and to this day never having learned for more than a few months in a Yeshiva setting at one time. This Rav's letter assures me that no one is immune to temptations here, from a talmid chacham/Rebbe with thousands of talmidim to an am-ha'aretz poshuter Yid non-FFB like myself.

 

If this Rav is reading this, let me give  him a hearty welcome to GYE. May it help you change, do Teshuva, and be an even greater Rebbe and influence upon your many talmidim!

 

684.


Friday  ~  29 Teves, 5770  ~  January 15, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Parsha Thought- Va'Era: Kotzer Ruach
  • Q & A of the Day: I'm Not Attracted to My Wife
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Getting Open to Hashem's Help

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

Parsha Thought: Va'Era

Kotzer Ruach

 

The parshios of the six weeks of Shovavim deal with the enslavement of the Jewish people in Mitzrayim and their subsequent redemption and salvation. Many Sefarim talk about how a man's struggle with his Yetzer hara is symbolized by the enslavement in Mitzrayim and Hashem's ultimate help in redeeming him. The Pesukim in this week's parsha describe the hard work and bitterness of the oppression in Mitzrayim, and in next week's parsha we see how the yidden didn't listen to Moshe "mi'kotzer Ruach ume'avodah kasha - due to oppressiveness of spirit and hard work".

Those who are enslaved by the Yetzer Hara know well what these words mean. The Yetzer Hara causes one's entire life to become 
"Kotzer Ruach" and his obsession doesn't let him experience the "Nachas Ruach" that life has to offer.
 
Rabbi Naftali Fish, a frum addiction therapist that I personally know, just wrote a book called "Nachat Ruach: Torah Therapy and tools for psycho-spiritual growth and healing" which will be published very soon, be"h. This therapist uses meditative techniques with his patients to help them break free of this addiction. His theme is 
"Nachas Ruach" and one of the techniques he teaches his patients is that when they feel weak, vulnerable or overwhelmed with the struggle, they should take four slow deep breaths, imagining that they are breathing in "Nachas Ruach" with each breath, and breathing out "Kotzer Ruach" with each breath. His approach tries to teach the patient how to flow with life and not fight against it. After all, Hashem doesn't want us to have to fight our whole lives, instead he wants us to learn how to flow with the beauty and happiness that life has to offer, instead of trying to seek pleasure and happiness in temporary and illusionary ways which only lead to Kotzer Ruach and Avodah Kasha.
 
Here's an example of one meditation technique that you may be able to do on your own. Try it three times a week, for a few weeks. It should take about 20 minutes each time.

Sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes. Completely relax. To help you relax and enter a meditative state, breath in slowly, hold for a few seconds, and then breath out. Repeat this 10 times. Afterwards, imagine you are diving into a deep pond. See yourself in your mind swimming downwards, deeper and deeper. (This will help you access your subconscious mind). Then, picture yourself in a field, holding a balloon. The balloon contains all of your sexual tension and pain in it. Picture this well. Then, release the balloon in your mind, with all the tension and pain inside it. Watch the balloon slowly climb away, higher and higher, count the feet it rises in your mind, until the balloon is finally out of site. When you are done with the balloon, imagine again that you are at the bottom of the deep pond. Start swimming back up, slowly coming closer and closer to the surface. Then, break out of the water. Open your eyes, get up from your chair and walk away feeling free!
 
Click here for more self-therapy ideas and options.

The contact information of the therapist mentioned above is:
Dr/Rabbi Naftali Fish - Jerusalem, Native English Speaker
Torah Based Psychotherapy, combined with meditation and hypnosis techniques
"Healing the Inner Wounded Child"
Also specializes in Shalom Bayis issues, helping the wives of addicts come to terms with their husband's addiction.
Office: 02-5376514
Home: 02-6722663
Cell: 052 2639325   
e-mail: nachatruach@walla.com

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Q & A of the Day

I'm Not Attracted to My Wife
 

Married 20+ years. Was never attracted to my wife from literally day one. I married her because she was easy to talk to, intelligent and kind-hearted. I was also a BT, and frankly felt pressured to get married. I'm still shocked that it was all over and done in eight dates. Especially since I never felt sure. 

Hard to make this long story short, but the lack of attraction has never gone away. I find it hard to work on my addiction when I am not attracted to her. Sometimes I feel that the only way to get into bed is to first watch some shmutz. Do you have any advice?

