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851.
Sunday  ~ 18 Tishrei, 5771  ~  September 26, 2010
Chol Hamo'ed Sukkos

In Today's Issue
  • Torah Thought of the Day (Sukkos): Our Past Sins Become our Schach
  • Testimonial of the Day: Sukkos this year is different
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Lust Kills Love
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Torah Thought of the Day

Our Past Sins Become Our Schach

Chaza"l say that the Schach should be from "Pesoles Goren Ve'Yakev". Why do Chazal use the Lashon of "Pesoles", couldn't they have found a nicer way to describe the material we use for this holy Mitzva? 

Says the Alter Sadigerer Rebbe (son in law of the Beis Ahron of Karlin), that Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are times of 
Teshuva Me'Yira - Repentance from Fear, and Chazal say that when we repent from fear our sins becomes like "mistakes" (zedonos na'asin ki'shgagos). However, Sukkos is a time of Teshuvah Me'Ahava - Repentance through love and rejoicing. This is a much higher level of Teshuva, and Chazal say that the sins become like merits! 

This, says the Sadigerer, is the secret of the Schach. We davka take the "Pesoles"; the spoiled - the sins of our past; and through 
Teshuvah Me'Ahava on Sukkos, we uplift them into merits. Hashem's divine presence hovers over us in the Sukka davka in the form of our past sins, which we have merited to uplift through our repentance with love!

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Testimonial of the Day

Sukkos this Year is Different

By "On the Road"

For the first time in many years, I just took some time to learn this afternoon in the Sukkah and just enjoy this mitzvah. I was able to identify with my feelings for the first time in many years.
 
Es chatai ani mazkir hayom... I remember last year Sukkos. It followed a marathon of acting out throughout Elul, the Aseres Yemei Teshuva, and the days in between Yom Kippur and Sukkos. I actually recall taking my phone into the Sukkah with me and watching videos of .... 

This year Sukkos comes after the best Elul of my life, the best Aseres yemei teshuva, a brief fall which I immediately pulled myself (with everyone's help on the forum) back on track, and great days since. WOW WOW WOW. I owe my life to GYE and all my friends here. This year, I will - with His help - continue to act correctly and not act out on my addiction, and truly dance with joy on Simchas Torah, feeling proud of the direction my life is moving in, as opposed to the usual despondent feelings of hopelessness and guilt.

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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

Lust Kills Love

Someone wrote to Dov about his frustration in the bedroom, regarding his wife's perceived "lack of giving". Dov replies (part 1):

Your note reminds me of a lot of stuff my wife and I have been through. I will try to share everything I have about this, be"H, with you. Please read it over and please bear with me. Forgive me if I say anything that sounds judgmental or critical of you, as I mean nothing of the sort. I will be frank, try to waste none of your time, and save the niceties for some other time, OK?

This is a big, big, parsha you are in together. It needs siyata diShmaya, love, and patience. It needs sanity. Which brings me to this:

If you are not sober for a significant period of time first, I sincerely believe you are kidding yourselves if you expect to be making significant progress in these issues. This is true for two reasons. 

First, for you: without at least a good while sober and actively working your recovery from craziness, you will likely still be way too screwed up in the head to get anywhere with changing your insides. Furthermore, with any real step forward, we are likely to misuse it and slip back into even more murky and confusing lust stupidity. That's the way it is for me and some others I have seen. 

I do not 'buy' the thought that "I'm just 'hypersexual' and she isn't"... we are self-obsessed. And our wives see it painfully clearly. Not because they are healthier than we are (which they may or may not be), but because they are not 'us'! Though they may freak out about our specific behaviors or demands, it's not really about the sexual act, preference, or whatever, for them. That's just a smokescreen that we make into the 'issue', blowing it out of proportion. 

Rather, the big turn-off for them is being deeply disappointed and frightened to see they are actually living with a self-obsessed and needy partner for life. That they are alone with that guy all night, every night. "He may be nice to me in lots of ways, and a really good person - but I know that deep down inside, when push comes to shove, all he really cares about is himself," is a disturbing thought. Especially for the young woman who chose her chosson because "he is so incredibly intelligent, thoughtful, and really cares about me." Don't we all know that's exactly what they thought when we married us? 

And we often respond in our hearts with something like, "look how selfish she is - she doesn't want to please me, her own husband, who loves her! Why?! I'm not asking for that much." And around it goes. The entire thing builds both of our fears and resentments like manure feeds grass. The pain can be immense, as you know. And as much as we wish it, it does not go away solely with the passage of time.

We are self-obsessed.... did I write that already?... and we will likely always be self-obsessed, to some degree. But that character defect expresses itself, gets watered, and keeps growing as long as we put ourselves and our lust first. In other words, as the White Book puts it, "Lust kills Love". Neither of you deserve that vexed state of being. Life is just too short to waste - and married life is even shorter and somore of a pity to waste. Gevalt - we have so many ingredients for a great life all together in one room - some people never even find a zivug, at all, R"l. Recovery gets a chunk of my 'ego' out of the way with every step and with every challenge we get through. Bits of sanity leak into me, and everyone around me knows it. Without sobriety and the recovery that it allows, nothing good grows in my life. For me, Lust slowly turns everything to trash.

And second, for her: she needs to see a guy who is changing - not in terms of your sexual mishega'as - that's not where the recovery really is, at all! Rather, she needs to see a man who (the following is in my own case) gets himself out of the way enough to do for her with no thought of any repayment. A man who respects her enough to (generally) be where he says he will be when he says he'll be there, especially when she needs him. That proves she's important to me, not just someone who I am afraid of. She needs to see a man who doesn't treat his kids like second-rate citizens when he is in a rush. And for whom the marriage doesn't suddenly become important/serious when it comes to sex: with unspoken messages like "you get this and that, so I deserve sex/you owe me tonight for the two nights you didn't give me any/do this thing and that thing to me now," etc.

Those are some of the things that she probably needs to have in her life. And if you are her husband, only you can give that to her. Ever.

Continued tomorrow....
852.
Monday  ~ 19 Tishrei, 5771  ~  September 27, 2010
Chol Hamo'ed Sukkos

In Today's Issue
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Why is Sukkos Right After Yom Kippur?
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Lust Kills Love (Part 2)
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Torah Thought of the Day

Why is Sukkos Right After Yom Kippur?

By "ClearEyes"

It seems that for me and a lot of people on the forum, the days after yom Kippur were especially hard. But why? Shouldn't they be easy for us? At least for a few days till Y"K wears off! Why were we falling or having such urges to fall, just moments after the Shofar blasts? It mamesh makes no sense. But its the truth!

Let's answer this question with another question. Why does Sukkos fall out when it does? Sukkos has ties with yetzsias mitzrayim and wandering in the desert. It has nothing to do with Tishrei. So why does it fall out on the 15th of Tishrei? 

The most famous answer is, that on Sukkos we are commanded to eat outside in a Sukkah. The Sukkah symbolizes either the huts we lived in the desert or the clouds which protected us during our wanderings. Yetzsias mitzrayim took place during the Spring, when people leave there houses to enjoy the weather. People are already outside in their huts. If we were commanded to eat in a sukkah then, the meaning would be misconstrued. Therefore Sukkos falls out during Fall, when people are returning to their houses.

Ok, that's a nice answer, but it doesn't answer the question 100%. Why does Sukkos fall out so close after Yom Kippur? 

Since we are doing so well with the questions, let's ask yet another question.

How can we not have something after Yom Kippur? We just spent the past 40 days returning and coming closer to Hashem. We just experienced 30 days of Elul, 2 days of Rosh Hoshana, a week of yimei teshuva and then Yom Kippur. From the whole year, Hashem is closest to us on these days. And the ability to feel Him increases as we approach Yom Kippur. And even in the holiest day itself, Neilah is the pinnacle of it all. Who doesn't cry out then to our Father in heaven and convince themselves in the bottom of their hearts that will never fall again. And then what? We blow the shofar and go home! We go back to regular life! How is this possible? How can Hashem create such a void in us, to bring us in so close, and then send us away!??

The answer is, He doesn't. He gives us a holiday. He gives us arbah minim. He gives us a Sukkah. These are what we need to maintain our connection with Him. We take the arbah minim, which represent our heart, eyes and mouth. The heart and eyes are crucial to maintaining that connection with Hashem. "V'lo suro acharei l'vavchem v'acharei enechem". What we let into our bodies through these channels affects us tremendously; GUARD them. And we all know how important it is to GUARD what comes out of our mouth. We can't even begin to imagine the destructive forces of lashon haraand talking at forbidden times in shul.

Sukka; leave your house, the comfort of this world and go out into a Sukka. Realize that we are only guests in this world and don't get attached to worldly pleasure. Spend 7 days with Hashem, learning this valuable lesson.

To answer our original question, Hashem knew these days would be hard, which is why He gave us Sukkos to fill the void left after Yom Kippur.

Let us all appreciate this special Yom Tov, a true gift from Hashem. It is for us to continue to get closer to Him after our 40 days of Teshuva. Learning to live with Him in the real world, by protecting ourselves from outside influences, and by realizing we are only here temporarily. Only after we have learned this, will we be ready to move on from Yom Kippur and live through the year.

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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

Lust Kills Love (Part 2)

Someone wrote to Dov about his frustration in the bedroom, regarding his wife's perceived "lack of giving". Dov replies (part 2):

With respect to sex and sexuality, compromise is often needed on both sides. In my case, our relationship began to really improve after I was sober about three years. Around that time we really began to make progress in these issues. We just didn't find success working together as a team on our pain and frustration revolving around sexuality till I was sober for a rather long time. Every marriage is obviously different, and I know of other guys who say their marriage improved (even in this area) after only a year or so. I am a slow-poke.

We only found the success in dealing with this stuff when we both felt a lot of good-will toward each other. As long as she felt cheated by me or unloved, it was a non-starter. So at some times when we were happy with each other, I asked her if she was OK talking about sex. That each of us could say whatever we wanted without getting interrupted and without counter-arguments. No debate - just hearing on both sides. Like a meeting for two people. My sponsor taught me to do that. She'd say OK and say that she knows I am not pleased. She made it clear to me that she really wanted to make me happy and wanted to find some pleasure here herself, but that the relationship meant so much more to her than sex itself did. I found that kind of weird. I was shocked to learn that plenty of the things I thought she'd like were not pleasurable for her, at all. I discovered that we were really two different people. Porn didn't prepare me for that. The ladies there just want to be used and do what you want, no? My heart was learning that I was living with another person. A real olam molei. There is more to marriage than whether I am fulfilled sexually. As crazy as it sounds, I never believed that before. Since then, I have been learning about this woman as a real, independent person; and living with her is often fascinating, never boring. 

One more point, be"H. I found out that my wife never fantasized in lust terms, it seems. That's just the way she is. Years ago during one of my heavy acting out periods (when I was sure that all I needed was to make my wife more sexual, instead of make me more human), I heard (or read) that fantasizing and masturbation are the building blocks of a good sexual relationship. I believed it be'emunah sh'leimah, and, my G-d, how much suffering that caused me. It gave me a license to put all my energies into changing her. The result was horrible for her, but much worse for me, I think. I grew deeper into perverted lunacy, all the while looking like a pleasant, functional, frum guy. I was impossible.

My G-d seems to see the key to happy sexuality as having more to do with me being right-sized - with knowing and growing in my true place. He put sex into the very strict g'darim of marriage: I have a place. I can't stray from it... but at least it's really my place. And success will depend on what I make of what I am given. Second, my wife and I (and many other people I have met in recovery) have a happy sexual relationship without using schmutz and fantasy! Fantasy would only make it fake. I now recognize fantasy and masturbation as sex purely with myself... isn't it something entirely different than sex? And that it is actually an obstacle to me fully participating in the real thing. After all, when I am fired up with fantasy and lust, I may be in bed with her, but we are sharing the bed with my very own sex object! My body parts have changed from how they really function, into having an end in and of themselves. She's essentially out of the picture - and she knows that she plays second-fiddle to my eiver. Schmutz conditions us to believe that this is a turn-on, but it's not. There really is no room in the bed for the three of us. It's really us guys and our 'body parts' - and eventually, we don't even see our wives any more. And that is what I do, as an addict.

Hatzlocha and more gradual freedom to both of you. Freedom to love each other and to allow yourselves some comfort and nachas from each other. 

You have both been through a lot of pain. May Hashem bring you patience and love this year, instead of pain.

853.
Tuesday  ~ 20 Tishrei, 5771  ~  September 28, 2010
Chol Hamo'ed Sukkos

In Today's Issue
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Ahavas Hashem & Addiction
  • Link of the Day: A Shiur from theShmuz.com
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Just Pass it By
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Torah Thought of the Day

Ahavas Hashem & Addiction

The Beis Ahron of Karlin writes that we should take a reshima (a mark) of:

  • Yiras Shamayim for the whole year - from Rosh Hashana,
  • Teshuva for the whole year - from Yom Kippur,
  • Ahavas Hashem for the whole year - from Sukkos, and
  • Torah for the whole year - from Simchas Torah.

As we enter the last day of Sukkos, let's look at the idea of Ahavas Hashem. The question is asked, "How can Hashem command us to love Him? Love is something that you either have it in your heart - or you don't!"

The Belzer Rav answers with the Pasuk "Kamyim Panim el Panim..." Human nature dictates that when we feel someone else's love for us, we love them back. The way to boost our Ahavas Hashem and fulfil the Mitzva of "ve'ahavta es Hashem elokecha be'chol levavecha", is to first try and feel Hashem's love for us. That is why we say "Oheiv Amoi Yisrael" before we say Shma in Ma'ariv, and we say "Habocher be'amo Yisrael be'Ahava", right before Shma in Shacharis as well. By drilling in how much Hashem loves us, we are then able to feel love for Hashem when we say the words "ve'ahavta es Hashem elokecha be'chol levavecha" in Shema.

That is perhaps why Hakaras Hatov is such an important part of Yiddishkeit, i.e. we are always saying Brachos and thanking Hashem. We need an "Attitude of gratitude" because the more we realize the good that Hashem does for us, the more we can feel his love for us, and then naturally, we'll feel love for Him back.

In healing from an addiction, we need to develop a personal relationship with Hashem, and feel his constant love for us. Even when we sin, Hashem still loves us. As the Pasuk says, "Hashochen itam be'toch Tumosam - who dwells in their midst, within their iniquities".

For many people, this is a paradigm shift in thinking. Instead of viewing Hashem as a vengeful and distant G-d - which often leads an addict to despair, we need to start viewing Hashem as a personal and loving G-d, Who loves us even when we act crazy. This attitude shift is the underlying secret to the success of the 12-Step program. Once we have a personal and loving relationship with the "G-d of our understanding", we can truly give our lives and will over into His hands and trust Him to care for us as we let go of our addictive behaviors, one day at a time.

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Link of the day

A Shiur from theShmuz.com

Posted by "desperate_teddybear"

I just listened to this shiur that gave me a lot of chizuk. It's about the opposing desires of a person to do what's right, his animalistic instincts and how they battle each other. I've always been frustrated, telling myself - "this is MY hand, so why can't I control it?" This shiur explained that to me.

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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

Just Pass it By

Swimming in the Problem is not a great idea. It gets us muddy and yucky. Many here on GYE are fighting with their addiction - or if they are not addicts and just have a bad habit (cuz porn feels good), they insist on wrestling all day with their lust and keeping it in the foreground - while it would best be just passed by! It's hard for me to convince some frummies who tend to be like pit bulls and lock onto the fact that their assur thoughts are horrible aveiros, that these are largely just nutty thoughts that need to be admitted to others quickly and done away with, passed by, that's all. Not ruminated on or pulverized with guilt, but surrendered!

854.
Wednesday  ~ 21 Tishrei, 5771  ~  September 29, 2010
Hoshana Rabba

In Today's Issue
  • Attitude Tip + Anecdote: Pain or Pain? It's Your Choice.
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Do you have the right God?
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Attitude Tip + Anecdote

Pain or Pain?
It's Your Choice.

Why do we turn to the garbage? At the end of the day, what is it that makes us keep going back to it after swearing it off so many times? A big part of it has to do with "Pain". Life can be painful at times. Most humans feel R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritable, Discontent) or H.A.L.T (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) almost every day. And the addiction promises us a relief; a brief moment where we can make something go our way and actually get something we want. And it's painful to say "No" to ourselves. It's painful to turn away from that juicy "image" walking by in the street. It hurts, so we just give in.

But there's a very important Yesod that if we internalize, would maybe make it a lot easier to finally give it up for good - and remain happy about it.

It is brought down in Sefarim that any "Pain" we are meant to get, we will get in the end - whether we like it or not. The amount of pain we are meant to suffer in our lives is all predetermined from above. So if we accept the pain of doing what's right and turning away, we will save ourselves much greater pain in other areas of our lives. We find this Yesod many times in the Torah, especially in the Tochacha. For example, if we are not willing to work a bit hard and serve Hashem with Simcha, we'll end up working back-breaking labor for our enemies. If we don't bear the yoke of Torah, we will bear the Yoke of hardships and suffering in much worse ways, etc...

To underscore this important Yesod, let me share a personal anecdote that someone sent me yesterday:

While usually I am able to control my eyes Ok, lately I've been a little lax. Chol Hamo'ed has been especially hard, going on outings, shopping and the like. The natural difficulty of being outdoors with the family, coupled with the pain of trying to look away from the "interesting" things all around, was just making me give up...

Until yesterday morning.

We were supposed to have a friend of mine over in our Sukka, together with his family. Right before they came, my wife and I got into a small disagreement, which she blew completely out of proportion. She ended up refusing to come out the room, she refused to cook the meal and was acting totally irrational. All my reasoning fell on deaf ears. This caused me a lot of pain, and would have been terribly embarrassing when the guests arrived.

With only a few minutes left before they were due, I stepped out to pick up some last minute things for the meal. My head was spinning and I didn't know what to do... I felt immense pain and anger... On the short drive though, I remembered having read once from Rav Arush (Garden of Peace) that Hashem speaks to us through our wives. And he also writes there that when we let our eyes stray, our wives can feel it subconsciously and that causes them to get angry at us over "nothing" and blow things completely out of proportion. I realized that Hashem was sending me a clear message, i.e. that if I don't accept the "pain" of Shmiras Ainayim, I will get pain in much worse ways from other places. I spoke to Hashem and told him that I accepted his rebuke. I undertook to try much harder again in my Shmiras Ainayim, and I accepted that no matter how "painful" it might feel to turn away, I was far better off with that pain than other meaningless pain.

When I came home a few moments later, my wife was in the kitchen cooking the meal. The Se'udah was a smashing success, and the whole fight seems to have just disappeared as if it never happened!

It's been a few days since then, and although I've been tested countless times already in Shmiras Ainayim, I have resolved to stay strong, knowing that the small pain I feel of turning away, will save me much more pain from elsewhere. And the most surprising thing is, that once I made this decision and understood Hashem's message, it's become actually EASY to turn away!

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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

Do you have the right God?

Someone who has been in SA groups in the past yet is still experiencing frequent falls, posted some of his story and ends with the following:

How can I think this way after so many years of pain and humiliation? It seems that anyone else who has experienced the pain that I have would have decided that their way isn't working, but not me.

Dov Responds:

How? Maybe cuz you are an addict.

The program is not for people who can control themselves. It's not for people who can be taught to run their lives right. It's for lunatics like me who still desire to follow women on the highway cuz they are pretty even though I have a loving wife at home. Just cuz I feel a desire does not mean that all is lost. If you waste time worrying about how base or insane your desires or tendencies are, then I'd say you haven't yet figured out how broken you are. When I get such a desire or see myself wanting to take another turn around on the subway to get a better look at a lady there, I say to myself "there I go again!" and chuckle. I make a program call - not in desperation, but just to share with another person who understands exactly how pathetic this addict is.

And we are free! We do not need to follow the lady or to get a second, better look. I can ask Him to take it away. 

If you have not developed that kind of talking and needing relationship with your G-d yet, then I'd ask what you were doing at meetings. There is nothing else but this in the program. #12 says that it's only and all about: a spiritual awakening. Getting yourself your own, real, useful G-d. If your G-d is not working for you yet, then either you don't have the right G-d yet, or you are not interested in using Him yet. If your present G-d lacks the power or desire to assist you, I'd suggest you've got the wrong god. If he has that, then I'd ask why you are not yet using Him.

To me, it all comes down to my G-d and my desire to use Him. When Lust was your god, how did you use it? I am dead serious here. The answer to that question is another indispensable tool for me (but as you already did the 2nd step, I assume you looked at that one already. But if you didn't, there is no time like the present). 

You are not alone in any of the troubles you have. Stay in the game.

855.
Sunday  ~ 25 Tishrei, 5771  ~  October 3, 2010

In Today's Issue
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Guilt is More Dangerous
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Sakanta or Issura? / Days of Our Lives
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Attitude Tip of the Day

Guilt is More Dangerous

We received the following e-mail from a Bachur who tried hard to stop many times but was never able to fully succeed. He wrote:

There were times when I felt that maybe I should just let go of Yiddishkeit since I can't stop masturbating and it is such a grave sin. I was in touch with Dr. Sorotzkin and I asked him the following:

"The cold-turkey approach doesn't seem to work for me, but I can't become perfect over night, and I am trying to do the best under the circumstances. The way I see it, Hashem does not expect me to be perfect; he just wants me to try, even if I grow slowly. Do you agree, or do you think I need to always feel guilt?"

He answered as follows:

"You are certainly correct: See Rav Matisyohu Salomon, With Hearts Full of Faith (Mesorah, 2002) regarding Balei Teshuvah who are unable to instantly give up bad habits, where he distinguishes between "compromise, which is absolutely forbidden, and gradualism, which is acceptable and unavoidable." pp. 264-266.

See also "The Chinese Bamboo" - http://www.aish.com/h/hh/gar/57973927.html

See also Rabbi Aharon Feldman, "The eye of the storm" p. 236 re. a Jewish Homosexual who is unable to change his orientation... He "only needs to cease forbidden activity. It is obvious that for many people this will be difficult, and might have to be accomplished over an extended period of time..."

When I asked Dr. Sorotzkin if I could go to a non-Jewish psychologist who does not think that masturbating once in a while is a problem at all, or if I should be concerned that this may make me apathetic, he answered:

"The danger of feeling too guilty is greater than the danger of not feeling guilty enough (See Sichos Musser from Rav Chaim Shmulevitz Ma'mer 55 in the new edition). If the non-Jewish psychologist can help you be an emotionally healthier person while he respects the fact that your religious perspective can motivate you to try to grow in areas that seem less important to him, that sounds like a good idea."

And I will end off with something Dr. Sorotzkin sent me (translated from Hebrew):

Harav Moshe Munak (Aspaklariya shel Torah" Jerusalem, 1974, page 103-104):

A Mechanech once told me: A student came to me with a Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in his hand and read: "It is prohibited to masturbate, and this sin is more stringent than all the other sins of the Torah, and those who do this, not only are they transgressing a big sin, but they are in excommunication, and on them the Pasuk says "your hands are filled with blood" and it is as if he killed someone". (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 151, 1). So the student said, "I am a serial killer, I have no atonement, and I will continue to kill, my life is lost". So the Mechanech asked me: "What should I answer him?".

I told him that the expression "worse than all the sins of the Torah" is not literal (see Even Ha'Ezer 23, 1, and the Beis Shmuel there). And I opened up for him Hilchos Lashon Hara and there it states: "...and it is a grave sin that causes killings of Jewish people, and that is why the Torah puts it together with the commandment 'do not stand on your friend's blood', see what happened with Do'eg Ho'adomi". And afterwards: "And the decree was not sealed on our fathers in the desert only on the sin of Lashon Hara" (siman 30, 1-2)".

So tell your student: "I too, the teacher, am a murderer, for I too do not always succeed in holding back from speaking Lashon Hara. We are both sinning grave sins, and both of us should not give up hope, but rather strengthen ourselves to fix our ways, each one in his area."

By equating masturbation with Lashon Hara, I took out the thorn that accompanies sins in the area of "arayos". I took the sin out from the realm of abnormal and put it into the realm of sins that every man stumbles in. I didn't get rid of the shame altogether, I simply moved it over from the realm of irrational fears to the realm of the conscience and the sphere of universal Fear of Heaven".

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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

Sakanta or Issura?

The Gemara says that sakanta - danger, is more stringent than issura - prohibition. That is how I view step 1. Lust has changed - for me - from issura to sakanta. I take it exactly literally. Sakanta is more stringent and thus more germain to me (more important) than whether it's a aveira, ossur, disgusting, or whatever we'd want to call it. It's fire and I run from it like fire exactly... on a good day. So kedusha does not enter my picture - sanity and integrity (to Hashem and to people and to myself) do. I do believe that this is probably the way Hashem has prepared for me to work toward kedusha, but the success of that endeavor is clearly none of my affair. Gevalt for me on the day it occurs to me that I am a kodosh. It'll probably all go into the toilet in twenty minutes. Moshe rabeinu could know his madreiga and even that he was an onov - I do not believe that I can.

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

Days of our Lives

Rav Noach zt"l used to say how interesting and sad it is that people are preoccupied with movies and TV - our own lives obviously aught to be riveting - or at least very interesting! Certainly more interesting than a show - all the more so, cuz our lives are real, hello!

Hearing that from him, with his big, chuckling voice, really killed me, at the time....

856.
Monday  ~ 26 Tishrei, 5771  ~  October 4, 2010

In Today's Issue
  • Practical Tips of the Day: Increasing Our Spiritual Highs After Yom Tov
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Without real change, we'll eventually fall.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Practical Tips of the Day

Increasing Our Spiritual Highs After Yom Tov

By "an honest mouse"

Since I've joined GYE b"H, I bounce back a lot quicker than I used to after a fall; I'm able to treat it as a passing glitch in the overall trend rather than the overall trend.

By nature, I'm an anxious worrying type and since joining GYE I've been much calmer and more relaxed.

I've started to accept that it is a lifelong journey of progression and I'm not going to recover from one day to the next, which in turn helps me to get back up after a fall and keep going.

My last few falls started when I was alone with nothing to occupy me, on the computer in college, driving around by myself (the streets in the summer...) or frustrated that my wife is having trouble becoming clean.

My therapist (who is a rabbi and was trained in addictions by Rabbi Abraham Twerski) told me about a book of Rabbi Twerski's where he says that a lot of addictions are caused by a lack of spirituality - he calls it "spirituality deficiency syndrome". My last good runs (36 & 21 clean days) were from selichos through Succos & Pesach and he reckons that I'm craving spiritual highs and turn to lust when there's a void. He suggested to think of ways to increase my 'Jewish highs'. I'm not enjoying my night seder (I'm in law school during the day) and as it's my only proper seder, it's very frustrating that its not fulfilling so I'm gonna think about changing that around. He also suggested appreciating life, taking 10 minutes a day to appreciate the sunset or trees or colors in the sky, or something to make it real - if you've got something real that you're enjoying, it keeps you further away from fantasy.

When I have a productive day I'm much calmer and in control, if I'm not productive I suppose I get restless and frustrated which makes me more susceptible.

Summary: When I'm spiritually fulfilled, productive & occupied, I'm Ok, but there are gonna be times that I'm alone, bored, depressed, frustrated, unoccupied and spiritually low and I have to think of ways to protect myself then.

Summary: When I'm spiritually fulfilled, productive & occupied, I'm Ok, but there are gonna be times that I'm alone, bored, depressed, frustrated, unoccupied and spiritually low and I have to think of ways to protect myself then. 

Here are two ideas I came up with so far:

1) Calling someone - my wife in certain situations, but I still need to think of someone inspirational who will have time for trickier/heavier urges/times.

2) Making a list of attitude reasons why it's bad to lust and why it's great not to lust, and I will have to read it before I do anything (bad).

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


Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

Without real change, we'll fall again.

Dov responds to the post of "an honest mouse" above:

Heiligeh yid, 

The very fact that you are reaching out as you are, is evidence of a total shift in your attitude. For how long were you essentially struggling with this alone and in secret? So you have changed. You are making slow but very significant and meaningful progress. In my opinion, you are one of the luckiest people alive on this planet.

As far as the eitzos you mentioned, yes - every addict I know needs a multi-pronged approach to this. One minute it may be enough to make a brief call to admit the truth about what I am struggling with in order to let go of the struggle - at other times, it may be necessary to honestly ask my Best Friend to take away my lust right now - at other times it may be necessary for me to say to my Best Friend, "RS"O, whatever it is that I am looking for in that image or fantasy or crazy idea, let me find it in You, instead (when You are ready to give it to me. I trust You now.) - at other times it may be necessary for me to use a meeting to get it out of my system - sometimes I simply need to get the heck out of dodge and then make the call or prayer... it all depends. Some days I am so screwed up in the head that it isn't a lust thing I need to face, it's my insanity over a resentment, fear, or entitlement... that needs surrender, and the work of the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th steps. There is no other way I know to get free of that - and the method of the steps always works for me. But all these things are just eitzos - they are not touching on the core of what I need, and they are all doomed to failure, in my opinion. If you hear me so far, read on.

But by "a multi-pronged approach" I do not mean a really long list of tricks. Please understand me here. If I am not living - or learning how to live - my life differently - for a different motivation and in a different way - then I am doomed to be the same guy and have the same troubles. Sure it takes time, but the tricks are just temporary measures, and if inside I really have not started to seriously give myself to Hashem, then what I will be left with after "resisting" 553 temptations, is essentially a tremendous resentment to G-d for withholding ALL THAT PLEASURE from me. Tell me, why else do people fall after a month, two weeks, or whatever, over and over? What's really building up? Aren't they fighting with all their might AND asking Hashem to help them with the fight? 

The problem is that they are fighting at all! Even WITH Hashem's help! It's like a guy in a rehab lock-down. Take away the drink for long enough and he goes crazy. Even if Hashem Himself helps keep the drink from him - it doesn't matter who's doing that. Without a real change, he will eventually have to drink again. He'll have to. So, fighting this is not the answer. But neither is giving into it - that we found out and it's why we are here, of course. If you are truly a lust addict, I would bet that at your core, whether you realize it or not, you honestly believe that you need this lust stuff. That means that you believe that it is good for you. No matter how bad it is for you also. I do not buy the typical Yetzer Hara model that many here use, that a simple self-destructive stupid thing in us that wants the lust for some evil reason. Nu, maybe it's semantics to many, but I really believe that my very heart - for whatever reason - really believes that the warm, sweet feeling from porn and masturbation is absolutely needed. I am innocent for my perceived needs - they are my perceived needs! It is a horrible mistake, but they are what part of me really believes. Rav Noach zt"l would tell you that even an Arab terrorist y"s really believes in his heart that what he is doing is not evil. He believes that it is in his best interest. Same with me, the pervert, who wants to look at that pretty lady in the subway. It's the way I am wired and not a matter of guilt, at all. It's just the truth - I am screwed up and feel that it's good for me. But Hashem IS all powerful and can overcome my wiring. He can fix me to be free of the need to do that stuff. And He is today, so far. I am alone now in my parent's house - the house with all the dirty books I grew up with reading in my masturbation and lust "training years", and have no fear that I will look at any of them. They were the most major compulsion in my life for ten hormonal years, but I am free today - just today. Am I "strong"? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is 100% a gift, period. And it took time to get open enough to receive it. Do I deserve credit? For what? For getting the help I need so that I do not shoot myself in the head by looking in one of those books? For that I deserve credit?

