Guard Your Eyes

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901.
Friday ~ 19 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 26, 2010
Erev Shabbos Parshas Vayeshev

In Today's Issue

Parshas Vayeshev

  • Dvar Torah 1: Hiding Things?
  • Dvar Torah 2: Not Today 
  • Dvar Torah 3: Tests Uncover & Uplift 
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Do I really need the 12-Step program?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Parsha Talk - Vayeshev:
 

3 Divrei Torah posted in the GYE BEIS HAMEDRASH

 

Hiding Things?

 

"Zemiros Shabbos" writes:

 

I heard the following from Rabbi Yisrael Dovid Shlesinger shlita (from Monsey):
 

Yehuda said, "What gain will we have if kill our brother and hide his blood?"

 

Anything a person does that he feels the need to hide afterward, shows that he realizes maybe he should not have done it. So Yehuda said, "Why kill him and hide the facts later? If killing him is the right thing to do, then we should be able to face up to it and say, "yes, we killed him because he deserved it". If we can't face up to it, then our motives are suspect."

 

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

 

Not Today

 

Stuart & "Yashuv V'Yashuv" writes:

 

In Rabbi Frand's Shiur last night, he quoted the Tzror HaMor who quoted a Medrash that says that when the wife of Potifar was seducing Yoseph, he was trying to say no. Finally she was able to convince him to say, "Ok not today, but tomorrow". Yoseph agreed, which ultimately saved him from this test.  

 

This is a powerful lesson for us. When attacked with lust that feels so much stronger than us, we can tell ourselves that we'll give in, just NOT TODAY. Often we'll find that tomorrow we'll feel stronger. If not, we can again tell ourselves, JUST NOT TODAY.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Tests Uncover & Uplift
 

"Yosef Hatzadik" writes:
 

Vayafkichsau ess Yosef ess kitanto ess kisonas hapasim asher alav. Vayikachuhu vayashlichu osso haborah(37:23-24)

 

Vayazov bigdo b'yada vayanas (39:12)

 

Yosef lost his clothes twice; once through his brothers when they threw him into the pit, and once when he ran away from Mrs. Potifar.
  
A nisayon is a time when the person's innermost essence is exposed. That is when we/Hashem can see where the person is REALLY holding. Clothes cover the wearer; they are symbolic of the coverings that a person is hidden by.

Yosef had two styles of nisyonos: (1) the test of losing everything, His brothers abandoning him in a pit in the desert. And (2) his master's wife trying to raise him high.


He withstood both of them. He was shown in his uncovered essence. His 'coverings' were removed!

The word "nisayon" can be derived from the word "nes". Like the pasuk says, Vayasimu osso al nes - a flagpole - a high position.
  
The possuk states "Vayaazov ess bigdo beyadah - VAYANOS!! = & he became RAISED HIGH!!!

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Do I really need the 12-Step program?

 

Dov writes to someone who is trying to figure out if he really needs the 12-Step program:

 

As for me, the question is not whether you need a twelve step program, but whether you are beaten yet. If you believe that there is still hope for you to quit by your own willpower (with occasional chizzuk, of course), then I see no reason to quit trying. I kept trying for years and years and never gave up until I saw that I had really lost, and would only get progressively worse till I lost everything. I saw that I was coming down the pike for some time already but never really did anything about it (beyond the same old silly "trying harder method") until I was forced to. 


If this question really bothers you, I would suggest you do what I did and write out your entire lust-use history. From the very first time you recall doing something with lust that you regret or got into some trouble, and continue each behavior till this very day. After you are done, look at the entire pamphlet - better yet (as I did) read it to a trusted person (who will not vomit). Then I believe you will be able to answer your own question. 


The only other answer I personally know of, is to go ahead and try to work the 12 steps with a sponsor in a fellowship (like SA, for example) and find out if it is right for you. 5-6 meetings ought to do it. That's a rather tall order for the uncommitted, but some do it. I do not pretend to know whether anyone needs to go to SA and I would never pasken that anyone is an addict, besides myself. These are decisions that my heart tells me an individual must arrive at for themselves. As Rabi Elazar ben Durdaya said: Ein hadavar tolui ella bi. If you do need it, no one can ever surrender to the facts for you, anyway.
902.
Sunday ~ 21 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 28, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Saying of the Day: Perfectionism 
  • Testimonial of the Day: Reaching Out
  • Parable of the Day: True Peace & Tranquility 
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Who can I call?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Saying of the Day

 

By Robert Silliman Hillyer

 

Perfectionism is a dangerous state of mind in an imperfect world. The best way is to forget doubts and set about the task in hand. If you are doing your best, you will not have time to worry about failure.

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

Testimonial of the Day

 

Reaching Out
 

By "Yedidya Aleph"
 

I want to express my gratitude to GYE for my new round of sobriety.

 

After 49 days of sobriety, I fell. I was slipping and sliding and was having a very difficult time regaining my sobriety. At that time I was trying to find a sponsor from GYE. 


I reached out to one of the GYE "chevra" through PMs, E-mail and telephone. He mentioned to me that he goes to live S.A meetings. I was pretty frustrated at that point, and when I found out that the meetings were only a few blocks away from my office in Manhattan, I went running over there. My new friend agreed to be my sponsor and I have been going to the meetings regularly since then. B"H, I feel that this round of sobriety from m* and p* is much more solid. Since then, I've learned that the most important day of sobriety is today.

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

Parable of the Day
 

True Peace & Tranquility
 

By "7Up"


There is a story of a king who hired painters to paint a picture of peace and tranquility. Each artist painted his masterpiece, depicting peace as he perceived it. One drew a calm ocean with palm trees and gulls. The next portrayed rolling green fields and apple  orchards. Each put his all into the work.

The day arrived to show their work to the king. One by one, he studied the paintings long and hard.  And one by one, he rejected them. In his opinion, none expressed true peace and tranquility.

Finally, he stood in front of the last painting. The colors were dark and depressing. A gray sky hung over dark, menacing trees in a forest. Lightning forked through the air threateningly. A powerful waterfall crashed over treacherous rocks, and buzzards soared overhead.

Leaning forward, the king noticed a small little bush sticking out from behind the waterfall. Sheltered between its branches, was a birds nest, and within the nest, a family of birds; sleeping.

"
This is my picture!" announced the king.

Life is never a calm sea without waves or wind. There are no lush green fields without snakes and hidden rocks. Life is a challenge. The vultures soar around us and the sky is often dark. Inner peace must come from within. We must create our own inner sanctuaries and learn to focus within despite raging storms.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Who can I Call?

 

Someone asks:

 

I'm kind of at a loss who to pick to call, I feel it needs to be someone who knows fully about my addiction, I have to be able to explain exactly what's bothering me at that time and what my issues are and then the guy has to be someone who can talk me around it all and make me see sense and bring me back to reality. Someone who I will trust and believe and listen to.

 

Dov Replies:

 

As far as me and most of my recovery buddies are concerned, making the call is not about getting really good advice. It is mainly about shedding light on my secret and removing the 'protective net' I cast on all my lusting. The main 'protective net' is secrecy. It is the main way I manipulate the circumstances to ensure that things will go my way - that is, the way of my lust. Letting that secrecy go is the most real step we can take toward actually letting go of our lust and our acting out. 


Just ask the guys who have a horrifying time making that call before they act out - they'll admit it feels just impossible to make that call... I wonder why the stakes are so high.


Of course, there are those fellows who regularly make that call, and act out each time anyway. But that's the topic of another discussion. Most addicts who I know are not like that. 


That's why the 1st step reads "We came to admit..." the 'devil' is in the admitting. So the more honestly, openly, and frequently we do it, the freer we generally get. That's the magic of real, live, meetings. It kicks the faker's backside. And we are all fakers, showing the entire world a pretty face while hiding our ugly one. That is ego-driven manipulation and eventually needs to be jettisoned in order that any progress be made.


So we do not really need to be talked down and convinced no to act out... We need to admit the truth about ourselves to another understanding person (of course in order to understand, that person must also be a recovering pervert). If that person truly understands and believes that we have an illness, he will listen and empathize; share a similar situation he had; put a hand on our shoulder and remind us that Hashem will make it OK and take the pain of not having that pleasure away. Faith is what we need, and sometimes we can only get it from other addicts, not from Rabbanim, shrinks, or anyone else.

903.
Monday ~ 22 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 29, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: Dov's New 12-Step Group Starting Soon 
  • Member's Chizuk: Am I Really an Addict?
  • Saying of the Day: By Leguin 
  • Personal Victory of the Day: I'd Be Toast Without Filters 
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Self-Will is our Greatest Enemy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Announcement

 

Dov's New 12-Step Group Starting Soon
 

Only for those who are SERIOUS and willing to put in the work and maintain integrity.
 

Headed by Dov (from the "Daily Dose of Dov") who sober in SA for over 13 years.
 

See here for the 9 conditions in joining Dov's group.

 

To join, please contact Dov and give him your username, so we can give you access to his group on the forum.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Member's Chizuk

 

Am I Really an Addict?

 

By Eye.Nonymous

 

An addict, in the purest sense of the word, means: You cannot STOP. Faced with the temptation, you're going to give in. Though you may wrestle with it and hold it back for a day or a week or a month, it's always in the back of your mind AND IT'S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL YOU FALL AGAIN. You act out, even though you know, intellectualy, that you shouldn't, and EVEN THOUGH YOU FEEL THAT YOU DON'T WANT TO.

You don't have to be living in the gutter to be an addict, and you don't have to be caught up with adultery and pr*stitutes.  All you need is a little p*rn, and/or a little m*sturbation, every so often (you can even be an addict if all you look at is swimsuit magazines and circulars for women's apparel) AND YOU CAN'T STOP IT!

That's an addict.

BTW, if a person can't stop, it's also ONLY A MATTER OF TIME before the situation deteriorates. The addict in the gutter, how do you think he got there? Did he just one day decide he'd like to leave his wife and children and home and job and sleep under the stars?  No. It started those 5 or 10 or 15 years earlier, when he found he couldn't live without his swimsuit magazine. And, chaval [what a pity!] he didn't think of himself as an addict THEN, and get the help he needed, and spare himself tons suffering.

Luckily, once we admit we have an addiction, there are many tools that can help us. See the GYE handbook for guidance. But the first step is to come to terms with the truth about ourselves.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Saying of the Day
 

By Leguin

It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.

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

Personal Victory of the Day

 

I'd Be Toast Without Filters

 

By "Kedusha"

 

Boruch Hashem, I am now over 550 days clean.

Interestingly, my wife went to Mikva a few days ago (after 23 days unclean). Since then, things have been much more difficult for me than during the previous 23 days. I know this is a not uncommon phenomenon, but go figure! As Chazal say, "there is a small limb in a man, if we feed it, it is hungry, if we starve it, it is satiated" (Sanhedrin 107).

Although Google is on "safe search" and K9 is on a very strong setting, today something came up in a Google search that I was tempted to click on (I really shouldn't have done that search to begin with, but that's another story). Not wanting to throw 550 days of sobriety out the window, I thought that maybe I could click on it, and quickly cover the screen before it came up, just to satisfy my curiosity as to whether or not K9 would block it. Realizing that I was treading on very thin ice, I held myself back, and called my wife to put in the K9 password.  I then added the site in question to the blocked sites list, so, even if K9 previously would have allowed that site (b'Ezras Hashem, I'll never know), it won't allow it now. I also specifically blocked one of the words that had been used in that Google search, so I won't be able to do that particular search again.

 

I realize, of course, that filters alone, or together with monitoring software (I have both), are not the total answer, but, man, would I be toast without them!

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Self-Will is our Greatest Enemy
 

When lust 'strikes', it is to be expected that not listening to our desire will seem a very stupid option, indeed. Stupid, and truly not at all in our best interest (as it is felt right then). 


As long as we cling to self-will, it will be impossible to listen to that voice that says, "NOOOO! Don't do it!" because it seems really stupid to us: "You mean, the program is telling me to be an idiot?!"


 

This was and still is my experience with surrendering lust. At some point, it just seems stupid - "what is the freaking big deal about just looking and enjoying that leg, already!?" And that is the point at which I need to live with the 12 steps. Above all else, they are ego-busters. 

 
This is why I believe the AAs are really onto something when they say that ego - "self-will" that is, is our greatest enemy in freedom from lust. Our ego is our self-sense, the very thing that tells us what is in our best interest or isn't. Recovery tells us not to believe our own self-will! Crazy! ... but we truly have no other option, it seems. (There are those who cling to Rationality here but that has not been my experience so I have nothing to say about it.) And BTW, I also feel this is the reason that (as RMCh"L writes in Messilas Yeshorim) the middah of Anavah - humility - is the key that opens so many doors, like a single stroke that knocks many dominoes over. He therefore recommends going for anavah over any other middah, just for the economics of it all... a yid, indeed!

904.
Tuesday ~ 23 Kislev, 5771  ~  November 30, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Personal Victory of the Day: Pleasure That is Not Mine
     
  • Tip of the Day: Physical Reminder
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: It's more than a 'Schmutz' problem
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Personal Victory of the Day

 

Pleasure That is Not Mine

 

"Trying" wrote:

 

I have been grappling with a problem. My Filter had a loophole which when manipulated, allowed real nasty images to pass through.

I was Mekabel a while back to contact the filter Gabai and have the problem fixed... I tried a few times but kept on missing him.

Lately, I confess, I would often manipulate the loophole and do that which I ought not to do...

I have given it some thought and it hit me that what I am doing is wrong. I however felt that it was too hard for me to give it up. I am too used to this... Where will I turn for an outlet?

But recently, I decided that to reap life's true benefits I need to make tough choices....
 

Viewing those images and doing what I did, did in fact provided something. I will not deny that.

But it is a pleasure that is not mine. G-d provides me with the right amount of opportunities for pleasure that are right for me; this is not one of them! It's cheating. It's taking what is not mine.

I believe that if I let go of this Pleasure I will gain other pleasures: Perhaps a connection to G-d (which is something I want so badly), or perhaps a happy and fulfilling marriage. Or maybe just a general sense of wholeness, fulfillment, accomplishment, etc. Who Knows?

But one thing is certain: I will become more elevated....

And I do believe that in the long run, cleanliness provides - or allows - for a genuine feeling of connection, wholeness, etc.

I am overjoyed to share with you that just a few hours ago I have in fact removed the stumbling block!!!

I really felt like I was given a Nisayon and I exercised Bechirah to choose Life!

This may seem trivial to some, but it took a lot to find the strength within me to give that up...

L'chaim - this is LIFE!!!!
This is where the action is at!!!
This is what I was born for!!!

If this is all I accomplish in my life, I am happy to have been put down on this world.

The Medrash says that for every SECOND of withholding a forbidden pleasure, we get a hidden light which cannot be fathomed by a single angel or being!!!!!!

Is this not worthy of celebration!!!???
 

GYE Responds:

 

Lechayim! Beautiful. Getting rid of the loophole was an important step. It means you took an ACTION to solidify your new found "realization".

 

You see, "realizations" alone don't last very long in addictions. We can't think ourselves into a new way of living. We need to take consistent ACTIONS of recovery, in order to LIVE ourselves into a new way of THINKING.

 

And that's what you're doing. Keep up the good work.

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

Tip of the Day
 

Physical Reminder
 

 By "H.Y"

 

I was listening to a shiur by Rav Fishel Schachter recently, and he said that in their community, a 20 yr old girl suffered from a stroke and could not open her eyes, so some people in shul took upon themselves to be very careful with shmiras aynaim. One guy who drives a truck, put her name on his dashboard to remind him not to look where he shouldn't. After some time, she was finally able to open her eyes.

 

Two things I learned from this, one, the power of "middah k'neged midda", and two, that sometimes we need a physical marker or reminder to keep us going. Our mind play tricks on us, so that man used a piece of paper with a choleh's name on it.

 

We too should try to think of something more concrete that we can look at, to remind us not to stray. Maybe a picture of a Gadol next to our computers...

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

It's more than a 'Schmutz' Problem
 

Many people come to GYE with a "looking at porn problem". I assume their worthy goal is mainly "to not look at any porn". This is limiting for two reasons I can think of. 

First, the goal itself is only negative - so there is no inherent personal change necessary - it is just about living while not using schmutz. "Habituation" and that's it. While it is a wonderful goal for anyone, it still seems a very different process than any 12-step recovery I have experienced or witnessed. The job is essentially done as soon as one isn't looking at schmutz for a while. Yay.

 

Or perhaps they are working the steps, but I wonder if the steps play any necessary and real role in their rehabilitation. And if it does not, then it is unlikely that these folks would feel any need to retain the benefits of their step-work once they are "cured" and not using schmutz for a while. I probably wouldn't...  


Second, I wonder how many of these guys really have a problem that is restricted to "looking at schmutz". It seems quite possible that in some cases their problem is lust, in general. They see it manifest in porn and masturbation and throw their efforts at stopping them. I would, too. But if their real problem is a deep feeling/perception that in order to survive, they truly need things and pleasures that Hashem has not given them - then what good will it do them to just quit the schmutz?

Then when marriage comes along and sex is introduced to the mix they will discover an entire new field to sow their lust in. Then they will wonder why the heck
mar'eevo savah and pas b'salo are not working!!  

They do not really see themselves as essentially different or abnormal. And they may not be!! I may be the last person to cast the label "addict" on anyone other than myself. But if they find that are unable to enjoy sexual pleasures with true joy, control and moderation, I'd suggest that they are gravitating a bit toward the "addict" side. Particularly if their lust outlets are encroaching on other areas of their lives - or into the lives of other people. They can only decide this for themselves.
905.
Wednesday ~ 24 Kislev, 5771  ~ December 1, 2010
Erev Chanukah

In Today's Issue

  • GYE News: Meeting the Mashgiach
  • Chizuk of the Day: A Tribute to Moshe Berkowitz
  • Poem of the Day: Darkness Brings Forth Light
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Getting over our shame
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GYE News

Meeting the "Mashgiach"


One of our supporters had spoke to Rav Don Segal Shlit"a about our work and suggested that we meet with the renowned Mashgiach to tell him more about what we do and get his Bracha. Today we met with him after davening Vasikin in his Yeshiva in Ezras Torah. He was very warm to our work and said that, yes, he had heard of what we are doing and was actually in the process of looking through our handbooks. He said that our work is a "Gevaldige Zach", gave us a big "Yasher Koach" and wished us a lot of Siyatta Dishmaya.

He also said that he would send anyone he knows that struggles with these things to us.

He told us over a d'var Torah as well. Chaza"l say, "ain habracha sharui ela bi'davar hasamui min ha'ayin - Blessing is found only in something covered from the eyes". "Davar" is a remez to d'var erva. As the Pasuk says, "ki matza bah ervas davar". In other words, he explained, there can be no blessing unless we guard our eyes from all divrei erva.

"Taskilu Ve'Tatzlichu!" he exclaimed, as we parted.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

A Tribute to Moshe Berkowitz z"l
 


 

Moshe was recently killed in a car accident by a drunken driver.
 

A quote from an article on Matzav.com:

 

"Moshe recently decided to join a program that monitors internet usage. Shortly afterwards, about thirty people from the yeshiva signed up for a similar program. Since he was in the parsha of shidduchim for a while, Moshe decided to become extra zahir in shmiras einayim as a means of making himself more worthy of meeting his bashert. Only a few weeks ago, Moshe asked his rebbi to take charge of his shidduchim, explaining to him that after months of shmiras einayim, he truly felt he was ready for marriage."
 

Le'ilui Nishmaso, let us all be mekabel to strengthen our shmiras ainayim in his zechus.

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

Poem of the Day
 

Darkness Brings Forth Light
 

By "Yechidah"
 

Darkness comes before light
And very deep darkness gives birth
To the most brilliant light of all

Sane decent human beings
Reject the darkness in their life
It hurts them
Confuses them
Hurls them into the abyss 
Of despair
That cannot be described in words

Who would choose this?
Who truly desires these demons
That plague him
Day in and day out?

Why shouldn't I hate my life?
Chaos within
Tragic errors I have made
To perpetuate this hell

Yet there are soldiers
Who went through hell and back
Survived, as you will
Coming back from war
Embracing wife and child

As you are holding on to them
For dear life
Telling them
I didn't expect such pain and agony
Didn't want to see the horrors that I saw
Torn away from what is so dear to me
But I wouldn't take it back
For I have made the world
A better and safer place.

I come back to you
Shattered
Yet whole
And when you return my embrace
Seeing those kind eyes of yours
I know you accept me fully
The broken, the whole,
Sustains me
Inner joy breaks through the
Barrier of pain
And slowly takes hold
So that the healing can begin

Just when I fell into
That deep dark pit
Actually did fall in
Somehow a ray of hope
Kept me going

This experience
As horrible as it was
at the time
and even those terrible mistakes
of my own making
got me to places
where I needed to be

It's the only reason
I am here
Right know
Broken, yet whole
In your arms
As I cry
Tears of pain
Mingle with
Tears of joy
Which are real

Who would have thought
That I would have felt joy ever again
On this earth!!

I am broken
and whole
accepting finally
all of me.
The inner strength
to look into 
that deep dark abyss
without flinching
without cowering in fear
Giving my hand
to all my brothers
that are still trapped
in that darkness
that I wish I would not have experienced
in the first place.

But now I see
That I was a soldier in training
Tasked with the unique mission
Of helping my hurt brothers
And to help them see the good
That has always been
Within us all.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Getting over our shame

 

One of the draw backs of GYE - as opposed to joining a live group, is that we are a virtual community. Even if we consider that 'connecting', heck - most of us are using fake names, for crying out loud. Ironically, in my own case, I used a fake name on the phone whenever I was acting out! Of course we need to place anonymity and safety high on the priority list, but why all that secrecy in recovery? Aren't we supposed to be getting real? Why not use your real name? I guess I am just old-fashioned, but I really believe that the username thing is just fine for forums about urchin-hunting and sushi-rolling, but when it comes to recovery, it just scares me.


Besides, the weak knees and shock that some long-time forum members have reported when facing the door of a "face-to-face" meeting... that proves to me more than anything that the degree of 'coming-out' that many of us desperately need just to get over our shame, is just not happening on the forum. Yes, the virtuality is merciful. But as for me, I got to a point where I saw that any more self-mercy would kill me. How many of us are too soft on themselves in action and recovery, while being way too hard on themselves emotionally and in self-loathing? I wonder.

 

Where will that get us? 

906.
Thursday ~ 25 Kislev, 5771  ~ December 2, 2010
Day 1 of Chanukah

In Today's Issue

  • Lesson of Chanukah: Do Your Best & Hashem Will Do the Rest
     
  • Chanukah Chizuk: Let Him Shine for Us
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Don't Wait for the "Consequences"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Lesson of Chanukah

Do Your Best & G-d Will Do the Rest


One of the biggest lessons of the Chanukah miracles is that when we do our best, Hashem will do the rest - and we'll see miracles! This was the lesson of the Maccabees; few against many, weak against powerful. And this was also the lesson of the oil; if we seek, we will find, and if we pour in whatever we have, Hashem will make it work  - far more than our expectations!
 

Watch this great clip from Aish.com that helps bring home this point.
 


 

Chanukah's Secret to Greatness

 

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

 

"An Honest Mouse" wrote on the forum:

 

The miracle of the oil was that there was only a little bit of untainted, pure oil left - only enough for 1 day, but Hashem made it last for 8 days.


Sometimes, we don't have a lot of strength in us, we feel we can only remain clean for a short while, we don't have it in us for the long haul. If we dedicate our short time clean to Hashem and say, 'this is as much as I can do, please keep me clean', He is surely able to repeat the miracle and give us the ability to remain clean for much longer!

 

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

 

"Yosef Hatzadik" wrote on the forum:

 

The Kohanim knew that they didn't have enough oil to light the Menorah continuously until new oil can be procured. They did what was in their power to do today anyhow.

Progress, not Perfection! As they say in Yiddish: "Ah Yid darf tahn, nisht oiftahn! - a Jew must do, not accomplish"


We gotta do our part; the end result is up to Hashem!


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

 

"Aish Kodesh" wrote on the forum:

 

When the Greeks destroyed everything in the Beis Hamikdosh, the Yidden almost lost hope until they searched and searched and found the jar of clean oil. This symbolizes our neshamos. We can never give up hope, there is always a way out. No matter where we are, we can find a way to bring light to the world and to our neshomos, and Hashem will make a miracle and it will  be something much greater then our little deeds. That's why Beis Hillel says we are "malin bakodesh"; just light a little light and Hashem will make it much stronger!

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

Chanukah Chizuk

 

Let Him Shine for Us
 

By Yashuv V'Yashuv

 

You really want to stop, but maybe that desire, as deep as it is, has not made it into the kishkes (maybe a parve kishke, but not into the fleishigeh kishke). I think the way to penetrate the fleishigeh kishkes is to dwell more on the physical threats of living with this lust. Maybe reading some of the stories about where lust has progressed for many of those here on GYE, how it's affected their family life, their wives, their children. Hit bottom while you're on top! But don't dwell TOO much on the negative. Think about those people who were at the bottom - so much lower than you and I - and have managed to put their lives back together and live clean and connected, to the world, and especially to HKB"H, whose loving embrace they've taken comfort in. HKB"H does Nissim, and He does them regularly for people who are absolutely ready to change. Ask people who have seen the Nissim in their lives. 

It's Chanuka tonight, and Chanuka is when HKB"H shows us his constant presence among us. Read Nesivos Shalom on Chanuka, if you can get your hands on the Kuntres. His persistent message is that the Yivanim tried to darken the light of HKB"H b/c they knew that the survival of Klal Yisroel was dependent on the light of HKB"H bringing clarity to the world. Klal Yisrael can't survive without that light; life is black, lonely, filled with slips and falls in the dark. The Neis of the Menora, which is the Avoda on Chanuka, was HKB"H calling out to us amidst the dark, begging us to let Him shine for us as it were. His light is ever present. It may appear to be just a small flame on a window sill, but its there, and the closer you come to it, the more you can see - and the stronger you feel - its heat; its power. Let the light in, come closer to it, HKB"H is calling out to us.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Don't Wait for the "Consequences"
 

Someone wrote:

 

I feel like I am lacking the commitment to change and to improve. I know logically that I have reasons to quit - primarily because I don't have control over my life. But since I am not experiencing any consequences from this lack of control - and please G-d, I should not - I'm having a hard time realizing that it's a problem.

 

Dov Replies:

 

Not experiencing any consequences from feeling this way? It sucks - isn't that consequential enough for you!? 

What? ...It's not 'consequences' enough? 
 
Oh! Then you are like me! I basically accepted a sucky life, too! For decades I was a garbage can and all kinds of crap went in it: Along with the lust came plenty of self-loathing, confusion, contradiction, quiet desperation, jealousy, pride, fear, shame, hypocrisy... you know what I mean. Well, I found that I could really take a beating... and a stupid one, at that. Not much of an accomplishment. I would have sat there in it too.

Eventually, b"H, consequences that were sufficiently real got hold of me, wouldn't let go, and 'helped' me let go of garbage-acceptance mode. I work my recovery and live the good-life now, or live nothing at all. That is recovery as I see it. 

Hatzlocha, oh kindred spirit. I bet you are now on the right track and hope you (and I) stay with it.

907.
Friday ~ 26 Kislev, 5771  ~ December 3, 2010
Day 2 of Chanukah ~ Erev Shabbos Parshas Miketz

In Today's Issue

  • In the News: Fire on Har HaCarmel
     
  • Shabbos Chanukah: Mi LaHashem Elai!
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Get yourself a group of friends you can call

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

Fire on Har HaCarmel

 


 

There's a raging fire in Israel now on Har HaCarmel where over 40 people lost their lives yesterday. I was reminded of another fire on Har HaCarmel, many years ago. The Pasuk in Melachim Alef (18:38) says:

 

"And the fire of Hashem came down and ate the sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dirt and the water that was in the trough it licked. And the whole nation saw and fell on their faces and proclaimed "Hashem is G-d, Hashem is G-d!"

 

Perhaps Hashem is sending us a message, as Eliyahu Hanavi told the Jewish people back then: "Until when will you hold on to both sides of the stick? If G-d is G-d, then go after Him. And if the Ba'al (idol) then go after him!"

 

We can't continue living double lives, serving both G-d and lust at the same time.

 

Let us take this message from the burnt-sacrifices of our holy brothers and declare once and for all: "Hashem is G-d, Hashem is G-d!"

 

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

 

Shabbos Chanukah

 

Mi La'Hashem Elai!

 

Chanukah is about Messiras Nefesh. The Jewish people merited the miracles of Chanukah through the self-sacrifice of the few Macabees (Macabee stands for "Mi Kamocha Ba'Eilim Hashem - Who is like you amongst the mighty, Oh G-d!"). They were willing to give their lives for the sanctity of the Jewish people. They knew they stood no chance alone, only the power of Hashem could do it for them. They gave their lives to G-d, and were willing to die for the cause - and that is why they merited great miracles.

 

This trait of Messiras Nefesh in the Jewish people goes back to Avraham Avinu who was willing to be thrown into the furnace of Nimrod rather than bow down to idols. The first documented case of Messiras Nefesh in the Torah is the story of Akeidas Yitzchak.

 

It is brought down in the Seffarim that Yosef Hatzadik's test with the wife of Potifar was an extremely difficult test. Hashem put all possible seductions and temptations into this one test. How was Yosef able to overcome it? He pictured in his mind, that if Hashem would ask him to give his life on the Mizbe'ach like he had asked his grandfather Yitzchak, would he want to be a blemished sacrifice? No! And if he would be willing to lay his life down for Hashem, could he not at least give up this temptation? Yes! And that is what gave him the strength to be victorious.

 

Perhaps that is why the test of Yossef is read around the time of Chanukah each year.

 

We are faced with great temptations every day. Let us remember the Messiras Nefesh of the Maccabees. Let us remind ourselves, that as Jews, we would be willing to be thrown into fire and not bow down to idols. Lust is like idol worship. As Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai told his talmidim when a beautiful woman walked by: "Al Tifnu El Ha'Elilim - do not turn to false G-ds". If we would be willing to give our lives for Hashem, can we not at least give up on our unhealthy lusting?

 

We on GYE are the Maccabees of our generation! We are the few against the many, the weak against the mighty. The multi billion dollar lust peddling industries out there are trying to destroy the Jewish people from the inside - "Le'Ha'avirum Me'al Chukei Ritzonecha". But we won't give in. We are willing to give our lives for our beliefs, so surely we are willing to give up these desires for Hashem!