 

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Dear Jew,

This kind of question has come up many times in the past on our forum, and people who suffer from lust addiction are often struggling in this area. Our addiction warps the way we perceive the intimacy we have with our wives, and we often tell ourselves that if only she was more beautiful, we wouldn't have to "act-out". 

See this page for the fallacy of this attitude.

Also, please read through this page, "Do I Like My Wife?" - and the links at the bottom, especially the link called "Currency of Marriage" from Dov.

Also, you can also learn some important things about the issue of "relations" with your wife from the following 5 links:


"The girls I see in the street are so much s-xier than my wife. How to feel real love for my own wife?"

"My husband blames me for his porn habit. He blames me for being overweight and unattractive."

"Is it halachically permitted to look at porn if your going to have relations that night anyway?" 

"What if one's wife doesn't give herself over enough, won't a man search for it elsewhere?"  

"My wife doesn't enjoy martial relations, what do i do?" 


This may be a lot of reading, but I guarantee that if you read through all these links you will have a very different perspective on your wife - and on your intimate life with her.

There's also a thread on our forum here that deals with this issue, so you can see what so many other guys have to say about this...

I also suggest buying the book called "The Garden of Peace" By Rav Shalom Arush. It has transformed many marriages.


Good luck, and may G-d be with you!

 

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years.

Getting Open to Hashem's Help

"EsaEinai" posted on the forum:

Shalom,

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has put this site together and all its contributing members!!!! For most of my life I have been dealing with these issues alone (over 20 years). Even though the greater portion of my life I did not know that I was Jewish or understand Torah, and within the society of a young man outside the tents of Torah many things are generally acceptable; I still knew it was wrong. 

I have been arguing with this y'h' and trying to outsmart him for at least 10 years. I am so exhausted and melancholy that I find writing this and expressing myself to be a challenge.

Today is the 7th day clean for me, and for the most part I have completely avoided speaking to my friend the y'h'.

During 10 plus years of battle on a near daily basis (3650 days) I have tried hundreds of strategies, if not thousands.I am of the opinion that all of them are worthless, for the most part! You can't outsmart the Yetzer Hara, you can't even talk to him or you lose. You have to turn the battle over to Hashem and be completely dependent and attached to Him at every single moment.

 

Dov Responds to EsaEinai:

 

Ditto, EsaEinai - The trick is, learning how to do that after having lived for many years "controlling" our pleasure feelings with schmutz, fantasy, and masturbation basically on demand, and having a relationship with Hashem that is so twisted that we usually come to think that all He really cares about is my struggle with the Yetzer Hara.

After having been sober for a while, it dawned on me that I was not really living while in addiction - just faking it real well.

I was taught that if I really want to be successful at turning the struggle over to Hashem, as you beautifully recommend, I also had to do my best to turn the rest of my life over to Him, too. Sounds like a tall order, but SA (12 steps in a chevra) kept that rather simple.

BTW, my experience tells me that the reason it doesn't work at all as long as I focus on personal change in this area alone, is not because Hashem is mean or punishes me, rather, it is because as long as I held fast onto the idea that "I was A-OK - except for this embarrassing problem" - I was never really open for Hashem's help at all. Having temporary tidal waves of sincere teshuva is just plain silly. It never got me anywhere - I was back to the races the next day, week, month.... and all the advice for how to "make a kinyan in it" from well-meaning 'normal' folks, just made me feel more guilty when I failed at them. In other words, they were worse than useless to me.

I had to come to see that my priorities in life were screwed up (for example, the ridiculous belief in my heart that sof davar, the only proof that my wife (or any woman) really accepts and loves me, is the offering of sex) [by living steps 1&2].

Soon I found that I could actually start learning how to trust Hashem to really help me with my life (my real life, like learning and davening, school, the job, marriage, family, childrearing and other relationships, the lottery -   just slipped that one in, sorry) [by living steps 2&3].

I started slowly learning how to honestly devote myself to caring about what Hashem wants (ie, what is good) more than about what I want [steps 2,3 and all the rest].

And life has slowly, shockingly, become great.

All these gifts just from being an addict. Not a bad deal.

 
685.


Sunday  ~  2 Shvat, 5770  ~  January 17, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Testimonial of the Day: By "Pesach"
  • Announcement: PayPal is Back. (Make Good Use of It :-)
  • Torah Thought: A True Desire is Never Lost
  • Daily Dose of Dov: The "purpose" is Hashem's Business.

