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Jack's Journey to 90 Days
In the time-line below, Jack, heavily addicted for 38 years, posts his progress on our Forum and sends us e-mails as he struggles to reach the 90 day milestone.
For the entire thread on the forum, click here. For Jack's Story, click here.
Day 1.Today, the 3rd of elul, 5768, was my FIRST day of abstinence in 38 years. The withdrawal symptoms were unbearable, i was about to tear my hair out, jump out the window (not really - dont worry) i was crying my head off, but i listened to allan, i called him up and didn't stumble. i fear i'm going to have more days like this but i know i have to fight it. jack
i'm shooting for the 90 days that Michelle (the sex addiction therapist) spoke about on the telephone - she said this creates new brain nuerons - i believe her - i want to believe her. i'll call Elya if i'm having pain like yesterday. this could be a new lease on life - imagine saying al chayt and not knowing in my heart that it's a lie!
We're all with you on this. You can write to me if you are feeling really weak and need a few words of Chizuk :-)
Hashem waits a person's whole life for them to do Teshuvah. You are going to be one great example for us all, how it's never too late to change.
dear guard, your reply to me humbles me. it brings tears to my eyes - not like those tears of pain and anxiety that i felt the other day - but tears that someone cares enough about me to do this. i never felt this before - i always felt judged, never that anyone was willing to help me, only criticize me. jack
Day 3. day #3 this shabbos i will go to the rabbi, shake his hand, and NOT say to myself - 'if the rabbi only knew about me'. It will be the first guilt-free shabbos in my whole life. jack
why are there so many teens at risk today? because they don't feel anyone cares for them. they are a little different, they don't fit into the mold, therefore they are judged harshly - and they have to look elsewhere for what they think will make them happy. all the professionals say this - Rabbi twersky, the famous psychologist - dr pelcovitz, rabbi shaya cohen of priority 1, etc. why is this so? parents, and especially rebbes in yeshivahs dont treat the 'different' ones with enough respect. this is one of the biggest problems in today's Jewish world. so, food, smoking, porn, masturbation, which brings temporary happiness, is all too often the outlet for these 'different' ones. if the rebbes and parents only treated these boys and girls with the same respect they give the other ones, the ones who DO fit the mold, the smart ones, the ones who learn fast, etc. what about the one who learns a little slower? the one who's not an athlete? the one who feels a little self-conscious because he has some sort of difference than everyone else??
like me, for example. if not for you guys, i don't know what i would have done. why can't you use your brilliance, your technical know-how, your energy, your love for your Jewish brothers and sisters, your ability to reach Jews all over the world to help solve this tragedy? people need to know that someone cares about them, that they are loved, that they are needed, even though they are 'different', especially kids, but even adults.
i wish you all kol tuv, and please pardon me if i am not addressing you properly, because for all i know, you may be the gadol hador i'm speaking to, and here i am speaking as if you are just one of the rest of us. with feelings from my heart, jack (not my real name)
all i needed were people wiling to listen non-judgementally, and be with me - and until now i didn't have that. i am still not out of the woods.
Day 6. what really, really gives me chizuk, more than anything, and i mean anything else, is that there are actual people who are with me. we'll see what happens when the going gets tough - then i will really need support. so far, the first day (last Wednesday) was the hardest one. jack today is day #6. by the way, why are you so proud of me already? what happens with me is it builds up, more and more, until i just have to release the tension in unhealthy ways. and my thoughts are still bombarded by those images from the screen. every woman i see is a trigger in my brain to go act out somewhere. so far, I've held on. i plan to speak to elya tonight. i am here in Florida till tomorrow night, taking care of some business. thank you again for being with me. Jack
Why are we so proud? You haven't been one day sober in 38 years and now you are clean for 6 days!! That's not to be proud of??
Did you read today's chizuk e-mail? I think it would help you... The triggers are like the "itch". It is burning now and begging you to scratch it - but if you hold out, the itch disappears! You need to break this vicious cycle, the maddening itch that's causing you to scratch like a madman for 38 years. No matter how much you scratch it is never enough. And it just gets worse, and then it starts to bleed...
You can do it! You will be so free and your Yiddishkeit will finally feel true, no more living a lie, no more living a double life!
Day 7. i want to feel free from this - i believe the black people said it best - 'we are free at last - G-d almighty, we are free at last'.
by the way, today, tuesday 9/9/08, is the beginning of day #7.
what will get me through this is support - support from people i trust, that care for me - and will not judge me. your advice to me yesterday not to live a double-life anymore was particularly good for me.
the chazals wont help me - i have known them for 30+ years.
i will keep in touch. thanks again, jack.
Day 10. i'm starting my 10th day now. i'm itching all over.especially when i see what's walking around the streets, on bus advertisements, in the check-out aisles of supermarkets, ALL OVER! i spoke with elya k last night, and, as always, this was a big help. it is a mitzva d'oraisa to help someone in need - physically also.but it is even greater to help him spiritually. a mitzva d'oraisa is the essence of what makes a mentch. and thank you mevakesh for telling me that i have what it takes - now how would i know this by myself? that was a mitzvah d'oraisa - we need each other. that's what the arba minim is all about - we take all the Jews together, and together we can accomplish great things - this is what Hashem wants - He wants us to help each other, that's why He put this mitzvah in the Torah - to show us how important it is to help our fellow Jews. staying free of this helps our sensitivity to see Hasjem's world better.in sin, He is clouded.without sin, the clouds move away and more of Hashem's world is revealed to us. so, thanks again to everybody, and have a very meaningful shabbos. Jack
dear guard, mevakesh, and elya k. first of all, you are all my spiritual brothers and i love you! 2nd of all, can you imagine if you were scratching your ear for 38 years, every day, and one day you stopped scratching, wouldn't your ear feel that it needed scratching? well, this is what i'm feeling now - and it's killing me.
