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1001.
Sunday ~ 6 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 10, 2011 

In Today's Issue      

  • Links: Weekly Excerpts from Rabbi Avigdor Miller 
  • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Preface
  • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 1 
  • Daily Dose of Dov: If It's Impossible There Might Be Hope             

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Category: Links

 

Weekly Excerpts from Rabbi Avigdor Miller

 

We received this e-mail today:

 

Mazel tov on chizuk email 1000! May we all go mechayil el chayil!

 

I just wanted to say that I am really happy when you put in links to excerpts from the shiurim of R' Avigdor Miller ztz"l. I used to listen to his shiurim non-stop, 2 - 3 a day, and got so much chizuk from them, when times were really hard for me. So, I want to let everyone know that there is a link where people can subscribe to weekly excerpts and gain much chizuk.

 

CLICK HERE

 

May it be a zikui harabim.

 

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The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

 

In the coming e-mails we will be bringing excerpts from the new book "Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing" from the Jerusalem based therapist Rabbi Naftali Fish. Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski wrote about the book that it is, quote, "...an important contribution in furthering the understanding of psychology and psychotherapy for Torah-observant people..."

 

Preface: 

A Way Out of Addiction for Orthodox Jews?

 

From Internet addiction to marital and family problems, from "teens at risk" to the psychological challenges facing those who are frum from birth and baalei teshuvah, today's changing world can be a confusing one. The religious Jewish community is also not immune to many sensitive contemporary issues, which can no longer be ignored. Yet sadly, some people who need psychological advice refrain from seeking it, believing that contemporary psychology and psychiatry are antagonistic to Yiddishkeit.

 

This important work by well-known therapist Dr. Naftali Fish offers a solid conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between Torah and psychology - including the Twelve Step program - showing clearly where they are compatible and where they are not. Dr. Fish is uniquely qualified to bridge this gap, as an Orthodox Jew grounded in Torah Judaism and the wisdom of our sages, and as a licensed clinical psychologist living in Jerusalem, with over twenty-five years' experience working with a variety of clinical issues, including the treatment of addictions and healing the inner wounded child. Here he presents the Nachas Ruach Treatment Model (NRTM), an innovative, effective approach that integrates Torah values and spirituality within the context of professional psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, as illustrated by intriguing case studies.

 

This book is a must-read for all professionals in the field of mental health, as well as for rabbis, educators, students studying psychology, and educated lay readers. Blending theory and practice, this book also provides practical tools and exercises for personal growth that anyone can gain from in their daily lives.

 

The book can be purchased online via this link.  

 

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Excerpt 1  

Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

 

Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps
 

In this section we will analyze the Twelve Step program of addictions and recovery from a Torah perspective. In recent years the Twelve Step program has become widely accepted both in Israel and in the Jewish world. Our goal is to clarify where there is compatibility between the program and the Torah, and where there are differences. This endeavor is a response to the great interest in this subject by those who are participating in the program and others.  

 

Six additional Torah concepts that enhance the "classical program" for those who are looking for more Jewish content per se will also be discussed and is seen to be an important.

 

The First Step

 

"We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable."[1]

 

This step is equivalent to the Jewish concept of confession, or vidui, in which a person verbally admits that he has a problem. In Judaism this is the first step on the road to repentance or teshuvah.[2] The Torah acknowledges that it is not easy for a person to admit he made a mistake. For addicts it often takes years before they are "ready" and able to break out of denial and finally admit that they have a serious problem. Usually, the existence of this problem was already known to everyone else, but not to the addict himself.  

 

In Judaism, confession was an integral part of the Yom Kippur rites that accompanied the sacrificial service during the time of the Temple: "Those who bring sin offerings or guilt offerings must also confess when they bring their sacrifices for their inadvertent or willful transgressions. Their sacrifices will not atone for their sins unless they repent and make a verbal confession."[3]

 

According to the Sephardic tradition, vidui is also recited throughout the year after the Amidah. It is written in the plural form: "We have become guilty, we have betrayed... (.(אשמנו בגדנו..."

 

Similarly, the Twelve Steps are formulated from a group perspective: "We admitted that we were powerless over our addictions." Psychologically, it might be easier for the individual to admit his shortcomings as part of a larger group, which may mean for him that he is not the only "bad" or "sick" person who has this problem or behavior to work on.

 


[1] Narcotics Anonymous NA Blue Book (Van Nuys, CA: World Service Office, 1988), p. 19.

[2]  Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 1:1.

[3] Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 1:1, translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger (New York: Moznaim Publishing Corporation, 1990).

 

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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

 

If It's Impossible There Might Be Hope 

 

Dear friend, 

Do you think you are an addict? In other words, are you beaten? I am. I'm an addict who is sober today for a bunch of years and there are many others like me (even many frum ones) who will gladly meet with you on the phone, or preferably in person, to freely and openly share their recovery with you. It all depends on what you are willing to do for your recovery - and if you really feel you 'have had enough' already. I have had enough, b"H, and it sounds like you may have, too. All my love for my wife and innocent children will not stop me from horrifically screwing my life up. You seem to see the same thing, and are shocked. I'm not. I am an addict. 

Only I can give up the useless breath-holding-in-the-face-of-temptation and finally reach for the company of other addicts so that I can get the help I need from Hashem.  

Nu. It's very, very hard. It's actually impossible. If you see it that way, then I say there is - possibly for the very first time - hope that you might finally start to get better, by Hashem's Chessed, as many others have, and are, today. Who really needs G-d at all, if they have power?  

Give up on the breath-holding struggle, but not on yourself! You have a life; your wife has a husband; and your children have a father. There is help for you to still save those things.

 

1002.
Monday ~ 7 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 11, 2011 

In Today's Issue      

  • Announcement: Special Pesach/Freedom Call Tonight 
  • Torah > Pesach: Pharaoh's Hardened Heart
  • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 2  
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse

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Announcement from Elya

 

On this Monday night's call we will have a special shiur (group) meeting speaking about Pesach and Freedom and how to apply these concepts to our unique lives today. If you have any Divrei Torah or thoughts, please write them down and participate.  How can we break free from the enslavement of this addiction.  What does the Haggadah suggest that might help us?  Which of the four sons is the addicted one? (I don't know the answer to this one, but it's something to think about). 
 

Monday night 9 p.m. EST (8 Central, 6 Pacific)

Tel: 712-429-0690

PIN# 225356

 

Click here for more info on the call.

 

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Category: Torah > Pesach

 

Pharaoh's Hardened Heart

 

By "Jester"

 

This coming seder night, we will read of the Makkos (plagues).  We will all ask, "how was Pharaoh so stupid as to not read the danger signs?".  We will be answered that "Hashem hardened his heart".  It took a mortal danger to Pharaoh himself before he ran to the B'nei Yisroel, begging them to leave, something he would never have considered doing in the past.

I can attest to this sequence of events, as I imagine many here can do.  We might start off with some guilt, but over time, our hearts are hardened (calloused, if you will).  We might see some danger signs, but "we can manage them".  Finally, we get a good kick up the backside.  Many of us will thank Hashem for this, some might not.  But at that stage, we will do the unspeakable, and ask for help, or have help thrust upon us.

And how many of the B'nei Yisroel did not want to leave?  And how many only continued because of the support of good leadership and downright peer-pressure?  Chazal have repeatedly pointed out reference to our own  "personal" Mitzrayim and slavery to the physical (especially lust) from which we should escape.

When you are all at your Seder, reading about the plagues and ultimate mortal peril in which Paroh found himself - spare a thought for your fellow Yidden who have a hardened heart, and pray that we all have the strength to move forward before we are forcibly moved on.

 

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The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

 

Excerpt 2   

Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

The book can be purchased online via this link

 

Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

 

Continuation of "Step 1" 

 

An important principle in Jewish thought related to change enjoins the individual to take immediate action to cease his negative behavior and begin to act in a positive direction: סור מרע ועשה טוב, "Depart from evil, and do good" (Psalms 34:15). The Twelve Steps also start from this perspective. The addict initially needs to stop his active addiction ("depart from evil") and then begin to learn how to live in a better way ("do good"). In contrast, the classical Freudian view of addictions believed that the addict first needed to work through the unconscious conflict, which was thought to be the source of the addiction. In the best case scenario, this process would take considerable time before the active addiction would "fade away" because it was no longer "being fuelled" by the unconscious etiology or source. The problem involved in using this approach was that in the meantime the addict would still be "out of control," continuing to act in ways that were destructive to himself, his family, and his environment.  

 

Judaism also stresses that teshuvah means first stopping the behavior and then trying to understand and modify its deeper roots. The Rambam explains this further: "What constitutes teshuvah? That a sinner should abandon his sin [in action] and remove it from his thoughts.[1]

 


[1] Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 2:2.

 

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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

 

Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse  

 

I pity the person who starts off his recovery by focusing on fixing the human wreckage his behavior caused. In my case that'd truly be putting the cart before the horse, and in the worst way. It would retard my entire - and I mean entire - recovery and leave me:

1- still running the show, instead of following directions (and judging by how well I did till now, that's not a good idea!); 

2- prone to "forgiving" myself as soon as I feel all better because they forgave me! Who really needs to get any better once they can convince everyone they hurt that they are now a reformed ba'al teshuvah humbly begging for their mercy? Eventually, I'd get 'forgiven' by them and by Hashem - and certainly remain the same exact pervert forever...

and 3- it'd leave me at the center of my universe, which is exactly how I got so messed up in the first place. It'd still be all about MY t'shuva, MY dveikus, MY tikkun, ME, ME, and more endless, bottomless ME. (This is apparently a subtle point to many people, for some reason...but it seems to be everything, from where I am standing.)

 

1003.
Tuesday ~ 8 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 12, 2011 

In Today's Issue      

  • Announcement: Do you want to help for the large Assifa?  
  • Torah > Pesach, Metzorah: The Eizov: Humbled, Not Defeated 
  • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 3 - The Second Step   
  • Daily Dose of Dov: Letting the Familiar Curiosity Go

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Announcement

 

There will be a large assifa about the dangers of technology related issues and solutions in the Medowlands Arena shortly after Pesach be"H, with hopefully over 10,000 in attendance. The GYE hotline will be disseminated there as well. In preparation for the huge assifa, there will be a phone conference call tomorrow night (Wed. 9:30 PM) for Roshei Yeshivos, Mechanchim, Marbitzei Torah and Askanim. If anyone wants to help prepare for the Assifa in anyway, whether through helping get the word out, financially or in any other way, they should call 732-901-6176 for information on the phone conference.

 

Tizke Lemitzvos!

 

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Category: Torah> Pesach, Metzorah

 

The Eizov: Humbled, Not Defeated 

 

The 12-Steps stress that it is generally our egos that cause us to "act-out", whether stemming from a sense of "entitlement", or from the need to "control" things to go our way. When an addict is finally "beaten" and his life becomes unmanageable, he stands before two choices. He can either fall into complete despair, hopelessness and continue to perpetuate his misery, or he can break his "heart" and humble himself before Hashem, becoming completely dependant on Him, with the knowledge that Hashem loves Him and will care for him even though he is sick. This is the root of true recovery, and this Yesod ties in beautifully with the punishment of the Metzorah and the story of Pesach in the following piece from Rabbi Teichman:

 

Click here for the full article

(on page 2 of the PDF)

 

Quote from article:

 

"When we fully submit ourselves before Hashem's will, and sense our value in His eyes regardless of our stature and accomplishments, there is nothing more humbling and inspiring.  It wasn't a sense of defeat but rather a sense of total dependence and trust in Hashem that boosted them in Egypt...."

 

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The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

 

Excerpt 3

 

Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

The book can be purchased online via this link

 

Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

 

"The Second Step" 

 

"We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." [1]

 

This can be seen as an intellectual acknowledgment of what Judaism calls "accepting the yoke of Divine sovereignty" (Kabbalas ol Malchus Shamayim), which the Rabbis understood to be the implication of the first of the Ten Commandments: "I, Hashem, shall be your God, Who brought you out of Egypt, from the house of slaves."[2]

 

I noted earlier that in contemporary society, the Twelve Step philosophy represents a paradigm shift. I once heard from Rav Chaim Lipschitz that in the "post-modern world" most of the major ideologies of the twentieth century have been discredited. The only "ism" that remains is narcissism - the ideology of "I... Self... Me." Therefore, it really is significant that the Twelve Step program is based on acknowledging "a power greater than ourselves." In practical terms, this means that the recovering addict learns that one's willpower is "necessary but not sufficient" to overcome an addiction and that there is a higher purpose or motivation in life besides seeking immediate gratification, which for many people growing up in contemporary society is really a new idea.  

 

The Torah begins with the powerful statement acknowledging the Higher Power: בראשית ברא אלוקים את השמים ואת הארץ, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). In relation to this issue, the Rambam begins the Mishneh Torah with the dramatic teaching: "The foundation of all foundations and the pillar of wisdom is to know that there is a Primary Being Who brought into being all existence."[3]

 

Looking at addictions, the Torah understands that beyond physical servitude, there are also emotional and spiritual kinds of slavery, which lead us into narrow, constricted places of the soul: מן המצר קראתי יה, ענני במרחב יה, "From the straits did I call upon God; God answered me with expansiveness" (Psalm 118:5). The root of the word "straits" ((מצר is the same as the root of the word "Egypt" (מצרים). Addictions certainly fall into this category.

 

In relation to the belief that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, it is clear that the Jewish people were not able to leave slavery without direct Divine assistance, as stressed in the Pesach Haggadah. Nonetheless, before receiving Divine assistance, they had to make some initial effort that demonstrated their willingness and worthiness to be redeemed. The Pesach sacrifice (the korban Pesach) was offered only after the Jewish slaves openly kept the sheep in their houses for four days before the actual sacrifice. This required great courage, since the Jews knew that the Egyptians, their masters, worshiped this animal and had the power to punish them for opposing what they believed in.

 


[1] Narcotics Anonymous NA Blue Book, p. 22.

[2] The Pentateuch: Trumath Zvi, p. 281.

[3] Rambam, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 1:1.

 

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Daily Dose of Dov

Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

 

Letting the Familiar Curiosity Go   

 

People in recovery often emphasize "living in the solution, not in the problem". It's hard to understand, at first. "whadaya mean, I'm living in the problem?" When we delve and delve and delve... it wraps us up in the problem and soon we will act out. Cuz we are sick and cannot stay sane very long while staring squarely at unhealthy living; even if it is for the sake of 'getting better'. 

(Even the 1st and 4th step inventories are not safe places to loiter. We cannot live without them so we do them with a sponsor and then he helps us move on and use what we have learned rather than wallow in it.) 

 

  • I need alternative things to do when that familiar curiosity strikes. Thoughts like,
    • "Been clean four months. I can't believe it. But am I really a better person? What if I am tested a bit?";
    • "I've been clean for fifteen months now. Gevalt! I wonder if my anatomy still works!";
    • "Well, is that little video store still in business, or did Hashem finally strike it with that lightning I wished for?"; and like, 
    • "What was/is it that I liked so much about lust and porn after all? Why was I so caught up in it? I need to know!".

     

    Yeah.  

     

    I might think those thoughts every now and then, and that's fine. Thinking them is not my fault - but holding onto them and acting on them is. I believe b'emunah sheleimah that I need to let them go. Others may have the luxury of thinking it over, conducting further 'research', and figuring it all out, and G-d bless them. I do not. And figuring out why they can and I can't is veiter none of my concern. 

  •  

    1004.
    Wednesday ~ 9 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 13, 2011 

    In Today's Issue      

    • Testimonial of the Day: Two Years Clean!
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 4 - Continuing the Second Step   
    • Daily Dose of Dov: We Need to Make it Real

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    Category: Testimonials  

     

    Two Years Clean!

     

    By "Noorah Be'Amram"   

     

    With the greatest of humility, I thank the Almighty for 2 years clean on April 8th.

    The following is partial list of what I attribute the success that I had hitherto - may the Almighty continue protect me amongst all His struggling children!

    1 - Non-stop Prayer that Hashem safeguard my eyes and my heart from any sin!


    2 - Belonging to this holy website - no kidding - nitfal losei mitzvah


    3 - Limiting general computer use to work only, and even then, I'm fanatical regarding a filter - with my wife holding the password.  


    4 - I try to be mezake the rabbim in my own sphere of influence by promoting, talking and encouraging others about inyanei Kedusha and the dangers of the internet. Educating people about the importance of having no nonsense filters and accountability software.  


    5 - Learning constantly the Laws of Shmiras Halashon since there is a direct connection between the bris haLashon and the bris Hame'or as mentioned many times on this site and in the chizuk emails.


    6 - Removing the glasses when necessary and trying to be cognizant of the concept of "Ikka Darka Achrina".

     

    7 - Being extra vigilant with hilchos Yichud in the office, with cleaning help, etc

    I lift up my hands in prayer to Hashem that He  continue to carry me in His Right Hand and protect each and every one of His children on this holy site from all harm.


    With tears in my eyes, I thank this holy website for were it not for GYE and the holy chevra on the forum I wouldn't be who I am, where I am and what I am today...if I would "be" at all.   


    Wishing all my brother warriors a true z'man cheirus - freedom and serenity!


    Fiery Love to all,
    Noorah,

    The smallest from house of Amram

     

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    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 4

        

    Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    Continuation of "The Second Step" 

     

    In the Nachas Ruach perspective, addiction is viewed as a disease and is understood to be a specific manifestation of the evil inclination (yetzer hara), which constitutes a powerful ongoing influence on human motivation and behavior. Not only was it true for the Jews in Egypt, but the Rabbis also stress that ultimately no person could overcome the evil inclination without Divine assistance.

     

    In the Talmud (Maseches Sukkah 52b) we learn in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish: "A man's evil inclination threatens every day to overpower him and seeks to kill him...and if not for the Holy One, Blessed is He, Who aids him, he would be unable to withstand it."

     

    In relation to the second step, which attempts to "restore us to sanity" from the disease of addiction, the Torah also recognizes that Hashem is the source of all healing: כל המחלה אשר שמתי במצרים לא אשים עליך כי אני ה' רופאך, "All of the diseases that I have placed in Egypt, I will not place upon you, for I am Hashem, your Healer" (Exodus 15:26).

     

    It is an unquestioned axiom of the Twelve Steps that the "inability to control our usage of drugs is a symptom of the disease of addiction. We are powerless not only over our drugs but over our addiction as well."[1]

     

    The clear treatment goal that flows from this reality is that total long-term abstinence is the only option, and this must be accomplished slowly, "one day at a time." The program is aware of the psychological reality that it is particularly difficult to stay clean for the rest of one's life, especially for addicts who have been under the influence of their active disease, which seeks immediate gratification. A natural response would be to think: this goal is impossible, so why try? By teaching the concept of coping through saying to oneself "Just for today" and other tools, the addict is given a way of effectively coping that enhances his ability to stay clean and maintain long-term recovery.

     

    Every day in our prayers we say: ברוך ה' יום יום יעמס לנו האל ישועתנו סלע, "Blessed is God every single day, He burdens us, and is the God of our salvation" (Psalms 68:20). A Jew learns from this verse that Hashem gives him the ability to overcome his struggles and serve Hashem on a daily basis.

     

    Practically, in the process of recovery, a person has to first admit that he has a problem, which is the goal of the first step. The goal of the second step is realizing that one cannot deal with his addiction alone and needs to be open to receiving help and actively seek it out. While seeking help, ultimately involves turning to God, it initially begins with trying to get help from others in recovery. The Torah also understands the need for one to ask for help, when the Rabbis teach that "a prisoner cannot free himself from prison."[2]

     


    [1] Narcotics Anonymous NA Blue Book, p. 20.

    [2]אין חבוש מתיר עצמו מבית האסורים - Berachos 5b.

     

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    We Need to Make it Real  

     

    Dov discusses the 12-Steps with someone in his group

       

    The thing all the 12-step-recovering addicts in the world are making such a big deal about, is different than all the steps we thought we had taken in the past that "look like" the 12-Step program. It is different because it is different! All those times we have done the steps and ended up exactly where we were before, we did it by ourselves. It was out own brains that were working it all out. A blind man leading himself. Now that's really nuts, no? We hid the full truth about ourselves - in order to get better...? Not going to work. And when we did tell it to others, it wasn't to other people who were real to us. It was usually to someone we really had nothing to do with in the rest of our real lives. Who didn't know the face we were projecting - so they wouldn't really be able to really see what big fakers we were. Hey, it's embarrassing! And if we did open up to someone who knew the 'normal' version of us, then it was usually a person who had no clue about addiction, lust struggles, insanity, whatever. 

    My version of recovery - what I needed - was (and is) to get together with other men who think, tell, live, and know the exact same lies I do, want the exact same things that I want, who see me with my stupid, trance-like, salivating expression that I get while I stare at the computer searching in true desperation for that perfect, sweet, image that I need - cuz they know it themselves. I get together with men like that, who are crawling out from under their own wreckage with no pride at all, and let them hug me. Goyim, Jews, whatever. I get to know these men and get together with them weekly and share myself, make relationships with them, and we get to know each other. We get better together, while we watch many of our numbers fall to the wayside. Nu. Better them than us....

    So where I come from, the 1st step is done in our hearts, of course, but in order to have a better chance to actually believe it, we write out as much as we can remember of what we have done that got us into some trouble as a result of lust compulsion and desire throughout our lives. Then we review it with a sponsor and then we share the entire thing with a group of other addicts - the guys who really understand us. They may still be sick, but they are in recovery and understand us, and that's priceless. On the other hand, advice to a struggling lust addict that is not based on personal pain and success, but based on a mussar sefer or a shmooze is often dramatic and beautiful but totally useless, it seems to me.  We need to do the work ourselves if it is to be real enough to actually work. I have never yet met a single person who actually got sober from 'inspiration'. 

    Second step - real writing and real work - not just thinking in generalities. Same for each of the other steps. We get mushy and generalize the ideas, watering them down into the same useless mush we have always watered Torah ideas down to - and that's why they do not lead to change. That's gotta stop. Writing it for ourselves - not to impress anyone else - and sharing with others, is the only way I know to make it real.

     

    1005.
    Thursday ~ 10 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 14, 2011 

    In Today's Issue      

    • Parshas Acharei Mos: The Ohr Hachayim Hakadosh 
    • Link of the Day: Divine Intervention
    • Testimonial of the Day: Two Years Clean!
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 5 - The Third Step   
    • Daily Dose of Dov: There's Only One Day of Recovery                 

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    Category: Torah > Parsha > Acharei Mos

     

    The Ohr Hachayim on Acharei Mos 

     

    This week's parsha discusses the inyanim of "arayos". The Ohr HaChayim on the parsha writes the secret to recovery for those who have stumbled in these areas.

     

    Click here to see the Ohr Hachayim in Hebrew.

     

    Click here to download a PDF of translation and explanation.  

     

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    Category: Links > Pesach

     

    Divine Intervention

     

     

     

    Article By Benyamin Bresinger  

     

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    Category: Testimonials  

     

    Two Years On GYE!

     

    By "Bardichev"   

     

    DEAR YIDDEN,

    TONIGHT I AM CELEBRATING MY TWO YEAR MARK OF BEING A MEMBER OF THIS HOLY CHABURAH

    I NEED TO THANK HASHEM

    KI HITZALTAH NAFSHI MISHEOL TACHTIYAH.

    THANK YOU HASHEM.

    MAY THE WEBSITE AND FORUM CONTINUE TO GROW AND MAY WE REACH THE DAY THAT ALL OF KLAL YISROEL BE SHOWERED BY THE TAHARA OF HASHEM.

    MY SUCCESS ON THIS FORUM B"H WAS - AND IS - THE FRIENDSHIP. THE UNITY. THE ECLECTIC BAND OF BROTHERS.

    I HAVE MET HERE SFARDIM, GALITZYANNERS, LITVAKS, YEKKES, CHASSIDIM. I HAVE MET YIDDIN FROM EVERY CONTINENT BESIDES ANTARCTICA.

    I FEEL I NEED TO PERSONALLY THANK MANY OF YOU,
     

    BUT FIRST I NEED TO THANK GYE.  

     

    THIS WEBSITE POINT BLANK SAVED MY LIFE AND MY SANITY.

    I HAVE NOTHING MORE TO SAY. THANK YOU. 

    I would take this opportunity to wish you all:

    Be be'simcha!

    Simcha is the secret!

    Keep on trucking. No matter what.

    If you slipped or fell, say "FELL, SHMELL" and move on!

    And remember: You are not Hashem's tznius police. If you see someone triggering remember: She may be a problem, but she is not YOUR problem.

    And if I can add one more piece of advice:

    Make your spouse your Accountability Partner with reporting software like www.webchaver.org.

    Humble and happy
    Bardichev   

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 5      

    Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Third Step" (Part 1/3)

     

    "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him."[1]

     

    While the second step talks about coming to believe, the third step requires the addict to make a commitment to "surrender or turn his life over to God as we understand Him." In the prevailing secular outlook of modern Western society, this is a very significant decision. Every day an observant Jew makes this commitment when he closes his eyes and says, with the intention to accept Hashem's sovereignty: שמע ישראל ה' אלוקינו ה' אחד - "Hear, O Israel: Hashem is Our God, Hashem the One and Only" (Deuteronomy 6:4).  

     

    For many Orthodox Jewish addicts, the initial motivation to deal with their addiction was experienced as a conflict with their commitment to halachah and a Torah lifestyle. This is true for "classical addictions" such as substance abuse and gambling, as well as with more "contemporary addictions" such as various forms of Internet addiction, including pornography and online chatting.  

     

    The Torah describes the nazir, who has made a commitment to abstain from wine after he becoming aware that he was at risk for abusing alcohol: איש או אשה כי יפליא לנדר נדר נזיר להזיר לה', "A man or woman who shall separate himself or herself by taking a Nazirite vow of abstinence, for the sake of Hashem" (Numbers 6:2). Rashi comments on the words "for the sake of Hashem," that the nazir is motivated to separate himself from wine for the sake of Heaven.  

     

    A Torah source for "turning over our will and our lives" to the care of God is: גול על ה' דרכך ובטח עליו והוא יעשה, "Turn your way over to Hashem, rely on Him and He will act"(Psalms37:5). On the beginning of this verse, Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch comments that the word gol ((גול actually means to remove a burden that is too heavy to carry. One must not refrain from a good endeavor because it seems to be beyond his meager strength. We have an omnipotent helper in God. We must do our utmost and then we can rely upon God to do the rest."[2]

     


    [1] Ibid., p. 24.

    [2] Artscroll Book of Psalms with Commentary (New York: Mesorah Publications, 2001), p. 96.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    There's Only One Day Of Recovery

     

    "It starts with one... and it ends with one." Meaning: There really is only one day of recovery - ever. And that's 'today'. This is, I believe, why Teshuvah is one of the things sometimes code-named "Atah" - Today. (V'ata Yisrael, Ma hashem Elokecha Sho'el Me'Imach). It's not that it is to be done now, but that it IS only now. There's no way to do anything for tomorrow, or for yesterday. I can't go to the bathroom extra today so that I will not need to go tomorrow, can I? Same with recovery. There is nothing I can do to "prepare to be sober/clean/whatever tomorrow. Nothing. The only thing I will ever be able to do is be sober/clean today. So to me, the counting and 'adding up' is really silly. It can give a false impression that there is some sort of buildup, like we are going to a 'destination' of recovery. Not so for me. I like what Rebbe Nachman said, "yehudi hu tamid baderech - ein hu yachol lavo l'shum tachlit - A Jew is always on the way - he can never come to any destination". It's not about attaining a milestone. 90 days, a year, ten years... it's all arbitrary, really... The next day will still be just another day, no? Even my old goal of 'dying sober' is arbitrary. To Hashem we don't 'die', at all. It's a fake end. There is no end - that's why suicide is such a stupid solution for problems.... We are always gonna be here, and somehow, we always were. How can there be more than 'today', for us? 

