A website for Jews struggling to maintain their moral purity in today's world
|GUE Home||New Website||Forum||Email List||Stories||Tips||Hotline||12 Steps||Filters||Links||FAQ||Help Us||Kosher Isle||Contact|
Working Towards Full Teshuvah
Scroll down past the responses, for Part 2
Hodu Lahashem Kitov Ki leolam chasdo!
This site is what I've sorely needed for the last 4 years... Here's my story:
As a normal bachur, a 'good kid', going to yeshivish yeshiva's I was fist exposed to pornography when buchrim would talk about it in yeshiva. In the 'Alef shiur' such things where never mentioned, but in the lower shiurim, regular bochrim where brazen enough to quietly, and not so quietly discuss their adventures in the world of pornography. Being a nice sweet boy, and a good kid, at one point I was entrusted with a password that could enable me to access websites beyond my internet settings, and on one occasion, overcome by a yetzer hara I had never possessed (nor to that magnitude), I used that loophole to see what would later become an obsessive addiction. The first exposure to such tumah revolts a person, I wondered how anyone is even interested in seeing something so disgusting...but the damage was done. On a few more isolated occasions, I began to explore this new world, the olam hatumah in it's beis genazav.
Then I was caught....but sadly after a mere slap on the wrist, and the strongest filtering parental settings had to offer, I got off the hook.
Please if anyone discovers their children where nichshal even once, go to extreme measures and consult with a Madrich / Rav ...and do something (the right thing) about it!
Even the greatest filter is not impenetrable, and habah letamei potchim lo, I found a loophole on the most 'parve' of websites that can open the wormhole to every pornographic picture on the internet...and that loophole is still operative!!! (...I still use it) It was then that I began to go online in all my spare time, yeshiva ended late....but the night was 9 hours long. For 2 years I wreaked constant havoc on my neshama, I was completely addicted. every spare minute I would spend on the computer, covering-up the light from the monitor. At first I feared I would get caught, but eventually the fear diminishes to nothing...I never did get caught. But it got worse, much worse.
Then I upgraded to a DSL connection, hashem yiracheim. Dial-up required me to use an ISP with parental setting, and limited my addiction to the one loophole in the system. DSL doesn't have any real way to stop oneself. Every computer has 5 internet browsers that can't be filtered, monitored, and usually are too necessary to be deleted. I used these to have unlimited, unhindered , high speed access to EVERYTHING bad online, and I was still just a young bachur. There was no limit to what I could download, and how fast I could do it. My neshama, and almost every trace of kedushah within it was snuffed out like a used cigarette bud...but no-one knew. I appeared to be nothing more than a grumpy bachur, a good kid, but with a problem somewhere below the surface.......but no-one knew.
I was Motzi zera livatala countless times, ad ain shiur...every day. My life was a walking depression of pornography addiction and Hotzoas zera. By then everyone knew there was something wrong, but no-one did anything about it. I was angry, irritable, miserable, and losing my sanity… and I was all alone!!! It hurt so much, but I had no other outlet, nothing but pornography...I hated my life, I set dates that by then I would take my own life. But when they came I was too afraid, my depression (Baruch Hashem) demobilized me, and I would just swear to myself that I'll do it a week later. I had no Chayim, I really had nothing to loose, except what I had to gain.
Then it finally came time to go on to Beis Medrash, I would have no way to access my addiction, I could possible start to grow. No, I was not heading in any good direction, just that the change might offer me the respite I needed. But at that point I was reunited with my problem via cellphone. (It is not my problem alone, many of my friends have trusting parents who entrust them with internet access, even the most limited access...and they are nichshal also). I continued to feed my addiction, wherever I could find a private location, or just stam under the covers, I continued to....Other bochrim started to pick up the signs, I occasionally left the browser on the front screen (quickly blocking it with my finger and changing the screen) when pulling my phone out in public. My wonderful reputation started to get tarnished by accusations of surfing pornography all day, but a chashuvah bachur like me can easily deny it, reprimanding the accuser for using such lashonos and speaking nivul peh in front of me.
Then I hit rock bottom. I can't explain to any extent what that means. The memory of my addiction is too painful, and the feeling’s long forgotten. I hit the climax of doing EVERYTHING wrong with the anonymous use of the internet. A taihre bachur like me, never getting involved with girl, but being oiver in everything one can do anonymously. It all caught up with me. I lay in bed for days, pretending to be sick, and honestly looking the part. Then I started searching online for something to help. One site led to another, and I began a full turn-around in every aspect of issurai arayos.......exept one, I couldn't stop the internet. I grew to outstanding heights in yeshiva, one of the TOP buchrim, but I was still addicted to the internet...My deep dark secret. I have slowly worked on doing teshuva, but it's very slow, and relapses are common.
Thank you for posting your story. You have come a long way, but please don't let down your guard. Doing it "sometimes" still, means the beast is still lurking beneath the surface.
"Haba litaher misayen oso" - "One who comes to be purified is helped". Join our daily chizuk list. You can make a special gmail account for the e-mails if you are afraid of being identified. The chizuk e-mails are like drops of water, that over time can penetrate even rocks - as Rabbi Akiva observed.