3rd of all, as far as looking, at my place of work the women try to outdo each other in how much flesh they can show. oddly enough, this doesn't hurt so much, because as soon as they open their mouth and start talking, i can say i want no part of them. but the ones that i dont hear, they're the ones that get me thinking. i know the vilna gaon stayed in his attic and the dubno maggid gave him mussar for this - but the Gaon didn't accept it. but we can't be like the Gaon - we have to move around in the world. i hope i can learn what you're saying - to learn not to look. this would be the best of all.
finally - i'm going crazy right NOW trying to resist!!!
i had therapy about 20 years ago which helped tremendously. it brought me out of the dungeon. i did try medication at that time, but it didn't help. i learned what i have to know - now is the time for me to go ahead and put it into practice - with your support. if i have trouble now, i know what to do - i write to you and feel your encouraging words enter my brain and my body.i know that the rewards for beating this thing are great. i've had many people to help me in other areas of my life - maybe less than 5 altogether. now, i have someone, who i dont even know, to help me with this. daven for me - it's difficult. Jack
Day 12. dear all, i'm beginning my 12th day. what's keeping me going is that i plan to call in on Tuesday night. if i know that there are people there for me, i can wait. in an emergency, i can always call elya k. last Friday was very hard physically. the first day two weeks ago was hard mentally. but last friday was almost unbearable physically. but mevakesh told me to hold on using some pretty strong words. he told me that Jews gave up a lot to maintain their Judaism. and he told me to imagine my ancestors watching me. but the thing that REALLY works for ME (different things work for different people) is the phone group - imagine! people are there for me, a fellow jew who no one knows, but they do know me - they know my soul.
dear guard, changing jobs in my field is difficult unless i move to India or Mexico. but, like i said, once they open their mouths, i see i don't want anything to do with them. but they still show flesh. rabbi miller once said that if you go to the zoo, you'll see all the animals walking around without clothes!
can't wait to speak to you guys tuesday night!! jack
Day 13. today is my bar-mitzvah - 13 days straight. i cant say it's easy, it is very difficult to break a 38 year old habit.but i 'm still on track - thanks to you and your 'boys'. Jack
Hashem asks of us Messiras Nefesh at different periods in our lives. And if we pass those tests, we shoot up to heights we couldn't have dreamed of before! You are in such a situation now Jack. And you are doing fantastic!
i dont really have to learn anything - i learned all the things i have to know 30 years ago. what i was missing was the caring of other jews for me instead of criticizing. criticizing does not work for me. caring works for me. until now, i did not have that. areivus is crucial - why were the jews held responsible for achan's sin? they were responsible. why didn't hashem just tell us to read the torah? why did He give a special mitzvah called areivus? because He knew that without areivus, nothing goes. so, if you mean did anything change for me last night, the answer is yes, because i found out that people are still caring for me. if that stops, the structure will come down. jack
this is the 4th day of niddah. i have to hold out. they say it gets easier. so far, it hasn't. but, i'm beginning to feel more energy, and a better person for not succumbing. you know, when we know we're doing the wrong thing, this makes us depressed afterwards.when we know we're doing the right thing, this makes us feel better. this is the way it works. the habit is what's difficult to break. Jack
we know everything is from the torah, right? well, when saying mashiv haruach, if we've said it for 30 days, we can be classified as not having forgotten it with regards to repeating shmone esrai. that means 90 times!! does this # sound familiar? by the way, i hope i didn't sound baal gayvedik before when i said i don't have to learn anything - what i meant was that i read all the tips and just needed 'a little help from my Jewish friends'. Jack
Jack, it's really inspiring to watch a Jew tackle a mountain, for the sake of Hashem!
Take the path, one step at a time, and soon you'll look down from the top and not believe how far you've come!
this is what we are here for, but we need people to help us. why do you think we need rebbes? or parents? why not just do the right thing and forget about the groups? or leaders? or neviim? yes, this IS a mountain, a big one. but if they can climb mount Everest, we can do this, too. Jack
Day 15. today is day #15. without you guys, i couldn't do it! the mitzvah of areivus is taken very seriously by these fine people. areivus is a mitzva d'oraisa. see the explanation of hanestoras lashem elokeinu. Jack
Day 16. today is day #16. it is during niddah. if i keep it up, i feel that this will be my best rosh hashanah ever! i am happier, more energetic, i am sure people are saying - 'what all of a sudden got into this guy?' shicvas zera koach haguf - if it is channeled properly, the we have energy. if it is wasted, then our energy goes out the window. i have been influenced more by the people on your site than anywhere else in my life! (religiously speaking). Jack
thanks to you, my life is better. i can speak to my kids about yiddishkeit without feeling like a hypocrite. i can sing zemiros at the shabbos table without feeling guilt. i can shake the rabbis hand without saying to myself - 'if he only knew'. ok, i'm doing the work, but you are there, which makes all the difference between now and prior to now. and i feel exactly the same about elya k - he is there, with his comforting soothing, understanding, non-critical, non-judgemental voice. between you two and all the people on the forum who are rooting for me, i can pull through this struggle. i can't express in words how much i owe you. jack (someday, we'll meet and you'll know who you helped).