    Hashem has no 'milestones', does He? It's an endless journey in an intimate relationship and adventure with none other than our Eternal Best Friend. 

    One day at a time is not a technique or a trick, as in 'just don't act-out for one day, you can do it'. It's much more than that. Like pretty much everything else in the program, it has less to do with 'not acting out' and more to do with an attitude for living life. The only way for me to live is to take my focus off of lusting or not lusting, and onto living. And I completely depend on using the steps, to allow me to do that.

     

    1006.
    Friday ~ 11 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 15, 2011
    Erev Shabbos Hagadol - Acharei Mos 

    In Today's Issue      

    • Shabbos Hagadol / Pesach: Why were we worthy?
    • Member's Chizuk: One Liners from Yosef C. 
    • Parshas Acharei Mos: The Ohr Hachayim Hakadosh  
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 6 - The Third Step   
    • Daily Dose of Dov: The Makka is the Refuah

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

     

    Category: Torah > Shabbos Hagadol, Pesach   

     

    Shabbos Hagadol: Why were we worthy? 

     

    Someone told me over a powerful vort today from the Me'or Einayim that relates very much to the situation that many of us are in, here on GYE.  

     

    Why is this Shabbos called Shabbos Hagadol? Explains the Me'or Einayim that the Yidden were in a state of "Katnus" before leaving Mitzrayim. They were at the 49th level of Tumah. And the Satan said to Hashem, "why are you doing miracles for them, the Jewish people are idol worshipers just like the Egyptians!". But Hashem didn't listen to the Satan and took us out from "Katnus" to "Gadlus", as the Pasuk says "Va'tigdili Vatirdi..." And that's why it's called Shabbos Hagadol.

     

    So the Me'or Einayim asks, but why indeed didn't Hashem listen to the Satan? After all, we were at the lowest level and entrenched in idol worship just like the Egyptians? So he answers that in the merit that the Yidden made a seder night before they left and they beleived that they would leave Mitzrayim, this merit was enough to uplift them to the state of "Gadlus" and merit all those miracles.

     

    And the Me'or Einayim goes on to explain that this is what differentiates the "nekudah" between Jew and non-Jew. Even when a Jew is on the same level as the non-Jew and is entrenched in the lowest sins, he still wants and beleives that he will leave Mitzrayim some day. He wants to leave. He believes that Hashem can and will take him out.

     

    This is such an important lesson for us. No matter how low we may have fallen, if we want to leave and believe we WILL leave "Mitzrayim", then Hashem will do miracles for us no matter where we stand!

     

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

     

    Category: Parsha, Member's Chizuk 

     

    Yosef C. in SA sent me something he heard on the words:

    "Acharei Mos, Kedoshim"

     

    "Any yid can reach to a point where any 'not good' is acharey, behind him. Then his avoda can be in the realm of kedoshim"

     

    Other one-liners that Yosef C. sent me:

    • It's a high anxiety time of year... I'm a gonner without Hashem"s help, and I'm beyond grateful that He's %100 accessible. "G-d please help me stay connected to you, in all matters".
    • A friend has a sign on his desk.. "Be realistic; Expect miracles!"  
    • The Rebbe said, "in this generation, not only can we rely (somech) on miracles, we must(!) rely on them, with the same effort we rely (somech) our hands on a korban"... Endlessly inspiring words.

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

     

    Category: Torah > Parsha > Acharei Mos

     

    The Ohr Hachayim on Acharei Mos 

     

    This week's parsha discusses the inyanim of "arayos". The Ohr HaChayim on the parsha writes the secret to recovery for those who have stumbled in these areas.

     

    Click here to see the Ohr Hachayim in Hebrew.

     

    Click here to download a PDF of translation and explanation.  

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 6     

      

    Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Third Step" (Part 2/3)

     

    In practical terms, the Twelve Step program involves applying this commitment to the struggles of daily living and encourages one in recovery to act in a way that is basically opposite to his former coping style and mode of addictive thinking. This means that if his sponsor, who represents the program, advises him to do "B" when the addict stubbornly and with false confidence wants to do "A," the addict will still "turn over" his understanding and do what the sponsor recommends and not what he originally wanted to do.

     

    In the Torah we see this principle clearly in the Mishnah taught in Pirkei Avos 2:4: עשה רצונו כרצונך ... בטל רצונך מפני רצונ, "Do His will as if it were your own will...Nullify your will before His will."

     

    In stressing that the addict should live a life that is more "God centered" and less "self-centered," the program strongly advances the concept to "let go...and let God in." This is in contrast to the overemphasis that modern Western culture places on being in control and expecting reality to be exactly what you want it to be all the time. Contemporary man is also conditioned through the media, for example, to believe that it is terrible not to feel "the way you would like to." He is encouraged to try to change his mood by taking a mood altering substance or having some type of experience that can become addictive that will also lead to changing one's inner state. From this kind of social conditioning, it is not surprising that so many people start to drink or smoke or become involved in Internet addictions.  

     

    The innovation of the Twelve Steps was to stress the importance of learning to accept reality as it is, and from this place "not to pick up." The program teaches this from a spiritual perspective. It stresses belief in a Higher Power, and beyond this, a view that recognizes that the Higher Power is actively involved in one's life. In practical terms for the addict,this means to "let go" of what he expects and thinks he needs and to learn to accept that whatever happens to him is a reflection of God's will at that moment.  

     

    In this context, the "serenity prayer" utilized in group meetings is balanced, where one asks for "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."[1]

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    The Makka is the Refuah

     

    Someone asked on the forum:

     

    I was wondering about why we have these periods of cleanliness, and then BAM fall into extreme desire? Further, they seem to follow patterns; 30 days seems to be a rough point, as an example. These periods of really bad desire can last an hour, a day or a week. Is there a physiological cause for the patterns and swings?

     

    Dov Responds:

     

    I think you are describing in the most simple and basic way, what every drunk out there knows as 'tolerance' and 'withdrawal'. Nothing more, in my opinion.    

    But here's the thing. I believe that addiction is in my very body - it is not just something I do, but that it is something I am - I carry it with me wherever I go; that it is one of the most essential if not the most essential ingredient of my life in this world - for better of for worse; and that this nature I have is Hashem's own special way of finally getting me to really need Him. 

    I feel I must mention here that if recovery would be a mission to get back to where we would be if only I had never been addict, then I say the entire recovery is hogwash. And I believe such an attitude apikorsus. It is setting Hashem out of the bounds of my actual life. It is the G-d of a book, not of a person.


    I believe that He planned the refuah before the makkah - which means, if you think about it for a second, that there is really no such thing as a 'makkah', at all. It's all Him and His Will for me. And through the steps I live with Him right now, as soon as I wake up and start speaking to Him intimately (in English - my language, of course). I reach Hashem and stick close with Him (my Eternal Best Friend) by way of my failures and addiction. That appears to be my chelek. And it's nice.

    And I owe it all to the fact that I couldn't stop acting-out and using shmutz for all those years - while I was a 'frum' adult raising a family at the same time, of course (haha) - until I finally, really, needed Him and only Him. All my trying, fighting, and teshuvah was powerless to help me. I needed Him to help it all work, for a change. And I had to go slow - and stay slow. 
     
    Hatzlocha!

     

    1007.
    Sunday ~ 13 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 17, 2011
    Erev Bedikas Chametz  

    In Today's Issue      

    • Thank You: To An Anonymous Donor 
    • Happy Announcement: 'Daily Wind Down' Phone Conference starting Chol Hamoed 
    • Pesach: The Real Bedika & Biur Chametz   
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 7 - The Third Step   
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Breathing Air is Not "Al Pi Torah"

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

     

    Thank You!  

     

    We would like to thank an anonymous donor who sent in a very generous donation (through the Jewish Communal Fund) on the day we reached our thousandth Chizuk e-mail. 

     

    On behalf of the Guard Your Eyes organization, the beneficiaries of our services and their families, we thank you for your donation and for your support, which will help us proceed with our web development and expansion plan.

     

    Tizke Lemitzvos!

     

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

     

    Happy Announcement

     

    'Daily Wind Down' Phone Group Starting

     

    Get focused on Hashem at the end of a hectic day!

     

    Chol ha'moed, with the lack of schedule and lots of hefker time, can be dangerous for addicts.

     

    Yosef C. who is sober for close to 7 years in SA, will be starting a phone conference for reading, sharing and connecting. The first call will begin be"H this Chol Hamoed, Thursday night, April 21 at 10 PM (for 45 min to 1 hour). There will be second call on Chol Hamoed as well, this Motzai Shabbos, April 23 at the same time.

     

    The call will continue after Yom Tov IY"H, four times a week at 10 PM.

    • Motzai Shabbos
    • Sunday nights
    • Tuesday nights
    • Thursday nights

    There will be selected readings (and sharing) from:

    • The chapters in Tanya that deal with the super internal war/struggle that us yidden go through every day. (Download the Tanya or read it online here)
    • The 12 Steps and 12 traditions (download here)
    • The SA White Book (download here)  

    The call in number and PIN is the same as Elya's weekly phone conference.

     

    Dial-In Number is: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356

     

    Even if you miss the beginning, you can join anytime!

     

    To contact Yosef C. write to:

    serenitysmile@guardyoureyes.org

     

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

     

    Tonight is BEDIKAS CHAMETZ

    And Tomorrow is BIYUR CHAMETZ!



     

    We all know on GYE what the REAL CHAMETZ is!  

    Let's make sure we get rid of it!

     

    If you can throw out your computers, laptops, iPhones, Blackberries, etc... then by all means, NOW IS THE TIME! And if you can't because you need it for Parnassa, then make sure you have strong filters installed + Reporting software. We can help you. Send an e-mail to filter.gye@gmail.com for any filter questions, or if you need someone to hold the password for you. Send an e-mail to deletebrowser@gmail.com to get a program to delete the browser on your Blackberry (e-mail continues to function normally).

     

    May we all be zoche to get rid of the real Chametz = Yetzer Hara from inside of us, and to experience TRUE FREEDOM this coming Pesach.  

    Amen!

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 7

     

    Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Third Step" (Part 3/3)

     

    The concept of Divine providence (hashgachah pratis), which is implied in the phrase "let go... and let God in," is a fundamental belief of the Torah perspective, as emphasized in the first of Rambam's Thirteen Principles of Faith: "I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, creates and guides all creatures, and that He alone made, makes, and will make everything."[1]

     

    Having faith (emunah) and trust (bitachon) in God also teaches a Jew to accept life and not expect to be in control all the time. For example, David HaMelech wrote in Psalms (16:8): שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד, "I have placed Hashem before me always." According to the Baal Shem Tov, the verb shiviti ("I have placed") is an expression of equanimity. With this interpretation, the Baal Shem Tov taught that ultimately a person should strive to react to whatever happens to him with equanimity. A Jew accepts that what happens to him is an expression of Hashem's will.[2] Obviously, this is a difficult spiritual level to attain. Recovering addicts "really working the program" are able to internalize and apply this spiritual principle.  

     

    Another Torah source for "letting go" is the verse: תמים תהיה עם ה' אלוקיך, "You shall be wholehearted with Hashem, your God" (Deuteronomy 18:13). On this Rashi says: "Have pure faith in Hashem and do not try to search out the future; rather accept what happens and then you will be His."

     

    An important difference between the Torah perspective and that of the Twelve Steps is that Torah belief and faith is not based on each individual coming up with his own understanding of God. This part of the Twelve Step programis compatible with the great emphasis placed in modern Western culture on each individual determining what is right and wrong for him and not accepting outside authority. From a Torah perspective, however, this part of the program leaves open the possibility and concern that a recovering addict could worship the Higher Power in a manner that would not be acceptable to Judaism. For example, theoretically a person could understand the Higher Power in a way that would be considered avodah zarah (idol worship) by the Torah.  

     

    On the other hand, the Torah recognizes and values that each individual can have his own unique experience of understanding Hashem. For example, the first verse of the Ten Commandments - "I am the Lord, your God" - is understood by the Rabbis to mean that Hashem spoke to each individual on his own level, because the phrase "your God" is written in the singular rather than in the plural tense. Also, at the crossing of the Red Sea, each individual had his own perception of God, as we see in the song at the crossing of the Red Sea:  זה קלי ואנוהו, "This is my God and I will glorify Him" (Exodus 15:2).

     

    Based on my professional experience, I have seen that some Jewish addicts, often those who were not religious before going into the Twelve Step program, are subtly blocked by the program's stress on faith alone, believing that this is enough and it's not necessary for them to observe mitzvos. Others, usually FFBs, ultimately become more observant through the working the program; ironically, the Twelve Step program brings them closer to Torah observance. In Torah, the challenge is for each individual to develop a personal relationship with Hashem within the framework of halachah. 

     


    [1] Rambam's commentary on the Mishnah, Sanhedrin, ch. 10.

    [2] Tzavaat Harivash, The Testament of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, p. 4

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Breathing Air Is Not "Al Pi Torah"

     

    Someone complained to Dov that he can't stop acting out, but he doesn't want to try the 12-Steps because he felt that admitting "powerlessness" is not the "Torah approach". After futile and frustrating discussions back and forth, Dov responded as follows:

     

    The 12 steps IS THE TORAH APPROACH. What you are doing IS NOT THE TORAH APPROACH because it is making you act out! No one looks at shmutz and is mz"l and just whines about it like a little girl for years "al pi Toirah". That is idiotic.

     

    For the past 15-20 years you admit you have been practicing making up all kinds of silly excuses for why you cannot 'make it'. And you are doing al pi Toirah?    

    As far as I can see it, the steps are principles of Derech Eretz. Simple honesty - how can they be 'against' Torah? Nobody in the steps is trying to convince you of anything! If you believe you have the ability to stop, then you do not consider yourself powerless. Period. So you cannot do even the first step, because as yet, you do not need it! Period. So? What is wrong with that? You think I will say to you "you are fooling yourself and you really are an addict and cannot stop"? Chas veSholom! 

    Nobody really sober in AA/SA will try to convince you that you are sick! How can they? It's only and forever up to you, or it won't work. And there is no "mitzvah" to "believe" that you are powerless, even in AA/SA! If you consider that the truth, then fine, if not, fine!

    So all the anti-step-arguing 'al pi Torah' is nonsense, as far as I am concerned. For a real addict, it has no more to do with Torah than does arguing about the air - if you want to breathe it, then fine. If not, have a nice (short) day. And for a non-addict, what is there to argue about in the first place?

    So please stop calling yourself or anything you believe in about this problem "al pi Torah", OK? It's not. Not the steps and not whatever you are doing about it (which is just whining). Water and air is not "al pi Torah", and neither is recovery, for an addict. So save your breath.
     
    And you said before that you do not even know what the steps are, so why don't you just be quite and read about them. Then I suggest you judge if your derech of lying to your wife and tricking everyone who 'knows you', watching your precious little shmutz in secret, unzipping your pants when you like, and being mz"l... is more "al pi Torah" than the steps are. 

    Then get back to me.
     

     

    1008.
    Monday ~ 14 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 18, 2011
    Erev Pesach   

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcement: Phone Group starting Chol Hamoed 
    • Pesach: Kadesh, Urchatz: It's Backwards on Seder Night
    • Pesach: And NOW He Brought Us Close  
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 8 - The Fourth Step   
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Turning the Ship Around

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

     

    Announcement

     

    Phone Group Starting Chol Hamo'ed 

     

    Chol ha'moed, with the lack of schedule and lots of hefker time, can be dangerous for addicts.

     

    Yosef C. who is sober for close to 7 years in SA, will be starting a phone conference for reading, sharing and connecting. The first call will begin be"H this Chol Hamoed, Thursday night, April 21 at 10 PM (for 45 min to 1 hour). There will be second call on Chol Hamoed as well, this Motzai Shabbos, April 23 at the same time.

       

    Dial-In Number is: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356  

     

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

     

    Category: Pesach

     

    Kadesh, Urchatz: It's Backwards on Seder Night

     

    By "Steve"

     

    OK, here's a Pesach Vort that has me on a high, said over by a fellow Chaver on Duvid chaim's call from Rabbi Reisman, but I'm embellishing the idea somewhat:

    How do you grow to believe in yourself that you can make it? How do you know Hashem loves You? 

    On Seder night, the order of the seder begins Kadesh, Urchatz.

     

    Kadesh, which is accepting/bringing in Kedusha, comes before Urchatz, the washing off the shmutz. But isn't it supposed to be the other way around? The whole year it's usually "Sur MeiRah", then "Asei tov". That's why Asseres Yimei teshuva comes BEFORE Yom Kippur. Don't we always have to wash off the shmutz before we can be Kadosh?

    On both Yom Kippur and Leil Shimurim we wear a kittle. The white symbolizes a new beginning, a clean slate. On Yom Kippur we get there from the hard work of previous teshuva. But on PESACH NIGHT, there is a special koach of LOVE from Hashem, and we get there FIRST, and the "teshuva" comes after. That's the special lesson of Leil Pesach, which is why there is a VAV between those two simanim, and not between any others - Kadesh Urchatz!! When Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim the night of Pesach, WE WERE STILL ON THE 49TH LEVEL OF TUMAH. We didn't start improving until we got out, climbing each day until Matan Torah! AND YET HE STILL TOOK US OUT!! WE WERE STILL IN THE SHMUTZ, STUCK IN THE MUCK, and that DIDN'T STOP Hashem from loving us and taking us out! 

    Pesach is a VERY special time, when ALL Hashem wants and expects from us is that we RECOGNIZE that HE is the ONLY Master, and that we ONLY WANT to be HIS EVED. How do we do that? We'll learn HOW later, but for NOW we're declaring our ALLEGIANCE and our willingness to follow Him blindly out of Mitzrayim and into the desert.

    We don't know WHERE we're going, we don't know HOW we're gonna get there, we don't know WHAT we'll eat along the way, all we know is to TRUST in HASHEM and want to follow Him. He LOVES US, despite the shmutz! He DESIRES US!! And I'm gonna LOVE HIM right back!!

    This is a special message to us addicts - it DOESN'T MATTER that we're stuck now in the muck! On Pesach we can START A NEW SLATE by recognizing that HASHEM is the one in control of our lives, and we can determine to give up the fallacy that WE are in control. LET HIM CARRY OUR BURDEN. Let's move forward OUT of our personal Mitzrayim, and DON'T LOOK BACK!!

    Chag Kasher V'Somayach! May we all FEEL the Kedusha, and always remember how MUCH Hashem Loves us!!

     

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

     

    Category: Pesach

     

    And NOW He Brought Us Close     

     

    By "Yosef hatzadik"


    Mitchilah ovdei avodah zara hayu avoseinu v'achshav karvanu Hamokom la'avodaso. (Hagada Shel Pesach)     

     

    Mitchilah ovdei avodah zara hayu avoseinu & what changed. Why/how are we different??

    V'achshav karvanu Hamokom la'avodaso. Hashem brought us close to Him. It is NOT to our credit. Any Kirvas Elokim that we have is ENTIRELY because Hashem draws us close Him. HE allows us to serve Him!

    When did this 'drawing close' take place?

    V'achshav karvanu Hamokom la'avodaso. - NOW! At this present moment!

    Each & every moment that we are close to Hashem is a gift from Him! Each & every moment can be a NEW START. 

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 8

     

    Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Fourth Step"

     

    "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."[1]

     

    This step requires the recovering addict to try to honestly understand the pscho-social-spiritual sources of his addiction. This step clearly overlaps with the Torah's concept of "self-evaluation"or cheshbon hanefesh. This means that people need to try to understand themselves and their behavior on a deeper level and have accurate self-awareness of both their strengths and their limitations. This goal is stressed in the Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avos) in theMishnah.

     

    In this area there is much Torah literature, including such classics as Ramchal's Mesillas Yesharim, which explains how increased self-awareness means working on underlying "character defects" and not only enhanced psychological self-knowledge.

     


    [1] Narcotics Anonymous NA Blue Book, p. 27.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Turning the Ship Around

     

    The 3rd step is about switching to a new attitude that is something like this: "since G-d is... well, G-d, then He must know better than me. He can give me anything. And He could not possibly have anything against me, for He needs nothing - He doesn't even need me to listen to Him. He's G-d, period. It must be that exactly what He is giving me is the very best thing for me, right now.  

     

    It must be that I am the dumb one and He is the smart one in this 'equation'. Certainly I have made a shocking mess of things, so far. He has given me plenty of brochos - I ruined many of them. He gave me potential - I use much of it for selfish, self-destructive ends. He gave me relationships - I built a wall of lies with my 'double-life' and escapades and hidden shame.

     

    And by all indications, all will only continue to get worse and more convoluted under my 'strong leadership'.

     

    I'm finished. The sound of the 1st step is a quiet: "Uh-oh."

     

    Putting my life and will into His care is not focused on whether I agree to keep His mitzvos or not, but on whether I agree to start to really trust Him to take the best care of me possible. Or at least do a better job than I can to look out for myself. That's called 'enlightened self-interest" in the book, "AA". It is not a religious thing, but a personal decision that has to reflect my most honest self-centered desire: I need to really believe that it is what I want - not that I am 'being good'. And this is not a bad thing, as the gemorah says: we all intuit 'chayecha kodmin'. It's just a fact that survival is an instinct - and should be. In the steps, it is really what saves us.

     

    So many of us waited for a long and painful time for our righteousness to finally come to the rescue. So many more of us are out there, still waiting. Nu. The steps that I am familiar with get their initial power from instinct of survival, not from our (obviously failed) righteousness. It's the ultimate 'isarusa d'lsata', no? Think about it. It's the 3rd step - the step no one does perfectly. That's why it reads, "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a Power Greater than ourselves." It is a start, and it grows over a lifetime. But at least the ship is turned around!

     

    1009.
    Thursday ~ 17 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 21, 2011
    Chol Hamo'ed Pesach

     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcement: Phone Group starting Tonight  
    • Pesach: Z'man Cheiruseinu: An Independence Day Celebration? 
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 9 - The Fifth Step   
    • Daily Dose of Dov: I Refuse to be Relegated to the Trash Heap  

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

     

    Announcement

     

    Phone Group Starting Tonight  

     

    Yosef C. who is sober for close to 7 years in SA, will be starting a phone conference for reading, sharing and connecting. The first call will begin be"H tonight, April 21 at 10 PM (for 45 min to 1 hour). There will be second call on Motzai Shabbos, April 23 at the same time.

       

    Dial-In Number is: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356  

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~RR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

     

    Category: Pesach

     

     

    Z'man Cheiruseinu: 
    An Independence Day Celebration?

    By Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski

    I learned much from working with an addicted population.

     

    I know how you celebrate an Independence Day. Parades, picnics, hot-dogs, patriotic speeches, and fireworks-that's it. Whoever heard of an Independence Day that lasts a week, and for which you must prepare weeks in advance, cleaning the house and sterilizing the kitchen as if it were an operating room? That's a bit of an overkill for an Independence Day, isn't it?

     

    Oh, well. Jews like to do things differently. But then, every Friday night we say in Kiddush that Shabbat is in commemoration of our deliverance from Egypt. We don't invoke July 4 every week!

     

    But we're not finished yet. Tefillin and tzitzis are in commemoration of our deliverance from Egypt. Now it's a daily thing! In fact, many other mitzvos are in commemoration of our deliverance from Egypt. We must concede that as an Independence Day celebration, this is a bit much.

     

    I came to the realization of what zman cheiruseinu is all about when a young man who was recovering from years of heavy drug addiction attended his father's seder. When his father began reciting the Haggadah, "Avadim hayinu," we were slaves to Pharaoh, the son interrupted him. "Abba," he said, "can you truthfully say that you yourself was a slave? I can tell you what it means to be a slave. All those years that I was on drugs, I was enslaved by drugs. I had no freedom. I did things that I never thought I was capable of doing, but I had no choice. The drugs demanded it, and I had to do it. Today I am a free person."

     

    When the young man related this to me, Passover suddenly took on an entirely new meaning. Yes, we can be slaves to a tyrannical ruler. But we can also be slaves to drugs, to alcohol, to cigarettes, to food, to lust or to gambling. Any time we lose control of our behavior, we are slaves. If we are not in control of our anger, we are slaves to anger. People who cannot detach themselves from the office are slaves to it. A person can be a slave to making money or to pursuing acclaim. These are enslavements that are no less ruthless than being slaves to Pharaoh. We may surrender our precious freedom and allow our drives and impulses to exercise a tyrannical rule over us.

     

    It is now clear what zman cheiruseinu is all about. It is much more than political independence, and we can see why we are reminded of this not only during the week of Passover, but every Friday night and even multiple times during each day. We are at all times at risk of surrendering our precious independence and allowing ourselves to become enslaved.

     

    Make no mistake. A slave cannot exercise proper judgment and has no free choice. A person who wants to live and knows that cigarettes can kill him but is unable to stop smoking is a slave, and this is true of many behaviors which we may not consider addictions. Our thinking becomes distorted, as I explained in Addictive Thinking, and we rationalize our self-destructive behavior.

     

    The young man's comment to his father's reading of the Haggadah stimulate me to write a commentary, the Haggadah From Bondage to Freedom, in which I pointed out that far from bring a narrative of an historical event, the Haggadah is a text of identifying our addictive behaviors and a guideline on how to break loose from these enslavements and be free people.

     

    Animals are not free. They can not make a choice between right and wrong. They must do what their body desires. The uniqueness of man is that we are free to choose how to act. "Give me liberty or give me death" is more than a patriotic declaration. To the degree that we lose our freedom to choose, to that degree an element of our humanity dies.

     

    The teaching of Passover is to cherish freedom and not to submit to tyranny, even to the tyranny within ourselves.

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 9      

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Fifth Step"

     

    "We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."[1]

     

    The Rambam writes in Hilchos Teshuvah 2:5 that it is recommended to tell other people about one's shortcomings regarding mitzvos between man and his fellowman, but not those that concern the relationship between man and God. Here the Torah perspective can be seen to differ in some way from the Twelve Steps.  

     

    There is also an important Chassidic source in the introduction to Sefer Noam Elimelech, where a Jew is encouraged to "find a friend with whom he can speak openly and share his inner world completely, including thoughts and wishes that are considered forbidden."  

     

    Certain schools in the mussar movement also utilized the technique of an individual member sharing within the context of a group his inner process and struggles. "Rav Israel Salant advocated setting up 'mussar' houses. Some would come there individually. Others might come in groups at set times, and altogether vent their feelings and thoughts with intense fervor. Sometimes a member of a group would deliver an emotionally stimulating discourse and they would encourage one another."[2]

     


    [1] Ibid., p. 30.

    [2] Rabbi Dov Katz, The Mussar Movement (Tel Aviv: Orli Press 1977), p. 42.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    I Refuse to be Relegated to the Trash Heap 

     

    So, what is your plan, actually? Do you have any actual action-tools (things to do) that you didn't have for the past few years? If so, great. When they work, iy"H, share them with us. But if you are essentially trying basically the same thing and expecting a totally different result, then that's an entirely different matter. 

    I think we can agree that we are not talking about a mere habit here. We are talking about using a things like lust, shmutz, hz"l, and fantasy. These things engage a chunk of our brains that is (temporarily) wonderfully invigorating, and are powerful enough to create actual bodily sensations that cannot be wished away. For many guys, these things convince them that they are real men, and the center of the universe, at least for a little while. Hey...being a king for a few minutes is nice, no? So we get slapped around pretty good afterward...that inevitability rarely stopped any of us before, right? 