 

Let us accept upon ourselves today: No more YouTube. No more Face-Book. No more non-Jewish news-sites, magazines, newspapers and movies. All of these things are full of triggers. They are the tools of war that 'Yavan' uses to insert it's tentacles into our Jewish minds and souls. This is a fight for our very Neshamos!

 

Shabbos Chanukah is a time of the G'mar Chasimah of the new year. In many Chassidic communities, those who couldn't make it to the Rebbe for Rosh Hashana used to come for Shabbos Chanukah. It is a very holy time. It is a time for Messiras Nefesh. A time for decisions.

 

Mi La'Hashem Elai!

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Get yourself a group of friends you can call
 

Anyone else who is sober can help you with weak moments, by calling them, admitting it as plainly and clearly as you are able, and letting go of it with Hashem's help so that you can get back to whatever the heck you were supposed to be doing before the stupidity.
 

I called my sponsor plenty of times during those weak and scary moments, but please do not lock yourself into one person. Honesty and freedom from lust is just too precious a thing to be dependent on one person for. 

908.
Sunday ~ 28 Kislev, 5771  ~ December 5, 2010
Day 4 of Chanukah

In Today's Issue

  • Important Announcement: Four New Phone Conferences on Dec 13!
     
  • 12-Step Attitude: True Chanukah Light
     
  • Saying of the Day: Powerlessness vs. Responsibility
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Tolerating Imperfection
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Important Announcement

 

GYE is launching four new 12-Step phone conferences on Monday, December 13!
 

Duvid Chaim and his 'Talmidim' will be launching three simultaneous 12-Step groups on Monday, Dec 13, 2010

 

Click here for more details

 

You will now have a choice of three groups:

  • For the early birds - Steve's group will have its daily call at 8:30 am EST.
     
  • For the Lunch & Learners - there is Duvid Chaim's usual NOON time (EST) group.
     
  • For the evening folks, join Shlomo's 10:30 PM (EST) group.

All three groups will be on the same page, so you can come on board one or more, or switch times to your convenience.

 

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

 

Daniel is also launching a 12-Step group on December 13, 2010.

  

His group will be twice a week:
 

Monday and Thursday at Noon Pacific Time (3 PM EST)


See this page for more information on Daniel's Group.

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

12-Step Attitude

 

True Chanukah Light

 

By "Eye.nonymous"

 

The AA Big Book talks about "being on a new plane of existence"; a spiritual plane.
 

Duvid Chaim often speaks about "Getting out of our heads".

"Getting out of my head" means being concerned how other people are feeling, and being helpful when possible.

I feel like I've reached a new level of serenity. Today my wife had to schlep around all day with 2 of our kids for appointments. She arranged to have our baby with a babysitter, and after school all the kids that stayed in town would go over to one of our friend's houses. In the past I would have been so angry that I have to schlep around and make sure our kids get to where they're supposed to. But now, I realize my wife is doing SO MUCH MORE SCHLEPPING than I am. AND, she made all these arrangements so I could keep to my regular schedule, more or less. I was just so thankful for the baby sitter and for our friends. And I called to check up on the kids, totally prepared to take them and stay home with them if it wasn't working out.

Then we all got home about the same time for Chanukah lighting. My wife was totally wiped out. Instead of getting all depressed and running away to escape and abandon my wife, I really enjoyed the evening. We lit the menorahs, being very relaxed about things. We had a little snack together. I played some music. THE KIDS PLAYED SOME "MUSIC" AT THE SAME TIME - AND IT DIDN'T BOTHER ME! I took the kids out for a walk to see all the menorahs while my wife rested a bit, and at the same time I gave our older son (9 years old) some bike safety riding tips because he wants to start riding in the street. I stayed calm throughout dinner, despite that the children weren't necessarily so. I helped with bed time, and was not only calm but also happy. It was one of these 'singing and dancing bed times' that I can't believe when I hear other people talk about them. I had a bit of a shmooze with my older son (still 9) while he waited for his bed time to come around.

My wife commented to me, "you spoke so nicely to everyone."

I feel that this was an exceptional evening when I was able to overcome over my selfishness. I feel that I'm actually starting to change.

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

Saying of the Day
 

Powerlessness vs. Responsibility

 

We may be powerless over diabetes, but we aren't powerless to take our insulin!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Tolerating Imperfection
 

Precious things are not gained overnight. Yetzias mitzrayim was a big, fat, jump - a completely undeserved gift to us 49th-levelers. After the free jump, it was almost completely lost to us and we had to grow slowly from zero for 49 days before getting the Torah... then we lost much of it just 40 days later with our eigel.... Then we did some tshuvah and lost much of that by the complaining and those yummy quails... followed by more growth and d'galim and we were finally ready to go into Eretz Yisroel - only to lost almost everything with the meraglim... did a lot of teshuva again (the hard way, thanks to the ma'apilim) - only to have Korach's 'help' to almost lose the little they had left (a connection with Moshe Rabeinu)... Oh, boy. The goyim have an easy out: "Those Jews were losers!" Our version of the lesson is so very different, and has been borne-out by historical comparisons of our peoples: The really precious stuff takes time and is obviously worth the ups and downs of real life. 

Time is needed, if we are to have any hope of actually growing into these lofty 'madreigos' we talk about. (I call them all Sobriety="Derech Eretz" - which is before "Torah" even begins.) We need to allow ourselves space to be screw-ups in many ways. Not in dangerous ways (like our addiction) - that obviously must stop (for today) for there to be hope. But as far as purity, living well, and happiness are concerned, tolerating imperfection means tolerating some ugliness in ourselves. And in others, too. We have some ugliness. Getting it out in the open is the only way I know to start to get free of it. Ignoring our ugliness may be encouraging, (as in, "you are such a tzaddik!") but it's still a lie. And I believe that lies get us nowhere.... or worse. They just substitute feeling better for getting better. Many of the folks I have met in meetings have been focused on feeling better, rather than on becoming more useful. They don't usually get much better. 

If they only knew how great it feels to actually be able trust themselves and have some integrity for a change, they'd know that there is simply no contest here. Lust simply has nothing to sell. I am still an addict, believe that I am powerless and could lose it all tomorrow, but have still learned to trust myself to stay with Hashem and to use Him to stay sober and useful to Him and to His people today. And it's a great way to live so far.

Someone asks Dov:

"How can we tolerate our imperfections while working on them, without temporarily avoiding the problem by making ourselves feel better?"


Dov Replies:

I believe that when I first began to accept my imperfections without shame, I began to become freed from them. I found that looking at my face in a mirror was no longer a disgusting experience, soon after doing my 4th step inventory. It was a true discovery - totally unexpected. It was actually the last thing I expected, for I had always thought (as do many I have met here on GYE) that facing, writing down, and freely admitting my defects of character would be shaming and lead to self-loathing. Little did I know, that I had already been living with all those defects all these years, hating myself for it, and trying to run and hide from them! 

The only thing really missing was acceptance of the facts about me by admitting them freely, even to others. I could then find it a bit easier to stop running from myself by hiding in lust, porn and masturbation adventures.

A bit counter-intuitive, no?
909.
Monday ~ 29 Kislev, 5771  ~ December 6, 2010
Day 5 of Chanukah

In Today's Issue

  • Testimonial of the Day: A Year on GYE
     
  • Quote of the Day: By Yehoshua 
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Aveira vs. Chlo'ei Hanefesh

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

Testimonial of the Day
 

A Year on GYE
 

By Stuart

 

It's been about a year on GYE, and I thought this would be a good time to update what went on the past year.
 

My road to recovery was not as great as expected, with several ups and downs during the year. One particular area which captured me this past year, was using my blackberry for bad things. Even though I had it for 2 years without being tested, after filtering my computers, it finally got to me.

Nevertheless, since this past summer I made some serious attempts to change for the good. 

 

Some new innovations I have been doing include:

  • Joining a 12 step phone conference
  • Reaching out to other people in a similar matzav
  • Reading Garden of Emuna by Rav Arush
  • Reading Garden of Peace
  • Cancelling internet service on my cell phone
  • Getting google.com off my home page
  • Filtering out youtube on my work computer
  • Making a kebala not to look at youtube videos on my home computer if there's no one else around, without contacting someone first. 
  • Not watching movies and TV shows.

Even if I have the opportunity to watch a clean show (say an action or violent flick), I will try very hard not to. My past experience is that in order to qualify to be in front of a camera, you must be good looking and/or wear tight fitting clothes. It may not feel like a trigger at the time, but I think that seeing something definitely has an impact later on, at a weak moment.


All of the above sounds nice and is essential for me, but I am coming to realize that seriously working the 12 steps is most crucial. This helps me to have better emunah and to get closer to Hashem on a daily basis. I am starting to recognize and be aware of my character flaws and learn to respond differently. Most importantly, I constantly need to remind myself to humbly ask Hashem to remove my shortcomings and make me better.

The last few months have seen much improvement for me, B'H. I still have my occasional battles, but not as severe as before, bli a"h. I'm also trying not to get so hung over the quantity of days sober, but more on their quality.

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

Quote of the Day

 

Yehoshua wrote:

 

Here's something I learned through contemplation on Pliskin's writings:

 

Whenever I feel like giving up and I cry out loud, "I can't do it!", there is an answer in my head: THERE IS NO "I CAN'T" WITH JEWS, ONLY JOYFUL Z'RIZUS. 

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Aveira vs. Chlo'ei Hanefesh
 

Someone asks Dov (continued from yesterday's Daily Dose of Dov):

 

It sounds like, from what you are saying Dov, that if we are not feeling shameful of our own flaws, then the only real determination to change must be coming from a desire for something better. 

 

Dov replies:

 

Whoa! Sorry for being unclear. I never meant to imply that shame over character defects was a good or useful thing. In fact, the shame is paralyzing for me, even more than the defect, itself. I also never meant to imply that the only way that I have hope of getting better (or staying sober) is to get rid of all my character defects. What I was trying to say was that getting rid of the shame of admitting them to ourselves and others is a necessary prerequisite for me to getting any freedom from them. I can never truly ask Hashem to remove it from me if I do not really accept that I've got it. And if I cannot admit to another person (or in a meeting) that I've got it, then I still consider it an aveira, not a chlo'ei hanefesh (as RMB"M puts it). If it is an aveira, then it is ugly and wrong - how can I honestly believe Hashem takes away aveiros - that, to me, is completely against bechirah! An illness or 'bad' middah, yes - but an evil choice I am making?! That is a matter for basic Teshuvah, not for Recovery as I know it. 


... how can we be expected to step away from behavior that is pleasurable now, for something that will be pleasurable later after much hard work. Its just so hard to know what's really around the bend sometimes, and what is worth waiting for.

 

Understood, amigo. I'd never change for a future reward either, and never have. Others have 'accused me' of this though, just cuz I sometimes describe the wonderful things I have discovered in a life of recovery so far that were the fruit of years of slow change. But I never looked forward to get any of those things. They just fell into my life. Promise.

But when it comes to using lust, it is just so destructive that I did whatever was necessary to get the help I needed to avoid it. I was simply scared of ruining what life I had left after getting caught and exposed for who I really was.

Now, some of the fruits of recovery are a sense of gratitude for the good things in life (cuz they start to be more reliable), a feeling of integrity that cannot apparently be dislodged (I think it is Emunah, actually, that G-d is really here with me forever and always), and a sense of safety (that I am not that likely to flush my life down the toilet at any moment, nor to get arrested, and have no fear that I'll get caught in a lie). These gifts, once tasted, are precious, no? We try to hold onto them once we recognize them. That may be what you are referring to, I guess, as "the payoff in the future". Well, I never counted on getting any of those things, till I tripped over them. So I ask you: why look forward to getting anything more than just being sober? If that is not precious enough to motivate someone, then I just have a hard time relating. It just isn't what I experienced, that's all. An expert on recovery in general might be able to help, not me. All I have is my own experience which is very limited.
910.
Tuesday ~ 30 Kislev, 5771  ~ December 7, 2010
Rosh Chodesh Teves ~ Day 6 of Chanukah

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

Important Announcement

 

We're trying to develop a GYE system of recovery based on "Levels" for the new website we're developing, to simplify the system for new-comers and old-comers alike. We believe this new system will make it much easier for people to quickly pinpoint what suggestions they should try.

We are looking for feedback on what we have come up with so far (see below). Please send your feedback to eyes.guard@gmail.com.

Thank you and a Freilichen Chanukah and a Gut Chodesh!

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

The GuardYourEyes Program in a Nut-Shell

 

GuardYour Eyes uses a unique approach to help people, by recognizing that there are many different levels in the struggle for "Shmiras Ainayim" and "Shmiras Habris". We have tried to put together here - in a nut-shell, the suggestions that we feel are best for the various different levels of this struggle.

 

Two Important Notes:

 

1) The term "acting out" is used below to mean either viewing inappropriate material and/or masturbation. It also includes promiscuous behaviors (clubs, massage parlors or worse) but these behaviors should generally be treated as more severe levels of addiction.

 

2) Each new, more advanced level of the struggle/addiction (below) automatically includes the suggestions given for the previous levels. We only bring the NEW suggestions for each level, but highly encourage that the suggestions of the previous levels be tried as well.

 

 

The Eight Levels:

Can you find yourself below?

 

Level 1. I struggle with shmiras ainayim, desires and fantasies (like most normal males).

 

Suggestions:

 

-         Filters: Get a good filter for all your internet enabled devices. We can help you find what's best for you on our website, or on our filter hotline (coming soon). Be in touch with our filter Gabai at filter.gye@gmail.com. We highly advise having your wife, a friend or the filter Gabai hold the password/s for you.

 

-         Daily Chizuk: Sign up to the daily 'Shmiras Ainayim' Chizuk e-mails, which offer daily tips and chizuk on dealing with today's environment, guarding our eyes, dealing with bad thoughts, struggling with the Yetzer Hara, etc.

 

-         Read Up: The GYE website has hundreds of inspiring articles which can provide you with tips and chizuk on dealing with today's environment, guarding our eyes, dealing with bad thoughts, etc.

 

-         Be aware: The GYE website provides articles, shiurim and video clips (coming soon) from mechanchim, Rabbanim and experts, to help you be informed and up-to-date on the spiritual dangers of today's technology.

 

-         Join the Community: Join our "Prevention" forum (coming soon) to exchange ideas with other balabatim, parents and Mechanchim looking for the best solutions on how to deal with the nisyonos of our generation, both for ourselves and for our children.

 

 

Level 2. I have stumbled and 'acted-out' (see definition in note 1 above) on rare occasions, but I believe I can abstain 'indefinitely' if I put in some effort and remain determined.

 

Suggestions:

 

-         Reporting Software: Install Reporting Software (on top of your filter) to have lists of all questionable websites sent to a friend or Rav that you respect and would be ashamed to disappoint. We suggest either www.webchaver.com or eBlaster from Spectorsoft. Give the password/s to the filter Gabai.

 

-         Attitude and Perspective: Read the 30 principles in Part 1 of the GYE Handbook to understand the nature of this struggle, and to learn how to use it as a spring-board for personal growth and divine service.

 

-         Shmiras Ainayim Fences: Build up stronger fences for your eyes such as: avoiding mixed areas where possible, avoiding sites like Facebook, YouTube, triggering movies, magazines, etc. (Read tool #2 of the GYE handbook).

 

 

Level 3. I can abstain from 'acting-out' for long periods of time (more than 90 days), but somehow I keep falling into it again.

 

Suggestions:

 

-         Acceptance: Addiction means something we want to stop but can't. Accept that you may have an "Addiction". Although there are many levels of addiction, the rules of the game change once we recognize this important truth about ourselves.

 

-         Stronger Daily Chizuk: Sign up for the 'Breaking Free' daily chizuk E-mails and get tips, advice and personal stories from the GYE community every day, on how to break free of these addictive behaviors.

 

-         Strong Fences: Make strong fences for yourself, such as writing a list of things to do before acting-out, making kabalos, etc. (Read tool #3 of the GYE Handbook).

 

-         The TaPHSiC Method: Study and apply the TaPHSiC Method described on our website. This is one of the best methods for frum people suffering from low-level addictions. It teaches us how to balance our "Yiras Shamayim" (which doesn't generally work very well in addictions) with "Physical discomfort", which is something that works a lot better. By wisely combining the two, we can produce a fool-proof fence to protect ourselves from the addictive behaviors.

 

-         Stronger Shmiras Ainayim fences: Get serious about this. Recognize how easily triggered we are. We need to start avoiding all non-Jewish movies, newspapers, magazines, and even non-Jewish news websites, entertainment, etc.

 

-         Read up: Read through the hundreds of articles on our website, such as the Tips, Q&A and Stories to learn more about beating these addictive behaviors.

 

-         Kosher Isle: When feeling bored or weak, use our "Kosher Isle" to find Kosher activity suggestions, Kosher news sites, entertainment, shiurim and much more!


 

Level 4. I've tried to stop many times, but I can't generally abstain from 'acting-out' for significant periods of time (90 days or more).

 

Suggestions:

 

-         Meaningful Activities: Try to find alternate fulfillment in your life, such as chesed projects, jobs, hobbies and activities that can help you feel inner satisfaction, keep you connected to the real world and out of isolation. (See tool #6 in the GYE Handbook).

 

-         Cutting Down: "The more you feed it the more you need it". Start cutting down over time by making red lines for yourself. Slowly wean yourself of these behaviors by pushing the battle lines back further and further. (See tool #7 in the GYE Handbook).

 

-         The 90-Day Journey: Take the "90 Day" leap of faith and stay clean for a full 90 days to break the addictive pattern in the mind. Use our 90-Day chart system to appreciate your progress and get encouraging e-mails as you advance to new levels. (See tool #8 in the GYE Handbook).

 

 

Level 5. I've tried everything in levels 1-4 and I still can't stay stopped.

 

Suggestions:

 

Anonymous 'Virtual' Support - Reach out to OTHERS:

 

-         Forums: Join the forum to get support from the rest of the GYE community. Tell your story, post a log of your journey, reach out for help when feeling weak - and strengthen each other. The forum is a life-line of chizuk and support for hundreds of people in exactly your situation.

 

-         Chat-Rooms: Chat with others in the GYE chat-rooms (coming soon).

 

-         Social Network: Cultivate a group of "Friends" to stay in touch with through GYE's cutting edge "social-network" system (coming soon).

 

-         A Partner: Get a partner through GYE's partner/sponsor system. Be in touch by e-mail/chat daily. Learn honesty, integrity and get accountability. Strengthen each other.

 

 

Level 6. I've tried everything in levels 1-5 and I still can't stay stopped.

 

Suggestions:

 

Anonymous 'Phone' Support - Reach out to people you can hear and talk with:

 

-         The GYE Hotline: Call our hotlines / experts for advice. (Coming soon: the new 'one-number' GYE international hotline - 24/7!)

 

-         The 12-Steps: Study / Work the 12-Steps. Learn the secrets behind this world-renowned program that has helped millions of people around the world break free of all types of addictive behaviors. (See tool #14 in the GYE Handbook).

 

-         12-Step Phone Conferences: Join GYE's multiple 12-Step phone conferences throughout the week. Work the powerful 12-Step program along with another group of people in your situation, with guidance from an experienced moderator. GYE has phone conferences almost every day of the week - morning, noon and night!

 

-         A Sponsor: Get a sponsor through GYE's partner/sponsor system. A sponsor is someone clean for over 90 days, who can guide you and share what works for him.

 

-         Phone Partner: Get a partner to be in touch with by phone as often as possible (through GYE's partner/sponsor system).

 

-         Build a Personal Phone Group: Have a group of friends to call when feeling weak. PM friends on the forum and ask them for their telephone numbers, or join Duvid Chaim's phone group to get access to his phone-roster (currently with over 50 people).

 

-         The GYE Phone community: Join the 'GYE Phone community' (coming soon) and get access to hundreds of numbers of people like you who want a community to reach out to.

 

 

Level 7. I've tried everything in levels 1-6 and I still can't stay stopped.

 

Suggestions:

 

'Live' Support - Reach out to others face-to-face:

 

-         Therapy: See GYE's therapist referral pages to find a therapist / psychologist who is trained in addictions. Open up fully to another human being, face to face. Discover the root causes. Learn cognitive methods to beat addictive thinking and behaviors.

 

-         Live 12-Step SA Groups / GYE Groups: Get the power of live-group support. Find an SA group in your area, or apply to join a live GYE group in your community (coming soon). Let go of the shame and open up to others. Find that you're not alone, at all. Use the power of the group to help you fight this disease, which is often much stronger than we are. Work the steps with the group.

 

-         A Sponsor: Work the 12-Steps with an experienced sponsor. Let go of the need to be "in charge" and listen to another human being. Let your sponsor guide you, and be ready to listen to whatever he tells you. Change from being a 'self-centered' person to a 'G-d centered' person.

 

 

Level 8. I've tried everything in levels 1-7 and I still can't stay stopped. It seems that inner change is not possible with me!

 

Suggestions:

 

-         Psychiatrist/Medication: A psychiatrist may be able to prescribe medications to help take the "edge" off the underlying symptoms that may be causing the addiction, such as OCD, depression, low self-esteem and other common mental conditions that can be facilitating the addictive behaviors. (See tool #16 of the GYE Handbook).

 

-         Rehab: GYE has a list of rehab options with both inpatient and outpatient care for addictive behaviors. A complete change of environment, professional help and a regimen of intense workshops and therapy may be what it takes to finally break free (See tool #17 of the GYE Handbook).
 

-     Last Resort: For those who are in danger of harming others, there are chemical castration methods that are safe, have few side-effects and are not permanent. (See tool #18 of the GYE Handbook).

911.
Wednesday ~ 1 Teves, 5771 ~ December 8, 2010
Rosh Chodesh Teves ~ Day 7 of Chanukah

In Today's Issue 

  • Important Announcements: Dov's Group / New Women's Group  
  • Testimonial of the Day: "Chanukah used to be a low time for me" 
  • Member's Chizuk: Using Chanukah Correctly
  • 12-Step Attitude: Handing It All Over To Hashem 
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Sick Enough to Really Need Him

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

Important Announcements

 

This Sunday, Dov is starting a new 12-Step cycle with a select group of dedicated men!

 

Will you be in this life-changing group?

  • If you like the "Daily Doses of Dov"...
  • If you want what Dov's got (13 years clean and serene!)...
  • If you are ready to work hard - and work the 12 Steps....
  • If you can handle the nine conditions on this page...

Then contact Dov TODAY and sign up for his group.

 

Zos Chanukah is the G'mar Chasimah of the new year.

 

Make a decision.

 

Don't miss the boat.
 

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

 

New Women's 12-Step Phone Conference!


 

Along with the three new phone conferences being launched by Duvid Chaim on December 13th (8:30 AM, 12:00 PM and 10:20 PM, Mon - Thurs), there will be a group for women as well. Contact our woman moderator "Letakein" for more information.

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

Testimonial of the Day
 

 "Chanukah used to be a low time for me"
 

By "JewInProgress"
 

Hello friends, last night when saying the bracha before lighting the candles, I suddenly remembered the GYE forum, it hit me so strong that I cried. Yes, while saying the bracha with my wife & kids around me, tears started flowing down my cheek, I was so thankful to hashem for bailing me out. Just last year at this time I was still so down the drain, and Hashem gave me the koach to get a hold of myself and he pulled me out of the dumps. And through the half hour while singing, I was hit with this emotion again and again, the words had a different meaning than they had in the past. 

As soon as we realize that Hashem is in control and that if we rely only on Him, there is nothing to fear... and by giving it all over to Him, we can step on a lion, as we say there, and that's what He did to me and to many others here on the forum. We just gotta connect to him in a father/son relationship and not to forget to thank Him for every little drop of joy he sends our way.


 

In the past, Chanuka was a very low time for me, acting out all day long... and I used to sit the half hour after lighting as if on needles, waiting for it to be over, looking at my watch every 3 minutes. This year b"h it was different, I didn't rush, took my time to learn a bit while siting near the menorah, and I am so thankful to Hashem and to all of you for giving me my life back. 

My message to all of you out there is, that if there is a strong will - there is a way. Yes, there is hope.

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

Member's Chizuk

 

Using Chanukah Correctly

 

"Zemiros Shabbos" wrote:

 

Chanukah is a great opportunity. But like every great opportunity, it needs to be used correctly. We need to be vigilant. There is more leisure time, there are parties, schools are closed, we travel more, etc.... We need to remember that lusting after anyone is a problem, regardless whether it's a relative or friend. If I go to a party, I need to find a seat that does not face the women. I need to make sure not to spend time in a shopping mall, just taking in the scenery. I need to keep asking for Hashem's help in staying out of trouble.

 

On a positive note: Lighting the Menorah is a very special Mitzva done at home with the family, in an atmosphere of warmth. It's an opportunity to fixate our eyes upon the light of a mitzva and to cleanse our eyes to some extent from wrong images we may have viewed. It's a time for extra davening and singing; a time to connect with family and friends; a time where the light of kedusha descends to places where it normally doesn't reach, and it can uplift souls who have fallen very far. It's the story of how a small little flame can dispel the deepest and darkest nights.

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

12-Step Attitude

 

Handing It All Over To Hashem

 

A desperate struggler writes on the forum:

 

The Gemara in Shabbos says that the oils and wicks that you can't use on Shabbos can be used on Chanukah (cuz we don't worry you'll fiddle with it). So the Chassidim learn from this that if a person cannot be inspired and motivated by Shabbos, he can still be inspired by Channukah. 

 

This made me think: what do Shabbos and Chanukah have in common? And I thought: On Shabbos, we rely entirely on Hashem. We don't work. We don't buy things. We are completely dependent on Hashem. Which is really our goal in SA (12-Steps) - to be entirely dependent on Hashem. And on Chanukah, it's the same. That's what the Chashmonaim were facing. They had nothing left. They were the weak and the few,  and they had no hope whatsoever but Hashem.

 

After continuous falls, I really feel like I've got nothing at all and I'm at ground zero. And like a spoiled child, I have been left with no choice but to completely hand over everything in my life to Hashem and hope he takes better care of it than I have.
 

I pray that he provides me the peace of Shabbos and the miracles of Chanukah and helps me out of this mess of a life I've created for myself.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Sick Enough to Really Need Him
 

Q. Guess where I believe eliminating all emotional 'triggers' would lead me (and maybe others, too)?
 

A: To completely abandon Hashem. Yup. I wouldn't need His help at all! 

C'mon. Hashem is smart, no? You think he really arranged us to become this sick for Him to save us - like Superman? Does He 'need' to run around saving the world post facto? I doubt it. I believe that He put me in this life and I have this problem cuz it was indispensable to me! I needed to become sick enough to need Him, in order to ever have hope of finding Him. Rav Noach Taught me this idea, and I use it this way. 
 

And before this gets all bogged-down in a big fat 'hashkofa' debate, I just want to say that all this might seem dead wrong... but I do not really care, because it works to allow me to get me sober and to be an eved Hashem to the degree that I am, so far. I don't really care about the philosophical veracity discussions. They can go either way and back and forth forever, anyway. If it works, then it's probably true - and the truth will eventually become apparent to me as a gift from Hashem, when He is ready to have me know it

Humilty is far more precious to me than 'being right'... after all, 'needing to be right' was always the poison in my relationships, itself!

912.
Thursday ~ 2 Teves, 5771 ~ December 9, 2010
Zos Chanukah

In Today's Issue

  • Important Announcements: Six New Groups Starting Next Week 
  • Feedback: "The GYE Program in a Nut Shell"
  • Member's Chizuk: Operating Less Out of Selfishness
  • Testimonial of the Day: That Very Day
  • Daily Dose of Dov: DILBERT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Important Announcements

 

We are happy to announce the launch of the following 12-Step phone conferences next week, be'ezras Hashem.

 

1)     Dov (from the "Daily Dose of Dov") will be starting with his group this Sunday, December 12. See this page for more info. The phone conference will be twice a week. Contact Dov to join.

 

2)     Duvid Chaim will be launching his popular group at 12 PM (EST) on Monday December 13. It will be Monday through Thursday, each week. See this page for more info. Contact Duvid Chaim to join - or just call in!

 

3)     Steve will be launching his group at 8:30 AM (EST) on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. His group will be following Duvid Chaim's group, so you can join either one and still be on the same page! See this page for more info. Contact Steve to join - or just call in!

 

4)     Shlomo will be launching his group at 10:20 PM (EST) on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. His group will also be following Duvid Chaim's group, so you can join any of the three calls each day and still be on the same page! See this page for more info. Contact Duvid Chaim for questions - or just call in!

 

5)     "Letakein" will be launching a group for women on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. Her group will also be following Duvid Chaim's group. See this page for more info on the goals of the group. If you are a woman who wants to work the 12-Steps with an experienced moderator and a group of women like you, contact us for more info on this group.

 

6)     Daniel will be starting his group this Monday, December 13. The phone conference will take place twice a week, each Monday and Thursday at 3 PM (EST). See this page for more info. Contact Daniel to join.

 

7)     And of course, Elya's popular group will also be continuing once a week, each Wednesday evening at 7:45 PM. See this page for more info. Contact Elya to join, or just call in!

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

Feedback to the "GYE Program in a Nut Shell"

 

In Chizuk e-mail #910, we sent out a system of recovery based on Levels called "The GYE Program in a Nut Shell". We believe this new system can make it much easier for people to quickly pinpoint what suggestions they should try at the level they are at. We asked everyone for feedback, and here are two interesting replies we got:

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, LCSW, President of Nefesh - the International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals, wrote back as follows:

 

I have recently worked with clients suffering from sexual and/or internet addictions who have been helped by your organization, Guard Your Eyes. I appreciate your balanced and sensitive approach in helping frum people who express a desire to live in accordance with halachic and Torah principles. 

 

I believe you are a wonderful resource for frum clients, not as a substitute for therapy, but as an adjunct to the treatment process.   

 

Your "GYE Program in a Nut Shell" is great stuff. I see you have learned from experience, hence your TaPHSiC method warns people about overdoing shavuous etc. I have one recommendation for the program... Although I understand that you put 12 steps at a much later stage, really everyone can benefit from it. The Twelve steps are a way to do more than just "sur me-ra" and actually do "asey tov", which I think is powerful. It is easier to abstain when you fill up the void with something positive and meaningful.

 

So how about strongly recommending 12 steps for level 2 and beyond, while requiring it at a later level?  

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

A GYE Member wrote similar feedback as well:

 

I found myself in level #3, yet I joined the 12-Step phone groups and gained so much from them. I am not sure if it is necessary to save the phone groups (Duvid Chaim's in particular) for that late in the game. From my experience, I think it's all about a spiritual connection that we are missing, and the 12 steps are a great way to find that.