857.
Tuesday  ~ 27 Tishrei, 5771  ~  October 5, 2010

In Today's Issue
  • Announcement: New series of calls for Elya's conference Wed nights
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Fixing the Past
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Sometimes it's good enough just to be sober
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Announcement

 

Elya's Phone conference is beginning a new series of calls each Wednesday night at 7:45 PM Eastern Time.

 

Call in number: 712-429-690       

PIN: 225356.

 

See here for more info on Elya's Phone Group

 

Also, Elya will be coming to the NY, NJ area between Dec. 22-28 and would like to set up some live groups and meetings.  If you are interested, please let him know and he'll get back to you. Write to: yidvre@gmail.com

 

Elya's HOTLINE is available every night, preferably after 10 ET, but leave a message earlier and if he doesn't answer, he'll call you back.

 

Hotline Number: 901 685-3256

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

Attitude Tip of the Day
 

Fixing the Past
 

Someone posted on the forum that they are working the 12-Steps and making progress, but every time they remember the terrible sins they did and the harm they caused others, they become depressed and even suicidal, thinking of the irreversible damage that was done.

 

"Smile4Life" replied:

 

All I can do is just share with you a quick story I heard about a certain gadol whose father was very ill and he would sit at his bedside day and night so that he would not be alone. One night, this rav's children (the sick guy's grandchildren) came to him and told him that they would sit by zeidy for the night so that he should be able to get some rest because he was tending to his father all the time. After he refused a number of times, they finally persuaded him to get some rest. That night, the rav's father was niftar.  When the rav saw that his father passed away he was convinced that he murdered his own father.  He said that his father saw him at the bedside all the time and that night when he looked and saw that his son was not there, he figured that his son had given up on him and he therefore died. He was taken to many rabanim who all tried to convince him that it was not his fault, but it didn't do anything and he was so miserable because he really thought he killed his father. Finally he was taken to the Chofetz Chaim (I think) who after failing to convince him that it was not his fault, told him like this: "Fine. Let's say you did kill your father. But guess what? There is something called Teshuva and you can make it as though you never killed him. Don't give up and it will be alright." Just that bit of chizzuk made the rav so happy and he was able to do teshuva and go back to normal. 

 

I think the same message applies here. The gate of Teshuva is always open and especially when there are tears, for the gate of tears are never closed and there is always a way back. Just hang in there, put on a smile, and it will be alright.

 

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

 

I heard a similar story with the "Yenuka" of Stolin (Rav Yisrael Perlow Zatza"l), who was approached by a man who also felt he had killed his father. This man had suggested that his father undergo a certain surgical procedure, which had resulted in the father's death. "If only I would have not suggested it", the man bemoaned, "my father could have still been alive". The Yenuka answered him as follows: The words "would have" and "could have" are Keffirah.

 

A Jew has to look at the past as orchestrated by Hashem. Yes, even our sins - in a sense. When doing Teshuvah, the focus should not be "If only I hadn't done that", but rather "How can I be different - and fix the past - with my actions NOW".

 

We only have the NOW. We need to look at each moment as if we were just born, and as if our past is being given to us NOW as "a package" to fix.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

 

Sometimes it's good enough just to be sober

 

 Dov sent me the following chat below and wrote:

 

I saw the name "J" in my 'Google Friends' list and did not know who he was, so I chatted to him to find out - and this is how it unfolded:

 

Dov: Hello?

 

J: Hi. I'm reading the Chizuk e-mail right now. I've been having a real rough day today, the worst in months, and have been making lots of calls. I think it's tremendous siyata dishmaya that you contacted me, particularly today, which has been brutal. Any words of chizuk? I feel like I'm white knuckling it without achieving the promises of the program.

 

Dov: Gevalt. We need to be sober. It's so difficult sometimes... and it's just the minimum basic requirement for having a normal life today! But it's still so hard to want to do some days. Nu. That's the way it is. You are not alone, at all.

 

JThe "Daily Dose of Dov" I was reading in the e-mail speaks about changing the way I live. I'm trying to, but feel POWERLESS to achieve it on my own. I want to be serene and balanced and connected, but it just aint going!

 

Dov: Nu. Take it easy. Some days we see absolutely nothing - no progress, no beauty in our lives. But it is a privilege to just be sober today.

 

J I see. Basically you wrote in the "Daily Dose" that we need to change our way of living or we will eventually act out.

 

Dov: Yeah, the old-timers say, "if sobriety is all there is, I'm not interested!"... but that's the general derech. For bad days, we need to switch to the 'extra tank' - the one that says to us that "if sobriety is all there is, it is still worth it". At least that's my opinion.

 

J: Dov, bottom line, I see myself as a disconnected, lonely person, self-obsessed and full of character defects, fears and all the eser makkos. I have very little faith that anything can give me a real fix, including the program. I need G-d to do that but I've asked him to for 30 years with almost no change. Question: will I have the life I am looking for??????? In other words, I can see the program helping people be sober, but it is much harder to see the program fixing people inside.

 

Dov: It can be even better than what you are looking for. I have seen a ton of 'fixing inside' happen. Often, the people themselves do not recognize it, because they live with themselves every day (and so it's hard to see the slow change they undergo). But at least until you have really worked the steps (and especially come to rely on 4-7 at least every now and then), do not expect to grow very much.

 

 J Ok, I am still holding by step three with my sponsor

 

Dov Don't get me wrong - people grow a lot just from sitting on their hands and not touching themselves too! ... but not very much... and it gets boring soon. The pink cloud goes and life is hard. It really is. The steps are indispensable, and if an addict in recovery is not depending on the steps to get by, It's hard to see hope for any growth at all in the long run.

 

J Okay, thank you, you've made me feel better, knowing that I might not be seeing the results I want because I haven't done the work yet. It really has lifted my spirits, thank you! I really need G'd's help, and I need him to do for me things which I am not even sure what they are! But according to what you're saying, I can look forward to that happening, and I will.

 

Dov: You are welcome. Good night.

 

J Thanks, I really think you were sent from Heaven to contact me on this particular day, (incidentally this is the first time you've done so). Coincidence? I doubt it... Take care and all the best.

858.
Wednesday  ~ 28 Tishrei, 5771  ~  October 6, 2010

In Today's Issue
  • Repeat Announcement: Elya's Call Tonight
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: It's Not 'All or Nothing'
  • Daily Dose of Dov: I'm Just Me; Hashem's Little Guy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Repeat Announcement

 

Elya's Phone conference is beginning a new series of calls each Wednesday night  (that's TONIGHT) at 7:45 PM Eastern Time.

 

Call in number: 712-429-0690       

PIN: 225356.

 

See here for more info on Elya's Phone Group

 

Also, Elya will be coming to the NY, NJ area between Dec. 22-28 and would like to set up some live groups and meetings.  If you are interested, please let him know and he'll get back to you. Write to: yidvre@gmail.com

 

Elya's HOTLINE is available every night, preferably after 10 ET, but leave a message earlier and if he doesn't answer, he'll call you back.

 

Hotline Number: 901 685-3256

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

 

Attitude Tip of the Day
 

It's Not 'All or Nothing'

 

Someone wrote:

 

I'm scared that if I fall, I'll have to start over again and it's gonna be hard. I've come so far and I dunno if I'll start again...


"7Up" answered:


I think it's important that you realize the koach and importance of each and every second clean. Each individual second will stand as a defense and s'char for you at 120 Iy"H. As important as counting 90 days may feel, never lose sight of the REAL goal: Total abstinence ONE DAY AT A TIME.


Even if you fall ch'v, it would not mean you were back to square one. All it would mean is that you lost a few seconds, and were continuing the climb from almost the place you left off. 


Rabbi Akiva remained away from home 24 years straight, even though he was right next to his front door after 12 years. Why didn't he at least stop in, say hello to his wife and then return? Because 12+12 is not the same at 24 straight without interruption. BUT, even if he had come home, that would NOT have negated the first 12 at all.


So too with this addiction. You say you wouldn't have the strength / desire to start again if you fall. So I'm telling you, 'not true'. Its not 'all or nothing'. HKBH wants to see effort, and each and every second clean is a precious gem in His crown. Keep adding those jewels!

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

Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

 

I'm Just Me; Hashem's Little Guy
 

Someone posted about his progress - and struggle - on the forum:

 

You'd think I'd be HAPPY that certain urges are going away and my ability to walk away from certain aveiras is strengthening. But I've realized-- er, um, I'm NOT. 

Why not? Because for so long I had been wearing my challenges on my sleeve. 


> As a badge of honor for how "different" I was and how "amazing" I've been for conquering so much for so long. 


> As an excuse to avoid all kinds of growth in my frumkeit.


> As a convenient tool for avoiding certain flavors of emotional (not physical, emotional) intimacy with my wife.


> As a way to feel special, different, deserving of G-d's love as compensation for the challenges He gave me.


> I could go on and on.

 

What a bunch of ego, ego, ego mess to have to tackle. Yuck.

The bottom line is, if I'm no longer going to be able to "define myself" in terms of certain sexual orientations, preferences, fantasies, whatever... then maybe I'm scared I've lost my uniqueness, my excuses, my... ahdunno, I gotta think about it.

Just when I thought I'd have an easy time of this work for a few weeks.... Darn.

 

Dov Responds:
 

That post was a shocker. Not just for it's plain realness, but for how true it is for me, as well. I wrote about it to someone else, once, crassly saying that the way it felt to me years ago was that if I couldn't be recognized as the next gadol of the generation, "could I at least be a porn star?" Yeah, it's sick. But that's the way I really was before recovery: Desperate for something outside me to give me Reality. And schmutz - being my drug of choice - felt very real, and vital. Those acting-out moments seemed larger-than-life... till they almost killed me.

 

And like you shared, in recovery there is a temptation to remain struggling to get people's attention, to get G-d's attention, and to stick with what our gut feels is the only thing that "works". It's our comfort zone. That struggle defined my relationship with Hashem. In fact, the only way I could see myself being able to approach Hashem at all, was as a guy who just did horrific things! "Take me back! Iv'e sinned terribly! Please take me back!" Hey - what nice god could resist that?! The idea that He just loves me like crazy no matter what, and living with that all the time, was - well - crazy!

Somewhere along the way early on, an absolute need for something outside me had infected my very core like a virus.

 

I really needed that image, that woman, that [imagined] warm approval, that exact pleasure, or else. For some folks it's $1 mil, acid, Blue Marlins, TV, whatever. For me, it was a feeling, a trance, that I could secretly tune into using a part of my body and my imagination - whenever I wanted to. Kind of hard to run away from. Probably everyone here knows exactly what that's like, and that's why they are here. After a while it doesn't work any more, but we still feel we really need it. That's insanity and blindness. 

So, Recovery held out the promise of 'self-discovery'. Of actually growing to be comfortable without anything outside me - with just being me. Even w/o "being" anything important to anybody else. Just me. Hashem's little: guy. And at first, that idea seemed like the stupidest thing I had ever heard. I didn't want it. I didn't believe it, either. And maybe that was a good thing... I shudder to think what it would have been like to actively "work" on that! It had to happen naturally for me, like most gifts of recovery, and kind of bite me on the behind. Like: "Surprise! So, you are not a useless piece of crap after all!" - that kind of subtle discovery is nice.

The way it is turning out, the self-discovery is happenning slowly. And the person I am getting to know is pretty, and ugly; impressive and pathetic. And it's kind of cool. Lust never offerred me that - it taught me I was just a desperate guy running somewhere. Either from something or to something. "That's all there is, buddy!", is what my disease would say if it could talk. 

So take it easy, and consider not working on the outcomes so dang much. Or maybe not at all. Outcomes are Hashem's. (Sounds like it should be a possuk somewhere...) It does say in Mishlei, "birtzos Hashem darkei ish, gam oivav yashlim itto!" - When the ways of a man are approved-of by Hashem, then even the man's enemies make peace with him! Does the man do that? Apparently not. Hashem does it. It all works out cuz G-d makes it work out when the time is right.

859.
Thursday  ~ 29 Tishrei, 5771  ~  October 7, 2010

In Today's Issue
  • Practical Tip of the Day: Start your own collection of inspiration.
  • Saying of the Day: By 'Bardichev'
  • Therapy Tip of the Day: Free Recovery Course
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Giving In or Giving Up?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Practical Tip of the Day

 

Start your own collection of inspiration
 

"World" wrote:

 

Here's something I started recently: 

 

I'm going through the archives of the chizuk emails.

 
Anything I see that talks to me personally, I add it to my thread called WORLD'S COLLECTION OF INSPIRATION.

You can do a similar thread yourself.  I find the tips add up quickly. I review them regularly. It helps me stay focused on the tools I have to battle with.

I keep the thread locked so it doesn't fill up with everyone elses opinions. That particular thread is something I just want to stay on topic, filled with the ideas that work for me.

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

Saying of the Day

 

"Bardichev" wrote:

 

"Winning is staying in the game" 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Therapy Tip of the Day
 

Free Recovery Course
 

"Feedtherightwolf" wrote:

 

I just wrote an eBook in which I summarize everything that has worked for me:
 

12 things it talks about are:

1. A chemical process that takes place in your brain causing you to get addicted
2. The addictive cycle that your body goes through and how to break out of it
3. How the human brain works and why sometimes you lose control of your actions
4. Four simple exercises to strengthen your brain
5. How to create your sexual recovery plan
6. How to control your cravings
7. An important strategy to help you beat your addiction once and for all
8. How your beliefs are causing you to suffer
9. Seven beliefs that were keeping me trapped
10. One big lesson that I learned from my relapse and what you can do to avoid my mistakes
11. Two very important tools that can magnify your recovery
12. Four things that you can do to help you stay sober for the rest of your life

By definition of this forum, I am not religious, and the material is mostly geared towards people who are completely new to recovery. Yet, this is what worked for me, and I wanted to share it with those who might need it.

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

 

Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here

 

Giving In or Giving Up?
 

Dov writes to someone on the forum:

 

Dear heiligeh yid. You posted about how you were "feeling like giving up the 'fight' soon" and saw that as ominous. I guess 'struggling' didn't work this time. 

Most people only see two avenues before them.

 

1. Try to struggle and win with trust in Hashem that He can and will assist you. Use whatever tricks you can find, chizzuk, help from friends, mussar and other sforim, whatever. I wish you hatzlocha and believe that it can work for some people. If you want that, go to the people with problems like you have who successfully use that, and ask them to teach you.

 

2. Giving up the struggle. You seemed to be saying that giving up the fight means giving in and doing stuff that's bad for you and your life.


That is not accurate in the experience of many recovering people.


There is a third option to your bind. It is: giving up so I don't ever have to give in. Give the fight to Hashem, rather than failing at it - cuz I probably will. It isn't a hashkofa issue, it is purely a matter of statistics. If I see that I am basically guaranteed to eventually fail, cuz I do, then I cannot expect to win. So, if I really care about myself, I'd better find Someone who can get me out of this bind. That is most likely G-d Himself. Learning how to do that is what recovery offered by the 12 steps is about. If you want that, go to the people with problems like you have who successfully use that, and ask them to teach you.

860.
Friday  ~ 30 Tishrei, 5771  ~  October 8, 2010
Erev Shabbos, Parshas Noach

In Today's Issue
  • Parsha Talk - Noach: Tzadik Bedorosav
  • Saying of the Day: "Today"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: How do we give our will over to G-d?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Parsha Talk - Noach

 

"Tzadik Bedorosav"

 

In the beginning of Parshas Noach, Rash"i brings that some stress the praise of Noach that he was a tzadik even in his [lowly] generation and had he lived in Avrohom Avinu's generation he would have been so much greater. Other stress the weakness of Noach, that only in his lowly generation was he considered a tzadik, but had he been in the days of Avrohom Avinu, he would have been a nobody.

 

Rav Pam ZT"L asked, it is easy to understand why someone would say good things about Noach, but why would someone want to make a big deal about his shortcomings and weaknesses? (He added parenthetically that some people are not bothered by this question, but that itself is a problem.) In fact, in this week's Parsha, Chaza"l learn that one should not talk about the short coming of anything from the fact that the Torah used extra letters to say about the non-kosher animal that it is not kosher rather than calling it "tameh", so certainly for a tzadik, one should not talk about his less positive aspects.

 

He answered that the point of talking about Noach's shortcomings is a lesson to us. Noach would have been a 'nobody' in Avraham's days, but in his days, the torah calls him a Tzadik. And not only does he get the title of tzadik, he even gets the title of tzadik yesod olam!

 

We too, may not be at the level we want to - or plan on - being at, but we need to appreciate that if we rise above the "problematic" and trying world we live in, even if we don't reach the levels of prior generations we can still be considered a tzadik (and perhaps even more of a tzadik than those who lived in less trying generations).

 

All those who are on this Chizuk e-mail list and are actively pursuing a holier life, are Tzadikim in OUR GENERATION!

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

Saying of the Day
 

"Today is the most important day of my life" 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

 

How do we turn our will over to G-d?
 

Someone wrote an e-mail to Dov:

 

Dov, I read the Big Book and 'the 12 and 12' on the 3rd step. I was also on the call this morning but couldn't talk because I was with other people... I have a difficulty with step 3 when trying to put it into action, perhaps you can help: The third step says: "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him". Doing Hashem's will 24/7 is a really really high madreiga.  As a frum Jew in a very Yeshivish affiliation of Judaism, this means learning every spare minute, no bitul zman, learning halahcha, mussar etc.  davening 3 times a day with a minyan, from brochos all the way through to the end, etc.  My point is, that right now, I do none of those things, I can hardly get up for shachris, and to all of a sudden do G-d's will 24/7 with the way I understand G-d's will to be, is kind of impossible. So I'm stuck with not doing G-d's will. I hope you get my point.

 

Dov Responds (part 1):

 

Dear Yid,

 

The point you raise really touches a nerve for me. Many struggle with this, I am sure.

Years before I knew what being 'an addict' meant, while I was a bochur in yeshivah in EY, I discovered the Mesilas Yeshorim. I loved it from the start. He was so clear, so straight. "This was going to help me and give me the clarity I craved so that I could quit muddling through this life and finally learn how to become really Good." I do not mean this critically nor to poke fun at my naivete. The feelings were genuine and precious, a window into my soul. A very muddy window, but a window nonetheless. The mere fact that I sensed within me a real yearning to strive for Truth and Goodness was encouraging. Sort of like Pinocchio, I discovered that I was a 'real Jew'! I learned the sefer with hispaylus and tried to make it the context of my days. I lived in it. It was a beautiful period in my life, though it didn't last very long.

 

That year went on, and when I got to the chapters about N'kiyus, something started to bother me....and somewhere in the beginning of P'rishus I stopped learning the sefer altogether! Deep in my gut I knew that I just could not keep using this sefer, no matter how great it was. To me, RMCH"L's characterization of hachasidus ha'amiti being rachok mitzi'ur sichleinu, was an understatement.

 

I felt absolutely certain that I'd never be able to succeed at what he was proposing to me as the the only real life of a Jew. I was depressed to know that I didn't really want to be that way! It would mean no more bitul-Torah at all, no more chilling...no more fun! It may sound petty to an insensitive purist, but I tell you: I was absolutely terrified at the time. Seeing that I didn't measure up was deeply disappointing (maybe Iwasn't 'a real boy' after all?) and I just ran away rather than face up to that ugliness. Mediocrity and a bit of mindlessness is so much less bothersome. Please don't mistake me...I wanted so much to hold onto what I discovered and to succeed as an enlightened Yid - mediocrity disgusts me - but the extremism and perfection I saw in the RMCH"L was just too much. Sure, I wanted to be close to Hashem, but at what price? 

1- Perfection? I was terrified of never being able to ever slack off and never being able to just have some fun. There'd be no room for 'me', at all. And I knew I'd fail at white-knuckling that lifestyle.

 
2- Living as a failure? Mediocrity? I couldn't stomach that, either! I needed perfection! Funny, maybe, but truly an enigma.

So where can an immature egomaniac (gotta do it my way) with an inferiority complex (mediocrity means I am a failure) go? 

I dealt with it back then by closing my Mesilas Yeshorim and not opening it up again. Just hide like a toddler covering his eyes so he cannot see you! Till years later, when Sobriety and Recovery (of all things!) invited me back into a safe relationship with Hashem.
 

So the way I resolve the problem you raise with the 3rd step (really doing G-d's Will) - is with the 3rd step itself! You see, accepting that Hashem really is the Master means finally accepting that He is also the only One who really knows what's really going on in me. He understands me. He knows me and has a plan for me right where I am (see this idea expressed beautifully in the first piece on parshas Re'ei in "Nesivos Shalom", and in every shtik'l in R' Tzvi-Meyer's shmuess'n). He is not uninformed or 'figuring anything out'. He is aware of my limitations even more than I am aware of them. He has patience and will help me grow from where I am. But in my extremist immaturity, that's not good enough for me...

 

To be Continued...

861.
Sunday  ~ 2 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 10, 2010

In Today's Issue
  • Practical Tips of the Day: This is what worked for me...
  • Saying of the Day: "Failure"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: How do we give our will over to G-d? (Part 2)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Practical Tips of the Day
 

This is what worked for me...
 

"Kosher" writes:

 

A number of years ago, I spoke to my Rebbi/Rosh Yeshiva (who is world famous) and I told him that I feel like I am being controlled from the outside and have no physical control over my body and ability to control my actions in my area of weakness. He gave me some ideas, which while helpful, did not 100% solve my problem. I even failed even after taking the advice of one of the gedolei hador. I was really despairing of success.

But B"H, I can relate (from personal experience) that we can succeed.

Many people on this forum found success through SA/12 step programs. For me personally, it was a combination of:

1. A realization that lust related activities aren't what I want and will not make me happy.


2. Realization that I can find what I want and get happiness from other areas in my life (but this is only really practical once stopping the lusting type behaviors).


3. A personal 'incentive program' to break out of the bad habits, developed and reinforced over many years.


4. Recognition that I have a problem and therefore need constant vigilance and work to continue improving and not relapse.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Saying of the Day

 

By YossiChaim
 

"Failure is not about falling down, rather, failure is not getting up once you've fallen."

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

Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
 

How do we turn our will over to G-d? (Part 2)
 

Someone wrote an e-mail to Dov:

 

Dov, I read the Big Book and 'the 12 and 12' on the 3rd step. I was also on the call this morning but couldn't talk because I was with other people... I have a difficulty with step 3 when trying to put it into action, perhaps you can help: The third step says: "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him". Doing Hashem's will 24/7 is a really really high madreiga.  As a frum Jew in a very Yeshivish affiliation of Judaism, this means learning every spare minute, no bitul zman, learning halahcha, mussar etc.  davening 3 times a day with a minyan, from brochos all the way through to the end, etc.  My point is, that right now, I do none of those things, I can hardly get up for shachris, and to all of a sudden do G-d's will 24/7 with the way I understand G-d's will to be, is kind of impossible. So I'm stuck with not doing G-d's will. I hope you get my point.
 

Dov Responds (part 2/3):

 

My pride takes all those motivational 'mechuyav shmuessin' and beats me over the head with shame! Shame - not the Torah - tells me that it's either perfection, or I am a rasha. That sounds extreme, but hey - that is what is really going on inside many of us. It is part of the typical addict tendency: all is either black or white.
 

If you have any shaychus to kiruv, you'd never tell a ba'al teshuvah that there is no room for imperfection in this religion, would you? So why can't we understand our own development in the same way? Why do we bash ourselves? I think it is a combination of being typical perfectionist addicts - and because we grow up in yeshivah hearing well-meaning shmuessen that tell us we need to tow the party line and live up to a standard of greatness, at all costs. Chumrah and halocha are blurred, for a standard must be upheld. And they are right, of course, for there is a place for that in a growing person. Chumrah can become more precious than halocha itself (see B'nei Yisoschar in a few places). But that just doesn't work very well for the addict. He just doesn't shtim. He is busy with the K'tzos, the Reishis Chochma... and with sex videos, and lusting his brains out. He may call his involvement with the latter, "struggling" not "using" or "being occupied with" them. That makes the stirah tolerable. Somehow his big, very overworked brain strikes a deal - a detente - between the two lives he lives. Eventually, though, the game must end when it no longer works.  


Recovery was the (unpleasant) time for me to finally stop running and begin choosing between:


1 - absolutely insisting upon being the man I wanted to be (perfectly frum and naturally respected in the popular yeshivish environment, adored by Hashem, my fellows and my wife in every respect, and powerful) - and masturbating (cuz they apparently inexorably go together)


vs.


2 - accepting my limitations and being the man G-d (the real One, Who is smart, realistic, loving, and patient) wants me to be - and sober!


Choosing #2 means I will need to give up the madness of living a double life without any real intellectual resolution to all my years of struggling to understand why I do this mishega'as. Giving up all my research?!!

 

But I lost, no? That's step 1. So it's time for shlach al Hashem y'hov'cha and let Hashem. 


And that huge job requires me to learn how to be honest with people and with my very own G-d. That is where the 'steps' come in. It also means trying to be open to learning His Will for me and asking for His help to do it imperfectly. Cuz I will always do every mitzvah imperfectly. Even the mitzvah of emunah! I am a man, not a sefer. And a man of G-d is always ready to learn and change, and grow, with his Best Friend's help.


The third step helped me accept that G-d was really interested in me, no matter what I have done - even more than he is interested in the Shulchan Aruch. Yup. The Torah - His Will and Way of Life - is for me. He gave it to me to use it and grow close to Him, not to destroy me. And it is a process. And he knows that. The sefer doesn't, and neither do some learned yidden.


Maturity - growing up emotionally and spiritually - is the main fruit of my Program, besides sobriety. Grown up yidden understand that when they wrote in Pirkei Avos, "never see yourself as a Rasha" they were even talking to Tannaim! Even they were not perfect. Even they could be subject to the temptation to fall into black-and-white thinking and look at themselves as resho'im, c"v, just because of a davar meguneh in their character or over a personal failing. Just because we are not very good in our yir'as Shomayim doesn't take away our beauty in Chesed. Just because we are resentful, fearful, prideful, and lazy, does not mean we are not getting better - and possibly on the very best path of avodas Hashem possible for us (Rav Dessler talks about the nekudas hab'chirah - but we often have too much pride to apply it to ourselves, and only apply it to others!). We can be as close to being tzaddikim as we can be right now, even though yennem is doing so much more. We need to appreciate that in ourselves, and know that Hashem is on our side! (Rav Tzvi-Meyer Zilberberg Shlit"a talks about this n'kudah very often, davka in our imperfection.)


But to us, that is usually not nearly good enough. We say we accept our imperfection, but in our hearts - where the truth is - we do not. We do not allow ourselves any greyness, the room to be imperfectly doing His Will, even though we are just humans - and addicts yet! I feel that our gayva is really quite shocking. We believe b'emunah sh'leimah that Hashem expects us to suddenly be getting to shacharis every day, on time, and with proper kavonoh, this week. We do feel that. 


It's nutty. And the Torah is not nutty. So what's sanity? We reach for it using the 3rd step decision. 

 

To be Continued...

862.
Monday  ~ 3 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 11, 2010

In Today's Issue
  • Practical Tip of the Day: Take Advantage of the Good Times
  • Saying of the Day: "On-The-Way"
  • Daily Dose of Dov: How do we give our will over to G-d? (Part 3)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Practical Tip of the Day
 

Take Advantage of the Good Times
 

"Kedusha" writes:

 

Davka when things are going well is a wonderful time to strengthen our defenses. For example, install a filter (with the password held by someone else and with only the person holding the password having the ability to reset it), strengthen the settings on our existing filter, install monitoring software, or get an accountability partner/sponsor.  This will, b'Ezras Hashem, provide added layers of protection the next time we are faced with a Nisayon.


Over Shabbos, I came across a nice Mekor for this idea. Regarding Asa, who was one of the Malchei Yehuda, it says: "Vayiven Arei Metzura b'Yehuda, Ki Shakta Ha'aretz Ve'ein Imo Milchama Ba'shanim Ha'eileh, Ki Hei'niach Hashem Lo - And he built fortified cities in Yehuda, for the land was tranquil and he had no wars during these years, for Hashem had granted him rest" (Divrei HaYamim II 14, 5). As the Stone Tanach notes (p. 1967): "He took advantage of the years of tranquility to bolster his defenses" (see also Metzudas David).


Our desires may not give us tranquility for years at a time, but we all have periods where things seem to be going well. Especially at those times, we should avoid complacency. Instead, we should follow King Asa's example and take advantage of the good times by bolstering our defenses.

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


Saying of the Day

 

"A Jew is always 'on-the-way', he can never reach a goal"

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

 

Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

 

How do we turn our will over to G-d? (Part 3)

 

Someone wrote an e-mail to Dov:

 

Dov, I read the Big Book and 'the 12 and 12' on the 3rd step. I was also on the call this morning but couldn't talk because I was with other people... I have a difficulty with step 3 when trying to put it into action, perhaps you can help: The third step says: "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him". Doing Hashem's will 24/7 is a really really high madreiga.  As a frum Jew in a very Yeshivish affiliation of Judaism, this means learning every spare minute, no bitul zman, learning halahcha, mussar etc.  davening 3 times a day with a minyan, from brochos all the way through to the end, etc.  My point is, that right now, I do none of those things, I can hardly get up for shachris, and to all of a sudden do G-d's will 24/7 with the way I understand G-d's will to be, is kind of impossible. So I'm stuck with not doing G-d's will. I hope you get my point.

 

Dov Responds (part 3/3):

 

I see it this way now: My job - the Job that Hashem has for me - is to try to stay sober first - before anything else. For without it, the entire binyan is useless. To keep the halocha, at least at the bottom line halacha - without chumras; to try to work these steps in order to avoid some of the obstacles to sobriety, so that I maintain sanity and a connection with Him this day. Maybe then I will let Him in and actually not trash all the other gifts He gives me, like sobriety, ability to be mekayem mitzvos, my job, and loving other people, just for this day.
 

I need to learn how to live a sober lifestyle. My awareness of Hashem needs to be one that is real, that has an emotional effect on me. I do not at all refer to davening with tears or not. I am talking about the rest of my life - out of the shul: at work, at the table, in the train - and in the bedroom. It's gotta make a real difference to me that there "is a G-d in the world!" as a great chassidishe yid  (the Bardichiver Rebbe) put it. I cannot tolerate too much crazy living - cannot be burning the candle at both ends any more. If Halacha requires that I be at every minyan, on time, and daven with kavonoh, and do everything l'Shem Shomayim.... which it does, then I ask you: who has such expectations? (Do you, of your own children? I hope not!) Did He expect perfection from humans? Well, that's not happening, so what was He expecting? I guess living as a 'Torah yid' must  be a process - perfection is not expected of us. "Yehudi hu tamid baderech, ein hu yachol lavo l'shum tachlis - a Jew is always 'on-the-way', he can never reach a goal". We are expected to try. Learning to live with this reality is part of growing up. 

And the funny thing is that the rules change as we grow up! More good stuff becomes available to us over time, not less. You can call that stuff 'madreigos', but I think that makes it a game or 'contest' rather than real life. We become more given-over to Hashem and ever more willing to do for Him. For example, not only can I do some good things now that I couldn't do before, but now they flow naturally... they are just part of the way I need to live as the kind of yid I am. No madreigos, just realities. I need to do right, in order to remain honest and (at least somewhat) given-over to Hashem today. Living honestly with Hashem, my very Best, Eternal Friend, even though I am still a work in progress. 