The first step to fully stopping is to distance yourself from stimulation and start making fences for the "beast". You must get a fool-proof filter and give the password to someone you trust not to give it to you. See our filter section for many good filters and advice. Also, a kosher cellphone is a must. Someone who is, or once was, addicted to drugs for example, can't be in a room all day with drugs within hands reach and still expect to achieve sobriety. Once you have done the basic steps, you can start working on it even more. You will start to learn what brings you to fall and start to distance yourself from those things and situations until you will be fully free.
To start the journey to recovery there are two prerequisites.
1) You must want to change very much - which you do,
2) You must believe it really is possible.
Go through our website carefully, read the many tips and try and practice them, one at a time, one day at a time. And keep praying to Hashem. He really listens.
You WILL be able to be free one day all the way!
Reply from Author:
Thank you for posting it..and the formatting is excellent. I plan on creating an anonymous email now. Although for a month at a time I don't touch the internet.
Baruch Hashem with this coming elul zman I will be free from my home access of the internet, my only available way to feed this addiction. A support group I could probably add tremendous chizuk...but I would be out of the country so it won't be possible.
I do hope that be'ezrat hashem I can contribute a follow-up recovery story..and Baruch Hashem it's getting close.
Thank you for the chizuk, and even more powerful than other people's chizuk, do I find my own heart wrenching story. I cried when I read it just now...because it's not that I relate to the author.. I am that person. To see how terrible I was, and how much I have grown as a 'gavrah' is self inspiring.
You have a tremendous chelek in olam Haba for helping with this avaira...helping end it. It's not just that one is nichshal in "Vlo Taturu acharei levavchem veacharei eineichem", but the depression brought about by the aveiros we do in private crushes our spirits...bringing to countless more aveirot (heard from R Y Reisman, lerarnt from shimshon). You are preventing the whole landslide, in addition to saving shalom bayis etc....
I'm not alone anymore.. sorta. I revealed to my rebbe, to some extent, what I used to be...which inspired me to share my story...and together with him I should beezrat hashem overcome this. Bein Hmatzarim is a time of Teshuva, "Kol Rodfeha Hisuguha Bain Hametzarim (aicha)' and the sefarim (muva be'Ohr Gedalyahu') explain that anyone who runs after hashem, to reconnect, finds it during these 3 weeks. Bee'zrat Hashem I plan to go until Tisha Beav without allowing myself to have any Machshavot assurot
"Ashrei Ziknotainu Shekafra Yuladtainu (sukkah )"
I am looking forward to a follow-up of yours story to place in our "Recovery Stories" section once you are truly free, as chaza"l say "Ad sheme'id alav yode'ah talumos shelo yashuv lekislo od". How does a person know when Hashem is Me'id on him such a thing? When he just KNOWS that he won't go down that road again - that is a siman that Hashem has said eidus on him!
Let me warn you however, that even if you manage to free yourself as a bachur, married life is a whole new parsha. When a person needs parnassa and needs the internet, I have heard stories of people falling again. So make sure you gird yourself now with chizuk and strength for your whole life!
An anonymous e-mail like "firstname.lastname@example.org" is a good idea - but as you said, staying away from the internet altogether is the best idea!
The support group we have here might be appropriate for you, and you can call in from out of the country as well.
You did the right thing to tell your Rebbe.
Like you said, it is beautiful to see the personal growth that Hashem gives us an opportunity to make in our lifetimes. Sometimes he gives us these great tests and neffilos only that we should become so much stronger by overcoming them in the end. He waits patiently for many years, through so many sins, because he loves us and is waiting for our neshamos to ignite finally with the fire of Teshuvah and kedusha to dispel the darkness.
May you truly be zoche to Kol Rodfeha Hisuguha - a true teshuvah!
I B"H opened an anonymous gmail account with this screename and receive the daily chizuk emails. I posted a message on the 'jewish sexuality website' stating that I would stop thinking hirhurai evaira from that moment on (motzai shabbos 2 Av) until Tisha Be'av......and I did it!!!! I'm still on a roll!!!!
I used to be a lot better in the areas of tayvas nashim (except for my internet addiction that is) so my rapid recovery should not be viewed as what's normal. But I would like to post my progress to be both a source of chizuk for me...and everyone else out there.
So I has A very hard start...serious withdrawal syndromes...emotionally agonizing torture!!! I would grab the steering wheel as hard as I can, and just fight the urge...until I began enjoying to fight it.....then I welcomed a strong urge, because it make me feel powerful....I am mentally powerful!
Then 2 days later the yetzer hara gave up with the head-on approach, and enticed me so slyly I barely managed to realize that I was thinking inappropriate thoughts. My new struggle was to realize it......Then 4 days later, and I'm keeping myself very busy al day....it stops. wow it was great. No Yetzer hara. Tisha Beav came and went without me even realizing it till a few days later.
i still have a hard time identifying a thought creeping in, but as soon as I do, that's the end of it.
I think that part of this success is that I used to get a lot of enjoyment out of thinning these thoughts, and no enjoyment fighting it, just the stress and struggle to do so. But now that I can proudly tell me Rebbe about my achievements, and post it on these boards, I get more enjoyments fighting them, it's fun, and exiting.