    What's more, being an addict who has been around that bush a few times myself, I believe that the innocent, well-meaning fellow who goes hunting for sobriety with the same stick-with-a-nail-in-it that he had before actually wants to get exactly what he got before: failure. After all, it is really hard for us to say goodbye to our friend, schmutz. And if anyone says "Ach! No, it's horrible!" then I ask him, "then why has it become so habitual for us?" Because it's evil? Who likes evil? No one I know. Oh, the YH made us do it? Well...I think that's a different religion, personally. I prefer yiddishkeit, myself - the religion that says we bear personal responsibility for our choices and yet can be completely forgiven by Hashem as long as we give the self-destructive behavior up. And I believe that if a man or woman is an addict, they really have lost the ability to fight this and are doomed to descend forever lower - until it hurts so much that they cry out to the only Power that is left: Hashem - the very One they were always running away from! The only 'Ace in the hole'. All the sincere plans, takanos, kabalos, chizuk groups, and white-knuckling eventually just run out. Charotoh is certainly very nice and may be a mitzvah of some sort, but is still basically useless for people like me. 

    I never stopped because of moral regret. I stopped because of having to make a choice between losing everything valuable in my life or hanging on to that open-ended expense account I discovered I had access to: Lust. It served its purpose for a while, then it turned on me and I still wanted it (and sometimes still do) but fully accept that I can't afford it. 

    I did it for me, not for Hashem, not for my family, not for Klal Yisroel, nor for my Olam haba. I did it for me right here and now, when the cost just became too much. So I have no interest in any s'char for it - not from Hashem, nor from you or anybody else who might admire me for staying sober....I am sober for selfish reasons. It's enlightened self-interest, that's all. I refuse to be relegated to the trash heap. I refuse to roll over and be road-kill - but I truly cannot stop!! I need a miracle to avoid the very first drink - the only one that really gets me in trouble.  

    So... it all depends on what you want and what you don't want. There are tools for those who have discovered that they don't have what it takes to win. Like me. And that is where the recovery I know of begins.

     

    1010.
    Friday ~ 18 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 22, 2011
    Chol Hamo'ed Pesach

     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcement: Phone Group Motzai Shabbos   
    • Pesach: Rushing out of Mitzrayim  
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 10 - The Sixth & Seventh Steps    
    • Daily Dose of Dov: The Day AFTER the Seder Night

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

     

    Announcement

     

    Don't Forget: Phone Group Motzai Shabbos   

     

    Yosef C. in SA will be moderating his second phone group for reading, sharing and connecting this Motzai Shabbos, April 23 at 10 PM. 

       

    Dial-In Number is: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356  

     

    After Pesach, Yosef's call will continue four times a week: Motzai Shabbos, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 10 PM.  

     

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

     

    Category: Pesach

     

    Rushing Out of Mitzrayim

    By Rabbi Moss

    To subscribe to Rabbi Moss's weekly emails: rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au 

     

    Question of the Week:

     

    What is the connection between eating matzah and escaping from Egypt? I know that the Jews left Egypt in such a rush, the dough didn't have time enough to rise. The men would have been saying to their wives, "Honey we gotta go in 10 minutes, just grab some food and let's go!!"

     

    So they happened to eat matzah - who cares? It doesn't seem at all significant. Why is matzah elevated to be main focus of the whole Pesach experience? I think Pesach is about freedom, not food!

     

    Answer:  

     

    Think about it. The Israelites had to rush out of Egypt so fast, they didn't have time for their bread to rise. Why? Does that make sense? What was the rush exactly? The Egyptians had just been blasted with ten plagues as divine punishment for holding the Israelites captive, they were more than ready to let them go. So why rush things? Couldn't they have spent the few extra minutes it takes to let the bread rise and make proper sandwiches for the trip?

     

    The answer is: they weren't running from the Egyptians, they were running from themselves. The two centuries of slavery had taken their toll on the Jewish people's spirit. They had forgotten their illustrious past as children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, pioneers of a path of ethics and higher morals. The corruption and depravity of the Egyptian society had slowly crept into the Israelite mentality, and they assimilated many of its paganistic ideals into their own. They were slaves to Egypt, not just in body, but in mind as well.

     

    It came to a point where their unique identity was all but lost. Suddenly they realised that the legacy of Abraham could be lost forever, and the message of hope that the Israelites were to bring the world would not be delivered, all because of them. Only then did they cry out for help. On the brink of point of no return, they called out to G-d.

     

    Think of an alcoholic. For a while, the alcoholic fools himself into thinking that things are in control, he is just drinking socially, it relaxes him, there's nothing wrong. Gradually, the habit overtakes him, and one-by-one he loses everything he has: his family, his job, his money, his dignity. But it's only when he hits rock bottom, when he has been stripped of everything, that it suddenly dawns on him that he has a real problem.

     

    Now he has to act fast. Once he has recognised the problem, he has to deal with it immediately, before that moment of clarity passes by and he slips back into self-justification. He can't do it alone. He's too drunk to help himself. He has to call for help. Someone from the outside, someone sober, will have to reach out to drag him out of his addiction. But they can only help him if he is willing to go cold-turkey, not to touch alcohol until he is cured. He has to run away from the addict that he has been until now. Otherwise he cannot begin to heal.

     

    That's why Matzah is the crux of what the exodus is all about. The children of Israel had to make a hasty retreat from Egypt. Egypt and its lowliness had a hold on them, as powerful as an addiction. They had to first get out of Egypt in order to get Egypt out of themselves. To delay would be deadly. Once they had realised the problem, if they would then have hesitated, it could have spelt the end for them - they may have sunk to the point of no return.

     

    Pesach is a de-tox retreat, where the spirit of liberty calls upon us to free ourselves from our personal Egypt. The Matzah reminds us that the first step towards freedom is to go cold-turkey. No hesitations; make a sudden and complete exodus from the you that was, and march through the desert towards the you that you can be.

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 10       

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Sixth & Seventh Steps"

     

    "We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."

     

    "We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."[1]

     

    These steps relate to the relationship between human effort (hishtadlus) and Divine response. There is a difference here between Torah and non-Jewish perspectives, with the Torah placing more emphasis on the value and possibility of an individual being able to change himself through his own efforts. However, ultimately the Torah recognizes that for an addict to truly recover, Divine assistance is necessary. This is stressed in Psalms 51:12, which is considered a psalm for repentance: לב טהור ברא לי אלוקים ורוח נכון חדש בקרבי, "Create a pure heart for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me."  

     

    The addict is asking Hashem to give him a new pure heart and to renew his spirit, which has been negatively affected through his active addiction. The verb "bara" (ברא) implies a new creation, [2] whereas the verb "chadesh" (חדש) implies a renewal.

     

    We also see this idea reflected in each of the Shabbos prayers that a Jew expresses with deep yearning: וטהר לבנו לעבדך באמת, "Purify our hearts to serve You in truth."  

     

    The Ramchalalso addresses the relationship between human effort and Divine response. He writes: "Holiness is twofold. Its beginning is labor and its end reward; its beginning is exertion and its end, a gift. That is, it begins with sanctifying himselfand ends with his being sanctified. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yoma 39a), if one sanctifies himself a little, he is sanctified a great deal; if he sanctifies himself below, he is sanctified from above."[3]

     


    [1] Narcotics Anonymous NA Blue Book, pp. 33-34.

    [2] Artscroll Commentary on Genesis, 1:1, Ramban (New York: Messorah Publications, 2004), p. 23.

    [3] Ramchal, Mesillas Yesharim (Feldheim), p. 326.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    The Day AFTER the Seder Night  

     

    I believe that Hashem heals us only one day at a time. Not for a week, a month, a year, and certainly not for a lifetime. I believe that for an addict, the "teshuvah gemurah" fantasy (as Chazal say for normal people: "he is omeid in one big nisayon so that Hashem is mey'id that he will never fall again") is simply irrelevant, the "final tikkun" is simply irrelevant - and actually, they are nothing less than triggers for our gayvoh and forgetting who we are. And that is why even on Rosh haShanah - or on the seder night I do not give in to my YH to expect Hashem or even to ask for Hashem to "help me stay sober this year" - I only ever ask Him for today, be it a regular day or even an epic day, such as RH or the heiligeh seder night. The day after the holy seder night- is the only day for me to be concerned with the day after the seder night. I like this simple and honest way to live, and it works. The old way did not, so I refuse to go back to it - I consider it kisli v'kei'i. Why try it again?

    My point is that He is either healing us right now - or He is not healing us, at all. We may not feel it, but it is happening as long as we are working some kind of (always very imperfect) program - and are sober today. (BTW, this is exactly R' Yisroel Salanter's interpretation of the story of R' Akivah on the beach.) 

    Besides, there may always be just as much progress ahead of us to make, as there is right now! Yehudi hu tamid baderech - ein hu yachol lavo l'shum tachlis (R' Nachman zy"a). Who knows? 

    And who cares? 

    Is 'never getting saved' a discouraging thought? It will be - if you are one of those who are waiting to be magically healed by Hashem so that you will no longer need to worry about anything. The only time that happens is when we die...maybe. And I'm not particularly interested in that right now, b"H, though I had my moments years ago. .

    I wish for you to let go of waiting for Him to 'heal you soon'. You are going in the right direction and are sober today. That is awesome, awesome, awesome - and for me, that must be enough. Everything else is icing on the cake. 

    The amazing change always comes, as long as we do today's business today and tomorrows business tomorrow. It's really simple. And that is one of the reasons that it's so good to be alive!  

     

    1011.
    Sunday ~ 20 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 24, 2011
    Erev Shvi'i Shel Pesach

     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcement: View All GYE's Phone Conferences in One Place    
    • Torah > Pesach: Kriyas Yam Suf - We Can't, He Can   
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 11 - The Eighth & Ninth Steps    
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Addict vs. Non-Addict

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

     

    Announcement

     

    View all GYE's Phone Conferences in One Place    

     

    Thank G-d, GuardYourEyes is growing and more and more phone conferences are being added over the months and years. B"H today we have 12 different phone groups with over 30 weekly calls. (A new group on general "Shmiras Ainayim" is starting after Pesach, be"H). 

     

    To help everyone keep track of all the available phone conferences, their times and call-in numbers, we created the following Google Doc Excel sheet. 

     

    GYE's Phone Conferences

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~RR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

     

    Category: Torah > Pesach 

     

    Kriyas Yam Suf: We Can't, He Can 

     

    Question: Why did Hashem tell Moshe to tell Pharaoh that the Jewish people just wanted to just leave "derech shloshes yamim - a way of three days" to serve Hashem, making it sound like we were planning to come back? Indeed when we finally left, Pharaoh sent spies after us to make sure we came back, and when they saw that we kept going after 3 days, they came back to Pharaoh and told him "ki barach ha'am - that the nation had ran away". Why did Hashem have to play tricks with Pharaoh? Why couldn't he tell him straight out to let the Yidden go for-good? After all, Pharaoh had no choice in the end, either way!

     

    Answer: Hashem wanted to leave Pharaoh with the illusion that he was the one who let the Yidden out in the end... even though he didn't have a choice. As it says in Parshas Bishalach, "vayehi bishalach Pharaoh es ha'am - and it was when Pharaoh sent out the people"... Pharaoh thought that he was the one letting them go. Because of this, the redemption still was not complete. It had to be 100% clear that it was Hashem who was taking us out. That is why Hashem played this game with him, so he should think he still had some "control" - and then he would "change his mind" and chase the Yidden. Only then was Hashem able to show that it was 100% His doing at Kriyas Yam Suf.


    Our addiction is like Pharaoh. The lesson we can learn from this is that the addiction won't let us go no matter what, until our ego gets hit so many times over the head (10 makkos) that the ego/Yetzer Hara himself agrees to let the person leave the addiction. However, this is still not bi'shleimus (complete) as long as we think that "we" (the yetzer or ego) is the one that let us out of the addiction. So it may work for a while, but then Hashem causes "Pharaoh" / the addiction to come chasing after us again. In other words, as long as we left the addiction because "we" decided to, but without a complete awareness that it was Hashem who got us out, ultimately it will not hold. It will chase us down again, because we still think "we" are in control somewhat. Like Pharaoh believed that he was the one to "agree" to let us out.


    Only when we stand before the Yam Suf in complete powerlessness, with the addiction chasing us from behind to enslave us forever, and with a raging sea in front of us where we "imagine" we will surely drown if we leave our addiction for good; only in such a state are we truly able to admit defeat and know that only Hashem can save us. And this is the state of awareness that Hashem wants us to reach; a point where we truly have a proper vessel for His help - i.e. to know with 100% clarity that only He can save us. And then He splits the Yam Suf and takes us out completely. "Hashem ish milchama, Hashem shemo - Hashem is the man of war, Hashem is His name".

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

    Excerpt 11   

     

    The Nachas Ruach approach defines five stages in the process of the development and treatment of addictions utilizing the model of Egypt as a metaphor. They are:

    1. Going into Egypt
    2. Becoming enslaved in Egypt
    3. Leaving Egypt
    4. Being in the desert
    5. Entering the promised land     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Eighth & Ninth Steps"

     

    "We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all."

     

     "We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." [1]

     

    These steps are compatible with the Torah's understanding of the process of teshuvah, which the Rambam stresses requires an individual to actively redress wrongs that he may have committed against another person, including returning money that had been stolen.[2]

     

    These steps are important for any person who has caused harm to another. They are particularly important for an addict, and though they are difficult steps, they are very worthwhile in helping him gain a sense of also being "clean" in this area as well as his active addiction. Emotionally, it allows him to become freer of the burdens and "unfinished business" of the past and gives him more of a possibility to go forward in a positive way. 

     


    [1] Narcotics Anonymous NA Blue Book, pp. 36, 39.

    [2] Hilchos Teshuvah 2:11.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Addict vs. Non-Addict

     

    I completely reject the idea that any yid who uses shmutz (fantasy) and hz"l once in a while is "an addict". As far as I am concerned, that is ridiculous. The badness of the aveira does not convert in into an addiction - at least per the 1st of the 12 steps that I know of. 
     

    An addict is unable to stop - his track record eventually teaches him this -hopefully before creating too much wreckage and destroying too many other people's lives. He (or she) is also suffering a great deal at the hands of the compulsion. Life is often looking acceptable on the outside, but truly nuts on the inside. And they are the only ones who can possibly decide whether or not they are addicts. 

    I have never met any guy who admitted he was an addict who got better by getting married. Maybe there are some, but I rather believe that this is often what happens to them: 

    Crazy over lust, they get married and drive their wives batty with lust demands for decades. This remains behind closed door. No one finds out about it...until they finally give up either because their wives are tired of the disgusting idea of being treated as an 'receptacle' for their husbands to act out all their fantasies - or the husband himself soon discovers that his poor, innocent wife cannot compete with the fantasy-woman (or women) burned into his heart. 

    The real success stories are of the men who are either addicts and in recovery, or were never addicts in the first place and grew up a bit after getting married. They learned what real life is like and let go of the childish fantasies - unlike myself. I did not do that. And here I am, totally unable to win the battle and yet sober today for the past 14 years, by His Chessed.

     

    1012.
    Wednesday ~ 23 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 27, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Happy Announcement: "Windows of the Soul" Group Starting     
    • Torah > Pesach: After Pesach... "Follow Me Into the Desert"    
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 12 - The Tenth Step 
    • Daily Dose of Dov: R' Shimon Bar Yochai Didn't Bring Along a Sandwich

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

     

    Happy Announcement

     

    "Windows of the Soul" Group Starting 

     

    We will IY"H be starting a new phone conference on general "Shmiras Einayim". This conference is applicable to all "males", not specific to addicts. We will be working through the book "Windows of the Soul" which is a 30 day program for learning how to guard our eyes.

     

    The plan is to start May 1st, Sunday - Thursday, at 6 PM each day. If you would prefer a later time, please write to us now and let us know so we can adjust the time as per the demand. 

     

    View all GYE's Phone Conferences in One Place    

     

    Thank G-d, GuardYourEyes is growing and more and more phone conferences are being added over the months and years. B"H today we have 12 different phone groups with over 30 weekly calls. 

     

    To help everyone keep track of all the available phone conferences, their times and call-in numbers, we created the following Google Doc Excel sheet. 

     

    GYE's Phone Conferences

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~RR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

     

    Category: Torah > Pesach 

     

    After Pesach... "Follow Me Into the Desert" 

     

    After the spiritual "high" of Pesach / Kriyas Yam-Suf, getting back to regular life can be rough for an addict. Immediately after kriyas Yam Suf, it says that the Yidden went for three days into the desert and that there was no water for the people to drink. This place was known as "Mara" - meaning "Bitter". Often, after breaking free from life-long habits and desires, one goes through a stage of "withdrawal" where he may feel "dried out". "And G-d showed Moses a branch and he placed it in the water and the water became sweetened". The Aitz or branch, refers to the Tree of Life which represents "G-d and his Torah". As one progresses on his journey to sexual purity, he is able to connect with G-d and the Torah in ways he was never able to before. It is this spiritual connection, this branch from the "Tree of Life", that sweetens the desert waters and replaces the lust and self-gratification that he had become so accustomed to, with the truly life giving waters of spirituality, sobriety, joy and a true freedom.

     

    Without this "branch" from the Tree of Life, the journey in the desert of sobriety remains truly "bitter" and one may end up returning to Egypt - "on the path that I told you that you shall not see again" (Devarim 28:68).

     

    See this page for ideas of how to increase the Torah learning in your life.

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Finding Happiness in Torah

     

    Yosef C. from the "Daily Wind Down" phone conference sent me:

     

    The Gemora in Chagiga 13a says "the innermost parts of Torah are only given to someone whose heart is worried or anxious within himself"...

    The Tzemach Tzedek (whose yartzeit is 13 Nissan) explains (derech mitzvosecha, tumas metzora 102,2) that "yiddeshe anxiety isn't depression c'v, rather a lack of open revealed connection to Hashem"... And "through connecting to Torah (in whatever form), the yid will truly be happy"...

    In other words, specifically because of our great anxiety within, we will therefore come so very, very close to Hashem and His Torah...

     

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    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

    Excerpt 12    

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Tenth Step"

     

    "We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it."[1]

     

    Self-evaluation, or cheshbon hanefesh, is also not a "one time deal" in Torah. For example, before going to sleep every night there is a custom to forgive others in one's heart and to do teshuvah for mistakes we may have made during the day. In the well-known "Letter of the Ramban" (Iggeres HaRamban), it is recommended: "Examine your deeds in the morning and in the evening, and in this way you will be doing teshuvah all your days."


     

    [1] Narcotics Anonymous NA Blue Book, p. 41.

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    R' Shimon Bar Yochai Didn't Bring Along a Sandwich

     

    Someone wrote to Dov:

     

    So let me see if I get this right:

     

    Step 1: Admit that my addiction of obsession with lust is making my life impossible.

     

    Step 2: I am not successful at managing or curing this addiction. But God can manage it for me. I need to turn to Him

     

    Step 3+ : Living in the solution: Turn my addiction management over to God. 

     

    Ok... now we're getting somewhere.

     

    Now, since I need to turn my addiction management over to G-d, how do I actually do that? I feel like a kid that's been handed a toolbox but has no idea how or when to use the tools.

     

    Dov responds:


    Yes chaver, we are definitely getting somewhere! Though...here are some further things that I feel I need to say about your above notes:

    Contrary to what you and others may have been told, the 3rd step is not primarily about giving my addiction to Hashem.

    If that was the main purpose of the 3rd step, then it would read completely differently - something like: 

    "We made a decision to turn our addiction over to the care of...", or "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of G-d as we understood Him in order to be relieved of our addiction." 

    Gevalt! How could focusing or directing our relationship with Hashem on enabling us to be relieved of lust be a way to "live in the solution"? It can't. So that is not what the 3rd step is all about.

    Of course we give up our right to masturbate or touch ourselves for pleasure, to use porn and fantasy for self-medicating, etc. We give them up because we cannot afford to use them any more. Not because Hashem, or our mothers, the Rabbis, or anybody else says we must. We cannot blame our sobriety on anyone but ourselves: we just stink at buying a great life using lust. It doesn't work for us.

    That's the 1st step - our contribution. We do not really take it - rather, it takes us. And it has little, if anything, to do with whether fantasy and masturbation are horribly assur or totally mutar. We just discover that we cannot manage our lives with it any more because it makes us meshugah and ruins everything. Our own 1st step inventory informs us that we cannot afford those luxuries any more - though others may very well be able to. And we begin humbly asking our G-d to remove the obsession with lust from us as we begin taking real serious steps to stay away from it.

    Then what is the primary meaning of the 3rd step? Reading it makes this crystal clear:

    It is about turning our lives over to Hashem's care. Our entire lives, not just our addiction. He does not want 'an addiction', He wants 'a yid'! He wants us. Rachmonah liba bo'i...He doesn't want my lust - He wants my heart; my attention (as the MHR"L would teitch it). That is the 3rd step. Starting to give Him my heart by putting Him in charge of my life, be'ikar in divrei r'shus. It is not mainly about being frummer - rather, it is about us admitting that he really is the Boss, Manager, determiner of all outcomes and taking excellent care of us, indeed.

    This is very different from what we have been doing till now, even if we are/have been frum yidden. A person - Jew or lh' gentile - cannot be compulsively using any drug and yet trusting Hashem to take good care of him. No way. We self-medicate precisely and exactly because our hearts tell us that G-d really does not know what He is doing and will fail us every time, unless we take matters into our own hands (very bad pun there, sorry). 

    So the first ingredient to taking the 3rd step is being sober ourselves. Rabbi Shim'on bar Yochai did not bring a sandwich, "just in case G-d didn't work," into that cold, dark cave with him. He let Hashem take care of him for 13 years.

    Well, our old and very familiar friends: porn, fantasy, and and masturbation, are the 'sandwiches' we bring into the cave with us. The 3rd step is the cave. Choosing to do anything - anything else rather than act our our lust is how we as addicts trust Him. We trust Him to take care of us even though we have given up our precious food: lust.

    And it hurts tremendously, even though we are frum, good people. And he can help us with that pain. And it's perfectly OK and we should admit the pain freely and openly to Him and to our fellows, if we wish to be free of it....for a change. 

    It is not a high madreigah, as many thousands of uneducated drug-addicted inner-city and country folk are doing this program successfully, too. And so can we.

     

    1013.
    Thursday ~ 24 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 28, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcements: Three Phone Conference Announcements  
    • Links: "Doomed" - Sometimes Hitting Bottom is Not Enough   
    • Testimonials: Mazal Tov to Steve on 500 Days Clean!     
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 13 - The Eleventh Step 
    • Daily Dose of Dov: To the Point of Survival

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    Announcements

     

    Join the "Daily Wind Down" Group Tonight  

     
     

    Yosef C. who is sober for close to 7 years in SA, will be moderating a phone conference for reading, sharing and connecting tonight. The call will take place four times a week at 10 PM: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Motzai Shabbos.

       

    Dial-In Number is: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356

     

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

     

    "Windows of the Soul" Group Starting 

     

    We will IY"H be starting a new phone conference on general "Shmiras Einayim". This conference is applicable to all "males", not specific to addicts. We will be working through the book "Windows of the Soul" which is a 30 day program for learning how to guard our eyes.

     

    The plan is to start May 1st, Sunday - Thursday, at 6 or 7 PM each day. If you would prefer a later time, please write to us now and let us know so we can adjust the time as per the demand.

     

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

     

    View all GYE's Phone Conferences in One Place    

     

    Thank G-d, GuardYourEyes is growing and more and more phone conferences are being added over the months and years. B"H today we have 12 different phone groups with over 30 weekly calls. To help everyone keep track of all the available phone conferences, their times and call-in numbers, we created the a Google Doc Excel sheet (click link above).

     

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

     

    Category: Links   

     

     

    DOOMED

    Sometimes Hitting Bottom is Not Enough

     

    Just change the words "Gambling" and "GA" in this article to "Lust" and "SA".  

     

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

     

    Category: Testimonials  

     

    Mazal Tov to Steve on 500 Days Clean!

     

    Steve leads the morning call of Duvid Chaim's cruise. (The next 12-Step Conference Call cycle is set to begin Monday, May 16, BEH"Y). Today Steve wrote:

     

    The 12 Step Program teaches us how to become Spiritually Fit, and when I am, the triggers can wiggle by and I just won't care to focus on them. Not 'white knuckling', boys, but BLESSED INDIFFERENCE. And I'm SOOOO thankful to Hashem for giving me of His strength to become Spiritually Fit!! 

     

    Rav Dessler points out that LOVE is created by GIVING, not by taking. The more we GIVE to someone, the more we love them. So when in the Shema Yisroel we are commanded to love Hashem, how can we get there? By GIVING to Hashem. But how can we give to He who owns EVERYTHING? We read in Hallel - "What can I give to Hashem for all His kindness to me? The cup of salvation I will raise, and praise the Name of Hashem." All I can give back to Hashem is MYSELF - to try my best to be a good eved and son to him, and to "raise the cup" of my salvation by publicly praising Him for his goodness and kindness to me.

     

    To this end, I am overly thankful to Hashem Yisborach for this delicious milestone he has helped me reach, for by the Grace of G-d I have just reached 500 days clean and sober from the Big Bad M. And of course, I COULD NEVER HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT THE BOOSTER ROCKETS OF MY HIGHER POWER, YOU GUYS IN THE CHEVRA & THE GYE FORUM! 

     

    Every day is still a struggle to keep my eyes and my mind pure, but it's the struggle of recovery, B"H, and very rarely white knuckling (but to be honest, sometimes I have to get through it that way still).

     

    May we ALL be zoche TOGETHER to give Hashem Yisborach the ultimate gift, to serve him with Kedusha and Tahara, to elevate our souls and fulfill His will always!

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

    Excerpt 13     

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Eleventh Step"

     

     "We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." [1]

     

    It is clear that prayer is the "lifeline" of a Jew and one of the three things upon which the world stands, as taught in Pirkei Avos 1:2. The Rabbis learned many of the halachic requirements for prayer (tefillah) from the prayers of Chanah: "He should be careful to pray the Shemoneh Esrei quietly, so that only he himself may hear what he says, but not the one standing next to him, as it is written of Chanah: 'Only her lips moved, but her voice could not be heard' (1 Samuel 1:13)."[2]

     

    It is suggested that there is a clear connection between the context of Chanah's prayer and fundamental recovery issues, as implicitly understood by the Twelve Step movement. Chanah went to the Sanctuary at Shiloh heartbroken because of her inability over many years to become pregnant. Her situation was made even more difficult by the fact that her husband's other wife (having more than one wife was permitted at that time) had many children "and provoked her again and again to irritate her"(1 Samuel 1:6).

     

    Her husband was aware that she was sad and said to her, "Chanah why do you cry and why do you not eat, why is your heart broken?"(ibid. 1:8).

     

    Channah continued to be depressed. "She was still feeling bitter and prayed to Hashem, weeping continuously"(ibid. 1:10).

     

    As she continued to pray deeply before Hashem, the text stresses that Eli the Priest observed her mouth. "Chanah was speaking to her heart; only her lips moved but her voice was not heard, so Eli thought that she was drunk. Eli said to her, 'How long will you be drunk, remove your wine from yourself!' Chanah answered and said, 'No, my Lord, I am a woman of aggravated spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, and I have poured out my soul before Hashem'" (ibid. 1:12-15).

     

    I would like to suggest that Eli understood that Chanah was experiencing the type of emotional anguish that would lead many to drink as a way to escape from their problems. However, instead of coping this way, Chanah "turned over to Hashem" and "spoke it out" from the depths of her heart, rather than seeking to "act it out" in a negative way.  