I say take it one day at a time, right this minute, and do the best you can to be honest and open with Hashem. Make sobriety your first priority, and do it to open yourself to Him, cuz you can't be open to Him at all if you are wrapped up in lust. It takes us over. Be devoted to the ones you love and that means to be useful to them and to enjoy them. Ask Hashem to help you do as good a job as you can keeping His Torah, and specifically, to help you attend one minyan more on time than you did last week. To do one less stupid thing today than you did yesterday. He knows you are not perfect yet. Don't put him in the same condemming place you might put your own conscience. He only loves you and only wants you to succeed. 


I believe that if you do this, you have the very best chance of eventually coming to the state that you are learning without wasting time, always at minyan early and prepared and davening with kavonoh, etc.... 


I believe that if you do not do this, but stay wrapped up in self-judgement and perfectionism, you will get the exact same results you have been getting for the past few years: a sweet yid who is trying to be perfect, isn't, and hates himself for it. Or, a yid who lives as though Hashem thinks he should be perfect, and hates Hashem for it. In the meantime, we are acting out with lust and screwing our lives up slowly.


Not a nachas ruach, for sure.


I am tired now, and need to go to bed... part of not burning the candle at both ends that I used to do so much, and still often do. G-d help me shut the computer and the lights, brush my teeth, and go to bed like a good yiddeleh right now. Thanks.
863.
Wednesday  ~ 5 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 13, 2010

In Today's Issue

 

Attitude Tip of the Day: Cruel Joke?

Replies from our members

 

Daily Dose of Dov: Letting it slide off our backs
 

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

Attitude Tip of the Day
 

Cruel Joke?

 

"FightingYid" writes on our forum for the first time:

 

My struggles with lust have plagued me since my 15th birthday. Since then, it's "all day every day". Now I'm never of fan of asking questions on Hashem, but I truly don't understand why he did this to me. I was given a curse that has been with me for 10+ years, everyday, and then I get married and - bless my wife she is great - but she has serious sexual issues. She not always interested, doesn't think its SOOO fundamental for a marriage, etc. basically it isn't so good. So what's a guy like me supposed to do?! 90% of the women in the world are showing off everything they got, are we just supposed to go crazy!? It seems like a cruel joke to me. How are we supposed to be "Ivdu es Hashem b'smicha"?

 

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

 

We replied:

 

Welcome fightingYid. We can all feel your pain and understand your suffering. I would greatly advise you to read the "Attitude Handbook" to get answers to some of your questions.

No one said life was meant to be easy. We have a journey to undergo in this world. Hashem plays many so called "cruel jokes" on us. They are the bumps in the road on the journey called "life" that make us into MEN, not animals; into G-d centered people, and not "self-centered". 

If it all went smoothly, we would never be forced to grow into the people Hashem wants us to be.

 

I suggest reading Dov's story here, and start reading the "Daily Doses of Dov" in the chizuk e-mails and you'll begin to see what Hashem has in store for us if we learn to deal with these "cruel jokes" in the way HE intended us to.

You've come to the right place. We hope you stick around  

 

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

 

"Kutun" Replied:

 

God: Avram, go to Canaan... I will make you great there....

Avram: Sure!

Avram goes to Canaan.

Suddenly, Canaan has a hunger, and Avram is forced to leave to Mitzrayim, where his wife is kidnapped etc.

 
Cruel Joke?
or 
Nisayon (uplifting experience)?

 

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

 

"Ur-a-Jew" replied:


The short answer is: that G-d doesn't play cruel jokes.

Before I get to the long answer, I have two observations. First I feel your pain. I remember well the hours I would sulk in bed wallowing in self-pity, anger and resentment over my wife's stubborn refusal to be with me. Why couldn't she just get it and understand me. Did she ever even give some thought to how hard it was for me to have to be exposed on a constant basis simply by commuting to work, to women who pranced around in clothing that was more like lingerie? Why did she have to give me such a hard time by refusing to be with me and refusing to even acknowledge my needs? It obviously was all her fault. I give to her constantly. I wasn't asking for anything more than what was written in the Shulchan Aruch. How could she be so stubborn? And then someone told me to "take off the sun-glasses". I'll explain shortly.

My second observation is to thank you. Reading your post made me realize how far I've come (although I still have plenty to go) and therefore how grateful to Hashem I have to be. Four months ago, I would have had the same feelings you have after a day like yesterday. The whole day I was thinking about my wife. I was really in the mood for her. I sent her messages which certainly let her know that. I bought her presents. In the back of my mind, I knew her period would be here shortly, so it was like a ticking time bomb. And then I came home after a long day and she told me she was going to sleep. I would have said, "how could you?" (I would have thought "the nerve of her, how uncaring could she be?"), gotten all sour, etc.  But I said good night to her and went on living my life with the knowledge that she really does love me, that she is just plain and simply tired and that if G-d wanted me to have sex last night, I would have had it. This morning I woke up without anger and resentment.  She, of course, sensed it (because our wives sense everything) and gave me a huge smile and hug, which of course only reinforced what I already knew, that she really does love me, and I went on living my life.

Now back to the glasses. Imagine a person is wearing sunglasses but doesn't realize it. To him the whole world is dark. You can scream at him till your blue in the face that the world is bright and sunny but it won't help as long as he doesn't realize that he has sunglasses on. 

 

My friend, you are walking around with sunglasses on. So the world is going to look dark to you. Until you take off the glasses, it will always be your wife's fault. No one will be able to convince you otherwise.

Fortunately for you, you have found GYE. Here you will learn that you are wearing sunglasses and having trouble taking take them off. Will it be easy? No, it won't. When you're exposed to bright life after sitting in the dark for so long, your eyes hurt. But it's worth it. Because there is nothing comparable to the beauty and light of the sun.

You'll learn that sex is optional.


Go out and buy yourself the book "Garden of Peace" by Rav Shalom Arush.


You'll learn to be a Man (a giver), and not a Lady (a taker). 

 

You'll learn about the mirror effect, and how your conduct controls the way your wife acts towards you.


And first and foremost, at GYE you'll learn how to start living.


Get yourself a partner, start reading other people's posts, read the handbook and see that you are not alone. And for your own good, join a 12-step program. You can do it anonymously by phone, with the GYE phone conferences.
 

And most importantly, start davening. Hashem loves you. He wants to hear from you. When you're walking down the street faced with tempting sights, or when you're lying in bed wanting but not getting it, talk to him. Talk to him wherever and whatever. Like one friend talks to another. Ask Him. He can solve all your problems.  You just got to know that He's there and He's in control.

I hate to be so blunt, but it's because I know where you're coming from. 

 

The point is, you can change. Trying to get your wife to change without changing yourself, is a battle that you will never win.

Hatzlacha and welcome.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here

 

Letting it slide off our backs
 

There is a fine line between failing at watching your eyes vs. running after it. If I do what I consider "poorly" one day in the GYE category, I can make calls to admit that, regain at least some humility and sanity, and let the garbage slide off my back so that it does not build up, c"v.

  

If I don't do that, then the only alternative is for me to hold onto it and guard the memories! Letting it go is much smarter.

864.
Thursday  ~ 6 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 14, 2010

In Today's Issue

 
  • Testimonial of the Day: Hashem is Holding Me
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Cruel Joke? (Part 2)
  • Daily Dose of Dov: The Beauty of the 4th Step
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Testimonial of the Day

     

    Hashem's Hand Holding Me

     

    Posted by "1daat" today on the forum:

     

    I remember once when I was a child I had a very close relationship with Hashem. Then over the years I only checked in once in a while. By my twenties I knew He was here, but I wasn't about to be another "true believer". I needed proof. So I told Him, "I'm not going to believe in ANYthing. If you're for real, show me." Looking back I can see so many ways He showed me and I missed them all.  

    Then I became a lust freak. And I ended up in jail, failed marriages, and alienated from my daughter. So I slowly started doing T'shuvah. But still marathon masturbating sessions, and porn. Then, purely by accident (read hashgacha pratis) I found this site. I just did 120 days clean B"H. But what's important here, is that my skepticism was finally laid to rest through this clean streak. With the help of the guys here on the site, and the very real experience of Hashem's hand holding me safe, I have the real, palpable, experience, in a most personal way, of His presence and reality. Not all the time, of course, but proof that I can no more deny than the fact that I'm typing to you.  

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

    Attitude Tip of the Day
     

    Cruel Joke? (Part 2)

     

    In yesterday's Chizuk e-mail, "FightingYid" asked why G-d was playing a "cruel joke" on him by giving him such difficult Nisyonos - as well as a wife who "wasn't interested". One of the beautiful replies we brought was from "Ur-a-Jew". Today, "Ur-a-Jew" once again posted another beautiful reply:

    Last night, a slightly different elaboration occurred to me. But before we go there, I would be remiss if I didn't quote Reb Dov (the GYE Maggid):

    "Quit the thinking and figuring, ok? Consider just doing your own work. We cannot think ourselves into right living - we can only live ourselves into right thinking."


    Now back to your question. Your question assumes you're entitled to know the answer. But in reality, neither you, me or anyone else are entitled to know the how and why's of Hashem's doing. Hashem
    created this world in His infinite wisdom, and He put us here in His will. It is obvious that He has a master plan. And it is obvious that he is a Meitiv (giver). You needn't look further than your own body to see this. Hashem didn't have to create you with an efficient body, He did so because he is a meitiv. With that in mind, you can now try to see if there is a way to understand. (See the Sefer Hachinuch for a similar concept regarding the Taamei Hamtizvos).

    I once saw a story about a person who was born without hands. Everyone felt sorry for the baby. Imagine having to go through life without hands. An unthinkable thing. Such a young cherubic looking baby. What could justify such a punishment? He certainly never did anything wrong. Cruel joke by his Creator?

    Well, perhaps if we had a videotape up in shomayim we would have seen the following taking place, prior to that neshoma coming down. Reb Yid was niftar. He was a holy man who learned and did mitzvos all his life. He came before the bais din shel maaleh and it was determined that he deserved gan eden. They were about to seal Reb Yid's din when a maalach came and said, "what about the money that he once took, that was not his?"  Reb Yid shuddered. It all came back to him; that incident, when he was a young teenager. He took money that wasn't his and he never returned it. In shomayim there was a big tumult. They could not send Reb Yid to gehennim. His whole life was filed with kedusha, Torah and Mitzvos. But gan eden wouldn't take him, he had gezel on his hands. So in shomayim they paskened to send him back to this world to be misakain his neshoma for that theft. Reb Yid was devastated. But he saw he had no choice. He then turned to the bais din she'll maaleh and said, "I beg you, if I have to go back, please grant me one request. I am worried that I may be nichsol again in this sin, please, if I have to go back let it be ... without hands, so I never take something that doesn't belong to me.

    The Bais Din Shel Maaleh granted his request with reluctance, but they understood.  It was Reb Yid's neshoma that resides in the body of the beautiful but handless baby that was born.

    Now, once we're in shomayim, let's look at what else is going on.  

    In a different corner, there is a different neshoma. We will call him Reb  FY ("FightingYid").  He is actually in Gan Eden on a pretty lofty level too. But he notices that there is a blinding light that comes from a neshama much higher up in Gan Eden. Reb FY's neshoma pined to be like that neshoma who is so close to the shechina. He makes some inquiries and is told that this light comes from the neshoma of Yosef Hatzaddik, for having withstood the tremendous nisayon of Potiphar. Yosef was hounded day and night by one of the most beautiful woman in the world. It was so easy to succumb. He was all alone in isolation, in a land where no one knew him. He would probably never see his family again. He wanted to give in, but he withstood the nisayon.  Reb FY begs to be like that neshoma. The Bais Din Shel Maaleh explains that there is no way to do that upstairs. Reb FY begs and begs, and the decision is made that he will be permitted to come back to this world to try and obtain this achievement. The risks are explained to him. But Reb FY can't resist the opportunity to obtain such a spiritual elevation. So Reb FY comes down to this world (at his request) with a strong, burning desire for women, in order for his neshoma to obtain the kedusha that the it saw in gan eden.

    Did this really happen? I don't know. The one thing I do know is that you are here, pursuant to a Master plan. And that the Maker of that Master plan is merciful, patient and loves us more than we can imagine.

    So you have a lot of work to do. We all do. Don't miss the opportunity.

    Hatzlocha.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here

     

    The Beauty of the 4th Step

     "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"

     

    Someone posted on the forum:

     

    Usually I am a very calm person. Now I feel like a woman. I am very aware of my moods and I feel that I have very bad days and very euphoric days. I also feel very angry a lot of the time. Is this a normal part of the process of recovery or am I doing something wrong?

     

    Dov replies:

     

    Take the drug away from any addict (or, if you choose the "habit" or YH model, then even though it may not be a true drug, it is still some degree of nechoma - so say instead: remove that "tool for nechoma") and you will be left with an angry, fearful, resentful, and/or entitled person sans his drug/tool for nechoma. That's all we have really done here. In my book, that is not recovery at all. It's just torture. Nu, a better and more useful torture than the one before - lust tortures us in a far more destructive way - but it's still the t-word. Who wants it?!

    It seems to me, friend, that you are standing at the precipice that we call "uh-oh. This guy needs to do the 4th step, etc., and quick!"

    The beauty of the 4th step is that it allows us to see and accept ourselves as we are. Not that we don't feel any need to change - we do - but that's not the point. Just the acceptance of these facts about ourselves unloads us of the self-doubt - or even self-disgust - that calls you to wonder "what theheckis going on with me? Is there a shrink in the house?!". It removes the greater part of the pain we feel being so angry at people, resentful about not having something (respect, lust, money whatever), and fearful beneath it all. And it opens the door on being able to daven to Hashem and face people - without feeling either like a pathetic, haughty loser or like "if they (yes, even Him) would only do things the way I want them to be, things would be alright!"  

    I say, alei vehatzlach! This is natural - but "look out" if you just sit with it for too long... it bites, and it bites hard.
    865.
    Friday  ~ 7 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 15, 2010
    Erev Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Member's Tips: List + Reporting: A Brilliant Combo!
  • Testimonial of the Day: By "YossiChaim"
  • Member's Chizuk: Off to Basic Training
  • Daily Dose of Dov: He's gonna help me even more now!
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Member's Tips

     

    List + Reporting: A brilliant Combo!

     

    "YosefAvinu" writes:

     

    Here is a little tip that has been working for me, for almost 6 months now. It starts with having someone like a Rav, who you'll really feel ashamed revealing this behaviour to. Second, make a list of things to do if you feel the urge before acting out (the goal being not to act-out, of course). Then, take a vow that if you act out without first doing these things, you'll report your actions to the Rav, each and every time. However, if you do these things from your list first and then c"v act out, you don't have to report yourself. The vow should be time limited, say, renewed every Sunday for a week. The "things to do" must be things you can do and that you normally love to do, but they should include some things of kedusha like reading the weekly parasha, a few chapters of tehillim, studying halachot or reading midrashim. In total, the list should be designed to keep you busy for at least an hour.


    While the above method does seem to leave an option for acting out after completing the list, my experience has been that I have not acted out in close to 6 months with this method. In fact, the urge seems to dissipate while thinking of doing something from the list. So I haven't yet had to even do anything from the list. 


    Now I know that Hashem is the one Who is really helping, but He does expect us to do our hishtadlut, and the above method is hishtadlut. One should be honest with Hashem that he does desire these unholy things and he knows it's wrong, and that he needs Hashem's help. And also tell Hashem what you are doing for his hishtadelut, no matter how small.


    Vows are serious business, so if heaven forbid one falls without doing the things on the list, he must report himself to the Rav.


    I have found that this is also helpful for shmirat eynayim when I'm in the city. What I tell myself is, that there is no difference between looking at the attractive partially dressed woman on the street and the even more revealing images on the internet. In fact, the former will lead to the latter. However, as I know that I've vowed to do some stuff from my list first, I might as well not start looking!


    I hope this works for you.

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    Testimonial of the Day

     

    "YossiChaim" writes:

     

    Perhaps the word "Milah" stands for "Mi L'Hashem". Shemiras habris and all that it entails is the true indicator of who is L'Hashem. It's the people who are part of Guard Your Eyes, working so hard to be shomer habris, who are truly L'Hashem.

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

    Member's Chizuk

     

    Off to Basic Training

     

    By "Aspiring Jew"

     

    Chazal tell us that at the end of days when haKadosh Baruch Hu will slaughter the Yetzer, all of those who actually see it will cry: the (various) tzaddikim will cry out of joy, as they will see it as a huge mountain and they will say, "How did I ever succeed at conquering that mountain?" whereas the reshaim will see it as A STRAND OF HAIR and they will cry and say, "That's it? That's all I had to overcome?" and they will cry out of pain and frustration that they couldn't over come it. 

     

    I don't say this to "give mussar", I know just how difficult it is to overcome that STRAND OF HAIR when you are addicted to it. I'm saying this for one reason: know your enemy.

    When an army goes to battle they (quickly) plan out the method of attack, but they do it based on who the enemy is; what is the enemy territory? what is the methodology of the enemy? his strengths and weaknesses? troop number? etc.

     
    Well, from what I've gathered here on the forum, and from the people who have responded to my posts, I see that you are all very battle-worn, you know the enemy, and you tell me that the 12 steps is the method of attack.

    So.... I'm off to basic training! I'm going to join one of GYE's 12-Step phone conferences be"H!

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    He's Gonna Help me even more now!
     

    I heard an alkie say (and recently heard an SA member say) that it took every last drink I took, to finally get me where I needed to be in my recovery. When someone with recovery falls again, he either collapses c"v and never comes back, or he realizes he needs even more of a connection to Hashem than before. He knows he needs to stay clean. But it took this fall right now to get him to see that he wasn't close enough to the Ribono shel Olam. He doesn't see himself as being farther because he acted out - he sees himself as being even closer - because he has to! 

    The idea that he might be rejected by Hashem because he screwed up does not even occur to him. Rather, the question that comes is, "what do I need to do now to stay with Hashem?" And the answer comes back - If I screwed up, it means I need even more of his help than I did before! Hooray! He's gonna help me even more now!
    866.
    Sunday  ~ 9 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 17, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Announcement: Redesign Study
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Breshit 8a
  • Link of the Day: Judaism & Infidelity
  • Member's Chizuk: What the Medical Community Doesn't Publicize
  • Daily Dose of Dov: My life is unmanageable with lust in it
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Announcement

     

    We are in the process of redesigning our website to make it easier and more intuitive to use. One of the most important steps in the redesign is called "Information Architecture" and/or "Usability design". Basically, that means understanding the users of our site, and making things findable and intuitively grouped.

     

    We are doing a study to see how our users would envision the grouping of all our features. If you would like to help us in this study and have been using the GYE tools and features for at least 3 months (and you feel you understand the make-up of our network and which tools are the most useful/powerful), please send me an e-mail and I will send you a link to our study. We only have room for a few participants, so we will select the first few that seem best suited to the task. Please write us a few lines describing why you feel you would be suited for the study.

     

    Thank you!

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

    Torah Quote of the Day

     

    Zohar, Bereshit 8a

     

    Rav Hamnuna the Elder said this: "Do not let thy mouth cause thy flesh to sin," (Kohelet, 5:5.) A man should not allow his mouth to utter words that may bring him to lustful thoughts, and thus cause his holy flesh, on which is stamped the holy Brit, to sin. For whoever does this is dragged into Gehinom. The one presiding over Gehinom is called Duma, and there are tens of thousands of angels of destruction with him. He stands at the door of Gehinom. But all of those who have guarded the holy covenant of the Brit in this world, he is impotent to harm them.

     

    Taken from Jewishsexuality.com

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

    Link of the Day
     

    Judaism & Infidelity

    Why having an affair is such a serious transgression
     

    From Aish.com, by Rebbetzin Feige Twerski

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

     

    Member's Chizuk
     

    What the Medical Community Doesn't Publicize

     

    "Kedusha" posted the following on the forum in response to someone who claimed these behaviors were normal and healthy:
     

    Because it would be extremely unpopular, the medical community does not tell the truth about sex. If they would, here are some of the things they would publicize:

    1) It is essential to be monogamous for life (barring subsequent marriages), and to have sex only with someone who is also monogamous for life. That's the only way to really practice safe sex. Furthermore, an untold number of psychological problems and suicides would be avoided if people were to avoid casual sexual relationships.  


    2) The only way to properly follow #1 is to refrain from sex before marriage.  Otherwise, your efforts to remain monogamous are virtually doomed to failure.


    3) Sexual relations should be avoided when the women is having her period.  Cancer of the cervix is almost non-existent in women who strictly follow this rule (and the previous two rules).


    4) Even if men have no religious reason to avoid masturbation, it is a very poor way to prepare for marriage, because it trains the person to focus on his own needs instead of those of his future spouse.  In addition, some people become addicted to masturbation, or practice it in unhealthy ways. As for married men, it is difficult to calculate the number of marriages that are ruined when man take sexual pleasure "into their own hands" and no longer have a need for their wives. There is no physical need to release semen intentionally, and avoiding this becomes much easier over time (provided all the other rules are adhered to). If there really is such a need, periodic nocturnal emissions will take care of it.


    5) Even if men have no religious reason to avoid masturbation, and even if the concerns discussed in #4 are definitely inapplicable, men should avoid using pornography.  If they are single, it will warp their perception of women and damage their prospects of having happy marriages in the future.  If they are married, it will likely diminish their desire for their spouse and cause serious marital difficulties, if not divorce.  In addition, many men become addicted to pornography, causing harm in countless aspects of their lives.


    6) It is not realistic, if at all possible, for men and women to have platonic relationships. Therefore, to help prevent violations of #1, 2, and 4, such friendships are to be avoided.  It goes without saying that affectionate physical contact between men and women is to be avoided, because it will inevitably lead to violations of several of the above rules.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    My life is unmanageable with lust in it
     

    The Zohar Hakadosh talks about the orla of the lev being associated with orla (of the milah) d'chafyah bris. It explains that Avraham Avinu had a totally different depth of awareness (Da'as) of Hashem's Will after the (minimal) orlah of his milah was removed because that removes his heart's cover, in turn.

    But on a more practical level - if I could get away with it, I'd still be acting out. I did not start recovery for Hashem's Honor, much as I recognize it's value... I got sober because my life was unmanageable with lust in it, period.

    So, far from offering you remonstrations about using lust, my concern is whether our lives are manageable with it. If they are, then I do not know how any addict is expected to get sober and recover. Yetzer Hora, cheshboinos pro/con? What does that have to do with Lust - a gun to my head, a feather up my nose - however you choose to see it - it drives me crazy and always ruins everything! I need to be as free of it as possible.
     
    867.
    Monday  ~ 10 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 18, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Personal Victory of the Day: The Best Zemiros
  • Therapy Tips/Attitude: I am only in charge of "How much I want it"
  • Link of the Day: Be a Yo-Yo
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Bereshit 56a
  • Daily Dose of Dov: I needed support, humility & directions
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Personal Victory of the Day

     

    The Best Zemiros
     

    By "World"

     

    On Friday night I wasn't in the mood of singing zemiros. I had a short conversation with the Ribono Shel Olam:

    "Hashem, there were times today when I felt a strong desire. I said then that I want to desire YOU HASHEM instead. Now Hashem, please give the cheishek to sing zemiros to you."

    I had the best zemiros this Shabbos in months.

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

    Therapy Tips / Attitude

     

    I am only in charge of "How much I want it"

     

    "Trueratzon" writes:

     

    Here is what I learned today in therapy. I shouldn't view the urge to masturbate as something evil. It's a totally natural urge, which comes from a section in my brain that seeks to have pleasure at all times. I should not feel guilty if I have lust, rather I should reframe lust into 'positive self talk'.  


    So tomorrow, I need to work on my self talk. I needn't say "oh, I see an attractive person and now I'm going to grapple with this evil urge called taivas nashim". Rather, I'll say to myself, "I'm glad that I am healthy and that Hashem implanted a natural urge inside me. Now I have a job to do. I am to take this urge and be happy about it." 

     

    I should tell myself positive things such as: "This natural desire can lead to a certain behavior. I am going to be the one to choose what behavior that is, based on what I know is the right thing to do." I have accepted this desire and I ask Hashem to help me make the right choice.  


    But I need not put the pressure on me. It's not about "me" controlling the taiva, because the yeitzer harah is a lot stronger. Rather, it's about letting go and saying, "Hashem will take care of me". All I am in charge of is how much I want to stay clean, and to show Hashem that I want His help. I need only work on my "Ratzon" and put it in the right direction, and the results will follow in a positive way.

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

    Link of the Day
     

    Be a Yo-Yo
     

    From simpletoremember.com

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

    Torah Quote of the Day

     

    Zohar, Bereshit 56a

     

    "And the L-rd saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and all the desire of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all of the day," (Bereshit, 6:5.)  

    Rabbi Yehuda quoted the verse, "For thou art not a G-d who has pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil (ra) dwell with Thee," (Tehillim, 5:5.) 

    He explained: Come and see - someone who cleaves to the evil inclination and pursues it, not only does he defile himself, but he is led to pollute himself further, as has already been stated. For the wickedness of mankind was great (in the generation of Noach) and all kinds of evil was committed, but the measure of their guilt was not complete until they wasted their blood (semen) upon the ground. Who are these people who corrupted their way on the earth? We know by comparing two verses. Here, it is written, "Only evil (ra) all of the day," and in another verse, "And Er, Yehuda's firstborn, was evil (ra) in the sight of the L-rd," (Bereshit, 38:7.) 

    Said Rabbi Yosi: Isn't evil (ra) the same meaning as "wickedness" (resha)?  No.  A man is considered wicked if raises his hand to strike his neighbor, even if he doesn't touch him, as it is written, "And he said to the wicked one (rasha), why will you strike your fellowman?" He is called wicked even though the future tense of the verb indicates that he had not yet done any physical harm.   

    But, evil (ra) refers only to a person who corrupts his way and pollutes himself and the earth (by spilling semen in a sinful manner.) This lends force and added strength to the impure spirit which is called "ra" as it is written, "only evil (ra) all the day." This person will not be allowed to enter the celestial palace, nor gaze upon the Shechinah, for by this sin the Shechinah is driven from the world. 

    How do we know this? From Yaacov. When the Shechinah departed from him, he thought that perhaps his sons were blemished in this manner, and because of them the impure spirit had grown stronger in the world, even blemishing the moon and diminishing its light. If you wonder how this can be - the reason is that this sin pollutes the Temple (and drives the Shechinah from the world.) If this is what caused the Shechinah to leave Yaacov, how much more so does it apply to any man who corrupts his ways and defiles himself, thus adding strength to the spirit of impurity. Therefore, when a man defiles himself in this manner, he is called evil (ra.)

     

    Behold, when a man defiles himself, the Holy One, Blessed Be He does not visit him with blessing. Rather, he is subject at all times to visitations of the spirit called "ra."

     

    Taken from Jewishsexuality.com

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    I needed support, humility & directions
     

    Someone wrote on the forum:

     

    I have just realized that there's no such thing as quitting cold turkey. This thing is much too powerful for that. There will never be a one time decision that can carry within itself enough force to go against this. It seems to me that all that we can do is to continue to nurse a small spark of will and sanity. We don't fight, we just try not to give up on a ratzon pnimi to be clean. This is similar to the story of the Stiepler with the coat on Shabbos in Siberia (the soldier before him had placed the coat on a tree, and the Steipler kept pushing off taking it off the tree to wear for another minute, then another, until his shift was over).

     

    Dov Replies:

     

    I agree with you 100% that there is no such thing as quitting cold turkey if I am alone. It's actually impossible. What has changed from one minute to the next? Nothing. Just my willpower, "commitment", or inspiration? None of those matter at all when the obsession strikes.

     

    Nonetheless, I have not had to masturbate so far, from the day I agreed that my lust insanity was going to kill me if I keep pursuing it at all.

     

    I also realized that I had no reason to believe I could control myself for very long even with that awareness. So I got help. I went to a shrink and she sent me to SA. I went into the meeting and I shamelessly asked for help, cuz I couldn't possibly stop - even though I knew I had to. I needed a lot of support, some humility, and I needed to follow some directions. But I have remained sober so far with Hashem's help.

     

    I had struggles with some lust behaviors over the years on and off, but the battle lines were drawn way back, and I called out for help again, admitting the truth to all my friends and in meetings. For the past few years it has been much easier to not give lust the time of day. It is becoming more and more irrelevant. (Still, I really believe that it is a bit silly for me to actually believe I will be sober for another week. It's just crazy that a guy like me could remain sober at all!)


    But having unreasonable goals and no proven plan for how to achieve them, is a poor recipe indeed.

    868.
    Tuesday  ~ 11 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 19, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Story/Tips of the Day: How I Stayed Clean for Four Years (So Far)
  • Q & A of the Day: How do I get out of this pit?
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Bereshit 66b
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Stopping for the Thousandth Time
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Story/Tips of the Day

     

    How I Stayed Clean for Four Years (So Far)

     

    A member called "Rebbe Nachman" writes:

     

    I'm married, Torah observant, clean and sober 15 years in AA, and sexually sober for nearly four years. How did I/do I stay clean?

     

    The first 90 days were definitely all about using what I had learned in AA, and inspiration from Chaim Kramer's book "Crossing the Narrow Bridge".

     

    Since then, I take it "one day at a time," using my 12-steps experience, and Torah, Torah and more Torah (i.e. "the 11th step"). 

     

    In my early days of AA, I used to study a lot of R' Twerski's books (i.e. A Day/A Week at a Time). Since then, I've studied a lot of Mussar books and a lot of R' Nachman, especially the works published by Chaim Kramer and his Breslov Research Institute, along with Lazer Brody's translations of Shalom Arush's books, and R Yitzchak Ginzberg's "The Mystery of Marriage". The more I've Kabbalistically understood masculine/feminine relationships and drives, and the more deeply I go into Torah and Mussar, the more I am able to 'grab the reins' whenever I start to go off course (as the Baal Shem Tov would say).

     

    The more I know, the less I know, and I hope to figure out how best to be an active participant in recovery, stay clean, help others get and stay clean, keep getting cleaner, and keep improving my Shalom Bayis...

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

    Q & A of the Day

     

    How do I get out of this Pit?

     

    I don't really know where to start, I'm pretty much crying over here... I am 19 years old studying in a Baal Teshuvah Yeshiva, I bet this sounds weird - a kid in yeshiva coming to you with this issue, but I am so lost in life, I don't know what to do. I am on the computer a lot and can sometimes masturbate 3 times a day. I feel so disconnected from women and from Hashem, I feel no spirituality, even going to minyan is a struggle. It's not that I haven't tried to stop - I have, but I always end up justifying it and saying 'just this once and then tomorrow never again', but obviously I say that many, many times. Please, I want to feel connected but I'm stuck in this pit. HELP!!!!!!!!!

     

    Advice from Elya, moderator of a Phone Conference and Hotline

     

    It does not sound weird at all to hear from you. I work with and help guys who have been learning in Kollel for years, Rebbes, Teachers, Dayanim, etc. You are not alone. That is why this website exists, to help people struggling with masturbation and other things. There are over 1,500 frum people on the e-mail list alone. 


    You have an addiction - which is a disease of connection. As long as you keep looking at porn and masturbating, you will have no connection to Hashem or women. When you honestly can say you want this connection, then you are ready to make a decision. Either continue to act out and eventually get worse, or get into a program where you can get some help and figure out what is causing you to want to jeopardize your life masturbating 3 times a day. Here are some ideas: 


    1. If you're learning in Yeshiva, why do you need to be on a computer? It's like going to the mikveh with a cockroach in your hand. Turn it off, get rid of it. If you HAVE to have it, put a block on it so you cannot access porn, videos, Utube, news, etc., all of which are triggers. See this page of the website for advice on how to install a good filter. 