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Testimonial of the Day

By "Pesach"

It means so much to me to be part of the GYE community; I think I am bringing much joy and inspiration to my daily SA meeting because of how good I feel inside to be sharing my journey of recovery with such holy and special Jews. Even as I write this, I thank Hashem for such a wonderful gift.

 

My journey in recovery so far has not been easy, I have had many slips and much frustration, resentment and fear, but even the worst moments in my recovery are better than my best days before. I am starting to learn the lesson Rabbi Nachman wrote: "If I make Hell my bed, You are there". One of my greatest fears is abandonment, I've felt abandoned and alone a lot in both my addiction and recovery, this fear has convinced me of many ludicrous beliefs, such as: that since I slip in my program it means I do not want recovery, that my sponsors and group will run out of patience with me, that Hashem abandoned me to my addiction and he abandons me when I slip. What I realize now is this fear is only in my head, and these beliefs are not true.

 

The GYE community has inspired me by demonstrating endless patience and tolerance with those who are struggling in their addiction and recovery. Never have I read an unnecessary harsh word, self-righteousness or judgmental comment, all I have seen is brotherhood, love, support, gentleness, respect, Emunah and inspiration. I know that even if God forbid I make Hell my bed again, both the GYE community and Hashem will be there to lend me a hand. What a blessing.

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Announcement

PayPal is Up Again on Our Site!

GYE had a PayPal account for over a year, but it was closed in September by PayPal because they demanded proof that we are a non-profit organization. We then began the process of becoming legally recognized, and thank G-d, the process is well under way. We are now a legal corp by the name of GYE Corp. We also opened a bank account under that name. We are sending in the paper work now to obtain a 501c(3) status (tax-exempt), and that cold take another few months. However, we were finally able to re-open our PayPal account under the business name GYE corp. On the right side of our website http://guardyoureyes.org/ there are now once again PayPal donation options. We encourage everyone to make good use of them! :-)

Note: Donations that are made now to GYE corp. will be tax-deductible retroactively once we receive tax-exempt status.

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Torah Thought

 

A True Desire is Never Lost

 

Sometimes a person who suffers from addiction will learn that his/her parent/s suffered from it too. Often the parent/s tried to break free of it but were unsuccessful, and the struggle is then passed down to the next generation. And some of us may struggle our entire lives with the "monster within" and may never truly succeed in finding a complete freedom. But does that mean that our parents were failures, or that we are failures?

 

Taken from Arutz Sheva Blog over here.

What is the source of our desire to succeed and to achieve?

Rav Zadok HaCohen of Lublin offers a surprising answer: our internal desire to accomplish comes as an inheritance.

There are times when we want something so badly, but despite all our efforts and good intentions, it just doesn't happen. It may appear that this unachieved desire is lost; but Rav Zadok teaches that the opposite is true. Though it may not even come to fruition in the person's life, this desire hidden in one's heart is passed on, and will take hold in future generations.

We can see an example from King David. He desired so deeply to build a house for Hashem, but was forbidden to do so. However, his son King Shlomo was able to build the Temple.

From where did King Shlomo get the inspiration? The desire of David, hidden in his heart, never came to fruition in his life, but was passed on to his son, who was able to actualize the desire of his father. And even though Shlomo was the one who actualized the latent desire, the Temple is not called by his name, but is rather called, "The House that David Built."

The desires hidden in our hearts are part of the inheritance that is passed down from parent to child and from generation to generation. This organic relationship connects us with our ancestors long gone, and we pick up the pieces and finish projects left undone.

And those latent desires in our hearts are passed along to our children. Though we will not always be able to complete all our aspirations, there is comfort in knowing that the desire will be passed on to the future generations, and will someday find completion.

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Daily Dose of Dov
Dov is sober in SA for over 10 years.

The "process" is our business;

The "purpose" is Hashem's business.