     

    The Twelve Step approach understood this as reflected in step eleven. Beyond that, the main medium of the group experience is that it encourages and positively reinforces addicts in recovery to openly express and "share" their inner struggles before the group, rather than "stuffing their feelings," which increases the likelihood of them "picking up again" the negative behavior.

     


    [1] Ibid., p. 43.

    [2] Berachos 30b.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    To the Point of Survival 

     

    Hashem does not tell me anywhere in the Torah not to be an addict! Yes, He does tell me not to look at shmutz, mz"l, stare at women, etc. But my addiction is not the aveiro itself. 

    My addiction - the only thing I actually need to be free of today - is the predictable attachment I have to lust, and is expressed in an obsessive, searching hunger for shmutz and fantasy, relations and hz"l, and other closely related behaviors. 

    The fact that I do these aveiros, is not my motivation for stopping, and may never be. It never worked before - why would I believe that it'd work now - even after ten or more years sober? 

    Rather, the only motive that was actually successful at 'getting me' to stop and seek the help I really needed was that I admitted that my obsession was actually making my life impossible. Till then, I would always have - and would always continue to have - excuses to continue my aveiros and obsession. Excuses like:

    1- It's too strong for me, so it's got to be OK, somehow;  


    2- I am so upset I am not married yet, so I'd better do this than a, b, or c with x, y, or z;

     

    3- She/He/they/G-d treats me so incredibly poorly that I deserve a little relief;

     

    4- I am absolutely sure that this is the only way I could possibly ever be and remain happy. Doesn't Hashem, who loves me so much, want me to be happy?

     

    5- I'll quit tomorrow/next month/by the time I am 50;  


    6- I'll start doing the aveiros less often and that proves I am better....etc,   

    I cannot rely on the Torah to save me. I need to rely on my own values. If I need to come to the point that survival is in question, it will not be pretty, but for many of us (maybe not all), that is just what is required. 

     

    1014.
    Friday ~ 25 Nissan, 5771 ~ April 29, 2011
    Erev Shabbos Parshas Kedoshim
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcements: Three Phone Conference Announcements  
    • Parshas Kedoshim: Article By Rabbi Avraham Twerski   
    • Parshas Kedoshim: Mischanneled Chesed 
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 14 - The Eleventh Step (2/2)
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Turning Our Back on Our Old Selves

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

     

    Happy Announcement

     

    "Windows of the Soul" Phone Group Starting Sunday 

     

     

     

    This Sunday, May 1st, a new phone conference on general "Shmiras Einayim" will begin be"H.

     

    Only 20 Minutes a Day!

     

    We will be working through the book "Windows of the Soul", which is a 30 day program for learning how to guard our eyes.

     

    Click here to purchase the book on-line.

     

    Click here to download a free PDF of book.

     

    The schedule for this call will be as follows:

     

    Sunday: 6:30 PM

     

    Monday - Thursday: 7:15 PM

     

    Dial in number: 712-432-0900

    Participant PIN: 424479

     

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

     

    Join the "Daily Wind Down" Group    

    This Coming Motzai Shabbos & Sunday Night

     

    Yosef C. who is sober for close to 7 years in SA, is moderating a phone conference for reading, sharing and connecting, four times a week at 10 PM: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Motzai Shabbos.

       

    Dial-In Number: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356

     

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

     

    View all GYE's Phone Conferences in One Place    

     

    Thank G-d, GuardYourEyes is growing and more and more phone conferences are being added over the months and years. B"H today we have 12 different phone groups with over 30 weekly calls. To help everyone keep track of all the available phone conferences, their times and call-in numbers, we created a special Google Doc Excel sheet (click link above).

     

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

     

    Category: Torah > Parshas Kedoshim    

     

     

    Kedoshim: Rashi vs. Ramban

    By Rabbi Avraham Twerski, Copyright © 2011 by The TorahWeb Foundation. 

    Permanent Link

     

    Hashem instructs Moshe to tell the Children of Israel, "Kedoshim tihiyu, you shall be holy," but does not specify what one must do to be holy. Rashi says that this means one must abstain from immoral behavior. Ramban says that it means one should restrain oneself from indulging in permissible pleasures. His famous statement is that a person might be a naval bereshus haTorah, a degenerate person who is technically observant of all 613 mitzvos.

     

    Today we can realize that these two interpretations are one and the same.

     

    The frum community is being swept by an epidemic - yes, a plague of addiction to internet pornography. As the Talmud says, when a plague occurs, it does not discriminate between tzaddikim and reshaim (Bava Kama 60a). This is afflicting men and women of all ages, some of whom appear to be stellar in Torah and Yiddishkeit!

     

    Satan is waging a ferocious battle, and it is claiming victims. Some bachurim are drifting away from Yiddishkeit, publicly and privately. They know that what they are doing is an abomination to Hashem, but because they cannot control themselves, they feel they have lost their connection with Hashem. Their davening and learning suffers, and even Shabbos observance is affected. Wives feel they have been betrayed, and marriages are ruined, with the children being innocent victims.

     

    The effort to stop this plague by outlawing computers and internet is unfortunately futile. Every day, more of our daily actions become dependent on the internet. It is predicted that check writing will become extinct and all transactions will take place on-line.

     

    Filters are the first line of defense, but essentially they are a defense to avoid accidental pop-ups. This is important, because if an indecent picture pops up and one does not immediately turn it off, one can be in trouble. Some people can become "hooked" by a single exposure of just several seconds.

     

    Unfortunately, filters are of limited value for the person who is addicted. One can find ways to circumvent the filters.

     

    I may sound naive, but I believe the only truly effective antidote to this terrible plague is developing a genuine sense of kedushah. A person would not think of taking a siddur or chumash into the bathroom. Yet, when one looks at pornography, one is doing much worse. One is taking one's neshamah, which is part of Hashem Himself, and dragging into the pits of disgusting filth! I believe that if a person had a true feeling of personal kedushah, one would be loath to defile it.

     

    Meticulously observing Shabbos, eating only glatt kosher, pas Yisrael and chalav Yisrael, as important as they may are, is not enough to gain a feeling of kedushah. Ramban said it well. One can observe Shabbos, eat only glatt kosher, pas Yisrael and chalav Yisrael, be an olam hazehnik and devoid of kedushah.

     

    Rashi and Ramban do not disagree. The only way to avoid immorality is to develop a feeling of kedushah, which is not achieved when we are indulgent in permissible gratifications.

     

    Kedoshim tihiyu is a Scriptural mitzvah, and its proper fulfillment is literally life-saving.

     

    There are few therapists that deal with pornography addiction. The website guardureyes.com is a most valuable resource for help, providing chizuk, education and anonymous support groups. Countless people have been helped by this website.

     

    There must be a dedicated effort at developing kedushah, in the home, shuls, yeshivos and girls schools. The study of mussar and Chassidic writings should be a profound emotional rather than an intellectual experience. Parents and teachers must realize that they must model kedushah in their lives, because only this way will our young people adopt it in their lives.

     

    I am not an alarmist, but I must say that we are at a crisis, and we must make heroic efforts to avoid disintegration of our families.

     

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

     

    Mischanneled "Chesed"

     

    By "ZemirosShabbos"

     

    Towards the end of the parsha, there is the section of arayos. In the pasuk about not having relations with a sister, the torah calls it a "chesed". Obviously this is a word that requires an explanation.

     

    The Radak says that this word has 2 meanings - kindness and disgrace. The reason being that the disgrace of immorality stems from an over indulgence in the desire to give, to do chesed. Giving without restriction or constraint will lead to immorality.

     

    For those of us who have encountered the disgrace of immorality, the Radak is telling us that it all stems from a burning desire to do chesed, to give. If we can channel it in the right direction and look after, this desire can help us give give give, but to the right causes.

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

    Excerpt 14

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Eleventh Step" (Part 2/2) 

     

    In the contemporary era, Rebbe Nachman's stress on personal meditation or hisbodedus has struck a surprisingly deep chord in modern man, who has the need to talk to God and share all his personal aspirations and struggles, hopes and fears.  

     

    Meditation is the highest path of all. One must therefore set aside an hour or more each day to meditate by himself in a room or in the field.

     

    Meditation should consist of conversation with God. One can pour out his words before His Creator. This can include complaints, excuses or words seeking grace, acceptance and reconciliation. He must beg and plead that God bring him close and allow him to serve Him in truth... This practice is extremely potent and powerful. It is an extremely beneficial practice in coming close to God. It is a general practice that is all inclusive. No matter what one feels he is lacking in his relationship to God, he can converse with God and ask Him for help. This is true even if one is completely removed from any relationship with God.

     

    There will be many times that one will find it impossible to say anything to God. His mouth will be sealed and he will not be able to find any words to say. Nevertheless the very fact that he has made the effort and has prepared himself to converse with God is in itself very beneficial. He has tried and is ready and prepared to converse with God, yearning and longing to do so, but he is unable. This in itself is also very good.

     

    Actually, one can make a conversation and prayer out of this itself. He should cry out to God that he is so far from Him that he cannot even speak. He should beg that God grant him mercy and open his mouth so that he will be able to express himself before Him.

     

    Many great holy men have related that they reached their high spiritual level only through this practice. However, it is a universal practice that can be used by great and small alike. Happy is he who grasps it."[1]

     

    Rabbi Nachman also taught: "It is very good to have a special room set aside for Torah study and prayer. Such a room is especially beneficial for secluded meditation and conversation with God."[2]

     


    [1] Rabbi Nachman, Outpouring of the Soul, "Hishtap'khuth HaNefesh," Teaching no. 2(Jerusalem: The Breslov Research Institute, 1990), p. 20-21.

    [2] Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom, translated and annotated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (Jerusalem: The Breslov Research Institute, 1973), p. 401.

     

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Turning Our Back on Our Old Selves  

     

    The steps (besides the first one) as I was taught them and use them, have little to do with getting me sober. That is what my first step is about, and why it is the only step that even mentions our addiction. The 3rd step and on are about keeping me sober. I must use the steps to turn my back on the entire way of life of an acting-out person. If I am still grappling onto lust "to kill it with one of the steps", I am a fool. Surrender either happens in my 1st step - which I may need to retake every single day or even many times a day - or it does not. The third step is about living in the solution, not about beating the problem. That is very, very precious and important to me.

    Now, 'having to do this stuff over and over' sounds like an insurmountable task, but that is just a complete lie. It is not at all insurmountable. Remember, people from all walks of life have, and are, living with this program, inner-city uneducated , farm-hands, hot-shot lawyers, rabbeim, and doctors....anyone can do this. Heck, our destructive feelings and desires come to us over and over! So, we have to eat, go to the bathroom, and breathe over and over, too...so what? Do we ever get overwhelmed by "the immense job ahead of us to eat and go to the restroom over and over multiple times a day for the next 30, 50, or 80 years!" Of course not. We know we will do this moment's job at that moment and the next moment's job in that moment. It's simple. And it will all be OK. 

     

    1015.
    Sunday ~ 27 Nissan, 5771 ~ May 1, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcements: Three Phone Conference Announcements  
    • Torah Thought: Don't Give Power to Flesh & Blood   
    • Torah Quote: Torah in the Bathroom?! 
    • Attitude Tips: How to Use Guilt 
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 15 - The Twelfth Step
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Reversed Order

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

     

    Happy Announcement

     

    "Windows of the Soul" Phone Group Starting Tonight!  

     

     

     

    This Sunday, May 1st, a new phone conference on general "Shmiras Einayim" will begin be"H.

     

    Only 20 Minutes a Day!

     

    We will be working through the book "Windows of the Soul", which is a 30 day program for learning how to guard our eyes.

     

    Click here to purchase the book on-line.

     

    Click here to download a free PDF of book.

     

    The schedule for this call will be as follows:

     

    Sunday: 6:30 PM

     

    Monday - Thursday: 7:15 PM

     

    Dial in number: 712-432-0900

    Participant PIN: 424479

     

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    Join the "Daily Wind Down" Group Tonight as well!     

    Yosef C. who is sober for close to 7 years in SA, is moderating a phone conference for reading, sharing and connecting, four times a week at 10 PM: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Motzai Shabbos.

       

    Dial-In Number: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356

     

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

     

    View all GYE's Phone Conferences in One Place    

     

    Thank G-d, GuardYourEyes is growing and more and more phone conferences are being added over the months and years. B"H today we have 12 different phone groups with over 30 weekly calls. To help everyone keep track of all the available phone conferences, their times and call-in numbers, we created a special Google Doc Excel sheet (click link above).

     

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    Category: Torah Thought   

     

    Don't Give Power to Flesh & Blood 

    A young man complained to the Kotzker that he was dominated by his wife. The kotzker replied that G-d had told Eve "To your husband shall be your desire, and he shall rule over you" If the first half of this statement is reversed, so is the second. [ Emet VeEmunah, page 21]

     

    Explanation: "To your husband shall be your desire" means that the woman is supposed to "desire" her husband (her desire is more a desire of security, dependency etc.). But in today's society, the desires of man are often so strong so that he is the one "desiring" his wife rather than she desiring him. Perhaps that is why women wield so much power in today's society, and maybe that is why men no longer "rule" their homes like in the old days.

     

    When we desire a woman for her body, we are making her into a form of Avodah Zara. We are deifying her. Tnu Oz Le'Elokim! Let us give power to Hashem instead - and not to flesh and blood.

     

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    Category: Quote > Torah     

     

    Torah in the Bathroom?!
     

    Sent in by Yosef C. from the Shulchan Aruch Ha'Rav Siman 85, Sif 4:

     

    "One should think divrei Torah even in a bathroom, if that's the only way to keep thoughts of women out of his head"

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    Category: Attitude Tips     

     

    How To Use Guilt

    From an article by Rabbi Moss.
    E-mail rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au to subscribe to his weekly e-mails.

    Guilt is to the soul what pain is to the body. Pain itself is not a good thing, but it does serve a positive purpose. Pain alerts you to a problem that requires action, it calls you to seek its source and alleviate it.

    Guilt serves a positive purpose too. Guilt that eats away at us is pointless. But guilt can be used as a catalyst for becoming a better person, when it alerts us to acknowledge mistakes we have made, take responsibility for them and not blame others - even if others were partially to blame - and then resolve to be better for the experience. We must turn around the negative feelings, so they can propel us to do more good.
     
    Guilt creates a void in our soul. Fill that void with something meaningful. Redirect your energy towards a new venture that will benefit someone in need. That way you don't just alleviate the guilt, you actually transform it into a force for good.
     
    You can't bring back the potential that was lost. But you can reclaim your own potential. Don't let guilt paralyze you any longer. Ask G-d to forgive you. Then turn your guilt around, and use it as a springboard for positive action. Make what was a negative chapter in your life into the introduction to the next chapter; making the world a better place, starting from you.
     

     

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    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

    Excerpt 15

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps

     

    "The Twelfth Step"  

     

    "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs."[1]

     

    The Twelve Step orientation understands that having a spiritual awakening should lead to sharing the positive benefits of this experience with others who are in earlier stages of recovery. The Torah stresses that an increased awareness of God's reality and presence should ideally motivate a Jew who is created in the Divine image to "imitate His ways" (והלכת בדרכיו). Chazal explain this to mean, "As He is merciful and compassionate, you should also be."[2]

     

    This step is also related to the Torah concept that כל ישראל ערבין זה לזה, "All of Israel are responsible for each other,[3]  which is based on the fundamental principle and aspiration of Torah to "Love your fellow man as yourself, I am Hashem"(Leviticus 19:18).

     

    [1] Narcotics Anonymous NA Blue Book,  p. 48.

    [2] Talmud Bavli,Shabbos133b.

    [3]Talmud Bavli, Shavuos 39a.

     

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Reversed Order   

     

    I have not found it to be true that one must first love themselves before they will be able to love others, as I have heard many people say. Nor do I buy that a healthy self-esteem is needed at all, in order for anyone to recover. Nor do I believe that I needed to feel forgiven, in order to save my life and actually learn how to stop being dependent on lust and acting out. Rather, in my own case and in that of others I know, the order is reversed. First I stay sober one day at a time no matter what, by learning to be honest with others, cuz I must. Then I do my steps and begin to give at least a tiny sliver of my life to G-d. Then, I come to see all my character defects. Only after being absolutely clear how powerful a force pride and fear are in my life, do I finally come to be comfortable with myself.  

     

    I could not comfortably look in my own eyes in a mirror until a month or so after doing my 4th step inventory the first time. I was sober a year and a half at that time, and discovered that I hated myself - until I came face to face with myself with all my warts and good qualities, too, and accepted the facts about me. I got right-sized and started to stop being so demanding on G-d, on my wife, and on anybody. I came to admit that my inner life is all - 100% - up to no one but me. Ein hadavar tolui ella bee, as they say, right? And the most essential ingredient in the entire thing was that I was no longer here to just feel better, but to stop acting out so that I might yet live.

     

    1016.
    Monday ~ 28 Nissan, 5771 ~ May 2, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcements: The Lakewood Scoop & Other Phone Conference Information   
    • Attitude, Torah Thought: Where to Put That Powerful Energy   
    • Poems, Parables: Patience
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 16 - Six Additional Concepts 
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Sometimes Low Self-Esteem Comes From Pride

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    The Lakewood Scoop announces:

     

    Guard Your Eyes Launches 'Shmiras Einayim' Phone Conference

     

     Last evening's call was a success! 

     

    If you missed the call, you can call 712-432-0990 and enter the code 424479 to hear a recording.

     

    Join us tonight again at 7:15 PM EST.

     

    Dial in number: 712-432-0900

    Participant PIN: 424479

     

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

     

    Important: Elya's Group will not take place this Monday evening.  

    Please join us next week Monday instead.      

     

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

     

    View all GYE's Phone Conferences in One Place    

     

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

     

    Category:  Attitude, Torah Thought     

     

    Where To Put That Powerful Energy

    Shared by Yosef C. who is sober in SA for nearly 7 years.

     

    I now rejoice with my inner animal: and boy is he big! This 'super passion' that I feel, is a most wondrous thing. Of course, acting out is out of the question: period.

    So now what? All this energy must go 'somewhere'.

    Here comes responsibility and a schedule.

    The yetzer is always lurking, let's not kid ourselves. However, Hashem is much, much stronger. As intimidating as the yetzer may seem at first, when all is said and done, he's really just an 'old foolish king'. Hashem can wipe the floor with him in a second.

    So here I am, at work, not acting out, doing what's asked of me, and with a whole full scheduled day ahead of me to look forward to. My family needs me later, and I'll be there: sober, and with a smile. I have friends here at work, and all my conversations are with a smile. Anger and tension are avoided as I LUST to be nice to others and keep a calm and serene ruach about me. I listen to what others say, and 'let go' of my own erroneous conclusions all day long. I already look forward with great happiness and gratitude, to the daf I plan on learning tonight as well.

    The energy from the yetzer is POWERFUL and it was given to us to be channeled and harnessed: only and entirely for our benefit as yidden with Hashem: Just as one would put a saddle on a wild strong animal. With G-d, we won't fall off. "When we're connected above, we don't fall below".

    Just see the holy words of the Holy Tanya in ch. 27. In shema we say, "don't stray after your eyes and heart, which you act immorally from them." For sure this isn't talking about tzadikim, to say THEY(!?) act immorally?!! Rather, this commandment is for the 'average guy' who may indeed act immorally"

    So we, all of us, 'average guys' have a mitzva d'oraysa that the 'holly rollers', the real tzadikim, don't have. And if THAT ain't a reason to rejoice, please tell me what is!

    (For the avoda of those 'super spiritual' tzadikim, see Tanya ch. 10. As for us, I'm personally happy with my 'lot' 'down here' on the front lines).

     

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    Category: Poems, Parables

     

    Patience

     

    By J.M

     

    It took time

    It wasn't easy

    Many tried and failed

    Some gave up hope it would EVER happen

    We kept trying, to no avail

    but finally....

     

    We killed Osama Bin Laden.

     

    So too....

    It takes time

    It's not easy

    Sometimes we fail

    We feel like were are hopeless

    Some give up that it will EVER happen

    We keep trying, to no avail

    but TOGETHER we WILL

     

    Kill our Yetzer Harah

     

    Let today mark the start of a new era in the battle against terror

    And in each Jew's battle against their yetzer...

     

    When things seem hopeless remember...

    We are kadosh... We CAN do it!

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

    Excerpt 16

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the Twelve Steps"   

     

    I have learned to value the Twelve Steps as providing a basic psycho-social-spiritual foundation for understanding addictions and recovery. The steps are compatible with the Seven Mitzvos that were given to the sons of Noach after the Flood. As learned from the Torah, they delineate the universal laws of morality that are based on the foundation of faith in the God of the Bible.[1] Chazal also teach that דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה, "Derech eretz, or basic morality, preceded the Torah" (Vayikra Rabbah 9:3).

     

    In this light, it is taught in the name of Rav Chaim Vital, the main student of Rav Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal), that "character traits provide the principal preparation for the 613 commandments, whether in respect of observing or transgressing them."[2]

     

    Working extensively with Jewish addicts since the mid 1980s, I have seen the need and possibility to supplement the "official Twelve Steps" with six additional Torah concepts. It has been shown in this chapter that the Twelve Steps can be understood from a Torah perspective and are basically compatible with Judaism. Nonetheless, it is not possible to avoid the historical fact that the steps and the worldview upon which they were based were developed by those whose faith was not Jewish. Thus, in the Nachas Ruach approach, I utilize six additional Jewish concepts in the Chai program (12 + 6 = 18 = chai) when working with groups and in individual psychotherapy, in a way that enhances the program for many Jewish participants. 

     

    These are the six concepts that the Nachas Ruach approach has incorporated:

     

    1. "Beloved is man, who was created in the Divine image" (Pirkei Avos 3:18).

    "חביב אדם שנברא בצלם, חיבה יתרה נודעת לו שנברא בצלם שנאמר: כי בצלם אלוקים עשה את האדם"

     

    2. "Taste and see that God is good. Happy is the man who trusts in Him" (Psalms 34:9).

    "טעמו וראו כי טוב ה' אשרי הגבר יחסה בו"

     

    3. "Rabban Gamliel used to say... Find yourself a Rav" (Pirkei Avos 1:16).

    "רבן גמליאל היה אומר עשה לך רב"

     

    4. "And the study of Torah is equivalent to them all" (Maseches Shabbos 127).

     "ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם"

     

    5. "You shall be Holy, for Holy am I, Hashem your God" (Leviticus 19:2).

    "קדושים תהיו כי קדוש ה' אלוקיכם"

     

    6. "Do not return to Egypt..." (Deuteronomy 17:16) - relapse prevention.

    "לא-ישיב את העם מצרימה...לא תוסיפו לשוב בדרך הזה עוד"

     


    [1] Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 56a.

    [2] Rav Chaim Vital, Shaarei Kedushah 1:2.

     

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Sometimes Low Self-Esteem Comes From Pride  

     

    Dov Talks About Step 4: "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

     

    I believe that one of the main reasons that I was always hurting so much inside and felt so down on myself, was that in the things that really mattered, I honestly and innocently expected unrealistic things for myself. It was torture. I felt it was a great injustice that I was not considered one of the best guys in the beis hamidrash - yet I am a mediocre lamdan. My guts felt that I was such a loser that I was not on as high a madreiga as some others I saw - yet I really am in need of much growing up and other work. It all put the spotlight on my weaknesses and I needed to shift the blame and find a nechoma. Everyone deserves a nechoma from pain. Even innocent fools. 

    But once I finally got comfortable with the facts about myself, I began to get comfortable with my life, with the people around me, and of course, with Hashem. See, I was helped to see that the thing that made me feel so sure that I was a pathetic excuse for a yid was: my Pride! I had an inflated self image that was killing me, not just a deflated one. I expected R' Akiva status - though I am just Dov, and need a lot of basic work.

    This perspective has shocked the heck out of more people than I can count, for we were always led to believe that 'poor me' is a symptom of low self-esteem. That is often a lie. So pumping up the self-image is the exact wrong way to go, if I want to really stop needing artificial things to alleviate me of my great disappointment.

    And I believe that the common taina that "once I am convinced that I have (oversensitivity, and inflated self-image and expectations, fear, and other) character defects, I will give up and just not try to grow at all in the beis midrash, learning, avodah, and lose ambition" - is not true, either. Quite the opposite happens to everyone I know who has ever done their 4th step. They feel that for the first time they now have the tools to be realistic and effective and to grow, unfettered by irrational and childish thinking. I started to slowly get happy after my 4th step, more than any other.

     

    1017.
    Tuesday ~ 29 Nissan, 5771 ~ May 3, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Today's Phone Conferences: Shmiras Einayim / "Daily Wind Down"
    • Member's Chizuk: Powerless Over the Waves, but Not Over the Ship   
    • Torah, Hashkafa: Three Steps of Tikkun
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 17: Concept 1 of 6 Additional Concepts 
    • Daily Dose of Dov: A 'G-d Help' Program

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

    Today's Phone Conferences

    View All Conferences Here 

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

     

    Join the 'Shmiras Einayim' Phone Conference
    Tonight at 7:15 PM EST.

     

    Dial in number: 712-432-0900

    Participant PIN: 424479

     

    If you missed the previous calls, you can download recordings here:

    Day 1  /  Day 2 

     

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

     

    Join the "Daily Wind Down" Group Tonight 


    Connect with Hashem at the end of a hectic day - together with Yosef C. (who is sober for close to 7 years in SA).  

     

    Four times a week at 10 PM: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Motzai Shabbos.

       

    Dial-In Number: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356

     

     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Category: Member's Chizuk 

     

    Powerless Over the Waves, But Not Over the Ship

     

    By Yosef C. (from the phone conference above)

     

    When a large tanker is sailing fast through the ocean, it causes a strong current of water which also follows it's direction: quickly, and powerfully. Turning the ship around however, takes massive energy to first make the turn, and then, to go AGAINST the flow that the ship itself caused.

    But...

    Just like the ship DOES soon gain momentum in the opposite direction, so too will we, with G-d and friends. A network of friends sincerely reaching for kedusha with full honesty together, is  the most powerful engine there is.

    And just like the ship can easily plow through the old 'opposing waves', it itself caused,  so too do our 'old waves of insanity' not only don't  slow us down, but even motivate us to 'hit the gas' even more on our engine: with even MORE prayer, MORE positive thinking, MORE acts of love to those around us, MORE positive and productive connections, MORE honesty, and just MORE of everything good and Holy.

    We control the ship (not the waves), happily; as Yidden, Hashem's beloved nation.

      

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    Category: Torah, Hashkafa 

     

    Three Steps of Tikkun 

     

    A letter addressed to a teenager who asks for advice on how to stop watching movies on his cell-phone. The advice here can be applied to our struggle as well:

     

    "According to the Ba'al Shem Tov, every process of tikun (repair, rectification) that we undergo must follow through three stages: submission (hachna'ah), separation (havdalah) and sweetening (hamtakah). 

    In your case, the first stage is to quit "cold turkey" by submitting your will to Hashem's will and immersing yourself in Torah study.

    Once you have begun that, the stage of havdalah begins. You need to clarify for yourself what it is that you are lacking spiritually that makes you find those films fulfilling on a physical/emotional level. This stage is best accomplished by talking things over with a mashpia (a mentor) or a close friend or relative.

    The stage of sweetening appears when, as a result of your avoda (serving Hashem) the spiritual need that you were erroneously trying to satisfy by watching films, is satisfied by the level of spirituality that your Divine soul was searching for all the time and you no longer feel at all drawn to be duped by the pseudo-satisfaction that you find in those films.


    (The ideas brought here are explained in detail in the book "Transforming Darkness into Light" by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, shlit"a)"

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 17 

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

     

    1. "Beloved is man, who was created in the Divine image" (Pirkei Avos 3:18).