 

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

 

So Chevra, what are you waiting for? Sign up to join one of the six new phone conferences starting next week (see above). Regardless of what level addiction you may have, the 12-Steps can help you become a much better person and find true fulfillment in your life. And with so many new hourly options, there's no more excuse that "the time doesn't work out for me!" :-)

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

Member's Chizuk


Operating Less Out of Selfishness

 

By Eye.Nonymous

 

I was talking with someone about the idea of changing our personalities through the 12-Step program. He said, "Is it really true?  I can really change?". It seemed a bit hard to believe.

So, I explained it like this:


It's very rare to find someone who is ENTIRELY SELFISH. We all have our moments when we're motivated by self-interest, and our moments when we are truly motivated by a concern for others.

However, part of our addiction is, that we tend to go in the wrong direction more of the time, and especially when it counts.

But in essence, all we're learning to do in recovery is to activate our selfless side more often, and to operate less often out of selfishness.  And, there's a lifetime of opportunities to improve in this area.

SO WE'RE NOT BECOMING SOMETHING WE'RE NOT! WE'RE JUST LEARNING TO USE A POSITIVE SIDE OF OURSELVES MORE OFTEN, A SIDE WHICH IS ALREADY THERE!

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

Testimonial of the Day
 

That Very Day

 

"BairachBakol" writes:

 

I've been acting out and looking at inappropriate images since the age of 12-13. With a computer in my room, the internet and its poison filled my heart and mind at a very young age. I was a top Bachur, and I was sure marriage would solve the problem, but it didn't. I had ups and downs over many years... When I was down, I felt like a zombie, detached from my other 'very religious self', a hypocrite, etc...  

 

During one recent clean period, I asked Hashem to help me make this not just "another" clean period, but my teshuvah shleimah before Him...

 

That very day, my wife confronted me that she found shmutz on her computer and asked me to explain... B"H I admitted everything to her and explained that I was on the path of recovery and that the shmutz was old. 

 

(Interestingly enough, I read in Tzidkas HaTzadik last night that Hashem will sometimes put in our heart to daven for something in order that he can grant it to you, which is the meaning of the famous Gemarah in Brachos about tefilah shegurah).

 

Upon my wife's prompting, I went to see my Rosh Yeshiva and we spoke for a little while about my past issues and he told me that he wants to be my support if Chas Veshalom I ever fall, and he wants me to periodically check in to tell him how I'm doing.


I have been reading the handbook nearly every day and I've been reading chizuk emails each day as well. I'm close to two months clean and I'm extremely grateful to GYE and recognize that I almost certainly would not be where I am today without it.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

DILBERT
 

Each one of your days are:

Definitely precious.
Indispensable for living the good-life.
Live spontaneously with your Only Best Eternal Friend. 
Be all you can be: yourself!
Each day is the only day that really, really matters now.
Recovery uber alless.
Truth with ourselves about exactly what life we really want comes first, then get the help we need to live it!

In my case, each one of these gifts were bought with great pain. And I mean it. 

The fact that they perfectly spell out Dilbert is completely irrelevant. Hah. Bye!

913.
Friday ~ 3 Teves, 5771 ~ December 10, 2010
Erev Shabbos Parshas Vayigash

In Today's Issue 

  • Link of the Day: Sustaining Our growth
  • Personal Victory of the Day: Perfectionism is Part of the Addiction
  • Member's Chizuk: A Problem Bigger Than Us
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Trouble with your teens?
  • Important Announcements: Six New Groups Starting Next Week

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

Link of the Day

 

Sustaining Our Growth
 

 By Naftali Z.
 

Rabbi Shmuel Gluck (from Areivim - Monsey) had a great article this past Shabbos titled "Sustaining Our Growth".

The subject matter deals with the proper attitude to have when starting/sustaining positive life changes. It's a very interesting take on how the Yetzer Hora deals with a person's growth initiatives in the "pre" vs. "in progress" stages - and the right attitude to have in order to sustain and overcome. While I don't think the article was aimed at GYE-issues in particular, I feel the topic is extremely relevant. Especially to someone new to GYE and/or 12-steps (such as myself) who is just getting used to the life changes involves in the journey to sobriety.

A quote from this great article:

Lastly, I would like to speak about what to do if you fall back into your old patterns. It happens, it's disappointing, but it's not a crisis, it's called life. The trick is to limit the duration of the fall, its intensity, and its quantity. If you have a bad incident and limit it in all three of these areas (even two out of three would be considered a success), then you were successful. You may even fall a second time. If you do make the same mistake again, it means that you haven't learned from your past experience. You can be disappointed in yourself, but should not be crushed. If the incident is unrelated to one from your past, step back, learn from this new experience, and keep strong.

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

Personal Victory of the Day

 

Perfectionism is Part of the Addiction

 

"An Honest Mouse" writes:

 

Yesterday while on the train home, a girl came on dressed in a way that really triggers me, my gaze lingered on her as she passed me by and then I realized that I can't afford to stay in the same compartment as her so I ran into the next one (my own mini 'vayonas veyeitsey hachutsa'). But then when I got off, I stared at the train as it passed to get one last look. 

I was upset with myself, I thought I messed it all up and had undid the good I had done. But then I realized, perfectionism is part of the addiction. It makes me annoyed if I slipped a little - and that paves the way for an all out fall!

I told myself to 'stop being a perfectionist'. The victory will always be there, and the slip, in the grand scheme of what I'm capable of falling to, is very minor. 'Keep on trucking!' I told myself.

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

 

Member's Chizuk

 

A Problem Bigger Than Us
 

"1daat" writes:

 

We struggle so hard to "figure" our way out, to try to understand what's happening. But my experience has been that my understanding "availed me nothing" (as the AA saying goes).

Maybe you are beginning to understand that this is a problem that's bigger than you, than you can't fight, no matter how hard you try. Maybe your life has become unmanageable, maybe it feels a little crazy and out of control.  

If you have come to that conclusion - that you are powerless over this  vicious cycle, and that this whole 'getting clean' business is just too much, then you are, I think, starting to bottom out. You are blessed. Because you are bottoming out "from on top". You're feeling the craziness this addiction puts us through--up, down, clean, falls--and you are getting so upset that you are ready to make a decision to let Hashem restore you to some kind of sanity.

If you want to stop, then you will probably need a lot of fences--filters, accountability partners, SA group, virtual, real, people you can call when you've forgotten and are lost in the hypnotic trance of lust and porn, and when you've forgotten the conviction, the KNOWING that the answer is shtus. And nobody can tell you different in those moments. So thinking and resolve doesn't really help. It has to be as impossible as possible to get to the stuff that's triggering. We need to have people we can call  on our phones with one speed dial. Picking up the phone is way easier than struggling for half an hour in front of the screen.

This is such a lot of work. At first. But we have Hashem helping us every step of the way. Yes, even though you are caught in this cycle, you are growing, and He is right there next to you. But to a worm in horseradish, the whole world is horseradish. To a Yid in front of shmutz, the whole world is shmutz, and there's not much room for Hashem. So we need to turn to the phone, to the group, and to our chevra at GYE.  

I understand the terrible struggle. We all do. And you will ultimately find your way to the closeness you seek with Hashem. Just keep on struggling. It gets easier. Any sense of clarity I may have, came AFTER I got a little sobriety, Be"H. I don't think most of us get clarity, and then stop.

So just keep on trucking. Just keep struggling. He's right there, right HERE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Trouble with your teens?
 

To someone who was having trouble with their children, Dov wrote:

 

My wife and I like the approach of the Kirk, on his website called Celebrate Calm. He empowers both parents and children, and he focuses on teaching all parties responsibility for themselves. It may not be easy, but we see that 'the failing way' is how we got here with our oldest son, so we have nothing to lose. We love his approach, actually.  


May you and your wife be zocheh to say "we" this and "we" that, a lot more. Difficulty with our son was one of the strongest catalysts that brought my wife and I together. We didn't even realize how much we were on different pages! We were advised to huddle about every little response to our son so we'd never give him divergent and confusing messages - or a way to play one of us against the other. These little kiddies become very manipulative from a young age, and carry it into their teens and beyond. 


Love you very much, fellow struggling parent!

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

Important Announcements

 

We are happy to announce the launch of the following 12-Step phone conferences next week, be'ezras Hashem.

 

1)     Dov (from the "Daily Dose of Dov") will be starting with his group this Sunday, December 12. See this page for more info. The phone conference will be twice a week. Contact Dov to join.

 

2)     Duvid Chaim will be launching his popular group at 12 PM (EST) on Monday December 13. It will be Monday through Thursday, each week. See this page for more info. Contact Duvid Chaim to join - or just call in!

 

3)     Steve will be launching his group at 8:30 AM (EST) on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. His group will be following Duvid Chaim's group, so you can join either one and still be on the same page! See this page for more info. Contact Steve to join - or just call in!

 

4)     Shlomo will be launching his group at 10:20 PM (EST) on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. His group will also be following Duvid Chaim's group, so you can join any of the three calls each day and still be on the same page! See this page for more info. Contact Duvid Chaim for questions - or just call in!

 

5)     "Letakein" will be launching a group for women on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. Her group will also be following Duvid Chaim's group. See this page for more info on the goals of the group. If you are a woman who wants to work the 12-Steps with an experienced moderator and a group of women like you, contact us for more info on this group.

 

6)     Daniel will be starting his group this Monday, December 13. The phone conference will take place twice a week, each Monday and Thursday at 3 PM (EST). See this page for more info. Contact Daniel to join.

 

7)     And of course, Elya's popular group will also be continuing once a week, each Wednesday evening at 7:45 PM. See this page for more info. Contact Elya to join, or just call in!

914.
Sunday ~ 5 Teves, 5771 ~ December 12, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • Announcement: Duvid Chaim & Crew Launching Ship Tomorrow!
  • Testimonial of the Day: 6 Months Clean - For Today
  • 12-Step Attitude: Learning From My Wife's OA Call
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: There's No Magic Pill
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Worshiping Avodah Zara
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Announcement

 

Duvid Chaim & Crew Launching Ship Tomorrow!

 

We are happy to announce the launch of the following 12-Step phone conferences tomorrow, be'ezras Hashem.

 

1)     Duvid Chaim will be launching his popular group at 12 PM (EST) on Monday December 13. It will be Monday through Thursday, each week. See this page for more info. Contact Duvid Chaim to join - or just call in!

 

2)     Steve will be launching his group at 8:30 AM (EST) on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. His group will be following Duvid Chaim's group, so you can join either one and still be on the same page! See this page for more info. Contact Steve to join - or just call in!

 

3)     Shlomo will be launching his group at 10:20 PM (EST) on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. His group will also be following Duvid Chaim's group, so you can join any of the three calls each day and still be on the same page! See this page for more info. Contact Duvid Chaim for questions - or just call in!

 

4)     "Letakein" will be launching a group for women on Monday, December 13. It will be each week, Monday through Thursday. Her group will also be following Duvid Chaim's group. See this page for more info on the goals of the group. If you are a woman who wants to work the 12-Steps with an experienced moderator and a group of women like you, contact us for more info on this group.

 

5)     Daniel will be starting his group this Monday, December 13. The phone conference will take place twice a week, each Monday and Thursday at 3 PM (EST). See this page for more info. Contact Daniel to join.

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

 

Testimonial of the Day

 

6 Months Clean - For Today

 

Posted by "Ur-a-Jew"

 

Thank You Hashem for giving me my second 90 days of sobriety.


I first started pursuing lust in my early teens, and now nearly 30 years later, it's the first time that I have gone more than 6 months without porn or masturbation.

 

Moreover, I can happily say that it has also been at least:

  • 6 months since I've picked up a New York Post (I may sometimes be behind in the news, but its no great loss);
  • 6 months since I read through the New Yorker or New York magazine which inevitably had something improper to read or look at;
  • 6 months since I've been on Facebook; 
  • 6 months since I've looked at any improper video on youtube (I think I may have been on the site several times, but it was limited since my computers now block it out);
  • 6 months of working on my marriage; and
  • 6 months during which I have been working on, even if at times I have been unsuccessful, the issue of lust in the bedroom. 

The list goes on and on, and B'ezras Hashem it will continue to grow.
 

But I'm not cured, and don't know if I'll ever be... When one of my sons had wanted to look at a basketball program yesterday, I gave it to my wife to censor first. She pulled out two pages with non-tznius pictures, ripped them up and put them in a cup. This morning as I'm driving to shul, I noticed these shreds in the cup, and a thought flashed across my brain for a second, "if I wanted, I probably could put them back together". I had no real thought of doing it, but I was very grateful for the reminder from Hashem saying: "Yes it's six months, congratulations. But don't think that you're 'cured' even for a minute. In three seconds, you can be back to doing the same old stuff". 

 

So while I'm grateful for the 6 months clean, I am looking forward to remaining sober till the end of TODAY.

 

I would be remiss if I didn't continue to thank (and I should on a daily basis) Guard for the wonderful site, Dov for guiding me through the 12 steps, and my defacto partners Stuart and Andrew on the forum, who check up on me on nearly a daily basis, and to all the other wonderful members of this site who are helping me enjoy life. May you all have much bracha in everything you do and continued sobriety in all aspects of your life.

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

 

12-Step Attitude

 

Learning From My Wife's OA Call

 

By "Ur-a-Jew"
 

This morning I listened in to my wife's OA call and I had some observations. 

 

Many of us (myself included) sometimes have our doubts whether we are addicts (maybe its not really "doubts" but simply pride). Listening in to others describe a different type of addiction - in this case a "food addiction" - made it very clear to me that I was an addict. I heard how someone can obsess over food the same way I obsess over lust. And how they try to give it up, the same way I try to give up lust.  The speaker was describing how, one time she started eating leftovers from her neighbor's garbage that she had noticed was in there (the only reason she stopped is because her neighbor saw her in the act). To a non-food addict, even to a lust addict, we can think to ourselves, "how can she do something like that? Doesn't she have any self-respect?" But, if I take a step back and look at myself, am I really any different? When I desire to "eat" with my eyes from someone else's garbage posted on the internet, I am sure my wife would say, "how can he do something like that?". (And how many of us would take magazines out of garbage bins as well?)

 

Another time, the woman on the call described he she would get into car accidents as a food addict, for example, once she was reaching down to get that "last chip" which dropped on the floor of the car, despite the fact that she had already consumed a whole bag. And while she was bending down, she rear-ended someone. And we will do the same thing with porn. I've have heard from a number of people how they got into car accidents because they were so busy trying to get another look at someone they had noticed on the road, or were just exhausted from their pursuit of lust.

 

And my wife can never understand how sometimes I can just keep "nosh" or cake in my office and not eat it. Just like I can't understand how someone can be alone with open internet all day, and not stumble.

The second thing I took from the call, was when the speaker described how, as part of step-one, a food addict has to completely give up triggering foods. 100% - No exceptions. So someone asked, "well, sometimes I give up triggering foods but then I find myself looking for my "fix" from munching on carrots. Now carrots are not a triggering food for me". To which the speaker responded that not only do we have to give up "triggering foods", but also "triggering behaviors." What I took from that is, that it is not enough to give up porn and lust, but I have to give up some of my other behaviors - that may otherwise be legitimate, but not when I use them as a way to medicate myself.

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

 

Attitude Tip of the Day

 

There's No Magic Pill

 

"Desperate" wrote:

 

Sometimes, if I really want to act out, I'll text somebody for help, but I know that this is my excuse. I'll tell myself that I 'acted out' cuz I reached out and it 'didn't help', so I don't feel so bad about acting out.

 

It's all about ATTITUDE. I got to change my attitude.

 

"Rage" responds:

 

Wow, that really hit home... I think I did a lot of things that I considered "steps" towards my "recovery" simply to act out more. Like I did things in order to rationalize to myself that I tried, I failed, so I can go ahead and do what I want now... It's messed up - I know, but there it is... I've done that with "reaching out" too... Like I'd talk to someone in SA and "reach out" and then go and act out thinking, "oh my dear lord, you see, I did what I was supposed to"... and my sick twisted mind had planned the whole thing that way from the beginning (in my subconscious). And I've also fallen minutes after "davening" with all my kavana, "please, please don't let me fall"...
 

I think that as long as we think that there is a "magic" trick we can do to save ourselves, like "reach out" or "surrender" or "daven to Hashem" then we are destined to fail because there is no magic pill, magic prayer, magic surrender, or any single act that will save us from acting out... I think the only way to do it is to die a little bit... the only way to 'do it' is to do it... It hurts, but the pain of falling eventually becomes so much greater than any pain we feel letting go of our "safety"...

 

It's like you say, it's about attitude... If our attitude is that "I cannot afford to lust anymore because it's too dangerous for me" then we can use little tools like "reaching out" and praying and surrendering to help us remind ourselves of our recovery, but if we're not in the right frame of mind, all this stuff is just vapor...

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Worshiping Avodah Zara
 

When we give in, rather than reach out of ourselves for the help we need to stay free (and with Hashem), we are worshiping that power. Folks like us can understand why avodah zaras are called "elohim (acheirim)", too. They really are worshiped.
 

Of course, their power is a shadow, not made of light - it gives no clarity or power to us in return, and only makes us weaker, more befuddled, lonely, and useless to those around us. That in turn makes us miserable, cuz above all else, we desire to be of real use to the other people in our lives and to connect with them and with Hashem.

915.
Monday ~ 6 Teves, 5771 ~ December 13, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • Final Announcement: Duvid Chaim & Crew Launching Ship Today!
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Before vs. After
  • Attitude Tip of the Day: Comparing is Deadly
  • Quote of the Day: Living Each Day with Meaning
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Self Abandonment or Self Destruction
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Final Announcement

 

Duvid Chaim & Crew Launching Ship Today!

 

If you didn't catch Steve's group at 8:20 AM (EST) or Duvid Chaim's Group at 12 PM, you can still catch Shlomo's group at 10:20 PM tonight! See this page for more info. Contact Duvid Chaim for questions - or just call in! 


 

Daniel is also launching his group today at 3 PM (EST). See this page for more info. Contact Daniel to join.

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Torah Thought of the Day

 

Before vs. After

 

This d'var Torah is so important that we decided to bring it now, even though it's related to Parshas Vayishlach. "Yashuv V'Yashuv" wrote:

 

I just wanted to share some Chizuk I found over Shabbos in Nesivos Shalom (Beraishis pg 213-14, Inyan Yaakov and Eisav).

In Avodas Hashem we need recognize the severity of Chet, and how far away Chet removes us from HKB"H. One should recognize that he's trading in the closeness of Elokim Chaim for crude, disgraceful lusts. But that's the attitude one should have BEFORE the Chet. If one already succumbed to Chet and had a fall, the attitude should be the reverse - HKB"H does not want us to be distant and rejected. His uttermost desire is for us to come back, and we should try and find the way to find Him. Through that, He will set us back on our feet and return us to the spiritual level we were at before we fell. 

However, Eisav's ilk, "Klipas Eisav", seeks to reverse our attitudes. First he's "Achicha" - your brother, then he's "Eisav" - the notorious Rasha. Before the Chet, the Yetzer Hara has you thinking that what you're about to do is really fine, Mutar, and that you won't be distanced from HKB"H. He offers his brotherly support and encouragement. After the fall, he shows his true colors and seeks to break your spirit saying that you're a lost case, banished from this world and the next - and that there's no way to repair and return. Yaakov's solution to this threat is "V'Yachatz..." - to split into two camps - to apply the two attitudes - (1) to see the severity of Chet before the fall, and (2) to see the opportunity we have after a fall, to pick ourselves up and return to our prior Madreigos.

 

Listen also to this 5 minute audio clip from Rav Shafier.

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Attitude Tip of the Day

 

Comparing is Deadly

 

Someone who had a fall and was depressed wrote to Elya:

 

Some people on GYE have been in recovery for years and yet they still say 'I'm weak'. This gets me depressed. If they're weak, what chance do I have? I expect someone in recovery for years to say "I'm strong" not "I'm weak".

 

Elya replies:

 

None of us want to start over again. We want the world and everyone in it to treat us kindly, say the right things every time, and meet our demands and deadlines. It's all about us; ME, ME, ME, ME. 

 

Depression is anger turned inward. You seem angry at people who say they are weak. Yet, you're beating yourself up and they're still sober, weak or strong. Don't judge your recovery comparing yourself to other people. Comparing is deadly. They are not you. They didn't have the same upbringing, history, wife, children, education, etc. Stand up for yourself and don't listen to what everyone else has to say.

 

The only way out of depression, aside from Prozac, is action. Instead of wallowing in your own misery, do something fun for yourself that's HEALTHY! When was the last time you and your wife went out to a shiur or to dinner together?

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Quote of the Day

 

Living Each Day with Meaning

 

As her six-year struggle with cancer wound down to its bitter end, Elizabeth Edwards wrote on her internet blog:

 

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful."

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Self Abandonment or Self Destruction
 

Ahron wrote:

 

Help - I just started to look at shmutz and by some miracle, I was disgusted by it.... I think I'm going to take a nap. I gotta get away! Yesterdays chizuk is helping me nowI think.

 

DesperateJew responds:

 

Ahron, you did well. You caught yourself, and stopped!

I'm not sure what you meant that you got disgusted and I surely hope you don't mean with yourself! You, by virtue of being capable of overpowering 'the smart one', can not be disgusting in Hashem's eyes.

Take it easy, and keep it up!

 

Dov Responds:

 

Dear DesperateJew, 

The following is purely my own opinion and I do not speak for anyone else, and certainly not for GYE: 

It is not my practice to criticize, particularly when it is so obvious, as in your comments, that you mean only to be helpful. However I feel it is important to point out that (unless I misread your comments) you are implying to Ahron that he caught himself, and that he is being capable of overpowering the YH. I see your message as one of encouragement. I have a problem with this that I feel I need to share with you. If you can bear with me, I'd appreciate it. 

 

Reading his words, I see a fellow who seems ready to give Hashem all the credit for the victory - not himself (he says "by some miracle"). He also gives credit to his buddies for the chizzuk - rather than declaring his new-found power to 'overcome' the YH.

I am sorry if this rubs you the wrong way but everybody is entitled to an opinion, and I want to share mine: I have seen the well-meaning comments some folks give others to "believe in yourself and pat yourself on the back for the clean days you have amassed!", or to be grateful that "you are/were able to beat the YH". 

While it seems to be very nice to build up people's self confidence, I have never witnessed this perspective prove helpful to anyone I know, in the long-run. And to my mind, the damage done by the ga'avah that "I can make it" would be the nail in my coffin. I speak about addicts, now. When any addict I have met gets fooled that he or she actually has the power to "beat this thing": yatza scharo b'hefseido. I cannot recall anyone with this attitude staying sober for very long. My guess is that the 'pressure builds up' after a while... and where is their power then? I wonder. It seems an enigma to them: "Well, if I had the power then,why don't I have it now?! If He could help me then, why isn't Hashem helping me now? Is He weaker? Does he not like me as much? Is it because of my aveiros that I do not deserve His help?" This entire self-preoccupied way of thinking leads to painful frustration, and even to excruciating emunah problems. I have seen it happen here and elsewhere.

Parroting the words, "Well, of course we mean that it is 'with Hashem's help'! That's obvious... we are all frum yidden and ma'aminim b'nei ma'aminim here, aren't we?!" is not enough, in my opinion. Actually, I believe that it is meaningless. 

We parroted these words all these years - and never stopped. Has being on GYE for a few weeks or months magically given us real emunah? We weren't really frum then, but we are really frum now? I doubt it. Inspiration will only help us stay clean as long as the inspiration lasts. To me (and other addicts), leaning on the crutch of chizuk and frantically fanning the flames of chizuk each day, is just delaying the inevitable - waiting for the other shoe to drop. At least that is how it'd be for me. This is not a game in many cases. In my case and that of many others, it is a battle to save our minds, our marriages, custody of our children, and our jobs, not a matter of only being happy or 'good people'. 

We need to do things very differently than we were doing them before, if we expect to have a very different result. For the addicts among us, I suggest admitting that we have lost the battle and becoming satisfied with remaining 'losers' until further notice. That is, we remain guaranteed to lose as long as we insist upon going about life our way. Addicts who use the 12 steps often discover that they need to surrender to Hashem and do His Will, or they will lose again. That is the 3rd step - and all the ensuing steps are about getting closer to that surrender. BTW, the kavonoh in "Echod" is exactly that: Dying for Him - and then "v'ohavta" is about giving up our plans and control of all our ambitions and desires in this life - bad and good; our very right to live; and surrendering all our talents, money, and priorities - all to Hashem. 

Addicts who take the third step, set out to accomplish at least some surrender of their egos to Hashem - to save their lives. Cuz this self-abandonment to Hashem is AAs only answer to what you call the Yetzer Hara - self destruction. It seems that AA goes with the 'nuclear option' for problems like addiction. But like I said - if we are to get a different result, we need to go about our lives differently. I do not see "being more frum" as significantly different, that's all. We need a radical change in Derech Eretz - in the underlayment for Torah, rather than "more," or "better" Torah - on a time-bomb foundation of insanity.

 

And BTW, this idea is why I first posted on GYE. If I just pass this along to a few of my frustrated fellow yidden, all the late nights posting will be worthwhile!

I respect your opinion should you feel very differently than I do, and I know that what works for me will not always work for many other people.

916.
Tuesday ~ 7 Teves, 5771 ~ December 14, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • 12 Step Attitude: Procrastination
  • Personal Victory of the Day: Sobriety is a Terrible Thing to Waste
  • Saying of the Day: Footsteps
  • Daily Dose of Dov: The Issue that Brought Dov to GYE

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12-Step Attitude

 

Procrastination

 

Avraham wrote:

 

The 12 step program, specifically step 5 (addressing my list of fears), really helped me overcome procrastination. I was holding myself back from doing so many things that I knew I should be doing. But after the chevra on Duvid Chaim's call helped me let go of my fears, I took my responsibilities head-on and dealt with them. Or as Duvid Chaim says, "I grew up".


Join Duvid Chaim's phone conference. They just started a new cycle this week! See this page for more info.

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Personal Victory of the Day

 

Sobriety is a Terrible Thing to Waste
 

By "Kedusha"
 

I just got an "innocent" commercial e-mail which contained a picture that is just the type of thing that I find very triggering.  If I didn't act fast, my entire sobriety would be at risk of collapse.  Boruch Hashem, I was able to apply the three second rule (actually, quite a bit faster).  I immediately covered the screen, deleted the message and emptied my deleted items folder to make the message completely irrecoverable. Frankly, that hurt somewhat, and still does, but the alternative would have hurt a trillion times more (I'd say a quadrillion, but you'd think I'm exaggerating!).

To paraphrase the UNCF - "Your sobriety is a terrible thing to waste!"  B'Ezras Hashem, I'm now up to day #560 clean.

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Saying of the Day


Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

The Issue That Brought Dov to GYE

 

The differences between the average sweet yid who occasionally looks at porn and masturbates when he wants to (and then regrets it), and the sweet suffering yid who is an addict, is that the addict repetitively uses the schmutz, is obsessed with it, and masturbates even when he doesn't really want to - because he really believes that he needs to. Of course he regrets it - but the fact that he finds himself doing it over and over proves to him that somewhere inside he really believes that he needs the lust pleasure exactly as everyone else needs food - that he cannot live without it. And that is pretty scary. He is truly stuck. Tell him "you can stop for a day!" (misusing "One day at a time"), and he dutifully agrees - "yeah, I can fast for a day, too!"... But eventually he'll have to 'eat', and he knows it. Tell him all day long about his Neshama and his higher calling - and he'll believe you! But he also believes something else - because his body tells him it is so.

 

And don't we all tend to believe our bodies? Don't we feel quite certain that whatever it is telling us is probably the truth? When your body tells you clearly "I am falling down, right now!" - are you perfectly calm and relaxed, or do you feel an intense rush no matter what your eyes tell you about reality? Ever seen a person having a vertigo attack? They grab things desperately. Does your mind race, struggling to retain control of the situation? What's the big deal? You are safely strapped into the roller-coaster! ;) Not quite. True, some people do relax and enjoy the ride - yet others cannot. Tell them it is safe and show them dozens of safe, joyous riders... to no avail. "My very gut tells me I'll die and I just can't do it. I am terrified of heights!" Just try to convince a person like that to enjoy themselves on "The Cyclone".... Well staying sober from lust is exactly, exactly the same. The addict's body speaks loudly and clearly to his heart and says, "I need it".

 

So how do you talk to a body? Answer: with pain. And that gets us 'ready' to believe in something else, like the Sweet, Living G-d who is our Eternal (and Only) Best Friend. But it is not so easy. It is so convenient for us to 'blame the YH' - just more silly finger-pointing, as far as I am concerned. I have seen many get 'truly religious' and wonder why it doesn't work five months later when they are back in the dead end, for the fifth time. This issue alone is why I came to GYE. No wonder so many GYE guys have shared that beneath all their acting out and valiant fighting against the YH they discover that they have 'emunah problems'. Hey, we all have emunah problems - but nothing inflames our latent doubts like reaching for the same religious solution as always and thinking that we were really ready to allow Hashem to help us - and then He didn't. Translate 'emunah problems'= 'blaming G-d for my failures'. Nu, it's not much different from 'blaming the YH', no? Is this truly the safer way for a yid? I think not.

 

The 12 steps are about taking responsibility for our limitations and getting the help we need. They are about seeing our faults - this is the Derech Eretz that is kodmah laTorah. It is so much less about correctly understanding Hashem and His Ways - and so much more about admitting the whole truth about ourselves. Before mussar and knowledge of my true nature (my Neshama) can avail me much in recovery and living, I need sobriety and sanity. I need to begin to truly reject the lust addict's false self-concept: I need to begin to abandon the idea that I need sex and lust today and that it is my 'eternal best friend' - even as it messes up my very life! That is why sobriety is so vitally important. It is the only way I have a shot at truly rejecting the falsehood that is part of me.


The poor frum fellow who says that he 'rejects his sick thinking completely' and that he 'lets go of the addiction' - and is still masturbating when the going gets really tough... well, lo sereid b'ni imochem. I suspect that he is essentially innocent - that he probably still really believes that he needs it. His very body tells him so. And when the body overcomes the brain (which it generally does) I wonder what baggage he will need to jettison to lighten his horrifying load of crushing guilt and doubt? I don't wish that pain on anybody. On the other hand, once I got sober and actually took the steps and started to use them faithfully, I believe that I slowly started to become ready to see the latent potential within myself that the Torah and Mussar talk about. It took some time for me, as I have shared before, but everybody is different.

917.
Wednesday ~ 8 Teves, 5771 ~ December 15, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • Two Announcements: Elya Coming to NY / Group for Spouses Starting
  • Q & A of the Day: My Shavuos Don't Work
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Bereshit 240b
  • Saying of the Day:Ambrose Redmoon
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Do you want painful comfort - or painful peace?