    2. Read the GYE Handbook. There is also a hotline in Israel for you to talk with someone and there are SA meetings to go to. If you have time to be on the computer, you have time to go to meetings. It is the medicine for healing in this disease. 

    3.  This addiction usually means you are "medicating" some anger, fear, loneliness or stress. It's a vicious cycle which you can and must break. You feel stress, so you masturbate to feel better, you feel guilty and shameful so you masturbate again, and over and over and over. I believe you now see how powerless you are over this disease and how your life has become unmanageable. Only Hashem can restore you to sanity. But when you're an impure vessel, Hashem will not fill you with his Goodness. You must clean the vessel and Hashem will pour HIS blessing into you. You must give up the struggle to control it and accept that whatever is happening in your life is Hashem's will for you. So there is no need for stress or worry because Hashem is taking care of you in a Yeshiva where people care about you. But if you're off on the computer all day, you can have no connection to Spirituality, Hashem, friends, women, etc. 

    4. Make the decision right now to turn your life over to Hashem, honestly daven and ask HIM to help you stop just for today and you will see that it gets easier. And  then you will begin to build back your relationships with HIM, and everyone else.
     
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    Torah Quote of the Day

     

    Zohar, Bereshit 66b

     

    "And I will establish My Brit with thee," (Bereshit, 17:21) that you shall be the sign of the Brit in the world. After that, "And thou shall come into the ark." For if he had not been a tzaddik (a guardian of the Brit) he could not have entered the ark, for only the tzaddik can unite with the ark. Therefore it is written, "And thou shall come into the ark," as has been explained. 

    Rabbi Elazar said, As long as men remain attached to this Brit and do not loosen their hold of it (do not blemish it with sexual sins,) there is no nation nor language in the world that can do them harm. Noach clung to Brit and guarded it, therefore the Holy One Blessed Be He safeguarded him. But all of his contemporaries did not guard the Brit, and because of this, the Holy One Blessed Be He removed them from the world.  As has been stated, in exactly the same way that they sinned, they were blotted out from the world.

     

    Taken from Jewishsexuality.com

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    Stopping for the Thousandth Time
     

    To someone who posted about his decision to stop (for the thousandth time), Dov writes:

     

    Your last decision lasted two days. Being horrible at keeping any decisions myself, I am not about to criticize! 

    I am just trying to point out one thing:


    You describe an incredible consistency when it comes to using lust. Acting out with lust seems to go through periods of daily or weekly consistency for you and you have stuck to it for years, apparently. I did the same. Whence the consistency?

    Obviously we have a real problem that is bigger than we are, and it isn't going to just go away. 

    The steps are about accepting that this issue is bigger than we are and choosing to give up the fight when we see our track record.

    I am a nobody, of course, and can only know myself, if I'm lucky. So all I am interested in doing with this post to you, is to point out something you may have missed. 

    Hatzlocho in doing with it what you will. Just look out for yet more decisions.... 

    869.
    Wednesday  ~ 12 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 20, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Tips of the Day: I Keep Falling!
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Bereshit 94a
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "I inherited this from my father"
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Tips of the Day

     

    I Keep Falling!
     

    A member wrote on the forum:
     

    I fell twice again today, I really can see that I can't afford to take that 1st lust hit, because once I open it up, I'm powerless, I have to put the break on before that point. But what if my partner is unavailable? I haven't quite got the knack of surrendering it to Hashem on my own. I try, but it isn't deep enough. I don't get out of my head that way...


    I really don't want to hit rock bottom, but I fear that is the only way I'm gonna start recovering properly... How do I hit rock bottom whilst still on top? (I know that's one of the goals of GYE, but I'm not sure how to apply it...)

     

    "Kutun" Replies:

     

    You can hit bottom while still on top by imagining yourself getting caught... especially by someone you really care about, and whom would be very disappointed in you, or worse. (But it only works if you have a VIVID imagination. Otherwise, to best experience the feeling, you might have to actually get caught :-)

     

    We replied:

     

    See this page for more on "hitting bottom while still on-top".

     

    Like you said, it's a lot about about "getting out of our heads". An addict's head is sick. We need to connect with others more and more and more. Don't have just one partner, have a bunch. If you join Duvid Chaim's phone conferences, all the guys in the groups share numbers with each other. Or you can join a local SA group. Also, work with other people in your job. Don't ever be alone. Do things with the family... learn with a chavrusah. An addict's mind is a dangerous place to go alone.
     

    "Kedusha" Replied:

     

    1) Picture yourself 20 years from now, wondering how the heck did so many decades of my life disappear into oblivion?  When we act out repeatedly, our life becomes one big blur of falling and regret.  But, if we live one day at a time, staying clean and living with a purpose, then each day will be meaningful, b'Ezras Hashem.

    2) Would you rather buckle down for 90 days (one day at a time), or suffer for the next 90 years? (See this page for more on this idea). It's your choice (but choose carefully, because not only you, but your wife and children will likely pay dearly if you, c"v, make the wrong choice).  It won't even take 90 days for things to get easier - you just need to start, one day at a time, to get the trash out of your system. You desperately need to detox from all the pollution; but instead, you keep sticking your head in the chimney. Remember, you're making no promises about tomorrow, so why not stay clean today?

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

    Torah Quote of the Day

     

    Zohar, Bereshit 94a

     

    Another began his exposition by referring to the verse, "Unless theL-rd had been my help, my soul would have soon dwelt in (Duma) silence, (Tehillim, 94:17.) We have learned: what is the special merit of Israel that they do not go down to Gehinom, and are not delivered into the hands of Duma (the angel in charge of Gehinom) like the idol worshipping nations?  The reason is that they are distinguished by the sign of the Brit. 

    For we have learned that when a man leaves this world, bands of destroying angels, wielders of fiery judgment, gather to claim him. But when they examine him and see that he bears the sign of the holy Brit upon him, they flee from him, and he is not delivered into the hands of Duma, to be cast down into Gehinom, for whomever falls into his hands is condemned to punishment there. Both upper and lower (angels) are afraid of this sign, and no evil decrees have dominance over a man if he has succeeded in safeguarding this sign, because he is attached to the Name of the Holy One, Blessed Be He. 

     

    Taken from Jewishsexuality.com

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    "I inherited this from my father"
     

    "NoWhereToTurn" writes:


    Sholom Aleichem warriors,

              I am a regular 15 yr old yeshiva bochur in a top yeshiva in Monsey, but I have internet at home. Besides for my own problems with watching my eyes and controlling my hotzoas zera that has been with me for years, I noticed something interesting recently. I noticed my father, a 55 yr old heimishe guy, by the computer late at night. My curiosity got the better of me, and when no one was around, I pressed ctrl+H to see the History, and found out that my porn problem is inherited from him. I also noticed a secret email address that he has, so I put my hacking skills to work, and got the password from a free key-logging program. What I found was heartbreaking - a bunch of heimishe guys from shul are all a bunch of porn addicts forwarding porn around to each other! So lately I go in and delete all unread inappropriate inbox messages, but I now realize this is just a "moire heter" of my yetzer to do it myself, as my hz"l has been worse lately, so this is no solution for me. How is a 15 yr old Yesiva Bochur from a good home supposed to deal with this? I can't confront him, and I cant let my mother know about this - she'll divorce him! So before I deal with my own shmiras einayim/bris issues, how do I deal with this without destroying my home?

     

     Dov Replies:


     

    Dear "Bochur from top yeshiva in Topeka", 

     

    do believe that this problem can actually be inherited, as alcoholism clearly is. It is often also a family disease, as it certainly is in your case. Your mother is suffering from tolerance of a sick man - and you do not have any idea what is really going on between them about this, but I doubt it is marital bliss for either party. Any loving son would want to help, and I commend you for your bravery thus far!


    I suggest you Daven to Hashem very simply and explicitly for your fathers benefit at least in each of the three daily tefillos. It may or may not help your father, but I tell you that it will help you gain a deeper acceptance of the situation and more acceptance of the pathetic nature of your own lust dependence. Maybe this is all Hashem's plan for you, to gain the awareness and the help that you will need to get free of your own problems, and maybe your knowledge of his problem actually has little - if anything - to do with your father getting better.

     

    I think it is a bit much for a son to confront his father about his aveiros... And to judge whether anyone else is an addict and is ill, well, that's a bit much for anyone. I also think it is not healthy for you to nose around in your fathers business. If he is stupid and wants to have fun with porn, that is his choice. He is an adult and will have to pay the price, whatever it may be. All you can do is admit your problem to him. Your admitting his problem to him is probably useless and damaging. If you love him, then clean your side of the street and mind your own business, for G-d's sake.  

    BTW, cleaning your side of the street has nothing whatsoever to do with being a kadosh, and showing him kedusha will do nothing. (In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he feels that he is a bit of a kadosh, right now! The mind works in funny ways.)

    Finally, with all very due respect to those who suggested that you talk this over with the Rav of your shul or your Rebbe in yeshiva, how do they know that that Rav (or the rebbe) is not one of the guys your father is sharing the porn with? Addicts come in all shapes and sizes. 

    Of course, I'm not saying to trust no rabbi/rebbi, c"v. But this problem, like drinking or using drugs, has nothing to do with whether the person is a talmid Chochom, Rov, good man, or whatever. It's a compulsion that goes way beyond bechirah and often  has roots that grew long before anyone's gadlus in learning began. So you may want to consider backing off on giving true trust to any man just because he is the rov of your shul. Sorry.  

    Choose your da'as Torah the best way you can: by your heart. Ask yourself who do you really trust - not by a sign on the door. And please consider focusing on your own recovery so that your children will not have to catch you one day. 

    Much love, 

    Dov

    870.
    Thursday  ~ 13 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 21, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • 12 Step Attitude: Fear Takes the Place of Serving Hashem
  • Member's Chizuk: A Prayer
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Bereshit 94a
  • Daily Dose of Dov: AA / SA is Not a Religion
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    12-Step Attitude

     

    Fear Takes the Place of Serving Hashem

     

    "1daat" wrote:

     

    Today I noticed that one of the weak links that the Yetzer Hara uses with me, is when he gives me thoughts to be frightened about. "You know, you're not going to be able to make ends meet this month" or, "Did you get everything done for the lawyer?"


    I live in fear mode. A lot. And I'm the central player in my own drama. And I'm thinking about what I can do to solve the thing I'm worrying about. 


    I know this is a common experience. For me, I noticed that I am almost always in obsessive frightened and worry mode. And acting-out was the only thing that gave me relief from that baseline fear. Now by acting out, I don't just mean the shmutz. I also mean being angry at loved ones, while spending endless hours worrying.  


    So I was reading an AA book about fear, and how it takes the place of serving Hashem. So this constant fear is what I have to say "no" to, and turn it over to Hashem. Over and over.


    For today, when I can catch the fear state, Be"H, I will try to remember that I need to drop baseline fear like a hot potato, as human as it may be. I need to stop dead in my tracks, and turn to Hashem. I know the difference between fear that's about something real (a kid is hurt, for example), and fear that claims it's my best friend (after all, I get up in the morning with it, spend all day with it, and go to bed with it.)

     
    Clean today. Thanks Hashem. I appreciate it. I really, really do. 

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

    Member's Chizuk
     

    A Prayer

     

    By "Shnook"

     

    Hold me, my dear G-d.
     

    This is not a fight that I can win. 
    I lie prostrate at Your feet, my face pressed against the cool stone of the throne room.

    I feel Your gaze on me, and it is kind. 
    I know that You are there for me.

    I wish I could clamber into Your lap and snuggle down like a child.

    But I am not just your child, I am Your servant, so I stay still, so still.
     

    But in my heart I am in Your embrace, and this is all I need.
    My battles are many and they are not ones I can win by sheer willpower, so I turn and hand them over to You.

    Like Chizkiyahu the king that I learnt about many years ago in school, I will lie face down on my bed and pray, while You go out and win the battle for me.

    Just like this king, I am too weak to do anything more.
    This is just what You want of me, and You are pleased.
    So I will stay here, bent in prayer, praying and whispering, "Dear G-d, I love you. Spare me the desires of my heart, my straying heart. I long to be with You, I long for purity, I long for goodness".
    It's Ok for me to stay like this, I feel safe and secure.

    I don't have to do anything more because my Master my King, He will take care of everything.
    I am Ok.

    I entrust myself with You, because You're in charge of it either way, aren't you?

    It feels good to let go.
    I love You, my Master.

    I love You, my King.

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

    Torah Quote of the Day

     

    Zohar, Bereshit 94a

     

    Another explained the verse: "And from my flesh, I shall see G-d," (Iyov, 19:26.)  What is the meaning of "And from my flesh?" It would be more proper to say, "from my inner essence." However, "my flesh" is to be understood literally (as being the place of the Brit,) as in the verse, "and the holy flesh is removed from thee,"  (Yirmeyahu, 11:15,) and also, "and my Brit shall be in your flesh," (Bereshit, 17:13.) 

    For thus we have learned: Whenever a man is stamped with the holy impress of this sign, through it literally he will attain his awareness of G-d, because the holy soul is attached to this place (in the parallel spiritual world of the Yesod.) 

    But if he does not merit this, because he did not guard this sign, then of him it is written, "They lose the soul of G-d," (Iyov, 4:9,) for he did not properly guard the impress of G-d. If, however, he guards it, then the Shechinah does not part from him.... 

    When is the Shechinah established with him? When he is married, then the sign enters into its intended place....The holy soul is attached to this place, and everything depends on this sign. Thus it is written, "And from my flesh, I shall see G-d." This is the perfection of everything, literally from "my flesh," from this very sign. Therefore, how fortunate are the holy Jewish People who are attached to the Holy One, Blessed Be He; fortunate are they in this world and fortunate in the world to come. Regarding them it is written:  "But you who cleave to the L-rd your G-d, are alive every one of you this day," (Devarim, 4:4.)

     

    Taken from Jewishsexuality.com

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    AA / SA is Not a Religion

     

    Bill and Bob wrote near the end of their book: "This book is suggestive only...". My sponsor reminded me once that the program is not a matter of faith, just experience. AA or SA are not a religion. The Program is secular (look up the word if you think [as I did] that it means "without G-d"). And thank G-d for that! I can have a Roman Catholic sponsor whose help saved my life and led me to caring about wearing Rabeinu Tam's, learning with hislahavus before shacharis in the morning, building a heiligeh home with my wife, and learning how to be a true Jewish father to my kids. And for the same reason, I am able to sponsor yidden who are agnostics, Evangelicals, and Mormons, all the same way. And each person is precious to Hashem right where he is, and will grow into living the right way only after they become sober.

    SA is not a religion, just a toolbox. And the tools work for me so far.

    871.
    Friday  ~ 14 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 22, 2010
    Erev Shabbos Parshas Vayera

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Link of the Day: Joe's Goals
  • Parsha Talk - Vayera: It's All Hashem
  • Personal Victory of the Day: The Red Light
  • Daily Dose of Dov: "Not acting-out" is no longer my main preoccupation
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Link of the Day

     

    Joe's Goals

     

    The 90 Day chart that we developed for GYE members is a big motivator, but you might want to also try a different version, with some features that our 90-Day chart doesn't have (yet).

     

    Check out "Joe's Goals", a motivational program designed to help you reach your goals. Inspired by Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues, Joe built this program to make it simple to create, track, and share your personal goals. Each day you succeed is a new link in the chain. You can give yourself points for times you were strong, and take off points for times you had slips. But don't break the chain!

     

    In the "Display Stats", make sure to select "Created Date" to see when you started. You can also choose (in the preferences) to get alerts if you haven't updated your goal chart for 2 days, or 7 days. Use this cool tool in conjunction with GYE's 90 day chart!

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

    Parsha Talk: Vayera

     

    It's All Hashem

     

    By "An Honest Mouse"

     

    (19:22) 'Ki lo uchal' - Rashi says that the angel in charge of destroying Sedom was forced to say that he wasn't able to do it, because he had previously told Lot that it was in their hands (ki mashchisim anachnu). Therefore, Hashem forced the Malach to admit that it wasn't actually dependant on them, and it was Hashem who was in charge.

    If we get too cocky or complacent and tell ourselves that we are in control and we can defeat this disease (mashchisim anachnu), Hashem may arrange circumstances so that we are forced to admit it is not in our control and we are powerless. In the words of the angel - "ki lo uchal" - I can't do it myself, its all Hashem.

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

    Personal Victory of the Day

     

    The Red Light

     

    An e-mail received today from "Blind Beggar"

     

    Dear Guard & GYE Team,

     

    I was reading the Handbook the other night, and I read about the 3 second rule. I also got an email from a fellow member on the forum, and he told me something that he heard in a shiur, that someone who looks away after a few seconds feels like a Rasha, but really in Shomayim he is like Yosef Hatzaddik.


    The next day, my bus was stuck in a 90 second red light and there was a girl stuck by the same light, waiting to cross. She wasn't very tznius, (to say the least). "Oh boy!", I said to myself, "what an opportunity to lust for over a minute, and what an image to lust over in my head all day long!!" ... (And be motzei z'l at night, of course).

     

    Then I remembered what I saw in the handbook about looking for 3 seconds and stopping. After 4 seconds, I looked away and white-knuckled the minute away. Then I remembered the email I got, and I felt like Yosef Hatzaddik all day long.


    Thank you both for saving the day.

    Have a great Shabbos.

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    "Not acting-out" is no longer my main preoccupation
     

    "aaron4" wrote:

     

    I think the expression "stopping cold turkey" is misleading.What does it mean?Not acting out?But what if you fantasize each time you see a trigger, yet still manage not to act out? Are you really sober? I don't know... So where is the line that defines sobriety? I think that in the case of lust addiction, it's a moving target. The only thing we can do is works towards "progressive" victory over lust.We may never achieve total victory - but so what?That is not our problem.We can only work, with Hashem's help, on the present.Whether that's considered "cold turkey" is academic.

     

    Dov Replies:

     

    Weakness and even some measure of failure were - and still are - a necessary aspect in my own recovery so far. If lusting my brains out negates my success at escaping masturbation, then I may as well masturbate and get it over with....


    But I understand that you are addressing the fact that what we are really after in SA groups and here on GYE, is freedom from the tyranny of lust, not just technical sobriety. Whether a guy is here to stop doing specific aveiros or to stop ruining his life, we all recognize that just not doing the "problem behaviors" is not enough. We need to get at least some measure of comfort living without our habit. If we routinely lust our brains out - even if we don't "act-out", we are just not there yet. But that's OK! It remains a process.

     

    When it comes to mussar, there are some who vehemently disagreed with Reb Yisroel Salanter's Derech of making tikkun hamiddos the focus and hub of our entire avodah. The Briskers and the Chazon Ish (it seems to me), and most chassidishes believed that our entire tikkun occurs through doing the right thing. Putting our focus on mussar seems to cheapen the Torah. They saw that through being moser nefesh for keeping halocho with dikduk, ahavah and yir'ah - no matter how difficult, we will automatically become a Jew with Yir'ah, bitul to Hashem's Will, bitachon in Him, and respect and love for his fellows. They'd say (at least as far as I understand them) that our tikkun grows out of the avodah itself. And our tikkun is best left in Hashem's hands, lest the entire Torah and avodah becomes a self-centered - albeit noble - pursuit.

    For what it's worth, the 12-Step Program works exactly this way in my life as well, i.e. not in the mussar way. For example, the main priority for me is not to act out. To act out would open the floodgates and ruin my life at this point. That is not up for grabs. But it turns out that I was forced to work the steps only in order not to act out! I'd have resentments and fears that were eating me up, or just feel uneasy... I'd sit on it and go crazy - till it became clear that if I don't do something about it, I will act out. So out came the Big Book, the chart, the calls, and there is no choice but to work steps 4-7 on it. And life gets better.

     

    Is lust is becoming a problem for me? - I'd sit on it like an idiot till my gauge was in the red zone and finally out would come the 3rd step prayer, the calls, and the Big Book - I'd search for the 'secret' of the 3rd step, cuz my heart tells me that it's the answer to everything. I'd then give up whatever I could of me to Hashem again - all so that I don't act out and lose my life. I'd focus on being attentive to my wife and kids to really learn how to care about them - so that I do not stay a selfish, self-centered man, because selfish bums are guaranteed to act out, you know...


    Now, you'd think that if a guy really believes that his main priority is to not act out, he'd be focused on not acting out... I hope you can see that is not at all the case. "Not acting out" is no longer my main preoccupation - being a decent man, staying free of lies, and focusing on being helpful to G-d and man - that's my preoccupation.... (on a good day!)


    Well, I went on for too long, as usual. Sorry. Uh-oh, by now our turkey is really cold! :-)

    872.
    Sunday  ~ 16 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 24, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Link of the Day: Nothing Stands in the Way of One's Will
  • 12-Step Talk: What's your Role in the Play?
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Appreciating our Wives
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Walking with Hashem Through the Tears
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Link of the Day
     

    Nothing Stands in the Way of One's Will
     

     

    An anecdote from Rav Shach, in honor of his Yartzeit today.

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

    12-Step Talk
     

    What's your Role in the Play?

     

    "Dov from Israel" shared:

     

    I had an interesting experience...
     

    I kept noticing that someone was also logged in when I was on my other Gmail account - but I did not recognize the person. Perhaps it was someone I once sent an email too (I am involved in several different activities - so who knows where the name came from?)


    But then I thought that since I used to use my other Gmail account for GYE stuff, maybe it was someone from the group.

    I decided to send an e-mail chat - to ask how he is doing.
     

    He replied, "Fine"...


    blah, blah, blah


    I mentioned that I started to do some one-on-one with the guys from the group here - and it is going well.


    He asked, which group was I talking about???

    Hmmm... I started to think that maybe he is not from GYE... Should I say anything or not??
     

    (OK, Hashem - which way do you want to go??)

    So I mentioned, "The guys from GuardYourEyes".


    <long pause>


    Finally he types back that he has heard of the website, and he realizes that he has a problem... but he's not sure what or how to take the next step and thus has not done anything, yet!

    We talked - and he decided he will lurk on the site and maybe even post on the forum.

    Amazing!!


    How far a simple greeting or Shalom Aleichem can go towards reaching and affecting another person. How many of you were affected because someone reached out to you?

     
    Think about how many other lives you can affect too, just by saying "HI, HOW ARE YOU?"

     

    Duvid Chaim Responds to Dov's Share:

     

    Dov's experience just reinforces what we've been discussing lately on the Calls.

    Once we realize that we are all just ACTORS in a Play - a Play that is being run by THE Director - we can begin to have a new experience and outlook with and towards others.


    How can there even been room in the Script for us to play our role with Resentment or Fear? It just doesn't exist - except in our minds, if we let it exist.


    Don't we want everyone around us to realize that we're doing the BEST WE CAN?


    So why shouldn't we also recognize that everyone else - yes, our wives, our kids, our parents, our boss, our friends, everyone - is doing the BEST THEY CAN?


    And what makes this whole SHOW we call life so interesting, is that sometimes - like Dov shared - new actors come into our lives and make us say "Wow".

     

    When I take a little risk - when I trust - when I'm humble, fearless and honest - then I get to make a difference.


    And I get to "practice these principles in all our affairs."


    It's time to discard our old worn out way of thinking and adopt a new design for living.

    Looking forward to our next call,

    Duvid Chaim

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

     

    Attitude Tip of the Day
     

    Appreciating Our Wives
     

    Someone complained on the forum that his wife has little interest in being with him, and this makes it much harder to stay clean. "Kedusha" responds:

     

    Imagine a husband named Reuven, whose wife, r"l, falls into a coma for months, with little hope of recovery.  The poor fellow is all alone.  Every minute of his day is taken up by needing to earn a living, do everything necessary to run the household, care for his six young children and, of course, make sure his wife is being properly cared for.

    One day he hears of a specialist, who has unusual success in bringing people out of comas, where conventional medicine has given up hope.  By pulling every string he can, Reuven finally gets an appointment with this specialist.  After reviewing the case, the specialist tells Reuven the following: "Your wife's case is actually pretty straightforward; I think there's an excellent chance that she can be brought out of the coma and will be, basically, back to normal."

    "That's wonderful!" responds Reuven.  But, then hesitating (because he doesn't want to appear ungrateful), Reuven asks "What do you mean that she will be basically back to normal?  In what way will she not return to normal?"

    The specialist responds, "She'll be the same capable wife that you described.  Whatever she used to do, she'll be able to do again, whether running the household, caring for the children, or holding an outside job.  Her personality will be the same, and your overall relationship will be what it was.  You need to understand, though, that the coma has taken a certain toll on your wife, and she won't have the same interest in being with you anymore.  Whereas in the past, you noted that she would happily agree to be with you twice per week, from now on, she's likely to only agree to once per week, and not very happily. Keep in mind that this will not be her fault, but caused by what she's been through - so don't take it personally. Oh, and there's one more thing. She may overreact sometimes - such as saying 'I hate you!' when she really means 'I'm annoyed at you right now.'  Keep in mind that husbands have been putting up with this type of thing from time immemorial - I know that I do.  Do you want to proceed?"

    Reuven responds: "I'd be foolish not to proceed.  Right now, I'm a living widower. For the first time, I truly appreciate all that my wife did for me and the children as long as she was able to - the same things that currently overwhelm me. Not to sound selfish, but I very much miss our sexual relationship, which, obviously, is non-existent right now. What you're telling me is that I'll have my wife back in every respect, except that our physical relationship will never be what it once was, and that she'll sometimes overreact. Those things don't bend me out of shape, because, right now, our physical relationship is non-existent and my wife doesn't say a word to me, good or bad, so what you describe is actually a tremendous improvement!" 


    Need I state the nimshal?  Our wives do so much for us - where would we be without them, other than totally lost?  Let's say they don't provide it as often as (or the way) we would like it, and they may overreact sometimes. We may be somewhat at fault, having harmed our relationship by what we've put our wives through, and maybe we can help improve things.  However, let's assume that we can't improve the situation.  Imagine, c"v, losing everything, the way Reuven did, and then having it all restored to the way things are now.  Doesn't that make our current situation far easier to deal with?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    Walking with Hashem through the Tears

     

    I have met many people who act out and immediately sense the abyss. That's all they see: this dark abyss. Of course, it was there before acting out - and that's why they acted out...

    A "bardichever chassid" sees the abyss and doesn't believe it is really there and says, "That distance between Hashem and me is just more BS, just like the lust was!" He gets up and walks with Hashem - through the tears.

    BTW. I don't need to act out to learn lots of good stuff and yearn more for Hashem - I stick around and let some of the poor folks at the meetings act out for me! That may sound cruel, but old age does that to a guy. 

    873.
    Monday  ~ 17 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 25, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Testimonial of the Day: The Novominsker Rebbe
  • Personal Victory of the Day: An e-mail er received today
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Connecting the air intake to the exhaust pipe
  • Daily Dose of Dov 1: Even if I'm destined for Gehinnom
  • Daily Dose of Dov 2: Our lust is often misguided yearning
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Testimonial of the Day

     

    The Novominsker Rebbe

     

    A close friend of GYE saw the Novominsker Rebbe over Shabbos, and told the Rebbe that he has the zechus of being secretary of the organization "Guard Your Eyes". (The Rebbe is familiar with our work because we met with him and several other Gedolim in July). The Rebbe gave our friend a very warm handshake and said "Ashrei Chelkechem!"

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

    Personal Victory of the Day

     

    An e-mail we received today:

     

    Hi Guardureyes!


    I have a quick question about 90 day chart...


    I just had a fight with my wife and she went storming out the door.... The first thing I did, was rush to an unprotected computer and type in very bad website. I didn't actually get to see anything in the site and I quickly remembered that this is a test. I also remembered that I am registered on the 90 day journey! So I shut off the website before any images came on.


    Is this a fall or a slip?

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

     

    Attitude Tip of the Day

     

    Connecting the air intake to the exhaust pipe

     

    "Briut" writes:

     

    At first glance, all these struggles seem to equal the problem itself. Stop acting-out, goes the theory, and life will be cured. And the sad truth is that... as difficult as this may seem to many of us... the real truth is even trickier.

    I think whatever is making us want, crave, indulge in, chase after the stuff we do... has something deeper behind it. Maybe: the "need" to have something. The thought that getting 'a little' will make life workable. The idea that I am entitled to it, or can't get through the day without it, or... whatever.

    After a while, this work seems to boil down to what Hashem wants us to establish as the main focus in our relationships with other people. We shouldn't connect with them as objects, but as our beloved. Not desired for mutual objectification by consent, but for something mutual and real. So somehow, the victory over the shmutz has to include the ability to look deeper. 

    Ultimately, it's not about giving gratification to ourselves, but giving gratification to others. (Recall, the shoresh of ahava, 'hav,' means to GIVE.) We can't keep fueling ourselves alone, and can't nourish ourselves from self-generated energy - that's like connecting the air intake of our car to its exhaust pipe. We've got to CONNECT to love, and not try to recycle our own energy with our own hand.

    Ninety days to no acting-out is one thing, but 90 days to becoming a more giving person is trickier. It's also clearly what HKB'H wants from us. Meaning that it's possible to get there. But not easy, yet.

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

    Daily Doses of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    Even if I'm destined for Gehinnom

     

    My addiction got quite nasty, and then a lot nastier before making it into recovery. It is essential for me to accept in my heart that even if I am destined for gehinnom, c"v, my concern, my joy, and my sorrow, are all in today. I have taken, and still take, the 3rd step, so to the best of my ability, I try to make Hashem my Employer now and place myself, my body, neshoma, future, and family in His care. 

    I know I am destined to die one day. Maybe I am destined for gehinom, maybe not. How will I ever be sure? Even Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai didn't know! Until then, it has become clear to me that My Best Friend forever has important uses even for a servant destined for gehinnom, and that He takes quite a bit of interest in his puny life. If His service and personal attention today is not good enough for anyone, I wish them luck. 
     

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

     

    Our lust is often misguided yearning


    I truly believe that the lust problem we have is part and parcel of our natural but misguided yearning for d'veikus with Ultimate Power and Ultimate Goodness. I know that I want porn - not because it is dirty and "I like to be dirty" but because my heart tells me that something about it is truly beautiful and warm, and loving. I know that a good part of my heart is yearning, but is twisted. For me, Recovery is a process of learning what true beauty is. Chazal say it is Hashem. There is no coincidence that they refer to that Ultimate beauty as P'nei haSh'chinah - a feminine aspect symbolized by Chava, and later by Rochel and Leyah. I hope I am not being too weird for you here, but there are many times that I notice a pretty woman on the subway in NY and turn away asking Hashem to "help me not be distracted by that shadow of true beauty and instead come to always appreciate the real beauty that is Your Malchus and Sh'chinah haKedosha." Nu. It works. 

    874.
    Tuesday  ~ 18 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 26, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Link of the Day: The Next Frontier
  • Quote of the Day: By Shnook
  • 12-Step Exercise: Attitude of Gratitude
  • Daily Dose of Dov: It's an Inside job
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Link of the Day

     

    The Next Frontier

    Arming our Children for a Nuclear Yetzer Hara

     

    (Right click the link above and choose "Save Link/Target As" to download the PDF of this Mishpacha article)

     

    For years we have heard the term "kids at risk" to label children who are seemingly heading off the derech, turning their backs on their families, their institutions of higher learning and the mesorah that they were raised with.