     

    The concept that each person is created in the Divine image is the foundation of a Torah-based psychological theory of man's nature, and this should in turn be the basis for developing positive self-esteem. This applies to everyone, and is even more important for addicts. Dr. Twerski stresses that "low self-esteem is a major source of addictions."[1] From this understanding, it is clear that an important goal in the treatment of addictions is to improve self-esteem.  

     

    Concept one addresses this practical issue of recovery. Already in the first chapter of the Torah it is taught that man is created in the Divine image: ויברא אלוקים את האדם בצלמו בצלם אלוקים ברא אותו זכר ונקוה ברא אותם, "God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27).

     

    The Torah recognizes that man is created with a dual nature, with a physical and a spiritual dimension and reality. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul"(Genesis 2:6). While understanding that there is a basic conflict between the body and the soul, we also understand that it is the latter that is man's true essence and eternal element.[2]

     

    We also learn in Pirkei Avos in the name of Rabbi Akiva that man should be aware that he was created in the Divine image. "Beloved is Man, for he was created in God's image; it is indicative of a greater love that it was made known to him that he was created in God's image" (3:18).

     

    The psychological implication at the core of the Nachas Ruach Treatment Model is that each individual has intrinsic value and unique potential, as one created in the Divine image regardless of his current achievements or problems. This basic truth is particularly important in contemporary society, where most people have "absorbed" the belief that self-esteem and self- worth are highly associated with one's actual achievements. Also, there is a tendency to define oneself in relation to limitations that he or she might have, as seen professionally when clients are labeled according to their diagnostic category. In contrast to over-identifying with one's problems, the Torah believes that "the soul in its essence always remains healthy and pure."[3]

     

    [1] Let Us Make Man: Self-Esteem Through Jewishness (New York: CIS Publishers, 1987), p. 35.

    [2] Rabbi Naphtali Wiesner, In His Image (New York: Mesorah Publications, 1992), p. 19.

    [3] Ibid., p. 54.

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    A 'G-d Help' Program

     

    I think we desperately need to quit our preoccupation with lust and thinking about our 'addiction patterns' and stop seeing our 'triggers' everywhere.

     

    When we use the steps, we are not trying to 'kill our addiction with analysis', but rather to get ourselves and our over-sized brains out of His way, for a change.


    This is not a self-help program, but a G-d-help program. G-d is the solution, not us and ever more of our 'wonderful' thinking that got us in this mess in the first place. As I love to quote Chuck C from AA, "We can't think ourselves into right-living. We can only live ourselves into right-thinking." 


    Mainly, we need to shut up and flap our wings in the right direction, not think our way out of our addiction!

     

    1018.
    Wednesday ~ 30 Nissan, 5771 ~ May 4, 2011
    Rosh Chodesh Iyar
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Today's Phone Conferences: Shmiras Einayim 
    • Attitude, Hashkafa: I'm Built of Miracles! 
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 18: Concept 1, Part 2  
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Get Free Through Surrender

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

    Today's Phone Conferences:

    Click here to view all conferences 

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

       

    Join the 'Shmiras Einayim' Phone Conference   Tonight at 7:15 PM EST.

     

    Important:

    Next week Mon-Thurs, the time is changing to 8:00 PM due to popular demand.

     

    Dial in number: 712-432-0900

    Participant PIN: 424479

     

    If you missed the previous calls, you can download recordings here:

    Day 1  /  Day 2  /  Day 3

     

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

     

    Category: Attitude, Hashkafa 

     

    I'm Built of Miracles!  

     

    Yosef C. who is sober for almost 7 years, shared this with me today: 

     

    I was walking in the street today and something SO momentous hit me today! Really! Something so earth-shakingly big I felt blessed to realize it! I'm not sure if anyone else has been enlightened to this, but this news is BIG TIME and I wanna share this secret with friends. It's powerful stuff that is worth thinking about. So here's what I realized..

    You ready?

    Women aren't going away.

    That's right,

    they're here to stay.   

    Pretty ones. Short ones. Tall ones.. All of'em.
    Every day, all my life, they'll be here.

    And...

    They we're put here by a kind creator, who has purpose for them too...

    But then,...   

    Something else hit me pretty hard..   

    Something even MORE AWESOME!!!...

    I'M A YID!

    That's right!

    ICH BIN A YID! DER EIBISHTER'S A KIND!

    YES! ME PERSONALLY! I'M THE FIRST BORN, MOST UNIMAGINABLY PRECIOUS GEM, TO THE HOLY CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE!!!

    EVRYONE(!) sees how the face of a child looks like the parents.

    I RESEMBLE HASHEM!! HE'S IN ME!

    I'm living proof right here and now of an eternal promise to an eternal people.

    From as far back as Avraham...

    YES ME!!!.... I'M THE LINK IN THE CHAIN!!!

    Wow! Yes me! I'm that one!   

    My soul, and the souls of all my people are ..
    Forever.


    YES! THIS IS TRUE!!!
    I'M BUILT(!) Of miracles...
    They're in my genes!

    Should I be so attached to the negative, selfish and purely physical parts of the world and people around me!?!?!?

    Who taught me that!?!?

    That's not me!!

    The two just don't go together AT ALL!

    The very fiber of my being contains direct access to the greatest infinite spirit of strength, hope, and real miracles the world has ever known.

    NO JOKE!!!

    When I close my eyes with sincerity, nothing has stopped me from connecting to the POWER of our Holy ancestry.... NOTHING!

    There are passions in the world you say???  SO WHAT! I'm a yid!

    I ALSO have passions. I LUST for a happy family, a good world, and I slowly see MY (G-D's) passions being fulfilled!   

    I know you want the same...

    The world looks EXCITING... Right?  OOOOOHH. AAHHHH..

    SO WHAT!

    Such a holy being as me; part of a nation of which HASHEM HIMSELF(!) says of us that "We are testimony that He exists" (we are ALL walking revelations of divine MAJESTY) could really have a long lasting, true connection with....... GASHMIUS!?!?!

    WHAT?!?!

    It can't be; it'll never be. It's scientifically, metaphysically and just plain rationally IMPOSSIBLE.

    A parent raises a child. ALL of us here are a "ben olam haboh"! It doesn't mean we will 'get there'...

    It means Olam Haboh, (YES TIMELESS HEAVEN ITSELF), is 'raising' us...

    RIGHT NOW! Nurturing us... Tending to us..

    Fire doesn't bend down to enter the waters of the 'mayim rabim'!

    It's diametrically the polar opposite! They have zero relevance, one to the other.

    Fire (and the fire of my soul) inherently reaches UP!

    My body does indeed burn sometimes, but compared to the endlessness and sanctity of the accomplishing soul, it's felt even LESS than an ambulance passing in the very far distance in the night... 

     

    (Much of this was based upon ch's 29-35 in Tanya, and just simple yiddishe life experience of sobriety in a very busy city, with B"H a growing, happy, not wealthy family).

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 18

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

     

    Concept 1: Part 2

     

    1. "Beloved is man, who was created in the Divine image" (Pirkei Avos 3:18).

     

    The Torah obviously doesn't deny one's "issues" but sees them as external to his deepest inner self. Thus, a main goal of the Nachas Ruach treatment is to help the client know this intellectually and internalize this truth unconsciously, and from this place rebuild a healthy self-esteem. For example, the Twelve Step program correctly requires an addict to continue to say, "I am Joe Smith and I am an addict, clean for the past ten years." This is necessary so the addict won't "fall back" into denial, which is the first step to relapse. The Chai group clearly recognizes this requirement of the program. However, it encourages the recovering addict to say as well, "I am Moshe Cohen and I am an addict, clean for the past eight years. I am also a Jew created in the Divine image." When a Jewish addict says this, he is recognizing that he has intrinsic value, positive potentials, and the possibility to grow.  

     

    Being created in the Divine image is also the source of man's free will, and the Sfat Emet teaches that this also gives him the responsibility to live a life congruent with his potential and true value.[1] The classical Twelve Step program teaches an addict how to "stay clean;" Torah-based recovery emphasizes why an addict should want to be clean - because he is a person created in the Divine image.

     

    In summary, the Nachas Ruach formulation means that while an addict should never forget that he has a "chronic disease," he doesn't have to and should not define himself only in terms of that disease. He should also recognize and affirm that his unique Divine spark, which is his essential self, is always clean.

     

    [1] Rabbi Yosef Stern, The Three Festivals: Insights of the Sfat Emet (New York: Artscroll Publishers, 1994), p. 255.

     

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Get Free Through Surrender 

     

    'Hanging on' just for today while doing nothing to learn tools to get free of lust is nothing but a bastardization and poor usage of the old adage, 'One Day at a Time". Spare me of that fate, please. I want to surrender lust one day at a time, not hold my breath and pretend I am overcoming it.
     

    There is a beautiful line in the White Book in a short intro piece titled, "The Problem", and it goes like this: "the only way we knew to be free of it was to do it." I have always found it very profound and also helpful when I have a desire.  

     

    When I get a stupid idea like "Yep, following her or getting a better look at that would really help me out" and it doesn't just go-away after I say no (which proves to me that my body really believes that it is good for me, in fact, that my body innocently and honestly believes that I need it; exactly like I am convinced - by my stomach - that I need food when I am starving),  I ask Hashem to help me remember that there will always be yet another stupid lust image/fantasy/pretty lust object out there later, so 'getting over' my current desire by 'doing it' will not do me any good, at all - the exact same feeling that 'I must have this' will return. Nothing will have changed at all. 

     

    1019.
    Thursday ~ 1 Iyar, 5771 ~ May 5, 2011
    Rosh Chodesh Iyar
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Today's Phone Conferences: Shmiras Einayim / Daily-Wind-Down 
    • Audio Links: How to Relate to Our Past Aveiros  
    • Testimonials: True Living
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 19: Concept 2    
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Accepting the Real Truth About Ourselves                         

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

    Today's Phone Conferences:

    Click here to view all conferences 

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

       

    Join the 'Shmiras Einayim' Phone Conference  

    Tonight at 7:15 PM EST.

     

    Important:

    Next week Mon-Thurs, the time is changing to 8:30 PM due to popular demand. (Sunday remains at 6:30 PM) 

     

    Dial in number: 712-432-0900

    Participant PIN: 424479

     

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

     

    Join the "Daily Wind Down" Group Tonight 


    "Connect with Hashem at the end of a hectic day"  

    Together with Yosef C. (who is sober for close to 7 years in SA).  

     

    Four times a week at 10 PM: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Motzai Shabbos.

       

    Dial-In Number: 1-712-429-0690

    Participant PIN: 225356

     

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

     

    Category: Audio Links

     

    How to Relate to Our Past Aveiros

    From Rabbi Avigdor Miller 

     

    Click the title to download this insightful 5-minute clip is from a Shiur by Rav Avigdor Miller, ZT"L (#643: In the Wilderness of Sinai). In response to a question, Rav Miller explains that, when we do Teshuva, we should feel repulsed by our past Aveiros.  Often, however, a person may stop doing a particular sin, but still feels nostalgic every time he thinks about it.  Such a person is missing the element of Charata (regret) in his Teshuva [and, we may add, is more likely to fall back into his previous ways].

     

    This clip is being shared with permission from the copyright holder.  The entire Shiur, and close to 2,000 other Shiurim, can be ordered by contacting Rabbi Yehuda Brog at 718-258-7400 or RMTapes@projecttransformer.com.

       

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

     

    Category: Testimonials

     

    True Living

     

    By "Zemiros Shabbos"

     

    The past year has been different than most of the years of my life until now. Greater awareness, hope, a shared struggle, a glimpse of some truly precious neshomos who populate GYE, a feeling of belonging to a group of truly good people, an entirely new perspective on relating to the RBS"O. With much deep gratitude to Hashem Who has bestowed His kindness on me and has kept and protected me for the past year and drawn me along His path to grow and live in a truer way, part of that being keeping a distance from lust, both online and off. 


    Please Hashem, continue to shower me with kindness and protection and guide me and lead me along the path of growth and true living.


    Being clean in practical terms sometimes means only that the options and factors needed for a fall just weren't in place, and while that is precious and good, it is not the final solution we seek. What we seek is a change of attitude, coupled with a change of habits/behaviors. Inner change takes time, and time takes time... and effort... and perseverance. I pray that I never think I am done / fixed / all-better, but rather that I continuously grow and move up, becoming a better person, a true yid and to build a real relationship with Hashem.

       

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

     

    Excerpt 19

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 2 

     

    2. Taste and see that God is good. Happy is the man who trusts in Him - Psalms 34:9


     

    One of the issues that the Twelve Steps does not address explicitly is the positive need to have joy in life. It is true the program teaches that the ideal goal of recovery is to be "clean and serene" rather than just being a "dry drunk." Achieving serenity is a very important outgrowth of staying clean, and the program deserves credit for this awareness. My understanding of what the program means by serenity is that the addict in recovery will begin to live life in a healthier and more mature way; and it is obvious that this is no small achievement. It implies, first of all, that the addict has enough inner strength and self-control to stay clean "one day at a time" and to reorganize his life, which has become unmanageable. The program implicitly recognizes the importance of living in a responsible way, which includes being able to function as a "good enough" participant in family relationships, work, and leisure time situations. This in itself usually allows a person to begin to feel "better about himself" and to have a certain "sense of well-being" and inner satisfaction. The innovation or chiddush of the program is to teach that "normative living" is ultimately the best "high" and is "really enough" without having to expect and need and crave more and more.  

     

    This position is congruent with the Torah perspective. However, the Torah also understands the legitimate, deep need for a person to experience genuine pleasure and joy in this world.  

     

    The Ramchal begins Mesillas Yesharim by teaching, in the name of the Rabbis: שהאדם לא נברא אלא להתענג על ה' ולהנות מזיו שכינתו, שזהו התענוג האמיתי והעידון הגדול מכל העידונים שיכולים להמצא, "Man was created for the sole purpose of rejoicing in God and deriving pleasure from the splendor of His Presence, for this is the true joy and greatest pleasure that can be found."[1]

     

    This experience is attainable in the ultimate sense only in the next world. However, it is possible for every Jew to at times have the sense of "rejoicing in Hashem" also in this world through a sincere committed halachic lifestyle.  

     

    In the book of Psalms (34:9), it is written, טעמו וראו כי טוב ה', אשרי הגבר יחסה בו, "Taste and see that God is good." On this verse, the Kuzari teaches that "taste" implies that a Jew can have a real experience of relating to Hashem and thus "sense that He is good."[2]

     

    It has already been asserted in several places in this book that a major contemporary issue challenging the Torah world is how to have pleasure within a normative Torah lifestyle. The next section will begin to clarify the Torah's position on the pleasure principle in contrast to that of contemporary society.

     

    [1] Ramchal, Mesillas Yesharim (Feldheim), p. 16.

    [2] Rav Yehudah HaLevi, Kuzari, 1998, Page 145

     

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.
     

    Accepting the Real Truth About Ourselves 

     

    I haven't met more than one or two well-intentioned Rebbi's who actually know anything about addiction - at least enough to make a distinction between what is normal and they can explain, and what isn't and they can't explain. Those few are aware that inspiration does not work, and that the odds for any addict actually getting better are pathetic. So the situation needs a multi-pronged approach that probably involves the wife - every situation is of course different. But an addicts double-life has to get the cover ripped off of it somewhere. For me it was at home (a bit), and finally in SA meetings (totally). 

    Also, typically we tell these rebbi's too little or too general information about what we actually do and are are thinking/feeling. (As in, "I have trouble with porn and fantasy, and masturbation!" Oy vei, what a useless bit of communication that is!) Though generalizing to save face is quite normal (for me, at least), it is not of much use to us. When I, for the first time, really laid-in and got everything out on the table for a rebbe of mine, he sat back, and after a minute calmly said, "Dov, you are ill and need some serious help. I hope you find it. Your life is so precious and it would be a terrible waste for you not to get the help you need, whatever it is." That man's simple acceptance of the facts did more for me than the other advice I had ever gotten, and it took me only six months more to quit and to get the help I really needed to stay quit. Some of the wacky advice I got included: 

    1- learn Tanya
    2- just stop! You can do it!!
    3- convince your wife to be with you a lot more
    4- looking at shmutz really isn't that bad, considering the alternative...
    5- learn how to have more pleasure
    6- just stop already!

    ....cheshboning, cheshboning, and ever more cheshboning. Didn't they realize that it was my thinking more than anything else, that got me as screwed up as I was in the first place? How could I possibly think my way into healthy living?!

    Boruch Hashem I admitted in my heart that my entire life was at stake here, not just one marriage and one family and one yiddishkeit - but I was doomed to repeat this the next time with my next yiddishkeit (after doing just a little better job at teshuvah and an extreme 'makeover'), with my next wife, and my next family... I could not run from myself forever. And this was not going away. Since being in recovery, I have met guys who finally came only after their 3rd wife (and family) and after being 'born again', or whatever... b"H I came earlier. I hit bottom while I was still floating on top - of the bottom of the sewer sludge. Chesed Hashem mei'olam v'ad Olam, indeed! It could have gotten much, much worse. 

    Thank-G-d I found and stuck to SA like to a piece of wood in the middle of the ocean (and I am still very scared of sharks , and cannot swim!), and still do. 

    SA and probably even Recovery en-gantzen, is not for everyone. But for me, it is working. I do not wish you or anyone would just come and join SA. All I wish for you is that you see and accept whatever the full truth about yourself is and what you really need, and that you follow it to the end.  

    People like to quote "sheva yipol tzaddik, v'kom". I wonder: What makes a guy who looks at porn, fantasizes, and masturbates a tzaddik? What gives any struggling, non-sober guy the right to assume this possuk has anything to do with him?! I think that the reason he is referred to as a 'tzaddik' at all, is only because he is taking actual, concrete steps to deal with his problems - he has accepted that he is screwed up and is taking responsibility to get better by doing what he really needs. And he is occasionally failing. Then he gets up, looks in amirror and admits that he only failed because he still doesn't admit how sick he really is - and then he goes forward to get the help he really needs! It is not describing the guy in denial, at all.

     

    1020.
    Friday ~ 2 Iyar, 5771 ~ May 6, 2011
    Erev Shabbos Parshas Emor
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Testimonial: TaPHSiC Works!  
    • Video Link: Three Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed   
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 20: Concept 2, Part 2     
    • Daily Dose of Dov: A Religious Problem vs. YOUR Problem                          

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

     

    Category: Testimonial

     

    TaPHSiC Works!

     

    An e-mail we got from someone on the forum:

     

    I just want to let you know that I have been making a Double Fence TaPhSiC shevua for the last few weeks but I never came close to even needing it all that time and I wondered if maybe it was a shevuah levatolo.

     

    Until last Thursday night, when I had a major slip and realized at 1:30 AM on Friday morning that my shevua had expired 30 minutes ago. I quickly made another shevua for another week and went to sleep clean. That Friday night I was feeling very aroused with a mind full of lust and ripe for a full fall, but the thought of having to do the "knas" I set for myself was enough to keep me clean.

     

    So I am going to continue with my TaPhSiC shevuos without doubting that they really are necessary.

     

    Tizke lemitzvos!

     

    Click here for an explanation of the  

    Double-Fence TaPHSiC Method. 

       

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

     

    Category: Inspirational Video Link

     

    Here's something powerful to think about and reflect on, in respect to our struggles:

     

     

     

    Three Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed

     

     For those who (hopefully) can't view youtube videos, click the link at the bottom.

       

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 20

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 2: Part 2 

     

    2. Taste and see that God is good. Happy is the man who trusts in Him - Psalms 34:9

     

    The Torah's Position on the Pleasure Principle or the Pursuit of Happiness


     

    Freud defined man's basic motivator to be the "pleasure principle." Historically, Western society has vacillated between two extremes in relation to how to express the pleasure principle. American culture was initially strongly influenced by the Puritan ethic, which viewed pleasure as a sin and sought to suppress this drive. This led in the early 1930s to the era of Prohibition, where the production and consumption of alcohol was constitutionally declared illegal, before being repealed only several years later. To a great degree, the "counter-culture" of the late 1960s and early 1970s was a reaction against the "straight" WASP work ethic and lifestyle of the pre-'60s era, and it sought to legitimatize the pursuit of pleasure and immediate gratification as an end in itself. For the hippies of this era, smoking marijuana became mainstream and the symbol of their rebellion against the "establishment." This ideology was expressed in popular slogans of the time such as: "Make love, not war" and "If it feels good, do it." It also included challenging previously accepted norms and inhibitions concerning sexual behavior.  

     

    Since the mid 1970s, much of the idealism of the hippie culture has been lost. However, what has remained from it is that in many ways contemporary society has become more and more a "fun" or "hedonistic" culture, and within this context the increase in the frequency and range of addictive behaviors has been almost inevitable. One could almost describe modern Western society as being a "culture of addictions." In many ways Freud's critique that civilization overly repressed man's natural instinctive drives had a major effect on the way Western culture developed in the twentieth century. Freud developed his theory in what could be characterized as being a "super ego society," where morals were too rigid, whereas since the 1960s, Western society has become what can be characterized as more of an "id society," where free expression is encouraged.

     

    From a comparative historical-social perspective, the Torah viewpoint on pleasure can be seen as taking a balanced or middle position between the two extremes of hedonism and asceticism. The Torah does not view the drive for pleasure as a sin per se. On the contrary, as we mentioned above, ultimately man was created in order to have the delight(oneg) of experiencing Hashem's presence. Thus, from a Torah perspective, man's choice is not whether to experience pleasure, but rather how to experience it.  

     

    Physical pleasures in this world, including sexuality, are legitimate as long as they are expressed through the framework of halachah, which guides man how to "walk the tightrope" between seeking and expressing pleasure in a constructive or destructive way, both for the individual and in its implications for society. This principle is related to the idea that "the Almighty has created one thing opposite the other" -זה לאומת זה עשה  האלוקים  (Ecclesiastes 7:14). This is interpreted to mean that in general, things in the realm of holiness have their opposite in the realm of the profane. Therefore, the implication is that if there are negative ways to have pleasure, there also must be positive ways. Beyond that, it includes the goal of sublimating one's passions to allow them to be expressed within the framework of serving Hashem.

     

    This can be seen in the remarks by the classic commentator Rashi on the first verseof the Shema prayer, which a Jew recites twice a day. Commenting on the verse, "And you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 6:5). Rashi quotes Chazal as understanding that "with all your heart" means serving God with both the good and the evil inclinations.  

     

    It is understood that the good inclination naturally wants to serve Hashem, while the evil inclination opposes accepting Hashem's will;  being connected to the body, it is naturally drawn after seeking physical pleasures. Rashi made this comment based on the word levavcha, "your heart," being spelled with two letter "beits" when only one was necessary, and he suggested that each letter stands for one of the two inclinations. In relation to this goal, the Baal Shem Tov taught in the name of Rav Saadia Gaon that "one should learn from his desire for physical things how to desire to serve Hashem and to love Him.[1]

     

    [1] Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Light Beyond: Adventures in Hassidic Thought (Moznaim Publishing, 1981).

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    A Religious Problem vs. YOUR Problem

     

    I do not equate having a desire for lust and sex with 'addiction'. I believe that probably most of the men and women out there who struggle with occasional desires of this nature are not addicts, but just normal. Even in the context of yiddishkeit, where there is no room whatsoever for expression of inappropriate sexuality, I see no reason whatever to throw the label 'addiction' at it. Many others feel otherwise, I know, and I believe that (in their case) 'addiction' may be a big red herring for them. Finally, I feel that participation of non-addicts waters down the program for everyone because a non-addict is not personally desperate. It is all philosophical rather than practical. I believe he doesn't really personally need a G-d for his problem. 

    He may see it as a religious problem - in other words, G-d's problem with him - but not a personal problem of his own. And that is where I believe addiction, 12 steps recovery, and Derech Eretz depart tracks from 'frustration with youthful desire', the Yetzer Hara, and Torah.  

     

    (This was all just my little opinion - not 'the Truth'.)

     

    1021.
    Sunday ~ 4 Iyar, 5771 ~ May 8, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Special Announcement: 'GuardYourEyes' Dinner   
    • Torah Thought: The Source of All Beauty & Pleasure    
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 21: Concept 2, Part 3     
    • Daily Dose of Dov: We Give Them Power in Our Heads

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


    Special Announcement

     

    Next week, May 15th, there will be a high-end dinner in upstate New York on behalf of the 'Guard Your Eyes' organization, be"H. The renowned author and addiction expert Rabbi / Dr. Avraham Twerski will be speaking, and someone will tell over their own personal story about how they were helped by GYE. I will also be saying a few words, along with the other speakers.

     

    We are looking for partners to help us take our work to the next level so we can reach out and help tens of thousands of Jews around the world in both the areas of "Treatment" and "Prevention". Seats at the dinner are being sold beginning at $1000 a seat, and we will also be selling part of the zechusim (merits) for the many features of our network, such as the daily chizuk e-mails that go out to thousands of members, the handbooks, the new web-development, the phone conferences, etc... as well as translating and adapting our materials and services in Yiddish for the Chassidish world, and in Hebrew for Israel.

     

    If you, or someone you know, might be interested in joining this historic evening, please send us an e-mail for more details.

       

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~RR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  


    Category: Torah Thought

     

    The Source of All Beauty & Pleasure   

     

    Tonight's Seffirah is Yesod She'Bitiferes. How can we use the Middah of Tifferes when it comes to tikkun ha'Yesod?:

     

    The Holy Sefer, Noam Elimelech from Rav Elimelech of Lizensk writes that Yaakov Avinu's attribute was that of Tiferes, meaning "Awesome Beauty". This implies that Yaakov Avinu had the ability to be awestruck by G-dly beauty in all he saw. For example, the Noam Elimelech continues, "When a person eats a tasty food, he should say to himself, "if this food is so good in taste, is it not obvious that all the good and pleasantness is to be found in the Creator--may his name be blessed--without any limit or boundary!"..."and this is the secret of the Pasuk "and Yaakov kissed Rachel".

     

    How uplifting and beautiful it is to try to apply this midah of Yaakov Avinu to ourselves. Whenever we see something that turns our hearts to sexual desire, we need to tell ourselves, "If this woman is so beautiful and I desire her so much, how much more beautiful it must be to connect with G-d, who is the infinite source of all beauty, pleasantness and pleasure!"

       

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 21

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 2: Part 3 

     

    2. Taste and see that God is good. Happy is the man who trusts in Him - Psalms 34:9

     

    The Torah's Position on the Pleasure Principle or the Pursuit of Happiness

     

    In Parashas Vayishlach, Genesis 32:5, Yaakov sent messengers to Esav and commanded them to tell him, "I have sojourned with Lavan and stayed until now." On this phrase, Rashi comments that Yaakov Avinu was saying that he was able to maintain his loyalty to the 613 mitzvos of the Torah even while living in a foreign atmosphere that was so hostile to Torah observance. However, Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin, z"l, teaches that Yaakov Avinu added regretfully, "While I remained firm in my observance of the 613 commandments, I failed to learn from Lavan to perform the commandments with the same dedication and passion as he pursued his evil ways."[1]

    Judaism stresses not only self-control but also the value of serving Hashem joyfully (b'simchah), as part of normative halachic living: עבדו את ה' בשמחה באו לפניו ברננה, "Serve Hashem with gladness, come before Him with joyous song" (Psalms 100:2).  