Day 19. you should know that this is not easy. every day i have thoughts of breaking the streak.last time, mevakesh wrote me - 'it just aint worth it'. that was last week. what about today?do i need one every day? how long will i need a chizuk every day? when i am i going to be able to do this without help? ever? today is day #19 - straight no porn or mast. Jack
this is jack.today i'm starting day #19 of straight no porn or mast. it is exceedingly difficult, and there isn't a day that i don't want to crack. i don't know how i'm going to manage this. on the positive side, i've gone 19 days straight. and i feel better, happier, more energy. why isn't this enough incentive? because i have a long-term habit i'm trying to overcome. and i don't want to go back to that vicious cycle. that stuff was so pleasing, but so bad for me. in just a few days, i'd need it again. this is what's called an addiction. that cycle is no good for me - but i'm still going crazy. jack.
Jack, Breaking such a difficult habit is true Messiras Nefesh. You are feeling the taste of "death" itself. But I have good news for you. The "death" you feel, is the "death" of the Yetzer Hara. You are feeling HIS death throws. The only reason you feel it so strongly is because he has become so attached to you through the addiction. But every time you feel this taste of death, REJOICE! It is HE who is DYING, not you. While he dies a slow and painful death, you are begining to live! Zeh Hasatan Holech Lemisah Ve'atah Tikanes Lechayim Tovim Aruchim VeShalom!
Day 20. i was on a roller coaster yesterday. and when the ride stopped, i was relieved that it was over.so, when my 19th day ended without cracking, i felt better.
thanks everybody - thanks so much. today i'm starting my 20th day. yesterday morning and afternoon was soo hard. by evening, the itching passed. you are all warming me with your support!! jack
i've had 5 people who have had MAJOR impact on my life:
1. the person who convinced me to go to yeshivah in israel after high school, which is where i became frum;
2. my therapist, who opened up the skies for me with insights about my parents and my life - without his expertise, i would have NEVER found out these things;
3. my exercise teacher, who supported me for 25 years, who was ALWAYS there at the other end of the phone line, who was NEVER too busy to take my calls;
4 & 5. you and allan.
where i am today compared to where i started out is absolutely incredible, there is no other way to describe this.
i am the type of fellow who never forgets the people who helped me..
Day 21. hello all my holy brothers, this is jack.
what do you mean 'all in my zechus'?! i cant take so much credit! i'll take a little, ok. all i'm doing is tearing my hair out (what's ever left) and telling you about it. you are doing your own individual work. ok, we all need support.but bechira is a precious gift given by the Creator to each of us. without bechirah we can have NO reward. as a matter of fact, without the yetzer hara we can have no reward! up till now, i've said nothing about this, but now, i must tell you, although the yetzer hara wants us dead, he at the same time is our BEST FRIEND! fighting him and winning is what Hashem wanted!! there can be no reward without the struggle! the bottom line, after all the support we are getting from the fine, fine people on this site, the untershte shura, is we have to defeat our own personal yetzer hara with brute force. noone is following me around to see what i do or don't do.i know there are people here who are with me in my struggle. but when push comes to shove, i'm alone. during lunch, i can do one of 2 things.... but i know that guard and elya and mevakesh, and niceguy and battleworn and everybody are 'watching' me. but in reality, i'm alone at that moment. so dont give me so much credit, take some for yourselves every time you win. not too much, you dont want to let your guard down (no pun intended). and you dont want to become a ba'al gaavah.
by the way, today i'm starting day # 21 of sobriety. my warmest wishes to all of you. Jack
Jack posts on the forum to someone else:
dear mw, you cant expect to feel better right away - i've felt guilty on rosh hashanah for 38 years! when i did al chayt i knew it was a lie! it would have the same this year if not for this site. give yourself time. you made the first step, it takes more than one step till you feel better. and it may or may not take years, depending on the ONE Above. this is only a first step.daven this rosh hashanah as always, and stay with this site. do whatever you have to, speak to elya, write to guard, you wont do it without the people on this site. i've been where you are - it took me 38 years! once i found this site, i was finally able to put it all together. i'm already on my 24th day free of....this has been the best elul of my entire life! this is the first time in my married life (24 years) that i am free of that dirty stuff. it requires determination, but you have help. you need Hashem which you will have if you use this site the way it was supposed to be used. we are with you, and we all love you! Jack
Day 22. dear all, in today's yom, it says 'Hashem knows the thoughts of man that they are HEVEL. this brought to mind a beautiful vort on koheles. it says there that everything is hevel.why is it important for us to know this? because we have to look at the things that Hashem made forbidden to us - that they are hevel.in other words, don't feel so bad that they are forbidden to you, because they are hevel anyway.if hashem didn't let you have something that was really wonderful, that would be a reason to complain. but He didn't do that. He only made osur to us things that are really bad for us, so dont feel bad about this and dont complain!
by the way, have all of you gotten on that weekly phone call yet? have you spoken with elya k. yet? if not, what are you waiting for? you can't do this by yourself - it's too hard. you need caring fellow Jews who are willing to listen to you, understand you, and are willing to go out of their way to help you - like elya k and guard. so get on that phone and start the healing!