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

 

Announcement 1

 

Elya Coming to New York
 

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!

 

Elya will be in Brooklyn on December 22, and in Queens on the 23rd. Whoever wants to join a 'GYE Get-Together' with Elya, please write to him to ask/suggest the time and place.

 

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Announcement 2

 

Let Your Wife Know!

 

A New Phone Conference Group Beginning for Spouses of Addicts

 

Hi, My name is Miriam 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. We will be starting a phone conference next week Monday, December 20th, 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. If you feel your wife needs help and support, please ask her to join this group.
 

Any woman who wants to join should purchase a hard copy of the Green Book. It can be bought on Amazon.com over here.

 

Miriam can be contacted at miriamgye@gmail.com for questions, or you can call her at: 318-599-9408.

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Q & A of the Day

 

My Shavuos Don't Work!

 

Someone wrote us:

 

I made a promise to HASHEM that I will not be pogem habris this week, but I broke it twice. I feel really bad, and I'm afraid that I will do it more times. What should I do?

 

Reply:

 

Shavuos don't usually work very well in addictions - if the shavuah is simply not to act out. The trick is learning how to make shavuos WISELY. Here's one powerful example of how to make a wise shavuah:

 

Make a list of good things to do... spiritual things, like saying tehilim for 10 minutes, being maavir sedra 10 minutes, and / or calling your parents, etc... You can also add "calling a friend from the forum" to the list...

 

Then, make a shavuah that if you don't do all the things on your list before acting out, you'll have to give $200 to Tzedaka.

 

This way, you aren't making a shavuah NOT to act out. With this system, you can tell yourself that you can still act out, but you need to first do the things on your list - otherwise it will cost you!

 

Just thinking of the list of things you need to do will usually be enough to deter you from acting out. That's what is meant by making "Smart" shavuaos.
 

See the TaPHSiC method on our website for more on this idea.

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

 

Torah Quote of the Day

 

Zohar, Bereshit 240b
 

Rabbi Abba taught: "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O valorous one; thy glory and thy majesty," (Tehillim, 45:4.) 

 The main point of the matter, is that G-d has given the sign of the holy Brit, and stamped it upon men for them to guard it, and not blemish it - it being the stamp of the King. He who blemishes it, behold, the sword which avenges the blemish to the Brit is raised up against him, (Vayikra, 26:25,) to avenge the blemish to the holy Brit which is impressed on him and which he impaired. 

He who desires to safeguard this place should hurry and make a rectification-tikun on himself. When the evil inclination gains strength over him, he should picture the sword that is girded on the thigh to punish anyone who blemishes this place. This is the reason it says: "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O valorous one." This one is called valorous, and this is his "glory and majesty."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Saying of the Day
 

By Ambrose Redmoon

 

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Do you want painful comfort - or painful peace?

 

Dov shared with me a chat that he had with someone:

 

Struggler: As you probably know, there is a woman from before I became a ba'al Teshuvah who is constantly available to me. I have had periods of being able to stay away and not have urges, but lately, I've gotten into the other kind of phase, the kind where I look at women on the streets, fall into internet shmutz, and then fight by the skin of my teeth not to call this woman. I've succeeded by willpower so far, but I feel so weak. Hashem seems to remove lust from me for weeks at a time while I'm busy with other things, but then suddenly - BAM - it becomes all-consuming and I'm battling it all the time. How do I "induce" Hashem to remove it from me now? I have lots of time on my hands, and lusting seems like so much fun! I think having the time on my hands is a lot of the problem. But now I'm in the problem and I need to get out without wrecking my life.


Dov: Are you an addict, or not? In other words, do you believe that you are a person with a strong desire - or that you are actually a sick person?


Struggler:  I think I'm actually an addict, because I've done A LOT of things I never would have hoped or thought I would do. But the word "addict" isn't really in my vocabulary. I smoke cigarettes also, but I don't consider myself addicted, even though I blatantly am.


Dov: Well I am - as you say it so well - blatantly an addict, and use lust as my drug. I have progressed in my use and dependence on lust over the years and 'progressed' from one form of fantasy to another, one form of porn to another, one way of getting sex to another, and crossed line after line - to my utter amazement (shock, really)... So, if you have seen evidence of progression in your dependence on this precious garbage, that's one ingredient.


The next is powerlessness. Have you been able to control it? Meaning, have you evidence that you will be able to keep the progression from growing even further? Or is it simple that you will obviously keep progressing and you cannot do a damn thing about it.... By "control it" or "stop the progression from advancing" I do not mean "can you stop yourself sometimes?"


Struggler: By that standard, I'm certainly an addict because I've done really sketchy/seedy things that just aren't me. I've tried a lot and failed every time in the end, even if I manage for a bit...


Dov: Heck, we all did that a thousand times... only to plotz later on in even worse ways than we were fantasizing...


Struggler: I also feel the urge build up until I just want to "spaz out" and do ridiculously awful things...

 

Dov: Do you believe that based on your past and whatever else you believe, it is really a possibility that you will stop permanently, or remain at the same level and stay safe, quietly jerking off in your little corner and not bothering anybody? - or is it plain that, left on your own as you are, you will, in fact, do even crazier and stupider things and risk more of the normal good things of life like job, family, sanity, and friendships... just for your fix.


I know that I have felt that I will die without my porn hit, or without meeting this woman, or if I do not get this type of service done in this way, etc... I know it's all BS, but it feels quite real - so it is a problem we cannot just rationalize away. We cannot just say, "well that's silly and hope we won't give in". We will give in eventually, if we are addicts.


Struggler: I can only say that I've risked things and crossed all sorts of boundaries already, so its reasonable to assume that I will continue in the future without something Big happening. So are you suggesting that, as a first step, I begin to think of myself as an addict?


Dov: Well, how about reading the First Step's words and asking yourself at each chunk, "does this apply 100% truly, to me?"... Another thing you can do is read member stories in AA and see if you can relate. I do that still.


Struggler: My experience with the steps so far has been that I look at them and say, "Oh, that's so true" and then promptly forget that they exist for months.


Dov: I hear you about the steps. I need to tell you something very important. The steps are totally useless when studied, talked about and darshened. Totally. Doing "step study", as per my experience with the steps, is a complete and total waste of time and a destruction of the entire program - unless it is part of my direct work in living according to each step, one step at a time. That needs to be done in writing, with a group of real people - in person - and on a daily, or almost daily basis. Actually, the in-person work needed to be weekly for me, but I need to be in touch on the phone with real people daily, at least. If I do not do this, I am dead.

 

As far as I am concerned, reading about the steps is poison for me. Really. Because doing that makes me feel inside that I have really accomplished something - that I am "working the steps", and that is a lie. And what's really soooo BAD about it is that it becomes a substitute for the real thing. Like carbon monoxide - it seems like oxygen, but it doesn't really help, so the person breathing it takes it into his cells and drops dead. It's the exact same thing with reading and talking about the steps and not actually making it my preoccupation with written work and meeting about how to put it into my behavior and thinking. For that I need to meet and be with REAL PEOPLE who are using the steps. The 'virtual' reaching out that many do on GYE is often just a sweet little shield that our shame casts up in front of us - it blocks all the light - just like feeling like 'Joe Program' by just talking about the steps does....

 

I am not criticizing you at all. But I know the discomfort of 'virtual only' recovery - I did it by reading books and virtually meeting with the author that way. It did nothing for me, and my life was basically in a shambles. I almost died twice and very nearly lost my marriage and job and other nice things. So what do you really want? Painful comfort - or painful peace?


Struggler: Based on what you've said, I think it would be sensible for me to convince myself first that I am, in fact, an addict. If I don't truly believe that, I'm never going to get started. Because right now, it just sounds like a lot of work that I don't feel like doing and isn't necessary. But I believe that in all honesty, I do need it because I am an addict.


Dov: The definition of an addict is from AA. It is in the simple reading of the first step: "We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable", meaning that (a) we do not have what it takes to control alcohol - we cannot "control and use it" - or "drink like a gentleman" - as others apparently can. And (b) that our lives cannot stay this way, because they will eventually be unlivable (if they are not impossible already). That's the 1st step as I understand it.

 

To work the steps in a small group together with Dov, contact him at reishischochma1@gmail.com. Dov has recently begun a new cycle with his group, and it's still not too late to join!

918.
Thursday ~ 9 Teves, 5771 ~ December 16, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • Therapy Tip of the Day: Candeo Training Course
     
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Sh'giah vs. Va'Yigash
     
  • Testimonial of the Day: Rabbi Twerski
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: We start paying from the first moment

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Therapy Tip of the Day

 

Candeo Training Course

 

We received the following e-mail:

 

I came across your website and I think you are doing a great Chesed to all of Klal Yisrael. This is a very important issue.

 

There is a secular website which offers a training course on how to deal with pornography addiction. It is actually an online course and costs about 50 dollars per month. This is by far the best program I have ever seen on this issue and it was founded by Mark Kastleman, a world renown sex addiction psychologist.

 

For various reasons, I had to be separate from my wife for over a year. The Candeo program helped me deal with the lack of intimacy and the strong desires I started to exhibit after our marital separation. 

 

I have to say, the program goes much further than sex/porn addiction; it really helps relationship building and helped me tremendously in rebuilding my marriage, my davening and connection to God. It also helped me realize that I had several obsessive compulsive tendencies which were impeding my relationship with my wife.

 

The program is broken down in 2 components. The first is a training course which takes several months to complete. This course includes exercises and assignments and uses multimedia presentations. It is absolutely fabulous. The second part is called Candeo Plus and deals with maintenance and relationship building.

 

The Candeo program offers fantastic solutions to people who live in a modern world and have exposure to constant sexual temptations by just going to work, going to school, walking the street, going on the computer and the likes. The solutions and techniques it offers are very much inline with observant Jewish thought. Although the program is not "religious" or "Jewish", it is clearly done by G-d fearing people who have a strong bend toward spirituality and cherish the Husband-wife relationship. The program is also exceptional for people like me, who are not sex addicts, but who work very hard to live a frum and kosher lifestyle while trying to live in a modern world full of temptation and find ourselves constantly bombarded with pornography and the like.

 

I also found the program very helpful in explaining these issues to my son, who is now a young teenager.

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Torah Thought of the Day

 

Sh'giah vs. Va'Yigash

 

By "AA1977"

 

I learned a beautiful thing in R' Yitzchak Ginsburg's "Living in Divine Space":

He says that the Baal Shem Tov taught us that we mustn't let humility prevent us from serving Hashem. However unworthy we may feel we are, if we approach serving Hashem with such feelings, we'll lack enthusiasm and zest - and these are things we need when serving Hashem. And on the other side - once we've achieved something - we learned, davened, whatever, then we need to have humility that it was really all a gift from Hashem. 

He connects this to the words "Sh'giah" (to make a mistake) and 'Va'Yigash" (to come close - as in "vayigash eilav Yehudah" in last week's parsha). The root of both words are the two letters Shin and Gimmle. In the word for mistake, sh'giah, the shin comes before the gimmel. In the word 'to come close', hagashah, the gimmel precedes the shin. 

He says that the gimmel stands for gaavah, arrogance, and the shin for shiflut, humility. The way to come close to Hashem is to first have arrogance - to approach Him and serve Him despite our faults, but then afterwards to have humility, to know that whatever we achieved is all a gift from Him.

But if we put the shiflut first, so that we don't serve Him with enthusiasm and zest, and then put the gaavah afterwards, taking credit for whatever we did achieve, then we're on a mistaken path.

 

With a sin, it's the other way around. Before the sin, we need shiflut, the knowledge that only Hashem can help us. But if a person fell already, he needs to push aside depression and guilt and 'be haughty' to serve Hashem with renewed diligence, despite his faults.

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Testimonial of the Day

 


 

Rabbi Avraham J. Twerski sent us the following e-mail today:
 

I referred a woman (whose husband is suffering from porn addiction) to your website. Here's her response:

 

Thank you for being available and helping me out when I thought I'd never smile again. The website is huge. My husband and I are totally using it. My husband will also be seeing your son tomorrow morning Iy"h. He seems professional, no nonsense and calming. Thanks for your swift replies and for devoting your life to helping people. Only Hashem rewards that.

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

We start paying from the first instant
 

Once upon a time, my wife convinced me of something that came as a bit of a shock. I always thought that what she doesn't know won't hurt her. Well, OK, I always knew it was a bad idea for me to 'go off' and do whatever... and that it'd be a very bad for her to find out about it. But I also felt sure that it was just my own little business and ultimately no big deal (and that I'd eventually work it all out and clean up my act someday) - unless and until she found out about it. Then it'd ruin everything and become a really horrible matter. I felt I had to keep everything secret and protect our relationship from her dangerous meddling and destructive overreactions.

BTW, practically every other guy I have met in this mess has told me they essentially have the same credo.
 
Then I got found out, my @$$ kicked, and it seemed that the entire show was over. But I still kept acting out (secretly again) for about a year until I was given the feeling that I needed to quit just to save my life.

Fast forward about two or three years' sobriety and recovery....


I was telling my wife something like, "it's really none of your business what I do - it's my own." She then dropped this bomb on me: She told me that the damage of my acting out did not really occur - as I believed - when she found out about it. Rather, all the damage really occurs while I am acting out. Her finding out is really just the heicha timtza. (Suddenly she's a lamdan... go figure).

Anyway, I came to see that even though what she said seemed to me at the time to be just more 'ravings of a scorned woman', she was actually right! There is inescapable residue within me whenever I act out, even partially. Every single little lust I intentionally take into myself has an effect, and there is no escape. Well, at least there ain't no easy way out (Steve Miller band?). I'm gonna pay the piper for every penny I withdraw into the lust account. It will change my attitude towards the other people in my lives, change my relationship with my G-d, alter my sensitivity toward others people's privacy and boundaries and humanity, blind me a bit more to the preciousness of my actions and choices, the meaning of my body, etc., etc...

I can come out of it! But will have to pay the price... Do I want to pay that price? Or do I want to just keep all the good stuff I have inside and reality that I am living? What do I want? That's the only question that matters to me, really. I am an addict and even though I am trying to be a frum yid - concern for what's right and wrong just isn't my index when it comes to lust. I cannot trust my judgment of right and wrong when it comes to lust. It's gotta be all about selfish concerns - like losing my sweet and real connection with Hashem and with all the people in my life. Selfish works for me.


So, if you stuck with this megillah, thanks, and I hope you see my point: That we are forever free to experiment! But we will have to pay the price for straying from truth, from G-d, and from the reality of our relationships in order to do that. And we start paying for it right from the first instant that we begin to stray; getting caught or getting 'into trouble' is only the icing on the cake. There is no cheating when it comes to integrity... at least not any more. (Awwww.... I hate that!)
919.
Friday ~ 10 Teves, 5771 ~ December 17, 2010
Asara B'Teves ~ Erev Shabbos Parshas Vayechi

In Today's Issue 

  • Times of the Year: Asarah B'Teves - Strengthening Our Fortifications
  • Parsha Talk - Vayechi (1): Hashem put us here on purpose
  • Parsha Talk - Vayechi (2): Adversity Breeds Greatness
  • Parsha Talk - Vayechi (3): Haste Makes Waste
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Tears That Open Doors

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Times of the Year
 


 

Asarah B'Teves

Strengthening Our Fortifications

 

'And it was in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth (day) of the month, that Nebuchadnetzar, King of Babylon came, he and all his hosts, upon Yerushalayim, and he encamped upon it and built forts around it. And the city came under siege till the eleventh year of King Tzidkiyahu. On the ninth of the month famine was intense in the city, the people had no bread, and the city was breached.' (Second Melachim 25).

Ordinarily, one must not enter Shabbos while fasting. This particular fast is an exception. In fact, according to one opinion, if the 10th of Tevet would fall out on Shabbos, we would have to fast the whole Shabbos. This is based on the similarity of the text describing the events of the day (Ezekiel 40:1) to the very wording in the Torah describing Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:28) from which we know that Yom Kippur is never postponed.

What is so exceptional about the 10th of Tevet? Superficially, the day that the Babylonian army led by Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem seems less significant than the day the walls were breached (for which we fast on the 17th of Tammuz ) or the day the Temple was set afire (for which we fast on the 9th of Av). But as we learn in addiction, it is the "first sip that got us drunk", not the last drink. In other words, once the influence of lust has "breached" the walls, it is often too late. The true calamity occurs when we let the Yetzer Hara encamp around our walls in the first place.

When we let our own personal Jerusalem's be surrounded by the influences of the gentiles by watching movies, surfing non-Jewish news outlets, Youtube, Facebook and other such media, then it's only a matter of time before the city will be breached and our own personal Beis Hamikdash destroyed r"l.

Let us strengthen our fortifications on this day of Asara B'Teves. Let us accept upon ourselves to stay away from such websites, and install a strong filter, such as K9, and reporting software such as eBlaster or webchaver.com, and put the filter gabai's e-mail address (filter.gye@gmail.com) as the holder of your passwords. This way, you are not tempted to change anything on your own and can begin to feel truly FREE!

And in the merit of strengthening our personal walls, may we merit that the walls of Jerusalem and the Beis Hamikdash be speedily rebuilt in our days. Amen.
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Parsha Talk - VAYECHI: 
 

Three Divrei Torah by "An Honest Mouse"


Hashem put us here on purpose

 

''vayechi yaakov be'eretz mitzrayim"

 

Yaakov avinu found a way to live in Mitzrayim. After years of 'seeking to live in tranquility' (see Rashi at the beginning of Vayeshev), he finally realized that life isn't supposed to be perfect. It's not if only x,y,z happens that I can make the best of myself, etc... Our set of circumstances are tailor-made for us by Hashem and He wants us to make the best of ourselves in that very situation - even in Mitzrayim. All of life's troubling episodes are also orchestrated by Hashem, and all He wants from us, is the best we can be in that particular circumstance.


He put us in 'Mitzrayim' (i.e. gave us the addiction) on purpose. It's all for our good so we can be the best of what He wants us to be.
 

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Adversity Breeds Greatness


'b'cho yevoraich yisroel - yesimcho Elokim k'ephraim v'chimenashe"

 

We bless our sons that should grow up to be like Ephraim and Menashe. Why not the other shevatim, why dafka these two? 

I heard that these two are the ones who grew up in lowly, depraved mitzrayim and still became shevatim! In the long golus, where we are surrounded by tempting, depraved cultures, we bless our sons that they should thrive spiritually, just like Ephraim and Menashe, in spite of the difficult surroundings. 

That is our prayer for our children - and so too for ourselves. Let's take chizuk from Ephraim and Menashe and realise that they were chosen because this is the nisayon we are supposed to live through - and yet, we can still raise  ourselves to the greatest heights we can possibly reach!

 

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

 

Haste Makes Waste

 

'pachaz kamayim al tosar'

 

Yaakov Avinu told Reuven that he lost his firstborn privileges because he was too hasty with the incident of Yaakov's bed. He was quick to react, without first digesting the information and weighing up the alternatives. Surely he should have asked Yaakov.

 

Yosef, on the other hand - who got Reuven's privileges (two Shevatim) was able to stop and ponder his father's image and the consequences of his actions before he would fall with eishes Potiphar. Perhaps that's why Yosef was zoiche.

The moral of the story is that, when we react quickly to life's situations i.e. resentments and fears, we will do the wrong thing and we will most likely turn to lust to escape from our frustration. Reuven's fault was haste; we need to learn (as Duvid Chaim stresses on his call) to PAUSE - not to react so quickly to life, but to be more aware of why we are motivated to act in a certain way, what's our negiah - only then, as Yosef showed, can we remove ourselves from the clutches of lust.

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

Tears That Open Doors

Someone wrote:

Hashem really loves me and knows what is truly best for me. Once I truly internalize this I will be able to live more cleanly. Does anyone have any tips on how I can lower my ego? I literally have a HUGE ego. It's sickening. It is probably the single most detrimental component of my personality that causes me to stumble and fall repeatedly.

Dov Replies:

I was told that the Kotzker asked, "If the doors are always open for tears, then why are there doors at all?" He answered that they do close - for tears about shtus. May all our tears be over reality and with hachno'oh, rather than all about our sadness, c"v. 

If anyone works the 12 steps and still has a lot of ego left, they didn't work them right. (based on Chuck C.'s "A New Pair of Glasses", on Joe, Joe, and Charlie CDs on AA Recovery, and on Harvey's A.'s recorded talks for SA).

So you are in good company. Now get to work with a chevra. Feeling like a piece of garbage and crying over "how far I am" is most-likely not going to help me get any better. In fact, it's probably just my ego: I figure that I am such a great guy that any lack of perfection is just beneath me and tragic... Instead, it sounds like you are learning a more realistic perspective that accepts your limitations and that Hashem is aware that you need work and will help you grow past the craziness. Sounds good to me. Just get to work, OK? 

920.
Sunday ~ 12 Teves, 5771 ~ December 19, 2010

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12-Step Attiude

 

Talking to Hashem

 

Sometimes we just need to get down on our knees and beg Hashem to save us (see here for the halachos of kneeling by R' Simcha Feuerman, Director of Nefesh). We need to get used to stopping whatever we're doing when the lust attacks, and just have a talk with Hashem. If we get an attack while driving, pull over to the side of the road and write a letter to Hashem. "Tatty, help me find in you what I seek in the image of that woman", or "in that fantasy"... "Tatty, I am powerless over lust".
 

Powerless

 

Powerless doesn't mean we have to use it. Powerless means we recognize that if we start using it, we will get an "allergic reaction" and need to use it more and more. We can't use lust 'a little' like most people. If we start using it, we'll need to use it till it kills us. And when we recognize that we are powerless over it, we become free from using it. Because we recognize that we simply can't use it anymore. We have to stop.
 

No Matter What

 

We have to be willing to take pain. No one said that recovery won't hurt. But the chiddush of the program is that we won't die. We are actually free to choose. We don't have to use it, even if it hurts not to. We always thought we need it and that we'll die without it. That's a lie.

 

And once we decide that we won't act out anymore even if our tush falls off, we become free of the obsession. The obsession only remains with us when we leave even a 1% opening of the door saying, "maybe I really need it". Because then we tell ourselves that it's only a matter of time until we'll NEED to act out. But it's not true. We don't need to. We can choose to endure a little pain and not act out. And the pain gets less and less over time. We won't die. It passes. Everything in life passes, both the good times and the bad. We are truly free to choose.
 

Just for Now

 

All we have is the NOW. The future is not our business, and neither is the past. Otherwise, how can we possibly find the strength to stop? If we tell ourselves that "now" is just a spec in the overall picture we will ask, "what's the use of staying clean just now?". The only way to succeed is to recognize that all there truly is, is the NOW. And I can choose to stay clean now. I don't have to worry about the future. It doesn't belong to me. That is why "one day at a time" is such an important Yesod in the 12-Step program. It is the only way; it is the truth.
 

The Secret

 

Harvey, one of the founders of SA, says that the secret of the program is just two things: (1) decide you won't act out even if your tush falls off, and (2) make that call. Just pick up the phone and call someone when you feel weak. All the self-pity and loneliness that causes us to fall is just an illusion. It scatters like the wind when we pick up the phone and find that we aren't alone, and that other people care about us. The lust quickly dissipates when we connect with others...
 

The Only Thing

 

One experienced SA sponsor used to say: The reason many people continue to fall is because recovery is still not the most important thing in their lives. We need to put it before everything else; before our jobs, before our families and even before "Hashem"! G-d wants us out of the mud before anything else, for Heaven's sake! We can't do Mitzvos and learn Torah and serve G-d when we're in the mud, can we? That's why recovery comes even before religion! Addicts need to tell themselves that their ONLY real job in life is to STAY CLEAN. After all, if we don't have that, what do we have?

921.
Monday ~ 13 Teves, 5771 ~ December 20, 2010
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Tips & Chizuk from Rebbe Nachman's Sefer Hamidos:

 

  • Sexual lust can only be kept at bay by avoiding provocative sights and thoughts.
  • Do not enter into negotiations with your desires, for the elaboration of your thoughts, even directed at annulling the desires, will have the effect of reinforcing the desires, and they can overcome you.
  • Anyone who refrains from acting upon an opportunity to sin will have a miracle done for him.
  • One who is pogem habris (breaches the Covenant) is as if he transgressed all the commandments.
  • One who wants to guard his sexual purity should always say the truth, and should also always do kindness for one from whom he does not expect repayment. (Note: this sounds exactly like the 12-Step program. Integrity and selflessness are the key!)
  • Sexual fantasies come as a result of the "Breaking of the Vessel of Kindness", and according to the degree of fallen sparks, so is the degree of the sexual fantasies. (Note: I'd like to propose that this means that our desires often stem from the subconscious yearning of our holy souls to be "givers". But since we are in a lowly world, our souls misinterpret the signals and the vessels of kindness are broken and perceived by our minds as lustful thoughts. It therefore follows, that those who have strong desires really have lofty souls. They simply need to work on reconnecting to the true source of their soul's desire for kindness and divine connection).
  • A repair for spilling seed inappropriately is to make efforts to bring people to repent. (Note: Midah Kineged Midah. Also Step 12 of the 12 Steps)
  • One who guards his sexual purity, even if he does not have ancestral merit, G-d grants him merit.
  • Through sexual immorality, one looses his sense of shame.
  • When one commits a sin, he later regrets it due to the divine spark within him. But when one commits a sexual sin he does not regret it, for the spark has already left him. (Note: Perhaps that is why the Zohar says that Teshuvah is impossible for the sin of spilling seed in vain. Not because Hashem won't accept it, but rather because it is so hard to do!)
  • Through discord (Machlokes), one falls into sexual lust. (Note: Think R.I.D = Restlessness, Irritability & Discontent).
  • Through favors one does for others, sexual lust is annulled, and so the opposite. (Note: Perhaps that is why the 12-Steps emphasize so much the idea of becoming less selfish and more of a "giver").
  • Guarding sexual purity is the source of blessing.
  • One who shuts his eyes to avoid seeing evil is saved from humiliations.
  • One who does not look upon women, merits that his descendants will compile commentaries on the Torah.
922.
Tuesday ~ 14 Teves, 5771 ~ December 21, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • Personal Victory of the Day: Took the Jump
     
  • Torah Thought of the Day: Close to Him When Up & When Down
     
  • 12 Step: Beginning Recovery
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Clean your side of the street first

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Personal Victory of the Day

 

Took the Jump

 

Stuart writes:

 

I installed webchaver on my computer recently. Unfortunately it took a bunch of slips to make me do this. Now I feel bullet proof. 

 

I know that I still need to work on my internal traits. Working the steps together with all the other measures I am taking, will hopefully keep me clean.

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Torah Thought of the Day

 

Close to Him When Up & When Down

 

Posted by "AA1977"

 

R' Kivak recently said in his shiur:

 

Rebbe Nachman teaches us to be 'baki b'ratzo' and 'baki b'shov' - to be experts at moving forward and experts at falling. 

When we fall, we need to know that Hashem is right there with us, next to us and by our sides. He still loves us and treasures us and is there for us. There's no despair.

And when things go well and we're moving higher, we need to know that we have to keep on striving for Hashem. He's so great that we can never 'arrive'. Maybe we haven't even started yet.

The problem is that we do the opposite. When we're down, we get resentful and depressed that things aren't going our way. And as soon as we have a little bit of success, we have a few pennies in the bank, we feel like we're okay and we forget about Hashem. We get proud.

The goal is to strive to be close to Hashem whether we're up or down.

I think these ideas are very important for us in our struggle here. When we're down, we need to have the gaavah to know that Hashem is still with us. He still loves us and is there for us. He never tells us that we're beyond hope. Despite whatever we've done, we need to turn to Him and carry on doing what we can to serve Him. 

And when things are going well, we need to have humility. To recognize that wherever we've got to is a gift, and to remember how dependent we still are on Hashem's grace, love and help. And we need to keep striving to foster an ever closer and closer relationship with Him, because "Le'gdulaso Ain Cheker - To His greatness there is no calculation".

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12-Step

 

Beginning Recovery

 

"Duvid Chaim" shares:

 

In the Doctor's opinion of the Big Book, we learned that that our disease is an "allergy" - meaning that our disease is actually out of our control, that we aren't bad or immoral or sinful people, but that we are under the effects of a disease - not only physical but also spiritual and mental. Accordingly, the pathway to our freedom from the disease is a spiritual one - one that implies that our efforts should be directed towards becoming more "aware" and connected of Hashem in our lives.

 

That's why we discussed The A&W Moments (Awe and Wonder)  as a way to stay "connected."  We need to learn to build our awareness of how G-d's hand is in our daily lives.  It could be as small as realizing how blessed we are to go to the bathroom or as major as seeing how we barely missed a car that had stopped in front of us without warning.  It could be the smell of a freshly bloomed rose, or seeing the sun set over the ocean. 

 

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

 

The 5 Attributes of a Man in Recovery are:

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Clean Your Side of the Street First

 

Someone posted:

 

Before first joining GYE, my wife discovered that I had been chatting with women online. That is how I ended up on here. My wife is not happy about this. She is asking me a lot of questions. 

I, on the other hand, am starting to be happy that she found out. Our marriage didn't take a major hit, as it is pretty bad anyway. However, it [she] did force me to seek help. I am hopeful that with seeing a therapist about my addiction, I will finally face many demons that plague me.


Our marriage stinks, and I am not so sure that the typical "if you work on your addiction, your marriage will be better" applies here.

 

Dov Replies:

 

Pardon me, my friend - I am an addict, and so, hope you know that I am your friend - but, what the hell does "I am not so sure" mean? Please forgive my harsh words, but I figure: what do you have to lose, really? 

The counseling has not bore fruit, now what? Recovery that 'might not work' anyway?
 
So, you have not really tried it, right? Otherwise why are you not sure yet that it does not work? And by the same token, you still do not know whether your cleaning up of your own side of the street has the power to save it all for you or not, correct? I know that you describe your marriage as stinky, but how precious is saving and improving your marriage and family life to you? If it doesn't rank very high for you, then who can blame the wife for being un-supportive? Just an observation. We generally get what we pay for. If you want it, then you need to pay, without any thought about her stuff. She has nothing to do with your work.

Maybe your marriage always was very precious to you, but because she didn't give a rat's pa-toot for it from day one, you lost interest in it....but is that the way it really was? Or, does she see it as having been the other way around: that she struggled to make something out of your marriage from the start but with her perception that her husband was more concerned about his "eiver" than with her, the relationship got more and more silly until she gave up a while ago in disgust. And now you just see her as "un-supportive of you". Something is missing here, DJ.

Or did you mean something else entirely?