     

    For example, delighting in or having oneg on the Shabbos is an intrinsic halachicaspect of Shabbos observance. In the standard Shabbos prayers, we pray every week, "They shall rejoice in Your Kingdom - those who observe the Sabbath and call it a delight (oneg). The people that sanctifies the Seventh - they will all be satisfied and delighted with Your goodness."[2]

     

    It is also customary to read several verses from the prophet Isaiah before making Kiddush on Shabbos morning. These include: "If you restrain your foot, because of the Shabbos, [and refrain] from accomplishing your own needs on my holy day; if you proclaim the Shabbos a delight (oneg), the holy day of Hashem...then you will delight in Hashem and I shall mount you astride the heights of the world, and provide you the heritage of your forefather Jacob - for the mouth of Hashem has spoken" (Isaiah 58:13-14).

     

    The phrase  "I shall mount you astride the heights of the world," or, more literally, "I will cause you to ride on the high places of the land," implies that a Jew with his additional soul (neshamah yeseirah) will have greater awareness or a higher consciousness on Shabbos. From a secular perspective, the traditional observance of Shabbos can lead one to have a sense of being "high," but in a natural way.

     

    Chazal teach that one of the goals of learning Torah and doing mitzvos is to allow a Jew to develop an intimate relationship with Hashem. The sense of feeling connected or close to Hashem is called deveikus. The Ramchal teaches that "God's purpose in creation was to bestow of His good to another." This means giving created beings the opportunity to attach themselves to Him to the greatest degree possible. The purpose of all that was created was therefore to bring into existence a creature who would derive pleasure from God's own good in a way that would be possible for it.[3]

     

    The Ramchal also teaches that only deveikus, or union with God, constitutes true perfection.[4] We also learn from David HaMelech that communion with Hashem is ultimately the greatest joy, as we read in Psalms 73:28: ואני קרבת אלוקים לי טוב, "But as for me, God's nearness is my good," and in the verse in Psalms 27:4: אחת שאלתי מאת ה' אותו אבקש  שפתי בבית ה' כל ימי חיי לחזות בנועם ה' ולבקר בהיכלו, "One thing I asked of Hashem, that shall I seek: Would that I dwell in the House of Hashem all the days of my life, to behold the sweetness of Hashem and to contemplate in His sanctuary."

     

    [1] Friedman, Wellsprings of Torah, p. 65.

    [2] Artscroll Siddur: Siddur Imrei Ephraim,  p. 461.

    [3] Ramchal, Derech Hashem (Feldheim), p.51, 261.

    [4] Ramchal, Mesillas Yesharim (Feldheim), p. 19.

     

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    We Give Them Power In Our Heads

     

    Someone asks Dov:

     

    What exactly should be going through my mind when I see a pretty girl? Just a half hour ago, I was in the store, buying challahs for shabbos, and the married woman behind the counter was making my life very difficult! I hope I wasn't too rude, I just basically avoided eye contact. Is that the appropriate eventual end result?? There has to be a way of easing back into normal life - the girls aren't going away, despite my work on my self-improvement...

     

    Dov Responds:

     

    Yes, we need to avoid looking with lust at all costs. It makes us meshugah, as you know. But the real solution for people with our problem is actually treating these people like what they are: real people. Not potential trouble (lust) objects.

     

    We do that by using their actual  names (if we already know what they are) when we daven for them, by polite eye contact and saying hello, thanks, and good-bye, and in general, by plugging-in to their humanity and then letting go of them. We need to be able to walk past these people - when we cannot, it is because we are struck by their power... excuse me? Power? Yup, that is what they have because we give it to them in our heads.

     

    That is where I am going with all this. I regularly daven for these cash-register people, say "hi" in a normal (not hyper, flirty, or attention-getting way), and walk away from them when our interaction is over. She is a cashier right now. A real person trying to get by and support her child by ringing up squash and Kool-aide from 7-3:30 every day. G-d bless her and her family.

     

    That may seem like a wacked out way to associate with people, but for me, it leads me to normal living.

     

    1022.
    Monday ~ 5 Iyar, 5771 ~ May 9, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Special Announcement: 'GuardYourEyes' Dinner   
    • Torah, Hashkafa, Attitude: We Are Hashem's Spiritual Athletes     
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 22: Concept 2, Part 4      
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Turning Our Wires Around

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

     

    Special Announcement

     

    Next week, May 15th, there will be a high-end dinner in upstate New York on behalf of the 'Guard Your Eyes' organization, be"H. The renowned author and addiction expert Rabbi / Dr. Avraham Twerski will be speaking, and someone will tell over their own personal story about how they were helped by GYE. I will also be saying a few words, along with the other speakers.

     

    We are looking for partners to help us take our work to the next level so we can reach out and help tens of thousands of Jews around the world in both the areas of "Treatment" and "Prevention". Seats at the dinner are being sold beginning at $1000 a seat, and we will also be selling part of the zechusim (merits) for the many features of our network, such as the daily chizuk e-mails that go out to thousands of members, the handbooks, the new web-development, the phone conferences, etc... as well as translating and adapting our materials and services in Yiddish for the Chassidish world, and in Hebrew for Israel.

     

    If you, or someone you know, might be interested in joining this historic evening, please send us an e-mail for more details.

       

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

    Category: Torah, Hashkafa, Attitude

     

    We Are Hashem's Spiritual Athletes

     

    Some beautiful and inspiring musings from Yosef C. in SA

     

    Seforim bring that 'avoda' has the same root as a term in shas: '(oros) avudim' - tanned skins. The tanning/pounding process involved to make skins of an animal kosher for tefilin or mezuza and sifrey kodesh.

    Are you aware of what is done to these skins to make them kosher for use?

    Look up the halochos.

    Stretching, pulling, beating, even (in olden days) soaking them in dog cr*p!

    Just ask any sofer. This is the process our Torah calls 'ibud'. With the same root letters as avoda (ayin, beis, dalet)!

    The internal work a yid goes through in his wondrous process of avoda is connected to this experience called 'ibud'.  It sometimes (not all the time) feels like we are being beaten, stretched, pulled, and we just feel like cr*p! Period.

    It almost seems a pity that the seduction of 'normal American society' has enticed even G-d's holy nation to believe in an 'easy going' life style'. Even the goyim know, "easy come, easy go"!


    'Working hard' (b'simcha) is who we are, essentially and unavoidably. And best of all; it's for our benefit! Hard work, in taking good actions or davening longer or letting go of a ta'ava doesn't have to be a depressing process; we have friends to share with, cry with, scream with, and best of all, rejoice with! We are not alone. And the victory, when we come through it (we always will, if we are sincere in our efforts) is more delicious than any ta'ava could ever claim to be: to be unshakably close with the infinite!?! Noting compares! This is long term, real life happiness! It wont 'glitter' and shine all the time, but isn't it obvious already how secular 'shiny' culture is essentially 'gold plated drek'!?.... Go ahead! Keep a secular style for a while! You'll look great! ... And soon wonder where the smell is coming from...

    Ask any athlete who worked hard and tasted sweet victory. How much infinitely more so us(!), Hashem's spiritual athletes!


    Best of all, we have more than any Olympic athlete could ever dream of: Toras Emes GUARANTEES(!): "If someone says, 'I have worked hard and I have not been successful, don't believe him'. If someone says, 'I have not worked hard and I have been successful,' don't believe him. If someone says, 'I have worked hard, and I have been successful,' believe him!!!" (Megilla, 6b)...

    In other words, a Jew being unsuccessful after trying hard is not reality from G-d's point of view. It doesn't exist (don't confuse success with money. Plenty(!) Of Jews are not wealthy by any means, and have great shalom bayis, healthy children, are loved by the community, and are happy with 'sipuk hanefesh'). Hashem sees us Jews as hard working, accomplished, healthy and happy with our lot.

    He says clearly in His Torah, straight to us:  

    "Easy?", "I don't believe you".  

    "Not successful?", "still I don't believe you". "

    "Hard working AND successful!?!", "YES! Now I believe you!"

    Our compassionate Father's words, directly and lovingly spoken to each and every one of us, one on one.

    You have a wondrous success story of your own... Hashem is on your side, always,

    With simcha, Go make it happen :-)

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 22

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 2: Part 4 

     

    2. Taste and see that God is good. Happy is the man who trusts in Him - Psalms 34:9

     

    The Torah's Position on the Pleasure Principle or the Pursuit of Happiness


     

    Rebbe Kalonymus Kalman Shapira of Peasetzna wrote the following concerning the need for pleasure:  

     

    The human soul relishes sensation, not only if it is a pleasant feeling but for the very experience of stimulation. Sooner sadness or some deep pain rather than the boredom of non-stimulation. People will watch distressing scenes and listen to heartrending stories just to get stimulation. Such is human nature and a need of the soul, just like all its other needs and natures. So he who is clever will fulfill this need with passionate prayer and Torah learning. But the soul whose Divine service is without emotion will have to find its stimulation elsewhere. It will either be driven to cheap, even forbidden sensation or will become emotionally ill from lack of stimulation.[1]

     

    Finally, the Ramchal puts the issue of pleasure into a broader perspective.  

     

    We thus derive that the essence of a man's existence in this world is solely the fulfilling of mitzvos, the serving of God, and the withstanding of trials, and that the world's pleasures should serve only the purpose of aiding and assisting him, by way of providing him with the contentment (nachas ruach) and peace of mind (yishuv hadaas) requisite for the freeing of his heart for the service which devolves upon him.[2]

     

    In this paragraph, which appears at the end of the first chapter of Mesillas Yesharim and deals with man's duties in the world, the Ramchal clarifies the correct Torah perspective concerning the role and nature of worldly pleasures, which is particularly important for the era that we are living in now. Pleasure is legitimatized as a means for creating the optimal conditions that allow a Jew to serve Hashem. Practically, this means that the way to clarify whether a particular pleasure is valid is related to the consequence that it has afterwards concerning a person's serving God (avodas Hashem). In my clinical experience, discussing and clarifying the role of worldly pleasures is often an important aspect of therapy, whether the person has dropped out or taken a "time out" in a negative way.

     

    The Kuzari and Ramban both emphasize that the possibility that one can "Taste and see that Hashem is good" (Psalms 34:9), or to know God through experience and not primarily through the intellect, is potentially more possible in Eretz Yisrael, and particularly in Jerusalem, the Holy City, where Hashem's Presence or Shechinah is more accessible. Chazal also teach, in Baba Basra 158b, that the very "air of Eretz Yisrael makes one wise."

     

    [1] Shapira, To Heal the Soul, p. 23.

    [2] Ramchal, Mesillas Yesharim (Feldheim) p. 27.

     

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Turning Our Wires Around 

     

    It is not the woman's body, her face or whatever that is the problem - the problem is in me. So I need to ask Him to help me with me. With what my priorities are and to help adjust what it is that I find precious in this world.

     

    I might ask Him to please give me what it is that I am really seeking in the image of that woman. That is, the real fulfillment and connection that is actually to Him. He's gotta be where all the beauty, love, and pleasure is - cuz he made it! Now this idea may sound bizarre to some, but it is simple. "Li hakesef v'li hazohov omar Hashem tzvo'os" is the nechoma He gives to the money-hungry - "Don't worry, I've got it all right here - for you!"...well, how about for those who crave what we do - it's our currency. Does He have that? Sure he does!

     

    This may not work nor make any sense at all for a normal Jew who is having a tayvoh for some schmutz. It feels nice and he wants it, period. He may not be after anything remotely resembling "no'am Hashem". But paradoxically, for addicts - chronic users, who are repeatedly and cyclically duped by this garbage (like my story here!) and obviously have lost control over it - we are lost. We are so far past cheit that we have come out the other side: it has become a 'higher power' for us. Sort of like a god. An obsession - like the way Jews are supposed to feel about Hashem! - obsessed and in love with Him (as the RMB"M clearly puts it in hilchos De'os, (I closely paraphrase) "the way a man is infatuated and even crazy in love with his woman".

     

    The program I know is all about the fact that we addicts need to take the same wires and turn them around: replace lust with what it now most closely resembles for us: connection to G-d and His Will, His sweet love for us. We take action to replace our overpowering need for connection with people (in sex with self, and with them), with being of service to others. Being useful and getting busy with real life - what we like to run away from a lot.

     

    We need a lot of help to do that. 

     

    1023.
    Tuesday ~ 6 Iyar, 5771 ~ May 10, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcement 1: 'GuardYourEyes' Dinner    
    • Announcement 2: Many New 12-Step Phone Conferences Starting Next Week 
    • Audio Link: Love From A Distance      
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 23: Concept 2, Part 5       
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Don't Get Stronger, Get More Help!                             

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

     

    Announcement Section

     

    Announcement 1

     

    Next week, May 15th, there will be a high-end dinner in upstate New York on behalf of the 'Guard Your Eyes' organization, be"H. The renowned author and addiction expert Rabbi / Dr. Avraham Twerski will be speaking, and someone will tell over their own personal story about how they were helped by GYE. I will also be saying a few words, along with the other speakers.

     

    We are looking for partners to help us take our work to the next level so we can reach out and help tens of thousands of Jews around the world in both the areas of "Treatment" and "Prevention". Seats at the dinner are being sold beginning at $1000 a seat, and we will also be selling part of the zechusim (merits) for the many features of our network, such as the daily chizuk e-mails that go out to thousands of members, the handbooks, the new web-development, the phone conferences, etc... as well as translating and adapting our materials and services in Yiddish for the Chassidish world, and in Hebrew for Israel.

     

    If you, or someone you know, might be interested in joining this historic evening, please send us an e-mail for more details.

        

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

     

    Announcement 2

     

    GYE is happy to announce the launch of a new series of phone conferences next week; Duvid Chaim - along with his talmidim - and Dov (from the "Daily Dose of Dov") will all be launching new cycles next week, IY"H. 

     

    If you find it too difficult to make a face-to-face SA meeting or you are concerned about privacy and anonymity but you know that you would benefit by working a 12 Step Program, then join our anonymous phone fellowships; groups of men who share your struggle. The 12-Step program is a proven format used by millions of people around the world who have, with G-d's help, found recovery and freedom from their addiction. This program is a proven method of success!

     

    See this page for more information on the many new groups being launched next week.

     

    See this page for all of GYE's Phone Conferences; the days, times and call in numbers.

     

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

     

    Category: Audio Links

     

    Love From a Distance

     

    Someone sent us the link above and wrote:

     

    I HIGHLY recommend this shiur I just listened to. It gave me a lot of chizuk and perspective. Perhaps you can share it with the oilam.

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

     

    Excerpt 23

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 2: Part 5 

     

    2. Taste and see that God is good. Happy is the man who trusts in Him - Psalms 34:9

     

    The Torah's Position on the Pleasure Principle or the Pursuit of Happiness


     

    Unfortunately, many Jews, whether baalei teshuvah (BT) or frum from birth (FFB), don't adequately realize that pleasure and joy are meant to be integral elements of serving Hashem. For BTs, this realization can help them have more motivation to return to traditional Judaism. HaRav Noach Weinberg, z"l, rosh yeshivah of AishHaTorah, used to ask new students, "What is the purpose of life?" He would then go on to explain that Hashem created the world for only one purpose: To give His children as much pleasure as possible. Rav Noach would teach a class called "The Five Levels of Pleasure," with the highest pleasure being the love of God.[1]

     

    For those who are FFB, the legitimacy of joy and pleasure in Judaism can help them find deeper meaning in what they have already been observing, which is an important need for many in the contemporary situation. For those who grew up religious, it's possible to experience doing mitzvos in a routine, habitual manner, which has both advantages and disadvantages. Rav Dessler stresses that every Jew should go beyond the "free will point" that he acquired through his childhood education.[2] For many, having more of the experience of having a personal relationship with Hashem through doing mitzvos can provide a sense of fulfillment that otherwise might be lacking.

     

    In summary, the Nachas Ruach model as a Torah-based approach emphasizes, within the Chai program, the legitimacy of joy in a way that goes beyond the classical Twelve Step program. Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski confirmed that "the Twelve Step program doesn't provide a framework and the tools for having joy in an active way like Judaism does."[3] For addicts in recovery, it is my clinical experience that it can make it easier for them to stay clean by validating their need to experience pleasure, or oneg, in a healthy way. This whole issue is very practical and not just theoretical, for addicts are often initially trying, almost desperately, to "pursue happiness"[4] as understood in the modern Western culture,  but tragically end up experiencing the pain that is a consequence of the disease of addiction.

     

    This paradox can be seen in Hebrew where the word "to delight" is oneg (עונג) and the word for "plague" is nega (נגע), which is based on the same root as oneg but with the letters in a different order. In such instances, the Rabbis teach that there is a relationship between the two concepts. [5] Therefore, one goal of the recovery process is to help the addict reverse the process and move from "nega" to "oneg."

     

    The Biblical book Song of Songs uses the metaphor of a man and woman feeling passionate love and joy, addressing the natural love that the neshamah has for Hashem. One of the first verses in chapter 1 is כי טובים דודך מיין, "For your love is better than wine" (1:2). On this verse, Rashi comments that personally experiencing a relationship with Hashem is better than any pleasure or joy.

     

    [1] Hamodia, March 5, 2009, Special Supplement, p. 15.

    [2] Rabbi E. E. Dessler, Strive for Truth - Discourse on Free Will (Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1988), p. 55.

    [3] Heard from Dr. Twerski in a personal discussion in January 2008.

    [4] Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, MD, Self-Improvement: I'm Jewish (New York: Shaar Press, 1998), p. 81.

    [5] Rav Naftali Zvi Fish (z"l), Torot Beit Dinov (Jerusalem: Mossad HaRav Kook), p. 73.

     

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

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Don't Get Stronger, Get More Help!  

     

    Just a suggestion, to a sweet yid who is obviously moving in the right direction but still hurting a bunch (like most of us here on this heiligeh network):

    Maybe instead of throwing down anything like a 'gauntlet' to lust, consider getting more help than before, with the understanding that you will not get stronger. 

    I am not at all stronger than I was a year ago! But be"H I am safer than ever now, because I have more help now than I have ever had. And it has been years since I had to think things like, "was that considered a 'slip'?" How's that? Because I make more calls when I feel off-balance now, not fewer calls; I take far fewer risks just to satisfy the false god in me called 'Desperate Curiosity'; my filter works better - because I never test it; I have less shame about the truth about myself and my screwiness so I have fewer secrets; I have fewer stupid motivations inside me, so I have fewer resentments and fears. I am 'lighter' today, thank-G-d. I continue to "lose extra weight" as a result of working this recovery.  

    It takes time, and it never ends till we are dead....kind of like Life - because that's what it is!

    I am not telling anyone 'the way it is' - just sharing how it works with me. I do not get stronger and have no interest whatsoever in 'getting stronger'. If you offered me the ability to withstand all the tayva in the world, I'd turn away in a second. I want a safety with G-d, not 'power'. Otherwise, it begs the question, "Is my struggle a big cosmic accident?" He is not like a Superhero - running to 'save me' when I am in trouble - ridiculous! Rather, all my problems are only refuahs that look like makkahs - ways given to me to grow closer to Him, and only that.

     

    1024.
    Wednesday ~ 7 Iyar, 5771 ~ May 11, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • 3 Announcements: In Relation to Our Upcoming Trip     
    • 2 Other Announcements: In Relation to Our Phone Conferences 
    • Audio Link: Free Podcasts on Breaking Free       
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 24: Concept 2, Part 6/6        
    • Daily Dose of Dov: You've Already Won

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


    Announcements

     

    3 Announcements in Relation to Our Upcoming Trip 

     

    1. We will be traveling shortly on behalf of GYE. After a day in NY, We will be spending a week in Los Angeles, G-d willing. If anyone has suggestions of who we should meet in LA, or anything else that can help us make this trip a success, please send us an e-mail. Tizke Lemitzvos!

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    2. Since I will not be able to prepare chizuk e-mails while traveling, we will be sending out RERUNS of older Chizuk e-mails, beginning tomorrow.

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    3. Sunday, May 15th, there will be a high-end dinner in upstate New York on behalf of the 'Guard Your Eyes' organization, be"H. The renowned author and addiction expert Rabbi / Dr. Avraham Twerski will be speaking, and someone will tell over their own personal story about how they were helped by GYE. I will also be saying a few words, along with the other speakers.

     

    We are looking for partners to help us take our work to the next level so we can reach out and help tens of thousands of Jews around the world in both the areas of "Treatment" and "Prevention". Seats at the dinner are being sold beginning at $1000 a seat, and we will also be selling part of the zechusim (merits) for the many features of our network, such as the daily chizuk e-mails that go out to thousands of members, the handbooks, the new web-development, the phone conferences, etc... as well as translating and adapting our materials and services in Yiddish for the Chassidish world, and in Hebrew for Israel.

     

    If you, or someone you know, might be interested in joining this historic evening, please send us an e-mail for more details.

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

     

    2 Other Announcements in Relation to Our Phone Conferences 

     

    1. Last week, the 'Shmiras Einayim' Phone Conference was at 7:15 Mon-Thurs, so please note the NEW time of 8:30, Mon-Thurs (Sunday remains at 6:30 PM)

     

    Dial in number: 712-432-0900

    Participant PIN: 424479

     

    (If you miss the call, you can dial 712-432-0990 and enter the code 424479 to hear a recording of the last call.)

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    2. GYE is happy to announce the launch of a new series of phone conferences next week; Duvid Chaim - along with his talmidim - and Dov (from the "Daily Dose of Dov") will all be launching new cycles next week, IY"H. 

     

    If you find it too difficult to make a face-to-face SA meeting or you are concerned about privacy and anonymity but you know that you would benefit by working a 12 Step Program, then join our anonymous phone fellowships; groups of men who share your struggle. The 12-Step program is a proven format used by millions of people around the world who have, with G-d's help, found recovery and freedom from their addiction. This program is a proven method of success!

     

    See this page for more information on the many new groups being launched next week.

     

    See this page for all of GYE's Phone Conferences; the days, times and call in numbers.

     

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

     

    Category: Audio Links

     

    Free Podcasts on breaking free of this addiction

     

    Click Here

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model

     

    Excerpt 24

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 2: Part 6/6 

     

    2. Taste and see that God is good. Happy is the man who trusts in Him - Psalms 34:9

     

    The Torah's Position on the Pleasure Principle or the Pursuit of Happiness


     

    Chazal teach that in the last period before Messiah "there will be a great battle between the forces of holiness - kedushah - and the profane, before the latter is finally overcome."[1]

     

    When viewed from a historical perspective, we could conclude that Sigmund Freud almost "got it" when he realized that the pleasure principle had been overly repressed in early twentieth-century culture and that this had negative consequences for mental health. He tried to legitimize the pleasure principle and allow it to be expressed more and repressed less. As  a result, secular Western society, which was highly influenced by Freud's theories, encourages and models negative ways to express the pleasure principle, which are often destructive and can lead to the development of addictions. Contemporary society has in many ways gone to the opposite extreme of what Freud was reacting against. Freud had some basis to his claim that the superego or conscience of the "civilized man" of his time was too strict. However, today it is clear that the id or instinctual drives have gone out of control after being released. This consequence makes sense within the social context of a liberal society that advocates pleasure seeking and free expression and where there are few limits or boundaries set.  

     

    In contrast, the Torah view tries to integrate the experience of pleasure constructively within the framework of sanctity or "kedushah." Yet it still requires a committed Jew to work hard toward achieving this ideal within the framework of normative halachah. It is possible that the current situation is in some way ironically preparing the generation that has been given so many opportunities to experiment with different manifestations of the evil inclination  to ultimately re-channel this energy back toward serving Hashem"with all your heart."

     

    The Rabbis taught that "the purpose of the creation of this world is that the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have an abode in the lower worlds."[2] The previous Rebbe of Slonim, z"l, wrote on the above teaching, "Hashem's desire is to have an abode, particularly in the lowest of the lowest world, and that the physical passions be utilized to fuel a holy fire (eish kodesh)."[3]

     

    Here the Hebrew verb for "desire" (נתאוה) is shown to be related to the root for "passion." It might have been expected that Hashem would have "willed" to have a place in the lower world. By using the expression "desired," it seems to be implying that just as Hashem has a passionate desire to paradoxically be in this world, we should channel the passion from our "lower self" that He has created for us, to serve Him in a way that contributes to His Purpose being actualized.

     

    Such an encompassing commitment, "With all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 5:5) may have some aspects of being like a "positive addiction," a concept coined by Dr. William Glazer in his book on "reality therapy."[4]

     

    From a Torah perspective, the strong desire to achieve closeness to Hashem, which is the root of observing all of the 248 positive mitzvos, and not feel distant from Him, which is the root of not doing any of the 365 prohibitions, is an important motivation that leads to studying Torah and doing mitzvos.[5] In the final chapter of Hilchos Teshuvah, the Rambam teaches the highest level is to serve Hashem from love. The Rambam asks, "What is the proper degree of love? That a person should love God with a very great exceeding love until his soul is bound up in the love of God.  Thus he will be always be obsessed with this love, as if he is lovesick... This concept was implied by Shlomo HaMelech when he stated, as a metaphor: ' I am lovesick.' Indeed, the totality of the Song of Songs is a parable describing this love."[6]

     

    For instance, a Jew who is used to putting on tefillin every morning and studying Torah every day will feel something "missing" or a sense of emptiness if for some reason he is not able to do so one day, such as when being in a state of anenus. The strong yearning to always be close to Hashem ultimately can and does enhance life, rather than degrade it, as is true with negative addictions.

     

    ואתם הדבקים בה' חיים כולכם היום.

     "But you who cling to Hashem, your God - you are all alive today."

    (Deuteronomy 4:4)

     

    [1] Likutei Halachos, Beheimah v'Chayah Tehorah 4:34.

    [2] Midrash Tanchuma, Nasso 7:1.

    [3] Netivos Shalom, Sefer Devarim, p. 208.

    [4] William Glasser, MD, Positive Addiction (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), p. 93.

    [5] Lessons in Tanya, ch. 4, pp. 77-78.

    [6] Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 10:3.

     

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    You've Already Won   

     

    To someone who wrote that he feels like he is in a slippery place, Dov posted:

     

    Ashrecha! You have an ongoing, open-ended license to 'fall'. That will not go away. Even cutting off body parts will not take it away, cuz there will always be a way...

    So, ashrecha v'ashrecha that you are reaching out in time of pain or trouble... What else do you expect to really do after so much practice with hiding? You have 'won' already, in my opinion. 

    Anyone can wish he'd "finally quit and get better", but people make this giant leap from the "silently aching and wishing stage", to the "really wanting freedom" stage, and some even expect to just automatically find themselves at the "totally through-with-it and giving-the-stupid-lust-up already" stage. I think that's totally unrealistic, really. 

    It seems obvious to me that had I not gone to meetings and talked out the facts about myself and what I really want, they'd have remained bottled up in my head and never, ever had a chance to become real - i.e. to become attached to my behavior. Feelings are cheap. And while talk is cheap as well, there is something to 'hearing my own mouth describe me' that does something. It brings it a little step closer to the real reality: my actions. When I consistently see it in my actions, I will know that it is coming at least a little bit from my heart, my ikkar - not just from my brain. Having a pretty brain is nice, but anyone can be no'eh doreish, right? For addicts and the like, no'eh doreish was where it all stopped. Here on GYE, we can share the unattractive stuff about ourselves - the stuff about us that scares the h--- out ourselves. (And sharing it with real, live people helps us out even more! Machshova, then dibbur, then ma'aseh... As it says: "b'ficho - then bilvov'cha la'asoso".

    So take it easy, trust Him to help you, and keep trucking (not 'fighting', trucking!)

     

      Trip to LA
    1025.
    Monday ~ 26 Iyar, 5771 ~ May 30, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Yesod of Yesod: And an Overview of Our Recent Trip      
    • Personal Victories: Serenity      
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 25: Concept 3         
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Prayer in the Trenches

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    Yesod of Yesod -
    And an Overview of our Recent Trip
     

    Dear GYE community,

     

    Today's Sefiras ha'Omer is Yesod of Yesod. The Zohar calls Shmiras Habris "Yesod", meaning "Foundation". The foundation of a building is "underground" and no one sees it, yet it holds up the entire building. Shmiras Habris is the hidden part of the Jewish people. If the foundation of our people is weak, then the whole spiritual structure is in danger of collapse.

