The Failure of Self-Centeredness in Making Life Work
What got me into trouble with lust was not that I was violating the halacha. It's also why I have been quoted as saying: "I don't really care exactly which lav suicide is - I'm not interested in it for other reasons!". True, violating the halacha was horrifying and devastating to me. But that didn't stop me from getting worse. That's just a fact.
What eventually stopped me was that I saw I was really going to lose the life I chose for myself: a life that included having a conscience, integrity, some kind of 'good'-ness (Torah, etc.), and in which I'd be a part of something - like a marriage, community, and a family of my very own, for example. Those were not religious choices, per se. It was just me. The fact that any normal religion includes all these things in it's description of healthy living, is just a side-issue for me. I chose them for myself. Perhaps yiddishkeit helped create those desires within me, perhaps other things did. I think it's irrelevant.
Now within me, there was also a childish expectation that all people would adore and revere me and therefore do my will. For example, my wife would please me in every way whenever I wanted, my kids would be cooperative, and any people I was beholden to in the working world would give me the respect (and the leeway when I deserved no respect) that I felt I was entitled to. I also expected to become a Gadol b'Torah - and recognized as such. Instead... well, it was beginning to become clear that I was just a regular guy among regular people. Unacceptable! If I wasn't going to be recognized as a gadol b'Torah and tzaddik, could I at least be recognized as a porn star? Sounds really crazy... it is really crazy... but that's where I was in my desires, for a time. Life wasn't supposed to be like this.
When life was obviously not happening the way I expected it to - mainly cuz every real person actually has their own will - I needed some pretty powerful coping tools. The best and most reliable one I could find was associated with a part of my body that I could control using lust and gave me tremendous pleasure. To hell with everyone else - I had it made for those moments! Problem solved, sort of....
OK. So then Lust - my secret best friend and god - turned on me. And here is where I guess the real G-d finally begins to come into the picture. See, I was accustomed to years of secret self-pleasuring and self-saving via manipulation of others. My wife couldn't find out about the things that (I rationalized) my dissatisfaction with her was making me do. It'd ruin it all, cuz she wouldn't understand - though in my heart I expected her to understand fully! Of course she had no chance competing against the schmutz already in my head - those women appear to have no will of their own, no babies, no aging, nor any real life either, of course! They'd always be mine! Wow. Now that was a 'higher power' I could really hang onto!