today is day #22. jack
Day 23. wow - another day almost gone. i can't believe myself. this is the longest i've EVER gone. this has been the most introspective elul i've ever spent. and it's all because i 'came across' this website in an advertisement on theyeshivaworld.com. dont think this is easy guys - ok, it's not as hard as the first day when i called elya and was screaming my head off. i haven't done that since then. but it's still a fight. elya told me that he almost doesn't think about it anymore - now this is something i am really looking forward to. i'm going to have all of you in my thoughts this rosh hashanah during musaf, wishing you all the rewards you deserve for doing a real big mitzvah, helping a fellow Jew who is drowning. this is a d'oraisa guys - not a small thing! love you all, jack
today is my 23rd day. i've accomplished more here in 3 weeks than in the past 30+ years. you are ALL true and dear friends. jack
Day 24. i just passed the first niddah period in my marriage (24 yrs) w/out you-know-what. today is day # 24. blessings to you and your family. Jack
Day 28. day #28. i'm having a difficult day today. this is the hardest thing i've ever attempted in my entire life. Jack
Day 30. i hit day 30 today and i'm itching like crazy - mevakesh, you saved me last time, any hints for today? Jack
Day 31. today friday is day 31. allan saved me yesterday.
hello all and a gmar chasima tova from the depths of my heart-
today is my 31st day. and this is the most difficult battle that i have ever undertaken voluntarily. and i couldn't do it without the phone support.if you are trying this on your own, maybe the forum is enough for you. but, for me, i need the phone support - the withdrawal symptoms are too strong - i need to unload on a human being who is there for me and will listen. did you ever see a drug addict coming off drugs? (i can only imagine) what it's like. well, what i have is not a chemical dependency, but the withdrawal symptoms are (i can only imagine) just as powerful, and i need a support person to listen to me scream and cry it out of my system. i don't know how long i will need this, but the people are there for me, and that's how i'm doing it. and that's what changed from the past 38 years, when i always wanted to stop, but couldn't. the withdrawal was just too much to bear alone.but now, i have a new family, and that's what's doing it for me, plain and simple. Jack
Day 34. gmar chasima to all - today is day #34! the first clean aseres yemei teshuvah in my entire life! we know that every wisdom about living comes from the torah - we said it first! the gemara says that if we are burdened by problems, we should tell it to a friend (i dont know the source). so, here are real people willing to help! they are not just posts on a forum - they are people who will talk to you! unbelievable! who else are you going to talk with about these inyanim? your shul rabbi? (ok, there's a chance i'm wrong - but what percentage of shul rabbis will?) but on this forum, with these holy people who are trying to do the right thing, there is no reason to be ashamed. that is the power of this group. with unbounded thanks, jack
i'll tell you how talking on the phone personally with elya helped me.when i was feeling anxious, and ready to explode, i called elya and released my pent-up frustrtaions to him, and he listened.all i needed was for him to listen, and he did.i screamed, i cried, it was so difficult holding back, but after i spoke to him, i apologized for screaming and crying in his ear, and then felt better, and able to move on.and because of this phone contact, i can hold back from sinning.but other people might need different things, everyone is an individual, maybe the tuesday night group is better for some peple, or the tips here, or something else.but there is enough here on this site, i think, for most people who are struggling, not that i'm an expert. i've almost reached the half-way mark of the 90-day (magical) number. Jack
Jack posts on the forum to someone else:
Day 36. dear mw, i've been there, done that, for 38 years.cycle after cycle, on yom tov, shabbos, after a night of learning on shvuos, etc. as soon as i saw this site and spoke with elya, i knew i was finally ready, because i finally found the peope who were willing and able to help me. today is day #36. jack
Day 45. i'm having a hard day today, day #45. i need people to love me. i need to know i'm loved. am i loved? if i know i'm loved, i will have reason to go on with this. if not, i have no reason to keep this up.
Wow. 45 days! You are half way there jack. Don't give up now! We love you jack, as does everyone on the forum. As a matter of fact, I have never seen so much Ahavas Yisrael in my whole life like I see on the forum with your story! And I'm in the process of posting your story on our site right now. I hope to have it up in a few hours. And you'll read it and get strength from that too!
Also, remember how much Hashem loves you. And the whole Pamalia Shel Mala is looking down at your valient struggle and feeling love for you. The whole universe is full of love for you Jack, open your heart and feel it :-)
Day 46. a gut yur to everyone. today is my 46th day.i've passed the half-way mark to my goal of 90 days and beyond. it has not been an easy ride - just ask elya or mevakesh or guard, and they will tell you that i'm not having an easy time at all. as guard said to me in an email, i am feeling what death is like - death of my yetzer hara. and it's not a pleasant feeling. but i'm waiting for the end of the tunnel - i heard there is light there.
Chaza"l say that the yidden had to count 49 days (7 weeks, like the 7 days of a Niddah) after the Tumah of Mitzrayim before being ready to receive the Torah ON DAY 50. Oh my! I just realized that SIMCHAS TORAH WILL BE ON JACK'S 50TH DAY!!
Jack, this just proves once again, that your struggle and amazing progress is divinely inspired and assisted, from day 1!
Day 49. Well, in chutz laaretz, day # 50 is shemini atzeres, in israel simchas torah. Today hashanah raba, is day 49 straight, no zera levatalah. I've passed through two niddah periods without any zera levatala. So, hoshanah rabbah is like shevuous, here in america for me.
When i was with my wife, it was REALLY special. it was just like they say - you're waiting for the right time - that's what Judaism is - waiting for the right time. and it was really a special, special feeling for me. Of course my wife had no inkling what i was thinking. have to go now - love you ALLLLL....
Day 51. dear family, is it the vast knowledge that these people possess (and they do) that is helping me? no, it is their VAST ability to be a friend, a true friend, like the one it says in pirke avos to acquire. this is what is helping me the most. today is day 51.