     

    It is doubtful if there is any area today that needs a bigger tikkun than Yesod. And as I'm sure you'll agree, there is no other organization today in the position of making a bigger tikkun in this area than GuardYourEyes. 

     

    We just got back from our fifth trip to the U.S this past year, and yet we're still far from reaching our budget. We still need about another 100k to be able to finally get down to work for 6 months straight to rebuild the English website and network much more professionally, and to build up the Hebrew and Yiddish networks as well. We are also making a major push now in the area of "Prevention" to try and bring a program to the schools throughout the Jewish world on how to protect and educate today's youth in these sensitive areas. 

     

    Dinner in Monroe

    Click link for pictures

     

    Our first stop on the trip was the Satmar community of Monroe. A few Chassidishe Yungeleit who are excited about what we are doing set up a dinner on our behalf to try and help us raise the budget to make our network in Yiddish. Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski came and spoke at the event (in Yiddish!), and someone told over their own personal story about how GYE saved their life and marriage. Although the response at the dinner was enthusiastic, we only raised an initial chunk of the Yiddish-GYE Division's budget.

     

    Los Angeles

     

    Our second stop on this trip was Los Angeles, where we met with over 30 Rabbanim, Askanim, Mechanchim and Balabatim. Wherever we went the response was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. However, we still only managed to raise a small portion of our overall budget.

     

    Please Help!

     

    In this auspicious time of Yesod of Yesod, and in the merit of Rav Shlomkeh Ze'viller whose Yartzeit is today, we ask all those who can help us with a donation to please do whatever they can (see donation options below).

     

    If you can't see the image, click here. 

     

    Rav Shlomkeh had open Ru'ach Hakodesh and extremely holy vision. He worked his whole life on the aspect of holiness and purity amongst Yidden, and with his own hands--and at his own expense--he built many Mikva'os in Eretz Yisrael. It was also known that he would achieve many miracles and salvations for Klal Yisrael through his immersions in the Mikvah. The previous Belzer Rebbe called R' Shlomo the "Tzadik Yesod Olam" even during his lifetime.

     

    In his merit - and in this auspicious time, may we be zoche to fix what needs to be fixed and help acheinu b'nei Yisrael to maintain purity in today's difficult environment.

     

     

    Checks can be made out to 'GYE Corp.' and mailed to: 

    GYE Corp. 3918 Fallstaff Rd. Baltimore, MD 21215

     

    Online donations at www.guardyoureyes.org

     

    To donate by credit card, please call 646-600-8100

     

    GYE is a recognized 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.

     

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    Category: Personal Victories
     

    Serenity

     

    A beautiful share from Yosef C. who is sober in SA for almost  7 years. 

     

    B"H I hugged my wife before leaving today.. And  Literally every single night of their lives (except for when they are away with a relative), I go and gently stroke my children's heads as they are sleeping, and rub their back as they dream. One of them used to really let out a big 'sigh of relief' whenever I did it. He was  about 5 At the time. Recovery has blessed me with a sensitivity to 'be present' emotionally for them (except for the really stressful days when I tell them "Today Tatty needs a time-out and I need to think about Hashem for a little"; (of course my daughter still feels completely justified for climbing on me even in these times too... and I have no problem with it).. I've learned to 'davka' look at them when I'm in a good mood and take pleasure in whatever they're doing (to a point obviously :-) so in their hearts and minds they internalize deeeeeeep inside of them that "Tatty is someone who is really happy with me: he enjoys me... the world enjoys... 'Me'."  BH this approach is so far showing many many fruits.


    Every day it's permissible, I make a point to give my wife at least one hug a day. I was never aware of just how much she needs my complete affection. Soon in the middle of my stress, when I hugged her, her complete calm became so soothing for me (because I have zero others I am hugging). It began to settle me as we have a 'clear moment' amongst all the noise and stress, we look into each other's eyes for a good moment of connection. My goal is a happy family with Hashem and yiddishkeit. We connect (and fight sometimes :-)) and build a life as we are bound to each other. I just walked in the door and immediately sat down next to her so we can connect. I am part of her life.. I love her... the children are growing/succeeding (and B"H right now sleeping). This is serenity... B"H.

     

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    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 25

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 3

     

    3. Rabban Gamliel used to say... Find yourself a Rav - Pirkei Avos 1:16

     

    The Twelve Step program encourages addicts to work with "sponsors," other addicts in more advanced stages of recovery who are also participating in the group. They provide guidance from the perspective of someone who has been in the same position. The program took a clear position that "addicts helping addicts" is a fundamental element in effective recovery. The Nachas Ruach approach accepts this position but also recommends that addicts in recovery also try to develop a meaningful relationship with a rabbi who has some training in how to counsel in this area. Over the years I have worked with many rabbis who have provided important input. One of the rationales for doing this is to help the addict not be confined to working only with addicts, which, despite its importance, can also be limiting, especially in the long term.

     

    This recommendation is based on the assumption that ideally every Jew needs to be working on self-improvement and doing teshuvah throughout his life. This was mentioned in the Iggeres HaRamban. The Nachas Ruach approach believes that understanding addiction as a disease is similar to understanding the evil inclination, as taught by the Torah and Chazal. Such traits as selfishness, stubbornness, rebellion against authority, and not considering future consequences are often aspects of the addictive personality.[1] Therefore, trained rabbis with the "right style" have the potential to relate to the addict from the perspective of the Torah's wisdom regarding man's basic nature, including the ongoing conflict between the good and evil inclinations. In Chassidut, this struggle is viewed in a deeper way as being related to the conflict between the "Divine soul" and the "animal soul."[2]

     

    A positive "working relationship" with a rabbi is also a means to potentially help the addict in recovery integrate more into the "mainstream" Jewish community. This is necessary because the Twelve Step movement often becomes the primary and sometimes only social framework for the addict. Again, while accepting that recovery involves a long-term commitment to continue to participate in the program, the Nachas Ruach approach sees the possibility and value of the addict having a social identity that isn't only based on his addiction, which at some point can be overly restrictive or narrowing for him.  

     

    Beyond that, the Twelve Step groups do not usually provide a Jewish social context for the Jewish addict. One technical problem of the Twelve Steps is that the meetings often take place in a social hall in a church setting. Connecting with a rabbi and a community can help the Jewish addict feel less rejected, stigmatized, and isolated from the larger Jewish community and experience recovery in a setting that acknowledges that Jews can also have problems with addiction.  

     

    The Chai program also avoids some of the halachic problems that are part of Twelve Step meetings. The groups do not include males and females together, and therefore avoid the problems of maintaining modesty that sometimes arise in regular groups. Therefore, the traditional "group hug" would be possible in the separate male and female groups. The "serenity prayer," which is often said out loud at the end of meetings, in the Jewish context is addressed to Hashem, rather than to "the Lord," as in the non-Jewish source of this prayer.

     

    [1] Rabbi Naphtali Wiesner, In His Own Image (New York: Mesorah Publications, 1992), pp. 90, 101.

    [2] Lessons in Tanya, ch. 9, p. 139.

     

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Prayer in the Trenches    

     

    Through the day I often just say "Help me" to Him, and speak to Him a few times over the course of a normal day, at least in short phrases like "Help" and the random, "Thank-You".


    Anything longer is not practical for me 'in the trenches', so I keep is as simple as possible. 

    Before "Modeh Ani", I ask Him to "please help me be Yours today." 

    The longer versions of prayers are nicer for me when I have time, like during or after a meal, or a mincha or ma'ariv, etc. 

    I like seeing meaning in a posuk and schlepping it with me through at least a part of the day.    

    What Chaza"l wrote for us in the nusach of tefilah expresses our deepest needs and desires, though we might not be aware of it.

    And our own begging and speaking to Hashem reflects what we are aware we need, here in the darkness of the golus inside our bodies.

    We are yidden. We have always done both. 

    (See the Me'iri on the sugya of t'fillas haderech in b'rachos. He explains that the tefillos haderech and suchh that chaza"l composed were just springboards for every yid to make up his own words and express his present needs to Hashem in an open and honest way.)

     

    1026.
    Tuesday ~ 27 Iyar, 5771 ~ May 31, 2011
     

    In Today's Issue 

    • Inspiration: No Step Goes to Waste      
    • Q & A: A Higher Drive?       
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 26: Concept 4          
    • Daily Dose of Dov: The Moment of Truth

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    Category: Inspiration

     

    No Step Goes to Waste 

     

    Every time you say "no" to your obsessions, it is priceless. It's another step up, and no step goes to waste. Remember this parable: Even if someone is heading out to the other side of town and on the way he slips on the ice, all he needs to do it just get up and continue. But slipping never takes a person all the way back home. Even if you slip, you are still where you were when you fell. You just need to stand yourself up and continue on from where you left off... JUST DON'T STAY ON THE FLOOR!

     

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    Category: Q & A

     

    A Higher Drive?

      

    An excerpt sent to us from a website on breaking porn addiction

     

    Q: "I can't stop. My sex drive is much higher than the average person."
     

    A: Most people who are addicted to pornography claim they are more sexual than the average person thereby rationalizing their need to rely upon porn. In most cases their sexual batteries are charged up because of their behavior, focusing on the sex act for many hours a day, and not their genetics.

     

    While people may naturally have varying degrees of sexual engery, pornography addiction can greatly increase this kind of behavior.

     

    As long as you are using porn and feeding the monster (or habit), it will continue to feel like it has control over you.

     

    It is possible for you (and all of us) to get to a place of more "normal" sexuality. If we removed porn from our lives entirely for a couple of years, your sexual energy would become more natural and balanced..

     

    There is a saying that goes something like "what you think about expands" which is related to another quote "you can judge a tree by it's fruits."

     

    This applies directly to porn addiction. If you feed your addiction every day, take care of it, nurture it, and spend time (sometimes hours a day), you can bet it's going to take up a good root in your head, and after a while, you're going to think it was always there, a part of you. In reality, it isn't you at all, you've just been feeding and taking care of it till it can overcome you whenever it wants.

     

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    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

     

    Excerpt 26

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 4

     

    4. And the study of Torah is equivalent to them all -  Maseches Shabbos 127

     

    Beyond establishing a relationship with a rabbi and a community, the Nachas Ruach approach also asserts that addicts can benefit from the study of Torah. Chazal teach, "I created the evil inclination and I created the Torah as an antidote to it."[1] Working for many years as a clinical psychologist in the area of Torah-based prisoner rehabilitation in Israel, I observed the often powerful and transforming impact Torah had on this difficult population, who usually also had problems with addictions. Learning Torah gave this group a new "world view" and a clear framework in which to develop a new identity, lifestyle, and value system based on the foundation of "fear of Heaven" or yiras Shamayim. Torah study in this context means learning Torah in the general sense (studying the weeklyTorahreading, halachah, Midrash, Mishnah,Gemara, and also learning aspects of Torah, such as mussar (ethics), that is specifically relevant to the situation and the needs of the addict, e.g., anger management.

     

    In addition to establishing a relationship with a rabbi, as was stressed in Concept 3, Torah is preferably studied with another person, a chavrusa. The root of this word is the same as the root of the word "friend." Behaviors that develop into addictions often started as a result of peer pressure to be "part of the group." In this context, learning Torah with a chavrusa is a constructive social experience that helps the addict develop positive friendships. This clearly is an important need, as is taught in Pirkei Avos (1:6): "Acquire for yourself a friend."  

     

    In a good relationship with any chavrusa, part of the interaction also involves informal chatting or "schmoozing." Thus, there is also the potential for the addict to begin to feel safe enough to share his inner world with a friend who is not an addict himself and to speak openly with him about his inner struggles as a way to reduce the power of the yetzer hara. This approach was advocated by Noam Elimelech.

     

    [1] Talmud Bavli, Kiddushin 30b.

     

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    The Moment of Truth     

     

    It is just plain truth that the drunk laying in his own vomit in the street after being thrown out of his home for so long that he cannot remember his kids' names, is actually one of the luckiest people in the whole world - at the moment that he clearly and finally realizes that he does not really have to drink any more. That he really cannot fight it ever again, but can still be freed of it and live without it. That there is such a thing as a G-d in the world with him, and that He can help him....the drunk. That drunks like him do get sober. 

    I believe that the poor prusteh, inner city homeboy who is hopelessly hooked on heroin, prostitutes, and crack, goes through the same exact process that a 'white-collar' lust addict goes through. The recovery is exactly the same for the Rov of a shul who I know who was doing the very same stuff as that heathen. No difference between yid and goy at all, at this stage. That is why I have hugged and cried with them as brothers in this, just as I have with sweet yidden with this machalah. It is the same letting go, no difference. The same pain. The same desperation for 'just another chance to try and manage his life with my sweet pacifier' comes back and tortures us.   

     

    G-d offers his friendship and love to each person. Most people do not take it, because they do not need it! They are 'millionaires' - they have what they need to be comfortable. Yet we addicts struggle to get what we need - we just cannot be satisfied with this life! We seem to be programmed with a big hole in our gut that normal, run-of-the-mill life cannot fill. And others waste their time telling us that normal life should fill us. Well, it doesn't. 

    And the sooner we agree to stop trying to live a 'normal' life (only externally, of course) - and finding it unbearable - the sooner we start to finally get better. 

    As long as you stay in the truth, ignoring whether it sounds honorable or not, Hashem will put His signature on everything you try to do, and really help you. Chessed shel Emess. His Chessed, for your Emess. 

     

    1027.
    Wednesday ~ 28 Iyar, 5771 ~ June 1, 2011

    In Today's Issue 

    • Testimonials: I Learned Here That it Can Be Done       
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 27: Concept 5           
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Giving It Up - Even Though We Can't

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    Category: Testimonials

     

    I Learned Here That it Can Be Done 

     

    Dear Guard,

     

    I just want to let you know that B"H I am 172 days clean on the internet and I owe you and everyone involved with this great organization a tremendous hakaras hatov for helping me get started. Just to give a little background since my childhood I have always struggled with this problem and like many, once the internet took off my problem grew out of control. I had particular trouble at work being exposed to a computer with no filters at all. Over the last 5 years this problem had begun to get worse and worse. I had many ups and downs, and over the years the "up" periods were becoming shorter and shorter and the "down" periods longer and longer. I began to feel that my life was just going to go this way forever and there was no way out of it.

     

    Sometime last summer I stumbled upon the guardyoureyes website and I signed up for the daily emails and I read the Attitude book and the Handbook and I began to absorb the idea that there is hope and that breaking out of this is not impossible. 

     

    Around last Elul my road to recovery really began as I had a 29 day clean period, then a stumble for a few weeks, then a 42 day clean period, then a stumble for a few weeks, and then finally the 172 day clean period that I am in now which I hope will last ad meah v'esrim. I asked my IT staff at work to filter my computer, and this has made a huge difference for me as well. 

     

    I think the main thing I have gained from guardyoureyes is that THIS CAN BE DONE if one wants it enough.

     

    Something else that I also know is true for me - I can't just give up the "real bad stuff" and still read secular newspapers and think everything will be okay. The secular newspapers have to go because little slips tend to become big falls. I have also noticed, probably like many, that my learning is much improved. Instead of secular newspapers I listen to Rabbi Shafier's Shmuz pod to and from work and I am getting tremendous chizuk from that as well.

     

    While I am quite happy about these successes I know I still need to work on my eyes when I walk in the street. For just the last few days I have begun taking my glasses off when I get out of the subway (as my eyesight is "Baruch Hashem" quite bad) and I think this is helping as well. I pray that Hashem continues to give me the strength to fight this battle.

     

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    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 27

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 5

     

    5. You shall be Holy, for Holy am I, Hashem your God - Leviticus 19:2

     

    This concept expands upon the third step in the Twelve Step program, where one turns his or her life over to a Higher Power; the Torah emphasizes that the Torah connects how we are to live to a Higher Power, which implies a higher purpose. As mentioned in Concept 2, the Torah recognizes the necessity to express one's physical needs in an appropriate way. However, the pursuit of self-gratification is notan end in itself. The Torah teaches that we should strive to connect all of our actions to the "higher purpose" of sanctifying life. "Being Holy" is a major principle in Judaism: וידבר ה' אל משה לאמור: דבר אל כל בני עדת ישראל ואמרת אליהם קדשים תהיו כי קדוש אני ה' אלוקיכם, "God spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the entire congregation of the Children of the Israel, and say to them 'You shall be Holy, for Holy am I, Hashem Your God' " (Leviticus 19:2).  

     

    Rashi emphasizes that this part of the Torah was taught to all Am Yisrael who had assembled together because the "majority of the essentials of the Torah are dependent on it" (Rashi on Leviticus 19:2).

     

    Rabbi Dr. Leo Levi, former dean of Machon Lev in Jerusalem and president of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, writes: "The Torah commands us to be kadosh, "holy." What does this mean? When applied to an object, kadosh means that it is set aside for a certain elevated purpose. Similarly, then, our duty to be holy means that we must view ourselves as dedicated to a higher purpose, that we do not drift along in our life, driven by momentary inclinations and desires, but rather adopt a higher goal and devote ourselves to it. According to Viktor Frankl's logotherapy, it is exactly the lack of such purpose in life which is responsible for much of today's mental illness. In these cases, the mitzvah of kedushah is the obvious cure - and preventative." [1]

     

    An example of this is that the Torah, unlike non-Jewish perspectives that extolled celibacy as the ideal state, views marriage as the highest goal for all, including the High Priest. Viewing marriage as kiddushin implies that the marital relationship and commitment is not just "civil," but also holy, and it provides a framework within which the Divine Presence or Shechinah can dwell if that relationship is worthy.  

     

    In summary, when analyzing the relationship between the Twelve Steps and Torah, one important distinction is that while the program shows one how to stay clean, Torah-based recovery goes a step beyond and teaches deeper reasons why it is important to be clean in a world that has so many temptations.

     

    [1] Leo Levi, Torah and Science: Their Interplay in the World Scheme (Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1983), p. 96.

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Giving It Up - Even Though We Can't      

     

    Dov discusses the 1st Step (of the 12)


    Our acting-out our own lust ends up becoming the very source of our refuah, itself. Of course, it starts out being our very best, most precious best friend - even though we also hate it - and we protect it vigilantly with our lies, hiding, faking being decent frum guys. In the meantime, we struggle all on our own in secret. The reason we stick with that method is really because while we have so much shame about admitting it to anyone, we also have so much pride that we still fantasize that we can beat it (can any idea be more hair-brained?). We also keep it private to protect it! Secrecy allows the fox (us) to keep guarding the henhouse (our habit)! That way we are guaranteed to fail - or to cut-and-run as soon as we taste some success - and still be able to keep our sweet precious lust friend. And it really is sweet and precious to us all, and you and I both know it. Right?

     

    But as time goes on and we get into more pain and more trouble from our acting out, it eventually stops being such a good friend, and the familiar bitterness grows. Lust and sex with self (and others) stops working for us so well. That is when we have a chance at actually playing the 'brave apikoress' and betraying our sweet friend. We start to consider giving it up! Not 'stopping' or 'quitting' - we have all done that hundreds of times, right? But at this point, we are becoming ready to give it up. Until then, our tefilos (with tears!) to Hashem  were actually cowardly and we meant: "Hashem, take it away so that I will not have to suffer giving it up...cuz I really can't imaging living without it. So please, please help me!" That does not work. We do not get progressive freedom that way, do we? Our acting out itself leads us to this stage. As an alkie once said: I needed every drink I took, in order to bring me to this point, to my knees.

     

    Giving it up - surrender - is completely different than anything we tried to do, before. We sadly recognize that surrendering our habit will take a miracle. We will need G-d, for a change. Yeah, till now we had 'emunah', faith, whatever...but we never really trusted Him with the whole job. This time,  we know we cannot do a thing about our problem without His help. Without His direct help, we will fail, guaranteed. These are not just words, you know, like the 'words' we all say about "having bitachon in Hashem to help with our parnossah and depending on Him..." the party line we all believe in. This is for keeps and is either real and it works - or it is still fakerai, and it doesn't. And it will take a lot of help to keep us on that derech. We will need His help through people. Changing a habit of years that also has hormones behind it and a culture, porn food, and a well-practiced fantasy engine will not be something in the realm of human possibility at all. We will need help. And I know dozens of people - Jews and gentiles, educated and religious and uneducated and unimpressed with spirituality - who are sober. Hashem helps us and does what we cannot do for ourselves.

     

    The first part of the first step is the inner giving up of our fight and agreeing to get help cuz our own track record proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are losers when it comes to lust. We admit we cannot successfully enjoy and control it, as we were so sure we could for so very long. It's tragic for us, indeed, really. But it's the truth. Now, this is not a mitzvah of some sort. I feel strongly that recovery is not a religion nor is it a place for dogma. There is nothing 'righteous' about coming to this admission, so we need not try to convince anyone that they are powerless. Not even ourselves! Either we believe it is true, or we do not. There is no 'advantage' to being powerless - recognizing the truth is advantageous, that's it.  

     

    1028.
    Thursday ~ 29 Iyar, 5771 ~ June 2, 2011

    In Today's Issue 

    • Testimonials: Zeh Le'Umas Zeh
    • Attitude & perspective: The Cliff Parable        
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 28: Concept 6 - Part 1/3            
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Two Ways to the Good Life

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    Category: Testimonials

     

    Zeh Le'Umas Zeh  

     

    By "Blind Beggar" 

     

    It's the beginning of June. There are billions of women in the Northern Hemisphere who are putting on their revealing summer clothes for the next few months. This happened last year too.

    But there are hundreds of Jewish men who are going to guard their eyes much better this summer than any other other summer in the past. This is all because of the heilige GuardYourEyes network!

     

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    Category: Attitude & Perspective 

     

    The Cliff Parable  

     

    Sent to us by R.C.M from innergold.com's forum 

     

    Finding sobriety in Pornography and Sexual Addiction is something that is being sought by more people every day. I have seen many people sob wanting to get better. I have heard people say, "Why can't it just go away!" "Why do I keep falling!?" "It's like I am two different people...One side of me hates this, yet I keep coming back to it."  The statements can go on and on. The most powerful experience an addict can have is arriving at the point of SURRENDER. Once the concept of surrender has been ingrained in ones heart and life, healing CAN and WILL occur. Many are looking for a quick fix or something easy for recovery...it just doesn't work that way. Don't get me wrong... THERE IS hope in gaining sobriety and many do get better. For these reasons I have written this short example called "THE CLIFF."

     

    Imagine life's experiences and choices taking you to the bottom of a tall cliff. You MUST climb this cliff, there is no way around it. You say, "I can climb that. I can do it on my own...I am strong enough." You try and try but keep falling. It hurts when you fall. Your pain often hurts others around you at times. This pain from falling from the cliff begins to effect all aspects of your life. There is a huge city at the base of the cliff. Many onlooker say, "Just live your life without climbing, that's what we have done." Others say, "Climbing the cliff is too hard. It is normal to just keep falling off of it. Just give up." There have been many days you have given in but you keep coming back, wanting to climb the cliff. YOU KNOW DEEP INSIDE YOU MUST CLIMB IT! You tell yourself you are strong and can do it on your own! You must climb the cliff! "I don't need help! I just need to climb harder!" For some people they fall off the cliff so many times they may become numb to the pain. Finally one day, bloodied and broken you exclaim, "After all this time I still have not climbed the cliff. No matter how hard I try, I keep falling. I NEED HELP! PLEASE HELP ME."

     

    At that moment someone comes and says,

     

    "Here are tools. Rope, spikes, climbing boots, a path, pulleys, pitons, belays. Use the tools every day.  I will teach you how to climb. Climbing this cliff will be hard at times. Some days will be easy, others will be difficult. You may slip at times but if you follow what I taught, you will notice your ropes will hold and you can continue moving upward. There will be times where you may get overconfident but this is dangerous as well. It does get easier after time because of the new effective habits you gain. Some have become complacent after time on the cliff and then ignore these tools, thinking they are beyond the need of the tools now...they always fall. Stay confident but humble. Always respect the cliff. Never give up. Use the tools every day for the rest of your life. After time, you will realize that the cliff has simply become a part of life, no longer the daunting obstacle that left you bloodied and broken."

     

    This humble acceptance of the process of recovery is what Surrender is. I hope this story confirms the path you are on or opens your eyes if you are still debating starting the path of recovery. REMEMBER SURRENDER. You cannot do this alone.  

     

    GYE has put together the worlds most effective set of tools and teachings in addiction recovery. Hundreds are climbing the cliff.

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 28

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 6: Part 1/3 

     

    6. Do not return to Egypt... - Deuteronomy 17:16

     

    This concept deals with issues related to relapse prevention. It views the status of a "slave in Egypt" as also being a metaphor for other forms of slavery, including the addictive experience. Just as the Jewish people were slaves to the Egyptians physically, emotionally, and spiritually, addicts are also enslaved to the object of their addiction.  

     

    One similarity between Egypt and the addictive experience is that when the Jews first came to Egypt, they were invited by Pharaoh himself to live in the best part of the country: וקחו את אביכם ואת בתיכם ובאו אלי ואתנה לכם את טוב ארץ מצרים ואכלו את חלב הארץ, "Bring your father and your households and come to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land" (Genesis 45:18).

     

    Later, Am Yisrael became fully enslaved in Egypt through a gradual process, without fully realizing what was happening until it was too late. Chazal teach that until this time, no slave had ever been able to leave Egypt. The addictive experience is similar in that what the addict later becomes addicted to was often initially experienced as being positive or helpful. For example, a teenager who felt insecure at high school parties learnt that drinking alcohol and getting drunk would help him or her to feel more confident. In its early stages, using drugs, gambling, overeating, and sexual acting out might provide the sense of being a positive solution. Unfortunately, in most cases these behaviors turn out to be only pseudo or false solutions, or even illusions that lead to even deeper difficulties, without ever addressing the cause of the initial problems.  

     

    A basic goal of the Twelve Step program is relapse prevention. The ideal goal of the program is to maintain total abstinence "one day at a time" for your whole life. However, addicts are obviously often tempted t o resume the shackles of their addiction. It is clear that there are many forces influencing the addict to "use" again. The Torah also understood the inclination of the Jewish people who clamored to return to the site of their former enslavement. It is interesting that the Torah will later actually forbid a Jewish king to allow Jews go back to Mitzrayim: "So that he [the king] will not bring the people back to Egypt...for Hashem said to you: You shall not return on this road again" (Deuteronomy 17:16).

     

    The Rambam includes this in the list of negative mitzvos (number 42) listed in Sefer HaMitzvos. [1]

     

    [1] Rambam Sefer HaMitzvos, negative mitzvah #42.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

     

    Two Ways to the Good life   

     

    If I do whatever it takes to remain sober (like: admit to myself that I want to do something dangerous and stupid, surrender my right to do it, make a call and admit the goofy idea to another [safe] person, ask Hashem to take it away from me, and then let successfully go of it through His personal, direct Chessed to me), and do not act out, then the fact that I got that powerful desire and passed through the really horrible pain of letting it go - all that brings me to a new freedom and love of Hashem that I could not have even imagined, before.

    And on the other hand, if I do act out c"v, then it brings me to greater hachno'oh because I suffer the torture of the misery that comes with the insanity and stupidity that lusting brings me to. People become more useless, unworthy, and stupid than ever in my eyes; my family and job become as obstacles to my peace of mind and happiness - it's all everyone else's fault....these are the wages of acting out. And they make me miserable.

    When I get fed up with the misery and isolation that my acting out brings me to, then I will start looking for help. And that is great! 