 

As I have posted many times before, I was absolutely shocked to discover that my real problem was not Jewish/religious at all, but simply human. The main issue for me in those years of active addiction was always and only: "I am a poor oved Hashem". When my problem finally got bad enough that my life was burning down, I realized that I was losing my sanity, my realness with my wife and everybody else, and that I was a complete fake, even to the Creator. Which of those things are exclusively Jewish? None. It was no longer "a Hamodia teshuva topic" ;-) 


It wasn't "madreigos" that I was losing, it was the basis of my entire humanity. It just looked like my yiddishkeit to me, because the ba'alei mussar who I loved had taught me that every part of my existence was by definition yiddishkeit. They didn't tell me that I had to be a human first.


It seems to me that if I am compulsively calling 800/900 #s, looking at porn, masturbating, looking in windows, or fantasizing about women I see or know, I am not even sane yet. He's a shtick beheimo, and he knows it. And it's hell on earth. Yes, I have had many convincingly sane moments during those years, but the proof is in the pudding, and how I lived my life. It only got worse overall, never better. (B"H, now it only gets better overall!)


So, was my original goal in recovery "success in avodas Hashem"? No, no, no. If it had been, I know I'd still be out there, crying about it in sh'ma and feeling like if I cry so much, I must be a tzaddik of some weird kind! (I like to say that I was such a tzaddik nistar in my addiction, that even Hashem didn't know that I was a tzaddik!

Ha.)

 

Inasmuch that I came to recognize the truth about myself when I came to recovery: that I am a selfish, needy, manipulative, fearful, and lying man, my tachlis was only to stop dying spiritually, mentally, and physically. That WAS my only tachlis then... it's kind of hard to pay attention to anything else at that point... "When you can't breath, nothing else matters", you know. 

 

Hashem's tachlis? What do I know of His tachlis for me? To smear grease on the tzaddik's wagon axle or to save Jewish lives, or to be mechadesh Torah b'rabim? It's not my business - it's His! I just want to stay alive. And so far, imperfectly, it's working out quite nicely.

 

It just doesn't work at all for me or anyone I know to think about outcomes of any kind while recovering. It's just more 'controlling' and less 'surrendering', so it just makes us stay crazy. Then folks like me would probably just blame it all on SA, AA, our wives, or whatever.

 

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 "Kollel Guy" responds to Dov's Post:

 

Dov's words are so true...

But so g---dam hard to accept!!

 

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Dov Responds to "Kollel Guy":

 

Don't worry. I never accepted them, either. They were forced down my throat!

 

That's why I honestly say that all my gratitude for finally getting into recovery goes to two "places': (1) My addiction (for finally getting bad enough to make me have to choose between life and death), and (2) l'havdil, Hashem (for helping me choose life). Sorry about the order, folks....

 

686.



Monday  ~  3 Shvat, 5770  ~  January 18, 2010


In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: The Launch of the HEBREW FORUM - and more!
  • MAZAL TOV: To "MosheW" on Reaching 90 Days!
  • 12-Step Attitude: Honoring the "Me" of the Future

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Announcing the launch of the
GYE Hebrew Forum

 

For all those who are more comfortable typing/speaking in Hebrew, please join our Hebrew forum, moderated by Reb Shraga Shlachter, an expert in sexual addictions and the author of the book "The First Day of the Rest of My Life" in Hebrew. (Click here to order the book. Click here to download English translations of the book that we did in the past).

 

If you know any Israeli's who struggle with lust addiction, please let them know about our new forum!

 

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And while we're on the topic of NEW forums, let me remind everyone that we recently opened up two new boards on our English forum as well:

 

1) We started a new board for "Spouses of Addicts" (not visible to regular members). If your spouse knows about your addiction and is struggling to come to terms with it, they now have a forum where they can share their experiences and exchange chizuk with one another. Suggest to your spouse to sign up to the forum here, and once we approve them, they should let us know who they are so we can give them access to the "Spouses Forum".

 

2) We also started a new forum for "Married Men" (also not visible to regular members), where guys can discuss issues that they may be uncomfortable discussing in the open forum among singles (such as Niddah cycles, marital relations, and issues that come up with their wives, etc.)

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 A Big Mazal Tov

To "MosheW" (from Accountability Group #5)

for reaching 90 Days clean and joining the warriors

on the "Wall of Honor".

 

 

MosheW wrote today:

 

Personal Count: 90 DAYS!!!!! My dear friends, the road has many forks, choices, choices, and more choices... Without a good "GPS" i.e. G-d, Program (12 steps), Support (a good chevra, posting on the forum, etc.) it will be almost impossible to make it.