Day 52. you know what we sang this simchas torah? we sanr baruch elokeinu shebaranu lechvodo VEHEEVDELANU MEEN HATOIM - WE ARE separate from those that are mistaken!! hashem separated us from them!! you know what else we sang? ashreinu mah tov chelkainu - how good is our portion!! noone in shul could know what my kavanos were at the times we were singing that - but everyone here knows. the first clean simchas torah in my life! i'm feeling so much better at not having to hide from my friends, my rabbi, my chevrusas, my wife, my kids, my work colleagues, who else? anybody on the street who, when they see me, think i 'm a religious jew. but now, i dont have to hide, and it makes life so much better.
dont we know halacha is for our benefit?? G-d cares for us, and he wants us to do the what's good for us - uvacharta bachaim - choose life, He says in the TORAH. but we have bechirah, and this is the only way that life can make any sense.because without the struggle, there can be no reward.
so, everybody, fight on, and enjoy the results, because this IS what Hashem wanted, and wants for us.
today, friday, is day 52!! i'm surprising even myself. i'm with all of you in heart and soul.
Day 55. dear guard until 120, although i'm at day 55 as far as zera and p.. goes, my eyes still wander all over the place, looking for what is there for the viewing, just like the lowest truck driver does.i'm not ready to tackle this yet. i know that looking leads to action, but so far this hasn't happened. i don't know when i'll be ready for this.
Dearest Jack, Now that you've come so far I think it's safe to tell you that, believe it or not, the struggle to guard the eyes is even harder than the struggle to stop m... and p... and will take longer. Because of what we have done to our minds over the years, because of the way we've become so accustomed to taking in everything we see and storing it in our brains for use in our fantasies, it takes a while, sometimes even years after stopping with the hard-core stuff, to learn true control of the eyes. But you will get there. So don't despair. This is normal. The Yetzer Hara's greatest tool is to say "you anyway don't have control on your eyes, so why bother staying strong at all?". Don't listen to him, this great big liar. If you stay strong and don't masturbate and don't look at porn, and you keep davening and keep giving your heart over to Hashem, there will come a point that you will have control over your eyes fully as well. But it takes a lot of teffilah and patience. Hashem may have let you get rid of the real bad stuff, but he doesn't want the game to end so fast. He is having too much Nachas Ruach with you to send the Yetzer Hara off on his merry way. So the Yetzer will keep trying to make you fall in shmiras ainayim for a long while, and keep trying to make you feel low and say to you that you may as well give up... Hashem is doing this so you can keep struggling and keep crying out to Hashem, because that's what the game is all about.
Read also again today's and yesterday's chizuk e-mails. They happen to both apply exactly to your situation, as if Hashem made me write them for you. (#311 and #312 on this page - scroll down).
Also you know, I was thinking. It says in the Zohar that the Levi'im in the Beis Hamikdash had to stop working at age 50 because the fire of youthful desires no longer burned in their hearts, and this is a part of the Avodah somehow. You are 49 now. It says that true Teshuvah can only be if the person is in the same situation and still holds back. If you would have waited one more year to do Teshuvah, it already wouldn't be as strong as now. Once you are 50, you are no longer in the same category and the Teshuvah wouldn't be as complete.
Isn't Hashem kind that he gave you this chance now! So do your best to learn control of the eyes as well now, before you're 50. Because from then on, it is not the same Teshuvah anymore... As we say "Al Tashlicheinu Le'es Zikna, Kichlos Kocheinu" - and I once heard Pshat, that because once we are older and have less Koach, we can no longer do a true Teshuvah. That is why we ask Hashem not to forsake us EVEN in our old age and with less strengths...
Day 56. dear eme, thanks for the kind words. dont forget it took me 38 years and this website to finally make the break. i was ready, and Hashem sent guard at the RIGHT TIME.
and thanks chasdei avos for YOUR kind words - THAT's what doing it for me, folks! that's what gives me the inspiration to go on - it's you guys!!
Jack posts on the forum to strengthen someone else:
today is just like yesterday - if you did it yesterday, you can do it today. it's just mr. yetzer hara again telling you that its different, it's really the same. and you are loved by everyone here. would you want to disappoint those who love you? it does require brute force, though. however, to climb a mountain, you need the people above you to pull you up. on this forum, that's what you have.
Day 57. guten chodesh, i just want to keep in touch and tell you what I'm doing. i speak to elya once a week, and i also speak to mevakesh once a week, and i write to you on occasion. everybody has their own personality and can offer their own unique contributions. Elya is calm and listens to me vent. mevakesh tells me 'jack, you don't need this, you don't need it, you just don't need it!' and you give me inspiration by making me feel good about what I'm doing and that it's the right thing. i need all three. and the people on the forum also help by making me feel good about what I'm doing. between all of these, i will pull through.
i think i'm feeling better, but i'm not sure. i have all sorts of weird feelings going on - after all, there was such a change in my actions.. today is day 57, and thanks to this site. and the way i found it was truly amazing. A pop-up in yeshivahworld that went away after that - one second - and i grabbed the url before it was gone. truly amazing. a frum guy at work told me about yeshivahworld - who knows if it wasn't just for this that he came to work here (mordechai didn't REALLY know if that's why esther was there - he said - 'WHO KNOWS if this isn't the reason you got to be queen?')
So anyway, who knows? what i do know is that it was just what i needed. i wish you the warmest wishes from my heart and soul.
