The Power of Vows
Click here for a page from our FAQ which can help you plan on how to make vows in the most effective way.
The addiction is insidious, like a powerful enemy. Learn how it catches you off guard. Study what brings you to fall, and attack the addiction before it is fighting you face on. Once it faces you head-on, it will almost surely win because it is stronger than you. You need to use Guerrilla warfare tactics to make any progress.
If you use vows, you will find you need to keep adjusting them as you grow. So at first, make vows only for a short amount of time. First for a week, then two weeks, then a month. As you see which vows work for you and which don't, you will get better and better at knowing what to make vows for and what not to. Also, you will be able to expand the time you make the vows for, as you feel more confident. Here are two examples of vows that might work for you:
Example 1: Vow for one month not to browse the internet without a functioning filter, when you are alone in the house. If you see this helps you, extend your vow for a few months more.
Example 2: Vow not to open any non-religious or non-Jewish magazines, catalogs or newspapers that you can assume may have pictures of un-modestly dressed woman inside them (unless you need them for your work, or unless someone asks you to see something).
These are just two examples. Each person needs to honestly study what brings him to fall, to spill seed, to access pornography, etc... and once he knows, he can attack the enemy before it is facing him head on, in which case it is often too late.
Vows for Before
Here's another type of vow that could help. Make a vow that before you access pornography or spill seed, you will do something that may very well help you change your mind. In other words, instead of vowing not to sin at all, which may too risky or difficult for you, vow to do something that you KNOW you can handle and that may very well prevent you from falling altogether. Here are two powerful examples:
Example 1: Make a list of all the reasons you hate your addiction (click here for an example list). Then, vow to read this list every time you feel like you are about to fall.
Example 2: Vow to do 10 minutes of exercise before giving in. This may very well help you release the pent up tension inside you and stop you from falling. Also, at times, the mere fact that you may not be in the mood to do the exercise may deter you.
Example 3: Also, check out tip number 8 over here.
Vows for Afterwards
Also, you can use vows or commitments for in case you stumble. This will ultimately make it much harder to fall. Here are some examples that might work for you. Commit to one or more of the following examples, for every time you fall (first for one week, and then more as you progress):
Example 1: Vow to say the Tikkun HaClalli of Rabbi Nachman (see tip number 7),
Example 2: Vow to learn 20 minutes of Torah
Example 3: Vow to go to the Mikva (a ritual bath - see tip number 8)
Example 4: Vow to give a respectable donation to charity
Example 5: Vow to travel to the grave of a Tzaddik and pray
Example 6: Vow to even do something mundane, like to walk a mile every time you fall.