     

    But an enlightening and timely must read article in this past week edition of Mishpacha Magazine discussing an insidious and pervasive problem that seems to plague many of today's youth:  boys and girls who outwardly conform to society's standards of frumkeit, but inwardly are completely disconnected from Yiddishkeit.

     

    The article discusses the sudden surge of children who externally appear to be frum, yet in private have an apparent lack of emunah and yiras shomayim, picking and choosing their mitzvos, deciding to be michalel Shabbos, eat items of questionable kashrus or not to put on Tefillin.

     

    What is the cause of this sudden decline in our precious children?

     

    "Every inappropriate billboard and secular entertainment show shouts to our children: 'Leis din v'leis dayan'- live life as you please! You cannot even visit a pharmacy today without being exposed to the moral corruption. This has unfortunately cost us heavily in the areas of emunah and yiras Shamayim."

    - Rabbi Dovid Sapirman

     

    "Almost without exception, when a bochur will tell me or another mentor that he inexplicably has 'no cheishek' for Torah and Yiddishkeit, we'll later discover that he has become addicted to inappropriate images.'

    - An Experienced Mentor

     

    "In the past, people who committed aveiros didn't necessarily lose their entire cheishek for Yiddishkeit. Due to the very nature of these nisyonos, however, one who falls prey to them can lose his entire interest in Yiddishkeit. I've seen fine, stable bochurim, who have finished masechtos in Shas and have encountered the wrong material, even for a short period of time, crying like babies at how their Yiddishkeit now hangs on a thread. The age at which children can access such material is incredibly young. The speed is also mind-boggling.... With the proliferation of the Internet, sophisticated cell phones, DVDs, and iPods, one can still live an outwardly ehrliche lifestyle and have the most deplorable material in his pocket or stashed in his drawer or on his home computer. Children can easily hide what they're doing from their parents. The elements of pride and shame that used to protect us from material unacceptable in our society have practically disappeared." 

    - Rabbi Drew, who founded the Technology Awareness Group

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

    Quote of the Day

     

    "Shnook" wrote:

     

    "I only have the power to change the present moment. Right now, I choose that this moment will be clean."

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

    12-Step Exercise

     

    Attitude of Gratitude

     

    The root of our disease is self-centeredness. This leads to feelings of entitlement;  "I need" and "I deserve". It also leads to resentment when we don't get what we want, and then bitterness, pain and disconnect from G-d.

     

    To start recovering, we need to begin changing our inside feelings and living with an attitude of gratitude. The following easy exercise helps us develop this mentality.

     

    Each morning as you begin your day, write down 10 things you are grateful for in a special notebook (or file on the computer):

     

    Oct. 26, 2010
     

    I am grateful to you Hashem, for:

    1.

    2.

    3.

    4.

    5.

    6.

    7.

    8.

    9.

    10.

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

     

    Daily Doses of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    "It's an Inside Job"

     

    Dov answers a newcomer who posted on the forum for the first time (Dov's replies appear in between the lines below, in blue).

     

    Today is my first day clean.


    Actually, it's our only day.


    Today I will try and go on a journey to break free of this addiction once and for all.


    "Once and for all" includes the rest of this week, right? How about making it just for today, till you go to sleep. Then you might do the same thing tomorrow...


    Consistently, over and over and over again for the past 17 years, I have endeavored to break free... but I was always alone. Never, ever, have I had the ability to share my feelings with others who share my addiction as well as the desire to break free.


    You are right, we are very lucky. Having a chevra is like having all the gold in the world.


    The longest stretch I had was from the middle of Nov of this past year until some time in January. It was around 50 days and I thought I had beat it because a Rov had told me that I was free of this addiction.

    Please let me have a word with this Rov... 

     

    I really want true d'veikus and I know that I can't have that d'veikus without breaking free of this addiction. 


    If you had a choice to finally get free of this stuff even without the deveikus, would you agree to that? Or would you still hold out for better - while simultaneously acting out?!!

    Some innocent, well-meaning folks here are blinded by the light of Torah and d'veikus. They need to stick a pair of sunglasses on their noses to see that they are tenaciously holding out for gold while sitting in excrement! Is this acceptable? This is where a Jew belongs? Get out of the excrement at all costs, I say! A lifestyle of acting out with lust and lying to our loved ones (and everyone else) is just no place for a Neshomaleh! 

    After we are out, there will be time for madreigos, on the condition that we remember that it's good enough just to be out of the excrement. Lusting after d'veikus can also be a mistake if the timing is wrong.


    I'm so scared right now... as I become more recognizable and more watched, that chas v'shalom, if someone would see me stare the way I know that I do, if a child from my community who knows and respects me well would see me do something inappropriate... ribono d'alma kula!!! What would be of my neshama???


    Is it really just your neshoma that you are worried about, and not getting caught, arrested, and embarrassed before the entire community for the foreseeable future?


    I have asked gedolei Torah if there is teshuva from this and they have said yes, but let me ask you, my new friends... as I begin this journey... is there teshuva from b'ilas zona? Will Avrohom avinu block my entrance to gan eden? If so, maybe there is no point. Maybe I am lost forever?


    Is there teshuva? Have you read the opening of Chovos Halevavos on Teshuvah? He basically says there that teshuvah is just going from doing your own will against His, to doing His Will (or even just to doing His Will better than before). It sounds to me that you are equating "Tikkun" with Teshuvah. You want to get rid of the horrible guilt, I understand. But I ask you how you know that it would that be a good thing at all for you to lose that guilt before you are on the derech of Tahara that you desire so much?

     

    Perhaps the Tikkun will have to come many years hence, and till then you (not any person, just you) will need to retain some of that guilt in order to remind you of the pain and stupidity of acting out so that the next time it strikes (later today) you might get help rather than just isolating and falling again. Is this a possibility you can entertain? 

    Finally, I'd like to share with you that dumping our guilt, doing "teshuvah" and being accepted again into the life of Tahara, etc., can be a purely self-centered pursuit - just like the screwing around we did before. That has been my experience. 

    True, getting a filter and the other stuff you mention below is the only way to really exercise commitment, but if you really want to change, then I'd ask you to consider keep working on changing your motivations, rather than mainly on changing your behavior. Looking at the number of days we were sober is silly. It's great, but not a proof of anything. "It is an inside job", they say, and pointing to externals can be a way for us to remain far away from the real problems we have that screw our lives up. And the main motivation many of us share is total self-centeredness. The fact that it's for kedusha or tum'ah is irrelevant, in the end.


    As tears stream down my face because of the brutally chaotic and damaging decisions I have made in my life; will this journey bring me to the true home I am looking for...a home of kedusha/tahara? A home where the Tata Avrohom will embrace me and not send me away???  


    Avraham Avinu will not send you away. Do you really think he is a mean old man and hates you? Why would he do that? Would You "send away" your grandson? 


    Thank you for reading some of the thoughts that I reflect on this day.

    I have followed the suggestions sent to me and have signed up for the 90 day chart and have also installed the k9 filter on my computer and my business partner is the admin for my computer, and I asked my wife to install the filter at home "for the sake of the kids". I got started early when I found my father's pornographic magazines... chalila v'chas, my children should never have to deal with this issue as I do... it's true gehinnom.


    You bet it is.

    875.
    Wednesday  ~ 19 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 27, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • GYE in the News - Link of the Day: Phil Rosenthal in Baltimore
  • Anecdote of the Day: Shared by "Kutan"
  • Member's Chizuk: The Illusion
  • 12-Step Attitude: Only a change in ME can effect the equation
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Focusing on Not Focusing is Silly
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    GYE in the News: Link of the Day

     


     

    Technology Addiction Guru Phil Rosenthal Addresses Baltimore Community Gathering of Over 1500

     
    A quote from the above article:
     
    "A highly recommended site for anyone struggling with an addiction to inappropriate content is guardyoureyes.org."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Anecdote of the Day

     

    Shared by "Kutan"

     

    A while back, after R' Wolfson spoke about shemiras eyenaim and shmiras bris one shalosh seudos, "Pintele yid" (from the forum) turned around and muttered under his breath, "there is a web site about this"...

     

    Well, guess what? The guy standing next to him when he muttered, came over to him after Maariv... He is sunken into these problems really bad, and he asked Pintele for the site....

     

    Well, this past Sukkos, he conducted a live SA meeting with some of the Boro Park chevra in Pintele's Sukka!

    Amazing or what?

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

    Member's Chizuk

     

    The Illusion

     

    "Aa1977" writes:

     

    I know that Hashem will help me with this. I know that it's an illusion. I know that the void I feel inside, is all part of the illusion and part of the trap, which the Yetzer hara uses to entice us. Like R' Nachman's parable of the man in the market with his closed hand/bag, who convinces everyone that he has exactly what they're searching for... So they all run after him, only to discover in the end that he had nothing at all.

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

    12-Step Attitude

     

    Only a change in ME can affect the equation

     

    Someone writes on the forum:

     

    Day 52, no masturbation... but the house is in a total state of chaos. My child is behaving badly, my wife is in a crisis unable to cope, husband (me) trying to intervene, wife undermining me at all times and then (of course) screaming at me and hating me just because I try to restore order. There is no love in this house. I wish there were. There are no agreed rules, no FOUNDATION, nothing. I refuse to give it up though, my Rav advised me to work at it and understand that all this chaos from my wife stems from my lack of respect  for my wife and Hashem. So now that I've unloaded, I hope you are all having a great week. THANK YOU for listening. Sorry again for whining.  
     

    "Jewboy" Responds:

     

    Painful post. Sounds like you might be getting close to hitting bottom. That sounds bad, but in reality, is usually the blessed moment when we can start working to turn things around.

    I wish I had some wisdom that could help you change your wife, but I don't. What I can say is, that despite what it may seem at times, you CAN change your attitudes. Then... GOD can come in and change YOU.  

    Most of us will initially reject that WE need to be changed, but in the end, that is the only thing we can really do to have an effect on in the equation. It sounds like you have tried mightily to put your efforts into your wife, child and probably many more things, and it doesn't sound like it's worked out so well thus far.

    In my experience, the only thing that works, is to change me. And I have only been able to effect change in me through the fellowship and program of SA.  

    One other tool that has helped me in my marriage, is the book that many have recommended here, "The Garden of Peace".

     

    "But how do people out there on this forum accept WITH JOY things that make them so angry and mad? Is there anyone out there (who's normal) who's actually achieved this?"

     

    I have been able to begin to do this by working the steps of the 12-Step program and by joining the fellowship which teaches me honesty, humility and how to accept GOD's will for me.

    If I would understand clearly that by being married to the wicked witch of the west I am doing the direct command and will of the CREATOR OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, I would be ecstatic. Not because of the pain caused by being married to the witch, but by having the amazing opportunity to have such an important and honorable role.

    Who has greater pride in their position the senior manager of a porn theater, or the cleaning lady in the white house (Ok, not during the Clinton administration, where there may be some overlap)? The cleaning lady, because she has a really impressive employer. Never mind that it is not so chasuv to empty garbage cans.

    And yes, normal people can do this. And even more important, is that people who are not normal - i.e. addicts (I'm raising my hand) - can do this too!!

    It is possible.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    Focusing on Not Focusing is Silly

     

    In the days before I became an out-of-control addict, I found that going to the mikva was nice. Saying Tikkun haklali was also nice. But is it mainly tikkun that you want, or is it some freedom from the compulsion when it strikes that you are really looking for?


    Please consider going easier on yourself. Bombarding this problem with energy often just gives it more power. The ikkar might be in remaining busy in being useful to Hashem, His people, and yourself. Focusing on not focusing on the aveiro is probably the silliest thing we can do.

    876.
    Thursday  ~ 20 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 28, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Tip of the Day: Connecting
  • Personal Victory of the Day: The Two Trips
  • Member's Chizuk: We're into gradualism here
  • Daily Dose of Dov: If I look down, I'll fall and die
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Tip of the Day

     

    Connecting
     

    By "Yosef Hatzadik"
     

    Lately I have been phoning/txting/emailing/chatting with other chevra. The Yetzer Horah thrives on isolation. He loves depression. I love shmoozing. I love connection. By communicating with others, I am 'connecting' to them, thereby getting my craving for 'emotional fulfillment' taken care in that way, so there is no room left for the Y"H to convince that his method will make feel good....!!!

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

    Personal Victory of the Day
     

     The Two Trips
     

    "Briut" writes:

     

    Recently, I took my first business trip in a long time. A chance to choreograph a "Big Fall". Partly to "get it out of my system" (as I rationalized it) and perhaps partly a test if Hashem really wanted me saved from shmutz. Would He rescue me with His own Hand?

     

    And sure enough, He did. Every single plan began to fall apart, through seemingly natural "coincidences" that left me knowing I could and should cancel the last remaining chance for it to work out. I felt His involvement very clearly, and knew He was guiding me. So, I was able to kill the last steps in my plans, WITHOUT REGRETS. Wow. 

    Last week, I went on another trip. Somehow, I went back to making plans for a Big Fall. I waited for Him to swoop down and change the scene, but He didn't. So I continued ahead, telling myself that one Fall might actually make things better in the long run. The plan "clicked" into place, and soon I was in the middle of [whatever it was.] And suddenly I found myself thinking, "I don't really need this; it won't get me anywhere; I could just walk away." AND I DID. I'll skip the triggering details, but walking away right then was 1000% miraculous.

    This second trip showed me something even more amazing than the first. Namely, that He gave ME the strength to walk away. Not to daven that HE do it, but to walk away completely on my own. He actually took His own divine strength and gave it over to me to use. As a gift, chinam. I cried tears of joy.

    You see, before GYE, I would have taken credit for MY OWN incredible power, perhaps with His "help." My own work, not HIS. Now, I'm seeing not MY strength but HIS... that He handed me as a (reliable) GIFT. No need to daven that an external force swoop down to give me momentary strength -- HE has planted it right inside ME and it's there WHENEVER I call. HaMelech ya'anenu b'yom kareynu.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Member's Chizuk

     

    We're into gradualism here

     

    By "Aa1977":

     

    We're all on a slow curve going up - but it has lots of dips and chinks along the way. You may have fallen, but you're still higher than you were a month ago, a year ago, or maybe even a week ago. Even though you don't feel it, every effort counts here.


    See Rav Matisyohu Salomon, With Hearts Full of Faith (Mesorah, 2002) regarding Balei Teshuvah who are unable to instantly give up bad habits, where he distinguishes between "compromise, which is absolutely forbidden, and gradualism, which is acceptable and unavoidable." pp. 264-266.

    We're into gradualism here, and we may not have much choice in the matter. The falls are part of the process. Work hard, but please - take it easy!!!

     

    Let's admit it - how many of us have said a bracha with the shmutz on the computer right in front of us? Seems like we don't care about Ruchniyus! And yet we know we do care about Hashem and mitzvos and doing what's right. So what's going on?

     

    Somehow we've gotten desensitized. We know Hashem's right there and yet - somehow it doesn't stop us. Are we so wicked and arrogant? Are we doing aveiros l'hachis? Absolutely not. We're all sweet neshamales' here - but we have this black hole inside and a voice that insists that Mother Lust can provide us with all our needs. It never works, but we just don't see how else to fill that void - to heal that pain; or we're afraid of life, responsibility, true intimacy - whatever - and doping out into cyber-numbness-land takes the edge off it.

     

    Putting in a filter is good. But if you know you need more - do it. Don't let this year be the same as last year. Do something. Go to that meeting. Make the call. Go somewhere where no-one will know you. But go. For your sake. 

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    If I look down, I'll fall and die
     

    Counting the days we are clean can be wonderful for some, but I hope you realize that it can also be - deep within our hearts - a counting of how long we can actually tolerate the (inevitable) buildup until the next time we act out. I believe this is very frequent. It is exactly like climbing up a ladder. I am afraid of heights. If I look back down as I am climbing, once I get to an impossibly high height, my hands and feet begin to shake. I know that I would fall.... so I never climb that high! How high do you want to climb in sobriety? If you are looking back, you will not get very high. We all know that being sober 5 years in a row is just plain impossible... for each of us, the last barrier is the "impossible height". Sure it's BS, but our feelings do not care about sechel very much. It's our Reality, so why pit ourselves against so powerful an adversary? 

    Instead, my experience in sobriety is like that of a guy walking across an abyss on a 2x8. Now, I have no trouble at all balancing on a 2x8 if I see it's on the floor! But if I see that it is suspended between two high buildings I will certainly panic, lose my balance, fall, and die. Looking down is just plain ossur. So I don't. And I do not count. 

     

    For about three years, I didn't mention my starting date in the groups. I'd just introduce myself and say , "...and I am grateful for today's sobriety"... till my sponsor suggested I start saying my starting date (Feb 28th, 1997) in order to encourage newbies that it really is possible.

    877.
    Friday  ~ 21 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 29, 2010
    Erev Shabbos Parshas Chaye Sarah

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Parsha Talk 1 - Chaye Sarah: Real Love
  • Parsha Talk 2 - Chaye Sarah: Tzadik for Now
  • Parsha Talk 3 - Chaye Sarah: Innocence vs. Purity
  • Daily Dose of Dov: The Groups are a Mirror
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Parsha Talk 1 - Chaye Sarah

     

    Real Love

     

    By "An Honest Mouse"

     

    (24:67) 'vayikach es rivkoh, vatehi loi le'isho vaye'ehoveho - and he took Rivka and she became his wife and he loved her'. One can be learn from the order of the words. In Western society, and certainly us as addicts, we go for the notion of falling in love head over heals, being swept off our feet, and then getting married. WRONG!
     

    The Torah is teaching us, that first we get married and then we come to love our wives. Because whatever comes before marriage is not real, it's lust mixed in with an emotional attraction. Real love comes from living and building and connecting with our wives. It's davka real life that leads us to love them, not fantasies. That's why Yitschak only loved her after they were already married.

     

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

     

    Parsha Talk 2 - Chaye Sarah

     

    Tzadik for Now

     

    "Blind Beggar" writes:

     

    The Pasuk in this week's Parsha says, "and Rivka had a brother, and his name was Lavan". The Medrash says that for Tzadikim, the Torah says "and his name was" before the name, like "and his name was Boaz". But with Reshayim it is the other way round like, "Goliath was his name".  Asks the Ohr Hachaim, why does the posuk refer to Lavan like a Tzadik, like Boaz, and not like the rosho that he was, like Goliath?


    The Ohr Hachaim answers that Lavan saw a strange man talking with his sister, which is a breach of tznius, so he ran over to investigate. Since he was doing an act of tzidkus, he is referred to like a Tzadik in the Pasuk.
     

    Lesson: Whatever you are all day long, you are a Tzadik whenever you are reading the Chizuk e-mails, or when you're on the GYE Forum.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Parsha Talk 3 - Chaye Sarah

     

    Innocence vs. Purity

     

    Ovadia writes:

     

    This week's Parsha begins by telling us the age Sarah Imeinu was when she died. The Pasuk breaks up each digit in the number of years she lived, with the word "years", and Rashi quotes Chazal who say that this is to tell us that Sarah was as pure from sin at the age of a hundred as she was when she was twenty, and as beautiful at the age of twenty as she was when she was seven.

    Rav S. R. Hirsh ZT"L says that the simple reading of the Pasuk reads that Sarah was one hundred years, twenty years and seven years. These three figures correspond to three different periods in a person's life: childhood, adolescence and old age. Sarah used each of these to the full and took whatever she achieved in one period to the next. Thus, she took her childlike beauty into adolescence, and her spiritual purity till her old age. 

    Similarly later on, the pasuk describes the old age of Avraham Avinu as "ba bayamim", meaning that he "lived the days". He did not let himself drown in the time. He lived each day to its fullest, and took the achievement of each day with him into the next.

    Rav Hirsch comments on how generally people live their lives exactly the opposite. Adults wish for the beauty of a child, and grownups wish for the purity of "under 20's". That is not like Sarah, who took the purity and beauty with her into the next period.

     

    The phrase "childlike innocence" is a misconception, because it implies that purity from sin is the same as innocence. This is a mistake. The definition of "innocence" is one who has not been exposed to a temptation, while purity is one who withstood the temptation despite the exposure. Sarah did not live her life in childlike innocence; she took the purity of an "under twenty" with her for her entire life. 

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    The Groups are a Mirror
     

    Ultimately, we all live with ourselves. There is no escape from ourselves - even by suicide, I believe. The discomfort we all feel being surrounded by real people in recovery (in SA groups) is just having a mirror shown to us, as the Ba'al Shem Tov taught us. We sense our own ugliness, but we "see" only theirs.
     

    I take advantage of every opportunity I get to admit openly, in a safe environment, that I am a sexaholic, that I naturally gravitate toward using lust, that I am allergic to it, and that my disease is progressive, chronic, and guaranteed to be fatal should it progress enough c"v. Doing this frees me to let go and be free of lust's power. It gives me life, and it gave new life to my family.

    878.
    Sunday  ~ 23 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  October 31, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Link of the Day: Mussar & the 12-Steps
  • 12-Step Attitude: Accepting the Things We Can't Control
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Bereshit 189b
  • Filter Tip: Blocking Images
  • Daily Dose of Dov: There's a big difference between Lusting & Acting Out
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Link of the Day

     


     

     Mussar & the 12-Steps
     

    Rabbi Twerski shared with me today an article that he wrote for the website www.TorahWeb.org. It describes beautifully how the 12-Steps are derived from Torah principles, and it gives a clear summary of the 12-steps and how they apply to us as Frum Jews. A must read!

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

    12-Step Attitude
     

    Accepting the Things We Can't Control
     

    "Eye.nonymous" writes:

     

    Yesterday on my way to Shacharis, I felt VERY uncomfortable & irritable, and I knew I had to do something about this feeling or it might lead me to acting out.

    So I tried to call someone (1st thing in the morning is even harder than trying to find someone at 2 AM in the morning!)  No luck. SO, I trudged off to kollel. I wanted to just ignore this feeling and get on with my day, hoping it would get better.

    But, I knew this feeling would still be lurking in the background.

    So, I sat down and wrote a letter to myself (something I have done before). I got all the things that were bothering me out onto paper (I somehow like this more than the formal "4th step worksheets"). Then, I tried to write myself an answer. I was surprised at how many things came out of my head, so many things that were bothering me. And, I was able to take the things I can't control and accept them. The  only thing I could change, was my attitude about certain things. I realized it was up to ME to decide whether to be happy about these things or worried about them.

    The process took about a half hour, but it gave me peace of mind for the rest of the day (and has continued). It was well worth it.
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    Torah Quote of the Day

     

    Zohar, Bereshit 189b

     

    Those who do not guard the sign of the holy Brit cause a separation between Israel and their Father in heaven, as is written, "And you turn aside and worship other gods, and bow down to them," (Ibid.) And afterward, it says, "He shut up the heaven, so that there be no rain."For to be false to the holy Brit is considered like bowing down to another god.

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

     

    Filter Tip
     

    Blocking Images
     

    Ovadia writes:

     

    I have had K9 installed on my computer for a while and it has really done a good job, but I found that even after checking off the various categories I could still "dig up" some inappropriate pictures through Google image search, even though the site itself is blocked. (He is really good, the Y"H!! zaken verogil). I tried blocking images through K9, but that blocked all images including icons on GYE.

    After a number of attempts, I overcame the problem like this: Besides for blocking categories, K9 also has an option to block specific sites. So I just plugged in "Google images" and it did the trick without interfering with any other sites.

    Later I received two other suggestions
    from the filter gabbai:
    1. Enable "force safe search" in K9. 
    2. Use adblock.

     

    "Blind Beggar" responds:

     

    I use "Image Like Opera" which is a Firefox add-on recommended by GYE. It does a really good job, as do Adblock and Flashblock. The link for "Image Like Opera" for Firefox users is here.On WebChaver it says you can get it for Google Chrome also.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    There's a big difference between
    Lusting & Acting Out (Part 1)

     

    If every time I lust in any way, I would react by considering it tantamount to a "fall", there will be many problems. First, it would show that all this is about is what it was always about: Me and my goodness, or badness. As an addict in recovery, practically speaking, I cannot afford to be focused on the scale of the ShLo"H (which I love learning now!), the Yesod Yosef, or anyone else whose goal is kedushas hamachshovah almost as a goal in and of itself. I completely lose my humility that way. Before long, I find myself truly believing that I am "busy with great things (madreigos)", yet masturbating all the same. I went that way for years, gave shiurim for ba'alei teshuva, and masturbated (and worse) until one day by G-d's Grace I grew up a bit and decided that I'd rather be a humble sober kosher Jew, than a star-crossed, kedusha-struggling Jew who isn't sober. I spared myself the hashkofah. I know it sounds horrid to a pumped-up truly well-meaning d'veikus-seekers of today, but it works. And paradoxically, in all my life I have never been as successful in trying to really serve Hashem as I am today. I am not sure I am serving Him, but I sure am trying harder and enjoying it more naturally than ever! B"H I have been able to take on many things and limudim that previously would lead me down a path of "greatness"! Hah. I hope I'm not fooled any more. I am just a sexaholic who is trying to learn the depths of Hashem's Torah and serve Him with all the heart I have left, if he lets me. Even if I will never "get" any reward for it from Him. Being in that army is worth it. By all rights, I shouldn't be allowed in at all. 

     

    In SA, our sobriety definition includes no sex with myself, and none with anyone other than my wife. Of course, progressive freedom from the preoccupation with lust is necessary for success with remaining sober, so: If I were to be forcing my wife to have sex, or if I were to be masturbating up until the point that I don't "do the aveiro", or just look at porn all day today, I would certainly lose my sobriety the good ol' fashioned way, in a matter of time. I will need to quit that, or else. So I always do (so far), with His help.

     

    I accept that sexaholics lust sometimes - we do that. Nu. I need to admit any intentional use of lust to my home group and - if I am smart - will call my friends and talk with them about it and admit this new proof of my powerlessness over lust in any meeting I go to... but then "Keep on Trucking!" is what I need to hear and do! 

    If being sober is not good enough for me, then I say it isn't sobriety I am after, but my own Pride and perfection, masked in religion. That's the way it is for me.

    879.
    Monday  ~ 24 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  November 1, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Story of the Day (Amazing!): Hashem speaks even through Google!
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Bereshit 236b
  • Daily Dose of Dov: There's a big difference between Lusting & Acting Out (Part 2)
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Story of the Day (Amazing!)
     

    Hashem speaks even through Google!
     

    "Naftali" writes:

     

    I am a frum married man and have been struggling with this addiction for approximately twenty years, even before the advent of the internet.


    When I was in high school, I was absolutely convinced that there was no way I would continue doing it when I went to learn in Israel. That resolve didn't last long, although towards the second part of the year - I read quite a bit on the topic (Reishis Chochma, etc) and bought a small collection of various Chassidic/Kabbalistic sefarim filled with various Tikkunim/Segulos/etc. Though I did very few of these tikkunim, I did achieve some level of growth, cried real tears, and mostly stopped for somewhere between two to three months. That was probably the longest period that I have ever been sober since.

    When I went back to the states, the old habits came back quickly (even though I was not watching any tv anymore) and then - THE INTERNET.... While the result (MZ"L) was the same as before, the material was so much more vast. Whatever 'preferences' I had before - could be found within seconds. Anything you could think of could be found.... the abyss was complete.

    When I was single, I was absolutely convinced that there was NO WAY that I would keep having this problem after getting married - I mean, how could I? Took about a month for it to come back in full force. Then I remember thinking that when my wife would get pregnant, there would be absolutely no way (I am somewhat familiar with some of the kabbalistic ramifications, so I figured there's no way I could do that then...) - but I didn't stop... Then when my son was born, that was the absolute end... but NO IT WASN'T! I don't want to go into details, but one time that really stands out in my mind is looking at porn while my wife and newborn son are sleeping in the same room. I don't need to go on, I'm sure you know where this is going.  

    I don't think that I've hit rock bottom yet.... I don't want to hit rock bottom. Although I have some tears in my eyes while writing these words...


    My Yom Kippurs are filled with remorse and kavona. I find that it's one of the few days when the shell opens up and the real me comes out. Every year, on THAT day, I find myself feeling like I finally came back, for the first and last time. Never again will I go back to the filth and darkness. Sometimes I make it to Hoshanah Rabba, more often not.


    Still, I did do something very different this year on Yom Kippur. I was a bit more honest with myself and with Hashem than usual. I told him straight out that while I have charata, and never ever want to do this again - I know that I say this every year. I'm not stupid and I know plenty of practical ways to improve my situation (ranging from a serious daily accounting, daily mussar reading/chizuk - to seeing a therapist privately) but why WHY am I not taking these steps!? Hashem, you have to help me help myself - I don't want to be saying the same things again next year!

    A few days before Hoshanah Rabbah, when I was very close to final breaking point, out of desperation I started typing a plea to Hashem into a Google search (I know it sounds tacky, but I do that sometimes...) I don't remember the exact text of it, so will not attempt to reproduce it - but the general gist was how I was frustrated and wasn't meeting my obligations and goals. I don't remember there being any mention of MZ"L or related keywords... Anyways, something really weird and amazing happened. Even before I clicked on 'Search' - all the results on the page disappeared and the browser was trying to load a page from the guardyoueyes.com forum. It never loaded, but I figured that you don't get more of a direct answer than that - so I typed out the url and after ten minutes of reading felt my first breath or relief in years. Not relief that my problems were solved, but that this was solid proof that I'm not the only one out there and that THERE IS HOPE. 

    (I kind of understand what happened - to a point. Google has a new feature called "Instant" which shows you results as you type your search. Also, I have a few virus-protection plugins that slightly change the content-results coming in from Google. That together explains why all the content 'disappeared' from my screen before I even hit search... i.e. the sentence had so many keywords that Google somehow narrowed it down to one site, then gave up, but the plugin was already trying to analyze it & got stuck.. or something like that. But that doesn't explain why content from GYE started automatically loading in the progress bar without my hitting anything! And I was not able to reproduce it after trying a bunch of times that day. To me, it was clearly Hashem reaching out to me and showing the way forward. Why didn't I find GYE in the past? I use the internet fairly frequently - read blogs, news, etc...)

    Anyway, I think that I am ready to really jump in.
     

    Over the past week I have:
    - Signed up for daily chizuk emails
    - Downloaded the guidebooks
    - Joined the forum
    - Started attending a weekly introductory phone group (Elya's)
    - Created a 90-day profile (have been clean 5 days now)
    - Requested a Sponsor from the partner gabai

    - Installed & configured K-9 on my computer. 

     
    Things that I plan to do in the near future:
    - join a responsibility-group (in about a month)
    - join the noon SA group (when they start a new cycle)
    - possibly install an accountability program in addition to K-9 

    - possibly use some form of the Taphsic method described on the site
    - work on true Teshuva (combination of SA steps + some Tikkunim that I am familiar with & have been planning on doing)
    - if all above don't work out for over half a year - I will contact one of the professional therapists referred to on your site.

    I cannot express how much appreciation I have for the people who made this site and community and continue to make it thrive. While we all have our missions in life, and don't necessarily always know what they are - I am SURE that you are making major roadwork in Shamayim. I hope to some day not only be thanking you but contributing as well - although there is so much work to be done beforehand...

    Thank you again & Hatzlocha to everyone here!

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

    Torah Quote of the Day

     

    Zohar, Bereshit 236b
     

    Rabbi Abba explained the verse: "The secret of Hashem is revealed to those who fear Him, to make known to them His Brit," (Tehillim, 25:14.) "The secret of Hashem," is the most exalted secret of the Torah that G-d only grants to those who fear sin. To those who fear sin, G-d reveals the most exalted secret of the Torah. And what is the most exalted secret of the Torah? It is (the secret of) the sign of the holy Brit, which is called the secret of the L-rd - this is the holy Brit.