Jack posts on the forum to strengthen someone else:
Day 58. speak to someone live! it will be hard to disappoint them. without speaking to anyone, it is very difficult. you need that live support from a real person. go on the phone group, or connect with a sponsor - don't try by yourself! the people here are wonderful! today is day 58. another month will be 90! and then I'll start to work on some of the other things that have been bothering me since childhood. jack
Day 59. dear all, another 31 days and i hit the 90 day number! shabbos parshas noach is day # 60!! another month, and i hit michelle's magic #! Elya, tell michelle that the one sentence she said that night on the phone about 90 days made an impression on me, and i took it to heart. she also said on that phone call that when alcoholics anonymous started, they wanted their members to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. and she said it was truly amazing that back then, before the research, that AA knew about the 90 days. well, we knew it first, didn't we? by mashiv haruach, eh?
and thanks to all of you for your support. i never would have believed that i could accomplish this! i will not fail you-bli neder
Jack posts on the forum to strengthen someone else:
dear_____, you've come to the right place. EVERYONE here has gone through what you're going through, and i mean everyone. you are not alone. there is everything here to help you - phone support, tips, and posting. it's a difficult task you have ahead of you, but there are people here on this site who will pull you up the mountain. you have an addiction. it never goes away, there is no cure for an addiction. i'm not telling you this to make you depressed - it's just a fact. but with the people here, you will be able to control it. join the phone group - don't go it alone - you will not succeed. it's too powerful a pull - you need people, people like those on this forum who care about you because you are our brother. i am at almost 60 days without mas.... which is really unbelievable when you consider that i'm trying to break a 38 - year old habit. so dont give up, stick with the forum, and you WILL be helped!!
Between days 64-68 Days, Jack went through some hard times.
Day 64.I'm DEPRESSED - I lost my BEST FRIEND!! The porn made me happy. There's nothing that can replace that for me. i am empty inside now. i spoke to Elya last night, and he listened to me. There's nothing that makes me as happy as those images on the screen. and now that i gave that up, i don't know where to turn for happiness. I'm having a rough time of it.
Click here and here to see Rabbi Twerski's answers to Jack
After Rabbi Twerki's answers, Jack writes us:
I'm sorry I'm causing you so much anguish. but if WE (not me but WE) are successful in this, it will be what should have happened 49 years ago. but Hashem doesn't want it that way, he wants us to struggle, to attain reward. he didn't want me born into a religious family, he didn't want me to be raised the right way. He didn't want me to have everything right - He instead wanted me to seek you out, and to grab onto your coattails, and grab i did. but I'm tugging at you, making you work extra hard for me, someone you don't even know. if i pull through this, I'll come out on the other side a new person. i still cant believe you want to do this for me - a total stranger. So, forgive me please for making your work so difficult, i will not disappoint you. please stay with me through these hard times, because i have nowhere else to turn. my tears are running down to the keyboard. thanks friend, Jack
It says in behaloscha 'and moshe heard the nation who were boche l'misphchosuv'. and rashi brings down chazal who say they were crying over their now-forbidden relationships. can we imagine the absolute pain they must have had to divorce their wives? the wives they had relations with? the wives they loved? maybe they were married for 38 years!! is it possible to imagine the anguish, the pain? well, i can.
There is no way for me to express how grateful i am to you. when i heard rabbi twerski speak a few years ago, i was going to contact him myself, but i never had the nerve. now, that wish is being realized through you. you are a true ohav yisroel. The following two sentences hold the answer:
'Think seriously about who you are and what you can make of yourself. Sexual gratification may give you momentary pleasure, but does nothing to make you into a better person.'
This is the answer i was looking for.
Of course it's going to be hard. 38 years, a couple of times a day, hundreds and hundreds of movies, thousands upon thousands of dollars spent, looking at every thing that passes by, etc, etc..."Hard" is not even the word. But if you are there to catch me, I don't mind falling. And you have all been there, from day one.
Did I ever tell you that I do not take shots to get cavities filled? I'd rather live with the pain than the numbness. I got this from my father. He was walking around with a tumor filling his entire left lung for 2 years. He had stage 4 cancer for 4 years. He wouldn't give up - the doctors were amazed. His feet were swollen like balloons and he was sweeping the kitchen floor, with a cane in one hand and a broom in the other!
This attitude is what keeps the Jewish people going. Like it says, "Ka'asher Ya'anu Oso, Kein Yirbe" - proportionate to the amount the Egyptians battered us, that is how much we excelled - a stubborn people!! We won't die, will we? No matter what you throw at us, we are still here. In every generation - they try to kill us, gas us, annihilate us, pogrom us, anything and everything, but we are still here. Hitler didn't win, did he? So what's a little abstention from Tumah compared to all that
Day 69. i'm in 3rd niddah period of my undertaking with no zera levatala or viewing the forbidden. i am up to 69 today - don't worry i said i wont fail you and i'm not going to. all i need is support, which i am getting A LOT OF. I cant do it alone.
A parent must give constant positive encouragement to a child - but it has to be GENUINE - it cant be made up, so if the kid breaks a window, the father cant say 'oh, great job'. the praise has to be deserved by the child so the kid will believe it. and every child has something to be praised for - even if the parent has to wait until it presents itself. and it cant be overdone. what if a kid becomes an adult without having those praises? or worse, constant criticism, such as my father told me - 'everything you touch you break!!' or my mother giving me a look 'that could kill' when she saw me with tefillin on! i am not exaggerating. or if i wanted to bentch after eating i had to hide under my covers so she wouldn't catch me. all these lead to low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and all the other beautiful traits which will lead a person to smoke, drink, or waste his seed, which brings temporary needed consolation. the low self esteem that i have is VERY ingrained in me.
Day 70. dear all, today is day 70. i cant believe "mw" is counting with me! And "ME"! That really gives me chizuk. well, on day 90, which is 4th of kislev (dec 1) i'm going to have a BIG l'chaim to celebrate this monstrous accomplishment, with Hashem's will.if anyone would like to join me, after shachris on that day, yom sheini, i will have you all in my mind as we drink l'chaim together. will you join me? Jack
Ok, i'm keeping a list of people who will drink a l'chaim so i can be with all of you spiritually - battleworn, and the mispallim in guard's shul...so far.
