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 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 a mirror 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.