In my case, it took us about a year and a half until my wife stopped yelling at me for going to SA meetings - every time. It took us about five years till we both felt that our marriage was back on solid ground. And I was sober the entire time and working my steps (poorly, but working them). It was worth every day of that time and things got slowly better every day, whether I realized it or not.

There is shared and unshared pain. She has hers, you obviously have yours, and painful people generally need to become a lot less sore before they can hold hands again. 

Whether I misread you or not, I hope you consider giving your sobriety the far priority ahead of your marriage, that you stay sober one day at a time, work the steps (if you choose to go that way), and learn how to focus on being a sober, safe husband for this mother of your children. Apparently she cares enough to "force" you to seek help. Nu, she cares. That's worth a lot.

Hatzlocha and if you hate me, just pretend I don't exist ;-)

923.
Wednesday ~ 15 Teves, 5771 ~ December 22, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • Announcement: Elya in New York
     
  • Testimonial of the Day: Told My Wife
     
  • Torah Quote of the Day: Zohar, Devarim 266a
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov 1: I've Done Stupid Things Before
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov 2: No Longer Rules My Life

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

Announcement

 

Elya Coming to New York
 

Elya, from the weekly phone conference and hotline, will be in Brooklyn today, and in Queens tomorrow. Whoever wants to join a 'GYE Get-Together' with Elya, please write to him to ask for the time and place.

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

 

Testimonial of the Day

 

Told My Wife

 

"Zemirosshabbos" sent us an e-mail:

 

I should write an email every day to thank GYE for what it does for me and for all of klal yisrael. But I am writing now because of a special occasion. I told my wife this week of my struggles with lust; both the falls and b'h the victories. I could have done better with the planning, but it happened almost impulsively. I spilled the beans to her. And the greatest, most tremendous thing to me is how she reacted. She did not go running out the door. She did not pout for 3 days straight. She was appreciative and loving and understanding and impressed that I admitted to the problem and took steps to help myself.


Without GYE, the site with it's information and advice, and the forum where the most precious, kind-hearted tzadikim walk the streets, and the special friends I have made through GYE, there would have been no way that I would ever have reached a state where I can tell my wife, let alone know what to say and what not to say. I feel so good and happy that this barrier has been lifted from my marriage and I can face my wife honestly and have her support and understanding to assist me in the struggle.
I cannot thank GYE enough and I have a hard time thinking of an organization that has a bigger zechus than this holy work.

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

 

Torah Quote of the Day

 

Zohar, Devarim 266a
 

As they walked along, Rabbi Abba said, What is the meaning of the verse: "They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and have hewn them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water?" (Yirmeyahu, 2:13) 

The meaning of  "they have forsaken Me (oti)" refers to one who has forsaken "my sign," by being false to the imprint of the holy Brit. And how does he betray it? By bringing it into a foreign domain, as is said, "and took for himself the daughter of a foreign god,"  (Malachi, 2:11.) These women are called "broken cisterns," for all of the gentile nations are broken cisterns. 

But Israel's women are "a well of living waters." This is a holy domain, of a holy faith, and it is called a flowing well of pure, streaming waters, as is said, "streams from Lebanon," (Shir HaShirim, 4:15) and, "Drink waters out of your own cistern, and running waters out of your own well," (Mishle, 5:15.) Also, it is written, "A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters," (Shir HaShirim, 4:15) But the other domain (Sitra Achra) is called, "broken cisterns than can hold no water." 

Behold, the ever-flowing stream above (Yesod) waters all the Garden (Malchut) and irrigates every place, as we have already explained, until it fills that place in the Garden which is called "the well of living waters," which nourishes all of the upper and lower worlds, as is said, "And from there it was parted," (Bereshit, 2:10.)

But all the sides of the Left Side are not watered from that fountain of flowing water, because they are of the side of the other nations, and they are called "broken cisterns." 

And one who is false to the holy imprint of the Brit cleaves to this side of the broken cisterns that do not hold water, because the water does not flow into them.

While the man who merits to guard the Brit properly merits to drink of the waters of that flowing stream in the world to come, and causes that upper well to be filled in order to send forth blessings above and below. Fortunate is he in this world and in the world to come. About him it is written, "And thou shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters never fail," (Yishayahu, 58:11.)

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

Daily Doses of Dov

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

 

I've Done Stupid Things Before
 

Sometimes when I have felt like things are just not good enough for me (or really suck - often the same, though) and the thought of "why bother staying sober?" popped into my mind, the answer I used was:

"What the hell. I'll stay sober even though it's stupid. I've done stupid things before"

...and I chose to not act out and instead connect up with buddies or whatever it is that I was supposed to be accomplishing. Soon, I either forgot about the problem, came to see that it wasn't a real problem in the first place, or that the itch came from a deep desire I had to run like hell away from real life. 

In sobriety, I found that real life actually gets better miraculously, when I stop running away from it and work on it with trust that He'll work something good out of it eventually.

 

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

No Longer Rules My Life
 

I'd love to share more of the garbage going on between my ears - but every time I do that, the unimaginable occurs! Namely, some semi-newbie posts back and says something like, "Holy mazolee! Dov! You mean that all this recovery work and abstinence is for nothing!? You are still just as sick as I am!! How meaningful is your talk of "living for Hashem and His people" if you are still having temptations? You are a big liar when you say life is different now, that's for sure! Adios!"

And in response to my shares about the fruits of recovery, a few folks here have also written stuff like, "Well, he's been sober 53 years and I refuse to have to wait that long for any growth. I'd rather try cocaine or heroin - they'll open my mind up quicker... off to Kubla Khan I go!" Well, maybe I dramatize, but you get the point, hopefully.

I suffer from frequent disorganized confusion in my life, am tempted to take second looks at my coworkers, at women on the street, and elsewhere, have the beginnings of euphoric recall of old adventures, fears of the past and future hound me at times, self-doubt and self-loathing entice me as comfy and familiar old ways to 'escape' my real lifework almost daily, lies still pop into my mind quite often, and lust creeps into my marriage bed frequently - I need to deal with all this - the fruits of my indulgence and sexaholism frequently. I am not out of the foxhole.

For me, the difference is that all the trash no longer rules (nor ruins) my life. That's a miracle. I've got more important things to do and Hashem helps me generally keep to them. 

 Can you imagine how the Daily Doses would look if I signed off each one with "Sincerely, lying and lusting Dov"? (Well actually, since I don't get the chizuk emails, I'd never know...)

924.
Thursday ~ 16 Teves, 5771 ~ December 23, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Personal Victory of the Day: Serenity with Hashem is the Key
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: How do I come to terms with my wife being over-weight?

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

 

Personal Victory of the Day

 

Serenity With Hashem is the Key

 

Levi, a Talmid of Duvid Chaim's phone conference writes:

 

I had a test this morning. I was hungry, cranky and in a bit of irritability. I had a plan to go into my office, make two important phone calls that would be critical (or so I thought) regarding about $1000 of disputed bills that a company claimed I owed.


I suddenly got called into a staff meeting that was not on my calendar and it threw me into a state of tension and irritability because it wasn't my plan for the morning.
I made a mental note that I was entering a danger zone in my mood and continued on to the meeting.


As if on queue, I was struck by a lust though attack revolving around a very female attractive co-worker.  BUT, what made this time different was that I detected the clear connection between my internal anger/discontent and my lust urge.  I decided to work on uprooting the negative attitude towards the meeting (by quietly focusing on the fact that it was G-d's will I be there now, and all was all right) and I found myself getting calmer. I also made efforts not to glance in the wrong direction to avoid further triggers. As the meeting ended I was in a calmer state and the lust urges were diminished.


As I got back to my office, I made those phone calls that I had been so uptight about to find to my surprise that the entire charges against me were forgiven and everything was fine. The entire tension had been based in an unnecessary ego binge.
 

What a blessing to finally have a tool to detect early warnings of a lust urge (like a tzunami detector) by being aware of our perceptions and motivations. I never thought it was possible, but serenity with HaShem is the key.
 

Duvid Chaim Responds:

 

Levi's observations are so profound and accurate; like an arrow hitting the bull's-eye! In fact, my friends, it really is all about awareness, about "checking in" with yourself, about "monitoring" how you're feeling, what's going on around you and how you are "re-acting" to all this "stuff." Most men just simply ignore all this information and chalk it up to "just another crappy day."  

 

And what happens next? With this Restlessness, Irritability and Discontent, we go to our medicine cabinet and we pull out our "drug of Choice." Doctors and Therapists will tell you right away how "soothing" it is to act-out. Just like shooting up with heroin, we feel the rush of relaxation, our eyes roll back and we are instantly transported away to another place. To a "place" that we say, "thank G-d, I'm in this moment and don't have to face my life." 

 

It's no wonder we get addicted to P-rn and Mast---.  Let's face it, in the Categories of Drugs, it's pretty darn good. 

  • It's free!
  • I'm not going to die from an overdose! 
  • It's private!  
  • It really, really works! 
  • And for a few brief moments in time, I'm in total control of my life - A LIFE that is usually in total control of ME!

As Levi witnessed, we can make the DECISION that we're going to alter our attitude towards people around us.

 

When we make the DECISION to alter our typical routine and the expectations we have...

 

When we make the DECISION to say to ourselves that SEX is OPTIONAL... then we've turned the corner to RECOVERY.

 

Maybe, you still feel that you have a long way to go. But you know what? I think that same thought everyday. But the truth is, I can't do anything about the past. And I sure can't do anything about the future. So for me, and any addict, the only time I can do anything about is RIGHT NOW.

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

Daily Doses of Dov

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

 

How do I come to terms with my wife being over-weight?  

 

Dov responds:

I had a difficult wedding - for me it was turmoil, and the doubt I harbored deep inside about marrying that girl was gnawing and torturing me. We didn't really fit because (1) I felt that we were not religious soul-mates (I was far more hashkafically 'deep' than she was), and (2) I had this nagging realization that she was neither a hottie, nor wished to be one... I had two panic attacks during the engagement due to these two seemingly opposite concerns. In me they coexisted just fine! I am no James Bond. But I went through with it because I admired that girl, felt I could probably love her, and saw that she really liked me - and that meant a lot. Sadly, she did not really know me that well, because #1 - I was an addict (but didn't really face that myself yet, at the time), and 32 - she did not realize how shaky I felt inside about devoting the rest of my life to being with her (and being with her in olam haba, as well). It drove me crazy...

So we were married and it wasn't long before we had sex problems - really she had problems with me, cuz she knew nothing about sexuality/etc., and was essentially a blank slate - she had no specific expectations. So lucky....I was the one with expectations. She was ready to learn what it means to be physically close with her very own loving man - her other half. Unfortunately for her, my expectations - born out of my own strange combo of Chazals I had learned about and (l"h) porn videos - never gave her a chance. I was too busy trying to put her in the exact place of my (actually quite innocent and heartfelt) expectations from perfect porn stars and fantasy-women I had read about.... it was torture for her, and for me. The Chazals and shaalos u'tshuvos I had researched all strengthened the veracity of my lusty perspective - in my own mind. The poor girl had much to contend with...

Now, I wasn't intentionally doing anything wrong. I honestly believed that I needed and could not in all fairness be expected to live without the right kind of sex with the right-shaped woman who acted just the right way. Nothing evil about that! Wrong maybe, but not evil. Hey - everyone has rights. I expected her to be OK with fulfilling mine, as my very own wife. Nu?

In the meantime, somewhat independent of all that, my addiction grew far worse, more wide-ranging, shaming, and damaging. It got so bad that I had to get sober! I have been sober for a few years now, by the chesed of Hashem. I go to meetings regularly, have a chevra I talk to daily, have (and use) a sponsor, work the steps by using them in real life, etc. Our marriage has improved immeasurably in every respect (including sexually), our family life is great, and I (and my wife and children) owe this new life to Hashem (working for me through the people of the Program, of course). 

Now to tachlis. I have discovered that: (1) I can learn to appreciate  the pretty things about my wife (and have a true nechoma through that appreciation) even though I am not pleased with other things. (2) I can actually grow up and be less self-centered inside my heart - instead of honestly feeling that I must be a real saint for being so nice and considerate considering that I am so tragically unsatisfied. (3) I learned that there is nothing as sexually exciting and fulfilling as actually looking into the eyes of a person who is totally given to me, loves me honestly, and is using her very femininity to be with me. These treasures will not be achieved by connecting to anyone else, no matter how 'hot' they are, and will not be improved upon in any way by my wife losing twenty pounds or getting other additional accouterments (including flotation devices!). Nor will it be improved by her becoming more 'dirty' or sexually hungry. Moderation is just fine, b"H - but only through my sobriety have I come to the 'insane' ability to accept any moderation at all, especially in the sexual arena.

I also learned what foreplay means. The only real foreplay is my going to shacharis, coming home with a smile and a good word for everyone in the house, and taking the time to ask her what her day is/was like and being able to honestly share my day with her when asked about it. And the best and most effective foreplay of all is letting go of sex for that day. Keeping it optional and not demanding anything from her in payment for my niceness. Surrendering my outcomes to Hashem (living step 3) is the only way I could ever have the freedom to improve at all and finally get the good life. I had to learn it slowly and am still learning it. Without recovery, I am too busy manipulating outcomes to my satisfaction! And my wife and kids have the good life now, too, and they know it. The older children see the stark difference in our home from ten years+ ago!

The single most important ingredient for our relationship quality (which is now to my utter amazement is b"H very, very good) is: my sobriety and recovery. Even my wife will tell you that, should you ask her - and she is far from being a "program person". We share everything now.

925.
Friday ~ 17 Teves, 5771 ~ December 24, 2010
Erev Shabbos Parshas Shemos

In Today's Issue

  • Parsha Talk: The Start of SHOVAVIM
     
  • Parable of the Day: What kind of Redemption do you aspire to?
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Help, I found a way to bypass my filter!

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Parsha Talk: Shovavim
 

The Start of SHOVAVIM

 


 

This week begins the series of weeks called "Shovavim", which stands for the first letters of the Parshios Shemos through Mishpatim. Shovavim is a calling for Teshuva, as the Pasuk says "Shuvu Banim Shovavim - Return, wayward children!". This period covers the servitude of Mitzrayim and the subsequent redemption. Below, we bring a nice quote from Rabbi Twerski's daily tips, which can help us understand why this period is so "mesugal" and important for Teshuvah:

"I am your God Who has delivered you ,"from the land of Egypt" (Shema, Numbers 15:41). 

This verse is recited twice daily, because the deliverance from Egypt was more than a historic event. It was a deliverance from a state of enslavement, and this deliverance should repeat itself daily in everyone's life.
 

No enslavement and no tyranny are as ruthless and as demanding as slavery to physical desires and passions. Someone who is unable to resist a craving, and who must, like a brute beast, do whatever the body demands, is more profoundly enslaved than someone subject to a human tyrant. Addicted people are an extreme example of those who have become slaves to their bodies. 

Dignity comes from freedom, in the capacity to make free choices, and hence, in our ability to refuse to submit to physical desires when our judgment indicates that doing so is wrong. Freedom from domination by the body is the first step toward spiritual growth."

 

Today I shall ...

 

... declare my freedom from the tyranny of my body. 

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

 

Parable of the Day

 

What kind of Redemption do you aspire to?

 

Yashuva V'Yashuv writes:

 

I found this Fantastic Mashal today, which is relevant to all of Sefer Shemos:

 

A great sage was staying at an inn far from his home. Late at night, he sat down to say the Tikkun Chatzos, the lamentations over the destruction of the Temple that pious people say after midnight. The sage was so moved by the words of the lamentations that he burst into tears.

The innkeeper came running. "Rabbi, rabbi, what happened? Why are you crying?"

"Because our holy Temple was destroyed," said the rabbi. "Ah, if only the Messiah would come already and take us all out of this exile! Don't you dream of such a day?"

The innkeeper fidgeted. "Well, what about my inn? What would happen to it? And what about my goats and my chickens? Will I have to leave them behind?"

"Your goats! Your chickens! Forget about them. Think about the wonderful life that awaits us in Israel."

"Well, to tell you the truth, rabbi. I'm doing fine right here. I'm not sure I want to change things so much."

"But don't you ever have trouble from the local riffraff that call you a zhid and steal your chickens in the night?" the rabbi asked, trying to find a way to inspire the simple innkeeper to yearn for redemption.

"Yes, you are right," said the innkeeper, his brow darkening for a moment, but he immediately brightened. "I have an idea, rabbi! Let's send all the riffraff to Israel, then we can live here in peace. That would be a fine redemption!"

I think there's so much depth to this. I wish for redemption - to finally break free from all the nonsense that's holding me down. The problem is, that my twisted vision of redemption is to take all the horrid feelings and consequences that result from my  indulgence in lust and send THEM away, while keeping the Geshmak of that lustful indulgence - the fantasy, the escape. 

What I fail to realize (in my kishkes), is that that's impossible. There's nothing Geshmak about that lust. If I were to view that lust from an outsider's perspective I'd see it for what it is - a truckload of empty filth!!

Ribono Shel Olam!Tatte!!  Help me remember that when I need it most!

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

 

Daily Doses of Dov

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

 

Help, I found a way to bypass my filter!

 

Someone wrote to Dov:

 

Someone mentioned to me a way to bypass my filter and I was dumb enough to try it out. I guess I haven't had enough pain yet. G-d help me. I'm not in such a great state now, it's not easy knowing that even the good filter system that I have is basically worthless. Suddenly my struggle has been taken up a notch. G-d, doesn't the Satan have any boundaries anymore? 

 

Dov Replies:

 

I have no business using the internet for anything but what is actually helpful for our Work/work. I tell people that if they are going to test their filter in any way at all, they might as well not bother using a filter. The only reason I got a filter put on my computer (last month) is because it occurred to me that the reason I was not going with a filter is because I considered myself 'above those things'. That gayva alone will mess me up, so I put k-9 on my computer after months of slip-free internet use visiting, on and off, at my parents house alone and upstairs (and they had no idea how to even turn on the computer).

 

The filter does not protect us, period - only recovery does, and recovery is integrity, usefulness and intimacy with G-d, myself and other people. 

926.
Monday ~ 20 Teves, 5771 ~ December 27, 2010

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

The Heavy Rock of Isolation

Adapted from an Aish.com article here.

The movie "127 hours" is the riveting story of American mountain climber, Aron Ralston, whose ordeal gripped the nation in May 2003 when he was forced to cut off his arm in order to survive his adventure.

The movie is fascinating, mesmerizing and very real. And all too human. I think we all recognize that Aron Ralston could be any one of us.

When Mr. Ralston set out on his adventure to climb Blue John Mountain in Utah, he didn't tell anyone where he was going. His mother called and he ignored her message. He lived a life isolated from others, pushing people away, avoiding intimacy.

When his arm gets stuck "between a rock and a hard place" (the title of his book and possibly the first time that expression was meant literally), he tries many different maneuvers in an effort to free himself - all without success. After a few days of fruitless attempts, the situation gets more desperate and he begins to reflect, "I'm such a big hero that I came out here and I didn't tell anybody where I was going. Oops."

Ralston is beginning to recognize this, to acknowledge that his isolationism is not a healthy attitude - neither physically nor psychologically.

He continues, "All my life I've been heading for this rock. And this rock was made just for me."

As the ordeal continues, Ralston becomes delirious. Death seems to be hovering. In a true act of desperation, he takes a knife, already dulled from repeated banging on the rock, and cuts off his arm.

He still needs to scale down the mountain and hike 16 miles...

But as he walks away from the scene, he looks back at the Blue John and says, "Thank you."

We are given no further explanation but since the mountain endangered his life, rather than saving it, we must assume he means "thank you for the experience, for the wisdom gained, the lesson proffered."

In Psalms (118), we say: "I will thank You because You have answered me; it has been for me a salvation." The word "answered" can also be translated "afflicted". We thank the Almighty for the affliction because that was the opportunity that truly changed who we are, that (hopefully) made us better.

Aron Ralston is a fortunate young man - not just because he survived, but because he recognized the lessons available for him to learn from this experience while he still had the time and ability to change.

Although he continues to climb mountains, he also works as a motivational speaker, doing the best possible thing we can do with our preciously bought wisdom - sharing it with others.

Married with a child, he no longer avoids intimacy and he never goes mountain climbing without telling someone where he is going.

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

We are all climbing a mountain in our struggle with this addiction. WE CAN'T DO IT ALONE! It is the isolation that got us stuck in this difficult situation in the first place!

When we find ourselves in a real slump we often tell ourselves as Aron did, "I'm such a big hero that I came out here and I didn't tell anybody where I was going. Oops." If only we had made that call and reached out for help BEFORE we fell, we could have saved ourselves so much pain.

As long as we remain in isolation, we will find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. We may try to break free 100 times, but as Chazal say, "a prisoner can't release himself from prison". The Pasuk (Mishlei 28;13) says, "Mechaseh P'sha'av lo Yatzliach - He who hides his sins will not succeed" ... "Modeh V'ozev" - those who admit their powerlessness and reach out for help, "Yeruchem - will see mercy".

Try this: Make a neder or a strong Kabala that if you act out before talking with someone first, you will need to do something very hard or give a large amount to Tzedaka. This powerful idea will force you to make that call. And once we make the call and are out of isolation, we can find the strength to hold back 90% of the time.


You can get a group of guys to call from Duvid Chaim's phone roster, or by PM'ing your friends on the forum and asking for their phone numbers. You can even make an anonymous Google Voice number to use for this purpose. Don't stay in isolation any more!

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

Testimonial of the Day

 

The GYE Revolution

 

"Yossileibes" writes:

 

What an awesome powerful site this is! I've been receiving daily emails for quite awhile now and it is quintessential for both addicts and non addicts to read these emails. There is no human in this world who cannot better his shmiras enayim. In this technologically advanced world we must counteract these sexual tests with a movement such as GYE. I have donated my masser money to this site on numerous occasions, and I feel prouder then when I give to any other cause. All people that take part in this tremendous revolutionary war should know that you are elite soldiers and you belong in Hashem's Special Forces!

927.
Tuesday ~ 21 Teves, 5771 ~ December 28, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Q & A of the Day: Our Sickness = Lack of G-d 
  • Filter Tip of the Day: Get reports sent to your Rav!
  • Practical Tip of the Day: One Step at a Time 
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Lust vs. Sex: Lust is a Motivation; Sex is an Act

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

Q & A of the Day

 

Our Sickness = Lack of G-d

 

Why do the 12-Steps claim so assuredly that Hashem will cure us if we let Him? Some people are sick with cancer and don't get cured...

 

David ("Rage") responds:

 

I have come to the following conclusion: We can never understand why Hashem sometimes cures the cancer patient and sometimes he seemingly sits back and watches... It would be foolish to begin trying to figure it out... But there is something special about this particular disease we have... You see, the cancer patient's problem is that these messed up cells are eating him up alive... We pray and sometimes Hashem cures and sometimes not.... The pneumonia patient has a problem with an infection in his lungs which is restricting the oxygen to his brain... We pray and sometimes Hashem will take away the infection and sometimes he will not.... But the sex addict - ahh, the sex addict - he suffers from a total disconnect from Hashem and from the reality that Hashem placed us in... It is NOT the case that we turn to Hashem in order to cure us... FALSE!... We are sick because we lack a proper G-d/reality in our lives. So by turning to G-d and accepting his reality, automatically we are becoming cured... Our sickness is one of a lack of G-d, so it's not that maybe G-d will cure us and maybe He will not, but rather when you have taken your life to Him and let Him control you, you are curing yourself of your disease....

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

 

Filter Tip of the Day

 

Get reports sent to your Rav!

 

yishmoreini.com

 

"The most deterrent power with the least intrusion!"

 

I know the perils and pitfalls of the internet.  I understand that I need something to protect me from those weak moments.  I have been disappointed by filters, white lists, blacklists etc...  I pushed it off for another year, and another year...

 

Created by award winning developers at Covenant Eyes and adapted by business leaders in our community - YishmorEini was born.  It is not a filter, it is not a new internet connection, and it does not block any web activity. 

 

Accountability & YishmorEini

 

Accountability software monitors Internet use and emails reports to people you select. YishmorEini works as a community based program and appoints the Rav of each community to be the accountability partner for his members.  Only inappropriate activity is flagged and sent to the accountability partner/Rav.

 

YishmorEini makes privacy our top concern. Our program is designed with many shields to secure that only the accountability Rav has access to ones reports and only the accountability Rav knows the identity of each member.

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Practical Tip of the Day

 

One Step at a Time

 

From Rabbi Pliskin's "Consulting the Wise" - Rabbi Yechezkail Levenstein - Ohr Yechezkail, Midos, p.59;

 

When beginning to work on self-improvement, just try to go against a negative trait in one small way. Any positive change is already a beginning.

 

When you take that first step and make even a small change for the better, you have already begun transforming your entire makeup. You are taking control of yourself and your behavior.

 

With persistence, you will go very far toward your ultimate destination.

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Daily Doses of Dov

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

 

Lust vs. Sex:

"Lust" is a Motivation; "Sex" is an act

 

Someone asks Dov:

 

Although lust and alcohol addiction are similar in many ways, I find that there is one big difference that I struggle with. For someone going through the 12 steps when he is an alcoholic, he can have the mindset that the 1st drink is too much and that he can never have that first drink. With lust though, although the mentality is that "I cannot have the first drink of lust", one must still encounter this facet of his life (having relations with a spouse), as opposed to alcohol where one can simply avoid the situation. If one is an addict how is he supposed to balance the two? It seems to be that the alcoholic has an easier time to deal with this, since the answer at the end of the day can simply be to remove himself from alcohol and all places that associate with alcohol. One can't do that with lust, since sex with a spouse is part of someone's life? What are your thoughts?

 

Dov Responds:

Sex is far from the problem. Lust is the problem - and also self-honesty.

Lust is just getting and can only be getting. It may involve doing stuff to another person, but its value for me is measured in only one way: How good it makes my body feel.

Sex however, is just an activity. It's not really a need - it is just an act. Eating is an activity, too, but it is also a need. We will die without eating. But we will not die without sex - especially not tonight! Yet I feel I really need it, and tonight! Don't I sometimes? What's going on here?

Sex is just an activity. It is not necessarily an act of taking, nor an act of giving. Neither good, nor bad. It is not necessarily only about me and how it makes my body feel. It is fertile ground for joy and adding to, - or can be done desperately for getting from. The quality and reality of what is going on in it depends completely on me and how much Hashem helps me.

So then, how can sex be the problem? Clearly, we are the problem, and the only problem. Lust is not an act, but a motivation. Kavanah changes everything.

So the place that our change must occur is in the motivations we really have for living, for doing, for everything - if we really want things to be different. Scary? No need. Just a little, tiny drop of change is all that is needed, and it grows from there. As the AA's put it, "It's an inside job". Sure, plenty of adjustment to our activities and behavior are needed for inside change to occur, but the only thing that matters in the end is finally allowing ourselves to try for a change of our motivations. That's why 'acceptance' is so important - it will not work if it is not real to me or if I do not really need it. It's not na'aseh v'nishma acceptance that we need here, but rather the kofoh aleihem hahar kgigis. Apparently, since He did that after we said "na'aseh venishmah", it appears that He agrees!

928.
Wednesday ~ 22 Teves, 5771 ~ December 29, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Personal Victory of the Day: Called and Let Go!
  • 12-Step Attitude: Procrastination
  • Member's Chizuk: We Can't, He Can
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Lust doesn't work for addicts

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Personal Victory of the Day

 

Called & Let Go!

 

"Honest mouse" wrote:

 

Walking home from work, I came behind a frum woman who was dressed in way which really triggers me. I will admit that while walking fast to overtake her, I 'drank in' the sight and lusted away. It lasted about 20 seconds, but while the opportunity was still there to catch more looks, I followed Dov's advice. I called my partner to admit my powerlessness and how lust makes my life unmanageable (I made sure the woman didn't hear me). I had to unload it really, not just to myself. B"H it really helped me move past it.

When I got home, I was able to send my wife for a rest and really enjoy playing with my kids - real pleasure, not fake pleasure. If someone had told me that I would be able to enjoy real life so soon after lusting without acting out on it, I would never have believed them! In the past, once I've opened up the can of shmutz, I couldn't move past it till I acted out first. B"H, I think this is the first major time I really moved past it, thanks to Hashem, GYE and my partner.

 

I realize this is only for today, it doesn't mean anything for the future, I wasn't koineh any madreigoh, it was just beautiful to be able to experience and I want more!

Then I experienced Hashgacha U'pratis later that evening. I stam called my partner and just then, at the exact same time that he answered, a frum woman dressed almost the same way walked by - and I was already on the phone with my partner so I could ignore her! Amazing!

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12-Step Attitude

 

Procrastination

 

Avraham (a Talmid of Duvid Chaim's groups) writes:

 

The 12 step program, specifically addressing my list of fears in step 5, really helped me overcome procrastination. I was holding myself back from doing things I knew I should be doing. After the Chevra helped me let go of my fears, I took my responsibilities head on and dealt with them. Or as Duvid Chaim says, "I grew up".

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Member's Chizuk

 

We Can't, He Can

 

Someone wrote:

 

I fell again last night... I have learned that my urge is sometimes too powerful.

 

"Yosef Hatzadik" answers:

 

You're probably gonna fall again.

Why do I say this?

I read it in your post.

You wrote that you learnt that the urge is sometimes too powerful.

As long as you don't completely convince yourself that the urge is always too powerful, you are not sufficiently scared of it to avoid it at all costs! We MUST realize that that once we are over there, we are powerless! Whether we fall or not depends entirely on outside circumstances. WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL ANYMORE!

What is in our power to do, is avoid the urge and avoid triggers that arouse the urge. And we can ask the All-powerful Almighty God for help. We can harness His power. HE CAN DO ANYTHING.

With His invoking His power, last night's fall will be your last... EVER!!!!

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Daily Doses of Dov

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

 

Lust Doesn't Work for Addicts

 

We continue below the discussion from yesterday (it is not necessary to have read yesterday's to understand today's):

Dov, it seems you are saying that the reason why lust is so bad (as opposed to the act of sex with one's spouse) is because it's a completely selfish act? 

Who said it's bad? Good/bad is a matter for religion.

All I am saying is that lust does not work. I cannot live successfully with it. Like the AAs discovered, "we cannot drink like gentlemen." Eventually, it throws us in the gutter.

That is the only thing that the recovery I am familiar with is concerned about: life just doesn't work with active addiction. And lust just doesn't work - for addicts. It may work OK for normal people, but not for addicts. We do not do well with moderation or controlled lusting. It eventually, ultimately screws us up and makes living impossible for us, and for the people around us.