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    There's a big difference between
     

    Lusting & Acting Out (Part 2)
     

    In continuation of yesterday's "Daily Dose of Dov", someone asks Dov:

     

    "Since the real reason for our acting out is excessive lusting, why isn't that our main focus (as opposed to just 'not acting out')?"

     

    Dov Responds:

     

    And if it is part of my focus then what? I don't make it go away by the power of my focus anyway! I haven't that power! I just surrender the right to lust today and do the best I can to stay interested in Hashem, and in my job. So I lust sometimes, tsk, tsk. I have a besmirched record. Shame on me. But I will do what is in my power to remain sober today, at all costs. My perfection is not the issue, but my honesty. I can be honest without being perfect, as long as I am honest about my imperfection. 

     

    "And what would you say about an issue that is purely emotional, such as hating, jealousy or fantasies and lusting? There, the action is actually in your head!"

     

    I have really found it to be true that "I cannot think myself into right living - I can only live myself into right thinking". The mess in my heart is not always in my power to change. I can admit and share it, work steps 4-9 on it, but in the end, the 7th step only works if I let go of the jealousies, fears, entitlements and resentments that affect me and sincerely ask to Hashem to wash it all out of me. 

    The way this "character development thing" has worked for me thus far is this: My own acting out has taught me that I need to be sober. No negotiation, it's #1 before my wife, kids, and my own feelings. But I have character defects of Pride, fear, entitlement, grandiose thinking, and resentment that get in the way. They make me very uncomfortable, and if I get uncomfortable enough, I have accepted that it will lead me to act out for relief. Not losing my sobriety motivates me to work steps 4-9 as needed, in order to remain sober and not lose everything and die. That's also why my entire avodah has grown over the years. I feel this connection is needed, and I do whatever is necessary to grow and maintain it. Not because it's right, but for my own good. If this is horrifying to some, I have nothing to say except that it is how I understand ani leDodi v'Dodi li - He want us to accept Him, but "accepting" Him also means to use Him!  Dodi li means he is for me! Use His Power!

    880.
    Tuesday  ~ 25 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  November 2, 2010
     

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Link of the Day: Internet Dangers
  • Member's Chizuk: What's in it for Me?
  • Story of the Day: Admitting Defeat
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Bereshit 197a
  • Daily Dose of Dov: I'd never satisfy myself with lust without dying for it
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Link of the Day
     

    Internet Dangers

     

    An excellent shiur about the dangers of the Internet from Rav Hershel Shechter in 2007, with some practical suggestions.
     

    (If you ever encounter scorn from modern Orthodox quarters about internet restrictions/filters, let them listen to this shiur).

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    Member's Chizuk

     

    What's in it for Me?

     

    By "Jack", clean for two years on GYE

     

    In America, it is often asked:  'what's in it for me?' Well, being "clean" is not the same as fulfilling every desire of ours - it's a much more subtle feeling. It takes time to appreciate the feeling that comes with being holy (separate). It is NOT immediate gratification, and it is NOT physical in nature. Physical gratification can be seen and felt immediately - spiritual gratification is not immediately discernible or felt. Rabbi Twerski says that America is a land that is very conducive to creating the addictive personality. Every physical gratification is so readily available, everywhere. We ask, "what does spiritual cleanliness do for me? Where is the benefit in keeping clean?" We have to realize that the benefit will not be the same as succumbing to lust. The only way we will know what the benefit is, is by being clean, WE have to trust the Torah. No one can explain to us what the benefits are - we have to experience it. Only then will we know - and it takes a long time. Can someone describe to you how grape juice tastes? You have to taste it yourself. We have to have patience, and trust, and of course, good friends.

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    Story of the Day

     

    Admitting Defeat

     

    By "Shteiging guy"

     

    I just found out about this amazing website. I've been struggling with this for almost 20 years.

     

    Its such a good feeling to be able to share. I've got a streak going on now.

     

    It all started innocently with some masturbation when I was 12 years old. I didn't even realize what I was doing. It just felt good and relaxed me. From then on it was downhill. I am currently 31 with 4 kids. I've had clean streaks, but when I would go back, it would be to worse things. I switched from trying to fight it like crazy, to just accepting that it would have to be part of my life.

     

    B"H I recently went to a therapist. In the last conversation, I kept on asking him what my mindset should be. Every week I would try a different one, only to fail at the end of the week. He finally screamed at me and said, "I already told you that you can't do this yourself. WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME AGAIN WHAT YOU CAN DO? DON'T YOU SEE HOW YOU'RE SET UP FOR FAILURE?" It finally penetrated. I was always trying to solve it myself. He finally showed me how to admit defeat. It finally sunk in. I can't do this myself. And the amazing thing is that I felt so much better after surrendering. It took so much pressure off me. I realized that there were so many other places in my life that I was always trying to take care of everything myself as well. I need to learn how to let Hashem take care of my life.

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

    Torah Quote of the Day

     

    Zohar, Bereshit 197a
     

    Come and see, the Holy One Blessed Be He fashioned the kingdom of earth after the model of the kingdom of heaven, one like the other, and whatever transpires on earth has first been approved above by G-d.  

    The holy kingdom was not a completed kingdom until it was united with the Patriarchs, since the Holy One Blessed Be He fashioned the upper kingdom that it should be illuminated in the world by the (sefirot mystically embodied in the) Patriarchs. 

    And when Yosef, the tzaddik, went down to Egypt before his family, he drew the Shechinah after him, since the Shechinah only follows after the tzaddik (keeper of the Brit.) This is the reason that Yosef preceded the others to Egypt, where he gathered up all the wealth of the world, as was fitting. Afterwards, the Shechinah went down to Egypt to accompany the descent of the tribes. 

    And because Yosef guarded his Brit in sexual purity, he merited to be crowned with and attached to the place fitting him (the Yesod,) and thus merited kingship both in the upper and lower kingdoms. And likewise, whoever guards the holy Brit, it is like he observed all of holy Torah, since the Brit is equal in weight with the whole Torah.
     

    (Note: Brit = 612, perhaps to show it is equal to all other 612 mitzvos of the Torah)

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    I'd never satisfy myself with lust without dying for it

     

    Someone wrote on the forum:

     

    I am trying to rely only on my wife, but I can't find the satisfaction in her, it's a big problem. I am having a urge to just drop the new me with her, & go back to self pleasure, it's just much more fun.

     

    Dov Replies:

     

    As an addict, I really must say something distinctly un-GYE, and in all seriousness: Good luck. I tried that and after a few years of more failure at being a happy pervert, saw that I'd never satisfy myself with lust anyway without dying for it. Then I ran like hell to recovery, b"H. If I could still successfully act out, I probably would today. Am I a rasha? Maybe. But that's not my concern. I have accepted on myself to salvage whatever of my life is left to be sober in, and that's it. What Hashem gives me and doesn't give me, is His business. If I really thought it was all a moral issue, you can see what a horrid pretzel I'd be!  

    No one could have proven it to me, and it would be silly for me to try to prove anything to you, either. 

    881.
    Wednesday  ~ 26 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  November 3, 2010

    In Today's Issue

     
  • Two Announcements: Elya & Zeva's Phone Conferences
  • Practical Tips of the Day: I'm Hopeless
  • Daily Dose of Dov: All I want to do is live
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    ANNOUNCEMENT 1:

     

    Elya's Phone Conference

     

    Tonight, at 7:45 PM Eastern Time
     

    This is an open invitation to everyone to join the Call

     

    Call in number: 1-712-429-0690
    Access PIN: 225356#

     

    Please join us!

     

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


    ANNOUNCEMENT 2:

     

    Zeva's phone group will be starting a new cycle in about 2 weeks.

     

    Click here for more info - and to sign up.

     

    Gary writes:

     

    "I am very pleased to recommend Zeva Citronenbaum LCSWR CSAT as a coach, mentor, and friend that has been providing counseling to our group for the past 20 weeks. Zeva is both engaging and informative, teaching us the skills in "mindfulness, DBT, disclosure, feelings and relationships with family and spouses. I can honestly say that Zeva and the group she runs once per week is a major contributing factor to my recovery. I enjoy her sessions and learn many insightful methods of dealing with sexual addiction and the feelings of an addict. I would recommend any addict desiring to change their lives and recover from their illness to join one of Zeva's groups if possible, or to contact Guard Your Eyes for recommendations and assistance." 

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

     

    I'm Hopeless

     

    Moshe wrote on the forum:

     

    I feel like I'm hopeless. I've tried almost everything, but I am locked in a vicious cycle of good, bad and ugly days. Every time a few good days pass, I get the good feeling and forget about my effort of recovery, even though I know it won't last. The fact is, I can't stop acting out and I can't help myself.


    Years ago, I thought I was the only guy in the world with this problem until I found out that many suffer with this addiction, but today I believe I'm the only guy in the world who cannot recover.


    On the optimistic side, I've been actively trying to stop my 15 year addiction for more than 4 or 5 years and through the work I've done over the last few years (SA, phone conferences, GYE and therapy), I am way more in touch with my feelings. I see the very clear link between my fears of facing daily life/disconnection to life and my acting out. I clearly see that I run to porn as a drug to make myself feel better and that acting out is my drug. I am afraid of so many things that don't even make sense. A few years ago, I didn't believe any of that, I thought it was all just a yetzer hara.


    I am also having some more "up time", meaning that although I act out on a regular basis, the hours of "living life" have increased dramatically, and the hours spent in isolation are decreasing slowly.

     

    We respond:
     

    Dear Moshe,

     

    Welcome to GYE, the world of the hopeless. We can't, but He can. "Kovei Hashem YACHALIFU Koach" - we can exchange our koach with Hashem's. We just need to learn how to LET Him do it FOR US.

     

    Harvey, one of the founders of SA, sums up the SA program as just 2 simple things:

    1) Don't act out even if your tush falls off!

    2) Call someone.

     

    I'm sure you've tried nedarim in the past to no avail, but how about trying this one?

     

    "I am mekabel upon myself bi'neder for a week, that if I act out without calling someone first I will need to give a $100 donation to GYE".

     

    With this neder, you are free to act out. But you just need to call someone first. If you don't, it will hurt.... You'll be amazed to find how the urge to act out greatly diminishes when you know you HAVE TO call someone first ;-)

     

    Where can you get numbers to call? From your SA groups, or from Duvid Chaim's call roster... Or you can even ask for anyone on the forum to PM you their number. I'm sure you'll get a few guys who are willing to have you call them...

     

    When you call someone, don't expect to get any major chizuk. Just tell them the honest truth about what you feel, what your triggers are, and how powerless you feel. You'll be amazed to see that the lust fades when you bring it into the light.

     

    There really is no other way to stay sober. We need to call someone. We need to get it out into the open. If we stay in our heads, we're toast.

     

    "Kedusha" responds to Moshe:

     

    Dear Moshe,


    Staying sober is simple, but not easy. A few "simple" tips, which you've, no doubt, heard before in one form or another:


    1) What happened in the past is irrelevant.  What will happen tomorrow is not your cheshbon.  What does matter, and comes before ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING else, is that we stay clean TODAY.  If we're clean just today, we've won the Powerball times a Googleplex.  If we really believed this, none of us would fall today.  This "one day at a time" rule can be modified, if we're feeling weak, to one hour at a time, or even 5 minutes at a time.  Does our sobriety really come before everything?  Yes.  It comes before our marriages.  It comes before our children.  It comes before our parnasa. That's because, without our sobriety, we stand to lose all of these, and everything else, in this world and the next.


    2) Because our sobriety is the most important thing in the world, we need sobriety insurance.  Sobriety insurance?  Why not?  We insure our cars, our homes, and everything else that's important to us.  Our sobriety is our home x 1,000,000,000, so we'd sure as heck better insure it.  How to insure our sobriety?  At the very least, we need to set  up effective safeguards: an effective filter, to which we have no access to the password, and monitoring software, which reports every site we visit to a trusted third party.  We need to be accountable.


    3) Every fall, c"v, needs to cost us an amount we can afford, but an amount that hurts at the same time.  This can be a donation to Tzedaka or some other type of k'nas, monetary or otherwise. The idea is that it needs to hurt significantly more to fall than not to fall.


    4) Most important, we need to effectively reach out to others and to the RBS"O, and always be working an effective program. The GYE handbook will point us in the right direction as to what we need to be doing: If step #1 is not enough, we need to move on to step #2, and so on, until we find what works for us.

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    All I want to do is live
     

    To someone who claims he is too weak and wants to give up, Dov writes:

     

    I'm also too weak and have given up - not on myself, but on the fight. 

    As long as anyone feels they can live like this, there is obviously no personal reason to stop. So we won't, period. So why add guilt? I've never seen guilt (which is just more self-centeredness) work for changing a habit like this. If life with schmutz hasn't stopped working, why'd we quit? At least, that is the way it is for me. I'd be sitting here right now, gathering my "wealth" of porn, too, if I could! But I found that I can't. That I "shouldn't" is irrelevant to me, really, in addiction. Am I a rasha? I don't really care what I am. All I want to do is live. If the only way this Dov can do that is sober, then so be it.

    P.S. and off I go to ask Hashem to help me be with Him all day today and to be useful to the people I am with, not to hurt anyone (including myself), and to be saved from gathering any more fake 'wealth'... 

    882.
    Thursday  ~ 27 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  November 4, 2010

    In Today's Issue
  • Personal Victory of the Day: Missed the Minyan (but not the Boat!)

  • 12-Step Attitude: If G-d wanted me to be a Dishwasher

  • Torah Thought of the Day: 12 Korbonos

  • Daily Dose of Dov: The 12 Steps are about being real with ourselves

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Personal Victory of the Day

     

    Missed the Minyan (but not the Boat!)

     

    By "Honest Mouse"

     

    My boss called a meeting during lunchtime and I missed Mincha, which would mean I would have to daven without a minyan.


    I was sulking and frustrated, mamash like a 2 year old, and I started lusting with passers by on the street. I felt very tempted to go into an internet cafe... 

    Then I remembered my Taphsic kabalah, and that was enough to snap me back to my senses. Now I could think about why I was so frustrated. It's RIDICULOUSLY inconsistent to be upset about missing a minyan and therefore feel the need to compensate by acting out! 

    I realized I was upset because I missed davening with a minyan, and that's what I'm used to and it makes me feel good. Hashem obviously planned for me to miss the minyan, it was out of my control. Perhaps this whole episode was for to me to realize that something is amiss in my motivation for wanting to daven with a minyan, otherwise it would be much easier to accept when Hashem doesn't want me to.

    B"H, I went to the shul I usually go to, davened b'yechidus, learned for a few minutes, and headed back still sober, but more importantly, I was more aware of the lack in my closeness to my Maker.

     

    "Kedusha" Responds with a parable:


    Your success in not acting-out due to a relatively minor frustration can be described by a Mashal: Fred loses five dollars, and that stresses him out.  Out of frustration, he starts flushing money down the toilet, until he needs to call a plumber.  When the plumber tells him that the bill is $50, he assaults the plumber out of frustration. When the police arrive, he aims his rifle out the window and opens fire. Somehow, he gets released on bail pending his trial for attempted murder. But, facing the prospect of conviction, he hires someone to kill the prosecutor.


    I could go on and on. But, I've learned from experience that most of life's stressors are, relatively speaking, like losing five dollars, whereas 'falling' is comparable to the rest of my story.

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

    12 Step Attitude

     

    If G-d Wanted me to be a Dishwasher

     

    "Chaim77" has recently joined a live 12-Step group, as well as the GYE phone conferences. He writes:

     

    It is incredible to look back and recall how much pain I was in not long ago.  I am still in a lot of pain when I get my mind racing and dwelling on future worries or past regrets. For right now, I am just trying to focus on right now and what I am doing.  It may sound odd, but the greatest relief I've gotten over the past week has been just washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen at night. In those 20 or 30 minutes I just feel at easy and at one with the task - not worried about anything else or threatened or anything.

    I've always lived my life wanting to be somewhere else - always looking for some angle or advantage or scheming some way to improve this or make this better. Then when I get into doing and working, I always feel I should be somewhere else or doing something else - even if I don't know what that is. I feel like this is my disease even more than the acting out. The acting out just masks the pain of this always wanting, always craving, always managing, always trying to control and achieve and plan. It makes the present moment intolerable and painful to just be in the now.

     
    If I could just surrender to what I should be doing - what a gift that would be! I just feel that if I G-d wanted me to be a dishwasher and I knew that - if I was in touch with that - I could just wash dishes and be elated because I knew that I was just doing what I was put on the earth to do. But the way it is and the way it's been, I go nuts - I don't know what Hashem wants me to be.

    I am sick and I know that I am "blocked off from the sunlight of the spirit." Today I'm just trying to act "as if". So when I am working on a project at work or talking to someone on the phone, I'm trying to act as if that's exactly what Hashem wants me to be doing at that moment and just surrender to it and not second guess myself to think about what else I should be doing at that time. Just let that go and do.

    Of all the recovery groups I've seen, I've never seen recovery being lived out and the steps being worked like I have in this fellowship and on the calls. It's really humbling. G-d willing in another 4 weeks or so I will be able to start in with the other newcomers on the steps, when Duvid Chaim starts a new cycle.

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

    Torah thought of the Day

     

    12 Korbonos

     

    By "Me3"

     

    I came across an interesting Gemora in Horiyos, for those learning the daf. The Gemara relates how Klal Yisroel brought 12 korbanos for sinning with Avoda Zara (Par Healam Davar). The Gemara asks, "According to R' Yehuda who holds that each shevet requires their own korban I understand why they brought 12 korbanos. But according to R' Meir who holds that Bais Din brings 1 korban for all of Klal Yisroel, why 12 Korbanos?"

    The Gemara answers, "Because Klal Yisroel sinned, did Teshuva, sinned again, did Teshuva again, etc... 12 times!

    Vicious cycle?

    No end?

    No! They picked themselves up each time and tried again.

    Eventually they won!

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.
     

    The 12-Steps are just about being real with ourselves

    Dov writes to a guy who has a program of his own, and says he will go to the 12 steps if his plan doesn't work:

    Hatzlacha with whatever you are doing, my friend.

     

    BTW, I have never really understood the idea that I have heard many times on GYE that, "I'll try x, y and z... and - if they do not work, then my last resort is the 12 steps." 

    The fact that one who is not deeply motivated will not get off their buttocks and do some hard work is understandable. The part I don't get is why the 12 steps are looked at as something other than just being honest with ourselves. Can life possibly be expected to work well without that? Especially for a person with a big, bad habit like schmutz - can change ever be expected without rigorous self-honesty? 

    It is not complicated, very simple, and very powerful to be simply honest with ourselves. I see it as Derech Eretz which is clearly kodmah laTorah, and believe with my whole heart that although there are certainly many ways other than the 12 steps to find recovery and sobriety, those of us who are blessed to have the progressive, chronic, and fatal disease of sex/lust addiction (or really any addiction) and find recovery in using these 12 principles, are blessed with a beautiful and real living experience in every respect. 

    I see the 12 principles (steps) as coming from Torah just as any advice in Pirkei Avos does. They are just about learning to be real with ourselves, with G-d, and with our fellow man. That's all. Isn't that a Torah value?
     
    A related article that just came out on Aish.com - "Judaism & the 12-Steps". 
    883.
    Friday  ~ 28 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  November 5, 2010
    Erev Shabbos, Parshas Toldos

    In Today's Issue

    • Parsha Tidbits 1: The Voice of Yaakov
    • Parsha Tidbits 2: The Tzadik Way
    • Parsha Tidbits 3: Lip-Service or Heart-Service
    • Parsha Tidbits 4: The Dark Before the Light
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Worshiping the False god of Lust
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Parsha Tidbits from the GYE Forum

     

    The Voice of Yaakov

     

    By "An Honest Mouse"

     

    (27:22) 'hakol kol yaakov, vehayodayim yedei eisov'. Eisav's way is fighting, our way is tefillah - we do NOT fight the disease, that's part of the disease, part of eisav. We use our voice - to speak to Hashem, forging a closer connection, or to speak to a friend about our struggles to get them out of our head. Our journey to freedom is through using our voice, not through fighting.

     

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

     

    The Tzadik Way

     

    By "An Honest Mouse"


    (27:29) 'cursed be those who curse you, blessed be those who bless you' Rashi points out that Yitschok and bilom spoke the other way round, bilom 1st mentioned the blessing and then the curse. Rashi says, this is because tzadikim start off with suffering and end up with tranquility while resho'im are the other way round (this is perhaps alluded to in the secular/jewish day - we start off with night followed by day, while they are the other way round).

    Acting out/recovery is totally the same. The 'rasha' way is pleasure 1st, suffering later, in the short term this means I act out and get pleasure and then I'm in terrible pain afterwards because of what I've done. The 'tzadik' way is suffering 1st, I don't lust, I don't allow myself that pleasure - it's so hard and sometimes very painful, but in the short term and kal vachomer in the long term, I'll end up with a life of tranquility because my life isn't ruled by the addiction and I'm not living a lie.

     

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

     

    Lip-Service or Heart-Service

     

    By Ovadia


    The pasuk tells us that Esav was "tzayid befiv'. The common understanding of this is that Esav tricked Yitschok into thinking that he was really a righteous person and Chazal tell us that he would ask Yitschok halachic questions such as whether maaser needs to be taken from straw, thereby misleading him.

    However Rav Dessler ZT"L quotes from the Arizal that these discussions were in fact genuine. Otherwise there was no way Esav could have conned Yitschok. Nevertheless, there was a critical flaw in Esav's mindset; all his righteousness was only "befiv", it was all lip-service. In his heart he was the wicked Esav and there was no contradiction between his wicked heart and his "pure' mouth.

    This is what is meant in Chazal by Timtum Halev; referring to the situation a person reaches at which the Avairo causes a blockage between the heart and the mind; the sins of a person can actually prevent inspiration from penetrating a person's heart. 

    There is an expression used among the Baalei  Mussar that: "Reshaim Mlaim Charotos - the wicked are full of regrets". The reason for this, is that since the regret of a wicked person even if it is genuine is only external they never become absorbed by his heart in a way that will make him change his ways, and so the "regrets" often stay in one place and don't get them anywhere. "We have to live ourselves into a new way of thinking, not think ourselves into a new way of living".

     

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

     

    The Dark Before the Light

     

    By "Yosef Hatzadik"

    Vayhi ra'av b'aretz... Vayeira eilav Hashem. (26:1,2)
     

    After Yitzchok lost his source of parnassa because there was a famine in the place where he lived, he merited his first nevuah!!

    When things look bleak - they begin to shine the brightest!

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here

     

    Worshiping the False god of Lust

    In continuation of yesterday, Dov writes to a guy who has a program of his own and says he will go to the 12 steps if his plan doesn't work:

    Perhaps the 'problem' inherent in the 12 steps for frummeh yidden is the fact that the steps imply that one can have complete success with living even though he believes in a false god. I believe that is the real reason that the 12 steps are placed outside the framework of Torah by many frum yidden. 

    I deferred using them many times over the 15 years of progressive acting out, too.

    To me, the sad thing about that is that many of us very same frummeh yidden defer the 12 steps while we are serving a false god, ourselves! We are completely given over to the image and awesome power of young, attractive females with perfect, beautiful bodies. It is more than a desire - it proves itself as a 'need' by our track record of cyclical, repetitive use. In our bodies and minds we feel the tremendous power these images and women have, and perform - for the sake and in the service of our lust - many of the things our religion demands: 

    Tomid - regular cyclical service; 'lishkod al dalsosai, yom yom'...

    D'chilu uR'chimu - we all know how our hands tremble and hearts race in excited anticipation of a juicy, really dirty schmutz site, the fruits of our desperate searching. The dryness of the mouth doesn't lie. It proves a powerful devotion that we have to it and obviously comes from our intense love and desire (r'chimu) plus our awe of and fear of losing (d'chilu) the precious, hard-won images and very real lust pleasures;

    Tzniyus - very private porn use and sex with themselves (masturbation);

    Kavonoh and Yichud haMa'aseh - there is no focus like the single-mindedness of our trance in search and use of our lust objects;

    Emunah - faith in it actually working for us even though it may have failed many times before - we keep on trying and never give up; 

    Mesiras Nefesh - the money spent, embarrassment taken, the tolerance of excruciating pain of our own hypocrisy and physical discomfort. Many of us remember these things endured in the desperate search for our fix; 

    These values, bastardizations as they are, are no less 'Torah' values than are the 12 Principles of recovery. They are the values - not the Rules of Torah, and are forever independent of the Mitzvos. They are the property of all people, not just yidden. I call that Derech Eretz. Derech Eretz includes the tools for keeping the Torah successfully. That is why these values must at least be accepted 'kodmah laTorah'. And every lust addict I have ever met has excelled at living by these very same values - for their lust. 

    We already have demonstrated that we have the values. Recovery is called 'recovery' precisely because we are recovering the ability to use the values we already have to live real life, not the fake one. We are being restored to the sanity we once had... maybe as children.

    That is why I agree with R' Twerski that the 12 steps are a great tool to use for living. It's just that I have not seen many non-addicts have the motivation to actually use these principles. Frum perverts-in-recovery like myself are a strange lot: the lowest form of human life in disease - and yet the very luckiest people in the whole world in recovery. (Reminds me of Chazal on "k'chochvei haShomayim  - vs - chachol asher al s'fas hayam" - the extremes of Klal Yisroel.)

     
    A related article that just came out on Aish.com - "Judaism & the 12-Steps". 
    884.
    Sunday  ~ 30 Cheshvan, 5771  ~  November 7, 2010
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Dear GYE, I spoke to you about soliciting funds for my party. You asked me to write my story so it could be circulated. I'm more desperate now then ever, so here it is. Tizke l'mitzvos. You have saved thousands of lives, I hope you're aware of your tremendous z'chuyos that not even many Gedolim can reach. - Yossi.
     

    Today's e-mail is dedicated to Yossi. His story is very inspiring, and his courage is causing a mini-revolution in the Yeshiva world in Israel! Yossi needs our help. Read his amazing story and please help with whatever you can.

     

    Yossi's Story (& His Party)

     

    My name is Yossi, I am a 19 year old Bochur, and I have been Shomer Habris for over 6 months B"H - the best 6 months of my life.

     

    One of the main things that spurred me to stop, besides for the extreme seriousness of the sin, was the realisation of how much better life would be without this life-sucking addiction.

     

    Before I was Shomer, I was a different person. My thoughts were perverted, my speech tainted, as were my conversations, and of course, I was naturally attracted to every second girl and woman I saw. But the main thing that was killing me, which I only realize the full extent of now, was the negative effect that masturbation had on my soul. The learning wouldn't come in, prayer wouldn't come out, and Shabbos was boring, as was everything Jewish in between. My life was a contradiction. I knew it, and as both a Jew and Yeshivah Bochur, I had to stop.

     

    One of the ways that helped me realize I could stop was the introduction of the website 'guardyoureyes.org.'  This website tremendously helped me become aware of the nature of this averiah, with its clear and thorough help. Joining the daily chizuk emails encouraged and pushed me to strive to complete 90 days clean. Reading the stories of other people helped me, and whenever I needed a source of inspiration and was struggling, I used the website as a source of new encouragement which spurred me further. 

     

    So I stopped. And since then, everything has changed.

     

    Learning is now absolutely amazing! In fact, last z'man was the best z'man I ever had in my life. Davening, singing and dancing all comes straight from the heart, and the heilige Shabbos Kodesh is by far my favourite day of the week. IY"H may it continue.

     

    How did I stop? I told myself before z'man starts that I must be clean, and I drummed it into myself a hundred times over. Mikveh, Mussar, and Tikun Haklali all helped, but in order to even dream of beginning such a daunting task, open internet went straight out the window - literally. And if anyone is planning on stopping while you have any form of unfiltered internet access, good luck. You've failed before you've started, and if you think you're stronger than the Yetzer Horah when he's armed with open internet, I'm afraid you're badly mistaken. I'm speaking from experience. Internet is the devil, the fiery dragon that we must slay. I smashed my i-Touch, sold my Wi-Fi phone at a loss, and the very next day was my first day clean!

     

    Smashing and selling all my internet connections was by far the best impulse decision I've made in my life. I didn't think too hard - I just did what I knew was right, leaving no time for the Yetzer Horah to plant his evil seeds of doubt in my mind - such as: "It's not your money to waste... It's your parent's money.... It's Hashem's... it could go to charity... Ba'al Tashchis... you need it for countless other things... how can you live without it?" NO! These things you plan for afterwards - not before.

     

    Here's how I see it: the struggle for reaching Shmiras Habris is like climbing a ladder. Rung by rung, day by day, higher and higher. Sometimes we may lose our footing and slip, but we must immediately regain our balance because we certainly don't want to hit rock bottom; no one does. We must never give up and we'll soon see that gradually, over time, it gets easier and easier, until one day we'll reach our goal of purity in this world  - and eternal bliss in the next. But the ladder only starts in midair, and to reach the first rung one has to take a massive leap. But once we've taken that leap and have grasped that first rung, we're already halfway there!

     

    That leap is getting rid of your i-Touch, your Pocket PC or anything else that has an internet connection (or installing strong filters with reporting software on devices that can be filtered). Once this is done, you're halfway there, and I promise, this will be a leap you will not regret.

     

    It's still not over, in fact, far from it. There will always be tests, but the first few weeks are the hardest. The Yetzer Harah will continuously plague and torment you with lustful thoughts, trying to get you to finally give in. The only thing to do is to attack those thoughts while in their infancy. If you're sitting in the bathroom, standing in the shower, or laying in bed and a sick thought enters your head - don't chill with it! Shut it out immediately, shake your head, bang it, jump out of bed and pray to G-d, whatever it takes, but never ever chill with it, because a bad thought is like a poised snake ready to strike - one must shut the door immediately and leave it shut until it goes. The second you open that door, once the head is inside, it's too late; its entire body will instantly slither in and inject you with venomous poison. Don't assume you can fight the snake - you can't, it's a lot stronger than you are.

     

    Another step to reaching full purity is the cutting down of even the most seemingly innocent things, like movies and TV series, and even certain games. Although I, being more of the party animal type, never really had that problem, since I never had the time to watch a movie - I was always with friends partying and clubbing. I used to think that after seeing what I'd seen, doing what I'd done, and watching what I'd watched, nothing as miniscule as a film could really arouse me any more - but I realised that once you starve your Yetzer Horah, the smallest things like a brief movie scene, attractive women on the street, or even a street advertisement could be extremely arousing and lend themselves to severe temptation.
     

    In order to maintain these boundaries, I always make sure to keep myself busy. Since, from experience, boredom is very dangerous. Too much chilling by myself behind a closed door, even with a Gemarah in my hand, and obviously in front of a screen, always leads to temptations, which usually stem from thoughts.

     

    Too much chilling alone is never good, especially for the first couple of weeks. This isn't a haskama, but I personally felt that even spending the night partying in town was less likely to lead to me wasting zera than spending the night in my bedroom chilling alone. That doesn't make partying in town alright, I'm just using it to show how bad it is to stay alone with your Yetzer Hara.