Day 72. everyone - i met Elya k. in person! live! he's a real person, not just a voice on the phone! anyway we spoke for an hour, and i felt relaxed as usual.
let me give you my stages:
1-40 days were filled with terrible withdrawal anxiety. prior to finding this site, i had to remove that anxiety by acting out. when i found this site, i just called elya and unloaded on him. this helped me get past it and through it.
days 40-63 were pretty smooth.
on day 64, i felt a tremendous depression, because of the loss of my 'friend'. once again, i turned to my 'group', as rabbi twersky says to do, and i was able to get through those hard times as well. it is now day 72 and it is not so bad now. what awaits me in the next stage? I'm sure whatever it is, my friends will be there for me. without this site, recovery was UNTHINKABLE!
I went to therapy 22 years ago. i had a genius of a therapist who was able to explain to me what my parents had done to me. this took 2 1/2 years. after this, i knew the work was still to be done - the therapy only served to enlighten me on what my life was all about - and enlighten it did! i then 'stumbled' across a group of people running an exercise class for Jews (i wont elaborate here, although guard knows what it is) where the people there were much like the people on this site - willing to help a fellow Jew in need, like i was. i wasn't criticized, although i was one of the slowest progressors in the group. my self esteem and self-confidence were lowwww. they helped me build it up. this took me 20-25 years. my self-confidence is still not that great, but it's way more than it was before i started therapy. the porn was ALWAYS there, it 'helped' me feel happy, although temporarily. i would need a 'fix' every so often, just like a drug addiction. of course i knew it was wrong, but it was what i 'needed'. then for one short second, this site popped up in yeshivaworld.com, and i quickly copied down the url. that was about 2 1/2 months ago. i was lucky in my life to have 'chanced upon' the people who helped me, and when i found them, i didn't let go. there are so few people like guard, and the others here, that when i saw what was going on here, i knew that i had finally found the help i needed. i started out life very rough, with a traumatic childhood, a holocaust survivor father who was brutal to me, and a very tough young adulthood, but then, 'somehow', i met all the right people. you on this forum have also met the right people, don't let them go, and join that phone group!!! you cant do it alone, it's too powerful a force! this man guard is standing at the top of the mountain pulling us all up - don't you see that?? but, who is pulling HIM up?? I think Hashem gave him special kochos that he has chosen to use for the greater good. but i think that rabbi Twerski is HIS inspiration, and who is rabbi Twerski's inspiration? years and years of proper mesora stretching all the way back to avrohom aveenu. just read rabbi twerski's books about living each day, etc, and you can see the wisdom of life that he has, and who also has chosen to use HIS special kochos for the good of klal yisroel. i wish all my friends out there hatzlacha raba from the depths of my heart.
One more thing (for now). i am currently working on how to fill the 'void' in my soul, since i removed my 'friend'.
Thank you all for your help. don't forget - i was criticized and put down by my parents for close to 30 years, this is hard to undo - this is not 'just' habitual behaviors, these are thoughts in my head of worthlessness. when i finished therapy, i understood everything, but the feelings are taking a very long time to undo. so i hope i can take your suggestions and put them into practice, this work has to be done together with the work we're doing here - or else it won't be complete. later i must tell you, to those of you who are parents, what you must do for your children so they don't end up looking for pleasures to fill a void - of course there are never any guarantees in life, but at least do what is in our power to do, and that is to make our children feel loved, that they are worth our time, while disciplining at the same time not criticizing or making them feel low in any way, while at the same time teaching them that the way of truth is the Torah's way. yes, it's a hard job - and it takes work. but the rewards are worth it.
Day 76. dear chasdei avos and the rest of 'my family',
i accept your thanks. we help each other. that's what we are here for, that is a d'oraisa obligation placed upon us by the Creator of all things and all people. He knew we can't do it alone, therefore he gave us a mitzva that we are responsible to help each other when in need. and that's how I'm doing it, as I've said a thousand times in the last 76 days (!). some people out there are amazed at how i 'did it' so quick. my wonderful friends, 38 years is not quick. it took time, patience, and meeting the right people. i hung around Jewish (frum) places, and i was slowly eased into the right direction. and the final step was this website. so, i love you, but i must tell you, it wasn't quick, it's not easy, it still requires brute force, but it needs the caring of other people, and for me and all of us, total anonymity. because i, like everyone here, don't want it known who i am. that's why it worked. the anonymity of this site is the final ingredient that i needed - to have someone to talk to about this struggle without anyone finding out who i am.
today is day 76! start shopping for J & B.
Day 77. i read an ingenious little bit of advice from Elya somewhere on this site (email #328).. anyway he said to watch out for everyday outbursts of anger or depression - which happen to everyone, these are what leads to sin. the deeper depressions, he says, need PROFESSIONAL help. but the little things that happen every day to every human being, are what we have to be on our guard for. when you are shaken a little by anger, or a little depression, that's when the yetzer hara has a chance at you. if you are stable, he can't get in. if you are happy, he can't get in. only at a time of sakkana, does he strike. i added a little of my own words, but the main idea was Elya's - he did it again, he got right to the point. there are some very smart people on this site - listen to what they say! they want to help you! they care about you! when they go to sleep at night, they are thinking about the people on this forum. did you ever meet anybody like that before in your entire life?
today is day 77.