What got me through the last 2 weeks is a perek from the sefer smirat halashon. The chofetz Chaim tells us that after 120 they will give us a sefer torah and say "READ" and when we get to all the placed in the torah where we transgressed, we won't be able to read it. How can a thief possibly read 'thou shall not steel..' he'll be overcome wit such a pachad and aima...he'll be sentencing himself to gehanom by reading it...because He didn't fulfill it. One can transplant this to any mitzvah. I talked to myself (car-rides are great for that) and verbally played out the entire scenario....'and they're going to give you a sefer torah and make you read "Velo Sasuru....avcharei lav'vachem...ve'acharei eineichem....asher atem ZONIM achareihem!!!" .
Eventually this became my rally call whenever I needed it. I would just scream it once (in the car again) and all thoughts of looking twice would vanish (sometimes I need to repeat it a second time).
The sefer cheshbon Hanefesh actually advises (as part of it's amazing system) that one write an essay on the middah they want to work on, then summarize that into one pasuk/sentence, then summarize that one powerful sentence into a made-up gibberish word and whenever that person need to conquer that midah he should say his gibberish codeword (no-one will know what he's doing, and verbally stating one's goals help on both a ruchnius and lehavbdil a physiological level*)
*A 1952 study polled the graduates of Yale asking them if they have set life goals. (around)60% hadn't set goals, (around)35% had unwritten goals, and (exactly) 3% had written their goals. 30 years later the 3% who had written their goals where making more money than the 97% COMBINED! Lesson: write /state your goals_______
Another Post on the forum from the same time as Part 2 above:
I'll be at 2 weeks this motzai shabbos (no pornography, magazines, or even and nonkosher thoughts, and only a handful of breaches in shmiras einayim) I don't have available internet most of the time (bechazdai hashem!!!) otherwise I would challenge you to a match and see who can hold up better in the things their working on...It would surly help...
About the urges, the same way a bodybuilder says "pain is good", and a soldier mumbles about pain is weakness leaving the body ...(on his 200th pushup), condition yourself to enjoy the fight....you'll miss it when the strong urges go away (but whatever you do, don't daven for them again! David Hamelech did that, and then came Batsheva).
Someone responds on the Forum
When you wrote about the yetzer finally giving up (temporarily) and going away....until he began a new approach, it reminded me about something a saw in the helliger sefer Taharas Hakodesh. The first Shomer Emunim Rebbe described how he knew of a man that totally was Metaher himself to such an unbelievable level of purity. He was like a tzadik. Then, about 30 years later, in a sudden moment (the yeter did a suprise ambush attack on him,) and he fell to the very very bottom!
He pointed out from this, we can never ever underestimat the prowess of this demon. The yetzer hara knew that this tzadik would not let him break though, so what did he do? He has lots of patience. The yetzer is not in a hurry. He let this man be for years and years. He let him do all of his avodas hashem, shteiging in learning, teffilah etc, until this man started to believe that he was actually free of the yetzer harah. He broke him and the yetzer left him for ever. So, after 30 years, he let his guard down, and then all of a sudden boom, he gave him such a zets, and he lost everything that he had worked for.
So, when things are going good. We are feeling strong and confident... be careful, he has NOT left us.
Another response on the Forum (Mevakesh Hashem)
Yes, as the Mishna is Pirkei Avos tells us: "Al Ta'amin B'Atzmecha Ad Yom Mosecha"- Do not trust (in) yourself until the day you die!
The Yetzer Hara, as you so rightly wrote, has a lot of patience and will wait years for the right opportunity to strike a fatal blow. But if we always know that the day can still come, we will be better prepared for it!
Luckily for us, the Ribono Shel Olam has infinitely more patience than the Yetzer Hara, and waits for our Teshuva, no matter how long it takes us to realize it is time to return to our father, our king, Hashem!
This Shabbos is Tu B'Av, and it is a ripe time to grow in our closeness to Hashem and climb to even higher heights of Avodas Hashem.
Another response on the Forum (Elya K)
The sefer Cheshbon hanefesh is an excellent resource and good program to work on your middos. Again, the Taiva is only our reaction to some underlying spiritual flaw that we still have. Once you work on that midda, whether it be anger, being scared, loneliness, arrogance, sadness, it gets better. Just the act of writing it out or speaking about it cleanses us, as if it leaves the body.
many group therapy sessions that deal with this, use a technique called psycho-drama. Each person plays a role like in a play. One person does his "work". Another is your higher power (Hashem), another is usually a parent or someone who you have resentments towards. Another might be someone playing your addiction. Each person plays his/her role to bring up the emotions of the person "working" When this happens floods of emotions are released - crying, anger, screaming, etc. Things that are not proper to do to the person who may have abused us, but nevertheless, doing it privately or with people you trust is very healing.
In fact, I've been in therapy for over 25 years, on and off and this form is the quickest. I've broken through so many barriers just within one year, using this method.
Most certified sex addiction counselors are trained in some of these methods.
In fact, on September 2nd the Jewish Healing Group will be presenting one of these experts live
on the call for questions, chizuk and healing.