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My Journey to Recovery

I struggled as a teenager with pornography and masturbation, mostly as an escape mechanism.  When I got married I thought all my problems would be solved.  However, I equated love with sex and became very manipulative toward my wife.  I was able to control my addiction to pornography during most of my 35 years of marriage, occasionally falling, but not realizing I had any type of addiction at all.

Until the Internet.  When I discovered the Yetzer Harah on the Internet, my whole life changed for the worst.  My business began to nosedive, one Friday I almost was late getting home for Shabbos.  My internet porn addiction then led to going places and doing things I should never have done.

With the help of SLAA over the past 6 years I have been sober close to 3 years, with one relapse in between during a difficult business period of my life.

The key to conquering this disease is to realize you are powerless over this addiction and you, as a Jew, are powerless over changing other people, because Hashem is in charge.  And no matter how much you think you are in control of your money, your job, your health, your sanity, your serenity, you're not, G-D is.  

I know its difficult to go to SLAA meetings.  Actually I disagree that because they are mixed you shouldn't go. We sex addicts view women as OBJECTS.  But when you go to a meeting and hear their stories, their pain and the result of how men treat them, you will NEVER view them again as objects and you will begin to heal.  Your intimate life with your wife will improve when you realize sex is not the most important part of your life.  It is important when it becomes a spiritual bond, not an escape or a manipulation because you just FEEL LIKE IT.

When you pray to Hashem every day, instead of ASKING him to help you, THANK HIM for the fact that you are still living and make a list of all the things in your life you appreciate having.

This disease is NOT ABOUT SEX.  Sex and Love are just the bi-products of your low self esteem and a life of dis-content brought on by abuse or co-dependency.  You could just as easily be drinking or gambling or eating.

So discover the underlying root of what is causing you to get distracted into this insidious media and you can begin to heal.

Part 2

I slipped during last summer on a trip to Las Vegas.  At every level of this disease, when you fall you fall at a higher level and its easier to cope and get back up.  "Sheva Yipol Tzaddik V'Kom".

I had stopped going to meetings, did not have a sponsor and my therapist had left town.  I contacted a friend who put me in touch with the Experiential Healing Center ( They suggested I go to a week treatment at a facility in Nashville called Onsite. ( 

The only problem was, it was Tisha B'Av.  I told someone I was going and they asked me if I was going to wear my Yarmulke.  They said it would be a Chillul Hashem if I did.   I decided to go, brought my own Kosher food and got my own private room.  I arrived on Friday and just before Shabbos, I thought about what this person said.  I said to myself," you're here to be honest, to finally be yourself and discover who you really are."  I am an Orthodox Jew and I wear it proudly. 

I went to dinner (Shabbos dinner for me).  Sitting there with my Yarmulke, there were 10 people in my group, working on Sexual Healing Issues.  Two of the participants came over to me and wished me a Good Shabbos.
Well they really said, Shabbat Shalom, but that's a different story.  They were not religious and were eating regular food, but when they saw my Kippah and the Challah and Grape Juice, they knew I was Orthodox.

Tisha B'Av was on Tuesday night and I invited these two guys to join me in reading Eichah.  A Christian fellow
was listening and asked if he could join also.  What was I going to do, tell him no?  The day before we had begun group therapy and got to know each other's struggles.  The fact that I was there for Tisha B'Av was enough to bring a constant stream of tears to my eyes for several days.  For the first time in my life I cried real tears on Tisha B'Av.  I'm surprised I have any left. 

We read Eichah together and had a discussion about the Bais Hamikdash, about Teshuvah and our dis-ease.

During the therapy sessions, each person does work where they play a role in reenacting a trauma in their life.  The other participants play roles also, like their mother, father, inner child or HIGHER POWER (G-D).  Well, out of 7 Christians and 3 Jews, guess who played G-d the whole week?  Me.  These two fellows became my good friends and they told me what a Kiddush Hashem I had made for them in being their hope and inspiration.

So instead of it turning out to be a Chillul Hashem, it turned out to the opposite on Tisha B'Av, no less.

Don't ever give up hope.  This Onsite weekend shocked me into now 9 months of total sobriety. Work the program, read and practice the 12 steps, get a sponsor, call a friend, get honest with yourself and others and you'll heal.