Elya also says that our thinking becomes clearer if we don't act out. I'm still waiting for this to happen.
Balance is indeed a hard thing to find - that's why some people take the extreme road, because the middle cant be found.
I'm still a little worried about the anxiety taking over from not acting out. it's just that yesterday a little anxiety popped into my head, and i again felt like i was going to fail. but don't worry - i stayed clean. but my thoughts are not there yet - they're still in the gutter.
As you may know, the issues i am discussing with you and Elya are much more than just the addiction - it is a matter of finding satisfaction in the things i do so i don't need non-kosher forms of satisfaction, which is all i knew anyway, up till now. Now, learning this at 49 is pretty late, most people have it already much much younger. me and Elya talk about these deep issues every week. Elya can relate to my feelings of low self-esteem because he comes from the same place. as i said, if i am successful, i will find out much more than just how to control the addiction. we are discussing the essentials of a happy life here.
get the whiskey ready for day 90!
I'm 49, and I'm FIRST discovering what it means to stick to a goal. in my younger days, i didn't know how to stay with something until completion.
You know, I'm a really nervous person, and what used to drive me more than anything was fear. The reason i did anything was fear that something else would happen. a lot of that is gone, but i do still have some of that left. this is yet more work that i have to accomplish. it's called generalized anxiety in the psychological manual (DSM). it's another long, long story, and it has to do with my father - boy did he have me in a grip!! and my mother did too, although in a different grip, and she wasn't a survivor.
Wow, Hashem gave you a Pekel. But that means he trusted you with all these jobs. You are doing great. Take it one thing at a time.
All the Malachim will come to greet the great Jack one day, after 120, for all the huge hurdles he overcame in his lifetime.
Shining crowns will be placed on your head, and Hashem will kvell will nachas!
Thank you as always - you have the correct way of looking at things. maybe my father had even more than me - after all, when you are 15 years old and witness a German guard shooting a fellow Jew in the head, and seeing the brains fly out, who can imagine such a thing? or after coming back from work in the ghetto one day and NOT seeing your family, in fact, he never saw them again. who can imagine? or upon arrival in Treblinka, watching about 6,900 people go to the gas, while he was spared because he lied and said he was a carpenter? need i go on? one of the most difficult things for me to do was live a normal life while saying - my father could not live a normal life - how can I? what right do i have to live a normal life? well, it took me almost 40 years to get over that, until i realized that as bad as i felt for my father, and i did feel bad, i had NO right to spoil my own life. and it bothered him that i tried to progress. but i overcame it with the help of therapy and my exercise group. but it took a lot of time.
You always seem so interested in what i have to say - this alone gives me a warm feeling inside. as i said before, the Torah's values seemed to have made their way into your consciousness.
Day 80. i'm not a person that knows a lot about whiskey, but i am a person who can recognize good Jews. and they are here! and I'm going to hold on to you guys for as long as i can. i wont break my kesher with you if i can help it. by showing you are here for me, which you do every time you write posts like the last one, i wont disappoint you.
today is day #80!! when i get to 90, guard asked me to tell you what i learned through this process. bl'n, i will, and I'll give you MY steps (they were less than 12, but each one took years). progress is NOT one long straight line going up, it is rather like the stock market USED to be, that means up and down, (right now, it's only going down. that might be progress too, believe it or not). so, if we see our defeats as part of the process of going up, we will not get so depressed.
Day 83. Today is day #83 straight no z'l. thanks everybody, from the bottom of my heart.
by the way, you can never be 99.999999 percent sure of anything - except that G-d is the creator and that He's perfect. But for us humans, how can we be sure of anything?
i have no internet at home, only at work or the library. i will not get internet at home, no matter how many people tell me that I'm backwards! I've been called many names, some i can repeat and some i cant. for example, backwards, doesn't keep up with the times, old-fashioned, etc.. actually, i think i DO keep up with the times - just read Rabbi bender's letter - or any principal that wants to teach his talmidim the right derech, or any issue of yated neeman where all the gedolim speak against it. I want to protect my kids, and i know that if i had it, i'd fail, too. anyway, the internet was never my problem - it was those stores you see almost everywhere you go that i disguised myself and snuck into - there were men there dressed as women who tried to pick me up, how degrading!! here i am a guy who learns torah on a regular basis hanging around in some of the most darkest places on the planet. - boy if my friends knew---
Day 85. 22 years ago i started the journey to healing, and this is the latest stage in that process.
i will not be at work Thursday or Friday so i will 'speak' to you again on Monday - which is day 90!!
Day 90. Dear chevra, zeh hayom shekivinuhu! we made it! i say we, because although it was my anxiety, my depression, my brute force, nevertheless, i COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT ALONE!! today is day 90, and miktzas hayom kikulo! i am overwhelmed with emotion as i write this because of all the love shown to me by the people here. i speak to elya and mevakesh once a week, and i write to guard a zillion times a day. they do not get impatient with me, but talk to me as if i'm calling or writing for the first time. guard writes me long replies, and elya and mevakesh talk to me if they have the time (after all, they have obligations, too).
There is no simcha like simcha shel mitzva. in fact there is no simcha that is worth anything other than a simcha shel mitzvah. can you imagine that the people who created and run this forum have ONE thing in mind? that is to spread the word of Hashem, and to help people who are struggling. this in itself is mind blowing.
I was glad to come back here monday morning and see people trying to vanquish the devil himself. and to see guard be himself - giving chizuk, working at this - i hope you all drank l'chaim with me today. if you didn't, i had an extra one for you. with warmest thanks to EVERYBODY - let's go vayter in shas!! jack