    So, either path is good for me. 

    As Chazal say, "Ashrei l'mi sheparnasaso boosmi - oy lo sheparnasaso boors'ki. - Happy is he whose trade is with perfume, woe to him whose trade is with tanning skins" (which smells horrid).

    They are both ultimately ways I will come to 'the good life'. But I'd rather choose the nicer way, personally. And going to meetings and being zocheh to see others crash and burn helps me tremendously - they are doing it for me. As long as I do not look down on them at all, but rather feel in my heart, "that could/should have been me!", it will help me. I actually grow from other peoples' mistakes. We are the same - I do not deserve to be sober at all, either! 

    Same thing when I get a crazy desire. It proves to me how sick I really am, and reminds me that I do need special measures cuz I am indeed not normal. It is a tremendous chizzuk for my need for honesty and closeness with Hashem and people. It gets me serious about recovery again - like a 'bris chadoshoh' that Yirmiyahu hanavi refers to. 

    Ashrei for the sick person who lives like one and takes care accordingly. Nebach for the sick one who treats himself like any normal person... (of course we all do that at times).

     

    1029.
    Friday ~ 1 Sivan, 5771 ~ June 3, 2011
    Rosh Chodesh Sivan, Erev Shabbos Parshas Naso 

    In Today's Issue 

    • Audio Link: Adolescent Temptation - What Parents & Schools Need to Know
    • Rosh Chodesh Sivan: Torah in the Desert         
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 29: Concept 6 - Part 2/3            
    • Daily Dose of Dov: Our Goal Should Be True Growth & True Love                             

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


    Category: Audio Link  

     

    Adolescent Temptations:

    What Parents & Schools/Yeshivas Need to Know and Do


     
     

    When Rabbi Twerski came to speak at our recent dinner in Monroe, we asked him what steps can be taken to protect today's youth from these terrible nisyonos. He responded that he will be giving a talk on this subject in just a few days and that he'll send us the link. We are happy to present you with the link to this precious talk (click the title above), which is filled with wisdom, tips and eitzos for Mechanchim, Parents and even for us in our own struggle.

     

    The full MP3 can be downloaded at this link 

     

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


    Category: Torah Thoughts, Rosh Chodesh Sivan 

     

    Torah In The Desert    

     

    "Bayom Hazeh Ba'u Midbar Sinai - on this day, they came to the desert of Sinai". Chazal say (Shabbos 86b) that we arrived at Midbar Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, TODAY.

      

    The next Pasuk repeats: "Va'yisu Merifidim, Vayavo'u Midbar Sinai - And they traveled from Refidim, and they came to the dessert of Sinai".

     

    The Torah ties the two together. Me'refidim - "from Refidim" can also be understood in the context of "through Refidim". We need to travel through our weakness/powerlessness" (as the word "Refidim / Rafu" implies), in order to get to Midbar Sinai - that true connection with Hashem. By "traveling" through the journey of our weakness we are able to arrive at Midbar Sinai.  

     

    The Zohar in Parshas Tetzava brings an encounter between R' Shimon Bar Yochai and a old Holy Jew who came out of the dessert. R' Shimon asked him why he had been in the dessert and he replied that he dwells there the whole year round and learns Torah, explaining that he did this because the dessert belongs to the Sitrah Achrah. Therefore, by serving Hashem there, he was subjugating the "other" side. And the old man went on to say how the Torah can only settle in the dessert, for the following reason (here are the words of the Zohar translated):    

     

    For there is no light besides that which comes out of darkness. And when the "other" side is subjugated, the Master of the World is elevated and his honor is increased. And avodas Hashem can only be through darkness, and there can be no good, only though bad. And when a person goes into a bad path and then leaves it, the Master of the World's honor is elevated. And therefore, the "Shleimus" (completion) of everything, is good and bad together - and then to leave to the (side of) good. And there can be no good but that which comes through bad, and from such good, Hashem is elevated. And this is called an "avodah shleimah" (a complete service of Hashem).

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 29

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 6: Part 2/3 

     

    6. Do not return to Egypt... - Deuteronomy 17:16

     

    One of the common reasons that addicts relapse after being clean for a significant period of time is that they go back into denial, or begin remembering again positive aspects of "being active."  The Torah also describes the Jewish people as having distorted or "selective memory," which means remembering only the positive but not the negative aspects of what was  clearly an aversive experience. Thus, as we see in Exodus 16:3 regarding their experience of being slaves in Egypt, Am Yisrael cried out: "If only we had died by the Hand of Hashem in the land of Egypt, as we sat by the pot of meat, when we ate bread to satiety, for You have taken us out of this wilderness to kill this entire congregation by famine."  

     

    After leaving Egypt, the Jews were in the desert for forty years before entering the promised land. Being in the desert subsequently becomes a powerful metaphor to describe the ambivalence and fears of many addicts after beginning recovery and "leaving Egypt." While in the desert, they are often in conflict between "going back to Egypt" - relapse - or going forward toward full recovery to "the promised land":  "Isn't this the statement that we made to you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us be and we will serve Egypt, for it is better that we should serve Egypt than we should die in the wilderness" (Exodus 14:12).

     

    One of the difficulties of being in the desert or the wilderness is that it requires a person to be in a situation of uncertainty or ambiguity, and there is a natural tendency for people to "drift back" to a known situation, even if this is a "negative place," rather than stay in a new or unknown situation.[1] One practical implication of this understanding is that addicts and people in general need to develop real and relevant personal positive goals to give them the motivation and strength to avoid slipping back to Egypt.  

     

    The Twelve Step approach emphasizes that even someone clean for ten years must remind himself every day that he still is an addict in recovery and must continue living according to the principles of the program. This aspect of the program goes against the natural tendency and need for people who feel that they have been able to solve problems to forget about them. This might be true in many situations, but when an addict does this, experience shows that he is already beginning to move closer to a relapse. The Torah also stresses that the remembrance of leaving Egypt on an ongoing basis (zecher l'yetzias Mitzrayim) and views it as a fundamental concept that is the foundation of faith and trust in God. For example, the Chazal incorporated the third paragraph of Shema prayer that is recited twice a day, in order that we should fulfill the commandment to recall the exodus from Egypt daily. In addition, the tefillin that a Jew wears every morning contain verses associated with leaving Egypt. Also, beyond mentioning yetzias Mitzrayim on a daily basis, the three major festivals - Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukkos - are all related to different aspects of leaving Egypt. On Shabbos, the remembrance of leaving Egypt is incorporated into the evening Kiddush.

     

    In addition to the above, there is a custom to recite six verses that need to be remembered on a daily basis after the morning prayer has been concluded. The first of these six verses is: למען תזכור את יום צאתך מארץ מצרים כל ימי חייך, "So that you will remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt all the days of your life" (Deuteronomy 16:3).

     

    [1] A. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being (D. Van Nostrand Company,1968), p. 46.

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

      

    Our Goal Should Be True Growth & True Love 

     
    Recovery for a sex and lust addict is not about g'darim, but about sanity. G'darim, and boundaries in general, are indispensable for allowing G-d to give me freedom from lust, but they are not recovery itself. They are only a tool. It's like breathing is to living: Sobriety is like breathing, while recovery is living. Is our goal in life just breathing? 

    True, for a man coming out of an iron lung, or with terrible asthma, breathing may indeed be the overriding, most prominent goal of his life...but we all hope that this mode will come to an end and that he will eventually be able to appreciate and focus on things like eating, working, having a family, yiddishkeit, you know - living! I work in a hospital and have come to know many sick people who have made the central focus of all their waking moments their own survival. Maybe I'd be like that if I'd be that sick (which I might be), but hope not...

    I have seen the same in recovery. Constant focus on g'darim and shunning true growth and living free of the terror of acting-out. And I have seen the same in yiddishkeit, particularly among ba'alei teshuvah (like me). Obsession with a particular struggle, issue, or mitzvah and a sad loss of balance. No grasp of the 'big picture' of living as a Jew. Does anyone know what I mean?

    Therefore, what I as a sexaholic need to come to really know is love, instead of lust. Real appropriate love: for other men, for Klal Yisroel, for Hashem - and for my wife.


    Real sexuality has very little (or maybe even nothing) to do with lust. It is satisfying - lust is not. It focuses on giving - lust does not. I do not need to do it right now - lust I need. Real sexuality brings simcha and leads to more simcha and unity - lust often brings shame and always leads to more expectation, separation, and pain. 

    So that is why - as part of my recovery from the tyranny of lust - I try to see intimacy with my wife as a way to appreciate her more as a person. I know that doing that is the only way for me to come to know real love and real sexuality, and become even more free of lust. 

    It is all about timing. May Hashem help us work on what we are ready for and move mechayil el choyil in recovery and living, one day at a time. Help us experience real loving for a change, by doing it, so that we will come to know that what we accepted before was a counterfeit that we do not need at all any more!

     

    1030.
    Sunday ~ 3 Sivan, 5771 ~ June 5, 2011 

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcement: Shmiras Ainayim Conference Numbers
    • Member's Chizuk, 12-Step:The Insight
    • Nachas Ruach Treatment Model: Excerpt 30: Concept 6 - Part 3/3            
    • Daily Dose of Dov: I Stopped Trying to Change the Little Lady  
    • Audio Link: Adolescent Temptation - Rabbi Twerski Audio                                

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

     

    Announcement

     

    Shmiras Ainayim Conference Changing Numbers

    PLUS - A NEW EARLIER CALL! 

     

    Download the last 25 Shmiras Ainayim Shiurim HERE 

     

    Our popular nightly Shmiras Ainayim phone conference call is changing phone numbers starting from tomorrow, Monday June 6.

     

    The New Number of the 8:30 PM call: 

    605-477-2100

    Code 471561#

     

    Times  

    Sun: 6:30 PM

    Mon- Thurs: 8:30 PM

     

    To hear a playback of the last shiur: 

    605-477-2199

    Same Code 471561#

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

     

    There is also now an earlier call at 4:45 PM, Mon-Thurs, for those who can't make the 8:30 PM call:  

     

    The number is:

    209-647-1000

    Participant Code: 616701#

     

    To hear a playback of the last shiur:

    209-647-1999

    Same code: 616701#

     

    The earlier call focuses on chizuk divided between shmiras ainayim & chinuch in today's world.

     

    To see a chart of all our phone conferences, click here. 

     

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


    Category: Member's Chizuk, 12-Step  

     

    The Insight

     

    By "Eye.Nonymous"

     

    SEEMINGLY GETTING NOWHERE   

     

    I feel silly that although I am a veteran on Duvid Chaim's calls, when I'm on the street, my eyes dart everywhere, and this doesn't seem to have changed at all.  Every once in a while I have some sort of realization, and it gets better for a day or two, but it never has lasted.  Supposedly, this acting out is covering up some sort of pain.  But WHAT PAIN?  There is nothing so obvious, this just feels habitual.

     

     TRYING TO LOOK INWARDS INSTEAD OF OUTWARDS

     

    I decided I'm going to try NOT TO LOOK OUTWARDS, and instead, TRY TO LOOK INWARDS.  TRY TO FEEL MY PAIN, if there is any.

     

    Then, I realized, the 12 steps are like homeopathic medicine.  Instead of covering up the symptoms, we let the real sickness come to the surface so that we can get rid of it.

     

    Duvid Chaim is always talking about becoming more aware of our perceptions and motives.  I understood that, a big part of this, is to realize when we're feeling negative emotions-heading down hill on the way to acting out.  We need to keep tabs on our feelings, and reach out for help instead of reaching for our drug.

     

     FINDING AN EMOTIONAL CENTER OF BALANCE

     

    But, recently, I realized that being aware of our perceptions and motives, in a deeper sense, is to BE IN TUNE WITH OURSELVES.  I feel that my eyes, and my mind, are darting everywhere, looking for something that I'm missing.  BUT, I can be STILL, be calm, be at peace with myself.  I felt like something inside me came into alignment which has been out of wack all my life.  AND THAT WAS THE PAIN!!!  Like something turned on that has always been turned off.  A sense of inner peace and tranquility.  As if I have found, finally, an EMOTIONAL CENTER OF BALANCE.  Like my mind has finally tuned into my heart.  I can be at rest, my mind can be at rest.  It can stop racing.  It can just BE.  I can just BE.  Duvid Chaim has mentioned, "Feeling comfortable in your own skin," and I think I have just finally felt what this means.

     

    And, it feels GOOD.  Until now, I thought that the 12-steps just helps keep the RID at bay; so as not to feel stressed out.  But, it was just the absence of negative feelings.  But, now I see that it's not just pushing away the RID.  It's TUNING IN to your heart, and finding peace and tranquility and happiness and contentment there.

     

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

     

    The 'Nachas Ruach' Treatment Model 

    Excerpt 30

     

        Nachas Ruach: Torah-Based Psychotherapy and Tools for Growth and Healing

    The book can be purchased online via this link

     

    Torah Perspectives on the Twelve Steps 

     

    "Six Additional Torah Concepts to Supplement the 12 Steps"   

      

    Concept 6: Part 3/3 

     

    6. Do not return to Egypt... - Deuteronomy 17:16

     

    One reason the Torah puts so much stress on not returning to Egypt is that existentially it is not possible to fully serve Hashem while still being a slave. For example, the Mishnah in Berachos teaches that a Canaanite slave, while being obligated to do certain mitzvos, was still exempt from reciting the Shema Yisrael declaration,[1] where the intent is for him to "accept the sovereignty of God."[2] The implication here is that only a free person can serve God. Therefore, every day immediately upon awakening a Jew recites the berachah "Blessed are You...for not making me a slave."

     

    This point should be stressed in education and prevention programs, working with religious youth, where "value clarification" is an important component. It is important to give contemporary teenagers the opportunity to receive a perspective that will allow them to make proper choices. Going against the natural tendency to think that "it won't happen to me" teenagers need to hear that besides possibly being "fun," substance use clearly leads to emotional dependence and powerlessness.  

     

    Thus, the Nachas Ruach approach defines five stages in the process of the development and treatment of addictions utilizing the model of Egypt as a metaphor. They are:

    1. Going into Egypt
    2. Becoming enslaved in Egypt
    3. Leaving Egypt
    4. Being in the desert
    5. Entering the promised land

    ***

    In summation, based on extensive clinical experience, I have asserted that the six additional concepts elaborated here effectively supplement the basic Twelve Step program from a Torah perspective. It has been stressed that the Nachas Ruach model clarifies why it is important to avoid an addictive lifestyle. The first step of the program rightfully acknowledges that being powerless to one's addiction is the fundamental issue of recovery.  Being powerless means that the addict has less free will. Having free will is the foundation of Torah, which is possible because man is created in the Divine image. The Torah cannot accept being addicted as "okay," because ultimately, it takes us away from an important dimension of man's self-respect. The "spiritual awakening" that recovery demands really allows the addict to recover an important dimension of his basic human dignity. This requires them not only to know the program principles or Torah teachings, but to actually live and apply these guidelines in their lives - it is taught in Pirkei Avos 1:17 that "Not study, but practice is the main thing."  

     

    The irony and beauty of recovery is that when the addict finally "gets it," he will have actually been forced to grow in a psycho-social-spiritual way, sometimes even more than the average "normal" person who doesn't have to deal with such life-or-death choices. The Torah understands the possibility of what is called yeridah l'tzorech aliyah, "descent for the sake of ascent." This process can be seen at work in the Torah. Before Yaakov Avinu went down to Egypt, he was promised by Hashem: אל תירא מרדה מצרימה כי לגוי גדול אשימך שם: אנכי ארד עמך מצרימה ואנכי אעלך גם עלה, "Have no fear of descending to Egypt, for I shall establish you as a great nation there. I shall descend with you to Egypt, and I shall also bring you up"(Genesis 46:3-4). On the words אעלך גם עלה: "And I shall also bring you up," the Sforno teaches, "I will raise you even higher than you were before going down there."  

     

    This Torah-based perspective can give the addict, as well as anyone who is struggling with difficult issues, the hope that they can rebuild their lives and ultimately achieve more wisdom and maturity as a result of their previous problems.

     

    [1] Talmud Bavli, Berachos 20a, mishnah.

    [2] Ibid.,13a.   

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

     

    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

      

    I Stopped Trying To Change the Little Lady
     

    Before recovery I was wracked with daily, frequent angst - I was sure I had married the wrong person because my wife's approach to sexuality and ruchnius are so different from mine. It drove me crazy and I had two panic attacks over it. By "over it" I mean that it was what was running through my mind when I had them... "how will I fix my life with this error in the mix?! It's hopeless and I am stuck!" 

    After having to quit and getting sober, I had to learn how to stop trying to change the little lady - just so I'd not go crazy, myself. In order to do that, I had to learn to focus on doing for her. She's my wife. I do for her. Same as my kids...we do not pick them - we just do for them, period. 

    After a while sober and giving (giving was my 'therapy' especially whenever I felt like punching her in the nose) I started to feel like she wasn't that bad, after all. Working the steps made sobriety tolerable (it was always intolerable before) and growing up made my wife into my 'project' rather than my archenemy. 

    Now I feel a true fondness for my wife, at least a few times per week, b"H. And I try to remember those moments during special times like Sh'moneh Esrei; benching; quiet drives; after getting a temptation; when I have a resentment toward my wife, etc. I try to bring the moment back to life and thank Hashem for it. Nu. Most of the time I forget about it, but at least some of the time I actually do this. And it helps my sanity and usefulness a lot.

     

    1031.
    Monday ~ 4 Sivan, 5771 ~ June 6, 2011 

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcement: Yiddish Translator Wanted
    • Announcement: Shmiras Ainayim Conferences & Numbers 
    • Q & A: The Seductive Beauty of Hashem & His Torah 
    • Testimonials: If I Had Continued In The Other Direction 
    • Daily Dose of Dov: The Attitude Paradox of an Addict 

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

     

    Announcement

     

    Yiddish Translator Wanted

     

    As a result of the recent dinner in Monroe, we have begun initial work for GYE's Yiddish division. We are looking for a translator who can translate well from English to Yiddish (for pay). He needs to be able to put in a few solid hours every day, for at least a two month commitment, starting after Shavuos.  

     

    Please contact us at eyes.guard@gmail.com.

     

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

     

    We got an e-mail recently from M.B:

     

    I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy the shmiras einiyim conference given at 8:30 evening. The Maggid Shiur is an extraordinary dynamic personality. And the subjects mentioned are very much insightful, from a broad range of sources; Chazal, Rishonim, Mussar and Chassidus... It is a great chizuk for myself knowing that I am not the only one working on this issue. May you be blessed with much Siyatta Dishmaya in all your Avodas Hakodesh.

     

    A Grateful Listener

     

    Download the last 25 Shmiras Ainayim Shiurim (in MP3 Format) HERE 

     

     To see a chart of all our phone conferences, click here. 

     

     ~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Announcement

     

    Our Popular 8:30 PM Shmiras Ainayim Phone Conference is changing Numbers, STARTING TODAY.

     

    The New Number of the 8:30 PM call:  605-477-2100

    Participant Code: 471561#

     

    Times  

    Mon- Thurs: 8:30 PM

    Sun: 6:30 PM

     

    To hear a playback of the last shiur: 605-477-2199

    Participant Code: 471561#

     

    PLUS - We are happy to announce an earlier afternoon call for the GYE community, for those who can't make the 8:30 PM call:  

     

    The number is:209-647-1000

    Participant Code: 616701#

     

    Times  

    Mon- Thurs: 4:45 PM

     

    To hear a playback of the last shiur: 209-647-1999

    Participant Code: 616701#

     

    This earlier call focuses on chizuk divided between shmiras ainayim & chinuch in today's world.

     

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    Category: Q & A

     

    The Seductive Beauty of Hashem & His Torah

     

    A question we received today:

     

    When I was young I watched a lot of shmutz and acted out. Before I got married I became frum and got over the whole thing and married a very nice frum girl and we have a great marriage. But a couple of years after I was married it started to bother me that she was flat-chested and I was remembering all the shmutz I used to see and it bothered me. I then started to gaze at other women and started craving it, and that's how I fell back into the shmutz. I spilled seed once recently and have been determined to fix myself and go all the way and not turn back. But will this come back to haunt me? It's so hard not to look at other women. I love my wife and she is very pretty besides for that one thing. I want to stop looking at other women. Let me know what you suggest.

     

    Reply:

     

    Dear friend,

     

    It's all a bubble of hot air. Think about what breasts really are; a pack of skin filled with blood and veins. They are instruments designed by the Creator for feeding babies, like the breasts of a cat or goat or cow... Even if we had it all, we'd feel no better after the act. All the lust goes up in smoke as soon as it's over.

     

    Most people marry a good looking girl, only to have their wives become over-weight through pregnancy within a year or two... Do we have the right to feel gypped? We addicts are very immature in this area. We need to learn to "grow up" and learn what true love and connection are all about.

     

    Shmiras Aimayim is truly a difficult achievement in today's world. But more than just forcing ourselves "not to look" all the time, we need a change in attitude.

     

    We can learn many techniques, tools and good perspective in our handbook, which can be downloaded on our website (here).

     

    Even if we had everything we could possibly imagine we wanted in our wives, we would still desire other women. "Mayim Gnuvim Yimtaku - Stolen water is sweet" - We will always want that which is hidden, forbidden, not ours... So how do we channel this pull for the hidden, seductive nature of these desires?

     

    Our souls are really yearning for Hashem. He is the source of all beauty, pleasure and love. But our animal instincts misinterpret the signals and make us think that women and their body parts are what we really want... Hashem is seductively beautiful and hidden, and He is wanting and waiting for us to reveal Him in the world.

     

    On Shavuos there was a wedding, and the Yidden became forever wed with Hakadosh Baruch Hu through the beautiful Torah, which is called "Ayeles Ahavim V'Ya'alas Chen".... The two Luchos that we received are compared to breasts in Shir Hashirim (Shnei Shadayich, see Rashi, Perek 4 Pasuk 5). If we immerse ourselves in Hashem's Torah, we will find much more than we "imagined" that we seek body parts of flesh and blood. Hashem gave us the Torah so that we can have a real relationship with Him, which is the greatest pleasure that can ever be reached, even in this world!

     

    This Shavuos, let us try and feel the tremendous love that Hashem showed us by revealing to us his most private and intimate self through His Torah, as the Gemara says (Shabbos 105a): The word "Anochi", the first word of the Aseres Hadibros, stands for "Ana Nafshi Kasavis Yahavis - I, My Soul, Have Written and Given Over".

     

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    Category: Testimonials 

     

    If I Had Continued In The Other Direction 

     

    By "Eye.Nonymous"

     

    I was talking to someone recently, and he asked me if I'd really be so bad off if I wasn't involved with GYE and the 12-steps.  It's hard to believe that we'd all end up in the gutters so soon that we need to worry about it.

     

    I thought that if, instead of the gradual improvements I have had in my life over the past 2 years, if I were going in the other direction gradually, here's what my life would look like:

     

    I'd be spending ever so much more time escaping reality.  Probably heavily addicted to video p*rn by now (Thank G-d, I never got involved with anything besided photos). We just upgraded to high speed internet when I found GYE, and I think I was within a few short weeks of falling into that trap.

     

    I'd be fighting with my wife at least half the time, as she knocked herself out taking care of the family and the house and I just wasted all my time "working". I'd have no relationship whatsoever with my kids, as I spent all my time so busy "working" that I totally ignored them.  This is how my life was going at that point, and it would have only gotten two years worse.

     

    And, of course, I'd feel miserable about myself and about life.

     

    Thanks to GYE and the 12-steps, my life, instead, continually gets better.  I am more productive, and more easy going at the same time.  I grow ever closer to my wife and to my children.

     

    I continually feel better about myself, and about life.

     

    There are setbacks, there are ups and downs, and I make mistakes, but life, overall, keeps getting better.

     

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    Daily Dose of Dov

    Dov is sober in SA for 14 years. See his story here.

      

    The Attitude Paradox of an Addict 

     
    We cannot afford to run from our lust, just as we cannot afford to give-in to it. We run to G-d and let Him take care of it for us - or we'll never get better at all. And we often learn just how to run to G-d, by running to people (other addicts) and shamelessly sharing my worst garbage with them in order to surrender our lust. A baby has little, if any, shame having his parent clean him up because he cannot do it himself yet. I cannot clean up my own mess, either. 

    It's kind of funny, I know. In some ways I need to see myself as very, very low (plainly see my selfishness and get comfortable admitting it; not perceive any of my 'gedarim' as 'holiness' but rather as enlightened self-interest that has nothing to do with kedusha at all - [maybe with venishmartem?]; see my need to avoid schmutz not because I need to be holy, but because I am too ill and messed up to be able to tolerate the 'luxury' of that pleasure - it will ruin me, etc.)....

    But at the very same time, I cannot allow myself just to 'believe' in Hashem. I need to live with Him. I need to talk to Him practically all day long. My relationships with people cannot be two-faced or to get from them. Now, for a normal yid, I think these things are seen as extra - a madreiga. Fine. Although the sifrei mussar say that such things are obligatory for every yid....few make it so - and fewer need it to be so. I do, and it is because I am sicker and needier than most yiddin, not better than them.

     

    This last paragraph from Dov reminds me of an article that Rabbi Shais Taub sent me recently. It can be seen here, and we'll bring it in a chizuk e-mail in the future as well, be"H.

     

    1032.
    Tuesday ~ 5 Sivan, 5771 ~ June 7, 2011
    Erev Shavuos 

    In Today's Issue 

    • Announcements: Four Free Books / Yiddish Translator Wanted 
    • Free Downloads: Shmiras Ainayim Conference Recordings
    • Video Link: Shvuot, The Secret of Inspiration  
    • Personal Victories: It's All About Our Motives
    • Q & A: Only Shavuos - A Chametz Offering   
    • Daily Dose of Dov: We Need to Start Where We Are  

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    Announcements

     

    Good News!

     

    An anonymous donor (Yitzi) is willing to sponsor the following four books for anyone who does not have them - and commits to reading them bl"n.

     

    1. The 'Guard Your Eyes' Hand Book - From GYE, containing 30 Attitude and Perspective Principles on this struggle, as well as 18 practical tools in progressive order, on how to break free of this addiction.


    2. The Light of Ephraim - A book in story format, with great lessons and perspective on purity struggles.


    3. Windows of the Soul - A 30 day program on learning how to guard our eyes.


    4. Garden of Emmunah - An amazing book on Shalom Bayis that has helped save hundreds of marriages. Very appropriate for addicts who are married.

     

    Send Yitzi an e-mail to yitzi.26@gmail.com requesting the book/s you want to read along with your address, and he will bl"n send you hard-copies by mail.

     

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    Yiddish Translator Wanted

     

    As a result of the recent dinner in Monroe, we have begun initial work for GYE's Yiddish division. We are looking for a translator who can translate well from English to Yiddish (for pay). He needs to be able to put in a few solid hours every day, for at least a two month commitment, starting after Shavuos.  

     

    Please contact us at eyes.guard@gmail.com.

     

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    Shmiras Ainayim Phone Conference Recordings   

     

    Download the last 25 Shmiras Ainayim Shiurim (in MP3 Format) HERE 

     

     To see a chart of all our phone conferences, click here.  

     

    A Recent E-mail We Received:

     

    I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy the shmiras einiyim conference given at 8:30 evening. The Maggid Shiur is an extraordinary dynamic personality. And the subjects mentioned are very much insightful, from a broad range of sources; Chazal, Rishonim, Mussar and Chassidus... It is a great chizuk for myself knowing that I am not the only one working on this issue. May you be blessed with much Siyatta Dishmaya in all your Avodas Hakodesh.

     

    A Grateful Listener

     

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    Category: Video Link