And the answer that the program offers is getting not just faith, but a faith that really works, for a change.

 

Does all this make sense to you? 

 

But for me, the reason why lust makes my life unmanageable stems from an inner conflict. This conflict is a religious contradiction for me. I have guilt and sometimes become depressed after acting out. The reason why I feel guilty and depressed is because the acting out prevents me from becoming the type of person I want to become. Is this a good enough reason for me to say that my life has become unmanageable? It seems that my issue stems from a religious belief, but for me, this religious belief is so important that I can't live like this anymore. 

 

You know, I do not know that answer to your question because I haven't had that experience. I had tremendous inner conflict, but it did not stop me - in fact, I did not even get the help I really needed as a result of it. Perhaps you are getting it though. For me, the help I needed was a true change in lifestyle: I started coming out to other (safe) people about my problem, being fully open in meetings and with my sponsor, and actually coming to meetings with other perverts like me. That is when I started getting better. And in order to keep getting better, I need to become progressively more open with these people, and appropriately open with my wife - and really with everyone.

 

Now, I am not open about my addiction with everyone I meet, nor even with my wife - for example, I do not tell her "Sweetheart, I saw a woman on the train today who was so pretty that I am still dying to follow her to her car and talk to her." Not quite. I also do not share with her other crazy thoughts I have, like fear that I married the wrong person, fear of death, bewilderment about having purpose in my life or believing in G-d, or whether I am in fact and addict or not. Why should I share these things with her?

 

Truth be told, I used to try to share these very things with her - until she educated me that there is no sensible purpose in her learning about every crazy aberration in my brain - particularly if it will just scare her.

The reason I had to learn it (what to and what not to talk with her about) davka the hard way, was that I had been spending the past 11 years of our marriage lying to her and covering up and manipulating. Of course, I did not see what I was doing as that, but it was exactly that. So in the beginning, I wanted to do the opposite (generally a good approach to rehab) and tell her every tiny stupid thing, so I do not revert to secrecy and "the double life". Nu. I was wrong. Over time, I learned how to balance it a bit better - stupid crazy thoughts go to my sponsor and program buddies, while real life stuff goes to her. Generally speaking.

Make any sense?
 

It seems from your story that the next step that you would have had to take, would have led to loss of your wife, children, etc... For me, however, the next step is just not being able to live with myself. I know this will be a tough question to answer, but can where I be right now be considered rock bottom? 

 

I do not see why it cannot be so. There are many alkies who have not lost jobs, are young, etc - and are going to meetings and are sober. Perhaps it all depends on how you treat yourself. If you take the measures indicative that you feel you are truly in deep trouble, then you will be OK. If you minimize it, then the denial will keep you in the addiction cycle.

929.
Thursday ~ 23 Teves, 5771 ~ December 30, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: Looking for Director of Jerusalem Work Center
     
  • 'Kosher Isle' Link of the Day: Bored and looking for something to watch?
     
  • Personal Victory of the Day: 20 Minutes
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Letting go of the 'Gimmies'

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Announcement

 

Looking for Director of the Jerusalem Work Center
 

For people whose wives need the internet - but they don't want to have internet at home, there is a solution in Ezras Torah Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Work Center. Now they are looking for someone to take over this important project.

 

The Jerusalem Work Center is an office in Shechunat Ezras Torah, for frum ladies who are looking to work in a friendly, social environment, while their house remains internet-free. The office offers rental space with high-speed internet for 1/2 and full day sessions. They rent space by the month, by the day or by the hour (or hour). The price includes a table, office chairs, a printer-scanner-fax, high speed-internet and phone lines when necessary. There is a kitchen for everyone's use, including a toaster, hot-water and a fridge.

 

The person who is currently managing the office is looking for a replacement. There may be profit involved. If you are interested, please call: 02-502-3227

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Link of the Day

 

Bored and looking for something to watch?

 

Don't start sliding down the dangerous slopes of Youtube. Now there's KosherTube!

 

koshertube.com

 

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Personal Victory of the Day

 

20 Minutes

 

"Hashem's Soldier" posted on the forum:

 

I'm weak, I had a slip today with my eyes at work.... (A true addict is one who tries going to the website KNOWING it is blocked, and yet he tries to go to it anyway). 

 

I'm home alone, I still don't have a filter installed here and I want to have a fall.

 

I am making a shvuah that for the next 20 min, I will not go looking for shmutz without first reaching out to someone on the forum that I have contact with through texting.


Hashem, I admit that I am powerless and that I am dealing with a force and a desire which is above human nature, it controls human nature. Hashem, I recognize all of this, and I know that without You I have no chance, it's Your fight that you put in my hands, and the only way for me to win is with Your help. Hashem, please help me get out of this situation, and help me complete this night without EVEN a slip.

 

20 minutes later, "Hashem's Soldier" posts:

 

Ok, 20 minutes are up. What have I been doing? I've been lusting after Kedusha; listening to some Yosef Karduner. "Im ein ani li, mi li?..." Think about it. This thought has to be on the top of every addicts head. If I'm not willing to help myself, why should Hashem help me?

 
"Im lo achshav eimasai?..." We tell ourselves "it's Ok to fall, I'll just start my count again tomorrow, no big deal".....NO, NO, NO, NO! It is a big deal. If not now, when? The answer to that question is not tomorrow or in two days. If not now, NEVER. My life starts today!! From now on, full speed ahead!


AGAIN! I CAN'T DO THIS BY MYSELF. IT'S ALL UP TO HASHEM. The Nesivos Shalom basically says this fundamental idea for us addicts: We can't do it by ourselves, this is a tayvah which is above nature. But if we do something down here (israusa delesatah) then Hashem sends us presents from above and helps us to do the rest (isarusa dele'eila). But it only comes after we do OURS!

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Daily Doses of Dov

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

 

Letting Go of the 'Gimmies'

 

Someone asked Dov:

 

I keep asking myself why it's so d-mn hard for me when I see a woman pass by in the street. I feel like crying every time I pass a decent looking woman, that's how painful it is for me to look away and just let go of it.

 

Dov replies:

 

If you try to move on but can't seem to, and if you really want to let go of her image and of your 'gimmies', then instead of using her, immediately start praying for her health, safety, and protection from mistakes, lies, lack of true relationship with Hashem and with the important people in her life; from horrible tza'ar gidul bonim, hatred, mental illness, addiction, and early death, c"v.

Then move on with real life and enjoy what you have. If that is hard, then write down gratitude lists in shorthand quickly and about many areas of your life, health, whatever. It will remind you what life is about and what you've got. That's always more important that what you haven't got (fantasy). The fantasy leads only to pain.

930.
Friday ~ 24 Teves, 5771 ~ December 31, 2010
Erev Shabbos Parshas Va'eirah

This e-mail is Li'Ilui Nishmas Miriam Breindle Bas Menachem, whose Yartzeit is today.

To sponsor a Chizuk e-mail, write to us.

In Today's Issue

  • Announcement: Mazal Tov to ShemiratEinayim
  • Parsha Talk 1: Tolerating Mitzrayim
  • Parsha Talk 2: How dumb was Pharaoh / is our addiction?
  • Daily Dose of Dov 1: You CAN crawl out of this mess
  • Daily Dose of Dov 2: Can building self-esteem help?

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Announcement

 

Mazal Tov to shemirateinayim on his upcoming wedding next week!

 

He is B"H over 230 days clean now, and he is one of the most inspiring members on our forum!

 

May he and his kalla be zoche to build a Bayis Ne'eman b'Yisrael, a house of Kedusha and Tahara, and a Binyan Adai Ad.

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Parsha Talk

 

Tolerating Mitzrayim

 

"ZmirosShabbos" posted:

 

"Vehotzeisi Eschem Mitachas Sivlus Mitzrayim - And I will take you out from under the suffering of Egypt".

 

Hashem says I will redeem you from your spiritual exile, from the fact that you can tolerate the filth of Mitzrayim. You will reach a state where you cannot tolerate the degradation and defilement of Mitzrayim any more. (Likutei Imrai Chaim)

The word "Sivlus" means suffering, but it also means "tolerate". As long as we can be "soveil - tolerate" the Egypt, i.e. the Yetzer Hara, it can have an influence over us. If we reach a state where we cannot be soveil it anymore, then we will be able to break free of its grasp. That is what the first step (of the 12-Steps) is all about. We can't begin recovery until we hit bottom. Hitting bottom means, I have come to see that my life is unmanageable. I cannot tolerate the current situation any longer. It must change. Then, and only then, are we ready to truly surrender to G-d's help.

 

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How dumb was Pharaoh / is our addiction?

 

Eye.Nonymous wrote:

 

Something struck me about this week's parsha, something I saw in a new light this year.

Pharaoh, over and over again, refuses to let the Yidden go. Plague after plague, he still refuses. Now, I'd like to think, if I were Pharaoh, I'd be smart enough to give up after no more than 2 or 3 plagues.

But, he keeps on doing it!  Sort of like us, who keep on going to our addiction, even though we keep getting hurt by it.

WHY does Pharoah persist on this seeming stupidity? 

I once heard an answer like this--Moshe kept going to Pharaoh, "Let my people go"  Pharoah says, "Wait!  I have some power more than Hashem! He NEEDS my permission to let his people go!"

He believed he had power. He believed he was in control! So, he couldn't SURRENDER. He had to be hit so many times, so hard, till he was ready to truly surrender to G-d that he was powerless.

I thought that fit in with our addiction very nicely.

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Daily Doses of Dov

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

 

You CAN crawl out of this mess

 

Dear yid, you are not alone, no matter how bad you think you have become or what horrible stuff you have done and whatever ugliness you see in your own heart at times... you are not alone. I know that Hashem is with you 100% and loves you so much that he gave you this chevra and all the other fellow sufferers who you can relate with. You can crawl up and out of this mess, as long as you remember that you are crawling. Soon, with Hashem's help, you will be starting to walk tall and getting some freedom from this garbage and pain. And the biggest brocha you can have (in my opinion) is to remember that on the inside you are still crawling before Hashem.

Labris habeit - keep your eye on the help of the powerful 'bris' between us recovering people, v'al teyfen layetzer! Learn how to not give lust the time of day. It will take time and patience.

 

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Can building self esteem help?

 

I do not subscribe to an emphasis on consciously working toward self-esteem as a way to get out of addiction. Perhaps it is a great idea for non-addicts to help save them from getting entangled in dependency... but once I got in, working on self-esteem was like spitting in the wind. I am naturally disgusted with myself as an addict and that's that. 

Now, I need to be sober so I do not lose everything and die in shame as many others have, and in the meantime, it seems I have gained a considerable measure of self-esteem... I feel that it was a gift. Maybe it's semantics, maybe not. All I know is that the other way doesn't work for me. I basically threw my life away for lust - and believe it would be just plain dishonest for me to demand of myself that every step of recovery be filtered through the lens of self-worth and esteem. I dumped that stock when it plummeted to zero and will not buy it back.

I am an addict in recovery and I choose to believe that, at least for me, self-esteem is a gift from Hashem, period. Being directly concerned with growing and maintaining it would have stymied me completely, I think.

 

See? I still think too much! (I think)

931.
Sunday ~ 26 Teves, 5771 ~ January 2, 2010

To sponsor a Chizuk e-mail, write to us.

In Today's Issue

  • Link of the Day: Pleasure Seeking
  • Personal Victories of the Day: Ego Bashing
  • Attitude Perspective: "Garden of Peace" was a Game-Changer
  • Daily Dose of Dov 1: Davening After a Fall
  • Daily Dose of Dov 2: How can I survive until marriage?

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Link of the Day

 

Pleasure Seeking

 

According to Victor Frankl, 'Pleasure seeking' is a human response to the "Will to Meaning". When man tries to get rid of his free choice by intoxicating himself with pleasure seeking, he is responding to his inability to find meaning in life. But pleasure seeking is really self-defeating, as Victor explains in this interview given for Canadian television in 1972, where he describes his views on the connection between meaning in life and happiness. (Toronto 1972)
 

See also this page of our website for Victor Frankl's Logo-Therapy technique.
 

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Personal Victories of the Day
 

Ego Bashing
 

"Eye.Nonymous" writes:

 

LITTLE INTRO, CRASH COURSE, reminder - This addiction is only a symptom. We use it to relieve our pain. Our pain comes from restlessness, irritability, and discontent in life. Why do we have this R.I.D? Because of our Ego. We can't accept when things don't go our way.


Now, for a few anecdotes I have had about this recently:


1) A few nights ago I had to go pick up something. I left the house and went down the stairs. Then, my wife was calling to me from the window (we live on the top floor of a 4-story building). I HATE yelling back and forth from the street to the window. I wanted to just go and pick up what I had to get. So, I RUSHED up the stairs, ready to yell at my wife for trying to talk to me out the window, which I hate so much. On the way up the stairs (4 flights, I had some time to think) I sensed, "I'M ON AN EGO TRIP!" I realized the absurdity of it. My wife knows I don't like yelling back and forth, so if she did it IT MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT. Turns out, I was going to pick something up, and she just found out THE PERSON WASN'T THERE. I would have run all around just for nothing.

2) I spent a bit of time at the computer working on something related to recovery. I went overboard, and used up some time that I should have been working. I NOTICED, I DIDN'T REALLY MIND; I HAD CHOSEN TO USE MY TIME DIFFERENTLY.

Then, later on, I was working at the computer, and my wife needed to interrupt me for a few minutes, only a few minutes. I was starting to boil. EGO ALERT! I stepped back and realized, I had cut off much more time from my work before and it didn't bother me. My wife only needs a minute of my time, and I'm getting furious!

SO, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IF I'M ON SCHEDULE OR NOT, OR IF I'M ACCOMPLISHING OR NOT. Just, if I'm doing what I want, I'm fine. But if I need to do what SOMEONE ELSE wants instead, I get angry. JUST ANOTHER EGO TRIP!

So, I was able to put the EGO aside, and not get angry with my wife.

3) Last night I forgot my umbrella at Shul.  My son agreed to go on his bicycle and get it, which was a big help. Until this morning I noticed--my umbrella got all mangled! Apparently, he had some difficulty carrying the umbrella on his bike. My first reaction was ANGER. Should I penalize him or chastise him in some way? It took me a while (until near the end of davening), but then I realized, first of all, he was trying to do me a favor. Secondly, it's all EGO. Is it worth a few bucks to go ahead and yell at my kid?  The same few bucks I would freely spend on coffee or something like that?

No.

4) Also, yesterday I went to kollel in the afternoon. Some other fellows were sitting where I usually sit. Shouldn't they know that? I was about ready to march up to them and ask them to move. Then, I realized EGO EGO EGO! I can move one row back. Big deal!

So, I've been noticing the subtle effects of EGO in my life, more and more.  And, baruch Hashem, I've had the siyata dishmaya to put it aside.

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Attitude Perspective
 

"Garden of Peace" was a Game-Changer

 

"Jooboy" writes:

 

The number one thing I have gotten from GYE is the recommendation of the book "Garden of Peace". This has truly been a game changer. It has done for my marriage what SA has done for my sobriety; taken me from a novice to putting me onto the path of long-term stability and happiness.

From a man's perspective, marriage needs to be about "How can I make her happy". Once I get into the place of thinking "how she can make me happy?" I'm toast.

For years I have gone through heart wrenching cycles of happiness and utter despair in my marriage.  Now I understand more clearly that when I am in the mode of "What can I do for her?" my marriage is great. As soon as I move into "What does she need to do for me?" my marriage starts to spin out of control.  I have seen almost every one of the book's basic principles prove to be true in my life.  

This is not theory.  I am living the experiences of the book.  When I follow it, everything works, when I veer off track, everything falls apart.

My biggest lessons are:

1) My wife is allergic to criticism because that is her nature as a wife, not because she is defective.


2) My biggest challenge to true shalom bayis is me, and more specifically my arrogance. I need to find true humility to make it work.


3) There is no other way to achieve shalom bayis without Emunah. I don't like that fact, but it is true.

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Daily Doses of Dov

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

 

Davening After a Fall

 

To someone who wrote about his intense teffilos after a fall, Dov writes:

 

The davening being more intense I see as a part of my sickness after using lust. Not c"v to imply at all that davening with unusually much kavonoh is a bad thing in any way. It's just that in the context of a 'fall', fervent davening - as you wrote - often takes the place (in our psyche) of some kind of 'makeup game'. And there is no making up, no escape from the facts of what we did and what we do, no games. We need to be clean now - nothing in the past is really relevant to true recovery but how we are right now. (Except with respect to admitting our powerlessness based upon our track record). That we will get better 'tomorrow' or 'in the future' has been our most common nechoma - a bad nechoma that becomes an excuse. There is nothing awesome we can do today that will prove somehow that we are really great. If we do sick stuff, we are sick! No matter what other awesome and Holy stuff we also do.
 

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How can I survive till marriage?

 

A Bochur writes:

 

I can't get rid of the feeling (it might be more than a feeling) that I really want to "be" with a woman! How can I go till I am married without it?

 

It's overrated. Ha! Actually, being curious is so natural, but it's just a pity we all have to struggle so much with that and waste all that energy over something that doesn't solve our problem - We Feel Empty and Alone! And we really believe a woman can fix that. No aveira can convince us otherwise, even if it succeeds in scaring us off! But I pity the woman/women we choose to use for that... I picked my wife, and I pity her for the hell she had to go through just to finally have me 'sane'.

 

There's only one way to manage until you're married: one day at a time... and soon you will find many more important things to concern yourself with than getting in places you don't belong. There really is another way than preoccupation with that thing. Get busy, find friends and take it easy.

932.
Monday ~ 27 Teves, 5771 ~ January 3, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Practical Tip of the Day: Integrity = Drawing the Battle Lines Way Back
     
  • Member's Chizuk: Starting the journey
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: When are our prayers really answered?

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Practical Tip of the Day

 

Integrity = Drawing the Battle Lines Way Back

 

"On The Road" posted:

 

Someone said an amazing thing today that I wanted to write down and keep in my own little corner of GYE. Of course this is something I knew, but inside I was fighting it...

We have to set limits for ourselves that are way behind our trigger points. Because once we get triggered, there is no hope and it's all down hill from there.

 

For example, we need to make fences, put in filters, avoid movies that will trigger us, etc. Integrity is about drawing the battle lines back as far as we can. Because if we draw the battle lines where our struggle is (for example, if I say, "as long as I don't masturbate it's Ok), then we will be way past that "first drink" by the time we get to our struggle. And as we all know, it's the first drink that causes the fall, not the last.

The conflict I always experience is, "I want to just be able to 'relax', be like anyone else who can do x,y,z and not get sent on a rollercoaster of acting out".... But I can't. I am an addict. The things that might give a regular guy fantasies that he has a hard time getting out of his head, may send me to the parking lot of a 'massage parlor' or strip bar... and then I would be in real trouble. So - I gotta stick with the fences that are going to work for me, even if they make me feel like I am living in a prison.

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Member's Chizuk

 

Starting the Journey

 

After a big fall, "Ben Durdaya" joined our forum and posted his story... Here is an excerpt of some of the chizuk he gave himself:

 

A. I wil bl"n l try to stop focusing on the damage that I'm doing to my parnossah, learning, children's chances for hatzlachah etc. -all of that isn't really dependent on me at the end of the day, rather it's dependent on Rachmei Hashem -which has no limit. Instead, I will try to start focusing on the damage I'm causing to my relationship with Hashem.

B. I will bl"n try to stop worrying that my p'nimiyus doesn't live up to other's expectations of me based on their view of my chitzoniyus, and start trying to build a p'nimiyus based on Hashem's expectations from me.

C. I will bl"n try not to dwell on the past and worry less about the future. I will try to live this minute as well as I can.

 

A few days later and still clean, Ben Durdaya posted:

 

I've been feeling a little lust lately, so here is what I reminded myself:

 

A. By Krias Shema, I remembered that this is what we mean when we say 'Bechol Levovicha' - with your Yetzer Tov and your Yetzer Hara. RBS"O You're the one who gave me this YH, You're the one who can teach me and help me to channel my lust to the place where you intended it to be - i.e. cheishek for Torah and Avodas HaShem. 'BeChol Nafshicha - even if he takes your life' - even if giving your lust over to G-d has the taste of absolute death.


B. I realized that I must be starting to feel some gaavah over the fact that I've been clean for a few days now - and it really feels great to be clean even though it's only been a few days. So I reminded myself how little self-control I have shown in these areas in the past - even in the very recent past -and that my life has become unmanageable on my own. Therefore I acknowledge my limitations and turn to HaShem and place myself, my addiction, and all of my problems in Hashem's hands -because if I stop trying to play His role and control my life - I allow Him to enter my life and give Him a place in my heart. And only in this way do I allow Him to help me, and ONLY He can help me - and He CAN help me.

C. If Chas VeShalom I should feel even the slightest turn for the worse in my thought patterns, I will not hesitate to spill my guts HERE on the forum. Because this is a place where I feel comfortable among people who seem to care about people like me.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

When are our prayers really answered?

Someone writes to Dov:

A paradox: After I have acted out, do I say to myself "your intensity in davening is just a cover up, just be normal"? But then I feel that I am being callous about the fall, which is the reason for the intensity; it is a sort of statement to HaShem that I know that I have been bad and I am being serious about it.

Dov Replies:

If you are certain that you really could stop if you tried harder, then more power to you. But if you are like me and come to see that you are simply unable to successfully stop - and that anything less than stopping completely will ruin your life, then you will have to accept that you are not bad, at all .... but ill. Very ill. I believe be'emunah sh'leima that I have a disease that by all appearances is chronic, fatal, and terminal. Its symptoms are an allergy to lust and fantasy, an obsession with it, and a tendency to gravitate toward it even though it will destroy my marriage, job, standing in the community and olam haba. I am in serious trouble.

But am I soooo bad - evil - that I prefer these things? Am I mechaven limrod Bo (intention to rebel against Him)? No. That I know. I am a nice and good-hearted man... that's why my habit has me so upset in the first place! But it has no bearing on making me "strong enough" to stop.... cuz I am not, for some reason. I am an addict. 

If this does not describe you, then as I said before, more power to you and Yivorech'cha Hashem! But if it is you too, then I hope you will quit looking at yourself in an untrue way - that you are bad. Cuz if you are seeing sheker, you will not get Emess in return.

The question is, if we say to HaShem that we are deeply sorry even though we Know that it is going to happen again, is that meaningless?

Not to be cruel nor apikorsish, c"v, my feeling is that since Emess is chosamo shel HaKB"H (the seal of G-d), the sincerity of a tefillah may not matter as much as the Truth of it. In other words: Why do so many of us not get help from Hashem when we call out to Him and end up acting out on lust over and over anyway? And by the same token, how is it that so many guys in recovery of some sort tell us that Hashem always answers and helps them? What's up with that? 

The answer might be that until one has an accurate and honest perspective of exactly what their prognosis or disease really is, their tefillos are actually something like, "Hashem, please help me stop so that I will never actually have to give it up!" or, "I want to be a kadosh - like the tzadikim, so save me from this masturbation and that porn image I saw and can't get out of my mind now - and I promise I will try to be good next time!"... Gevalt! I have been there a hundred times!!

"Saving" us then would certainly just worsen our problem and our prideful and misguided belief that we do not need to make real changes and that we can keep on living the same... Then it'll be curtains for sure.

Yes, Hashem really loves us that much.

933.
Tuesday ~ 28 Teves, 5771 ~ January 4, 2010

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The Key To Sobriety
 

"Shnook" has been posting on our forum for the last 6 months or so, trying to reach 90 days again and again... and failing. Recently, Shnook began working the 12-Steps with Chaim Duvid's groups and things are starting to turn around. This beautiful post from Shnook warrants an entire chizuk e-mail just for itself:

 

Ever since joined GYE I've had this argument with others on the forum: "Do the number of days clean really matter?"

I don't know how to fully express this, but please believe me when I say I REALLY know what I am saying. It's so hard for me to fully develop this into a coherent explanation, but I feel it's one of the most important concepts of sobriety there is, so I am going to try my best to express it properly. Please, I ask you to bear with me and try to understand, and approach what I am saying without prior prejudices.


Don't judge until you are finished reading, because I KNOW THIS to be the truth now, and it was a really hard-earned truth, which I fought and struggled for months to reach:

1. Cleanliness: In order to fully absorb the lessons taught in programs like  the 12-steps and the 'GYE Attitude' booklet, you have to be sober for a few days. Why? Because when one's head is absorbed in the insanity, no matter how much the person might want to be clean, the filth is still tugging and affecting their perceptions.


This is not just my own opinion, it is written straight out in the 12-step program; i.e. that it is advisable to be sober for at least a few days before starting the program. (Step zero of the 12-Steps is: "STOP").

 

And after trying both ways, clean and not clean, I GUARANTEE that the 12-steps are not effective unless clean. It's not enough to want to diet if you're still eating chocolate cake. Your mind will NOT accept fully what it needs to accept while the insanity is still there. 

2. A program: Also, you CANNOT stay clean without some form of a program. Why? Because staying clean without growth is just 'pushing off the inevitable'. It's like crash dieting vs. changing your eating habits. In a crash diet, you will lose 5 pounds quickly, but they'll come back eventually - anyone who has ever crash dieted knows this. Also, during the whole crash diet, the person feels so anxious and they definitely aren't "healthy". 


So too,  anyone who has just tried to stop acting out without working on 'growing' from there, is plagued with anxiety and eventually will give in and fall. And when they do, it feels horrible, like they will never get up again. This is EVEN IF THEY REACHED 90 DAYS.


On the other hand, someone who is working on changing their eating habits seriously, then even if once in a while they slip up and eat a cookie at a kiddush, the pounds will come off slowly but surely. Also, they will feel so HEALTHY and energized during it all - because they are changing for the better and for ever. 


So too, it is important for us as addicts to learn not only how to stem the flow of blood from this gaping wound of ours, but how to grow and change our entire outlook, lifestyles, goals and motivations for living. Our ENTIRE LIVES must make a turnaround, and the only way towards this is through growth in a program.

Summary: I agree it's not about the 90 days, per se. In fact, often those who reach 90 days will ultimately fall back... Why? They need to ask themselves: What is the main goal of the 90-day journey? AND THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT CONCEPT - one that has taken me ALL THESE 6 MONTHS to realize: The 90 days are so that (A) your neural passages are fixed and whatnot, BUT that's not even the main point. The main point is (B) the hope that within these 90 days, the person will be doing a program, so that eventually it's NOT about 90 days for the person anymore. It's so that the person is able to see the whole picture for what it is: a lifetime mission of sobriety.


And we CANNOT see the whole picture without both sobriety and a program.


90 days is not magic, it's just a number to aim for staying clean while you work through a program, because you need to be sober as you are growing and learning. OTHERWISE IT'S NOT REAL SOBRIETY.


90 days ensures cleanliness for
hopefully  enough time for the person to absorb the necessary concepts to head down a path of REAL SOBRIETY.


This is why it is VITAL that BOTH parts be done seriously, fully, and hand in hand. A person MUST be clean and MUST be working some sort of program in order to reach sobriety. Otherwise, there's just no way. And that explains the 90 days.

I cannot stress ENOUGH the difference between my sobriety now - as I work through the program with no 'monkey business', as opposed to all those other times. It makes no difference if I might fall in the near future. I am on an upward trend. I am building and not just HOLDING OFF THE INEVITABLE. The inevitable is not inevitable anymore. I am not aiming for 90 days, I am aiming for a lifetime of happiness. I am in a PROCESS right now. It is such a difference.

But I know I can talk myself blue in the face and some people will just have to go make their own mistakes...
 

I just want, after you've gone and messed it up and you feel depressed - like there is no way for you to beat this, I just want so badly for you to come back to this post. 


Come back, read it, and then start over 'aiming for 90' while seriously and meticulously following the 12-step program, or something similar.
 

And then you will feel the difference... And your life can finally take a definitive change for the absolute better. You are WORTH IT.

934.
Wednesday ~ 29 Teves, 5771 ~ January 5, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Stories, Victories, 12-Step: Close Physically; Far Mentally
  • Poems: I Have a Better Plan
  • Attitude Tips: Finding it all in Him
  • Daily Dose of Dov: As much as I had to stop, I couldn't live without it.

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Category: Personal Stories, Victories, 12-Step Attitude

 

Close Physically; Far Mentally

 

Yossef in SA shared with me by e-mail:

 

I have B"H over 6 years clean in SA, and I am grateful for such a venue to share these victories in the name of Hashem with others. Somehow I've been doing great even without meetings, but I make phone calls everyday to share and connect. Your chizuk e-mails help even further, as I am now working very closely with young attractive ladies. I use all tools I've used up till now, and I am never 'content' or 'healed'... Seeing each day as a new chance in Avodas Hashem, along with friends, is the best gift one could have.

 

B"H I'm sober and happily married with happy children. I make calls to friends in recovery very often about any and all anxiety I have about ANYTHING, not even lust related. I have ZERO shame asking for help from others! The VERY FIRST AND NUMBER ONE PRIORITY is coming home with a warm heart for the family. Our kids don't care about our money, they need our smiles much much more!

 

The Rambam and Shulchan Aruch write: "Distance yourself very far from a woman". But this applies to mentally; emotionally or spiritually. What I mean is, that even if a girl is only two feet away (like for me at work), I keep her "far away from myself" in my mind. I keep low volume relaxing piano niggunim with no words in my ear. Even when I'm on the phone with a customer, the relaxing chassidic music is playing. I have NO SHAYCHUS WHATSOEVER to her, nor with ANY of her conversations with ANYONE. I'm not a 'social butterfly'... HASHEM is my buddy (and I call friends who think like me when I need to, B"H).

 

Even on my down days (less spiritual), it's known at work that I'm focused on work and talking to other men SPECIFICALLY (about productive things of course). So even when my Yetzer Hara tries to finally get me involved to talk to her, she has no desire to because I already have a reputation of being AWAY from the girls... (even though I'm literally 2 or 3 feet away from them, physically).

 

At least 50 times a day, probably more, I have the opportunity to 'choose life'. I intentionally divert my eyes from seeing the triggering women in the office. They are 'right there'; other people are talking to them and joking with them. Ok, so what? My life has no reason to be a part of that scene. B"H a good amount of friends and co-workers are also near me; and they are men. We talk of topics of content.

 

I even admonished one man once when here: At work, he mentioned immoral topics of lust loudly. Other people appreciated my reaction. I apologized to him later and he admitted he was wrong.....

 

G-d is on our side, with endless love.

