Every young man's struggle - or addiction?
Thank You for you amazing website.
I am trying to figure out if I am an addict. I had one year in yeshiva I didn't masturbate for about 7 months, and a few times I went for a week or two without it. I know that according to Halacha you are not allowed to, but how is this possible? The sexual drive that Hashem gave us is like the need to eat. Am I wrong?
It’s just scary to think what’s going on today. I don't know if there are statistics but I would imagine that 75% - probably more - who have smart phones are addicted, or when masturbating, they are using their cell phones…
I was thinking that for today's generation the reason why we say Shema 3 times a day is not for Shema Yisroel - it’s for the posuk "Velo Sosuroo..." You can't have Shema, you can't have V'Ahavata, etc. etc., without “Velo Sosuroo” - controlling our eyes - which for today's generation is the biggest test that Jews have ever faced. This test is effecting the Frum Community big time! The Shtetel used to save you, your Rebbe used to save you, etc... But today, you can have a kosher smartphone in one pocket, and the Treif one in the other pocket!
But we can't give up, we have to educate, we have to speak to our families and students with love, not making them feel like garbage about this topic. But, honestly, I don't see solution to this problem unless Moshiach shows up a lot quicker.
Dear Bewildered Tzadik,
it is good that you are reaching out for help. Although we get tens of emails like yours every day, your email shook me up. Firstly, because of the statistics you quoted (75%!) and, secondly, because of how you make it sound: as if the battle is lost with today's bochurim (c"v). So I will take some time to try and address your email the best I can.
What you write may be true: I don't know about 75% of bochurim, but, I guess, it depends what Yeshiva and how open the boys are from their homes and with technology. But it is true that klal Yisrael is fighting a huge battle now, before Moshiach comes. But נצח ישראל לא ישקר. GYE is a community of Yidden who are fighting back in a world gone mad.
You asked if you're an addict. There are many levels of addiction, but what defines addiction the most is an "inability to live without these lustful behaviors." People who are not addicts may just be doing it because they have the opportunity, or because it feels good and "everyone does it." However, such people, if they are determined to put an end to the madness and get rid of their easy access, either by getting a Kosher phone or installing a good filter, they are able to stop and purify themselves. But then, there are those who keep installing filters and finding loopholes, or breaking their phones only to buy new ones. They try fasting, mikva and knasos, and still nothing helps. When they stop, they feel they simply can't live without it. Why? Because they have trained their minds to become dependent on the "drug" to get through the bumps of life, and they are using these behaviors as self-medicating or escape mechanisms. Such people are addicted and need a different level of help, such as the 12-Step program and group support.
B"H, on GYE we have helped thousands of Yidden to break free of these behaviors in ALL levels of the struggle, from the standard teenage struggles - all the way to full blown addiction. Yes, it is possible. Hundreds of bochurim who have been addicted to these things have learned through GYE which tools can work for them, and have developed the right attitudes to help them through this struggle. And yes, bochurim CAN live without masturbation, especially if they block access for themselves to the shmutz. It is not the same as food. With food, the less you eat the more hungry you’ll get. But with this, it’s the opposite. Chazal tell us that the less we feed it, the less we need it! This is something we can live without for long periods, even though it is indeed a strong force of nature. Hundreds have proven it on GYE. Many bochurim are clean for over a year on our "Wall of Honor." We can hold back and wait for marriage, learning to channel this force correctly and bring life to the world!
If you read our handbook, you will learn more about how it is possible to overcome these great tests (download the handbook here).
Also, make sure to watch the 8.5 minute video on our homepage, www.guardyoureyes.com. If you can't view it for some reason, download it here. The video will describe the different levels of this addiction/struggle, and which tools can help you at each level.
By the way, it will be close to impossible to break free if you have access to all the shmutz in your pocket. You must either get a kosher phone or install a good filter onto your smartphone. We can help you with that as well. Let me know what kind of phone you have and I will be able to suggest the best way to protect it. Or check our website www.venishmartem.com.
You can do this. Hashem makes miracles for anyone who truly tries to get out of this in our day and age!
Haba Letaher Misayin Lo!