No Masturbation Days
"SouthafricanJEW" (a Bochur) writes to Dov:
I can't stop masturbating completely, so I'm using a gradual approach. For now I chose "no masturbation days" so I can start cutting down. I feel a deep desire and longing for the day when I am strong enough for every day to be "no masturbation days". But I wonder if I should feel guilty when I masturbate on a day that is not allocated as such a day? I really need to know, because I am starting to feel guilty about not feeling guilty.
Dear sweet SouthafricanJEW,
Please forgive me, but I will say what my sponsor and mentors said to me maybe a hundred times when I asked stuff just like this: "You are thinking way too much. Stop it, OK?" :-)
Now, this is a very annoying thing for me to hear, until I admit that:
1 - I am not really as smart as all that anyway;
2 - that should I actually figure-out the answer to these types of question, there is no evidence at all that I'd successfully put the answer into any consistent practice anyway;
3 - in general, I need more action and less thinking.
OK. So, here are some more annoying things for you, since you seem to have taken that last one so well :-)
The reason every day is a "no masturbation day" for me is not because I am strong at all. It's a miracle. Hashem helps me not to have the nisayon at all most of the time. It is in the stupid little nisyonos that I need to work to surrender - I give up! I can't beat even this stupid little desire to stare at my pretty coworker down the hall or to follow the woman's face in the car driving next to mine, or to look into that newspaper at the last article about a teacher who ran off with her student - all very toxic stuff for me... I can't afford to look at them at all because I will definitely eventually go from there to the next level - even though in my present state of mind I could never imaging myself going to the "next level down"... but I know that shockingly, my state of mind will radically change because I have this illness and that is what happens. I won't be fooled again, be"H.
Does this make sense to you? That is where I am holding. It is not a madreiga at all... but if it was, I wouldn't concern myself with it. Figuring out my madreiga is always so poisonous for me that it's just like lusting - I can't afford it, so be"H I don't do it. I befeirush ask Him to help me, and I keep realistic. That way, the battlelines - if there are any at all - are always way, way back from what you'd call "the danger zone". But for me, I need to recognize and admit that the "little stuff" is the only danger zone, now. Or I am toast, for sure.
And BTW, "not looking" because it is an aveiro only causes me to guilt about it more, which guarantees failure later on - I know that cuz it always did! I do not focus on the issura for me - it is sakanta and therefore way more serious than issura, as the gemara states. This lust garbage ruins my life and will kill me. The main issue is the sakanta, not the issura, for me (b"H).
Two more thingies. Choosing "no mast.. days" puts little me way deep into the driver's seat. Too much for me to handle at all. An ikkar of recovery is that I do not run it. I work it, but do not run it.
And finally, whenever people use the term "the long run", I want to ask them what they mean by that. To me, "the long run" only exists in hindsight. I try not to fool myself that I have a shaychus to it, at all. I fooled myself long enough into working on "the long run"! Not any more. In fact, there is no way I can actually do anything for tomorrow. All I can really do today is: live today as right as I can with Hashem's help. That is the only insurance "tomorrow" will ever have, period. That's why, tempting as it may be while davening each day, I do not ask for Hashem to keep me sober for any time longer than this very day. And it's been a bunch of years, thank-G-d... in the long run.
Sof davar, we do not really quit forever. What is "forever", anyway? We just give up right now, and openly depend on the G-d who created heaven and earth to keep us sober today without asking about tomorrow. Cheshbonos rabim never helped me at all, certainly not binasi (my understanding).