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Category: Poems

 

I Have a Better Plan

 

From a poem by one of the members of Duvid Chaim's phone conference:

 

WHAT?? The world can run without me?
That's impossibly untrue!
How dare you mock my awesomeness?
I'm much greater than you!
My dreams are all just fantasy?
My life's falling apart?
Maybe I'll think things over
and start a brand new start.
I guess there's Someone greater
Who was there since time began.
I think that I'll stop struggling
and live by His master plan!

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Category: Attitude Tips

 

Finding it all in Him

 

Someone wrote to us:

 

I found one of your first posts to me 12 months ago, that's kept me thinking for all these months:

 

"Yes, we CAN love and be loved, deeper than we could have ever imagined. We truly can find pleasure, comfort and security that we only dreamed could exist in this dark world. The subconcious need that we had all our lives is really a "G-d hole" inside of us... And all that we seek can truly be found in Him. When we give ourselves over to Him 100% (not 98%) we will finally start to feel it. Everything we ever thought we needed and craved, is there in Him."

 

Gold. Pure gold. I'm still working on turning that 98% into 100%, but I certainly see that it's possible in ways I did not see a year ago. Thanks.

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

As much as I had to stop, I couldn't live without it

 

As far as I have seen, all the warnings about the 'badness' of lust seem quite silly. The silliest warnings of all are the religious warnings, though the moralist ones are a close second... If I was really motivated by goodness or halacha then I'd have never been in this trouble in the first place! Some people just don't get it. I have met them. They think goodness is a substitute for honesty. Hah. And while the tikun klali might do you some good in avoiding punishment and gehinom - what does it have to do with stopping or with recovery

If it had never 'hit home' for me, I'd probably have never have stopped. It feels good to use sex and lust, so why would we ever quit unless we had to? Few would, I guess.


My own journey involved a lot of pain - in and out of the marriage - as a result of my lying, escapades and lots of frustrated unmanageability. I got caught badly by my wife, then went to a shrink... still got much worse, until I eventually saw the end coming. Just as much as I had to stop, I couldn't live without it. I was basically a dead-man, as far as I could tell. I went to an addictions shrink who introduced me to SA. I grabbed onto it and did as suggested and have been sober and getting freer from the tyranny of lust in my life ever since.

It is quite shocking, actually. I was going from massage parlor to massage parlor, nudee bar to nudee bar, and making phone hookups around the clock with little power to 'organize' things or stop.... And now I am sober, mostly useful, and growing in every part of my life.

 
935.
Thursday ~ 1 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 6, 2010
Rosh Chodesh Shvat

In Today's Issue

  • Happy Announcement: New Yiddish Handbook Complete
  • Testimonials: One of the Crowd
  • Links: Homeless Drug Addict in Recovery Gets Hug From G-d
  • Attitude Tips 1: Hindsight View, Up Front
  • Attitude Tips 2: No One's Perfect
  • Daily Dose of Dov: By the time davening is over, I am a new man.

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Happy Announcement

 

Thanks to the generous donation of one of our members, the entire handbook has been translated into Yiddish professionally. (This includes the "Attitude Handbook" and the "GYE Handbook".)
 

Download the New Yiddish Handbook here

 

Right Click the link and choose "Save Target/Link As" to save it to your computer.

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Category: Testimonials

 

One of the Crowd

 

By Ben Durdaya

 

Joining this forum is like someone finally pointing a pen-light into the dark reaches of your soul saying  - "Whoop, there it is; and that's what it's been all along". And suddenly it's clear as day... You realize what could've been, and the Y"H tries to rope you back in with the Atzvus. But since you've found such a great bunch of guys - and you feel like one of the crowd from day 1 (if you are sincere), you take their advice, follow their example.... and do not look back. You join the chorus which screams: "Y"H I hate your guts... You've ruined my best years, and I'm not going to even try to deal with you anymore on my own. Like Ronald Reagan said, you just don't negotiate with terrorists. And that's just what he is. He wants you to be terrified of your past, worried about the future, and tense in the present. And that's what I learned from my friends here; how not to fall into that trap, just Let go and let G-d. Anyone can do a better job of managing my life than I have, G-d certainly can... and I've been taught that He will, if I let him.

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Category: Links

 

Homeless Drug Addict in Recovery Gets Hug From G-d

 

I sent this beautiful story / video clip to a friend, and this was their response:

 

It truly is beautiful to see his new-found connection to G-d through his recovery. Even a non-Jew's connection with the Creator is something so precious (as we can see by how Hashem responded :) So imagine when a Jew turns back to Hashem!

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Category: Attitude Tips

 

Hindsight View, Up Front

 

More from Yossef in SA:

 

One of my favorite Torahs is a Breslover Torah. Rebbe Nachman says that often, only AFTER we go through a period of time or a situation do we first see in 'hindsight' and 'retrospect' how all was really for the good. We see how G-d's hand was guiding us all along. This is what Hashem showed to Moshe when He showed him the teffilin knot on the back of the head... i.e. the 'hindsight' view, UP FRONT. In other words, Hashem gave Moshe the ability to see 'li'mafreya', lichatchila, before having to 'go through' a situation.

 

I've felt this way 1000's of times over the last 6 years (I'm sober since Aug '04). For example, now, I could look at 'stuff' on the internet... But later I'll be home with a family, with myself and with G-d... Will I be able to look my family in the eye and connect to them for real? Will I have something to feel guilty about with my closest loved ones? I BH(!) already see myself two hours from now happy with them, which helps prevent me ruining that happiness in this moment, now. Do I want to feel like garbage then?!


On the train to and from work, is the same. I tell myself that at some point I'm going to get off the train. What will be my memory 'looking back' at my behavior when I was on the train? By seeing myself guilt free and happily exiting the train, it helps me connect to Hashem while I am actually on the train, instead of G-d forbid(!) the opposite.


 

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No One's Perfect

 

"Ur-a-Jew" writes:

 

I believe one of the important steps to sobriety is recognizing that we are not perfect and never will be perfect. To use Steve's moshul, we are all pickles and we won't be cucumbers anymore. But it's okay to be a pickle. Some may say it's even better. If we are aiming for perfection we will never get there, and it makes it so much easier to slip and fall.


I'm just a guy trying to stay sober, and with the help of G-d I've managed to do so for over 200 days. What tomorrow or later today holds, I don't know. But I know that the past 200 days is something that I will always have, no matter what happens tomorrow. And I also know that it sure beats where I was.

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

By the time davening is over, I am a new man.

 

On the mornings that I wake up in pain after a disappointing night (that it feels like resentment, sadness, or squirreliness is irrelevant - it is pain that expresses it self in whatever way. The fact that it is pain that I am experiencing is the point, as far as I am concerned), I find that by the time davening is over I am a new man. I have agreed with myself to let go of the comfortable and familiar resentment, anger or dashed-wishes I woke up with, and just go and daven to Hashem that I be with Him at least some of the time today and useful at least a bit today... I daven especially for my wife and children to have a good day - more than I daven for myself. "To heck with me - what can I do for others?" is a precious (and occasionally indispensable) attitude for me.
936.
Friday ~ 2 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 7, 2010
Erev Shabbos Parshas Bo

In Today's Issue

  • Stories, 12-Step Attitude: Learning Surrender
     
  • Parsha Talk, Torah: Sanctifying Our Homes / Our Time
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Normal vs. Useful

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Category: Stories, 12-Step Attitude

 

Learning Surrender

 

By "a very sick man"

 

With the help of my Higher Power, I joined SA recovery in early 2009 and started to gain real sobriety and 12 step recovery in May of last year. Today I celebrated 8 months of sobriety. 


The most important thing I can tell ANYONE who struggles with this on a small or large scale, is to keep talking about it in a safe environment. There are so many people struggling with this and YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I still think I am alone sometimes and it hurts. So many people struggle the exact same way I do, or similarly. I can truly trust God and say that he made me exactly the way I needed to be. 


The biggest key to my recovery was to understand that I don't need to understand. This is one of the things I truly don't understand. I accept, I am powerless and I believe that the bigger plan will show itself one day. I certainly don't have choices about my addiction or the way it drives me.


I am happily married to a wonderful woman and have a beautiful family. I will focus on gratitude instead of complaining. I invite you to do the same.

 

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

 

It's amazing to watch this part of the recovery process. I forget how easy it is to turn it over to Hashem/God, to trust completely. When I drive my car, I think I am keeping me safe, when I walk down the street I think I am keeping myself safe, When I eat something, I think it's me that keeps from choking, etc. I am so blinded by my own ego that I don't take the time to realize that God is doing exactly what He wants to do and that if He didn't want it to happen, it wouldn't happen. If something happened that we don't think is good or positive, it was God's will. And when asked "what should I do now?" by someone, I can honestly trust that whatever the result, it is what God wanted. For me, the best way of "turning it over to God" is to follow direction without questioning. When I ask advice from my sponsor or another recovering addict, I must listen completely, 100%, no "my way is better" attitude. It is this path that has taught me the act of TRUE SURRENDER.

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Category: Parsha Talk, Torah

 

"On the Doorposts": Sanctifying Our Homes

 

Giboir writes:

 

I heard a good vort at shiur yesterday which gave me a lot of chizuk, especially in regard to our struggles.

The first Mitzvah that was given to Klal Yisroel is in this week's sidrah is the Mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh. However, the first Mitzvah that involved an 'action' is the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach, also in this sidrah.

What is the importance of this Mitzvah? Part of the commandment was to put the blood on the doorposts so that the Yidden would not be affected by Makkas Bechoros. Why should the Yidden have been more at risk from this Makkah as opposed to all the others which did not affect them at all? Also, why should blood on the doorposts help?

In the Hagadah we read that Makkas Bechoros was carried out by Hashem Himself and not through a Malach, Saraf or messenger. We can imply that the other Makkos were in fact carried out by Malachim and other heavenly messengers. The reason that the Yidden were not affected by the first nine Makkos is because these heavenly beings have no power over the Yidden, as the Yidden are greater creatures (even when they are on the 49th level of Tumah). To give an example, it is as if the Malachim etc. are pouring dirty water down from the ninth floor of a tower building. The Yidden are on the tenth floor and therefore are not in the 'firing line' and cannot be harmed. However, Makkos Bechoros was carried out by Hashem. He is a much higher source and therefore the Yidden were at risk as well.

The only way that the Yidden could be protected was by becoming part of Hashem's camp. Putting the blood on the doorposts signified that this home was a Mikdash Me'at and part of Hashem's territory. It is a similar concept to an embassy building. For example, the Israeli embassy in England is considered as Israeli territory despite the fact that it is situated in London. Therefore, in Mitzrayim, the Jewish homes were not considered as being within Mitzrayim and were Passed Over. Hence the name of the Yomtov is 'Passover', as this was the key element.

This is the fundamental of Mezuza. By putting a Mezuzah on our door we are declaring that our home is no longer in the territory of the goyim of England, America, etc. but in fact it is the territory of Hashem. Our homes become a Mikdash, totally separate from the schmutz around us.

If we bring the schmutz of the street into our homes, we are totally contradicting the message of the Mezuza. If we do this, our homes become the same as those of the goyim and may not be 'Passed Over'.
 

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"Kiddush Hachodesh": Sanctifying Our Time


On a separate note, the first Mitzvah is that of Kiddush Hachodesh. The posuk says 'Lachem' which signifies that we have control over setting the month. 

What is the significance of this Mitzvah as the first Mitzvah given?
 

The answer is in relation to the issue of time. A slave is not in control of his own time. He gets told what to do and when. Whilst we were slaves to Pharoah, we were not in control of our own time. At the time of the Geulah we became free and therefore gained control over our time and our activities. This is the message of Kiddush Hachodesh. Now that we are no longer slaves, we have control of our time and have to use it wisely in the service of Hashem.

How many of us waste hours and hours of time as slaves to our addictions?

 

May we all have a full Geulah soon!

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

 

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Normal vs. Useful
 

It is normal to have both a need for affection and to have lust for sex! In fact, even though it is completely ossur, perhaps it is even within the realm of "normal" to have a lust for sex with someone other than your wife once in a while! The Torah's requirement is not to be lust free, but not to go after the lust that you discover yourself having.

 

But does the fact that it is 'normal' make it actually useful in real life? Not for me. And for a sexaholic there is an additional issue: Even if it is acceptable and works for a normal person, does it work for a sexaholic? As an addict, using lust is intolerable to me, cuz it will make me meshugah, all full of myself and crazy, and useless... and it only gets worse from there! Thank-G-d I am sober today!

 

Now, what do we do with our useless - or destructive - feelings? See the steps if you are so inclined, for the answers are all there -  and simple, but the only way in is through step 1. The steps are not a 'self-help guide' for the curious - it is a treatment for a progressive chronic and terminal illness for the desperate.
937.
Sunday ~ 4 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 9, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Testimonials: Spilled the Beans
  • Practical Tips: Countdown Clock
  • Attitude Tips: The Machlokes between What We Do and Who We Are
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Not a Candy Machine

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Category: Testimonials

 

Spilled the Beans

 

"Zemirosshabbos" wrote:

 

I should write an email every day to thank GYE for what it does for me and for all of klal yisrael, but I am writing now because of a special occasion. I told my wife this week of my struggles with lust; both the falls and b'h the victories. I could have done better with the planning, but it happened almost impulsively and I spilled the beans to her. The greatest, most tremendous thing to me is how she reacted. She did not go running out the door. She did not pout for 3 days straight. She was appreciative, loving and understanding, and she was impressed that I admitted to the problem and took steps to help myself.


Without GYE, the website with its information and advice, and the forum where the most precious, kind-hearted tzadikim walk the streets, and the special friends I have made through GYE, there would have been no way that I would ever have reached a state where I can tell my wife, let alone know what to say and what not to say. I feel so good and happy that this barrier has been lifted from my marriage and I can face my wife honestly and have her support and understanding to assist me in the struggle.
 

I cannot thank you enough and I have a hard time thinking of someone who has a bigger zechus than those who run GYE. Thank you so much.

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Category: Practical Tips

 

Countdown Clock

 

By "Joe999"

 

If you have Windows Vista or XP you can download gadgets, so I downloaded a countdown clock that tells me every time I turn on my computer, exactly how many days, mins, and secs I have left till 90 days. It really helps me think that I'm accomplishing as I see the mins tick down. Here is the link. I'm up to 43 days and that's my longest streak...

 

P.S. One thing to keep in mind is that it gives 30 days for every single month so you might have to play around with it a bit and not put in the correct day for your end time, but rather a couple of days before as your end time.

 

"Imnotalone" replies:

 

I'm really thankful for you sharing that countdown clock with us, it is a much needed and helpful tool that I really think will help a lot... On the other hand, I also think that we need to stay focused on each day individually. (Just my two cents).

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Category: Attitude Tips

 

The machlokes between:

What We DO and Who We ARE

 

By "Dovekbahshem"

 

In a standard machlokes (disagreement) between rashi and tosfos, it is often surprising at first when they take such different views on one halacha - see kriat shma (brachos 2b) or tefillin (menachos 62a) for some examples. How do we understand how two gedolim, from the same world of Torah, can come to such opposite conclusions? The answer is always that they are simply approaching the Halacha from different perspectives, emphasizing different aspects of the din. 

I have decided to ask the same question about the machlokes in my mind (Lehavdil). How can it be that one part of me so badly wants to act out and give in (over and over and over again) and the other part of me is so horrified by the idea? The answer must be - different perspectives; i.e. that different parts of me are emphasizing different things. 

The machlokes in my mind is between the half of me that focuses on 'action' and the half of me that focuses on 'being'. The part of me that wants to act out thinks that it will be enjoyable and amazing. But there is another part of me that does not focus its desires on action at all. It desires that I BE a certain kind of person and that I have a certain type of identity. In other words, it is a machlokes between what I DO and what I AM... and unfortunately, acting out completely contradicts who I want to BE or who I hope I AM.   

So which one do I choose, who do I listen to? Do I care more about what I DO and how much I enjoy it, or should I care more about who I AM and how I identify myself? I really had to think about this... it wasn't so obvious to me at first. After all, if I really do enjoy acting out, then why not just keep acting out and keep enjoying myself? Finally, it hit me: If that is what I do, then that IS who I am. Hashem commanded us to do mitzvos because only by ACTING a certain way, can we BECOME a certain person. Whether we like it or not, we are defined by what we DO. 


So... when I am on my deathbed (whenever that day should come), do I simply want to be "The masturbator"? Do I want to have defined myself as someone who is engrossed in self-pleasure?


I may be an addict and a little confused at times but, Baruch Hashem, I'm not that stupid. Now that I understand this machlokes, I think I am eligible to pasken... And I pasken like the side that looks at who I AM and who I want to BE. This side has proofs from all over shas and seems pretty well backed up by achronim and rishonim. The other side has only the yezter harah... who - by the way - isn't even a rishon!

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Not a Candy Machine

 

Our problem is not sex, but lust. And the solution is an inside job and not a behavioral one... Though only by behaving differently can we ever seem to experience any inner change at all.

 

It is no wonder that we lust addicts will have some sex problems - heck, even many (maybe most) 'normals' do! I want sex every day, and sometimes more than that. But this schedule does not work in real life - unless other aspects of humanity and marriage are jettisoned to make it possible. And for many healthy, self-respecting wives, catering this way will lead to horrific twisting of her job as a wife and woman. No real woman is a sex candy machine for her husband to put in a quarter and get what he wants when he wants it. I have been there with my wife in many different ways. Such a way of life eventually damages the very humanity of a wife, in my experience.


It is torture for us at first, but it is plain that as good people in recovery, we deserve better than this. So may Hashem continue to help us grow and improve as lust-free people, as good husbands, and as Avdei Hashem who can truly appreciate the riches in our lives so that we can finally focus on serving Him rather than on serving ourselves. 

938.
Monday ~ 5 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 10, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Attitude Tips: Call When You Need Me
     
  • 12 Step: Slavery to Freedom
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Lust Makes Us Fools

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Category: Attitude Tips

 

"Call When You Need Me"

 

By "Ben-Durdaya" (who found GYE about 2 weeks ago)

 

This Shabbos - for the first time in a long time, I felt like a Yossel among Yosselach, instead of feeling like a wolf in sheep's clothing. I must emphasize that this negative feeling would accompany me in the best of times as in the worst of times. My actual behavior was irrelevant. I could have not acted out in a month, two, or even a year... it made no difference. Even if I had gone a year free of porn, I still felt filthy on the inside. Because my triggers were all over the place. And I didn't know how to handle them.


Didn't know how to handle them? "What are you talking about? That's a no-brainer -Just don't look!" said the average Yossel inside my head. "Fantasies? Start thinking about something else"! And all along I thought that was the Yetzer Tov's voice. So I tried, and sometimes I succeeded, and sometimes I fell.


And then I came here, and I realized that that 'average Yossel' inside my head wasn't the Yetzer Tov at all. It was just the Yetzer Hara in camouflage, trying to distract me from the real problem and the real solution. Thus - for me - milchemes hayetzer was not the address. I wasn't fighting against the right enemy, and I wasn't using the right tactics. But once I got ahold of the GYE attitude and started trying to live according to it, the name of the game has changed.


Whereas before GYE, when my head was bombarded by hirhurim, I would start using all the eitzos in the book to keep them out of my mind, and even if I was successful - I was worn out and bitter at the end of the day. Even if when walking in the street I succeeded in guarding my eyes - I felt dirty all over, and mad as H***, resentful of the inconsiderate world around me. I was busy fighting with MYSELF!


When I would turn to Hashem and ask him for 'help', I was asking Him on my own selfish terms. Now I know how ridiculous I sounded then. I must have sounded something like this:


"Ribbono Shel Olam, you know this whole business is just not fair! You know how much I've cleaned up my act! Don't I deserve to be just like everyone else around me? It doesn't suit a yungerman like me to be caught up in such an intense battle". 

I thought that I was in control, and I asked Hashem for help on my terms. And now I know that the minute that that's your approach, Hashem tells you: "Gezunterheit Sheifele, here's some spending money; have a nice trip and don't forget to call when you feel that you need Me!". And off I went on my roller-coaster ride... way off. Sounds like fun, no?


But today I realize that this is the struggle that has characterized history since the Etz HaDaas, through the Dor HaHaflagah, and especially Pharaoh, who I think is the role model for all addicts. Moshe warns him every time, his threats are never empty, and Pharaoh is willing to suffer whatever it takes; as long as he can keep screaming: "The Nile is mine and I am its creator". Pharaoh deified himself and claimed to be the almighty creator of the world and the owner of all it contains. Pharaoh was willing to suffer and let his nation suffer and die out, to lose his property, to be deprived of food and drink, to be annihilated - ANYTHING as long as he didn't have to admit that he is powerless, and that Hashem rules!!!


If that's not the portrait of an addict, what is?


The question is always the same: Who's in charge, Man or G-d?
 

Since coming here, I've learnt something that my Rebbes might have tried to teach me, but apparently I wasn't successful in putting into practice - that an eved Hashem is one who submits himself and all that he possesses to G-d - including his struggles. I learned that instead of struggling to fight the 'Hirhurim' and what have you, instead of talking to the Yetzer Hara and telling him "Buzz off!" in seventeen different inflections... all I had to do to merit a bit of divine assistance is switch the broken record and say "RBSO I can't deal with this, it's too much for me and I can't control it... here, please take care of it because only You can"!


And He says, "Yingele, I've been waiting to here you say that for twenty five years. I'm sorry that you had to go through all of that roller-coaster riding, but I think that you'll admit that if that's what it took to get you to realize that I'm the Boss... it was well worth it! It was your bechirah to be stubborn as a mule - I am Omnipotent, but I can't let Myself deny you your right to free choice, for your own good. And if you stick with Me, those nightmarish days and nights are over."


Another thing, all of a sudden  -in every Sefer Chassidus I open - I now understand what they're saying when they talk about how the sin of Ga'avah leads to the depths of depravity. I have a new understanding of the Ma'mar Chazal 'Ayn Ani VaHoo Yecholim LaDoor BeKfifah Achas' - and of course, Middah Tovah Merubah
!

 

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Category: 12-Step

 

Slavery to Freedom 
 

By "Sick Man Getting Well", sober for 8 months in SA
 

In recovery, the goal is "Happy, Joyous and Free". Recently, while driving back from a recovery meeting, I had the good fortune of driving by an "acting out" location. As I drove past it, I noticed a frum guy leaving from there and driving away. (See how I still look in?). The overwhelming feeling for me was FREEDOM and GRATITUDE. 
 

I heard R' Twerski repeat that addicts in recovery can actually sit by the Pesach Seder and feel the way the Jews felt when they went from slavery to freedom. I was free, no longer a slave to pull in to the 'acting out' place. No longer a slave to my disease. God has granted me this gift just for today. 
 

This is what you are striving towards. With the right help and the ability to completely and totally realize that we are not in control but there is a Higher Power who can help us, you can be free one day. It takes time, but as we say "time takes time". Keep on going, you are on the right path. (Q: Do you have a sponsor? Do you work a 12 step program?)

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

Lust Makes Us Fools

Someone wrote to Dov:

If 'wanting sex' is lust, then being romantic with our wives to get sex is just as lustful....

Dov Responds:

100% agreed! But there is a world of difference between being good to your wife in order to open the path for sexual pleasure with her - and trying to "make it happen and take what you want".  The difference is in the acceptance that she (and certainly her body) is not yours, and that sex is still optional that night. Do you see the difference? My wife does, and so do I. It is ultimately a question of whether I live with step 3 or if the world still revolves around me. (BTW, I use the niddah cycle to remind me that my wife is not my sexual possession - ultimately like every other woman in the world. The niddah cycle is a powerful tool Hashem gave us to grow up.)

As far as the human need for "affection", maybe sexuality is not as necessary a part of affection as you feel it to be. I have learned that it is wonderful and actually acceptable to my meshugeneh sexaholic self to have cuddling nights. That is, to agree with my wife beforehand not to get sexual that night and agree to go to sleep cuddling with my wife (no hot and heavy necking or feeling, of course), just warm and friendly holding and a kiss or two. Two friends who respect and love each other and are married, just going to sleep nicely together. Does this sound possible to you? "Welcome to normal", I say to myself. The need for affection is sometimes shockingly satisfied with this - even for me. You may find the same. And it takes the pressure off of the wife in unexpected ways. She may even tell you that, and thank you for it. 


Now, I am aware that some uninitiated but sincerely well-meaning talmid chochom will say, "that's crazy, and ossur! Especially for you!" - because he figures it is just inviting temptation and a wet dream! "Stay even farther away from her," he will warn. Nope - wrong. In recovery, we must take Hashem with us and go into real life with surrender - not with fear. First off, if the fellow has a wet dream, he'd have it anyway what with lust boiling in him already. He might be right for normals, but paradoxically, he's wrong when it comes to sexaholics, of all people! This isn't called tempting it - we are already tempting it with the 3-D sex videos playing in our heads in surround sound. The average Rov out there just doesn't get it. In reality, for us pervs, it is exhilarating to discover real physical joy and satisfaction with our wives - without sex. What a relief for both of us. Unexpectedly discovering the very pleasure I was really looking for in the sex, in calm and friendly cuddling is a life-changing experience. It's nice to discover I am an idiot, and I always thought that obviously the raunchier and dirtier, the more satisfying it will be... Lust makes us fools. We do not see the riches we already have and thus squander them, for both us and our spouses.

939.
Tuesday ~ 6 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 11, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Stories > On the Way: Finally Moving Forward
     
  • Torah Thoughts: Parshas Hamaan
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: An Emunah that We Really Use

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Category: Stories > On the Way

 

Finally Moving Forward

 

An old-timer on our network recently sent me the following e-mail:

 

Dear Reb Guard,

 

I must admit that I have not been reading all the emails that you kindly send out every day but I am doing other work for myself. In February last year, I went to my first SA meeting. It was very embarrassing. It was a huge leap for me, but I thought I could not keep on trying to recover from my online habits and fantasies via correspondence. I had reached the point that I could not continue acting out in the ways that I had been during the three four years prior to that. My acting out would eventually have severe consequences. I had to deal with this head-on. In my view, there is no alternative to a 12-step group, and the need to work with a sponsor. I purchased the SA book. Additional resources are "Addictive thinking/Addictive personality" by Rabbi Twerski and "Out of the Shadows" by Patrick Carnes. I do believe that all of them can contribute positively to a struggling addict. It took me 10 months until I was properly able to deal with my acting out.

 

We are powerless over our addictive sexual behavior. That is the first and most important step. Stand up and raise the figurative white flag. The battle is over. The point of this step is to overcome the denial that one can, on one's own, deal with this problem. There are many ways denial can manifest itself - We must accept that we have a problem and that we cannot deal with it on our own. We need help - the help of our Higher Power and those who care about us in the group. I relapsed 10 days ago because I thought if I take my laptop to a public place and connect there then I wouldn't act out. That was "addictive thinking". I was powerless. I am powerless and so I must not put myself into situations that make be susceptible to relapse.

 

However, a relapse is not back to square one. It is not the end of the world. If you think it is, then your mind will use that as justification for continuing to engage in acting out behaviors (see Twerski - "Addictive Thinking"). It is that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that is one of the central features of addiction. If we think there is no point to abstinence then we will continue to act out. IT IS OUR ADDICTION TALKING, telling us to get sucked back in because we are going to fall anyway. When we do fall, we must not feel shame - but guilt. Rabbi Twerski explains the difference to mean the following: "Guilt" is "I am sorry for what I have done" and "shame" is "I am sorry for who I am." When we relapse, it is not shame that we must feel. We are good people. Our addiction is not our fault. It is there is allow us to grow!

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Category: Torah Thoughts

 

Parshas Hamaan

 

There is a Minhag to say Parshas Hama'an as a segulah for parnassa, on the Tuesday of Parshas Bishalach. By saying this parsha, we recognize how Hashem gives us everything we need, and we thereby open the channels of Emunah and blessing into our lives.

 

What can we learn from this parsha in regards to our struggle?

 

When some of the Yidden in the desert left the maan overnight - against the will of Hashem, it rotted. "Do not leave it over until morning", Hashem commanded us. Hashem takes care of our needs "one day at a time". We never need worry, "what will be tomorrow?".

 

Also, as much as the people gathered, they found that they had gathered exactly as much as they needed for their family. This teaches us that as much Hishtadlus as we think we are doing, we will get exactly what Hashem intends for us to get. This mindset is so critical in dealing with addictions. When we try to "take care of our own needs" we are essentially saying that "Hashem is not supplying what I need, so I need to take it myself". This is the biggest lie. What we take for ourselves against His will, will end up rotting; we will have nothing from it. And we will lose in other places in our lives. Conversely, the pain we feel when giving up pleasures we "think we need", will save us much pain in other areas of our lives. And we will get pleasure from other places; real pleasure; pleasure that G-d wants us to have.

 

At the end of the day, Hashem takes care of all our needs. We need to learn to "let go and let G-d". As the Pesukim in Tehhilim say: "Throw on Hashem your burdens, and He will sustain you"... "Roll on Hashem your ways, trust in Him and he will do....

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

An Emunah that We Really Use

Below is a response that Dov wrote to a guy who wrote that he was reading a book on porn and its dangers, in order to stop acting out with schmutz. He also wrote that he does not see how his acting out is affecting him in any way but religiously. Dov writes:
 

  
Part of your subject line is: "is Emunah the answer?"... nice name. Well, I am here b'Shem Hashem to say it is certainly not the answer. Having all the emunah a sefer can give you or a rebbe can teach you, is all nice - but it is not the answer for people like us. 

The answer for people like us is living emunah. An emunah that really works, for a change. Not an emunah that we 'really know' - but an emunah that we really use.

It's completely different. Learning Emunos Vedeyos or Chovos Halevavos or even the Aseres Hadibros is not even part of the answer for us. How do I know that? How can I prove that? Because we all did those things - and here we are aching for porn, searching for it, finding it and our fantasies, and masturbating to them like a bunch of idiots. Just like that! Nu, so where is all the emunah?

Something is wrong with us. Period. 

We need to stop reading and start practicing using G-d. He wants us to use Him. "Hashem li" - He is for me. Dodi li - He is mine - my beloved - for me.

Yes, we need to read or listen in order to know what to do - but the real answer is the doing - the experience of using G-d and having Him actually work. Not in our mitzvos, learning and good times, but in our weaknesses, our selfish lying moments, and while we are on our knees in the bathroom in slavery to our lust fantasy drug - that is when we need Hashem's beautiful Chessed (love) for us to be alive and well. If we think that "Hashem is for the tzaddik", I say we will never ever allow Him in to our messed up lives. And if we do not let Him in, we will never recover.

I ask you, then: How does reading books about sexuality or acting out with it, bring a real working faith in Hashem into my life?

To ask your own question now:  Lust is a great drug. So what do I fill its space with when I'm in pain?