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When MosheW first joined us he wrote:

 

Being new to the forum I would like to introduce myself. I am FFB and went to the best yeshivos, happily married with multiple children and a strong connection with some of the biggest gedolim. My issues began when "a friend" gave me a stack of magazines. Sadly, with the internet things only got worse. The cycle was always the same, I could go a few clean months, fall for a couple of days, and always get right back up for another few months. However over the past few months, I couldn't seem to pull free. That was up until 2 weeks ago when I joined the GYE community. 


There were days when I would be alone in the office spending 3-4 hours going from one website to another. After which, I would spend the same amount of time feeling depressed, dirty and alone, beating myself up over the events of the last several hours. In the end, I always promised Hashem that I will never do it again, knowing in my heart full well that I will never keep my promise.

 

I would like to nominate the Y/H as "Employee of the Month" because since I have committed to controlling myself (on and off the internet), he has been working overtime to get me wherever he can. B"H with divine intervention, I have been doing a good job staying away from the evil websites or the "seemingly kosher" websites such as YouTube...

 

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Another time MosheW Posted:

 

Everyone on this forum has reached the lofty level of Baal Teshuvah. Many Giants of the last generation have already said that to be a Baal Teshuvah one merely has to say, "Ribono Shel Olam I want to be good". No longer are the steps of admittance, regret, etc. needed. I once heard in the name of Rav Nosson Wachtfogel, the famed Lakewood mashgiach who after affirming that such was the case was asked, "but Rebbe, what about the Shelah Hakodesh who insists that the other steps are necessary?". To which the Mashgiach replied, "I just gave you away of crawling out of the mud you want to crawl back in??". No longer do we have the strength of the previous generations, just tell Hashem with sincerity that you want to be good and He will do the rest.  The Medrash relates that Hashem asks of us "open for me a needle hole and I will open it to the size of a banquet hall". There is a famous question, "why a needle hole, why not another hole, for instance when one sticks his finger in the sand?" The answer given is that a needle goes "trough and through", it's may be small, but it's with a true sincerity. 


B"H I am happy to report that I waking up lately with an even greater simchas hachaim than the day before. Each step is battle, not just a fight. I wish you (and everyone on the forum) the strength to win. The gemora says that the bigger a person, the bigger his Y/H. Being that we have fallen for our addiction, just think how big and lofty our nishamos must be! The Ribono Shel Olam is not only proud of this website, it was worth the thousand of years in gulos just to reap the benefits of the giants it will produce.

 

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At his halfway mark (45 days), MosheW wrote:

 

There were times that I was blind, dizzy and almost "frenzy-like" with the urge and passion to give in. Up until I joined this chabura, I always gave in, my brain would just power off, not even sleep mode. But things are different now. Just keep on fighting, chevra! The more you fight the easier it gets, and with each win, more and more simcha and kedusha will enter into your heart. Just be on the lookout for new tricks of the Yetzer hara, he doesn't give up EZ.

 

 

At the risk of getting busted, I have discussed the website with many community askonim. I even hung up a poster in the Klaus where I daven.

(Hang up this flyer in your Shul or advertise it in your community newspapers or magazines: Black & White / Color. And here's a high resolution ad that can be sponsored in your local Frum news-and-advertising outlets!)

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After Phillip Rosenthal mentioned our work at the Agudah Convention, MosheW Sent him an e-mail:

 

Dear Philip: 


Thank you for stepping up to the plate. Sadly, many in the frum orthodox world are in denial. They yell and scream, labeling the internet as fehh, shmutz and fech, hoping that it will just go away. At the end of the day, we all know that the internet is here to stay. From bill paying to shopping and everything in-between, eventually it's all going to be via the internet, so instead of fighting it, embrace it and work with it. If these Rabbanim were really honest with themselves, they would raise enough money to approach Bill Gates and say, "here give us a kosher solution" (the filter of all filters, not from K9 or Jnet, but our own dedicated internet). Everyone talks about the danger for kids, yet few want to admit or discuss the danger for adults, and that it is a growing problem.


I commend you and the Aguda for standing up and shouting for people to wake up.  May Hashem always protect you!!!


For the naysayers among us who fear Chillul Hashem, uncomfortable with the subject, or the ability to raise the money, I say, what could be greater in the eyes of the Ribono Shel Olam than a team-effort to help us all live lives of greater kedusha?

 

The last generation marc