Chizuk from London
I would like to bring a few inspiring post from "London" on the forum to various strugglers. London's experience is very precious, as he has learned some solid technique in battling this relentless addiction over the years through his membership in the 12-Step fellowships. We must learn from the "old timers" what the REAL secrets are.
London writes to someone who admitted to a "Slip" on his count to 90 days:
Thank you for your honesty. In the 12 step fellowships, the foundation is built on being rigorously honest - as they say in SA "To thine own self be true".
One of my biggest downfalls that preceded my relapse after 3 years of sobriety, was what we call "technical sobriety". You see, Sex / Porn addiction is worse then most other addictions. For me to get drunk on alcohol / drugs I have to physically swallow them, but with porn & lust I could be sitting next to you in shul with my siddur open in front of me and be completely drunk with lust as the images that I have seen online are burned in my memory almost as clearly as they are on the screen. And the only way I am going to get recovery is to set up clear and defined boundaries that if broken, I start counting again. Being clean and sober is far more than "a date". It's very nice to be able to say "I am technically clean for x days", but how is the quality of that time?
Well done for being so honest with yourself and with the rest of us here. You must not let this get you down, but put it down to experience. I will just share, that today I was working alone and had terrible cravings to surf for porn. At that point, Hashem in his mercy gave me a choice; I could have surfed, or I could have tried fighting the Yetzer Hara, or I could call someone and share my struggle and "surrender", which is what I did. And as I was on the phone, I actually felt the cravings leave me.
I have been told in therapy and in the fellowships, that when being tested I have to break the cycle and do something different, which is what I did today. This is truly a "one day at a time" battle, and I am so happy that B"H I found this site where I can share and be inspired by other yidden on this path.
London writes to someone after a fall:
I feel your pain and sadness at your fall. In my experience I have found, that recovery is impossible on my own. The addiction thrives on isolation, and even though this forum is amazing, it is no replacement for a live 12 step program. Have you considered joining one? Since I joined, I have never felt alone. I have lists of numbers on my cell of people that I can call 24/7 in emergency, and people call me sharing their struggles as well. The meetings are a place where I can see people face-to-face who are sober and their lives have changed dramatically.
Even though I am going through a difficult time now, I know that it is possible to get recovery. However, to really succeed, I know I have to be willing to put my recovery before everything in my life, as this illness has no boundaries, and when I am in the heat of the addiction, nothing is sacred. I therefore have to teach my Yetzer Hara that recovery is the most important thing in my life, without exception.
As is said at the end of every 12 step meeting: "It works if you work it".
Hang in there my friend.
London writes to someone who keeps having repeated falls:
I relate to how you are feeling. Until recently, I have never managed to put together more than 2 weeks at the most. You wrote that you fought the Yetzer Hara for 31 days. Lately, I have changed tactics. I have learned that I cannot fight the Yetzer Hara, he is far too strong for me. Instead, every time I get the craving to surf, I call a member of my fellowship and tell him of my struggles and this really helps. I also daven to Hashem and say "Hashem, take this garbage out of my head, I do not want this, it is too powerful for me, please keep me sober". I have found that the tools of making phone calls and simple tefillah really help. (London is describing here, how instead of using his OWN strengths to fight the Yetzer Hara, he is using the strengths of others - and the strength of Hashem).
I also have to constantly remind myself that I am a sick person, and that I am trying to get better. My Yetzer Hara wants me to think that I am a bad person trying to do good, but this only feeds the "self loathing" and keeps me in the cycle of addiction. My recovery is only "one day at a time", and today I want to stay clean and sober no matter what!!