Rav Dessler writes that Hashem needs to fill that space - and that only He can. And that is the program. But reading about how G-d can fill that space is a waste of time. Working the program and hanging around with recovering perverts like I do in meetings - gave me 12 simple principles to use to start behaving like a person who has a G-d, rather than like one who believes in G-d.

Get it?

940.
Sunday ~ 18 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 23, 2010

In Today's Issue

  • Announcements > News: Our Fourth Trip Abroad
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: A miracle happens when we put down the bottle

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Category: Announcements > News

 

Our Fourth Trip Abroad
 

We just returned from an exhausting but rewarding trip abroad. In our efforts to bring our work to the Chassidic world as well (our handbooks were just translated into Yiddish), we were Zoche to meet with the following Mahigim on our trip. We spent about an hour with each of the Rebbes/Rabbanim below:

 

The Sqverrer Rebbe, Rav Dovid Twersky Shlita.

He was very warm and encouraging to our work. He gave us $180 and took our handbooks, which have recently been translated into Yiddish. He suggested we have a board of Rabbanim to oversee our website and make sure no one in earlier levels of addiction could possibly learn worse things from any of the more advanced levels. (This is generally not an issue since the moderators make sure no one posts anything triggering or any specific details of their falls).
 

HaRav Yosef Rosenblum Shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Shaarei Yosher in Brooklyn

He wished us Bracha and Hatzlacha, and assured us that we would see much Siyatta Dishmaya.

 

The Kossover Rebbe,  Rav Shraga (Feivish) Hager Shlita.

The Kossover Rebbe is a Major Talmid Chochom who is in deveikus to Hashem, while hiding behind a facade of simplicity. He was very warm to our work, and was very happy that we will have a hotline for people to call. He also liked very much the phone partner idea, where people can call a friend at any time of the day when feeling weak. He told us that as much as we think we know, we have no idea how widespread this problem is, and how much destruction it is causing. He is all the time dealing with the terrible stories that emerge as a result of this addiction not being taken care of; divorces, child abuse, adultery and all types of terrible cases. He wrote us a few lines of Haskama and showered us with Brachos.

 

Rav Binyamin Eisenberger, Mara d'asra of K'hal Hechal HaTefilah of Borough Park.

As busy as he is, he gave us an hour of his time claiming that if he wasn't busy with other things he would be doing what we are doing, as this is the "Tzav Hashaa". Like the Kossover, he said that this is a magefa today that is out of control. Any Jew who has unfiltered internet is 100% going to fall, no matter how much Yiras Shamayim he thinks he has. After all, it's a Gemara: "If you put the son in front of a house of zonos, what can the son do and not sin?". Rav Binyomin makes everyone in his Kehhilah sign up with Covenant Eyes, and he gets their internet reports. Day and night people wait to talk to him about their problems, and he says that most of today's Tzorus comes from this problem of Shmiras Ainayim. When a person takes upon themselves to strengthen in this area, he says that he often sees a drastic improvement in Parnassa and other areas. He was extremely happy about our work and said that he has already sent a number of people to us. He offered to write us a carefully thought out Haskama, claiming that we are fighting the Amalek of our generation. He gave us $500 and showered us with Brachos.

 

We also met with Rav Dovid Ekstein, the Rosh Hakahal of Monroe, and got his total and absolute support for our work, which means that we now have the backing of the Satmar community in the U.S. as well. Indeed, we hope to have a Yiddish website, forum and phone conference system in place within the coming year or two, be'ezras Hashem.

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

A miracle happens when we put down the bottle 

Dov writes to a desperate "struggler":

 

So. You are still acting out. Well. I need to ask you what it is that you really want. And I am serious. No pat answers and "oh, well, of course I want to quit" - answers allowed here.

Do you want to stop?

Or do you want to be able to feel spiritual, respect yourself, have a family, a G-d of your very own.... and still be able to reach for some sweet porn and masturbation when you really want it?

Or do you want to not want to reach for the lust? - Well... don't you think that is a rather tall order, even for G-d? Especially for people like us? Do you really believe G-d goes around ripping tendencies and inner yearnings and priorities out of peoples' kishkas because they ask Him to "right now"?

How many times have we masturbated? How many more times have we searched for schmutz? How many more times have we run our feelings through the fantasy mill for the convenient comfort of self-pleasuring? How many times have we bent the truth to others and even to ourselves in order to protect our right to play around with lust whenever we really wanted to? 

Each time, we were training our mind/heart/body to be in charge of getting the job of self-medicating done. Of being in control of our inner (emotional) environment. Of running the show when it came to the things that life is really made of - not G-d's Will, but our own will. That was always the Priority, wasn't it? When it comes to lust, we may struggle and fight it... but in the end, being frum is actually irrelevant - it is just another heroic gesture to be a "struggler". In the end, we see that we try and keep failing and in our hearts we believe that it is G-d who is failing us... He has all the power, and here we are in the toilet. 

If we were truly concerned with His Will for us and trusted Him to care for us, then why did we stray so consistently and so far? 

Here is where I am going with this:

Certainly it is noble to wish we didn't want to lust and act out. But it is not the way of recovery that I have found, so I know nothing about that. What I have been shown is a program of recovery that hits every aspect of our broken and unbroken selves. A simple solution that eventually makes lusting unnecessary. I do not have to act out, today. 15 years ago, I eventually had to act out, so I did.

Looking for an answer that gives us the power to fight it is not the answer that works for me, because that was just my old, familiar excuse to be able to enjoy engaging with it over and over! To see lust and feel it! To wrestle with it and beat it! Lo zu haderech. That is not giving up anything really, so it doesn't really work.

Recovery in the program that I know, is about leaving lust on 'that shelf over there' just like the alcoholics leave that socially acceptable gin and whiskey on the shelf. It's about not having to drink again. That is a gift of Hashem's Chessed that no addict deserves. But we get it when we put down the bottle. When we give up our right to use lust just for today.  

Am I addressing your issue at all? I am not sure. But I know that the battle for ourselves is a precious one. Our addiction is about losing ourselves to lust, and recovery is about losing ourselves to real life and G-d. 

Exactly in what ways are you acting out these days? Once you have that clear, you can ask yourself if you are willing to take some simple steps to get free of it right now and in the very situations that it comes up so that you will not have to use your drug?

If this thing 'creeps up on you by surprise', then that means you will need some kind of redirecting a few times a day, or at least at the start of your day. Of course that is one of the things that Shacharis was supposed to be for - but we frum addicts infected our shacharis experience by using it inside our 'double-lives' and hypocrisy, and neutralized it at best (at least for the time being). 

We desperately need a personal prayer/meditation time that works. 

At the start of our day (and maybe once or twice later in the day, too) we just ask ourselves what our priorities are and ask Hashem to help us get it right. 

"So, why am I at work right now? Why am I at this supermarket right now? Why am I at this parent-teacher conference that I am about to walk into? 

"Is it to check out and find the prettiest woman there? Well, clearly that was one of my main priorities going to those places because that was what turned out to be what I obsessed about while I was there before! If not, then why did I do that very thing?

"So Hashem, I want Your help to go into this place in order to do what it is that I came for - to work for my company/paycheck/customers; to shop for yogurt and aluminum foil and go home; to help my kid's teacher do a better job for our kid, etc. Thank You."

Trust Him and go to it!

We need to stop focusing on the 'nisayon' model, as though these things 'are happening to us', and instead realize that we are the problem, not the pretty women around us. We are not the victims. We are poshut sick and poshut need help. As Reb bards says, "She's not your problem"... well, he's 100% right!

Enough. Use the tools, work the steps, make the calls when starting to feel in trouble and certainly when really in trouble. Reach out to Hashem for sanity, not for power.

Hatzlocha.

941.
Monday ~ 19 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 24, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • Announcements > News: The Recent Statement from the Moetzes
     
  • 12-Step Attitude, Member's Chizuk: Seeping Into My Subconscious
     
  • Daily Dose of Dov: The gifts we get when we give it to Hashem

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Category: Announcements > News

 

A Discussion on the Recent Groundbreaking Statement on  Internet Use by the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah

 

Written by a staff member of GYE to be published in a popular Jewish publication.
 

Recently, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America issued a groundbreaking statement on Internet use - see below.  (To download a high resolution PDF version of the Kol Korei, right click this link and choose "Save Link/Target As").
 


 

Q) How did this statement come about?

 

A) The Rabbanim decided to revisit the general issue of Internet use, in light of the realities of today's day and age.  What resulted is the recent statement, signed by all ten members of the Moetzes.  They spent many hours, over a period of almost six months, working on the text of this statement.  Every word was weighed very carefully, and the statement underwent numerous revisions before it was unanimously approved and ready to be released. 

 

Q) Why is this statement noteworthy?  There have been numerous statements by Rabbinical authorities prohibiting Internet use, except where needed for Parnasah (earning a living).

 

A) Nowhere does the statement categorically prohibit Internet use.  As Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe, stated in a recent interview with Hamodia Magazine, in today's day and age, such prohibition would be a gezeira she'ein rov hatzibur yecholim la'amod ba (something that most people would not be able to comply with).  Instead, the statement sets up both mandatory and recommended guidelines for those who need to use the Internet.

 

Q) What are those guidelines?

 

A) First, it is prohibited to use the Internet without an effective filter.  Second, even with an effective filter, children should not be given Internet access.  If children must use the Internet, this should only be done under the strictest parental supervision (again, in addition to having an effective filter).  These two guidelines are mandatory.  Third, monitoring software, which sends reports of one's Internet usage to a third party, is strongly recommended.  We note, however, that monitoring software is an important, if not essential, part of strict parental supervision, as discussed in greater detail in our Prevention Tips for Parents.

 

Q) What is the definition of an effective filter?

 

A) For a filter to be effective, the settings should be configured so that as much inappropriate material as possible is blocked, while still allowing access to the websites that are needed.  In addition, the password to the filter should be held by a third party (or, where appropriate, by the woman of the household).  Finally, should the password be forgotten, it should be sent only to an e-mail address which cannot be accessed by those being protected by the filter (such e-mail address should be provided when installing the filter).

 

GYE's Prevention Tips for Parents, give some additional important guidelines as to how to configure your filter, and otherwise protect yourself and your family from the dangers of the Internet.

 

For assistance in configuring your filter, or if you need someone to hold the password, contact the GYE "Filter Gabai" at filter.gye@gmail.com.  A free filter can be downloaded for home use at the K9 website.

 

Q) Will an effective filter block websites that I need to access?

 

A) Generally speaking, websites needed for work or research will not be blocked.  If a needed site is blocked, the filter settings can be adjusted to specifically allow it.

 

Q) Why didn't the Gedolim rule that monitoring software is mandatory?

 

A) Perhaps because it would have been more than some people are willing to do, which would have made such requirement counterproductive.  However, because filters are far from perfect, monitoring software, which makes a person feel accountable to someone else, and fills many of the loopholes that remain even with an effective filter, is strongly recommended.  Indeed, as noted above, monitoring software is an important, if not essential, part of strict parental supervision for children who must use the Internet.   

 

Two good monitoring programs are eBlaster and Webchaver.  For more information, including pricing and discounts, see GYE's Prevention Tips for Parents.

 

Q) In today's day and age, where the Internet is ubiquitous, why does the second paragraph of the statement go to such lengths to discourage its use?

 

A) Presumably, because the Gedolim do not want anyone to use their statement as a reason to start using the Internet.

 

Q) Have other Rabbonim placed any restrictions on the use of the Internet?

 

A) Yes, absolutely.  For example, we highly recommend a lecture called "How Open is Too Open?  Halachic Guidelines for Internet Use," given in 2007 by Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva University and Posek for the Orthodox Union (the lecture is available for free online).

 

Q) I have no temptation to look at inappropriate material.  Does the requirement to install an effective filter apply to me?

 

A) Yes - the statement makes no exceptions.  Keep in mind that installing an effective filter will not only help protect you from, at least, inadvertently accessing inappropriate material, but will also protect others who may use your computer.  Finally, by setting a good example, you will be encouraging others, who might themselves be tempted to view inappropriate material, to comply with the ruling of the Gedolim.

 

Q) If someone already has an addiction to viewing inappropriate material, is an effective filter sufficient to bring his addiction under control?

 

A) Probably not.  Such a person should also use monitoring software, and will likely need support from others.  For more information, go to www.guardyoureyes.org.

 

In summary, the ruling of the Gedolim will, hopefully, make unrestricted Internet use a thing of the past in the Torah observant community.  May compliance with the ruling of our Gedolim bring Bracha and Hatzlacha in all of our homes and to the entire Klal Yisrael.

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Category: 12-step Attitude, Member's Chizuk

 

Seeping Into My Subconscious
 

By Yashuv V'Yashuv
 

I have been listening to the Phone conferences with Duvid Chaim and I'm happy to report that the unimaginable is B"H occurring in my life. I always wondered when I would get control of my thoughts at the times when I'm faced with a lust challenge. First of all, I've come to understand that "get control" is not possible - I should never have such an attitude of arrogance, to think that I can actually be in control. Without Hashem's help there just is no way. However, I have found that the phone conferences and readings from the Big Book have seeped into my subconscious to the extent that my current experience is that at times of lust challenges my focus is immediately on "why I am being drawn to the lust?", "what I am running away from that I'm being driven to lust?". When that's the focus, the likelihood of acting out is B"H much, much less. It also helps me see the real me and the challenges that I'm REALLY facing. The challenge of lust is really not my challenge - it's my solution to my real challenges - it's the way I escape from the challenges I really should be addressing, or at least being made aware of.

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


 

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

The gifts we get when we give it to Hashem
 

Dov wrote:

 

The Torah's requirement is not to be lust free, but not to go after the lust that you discover yourself having.

 

Someone replies:

 

I'm not sure what you mean to say, but I think it is assur to lust after your friend's wife even if you do not act upon it. In fact, it may even be one of the aseres hadibros.

 

Dov responds:

 

Excuse me if I wasn't clear. As far as I understand, the issur is not having the lust. It is holding onto it and/or not doing whatever is needed to get free from it once we see that we've got it. No? 

Otherwise, do you mean to say that I am doing wrong by wanting to do an aveiro? "Lo sasuru acharei l'vav'chem" means that l'vav'chem is telling you to do crazy and stupid stuff - and Hashem tells you: "don't follow it and get lost in the distraction to life it is suggesting for you! I love you too much and life is too precious for that junk!"

Hashem is definitely for the addict, too! Dodi li!

No?

I know we tend to get very spiritual here (especially right after acting out! ) but really - lets not confuse 'states of being' with 'avodah'. A good yid is supposed to naturally be averse to lusting or even wanting anything kneged R'tzono Yisborach. But that is not shayach to us, generally, and if I look at that and (inwardly) demand that of myself, it will destroy the likes of me. Completely. There will not be a shoresh v'anaf left of me after a while. Instead, I need to admit where I am holding, how vulnerable I am, and give it all to Hashem - meaning I depend on Him to assist me to do His work today, imperfectly. I cannot afford to intentionally use lust and act out, though - that is not negotiable. But I must give the credit to Him for every step - especially for my sobriety. That is just how it works for me. 

And the fruit of that surrender to the truth about me (first to myself, and then to Hashem) is: losing the desire for what is not good for me most of the time. And getting the help to avoid it when I am feeling crappy. Hashem helps if we admit the truth and ask for His help and try to do for Him and others. I have met many who are experiencing that. It seems that the next gift is something like actually desiring what He wants more and more... and on and on - you do the math.  There are changes that are in my very bodily reactions to stuff that I cannot explain using my bechirah alone - it must be a gift.  

Love you, chaver!

942.
Tuesday ~ 20 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 25, 2010

In Today's Issue 

  • Announcement: Elya's Call Changing Day
  • Attitude Tips: Don't Think About Pink Elephants
  • 12-Step Attitude, Testimonials: Hashem is Holding Me
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Because I am an Addict

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Announcement

 

Because of Elya's school schedule, he will be facilitating the group from now on, on Monday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern time (8 Central and 6 Pacific).

 

Click here for more info on Elya's Group - the oldest phone conference on GYE!

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Category: Attitude Tips

 

Don't Think About Pink Elephants

 

"Jewishfaker" writes:

 

I'm reading a lot of posts and I keep seeing people talking about Shmiras Einayim and fighting fantasies and thoughts. By me, when I see something on the street, I don't fight myself and wonder if I looked too long or not. I just ignore it. I look away and continue on in life without harping on it. In the past, I used to do as others seem to be doing and it never worked. It seems (at least to me) that harping on it just makes it worse. When I worry about "did I look too long?" or "I must stop thinking such thoughts NOW!" it seems to just make me think about it a lot more. Even with fantasies and the like, I do the same thing. When I feel myself getting excited and the Y"H grabbing a hold, I also do the same thing, and it seems to work much better then fighting it head-on.


This idea really isn"t mine. I got it from Rav Yaacov Kanievsky ZT"L in his sefer Kraina De'igrusa. In the fifteenth letter in Kraina De'igrusa, the Steipler writes clearly: "The physical eitza to deal with this (bad thoughts) is to not think about it". Also in letter 370 he writes: "It seems clear and obvious that these thoughts are not bad character traits, but rather the body automatically thinking about what its afraid of".

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Category: 12-step Attitude, Testimonials

 

Hashem is Holding Me
 

By "Hashem's Soldier"
 

I'm sure you've heard the famous poem about two sets of footprints in the sand... This guy died and went up to heaven and was looking back at his whole life and always saw two sets of footprints. And G-d told him that one of them is yours and one of them is mine, I always walked beside you. And the guy sees at one point only one set of footprints and says, "I KNEW IT, I KNEW THAT AT THOSE TIMES THINGS WERE SO DIFFICULT THAT I WOULD CRY OUT TO YOU AND I WOULD TRY SO HARD TO DO BETTER AND GET YOUR ATTENTION, BUT I NEVER GOT YOUR ATTENTION, I KNEW THAT YOU HAD LEFT ME!". And G-d responded to him and said, "those footsteps aren't your footsteps, they are my footsteps. I was holding you in my arms".

After years of trying to take control of my life and throw away this addiction, I joined the
phone conferences with Duvid Chaim, and I am growing so much. I am learning to surrender to Hashem. I feel like the guy in the story, the only difference is that I don't feel abandoned by Hashem anymore. Now, instead of Hashem picking me up, I'm crawling onto his shoulders before he even needs to pick me up.


I have been doing much better this time around, I'm actually flying through the days. I'm not white-knuckling. I'm giving all of my struggles over to Hashem.

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

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Because I am an Addict
 

The "why" might still be a mystery to me, but although I have walked away from juicy situations a few times, the basic and inescapable fact for me is that I have a pattern and it spirals downward. Nothing I have done has arrested it. Looking at my case in a clear way, reminds me how ridiculous it is for me to expect that "I'll do better now - with the knowledge I have gained here, or there..." The steamroller will eventually come by and my butt will be vegetation again....

I belabor this point because the nuance of the 1st step written and shared, is that it brings some people to the conclusion that there is no evidence that they will ever "get better". Even given more time and more effort. For me - I'm not speaking for you - the idea that "I should have not abused my sexuality so much," might not be as relevant as the fact that it was done, "again and again". When I ask myself "how is it possible that I could do that?," or, "what's wrong with me that I feel I gotta have/do that?" The answer I am comfortable giving myself eventually became, "because I am an addict, and that is what addicts do." In fact, it is the most valuable response. I ask myself, "Nu, then why did I do it again and again? - How?" and the deep stuff is nice, but never got me free. Accepting the fact that I lost against lust allows me to finally really get dependent on G-d for a change - it changes the playing field so I get out of His way.
943.
Wednesday ~ 21 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 26, 2011

In Today's Issue 

  • Quote of the Day: Even if it Aint Perfect
  • Attitude Tips: Letting Go of Understanding
  • 12-Step Attitude: A New Purpose in Life
  • Torah Thoughts: Trucking in the Down Times
  • Daily Dose of Dov: He Thrives on Being a "Nirdaf"

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Quote of the Day

 

By "Silent Battle"

 

If you can't have the recovery you want, want the recovery you have.
 

For me, a big part of recovery is being happy with the recovery I have, even if it isn't perfect.

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Category: Attitude Tips

 

Letting Go of Understanding

 

By "Sick Man Getting Well"

 

For my recovery, I need to remember that thinking, understanding and identifying reasons are luxuries I don't always get. I need to work my program because I believe I have an addiction and it makes me do things that are wrong (morally, religiously, spiritually, or otherwise). It is my choice to remain in recovery today, no one can possibly force me. If I am here, I need to surrender my right to think, to understand, and to intellectualize. I can think of no greater Yiras Shomayim then accepting the fear of letting go completely, and the fear of controlling my own destiny. It is truly jumping off a cliff, and the fear that is generated is that of "what will God do with me now?". I have fear (Yirah is not technically defined as fear but that's a different discussion) of what goes next. But I also am developing Ahavas Hashem and starting to love the God who is in control. I don't have to be responsible for the outcome of my actions, I just have to try to do my best. Whatever happens next is not in my control. This has worked to keep me sober for over 8 months, one day at a time.

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Category: 12-step Attitude, Testimonials

 

A New Purpose in Life

 

"Chaim Help" wrote:

The big book says the obsession of every alcoholic is to drink like a gentleman. The obsession of every lust addict is to lust like a gentlemen. Isn't it a pity I can't peek at porn, I can't watch provocative movies, and I cant peek at the pretty candy on the street? What is life all about then? B"H the 12-Step program gives us a new purpose in life. Then I just act like a Torah Jew. No hirhurim, no histaclus, and I am a happy and tranquil Jew.

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Category: Torah Thoughts
 

Trucking in the Down Times

 

By "Ben Durdaya"

 

The Noam Elimelech in the beginning of Parshas Emor interprets Rashi's explanation of the seeming redundacy "Emor Vi'Amarta"  -"LeHazhir Gedolim Al HaKetanim" as follows:

Every Yid has times that he feels elevated and close to Hashem - like when he is engaged in Torah or Tefillah or any other Mitzvah - and at these times he feels like he's on top of the world. His mind and heart are open; he feels that he has attained clarity and sees the world in a spiritual light (Mochin DeGadlus). But then, when it's time to go back to the humdrum material realm, he falls from this high level and can't bring that same clarity to his mundane affairs (Mochin Dekatnus). Says the R"R Meilich Zy"a, this is not the way to do things. Rather, one should make sure to "charge his spiritual batteries" to the max when he feels uplifted, in such a way that he will be able to connect his thoughts with Hashem even when he steps down from that madreigah where he was earlier. And that is alluded to by the Ma'amar Chazal which Rashi cites:

"LeHazhir Gedolim" Take heed when you are in an uplifted (big) state of mind, "Al HaKetanim" that one must remain holy even at times that are mundane (small).

Get so much chizuk and put some away for the bleak days. When feeling high, remind yourself to remind yourself how good it feels to be close to Hashem. And what connects us to Hashem more than our little mental communication countless times a day? "Hashem, I cannot manage this by myself, Hashem I know that you can help me, Please take this nisayon away from me, You can handle it" etc. (everyone has their own vernacular with Hashem). Remind yourself that when the YH jumps out from behind a bush, you will talk to Hashem - and not dare to mess with the enemy's guerrilla soldiers. Such a person can, with Hashem's help, KEEP ON TRUCKIN', even in the down-times.

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Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

He Thrives on being a "Nirdaf"
 

There is a shleppy miskein who lives in my house with me. He has a little flat in my head. Somehow he is exempt from rent... I can't dislodge him from my head, either... Every time I tried, I found out that I believed in my heart of hearts that I no longer needed G-d!

That made life worthless. Hashem loves me too much to allow that.

I suspect that he can live in the house and head with us just fine. We may not enjoy noticing that smelly aqualung there, especially when he smiles that weird way he sometimes does. We learn how to do our thing and he will wear away, gnawing his existence away with fantasies of tripping you up - till you die (after 120) and move right past him forever.

Just be careful. Don't say stuff like, "An arrow in your eye, sucker!". This melech zokein thrives on being a nirdaf - either by us running after him to follow him, or when we try to 'destroy' him. Greater people who were certainly not addicts learned that lesson the hard way. For us,it is so much more a fact of life. We need humility more than anyone.

Just one addict's point of view.

944.
Thursday ~ 22 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 27, 2011

In Today's Issue 

  • Link of the Day: Mussar and the 12-Steps
  • Parables: The Shortcut
  • Testimonials: From History to... History in the Making
  • 12 Step Attitude: Accepting Life on G-d's Terms
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Fantasy Takes Me Out of Reality

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Link of the Day

 

Mussar and the 12 Steps
 

Torah Principles for Successful techniques for Spiritual Growth

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

Category: Parables

 

Shortcuts

 

By "Ur-A-Jew"

 

I was walking home and I decided to take a short cut and cut across a patch of snow.  When I stepped on the snow it was icy and I started to slip.  Lesson for recovery:  When you go off the beaten and proven path by trying to take shortcuts, there is a good chance you'll slip.  Stay with what's proven to work even if takes a little longer.
 

Thank you Hashem for another sober day and a powerful lesson.

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Category: Testimonials

 

From History to... History in the Making

 

By "EBD"

 

I was masturbating before I knew there was anything wrong with it.

Going back 20 years, I was exposed to Porn in mags and by phone (who here remembers those business cards and fake dollar bills that the Amaleknik Porn-Pushers Yemach Shemam Vezichram used to scatter all over the place?!?!?!), CompuServ forums, AOL, and later Internet. Where did I not feed my habit???

The older I got, the more technology developed, and the easier it got to get your fix without leaving the comfort of your own home.

The neuron patterns became so ingrained in my mind, that even when I grasped the severity of what was going on - I was trapped by my own mind, because I started with this garbage before I was even a ben-bechira... (i.e. way before bar mitzvah).

I was history, even though I managed to suppress my urges for long periods of time and not act out on them, and my exterior life exuded success in Ruchniyus. My brain was fried because of the constant milchemes HaYetzer which I was waging... And I would fall again and again and feel crushed... It didn't matter if I hadn't seen P***  or act out (i.e. M****) even for long periods; every woman was a walking trigger... I WAS HISTORY...

And then I found GYE, and I'm part of HISTORY in the making!!!!

IT'S THE BEGINNING, NOT THE END!!!

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Category: 12-Step Attitude
 

Accepting Life on G-d's Terms 

 

By "Eye.Nonymous"

 

Reading the 12-Step program doesn't help. Doing them helps, and you can't do them alone. You need a group.

Our acting out is a symptom, we are trying to release our pain and frustration.  We just as easily, and maybe as often, use other escapes as well.  That could be smashing something, or just plain wasting time.

We need a release because we are full of restlessness, irritability, and discontent.  R.I.D.  Why do we have this?

Because of our EGO.  We want everything in the world to go OUR way.  But, it doesn't.  So, everything disappoints us and makes us resentful or afraid.

When you can put down your ego, when you can accept life on G-d's terms, then you stop having so much RID.  It's a process, and doesn't go away all at once.  Little by littler, it gets better.  But noticeably so.  We act out less.  We start feeling overall more content and satisfied with life.  More patient.

When you don't have so much RID, you don't act out so much anymore either.

And, by the way, you're wife can't make you angry either.  It is in our power to choose a different response.  We can choose to accept life, on G-d's terms.  And, remember, your wife is only a reflection of yourself.  As Rav Arush writes in "Garden of Peace", she's a magnifying mirror, so that we have some hopes of noting our own faults as we go through life, and fixing them.

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

 

Daily Dose of Dov

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

 

Fantasy Takes Me Out of Reality
 

I must confess that occasionally it helps me to go through in my mind what chazal teach us: "kol hanosein eyno b'mah she'eino shelo - afilu masheyesh lo, notlin mimenu - whoever puts his eyes on that which is not his, even what is his is taken away from him". In other words, the more I reserve my eyes for my wife (and for goodness in general) the greater my appreciation of her (and of goodness in general) will become. Every time I let myself enjoy the figure or face of another woman it will automatically cause me to lose a bit of the pleasure I take in my wife (and in the goodness of people in general). It is not a punishment at all! It is just the way we are. It's the way I work, at least.

There just is no escape from the fact that fantasy takes me out of reality, period. "Motzee'in es ha'odom min ha'olam - It takes a man out of this world".
 

945.
Friday ~ 23 Shvat, 5771 ~ January 28, 2011
Erev Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim

In Today's Issue 

  • Announcement: Last Shabbos of Shovavim - The GYE Program in a Nut Shell
  • Torah Thoughts, Parshas Mishpatim 1: Lachafshi Yishelchenu Tachas Aino
  • Torah Thoughts, Parshas Mishpatim 2: Throw it to the Dogs
  • Attitude Tips: Take a Technology Sabbatical
  • Daily Dose of Dov: The Old Way vs. The New Way

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Announcement

 

Last Shabbos of Shovavim!
 

The GYE Program in a Nut Shell

 

In honor of the last Shabbos of Shovavim - which is a auspicious time to fix ourselves in the area of Shmiras Habris, we have updated "The GYE Program in a Nut Shell" page. We encourage everyone to make use of this page to gauge the level of their addiction and decide what tools, methods and approaches would be best for them in their current situation.

 

Once you know what you have to do, accept upon yourself NOW to take those practical steps, and in this merit may we all be zoche to acheive the fulfillment of the Pasuk, Shuvu Banim Shovavim!

 

(And of course, if you know anyone else who struggles with these issues, share the page with them too!)

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

Category: Torah Thoughts > Parsha > Mishpatim 

 

Lachafshi Yishalchenu Tachas Aino 

 

By "Yosef hatzadik" 

 

V'chi yakkeh ish ess ein avdo oi ess ein amoso v'shichasah lachafshi y'shalchenu tachas eino- and if a man will strike the eye of his servant or of his maidservant and ruin it, they shall be sent free in place of their eye. (21:26)
 

Al derech remez:
 

V'chi yakkeh ish ess ein  - If a guy will take hit in his shemiras einayim...

 

avdo - his avodas Hashem will suffer...


oi - Woe...
 

ess ein amoso - Ayin ro'eh, halev chomeid, v'klei maaseh gomeres. Oy yoy! His eyes will bring him to Pegam bris (The ever is called "ammah". Yad l'ammah tiktzos!
 

v'shichasah - and Hotzo'as zera  (V'shicheis artzah), R"L!

L'achafshi yeshalchenu - 
The fall can bring him to complete "Prikas Ol", R"L.

 

tachas eino!!!! - We cannot try to claim that we were powerless to stop. The urge was sooooo strong, etc. Ein haleiv sholeit ella b'mah she'ha'ayin ro'eh! It all comes back to our not guarding the eyes! Lapesach chatas roveitz!!!!  The sin is with the 1