     

    After sticking to these boundaries, together with my steadfast will and determination, I realised that this was time I was actually going to reach 90 days, and it was actually possible! I started speaking about it with other bochurim and friends to encourage them, and at the same time, to reinforce my own faith. It became quite clear that this problem wasn't only limited to bums, former bums and people who don't wear white shirts. It was a problem that nearly everyone I spoke to had, and its seriousness and effect was deeply underrated. Most people's attitude was, "you know, it's very hard, especially in this day and age, and it's practically impossible, G-d doesn't expect us to do the impossible." ... "It's not half as bad as it used to be" ... "most of these curses are exaggerated just to scare us" ... "it's scientifically healthy and therefore it can't be that bad..." ... "it's dangerous not to"... and other rubbish.

     

    There is also a severe lack of information among many bochurim, since the subject is so taboo and not spoken about by most Rebbeim, for whatever reasons they have. The fact is, there is a severe lack of awareness, and since the seriousness of the sin is never spoken about and definitely not shoved in people's faces like it should be, there is nothing pushing anyone to stop.

     

    The extent of people's ignorance really hit me after a certain bochur, a good guy, who understandably had a severe lack of motivation in learning and Judaism in general, confided in me and told me that before I made such a ruckus about this whole topic, he had never even known that masturbating was a sin! And he's turning 20! Of course he is an exception, as nearly everyone is told at some point in their life that it's bad and a terrible sin, but that is definitely not enough to hit the conscience of an addict to make them stop.

     

    I therefore came up with a crazy idea. To celebrate my completion of 90 clean days, I would throw a massive party for all first and second year Bochurim, and all my friends from other yeshivas - to celebrate. The point obviously being, to make it a public event and to be a source of encouragement and inspiration to others. I collected money from avreichim and even bochurim (in addition to my own money), a date was set, invitations were sent, and B"H the party was an enormous success. Together with the beers and l'chaims, it became a public event, and most of the 80 or so people took it upon themselves publicly to be shomer for a certain period of time, some more, some less.

     

    For weeks afterwards, even until today, people come and tell me about the effect it had on them, and how long they were clean because of it.

     

    Due to its tremendous success, I planned to make another, even bigger party. After 5 months, a date was once again set, random friends and bochurim representing nearly every foreign yeshivah in Jerusalem were invited (on condition that they would be clean until the party). I started collecting money from Avreichim, but due to the large scale of this party, nowhere near enough money was raised. I nevertheless decided to go ahead with plans and took out a loan, naively hoping people would gladly want to have part of such a tremendous z'chus.

     

    10 large crates of beer, many bottles of vodka, lots of food and drinks, a speaker system plus generator, and loads of GuardYourEyes handbooks were printed and distributed. The GYE booklets were the very same booklets that helped encourage me. Immediately when boys received these booklets, they had the potential for the same source of inspiration.

     

    B"H the party succeeded beyond all my wildest expectations. Around 200 guys turned up (from word of mouth only), there was loads of singing and dancing, there were very inspiring speeches, the atmosphere was of real simcha and indescribable joy. The main part was that, over a l'chaim, nearly every single person there genuinely promised with utmost sincerity to be clean at least a month. Furthermore, bochurim from a certain yeshivah who all took it upon themselves at the party to be holy, spread it into a wider group yeshivah effort, IM"H may they succeed - and they are still clean today! I personally think that the party the angels were having in heaven must have been a thousand times bigger than the one we made down here.

     

    News of this party spread like wildfire, and the feedback was extremely encouraging. I've had many thankful bochurim calling in saying what a chizuk this party had on them. Every day bochurim tell me how they and their friends are still clean as a result of the inspiration they got at the party, and the fact that that it became a public team effort rather then a seemingly hopeless one-man fight. Boys asked me for more GYE handbooks, thanking me that it was a huge source of help; they also described how useful the website was, in particular the daily chizuk e-mails.A prominent mashgiach of a top yeshivah in Israel thanked me personally over the phone and told me that he is now helping several bochurim from his own Yeshiva, who, before attending the party, would never have entertained the thought of approaching their Mashgiach over such a private and embarrassing topic. Some bochurim have thanked me, saying that it's the best z'man they've had in their lives!

     

    Before I conclude, I would like to take this chance to thank all those involved with GYE.Without the website and their source of help, I wouldn't be where I am today - clean for so long. And as seen from my friends and those in the party, the website is for all and can help all; the work and effort of GYE is invaluable. May they continue being a source of inspirations to all Jews. The mitzvah they are doing is done by no one else, and they deserve huge credit.

     

    The reason why I'm writing this story is twofold. One, I want to show everyone that it's possible. And two, because I urgently need your help. I have a considerably large loan with no means of repaying, and all the small donations that I have received mainly from bochurim themselves, have gone straight into the upkeep of the cause. You see, the parties were only the beginning - to break the ice. But I promised many guys l'chaims and smaller parties when they reach 90 days. I bought other bochurim burgers on condition they abstain for a month, and I made many other similar deals and bribes (if they break them, they must give back much more of course, and trust me, I can immediately tell if someone is telling the truth or not).

     

    Fortunately, many guys have been keeping to their deals and I must keep to mine.

     

    Even yesterday, a bochur who I promised a gathering/l'chaim if he reaches 90, approached me telling me he's almost half way there, his longest streak ever, and he is eagerly awaiting. (He's another story himself. We're talking about a boy whose entire life was consumed by this disease; he had a massive porn addiction and would masturbate on average at least 5 times a day!).

     

    The problem is, I have no money to fund this and all the other things I promised, and it's a crying shame! Lately, I've had to turn down many bochurim who have approached me asking for deals and so on, as I simply have no means of paying. There will be no way I can plan another party or carry out anything I promised without donations. Anyone who gives money will be literally saving lives, it's clear pikuach nefesh!

     

    Many Tzadikim say that one of the biggest atonements a man who transgressed this sin can do, is by giving charity and helping others who have the problem. By donating, you can be'H accomplish both.

     

    May we be zoche to purity and may Hashem forgive us for all our sins. Amen.

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Donations can be sent to GYE through Paypal (on our website), or by check written out to 'GYE Corp' and mailed to: GYE Corp. P.O. Box 32380. Pikesville, MD 21282 U.S.A

     

    Please specify that the donation is for "Yossi's Party", otherwise we will assume the donation is to GYE.

    885.
    Monday  ~ 1 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 8, 2010
    Rosh Chodesh Kislev

    In Today's Issue

    • Announcement 1: Feedback from "Yossi's Story" Yesterday
    • Announcement 2: Let your wife know!
    • Announcement 3: Introducing eBlaster Mobile for the Blackberry
    • Q & A of the Day: Helping Kids have a Real Relationship with Hashem
    • Story of the Day: Mike's Update
    • Daily Dose of Dov: What to do when under attack
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    A Few Announcements

     

    Announcement 1

     

    Feedback from "Yossi's Story" yesterday

     

    We received some warm responses to yesterday's story about Yossi and his parties. Many people were inspired by this young man's courage. However, along with some of the responses came some skepticism. Some people doubted his story was true, and some suspected it was a scam to get people to donate to him... And even though I had personally spoken to Yossi a number of times by phone, I was asked to do some further verification. So I called him up today and told him we had some skeptics. He handed the phone over to Rav Michael Levi, a mashgiach in Medrash Shmuel, and I spoke with him for a few moments and he testified that he was personally by one of the parties that Yossi made, and that Yossi was doing great work. Yossi also gave me the number of Rav Aurbach, the Mashgiach of Torah Ohr, who was also at the party. (He told me that Rav Aurbach actually has a program himself where he pays Bochurim every week to stay clean).

     

    Again, Yossi stressed how he has boys approaching him every day for "deals" and that he's currently paying 3 boys out of pocket (collecting money here and there).


    Yossi is also planning to make an even bigger party around Chanukah time.

     

    Let's help him with his mini-revolution! Donate to GYE (see bottom of this e-mail) and send us an e-mail that the donation is for Yossi. (Note: GYE has nothing to gain from these donations. They go straight to Yossi).
     

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

     

    Announcement 2

     

    Let Your Wife Know!

     

    A New Phone Conference Group Beginning for Spouses of Addicts

     

    Hi, My name is Hagit and I would like to introduce myself. My husband is Duvid Chaim, who leads a phone conference for the men, and he brought to my attention that the wives of the men who attend his call would like to join a program too. You see, if you are married to an addict, you are very likely struggling with co-dependency issues.

     

    My background is attending and sponsoring people in CODA (Co Dependent Anonymous) for the past 4 years, and I have been active as a life coach for the past year. I would like to start a phone conference right after Chanukah to help the spouses of addicts with the Green Book (which is The 12 steps and 12 Traditions workbook of Co-Dependents Anonymous).

     

    We already have a few women on board. However, I would like you to please publicize this group amongst the husbands on your network, so that they will tell their wives and get as many women as possible.

     

    Any woman who wants to join should purchase a hard copy of the Green Book. It can be bought on Amazon.com over here.

     

    I can be contacted at miriamgye@gmail.com for questions, or you can call me at: 318-599-9408.

     

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

     

    Announcement 3

     

    Introducing eBlaster Mobile for
    BlackBerry Smartphones!

    It's here! Cell Phone Monitoring from SpectorSoft is now available, eBlaster Mobile can now be used on your BlackBerry Smartphone.

     

    Click here to purchase.

     

    If you would like to get a filter to block internet access on the Blackberry altogether, here is a solution:

    1) Call Verizon wireless (or whichever your wireless carrier you use) and make sure that you have "Enterprise data service".

     

    2) Call Jnet (a frum internet company) at 866866JNET and tell them you would like a filter for your Blackberry. They will walk you thru the process, it's quite simple.

     

    3) The only thing you will need to know when calling JNet is the PIN # of your Blackberry, which can be found by scrolling to the Options icon (looks like a wrench) and clicking on Status.

    If you need more assistance don't hesitate to contact our filter gabai at: filter.gye@gmail.com

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

    Q & A of the Day

     

    Helping Kids Have a Real Relationship with Hashem

     

    Hi Guard,

     

    From my experience, it's clear that long term recovery can only be achieved by "living right" one day at a time. "Living right" can mean different things to different people, but a relationship with Hashem is a core component by any definition. So when considering how to best prepare children for their inevitable encounter with the Y"H of lust, it would seem that beyond all the eitzos of filters, communication with your kids, etc., etc., THEY need to form a relationship with Hashem as early as possible. For me, this did not happen until I began to work on recovery when I was 30+ years old! For my kids, this is at least 20 years too late. I'd be happy to learn with my kids about emunah and hashkafah - i.e. the tools that help me today. But I suspect it won't work the same way at their age, and that something else is probably more appropriate. Is this true and if so, what is the right material or approach?

    Thanks,
    Aaron

     

    Dear Aharon,

     

    Good question. We can tell our children:

    • To speak with Hashem as if he was a friend right here with us in the room... 
    • To realize Hashem loves us even when we make bad mistakes.
    • To internalize that He only has our very best interest in mind at all times, no matter how bad things seem to be.
    • To live with constant gratitude, even for the little things... 
    • To internalize how much Hashem values a real relationship with us; so much so, that when we are distant, He sometimes causes us suffering and pain just to get our attention... It therefore follows, that if we live with constant gratitude and awareness of Hashem's closeness and love, we will save ourselves much pain down the line, because He won't need to get us to come "running to Him" just when things are bad...

    Of course, all these ideas are easier said than "felt". But if we talk about these ideas with our children from time to time, and if they see a father who truly believes these things, feels them, and lives with this kind of awareness, then I believe that they too will learn to internalize it.

     

    Also, I highly suggest all parents read our handbook called "Prevention Tips for Parents". It can be downloaded here (right-click and choose "Save Target/Link As").

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

     

    Story of the Day

     

    Mike's Update

     

    I just wanted to give you an update since I wrote my story a couple of months ago (see chizuk e-mail #832, August 31 2010), and again hope you "send" it to others so they find encouragement in their fight.

     

    Believe me, if I can keep up the fight, then surely those who are more learned then I, should have even greater strength. For starters, I have not "wasted" any seed for close to 3 months. I have been tempted, but I refrained. I have slipped only once and visited some inappropriate sites ("my old stomping grounds"), but I quickly stopped before things went too far. I have fantasized about my previous experiences, but I have fought hard to stop that as well.
     

    I believe that the reason urges and thoughts occur is because Hashem wants to test us to see if our Teshuvah is in fact "for real". I have read and truly believe that these urges, images, etc. come to us; because it is a chance for us to elevate ourselves. If we can deny our urges, we have in fact won our battle over the Yetz Harah and have reached a higher level. I know this battle is a very hard one and we all have this animal urge, but if we can master it, fight it, and struggle with it, we are surely gaining Hashem's praise. The fact that so many use your website, is in itself proof that we are struggling and desire to change. Even if some have slipped, they should feel proud that they continue to struggle... It is easy to give up completely and give way to sin. There are many out there who do this without any thought. The battle in itself is full of merit, even if one fails...

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    What to do when under attack
     

    Give the power to Hashem only - and make sure you give the credit to Him when it works. I do not need any pats on the back for not being an idiot by screwing myself up with lust.

    Ask Hashem to bless and help the "candy" you see with health, a true connection with Him, protection from the real pains and suffering in many people's lives r"l, protection from false relationships and being used, and for whatever they need. 

    Recognize and admit openly to someone safe that you are attracted to these people, cuz it's true. The truth is good and there is no way to hide from it. Then daven for them first, as the Gemorah recommends us to do for everybody, and then ask for help. Just say "Help me, G-d". No long prayers for yourself - for others it's OK, but for me I just say, "Help." Then I say "Thank-you, Tatty", and move on with real living.

    Stay busy - not to run away, but to be busy - to be in reality, not shekker. If you feel like you are running away all the time, that will lead nowhere.
    886.
    Tuesday  ~ 2 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 9, 2010

    In Today's Issue

    • Testimonial of the Day: Mazal Tov to Kedusha!
    • Member's Chizuk: Brings Me to Tears
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Why I Daven for the Lady I Lusted For.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Testimonial of the Day

     

    A Big Mazal Tov to "Kedusha" on day #540 Clean!

     

    "Kedusha" writes:

     

    Boruch Hashem, today is day #540, which ties my longest streak in recent times.
     

    Some background: I have had some periods of sobriety in the past.  My longest such period in (relatively) recent times was about 18 months from September 2002 to March 2004. And this was before GYE. However, I always came back to it eventually, to my terrible pain and disappointment.
     

    I am deeply grateful to the Ribbono Shel Olam and to the GYE Chevra for helping me get to this point. At the same time, I recognize that the main thing is not to count days, but to make our days count, one day at a time. Still, accumulating a good number of days serves as a great incentive to stay clean even when the going gets tough (Hashem should keep Nisyonos to a minimum for all of us, and always give us ample strength to get through them).

     

    Although every day presents new challenges, I'm grateful to be where I am now, and am Mispallel that the sobriety will continue, b'Ezras Hashem, one day at a time, and that the challenges will be few and not too difficult.  I also hope to work more on the "new design for living" concept; as Dov and Duvid Chaim always say, it's not only about staying sober. 

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

    Member's Chizuk

     

    Brings Me to Tears

     

    "Dovek Bashem" writes:

     

    We are really a lucky people. There is a whole world outside of this site that has not only immersed itself completely in garbage but, even more unfortunately, has called that normal and settled for a life that wallows in p** and quick-fix stimulation. 

    We, on the other hand, despite being dragged down in the dirt (or should I say quicksand?), can clearly see, touch and feel the glory of an entirely different world. One that elevates us beyond any physical pleasure. One that envelops us in a warm and loving relationship with the transcendent Creator of ourselves and of our universe. It really is something incredible that can bring you to tears just by the lack of words to describe how privileged we really are, and how amazing our world truly is. We are an amazing people. G-d gave us a gift of indescribable depth and significance. Every night, before kriat shmah, we describe G-d's torah by saying "ki hem chayeinu v-orech yameinu"... this is true life, and this is what it means to truly be living. HaKadosh Baruch Hu wants us to choose life - v-chai bahem; u-vacharta ba-chayim etc... - and we are all in the process of choosing life and, more importantly, finally learning what it really means to live. 

    Ashreinu ma tov chelkeinu... ki hem chayeinu v-orech yameinu.

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    Why I Daven for the Lady I Lusted For.
     

    Dov often talks about a technique he uses when he sees someone who triggers lust; he prays for them! (after turning away of course). Here, Dov describes why this works for him and others in SA.

    Ok. It does a few things. First and strangest, I owe something to the person I am lusting after because lusting is always an act of "taking". I am using their image for selfish ends. (And saying that "They are obviously begging for it cuz look at how they are dressed!" is BS. I am reasonably certain that the average slutty female out there intends to be lusted after by who they want to be lusted after, not by some compulsive, perverted Jew boy like me.) So how better to show my gratitude?

    Second, lusting is the single most powerful, portable, and dependable way I exercise my MEEEEE muscle (the one in my head, not somewhere else ). It is my drug of choice for entertaining myself, for covering up stress, fear, and boredom, for controlling my inner environment - in short, it is my most trusted Power source. Otherwise, why would I use it so much?  So how do I sacrifice it? By just saying "no"? Nu. OK. That's what I always tried to do.... it didn't get me very far away from it. If you know anything about operand conditioning or habits, then you know that I choose to go a step further and use my lust as a guide and tool for giving power to others. To helping me learn to care about helping others. What better way to weaken the MEEEEE muscle than to do what little I can to care about the very people I naturally worship as my (false) Power Source? I turn the tables as much as I can.

    Finally, it gives me something to focus on rather than on lusting. And that itself is worth everything, even if my prayers for her are of no benefit to her. Treating a lust object like the real, live person they are is one of the most powerful tools to help me to stop looking at them like pieces of meat (with skin on them). We need to be reoriented. The entertainment and porn industries have succeeded in getting so many of us to believe deep in our hearts that pretty women are all dolls; that above all else they are libidos desperate to be used by us; and that they don't have real lives with obligations, pains, joys, sadness, and dreams of real people... and that perspective entitles us in our hearts to treat them as objects. Is it any wonder then, that most lust addicts grow to expect (no, demand) sexual bliss from their wives as though their feelings are just an obstacle? I looked into the shulchan aruch to see what I could demand of my wife, rather than looking into her heart... now what kind of BS is that? No wonder we were so miserable back then! She was an object, in some respect.

    We need exercises to change, it will not happen just because we wish it to. And it takes a long, long time. But it works and it is worth it.

    A caveat: I was once walking with an SA beginner who was staring at the rear end of a lady out in front of us, and mumbling. I asked him what the heck he was doing. He told me that he was praying for her.... I reminded him that he might be praying for her butt, but not for her. Ha. We both had a laugh went on our way. So the praying can't be done as an excuse to keep staring! A sweet dufus, he was.
    887.
    Wednesday  ~ 3 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 10, 2010

    In Today's Issue

    • Some Important Notes
    • Personal Victory of the Day: The Front Lines are Moving Forward
    • Member's Chizuk: 20/20 Vision
    • Daily Dose of Dov: The Difference Between Lust & Love
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Some Important Notes:

     

    Note 1: Important Clarification: In e-mail #885 we announced the release of eBlaster Mobile for the Blackberry. After further research, we realized eBlaster Mobile does not report on web-browsing, rather it only records: BlackBerry Messenger Chats (BBM), Email activity, SMS/Text Messages, and Voice call logs. This is good to keep tabs on the children, but it may not be sufficient protection for the parents! If you would like to get a filter for the Blackberry or block internet access altogether, see here.

     

    Note 2: Make sure to turn off "Instant Search" in Google Search, so you don't get unwanted images popping up as you type in words to search for. Also, it may be of interest to some that Safari has the ability to block images. Under the menu on top of the page item "Develop", there is "Disable Images". 

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

    Personal Victory of the Day

     

    The Front Lines Are Moving Forward

     

    By "Kosher"

     

    As I have posted elsewhere on this site, I travel a lot for my job and when I travel is the most challenging time.

    B"H I have been doing quite well for a while, but I have still been finding it a struggle to avoid the pool areas of the hotels I am staying at.

    I am currently on a three day and two night trip to a Midwestern city. When I got to my hotel, it was not an issue to turn on the TV or got to inappropriate places on the Internet, but again it entered my mind that I should go down to the exercise room (which is near the pool). The justification was that: 
    1. My wife has been nudging me that I desperately need the exercise.
    2. I am unfortunately aware that in most (but not all) cases, there is nothing to see in the pool/exercise area of the hotel.

    However, I don't think it is good for me to take that risk, and B"H I can report that I overcame the temptation and I made do with some pushups and sit-ups in my room.

    I am reporting this because I am happy and want to share my success, and there aren't many other people I can share it with. 

    More importantly, I am seeing many "newbies" on the forum lately that are skeptical/scared and can't imagine that they can overcome their Yetzer Hara in these areas. Therefore I am reporting that two years ago on this same trip I had big "fall". At that time, and I was despondent and couldn't imagine how I could ever overcome this problem. B"H almost since then, I have been able to avoid most problematic activities (in my case, without a 12 step group, though everyone is different) and as time goes on and I keep working, the front lines are moving further and further forward... 

    I know that I need to keep working and can't afford to ever become complacent. I also know that all of us can succeed. It might take time and the job never ends (but it can become a lot easier), but we can succeed.   

     

    Please see this announcement on the forum by "Kosher". He is looking for help in writing/editing a booklet on Shmiras Ainayim.

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

    Member's Chizuk
     

    20/20 Vision

     

    "Yosef Hatzadik" writes:

     

    They say that hindsight has 20/20 vision. When feeling weak, remember how you felt after you followed the Yetzer's advice last time.

    Even more so, remember how good you felt when YOU DID NOT DO AS THE YETZER HORA WANTS!!!!

    Which is better? Which did you enjoy more? Which do you prefer?

     

    "Dovekbashem" Replies:

     

    You are one hundred percent correct. When I resist the yetzer I feel cleaner, stronger, closer to Hashem and more worthy of learning his Torah. I feel more confident when I sit down to learn and when I speak Torah to others. I feel like I remember his Torah better, like it is more often on my lips and in my mind. I feel immersed in the world of kedusha and ratzon Hashem. I feel exposed to the most beautiful gift ever given to man - the ability to truly see Hashem in this world and to understand the ratzon of our Creator. I feel elevated. I feel privileged. 

    Wow... Now I feel stupid for ever letting the Yetzer take that all away from me! I need to remember this post for the future - because my Yetzer Harah seems to have control over my memory as well.

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    The Difference Between Lust & Love

     

    Someone asks Dov:

     

    How does the desire to be with one's wife differ from lust, and how can we tell which is which?

     

    Dov Replies:

     

    Lust usually feels great... and horrifyingly 'emptying'. It is very powerful, especially because it creates bodily sensations, and that kind of thing is incontrovertible. The body is convinced that it is truly good and that we need it. And you cannot argue with a body... it does not speak English, or any language. 

    I believe that the only way to communicate with it and possibly convince it otherwise, is with pain. And that is what addiction produces. It adds layers and layers of new pain on top of the old pain we thought it would cover. 

    And I do not believe this pain can be contrived, meaning that we cannot inflict it on ourselves intentionally - it must naturally grow out of the lusting process. Rolling in snow, fasting, and giving ridiculous amounts of money to tzedakah (or even burning it up!) will avail us nothing. The body cannot be fooled. 

    I believe that a normal person may not get this pain at all, but I think that an addict is guaranteed to get it, eventually. Hopefully the cost by that time will not be too great for him and his health, for his wife and family (if he has them), for his community, and for Klal Yisroel. That is why Guard likes to write about "hitting bottom while still on top". We all hope to do just that, but just look around and you'll see that giving up our drug before carrying it becomes impossible... well, that feels like giving up my life for some worthy cause - as a young man! I have so much life (including nice sex and lust) to look forward too! Let the old, decrepit folks do it, rather than me... I am not kidding. Many of us express the feeling that if we don't have this thing we are lusting after, we feel like we are facing death itself. Otherwise, what is the big draw? "Just say no!" 

    Nu?

    So here is a short list of the side-effects of lust that help identify it (so we can tell the difference between lust and love - even when with our wives): 

    Lust rarely makes me happy; it always makes me feel uneasy afterward; it never makes both of us happy; it eventually makes one (then both) of us miserable.

    Lust does not allow me to give and help people - it makes me give only so that they'll love me and give me something I crave.


    Lust allows no place for a real G-d - a G-d who has my best interest in mind (= loves me), because lust forces me to either ignore G-d or constantly grovel back to Him...

     

    In the moment, lusting feels uncannily like it makes perfect sense, while true loving makes me and my life make sense.


    Lust makes me count and recount my pretty-weather friends, while true love leads to making friends that count in any weather.
    888.
    Thursday  ~ 4 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 11, 2010
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

    Yechezkel's Story

     

    Yechezkel posted his powerful & inspiring story today on the forum:
     

    I think it's incredible that this website exists; what it must be doing in shamayim is amazing...

     

    What I am about to tell you today is something that I have been longing to do for a long while. I wanted to catalogue my feelings and thoughts about a matter that has been directly effecting my life for well over the last decade. Immediately after this year's Rosh Hashanah 2010, I did something that I have been meaning to do for many years. I freed myself from the shackles of the Internet. When I say 'freed' I mean to say that I got to grips with my heart and soul and installed Covenant Eyes (www.webchaver.com) on my computers with all the added filters, etc.

     

    I have B"H been clean from before the Yomim Nora'im. I wanted to wait at least two months before I knew that I had somewhat overcome my previous lifestyle before writing my story. I believe now that I can honestly say I have.

     

    Ok, a little about who I am.  My name is Yechezkel, I am 33 years old. I live in Jerusalem - Israel where I have a family of 6 Bli Ayin Hara. I run a successful business from my office in Ramat Gan. I am from England originally and have been living here for the last 9 years. 


    I come from an extremely frum family - all my siblings, besides my brother with whom which I share the business with here, are either in Kollel or klei kodesh. I was brought up and educated to the highest standards of both yiddishkeit and frumkeit. I was lucky to have been partnered with the most wonderful wife, and as her family lived in Israel we decided to settle here too. 


    The internet emerged on the worldwide scene during my teens and developed at a fast pace during my early married life. Whilst maintaining a settled program of learning before Shachris and in the evening, as well as earning a trade during the day - I was the typical frum ba'al haboss, living a relatively comfortable lifestyle, bringing up my children and infusing in them the rich heritage that both I and my wife received from our parents. My advice was regularly sought on a wide range of communal matters. I had become an askan in my circles and my stature in the community was one of respect. I was proud of my family and looked on with deep pride when my parents and in-laws visited us. I knew they were proud of me and at what I had achieved. 


    But this image I had constructed was all but a screen - a façade of who I really was and what my inner being and soul really looked like. In truth, I was well and truly addicted to the internet and all its terrible associated family. Yes, I was able to put on a front as a normal frum man when it came to life away from my computer screen. Yes, I was able to preach to my children and portray an example of how a frum Jew should behave, yes, I was able to learn the Daf day in day out, but behind all this, a lustful and dark man lived. It was a clear case of split personality. Once I was under the spell of my computer and the internet, I transformed into an animal - yes an animal, I am ashamed to say. I will not delve into what I got up to and what I spent time watching on the internet, but suffice to say I was addicted to it and it ruled my life, my heart, my brain and most of all my soul. 


    Year after year, resolutions came and went in Elul, year after year I wept through T'fillas Zakoh and klapped the al cheits with every intention to make the coming year one that removed me from the world of the traps that lay in wait at the end of my fingertips as I typed addresses in my browser. But year after year, the temptations were too great, too tantalizing to refuse. I had to feed my addiction, I had to nurture my lust and satiate my appetite for everything that is immoral. It wasn't long before those good intentions and resolutions were lying discarded in the garbage. 


    Life events and simchas came and went with me posing as the perfect family member and mentch, whilst in essence I was putting on a show. I was putting on a show that I had perfected over the years - that of total fakery and deception. After all, how would anyone ever find out? How would anyone know? Why did they need to know anyway? What difference did it make to them anyway? I rolled through my life watching the world go round and making excuses to myself on how to justify my actions, thus allowing me to somehow have a clear conscience of what I was doing - I guess this is one of the hallmarks of an addict. 


    This is not the platform with which to describe how the internet is the perfect tool of being able to realize one's fantasies behind a screen of total anonymity. The purpose of this script is both for me to read back and draw strength from, as well as for others to read and maybe relate to.       


    Why now? Why did I do this life and soul saving action of allowing my internet activity to become accountable to a third party?  I would compare it to that of a smoker that wants to stop but simply finds the habit and addiction to powerful to take the plunge. On many occasions I made inroads in downloading the software but never took the final most telling step. I always bottled it at the final hurdle. Then one day a couple of months ago, right after the Yomim Nora'im, I was about to revert to my usual weak self when I witnessed a terrible accident in Jerusalem. I was due to catch an early morning bus to take me to work, but I missed it because an elderly Yid asked me to help him with his large suitcases. I sat on the bench next to a cute toddler and his parents and busied myself on my Blackberry whilst I awaited my next bus. Then, in a flash, the child ran into the road and was hit by a large truck head on. He flew into the air and hit the ground with a sickening thud. It was clear that he had been killed instantly. His parent's cries were heartbreaking. Hatzala just took one look at him and covered his head with a blanket. Everyone there was in total shock. I had never witnessed anything of this nature before. It was a scene that I wouldn't wish on anyone to have to witness; a young cute child being killed in front of his dear parents very eyes. A tender neshomoh that surely had so much potential to fill - and now extinguished just like that.


    So there I was, mouth agape, clutching my Blackberry and briefcase almost in a trance.  Why did I have to witness this? Why did I have to miss my bus? Why did the old yid ask me to help him when there were so many others on the street he could have asked? 


    I decided that all this was for a reason. It just had to be. 


    I arrived in my office and did the one thing I had wanted to do for so long. I somehow felt that Hashem was telling me that if this wasn't a wakeup call, what is? I installed a good filter along with Covenant Eyes on my computer, and I set my accountability partners to be my wife and father!

     

    They would now have full knowledge of what I was browsing on the web. This was two months ago and now - 2 months later - I am a changed man. I have rid myself of my addiction, an addiction that I had so much reliance on previously, for well over a decade. I have changed in every way possible - spiritually, mentally and most importantly, I am facing the world whilst portraying a true image of who I am. No longer am I hiding behind a smokescreen. No longer do I have those feelings of guilt and shame. Incidentally, my business has thrived and new revenue streams have been realized - some leads coming from sources I would never have thought were possible.  

     

    Why am I writing this? I know that there are many frum men out there that find themselves in similar situations of Internet entrapment. I know that many of you can relate to how I was able to live a life of a split personality - a normal frum yid and that of a cyber animal. And yes, I know many of you out there will agree that whilst all our actions are continuously recorded and monitored by Hashem and we are ultimately accountable to Him, when it comes to the Internet it's a different story. The internet allows your every action to be shrouded in secrecy, and this format allows you to push the boundaries further and further, safe in the knowledge that no one meaningful will ever know. It's a modern day invention that has become part of our lives and facilitates every yetzer harah, making it all so easy and possible. But if your best friend knew - or your wife was aware - of what websites you visited, and if they saw you every day, would you continue to do what you previously were doing on the internet? No!

     

    Hashem, I appreciate that it should never have come to this and I pray that the poor child didn't have to die so that I should have to learn this lesson. I should have known and imbued within my heart all along 'hakol goloi ve'yaduah lefnei kisei kevoidecha' and I shouldn't have to rely on the knowledge that my wife and father are aware of my internet activity. But I also know that You will be proud of me for what I did and, in effect, 'mitoich shloi lishmah bah lish'mah'. It has brought me closer to You and allowed me to relate to Your Torah and made davening to You such an enjoyable experience. I have done something that has changed my life forever, something I never thought I'd have the courage to do. I feel cleansed and free to get on with my life and face the world with a clear conscience. Thank you Hashem for giving me the strength to make this move, and I ask You to help me on my path to be able to serve You with a pure heart. 


    Thank you all for reading this. May Hashem help us all in our avoda of serving Him with Yiras Shamayim, with purity and sanctity and may we all be zocheh to His brochos in good health ad me'ah ve'esrim shana. 

     

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

     

    David replies to this powerful story with a poem:

     

    Wow.
    What a story 
    in all its glory.
    This is a wake up call
    and chizuk for us all.
    But as the details start fading
    your memories you may start craving.
    The Y"h aint asleep
    for a while he may stay quite - no peep.
    But as you start cruising 
    at your computer you may find yourself snoozing.
    So while you are on your high
    to Hashem you should outcry
    to help you get close to Him
    with deveikus to Hashem Elokim.
    Because without him we cannot
    weather this storm.
    Once we have been shot
    we are not anymore the "norm".
    As the others have mentioned
    you need to take prevention.
    For some it was a week and some a year
    but one thing to us was clear.
    When we thought we can do it alone
    the Y"H after some time threw us a bone.
    And with our face in the p**n
    we return to the forum.
    So learn from the ones that tested it for you
    it's tried and true.
    Stick around with us
    and catch this bus.
    Stay for the ride
    now that you removed your pride.
    Acknowledge how hard it is to stay away
    and don't fall as prey.
    Not any more my friend.
    Y"H you're done
    as we fight with one thing and only one.
    Hashem.

    889.
    Friday  ~ 5 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 12, 2010
    Erev Shabbos, Parshas Va'Yetze

    In Today's Issue

    • Parsha Talk - Vayetze: Climbing the Ladder
    • Member's Chizuk: Yashuv V'Yashuv
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Getting Caught
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    Parsha Talk: Vayetze

     

    Climbing the Ladder

     

    By Ovadia

     

    The following Dvar Torah is part of a chapter in Michtav Me'Eliyahu. For the whole piece see MM vol. 1 p. 24 and Strive for Truth vol. 1 p. 93.

    At the beginning of this week's Parsha, the Torah tells us of the vision of the ladder which Ya'akov Avinu was shown as he fled from Esav.

    Rav Dessler ZT"L sees the ladder as the symbol of man's "ascent" in his service of HaShem. This service is like a ladder firmly planted on the ground, with its head reaching up to heaven. Rung by rung, the person must work to combat his Yetzer Hara. He cannot jump any part of the way; all his life he has to progress laboriously from step to step.

    Yet this vision was it shown to whom? To no less a tzadik than Ya'akov Avinu, who Chazal say was the bechir shebe'avos. Even this superlative tzadik was shown the vision of the ladder, hinting that for him too, the only way to rise in the service of HaShem was by way of the rungs of the ladder. 

    A healthy person can go up the rungs of the ladder by himself, though he may well get tired if the ladder is a high one. One who is weak or ill, climbs the ladder if he must, looking for as much help as possible in his weary ascent. A child scrambles up with his arms and legs and may succeed in climbing a few rungs. But what can the cripple do? Both his legs are amputated; he cannot even stand! The flood-waters are surging around him; he must get to the top; it is a matter of life and death. What does he do? He screams for help. There is sure to be some kind person around who will carry him up on his back. He too gets to the top; but not by his own efforts. Someone else has taken him.

    And so it is with the ladder of the service of HaShem. The tzadikim ascend by their own efforts, conquering the Yetzer hara at each step. Those who find the going difficult, and beginners (who are like children), try and help themselves by any means that present themselves; with shelo lishmah of all kinds. But there are those who are spiritual cripples and are no longer able to conquer their Yezer Hara at all by their own efforts. They have become habituated to sin to such an extent that their hearts are defiled, and they are unable to ascend even the smallest step by themselves. What can they do? They can cry out to HaShem and He in his mercy will take them up to the top without their having to tread on a rung. If their heart is broken and their remorse for all their wrongdoing is thorough and sincere and they pour out their heart to HaShem, they may suddenly find themselves at the top. The tzadik has to labor for many years to bring holiness into his heart; the baal teshuva has it implanted there directly by HaShem. 

    It follows that no sinner can say, "How can I ever do teshuva? I am so far from all that is good and holy; I am full of desire for all the wrong things; the avenues of teshuva are blocked for me." All he has to do is to see the situation truly and clearly, realize the terrible mess he has got himself into, be filled with sincere remorse and ask HaShem to help him - and his work will be done for him. 

     

    Rav Dessler continues to explain that obviously no one envies the cripple who has to be carried up the ladder by others. And certainly the tzaddik need not envy the baal teshuva. Yet we find that Rav Yehuda Hanosi wept when he learned about life-long reshoim who had succeeded in gaining olam habo in one brief moment, saying "Some gain their world in one hour, while others have to fight for it during seventy long years!" Similarly, Chazal say "the place where baaley teshuva stand [in olam habo] is not accessible even to the greatest tzaddikim. How are we to understand this?

    The answer is as follows. The purpose of creation is to reveal the glory of HaShem. This can occur in two ways. It can be brought about by tzaddikim, who reveal G-d's majesty by their actions. By constantly sacrificing their will in order to do the will of their Creator, they reveal the greatness of His spiritual power. But it can also come about by our seeing the way G-d conducts His world. 

    A tzaddik reveals the glory of HaShem every time he makes the right decision in a situation of temptation, and in every one of the manifold good deeds he does throughout his life. But the sinner has been occupied all his life in obscuring the glory of G-d. His heart has been so obstructed and contaminated by his sins that he finds himself unable to raise himself by his own efforts even to the slightest degree. But his effort, slight and ineffective though it may seem, gives rise to Heavenly aid to an unimaginable extent. He reveals the infinite mercy of HaShem to a degree never achieved by the tzaddik. He reveals the mercy of teshuva. He finds himself taken by the hand and raised to the heights in one great leap.

    (From strive for Truth Vol. 1 p. 93)

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    Member's Chizuk
     

    Yashuv V'Yashuv

     

    "Yashuv V'Yashuv" writes:

     

    I'm going through a particularly difficult time at the moment. I am proud to say that I did once make it to day 90 on the charts, so I know I have that koach within me, but at the moment it's so hard to see it. I know that filters alone are not going to solve the problem - it's an addiction and I need to take the steps that have been proven to help with addiction. It's funny because when I first began receiving the GYE chizuk emails, I would read them and think - "Wow, B"H I'm not as bad off as them. I don't have an addiction". Little did I know that I wasn't being honest with myself and indeed I did have one. Maybe it's not as progressed as some of the stories I read on this site, but it's an addiction - something I keep coming back to, slips lead almost inevitably to falls, and the regular paths of Teshuva don't seem to work. My only hope is that HKB"H will help me through this. The words of R' Noach ring in my ears, "Does the Almighty want you to succeed? You bet. If He helped you out, do you think you could do it? You bet. So what are you waiting for!?"

     

    "Yosef Hatzadik" replies:

     

    Soon after I joined GYE, I embarked on a 113 day clean streak. When I fell and tried to restart, I couldn't get past a week or 10 days for a loooong time. But joining Duvid Chaimâs 12 Step Group Call (& actually meeting some of the chevra face-to-face once) was the impetus for my current 111 days, Baruch Hashem!

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here

     

    Getting Caught
     

    Getting caught by my wife didn't stop me. It was just a stepping stone till I finally had enough, about a year later. 

    If you remember Captain Kirk in Star Trek... He had a "double" once, cuz he went back in time. But all was OK - as long as the two never, ever met. If they did, the entire time-space continuum would be ripped asunder.

    If you are anything like I was, you have two personalities. And you do take care never to allow the two to ever meet. Only a "third party" can get the two together in the same room. Someone who already knows either one of your personae well, and then discovers the second one. That person is going to rip your personal time-space continuum asunder.

    And that is still not the answer, as in my own case. But it was a start. 

    Best wishes to you, your wife, and all of us.

    890.
    Sunday  ~ 7 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 14, 2010

    In Today's Issue

    • Happy Announcement: The GYE Attitude Handbook in Yiddish!
    • Attitude Tips of the Day: Correspondence with a Great Warrior
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Dramatic Struggle or a Wisp of Fog?
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    Happy Announcement!

     

    The GYE Attitude Handbook has been translated into Yiddish.

     

    It can be downloaded over here

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

     

    The second part of the handbook is currently being translated as well. 

    The translations are being done very professionally by a company, sponsored by an anonymous Tzadik on our network - who wrote before he started:

    "Thanks for your great work. I never thought until now that it's possible to get loose from all the garbage in my mind and eyes. Now I see the light illuminating again for myself and my family."

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

    Attitude Tips of the Day

     

    Correspondence with a Great Warrior

     

    Aryeh writes:

     

    I am a 25 year old college student struggling with viewing internet porn and, quite recently, relations with a non-Jewish ex-girlfriend from before I was frum. B''H I have been able to cut off contact with said woman, which is something I tried hard to do for months. I now haven't seen her in a couple months, and have not responded to a few of her attempts to contact me. Also, B''H due to a new living situation and WebChaver on my laptop (which is REALLY effective and worth the negligible $3.95 per month), I have stayed away from internet porn almost completely. I also haven't masturbated in about 3 months. So I've seen some success in this area lately B"H.

    The problem is, I've dropped off on a lot of mitzvos I used to do when I was struggling more with the addiction. My relationship with Hashem has suffered, and when I do happen to be in shul and everyone else is davening, I can't bring myself to do it because it feels so disingenuous. I can't face Hashem, and somehow I think He won't notice me if I don't speak to Him, which is what I want, because if He does notice me, He'll Judge me, and that would be embarrassing. And anyway, the voice in my head says, "You haven't davened all week, and now you find yourself in shul and you think you can suddenly start muttering words that you don't mean, and you think Hashem will appreciate that?"

     

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

     

    GYE responds:

     

    Aryeh, holy Aryeh... Forget the davening in shul / not davening / guilt / hypocrisy, etc.. these are all killers! The Yezter Hara wants us to believe we are too far gone, that we are hypocrites, he makes us feel guilty always, etc... This is all lies. We need to learn how:

    • To speak with Hashem as if he was a friend right here with us in the room... 
    • To realize Hashem loves us even when we make bad mistakes.
    • To internalize that He only has our very best interest in mind at all times, no matter how bad things seem to be.
    • To live with constant gratitude, even for the little things... 
    • To internalize how much Hashem values a real relationship with us... (so much so, that when we are distant, He sometimes causes us suffering and pain just to get our attention... It therefore follows, that if we live with constant gratitude and awareness of Hashem's closeness and love, we will save ourselves much pain down the line, because He won't need to get us to come "running to Him" just when things are bad...)
    These things are the FOUNDATION of recovery.

     

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

     

    Aryeh Responds:

     

    Guard, perfect timing. I've been having such a rotten day and feeling more and more worthless that I was just about to give up and go to a computer where I can act out. But I checked GYE first and saw your post and I feel that it must be hashgacha pratis that you posted these inspiring words. I think I can make it through tonight without acting out because of your post.

     

    Your words also reminded me to get out my copy of The Garden of Emunah. I will spend some time reading it before bed. I've already read the book once and I've started to read it a second time. When I feel like I'm headed down the drain, I've found that the most effective remedy is to read/listen/speak/connect in some way to something spiritual. What got me through last week was listening to a shiur by Esther Jungreis in my car. How easily I forget the yesodos of emunah unless I keep on reminding myself.

     

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

     

    A Few Days Later Aryeh wrote...

     

    Yesterday I fell and looked at some internet pornography. It wasn't the worst kind of fall, since I only spent 10 minutes or so looking and then stopped.

     

    I had tried hard to ignore the urge a first, and I managed to distract myself for about an hour. But when the idea pops into my head, it becomes an obsession and even if I delay it, I can't seem to make it go away.

    I'm not feeling down about it because I feel that I put up a decent fight. I just hope to be more successful next time.

     

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

     

    GYE responds:


    Aryeh, it's so impressive to hear how you've cut off the relationship with the non-Jewish woman, and how you've been mostly clean for the last 3 months. But to stop after 10 minutes - that's even more impressive! An addict can't stop. We simply can't stop once we started. Only Hashem can stop us.

    When the obsession strikes, we have no hope unless we admit we can't win - and simply give over the struggle to Hashem. "Kovei Hashem Yachalifu Koach". We literally, "switch strengths" with Hashem.

    You are far more beloved to Hashem than you can even begin to imagine. He is crazy about you.

     

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

     

    Aryeh Responds:

     

    Thank you so much Guard. Just today, I was thinking about how hard it will be not to fall back to my old ways and contact this woman when I go home for the Thanksgiving break. I'm feeling the pull to do it, and I'm afraid. I actually had just checked her Facebook profile before I came on GYE, a step in the wrong direction that I haven't taken in weeks. So yeah, it's pretty spooky how surgically precise your last two comments have been in helping me.

     

    As a matter of fact, I'm proud to announce to the Olam that I just scheduled my Facebook account for deletion. It is pure trash and a slip waiting to happen. I thought I needed it for contact information, but that was a lie of the Yetzer Hara. Facebook is trash. I encourage everyone here to get rid of it. No more looking at women, imbibing all sorts of lashon hara and lewdness, no more unfiltered nonsensical opinions on everything. In short, one step in the right direction.

    BTW, I was shocked to find out that there is simply no way to instantly delete your account. They merely deactivate it. If you Google how to delete the account, you find non-Facebook people giving instructions on how to do it. The site itself completely hides this option. Nonetheless, it is possible to schedule your account for deletion within 14 days. PM me if you are unsure how to do this and want to.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    Dramatic Struggle or a Wisp of Fog?

     

    Someone wrote on the forum:

     

    I realize now that I need to start being the hero of my own life and defeat all obstacles in my path. If we can learn to see our lives as a dramatic struggle, it can be easier... And that's exactly what it is; we just have trouble seeing ourselves as real heroes..

     

    Dov Responds:

     

    I'm not arguing with you at all, but most of the time I need the quiet, calm attitude that I am just another little fellow and this is my little struggle about another silly little temptation, no matter how huge I think they are. I need to realize that in lust, I create a mountain out of something that really should be nothing but a "thread." Certainly it should not be my goal to make a big freaking deal about every pretty woman who walks by me! Our goal is to basically be able to ignore them, no? Isn't ignoring more like minimizing the issue? Making a huge deal out of it (the image, the desire, the struggle, and the victory) will just make it a bigger deal in my own head, rather than allowing it to be just more road kill. 

    Often, when I make that desperate call for help, the biggest help is the fellow addict on the other end of the line reminding me to take it easy and remember what I was busy doing before getting lost in this nuttiness and to surrender and just let it pass. To laugh about how silly the entire "battle" in my head is! That helps me a lot. It's nice to be in reality, for a change. 

    In the bigger perspective, I agree fully: whether I follow the lady around at the supermarket to get a better look at her, go onto youtube just to check this thing out, just listen to the radio story about the latest sex scandal, or look into that People magazine on the table may in fact be a huge turning point in my very life. My behavior one way or the other will most-likely affect the quality of my avodah, marriage, and job. However, within that struggle itself, it is essential that I forget all that and just see me as I am right then: a sweet little guy with an another little moment of struggle that will pass and be like a wisp of fog. After the struggle is over, I'd rather not rejoice over-much, but just let it be road kill. Hashem will make me grow, don't worry. Better let it stay road-kill than give it bigger real-estate in my mind. After all, that's what it wants!

    While the dramatic nature of the struggle might seem to be a great motivator, getting "right-sized" is usually even more valuable for me. 
     
    891.
    Monday  ~ 8 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 15, 2010

    In Today's Issue

    • Testimonial of the Day: Getting Back in Touch
    • Parable of the Day: The Kollel Guy
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Becoming Open to the Miracle of Sobriety - Amazing!
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    Testimonial of the Day

     

    Getting Back in Touch

     

    By Matis

     

    I was going out of my mind all morning with the pain that I was inevitably going to fall pretty soon. I was actually spending the morning learning, and I even went to a shuir, and all the time I kept having obsessive thoughts about what would happen when I got back to my room in just a few hours. I so badly wished I could be free of this terrible obsession and just focus myself fully on connecting to the Torah and to H'shem, but I was seriously obsessed and couldn't wait to get back to me room and to be alone to finally give in. It was so painful to know that I was killing myself, but yet I just wanted to do it. I seriously walked towards my room knowing 100% that once I closed the door I would have no chance - I was doomed. But a miracle happened. I opened my computer and read some of the GYE attitude stuff and it really helped, and then I decided to post on the forum. Somehow, the wisdom and support of GYE helped me BS"D to get over that pain and get back in touch with what I and we all are really aiming for. GYE IS SAVING MY LIFE.

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    Parable of the Day

     

    The Kollel Guy

     

    By "Kedusha"

     

    There was once a Kollel fellow who learned with hasmada, and whose wife was moser nefesh for him to continue learning.  One day, he felt that he could use a break, and mentioned that to his wife.  His wife thought about it for a minute, and responded: "Your learning means everything to me.  I take on countless responsibilities, so as not to waste a minute of time that you can devote to learning.  My plan is to do my best to allow you to stay in learning for as long as possible.  However, if you were to waste an entire day, I might reconsider whether my mesiras nefesh really makes sense.  So, take your pick - whatever you do today is likely to be what you'll be doing for the long term."

    The husband thought for a moment, and realized that it didn't make much sense to possibly lose the opportunity to learn full time for years, just to take one day off.  Sheepishly, he picked up his Gemara and went straight to the bais midrash. 

    When the Yetzer Hara claims that he wants us to fall "just once," what he really wants is for us to get into a rut that we cannot get out of.  Each time he presents us with temptation, we need to realize that what we do just this once might, c"v, be what we continue doing for the next 50 years, while living in utter misery.  However, if we refrain just today, we can start "detoxing" and getting the garbage out of our system, which will give us a realistic potential to stay clean for the long term and live a meaningful life.

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    Becoming Open to the Miracle of Sobriety
     

    Someone asks Dov:

     

    Asking Hashem to save me and remove my lust has not seemed to work; I still masturbate once a week. Why is it not working? Maybe Hashem just wants us to fight this ourselves?

     

    Dov Replies:

     

    Far be it for me to say, "your missing ingredient is this, or that". What answer are you looking for from me? I am unable to keep myself sober, so how could I possibly save you? My sobriety is certainly a miracle. I do not understand it. But I know I must have done something to become open to the miracle. What was it? This is all I can think of:

    I discovered that my best efforts to control my lust were ruining my life. My struggle to control it was not working and I was getting worse, always worse. I began to see that using lust was no longer fun. It was a need - a bitter compulsion. 

    And yet I was still unable to stop. 

    I was risking important stuff for it - just to get rid of the horrible compulsion and the pain of not having my fantasies, the adventure of the hunt, and sometimes even the orgasm (but not necessarily). I risked more stuff for it, and came to hate myself for it. (Little did I know that I had already been hating myself for decades already, and just pinned my self-loathing on my 'bad behavior' from about age 14. In reality, my acting out was not the reason I was disgusted with myself at all. It was an inherent problem of mine that my lust adventures helped me ignore, at least while I was 'super-stud'. I discovered all that after one and-a-half years of sobriety, after working step 4.) My best efforts always got me sicker, never better. 

    That was step 1.

    I came to need G-d, rather than need to believe in Him. 

    That was step 2.

    I started to think along the lines of working for Him instead of for my own goals. I started to learn integrity; to carry my G-d with me.

    That was step 3.

    The rest of the steps each changed everything, not necessarily the first time I worked them, but when I used them in real life, as instructed by the addicts around me and by my sponsor.

    I went to meetings (not phone meetings, but in-person meetings, where I could no longer hide) on a weekly basis, and chose a home-group for myself and participated - I became a member. I used my real name - the one my friends call me - and described openly to other addicts exactly what I was doing and what I lusted for. I started getting better and learned that I was only as sick as my secrets. 

    I grew a lot in that group, followed directions, got a sponsor to help me work the steps, and stayed sober with Hashem's help. Hundreds of times I wanted to fantasize, to follow women, to look up schmutz, to touch myself in lust, to do one of the many behaviors - many of them repetitive, ritualistic and habitual - that would awaken my need to act out.  

    I saw myself as a sick person trying to get well, not a bad one trying to be good. I screwed up a lot and in many ways. But I remained sober and slowly grew in recovery. Very slowly. But with it came sanity, and that was nice. My life got easier to live and I got easier to live with. Though my wife and I never went to counseling, our hellish relationship calmed down and we got closer. My nagging doubts about my marriage, my yiddishkeit and my identity, were replaced with thoughts and actions of my recovery and a new security that was very frail but ever growing stronger. Many of my fears, regrets, and sick thinking became irrelevant. Not because of some voodoo magic, but simply because I becoming was too busy actually living, for a change. 

    You may not be an addict at all, but I suggest you look at the SA White Book and see if you qualify. Read "The Problem". There is no shame in not being an addict - but you will need to get some kind of help. 

    Perhaps you are not using the tools you have available. Are you using any chevra to help you let go of all your secrets? Are you still hiding your dirt? Whether or not you are an addict, that is not a good idea. There are safe people you can call daily and speak to. You are worth it - and your shame may be your only - and worst - enemy.

    I hope something here is helpful to you. You are a very, very good person, I am sure, and a lot of people love you. Whether you realize it or not, you are very precious. So you are worth whatever it may take to actually help you let go of this thing one day at a time - not to 'beat it', of course -that'd be the old way that you have been trying till now that does not work, but ratherto learn to let go of it.

    892.
    Tuesday  ~ 9 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 16, 2010
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    How to say 'Sorry' to Hashem?
     

    Someone asks on the forum:
     

    I've often thought about the aveiros I've done, and I've never really properly turned round to HKB"H and said sorry properly because it sounds so meaningless due to the number of times I've fallen and said sorry, only to fall again. But this time, after joining this forum, I really want to turn around to Hashem and make a proper apology. But how? When it comes to it, I'm at loss for words and always just say, "I'm really sorry Hashem and I'll try not to do it again". But how can I show Hashem that this time I really mean it and that I really want to change?

     

    Shlomo Responds:

     

    From my experience on GYE, it seems that the best way to ask for forgiveness is to simply show that you're still fighting! Maybe you don't take a second look at the attractive woman walking by or perhaps you take a different route to work so you don't have to see an immodest billboard or advertisement. If you can convert your desire to please Hashem into positive thoughts and actions (and even helping others), I think that's the best that you can do.


    And another thing is to just keep at it. Honestly, eventually things are bound to take an upturn, and as long as you never give up, that's yet another sign to Hashem that you're sorry for what's in your past and you truly want to make a change. Remember, the sign of a true warrior is not one who never loses a fight. A true warrior is one who can pick himself up and dust himself off and be ready to keep battling!

     

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    "Bardichev" responds in his indelible style:

     

    Forget the apology for right now, just stay clean!! 

     

    Yes, we all want to do Teshuvah.

    But here on GYE you will learn how to live life.

    You will grow. You will be happy and at peace.

    So if you will ask me, 'Bards, what's so bad about a little regret - and a huge "I'm sorry"??'

    I will answer you, my dearest chaver.

    You are in a cesspool. You got your Yom Tov suit dirty.

    Does Mommy need an "I'm sorry" now, or does mommy needs you out of the cesspool??

    I heard a story from the Tzaddik, Reb Nosson Vachtfoigel, the Lakewood Mashgiach ZT"L...

    A bachur did a sin.

    He asked the Mashgiach for a kapparah. 

    The Mashgiach said, "Come back in a few weeks".

    Some weeks passed...

    He came back.

    The mashgiach said, "Come at the end of the z'man".

    "Come next z'man"...

    "Come at the end of next z'man"...

    The bachur was getting antsy...

    He came Elul...

    Selichos...

    Rosh Hashanah...

    Finally the Mashgiach said, "Come to me on Yom Kippur".

    On Yom Kippur the bachur said, "Rebbe, what should I do??"

    The Mashgiach replied, "Gribble nisht" (don't delve into it)...

    Move on!!

    Often times the Yetzer Hara wants us to be busy with the kapparah as a way to keep us HOLDING ON to the sin.

    Just Keep On Trucking!!

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for over 13 years. See his story here.

     

    Dov Replies to the question above: "How to say sorry to Hashem?":

     

    You ask about Hashem's forgiveness. Bear with me please...

    OK. Let's say it was your wife who you were unfaithful to, instead of Hashem, OK? How would you make a 'proper apology' to her? You did what she feared most. You hurt her. She is shaken. What can you really do today to say "I'm sorry" to her in a way that will mean something to her, and how can you begin to make up for what you did?

    What does marital infidelity have to do with G-d? Let me try to explain what I'm getting at...

    We are all unfaithful to Hashem (we are not on GYE to renew our Boy Scout membership). Hashem certainly takes our unfaithfulness personally. Though it is obviously only for our sake, the Torah does talk openly about Hashem being "jealous". Rashi understands the "rei'acha" in Mishlei ("rei'achav'reya avicha...") to refer to specifically to Hashem, and R' Akiva points out that rei'acha (in "v'ohavto l'rei'achakamocha") refers specifically to your wife. These are not coincidences. 

    A long time ago, I tried to post about how the natural relationships Hashem gives in the course of life are a source of normal development for a yid, until we are eventually ready to be truly alone with Him. Our relationship with Hashem is manifest symbolically at each stage of that relationship. The relationship with a spouse can become the closest one by far, and can continue to develop way past the parent/children relationships (which teach us selfless giving without payment) into elder life. And as with all the other stages given to us, as it develops, we find ourselves developing.

    The relationship between husband and wife is not mainly about giving life and sustenance (as it is with our children), nor mainly for fearing, loving, and tending (as it is with our parents). Rather, it is designed to be the relationship - connecting for connection's sake, because you belong together. Ein ish mais ella l'ishto, v'ein isha meisa ella l'ba'aloh'. They are to be the "rey'im ha'ahuvim... b'gan Eiden mikedem". They are the tikkun for Odom and Chava, split apart in order to be brought together "v'dovak be'ishto, v'hayu l'bosor echad". 

    But we all know that Messilas Yeshorim tells us that the entire object of life and the Torah is d'veikus baShem! 

    Well, it is. And that's why he designed "v'dovak b'ishto" into the plans. It's all because we need to learn how to attach ourselves - how to be intimate with whom we belong. And we do not grow by reading or thinking. We only truly learn by doing. Life is supposed to give us everything we need for the rest of the trip.

    So how would you meaningfully apologize to Hashem? I say it is by honoring the relationships in your life. Learn how to be useful to whoever He put into your life, with gusto. Make it a priority to be of service. And put yourself in His care by really starting to depend on Him. Start trusting that He really knows what is best for you by doing His Will even though it seems like you are losing something. 

    That's all He wants. He has less interest in our tears and sacrifices, but deeply desires our trust and allegiance from this moment forward. As he told us about 2,200 years ago, "With what shall I come before G-d... with burnt offerings? Shall G-d be pleased with thousands of rams, with riv'vos rivers of oil? Shall I give up my first-born for my transgression? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"  ... "He has told you, Adam, what is good and what G-d seeks from you: to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your G-d." (Micha 5) 

    How long will we frum yidden with lust problems continue to lust after "tikkun"? Till our opportunity to actually do our avodah is long over?! I say be done with it. Leave the "teshuvah lust" to the people who are really just doing the occasional aveiros. Some of you may be in that category. But if you find yourself in a rut; see that you have spent years of your life preoccupied with this struggle; and are plagued with the pain of wondering "When will this end? Surely I'll take it to my grave;" then I say to you: give up! Give up on making up for your bad choices, on fixing and winning. You lost! Fixing is not your business if you cannot even quit! Learn how to give your life to Hashem and rest in His arms. Get out of your bad habit and then work the Steps or do whatever you believe you must do to live differently so that you will not have the pain that makes your life unbearable without the pacifier of lust, porn, and fantasy. 

    Join with others doing the same thing. You are not alone.  

    PS. My wife doesn't need me to make up for anything, either. She needs me to be present and to be the decent man she always hoped to be married to. As long as I am that, she is happy. And time does heal a lot, too. The time for a verbal amends will come. But waiting for it puts life on hold. And that'd be a real shame, cuz life is good. 

    893.
    Wednesday ~ 10 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 17, 2010

    In Today's Issue

    • Three Announcements: Free Books / New Groups
    • Testimonial of the Day: Back on the Wagon of Teshuvah
    • Personal Victory: Do Teshuvah while you still have Bechirah!
    • Story of the Day: Yechezkel's Story - Part 2
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Stick with the Winners
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    Three Announcements

     

    1. Good News - Free Books!

     

    An anonymous member of our network is offering to sponsor free books for those who want to be mitchazek in Shmiras Habris. Send an e-mail to yitzi.26@gmail.com with your name, address, and a request for one of the following books:

     

    1) The GuardYourEyes Handbook - printed version.

    2) Light of Ephrayim

    3) Windows of the Soul

     

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    2. Zeva Citronnenbaum's Group Starting New Cycle soon.

    Click here for more info on Zeva's Group

     

    Yehudah writes:

     

    "If you're a regular at "Guard Your Eyes" then you probably enjoy the chizuk that is given on a daily basis.  A big part of this is the opportunity to connect to others who are in the same plight as yourself. Feeling understood is a part of any therapeutic process. Fortunately, there is another option for those who don't just want to feel understood, but also work on skills that will actually empower them to fight the great disease of addition. I have gone through more then 2 cycles with Zeva's group now. She is an expert in the field of sexual additions and understands the underlying factors that bring someone to become an addict.  Anyone who is serious about helping themselves should commit once a week to her group for one hour.  Very practical skills are learned which can help you deal with other areas in life besides addition.  For example, relationship skills (through the works of Patrick Carnes and DBT skills) are a big part of helping someone back into recovery. For a nominal $20 x10 fee you can be on your way back to recovery."
     

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    3. A new conference call is being suggested by "Dov in Israel"

    (a Talmid of Duvid Chaim)

     

    If you've done the 12-Step program but keep slipping, this phone conference might be for you!

     

    A review of the 12-steps + dealing with people and life issues.

     

    Goals:

     

    - To go beyond the 12-steps (integrating a coaching and 12-step approach)

    - To provide a platform to take a deeper look at those things which trigger us and make us "run" and click and flick, or worse.

    - To provide a platform for those who have completed a 12-step program, where they can share their thoughts and feelings.

    - To break-through the klipah which has been holding us back, and (finally) move forward.

     

    The meetings will be on a conference call - once or twice a week... more times as needed, if requested.

     

    Anyone who is interested should email Dov directly at: DovInIsrael@gmail.com (and list 2 different time slots when they are available for the calls).

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    Testimonial of the Day

     

    Back on the Wagon of Teshuvah

     

    "YR" writes:

     

    I made a donation to your site because it has been helping me to be strong! I keep it open always, so when I have an urge, I go to your web site instead.

     

    The Ramban says that even Rishonim were not free of hirhurim, so obviously hirurim are much harder. Actions, however, are more under our control. But one of the particular challenges of this Aveirah (looking at inappropriate sites/images) is how close it is to Hirhurim; the click of the mouse is such a minute action that it is almost in the realm of machshava. Hence, very tricky to control.

     

    Nonetheless, my life has changed in the past months as I have begun a new effort to get back on the wagon of teshuvah for good. Your site is great.

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    Personal Victory

     

    Do Teshuvah while you still have Bechirah!