Tripple A of SA
 
 
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1295  
 
 
In Today's Issue
   
Image of the Day
Editor’s Note: Tripple A of Sex Addiction
Torah: Yes, We CAN!
Announcements: GYE Looking for Facebook 'Geek'
Daily Dose of Dov: Who's Your Employer?
 
 
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Image of the Day
 

Artwork courtesy of Maydel, GYE member

 
Editor’s Note
 
Tripple A of Sex Addiction

Yesterday, we brought you an article titled "Wealth, Power, and Sexual Addiction." In case you missed it or were unable to open the link, we'd like to reiterate an important detail about what drives sex addiction. The following is an excerpt from a blog by The Meadows, an addiction recovery treatment center in Arizona. If you feel you need professional help, call them 855-333-6076.

"There are three “A’s” that often fuel problematic sexual behaviors: Accessibility, Affordability, and Anonymity. The wealthy and powerful are not immune to their effects; as a matter of fact, for those with money or power these factors may have an even greater impact.

Accessibility refers to how easily outlets for sexual acting out can be found, from online pornography to escorts, to adoring fans willing to spend a few hours with a celebrity. Accessibility is often no barrier for the rich and famous.

The Accessibility factor is understandable in a culture that promotes immediate rewards as a means of comfort and happiness (e.g. fast food). Sexual images that elicit strong sexual responses are accessible within seconds through a few clicks of a mouse. This creates a sense of omnipotence and invulnerability for the addict, something that can be appealing to those who also presenting narcissistic personality traits.

Affordability, of course, refers to whether or not a person has access to the money or resources needed to purchase the types of sexual materials or encounters he’s looking for. However, it’s not just about money. It‘s also about emotional affordability. These men often feel that they cannot “afford” emotional complications and that they can better handle interactions that they can keep under control. It’s much easier to keep an interaction under control when it is with an object (i.e., a computer or a person who can be objectified).

Anonymity is a bit more of a struggle for celebrities who choose to act out with others in person. They frequently end up paying large sums of money for ongoing gifts or services long after the relationship ends to maintain the silence. Or, they endure the cost of attorneys to “make it go away.” For individuals whose choice is to indulge in pornography, anonymity seems assured, until the authorities knock on the door asking about the websites or files they have been viewing. The sense of Anonymity that comes with using pornography becomes understandable when a person is socially visible and is subjected to constant social scrutiny. Most forms of sexual acting-out could be immediately detected and sanctioned. Pornography and other forms of cybersex help them keep their secret lives in compartments.

The “three A’s” are a combination that can lead individuals to drown in a sea unhealthy sexual behaviors. One of the things we do as Gentle Path is help patients learn how to develop better coping skills, so they won’t be tempted to engage in those behaviors in spite of their accessibility, affordability and potential anonymity."

Torah
 
Yes, We CAN!
 
By Aish.com

When the spies came back and declared "we can't" inherit the land of Israel, the entire nation wept that night in their tents. And Hashem declared that "since you cried on this night for nothing, you will cry on this night for generations". The crying for generations that we cry, is the mourning over what we always said "we can't" do.

This notion of "we can't", is the source of all mourning. It is the source of all physical and spiritual failures. Hashem is behind us. There is NOTHING we can't do. But we are intimidated and afraid to try hard enough. We don't believe in ourselves and in Hashem enough. And that is what causes us to fail again and again. That is the root cause of all destruction.

So on this Tisha Be'Av, while we mourn the times we thought "we can't", let us focus our mourning into a powerful resolution for the future: "YES, WE CAN". Yes, it seems that the addiction is so much stronger than us, just as the fortified cities and giants appeared to be much stronger than the Jewish people's military capabilities in the desert. But if Hashem is with us, if Hashem is behind us, WE CAN DO ANYTHING.


This idea was taken from the following video clip from Aish.com

Announcements
 
GYE Looking for Facebook 'Geek'
 

Disclaimer: GYE highly advises AGAINST having access to Facebook. However, as Rav Motta Frank - who has a Facebook page - once told us (when he gave us his Haskama on GYE), "When the last Jew leaves Facebook, I will too". In other words, as long as so many of our brothers are on Facebook and are stumbling, GYE needs to have a presence there to inspire and save those who want to be helped.

Read article
Daily Dose of Dov
 
Who's Your Employer?
 
By Dov

For me - in active addiction, staying clean was a religious struggle - that was really all about me. A clean day was another feather in my hat, a good deed, a great mitzva, and - as some here have stated - another feather in the "hat of the Ribono shel Olam". This did not get me any better, though. It's beautiful to know that a clean day is a kiddush Hashem and gives Him nachas Ruach, does a tikkun, etc. But by itself, that did nothing to change me, and I knew it.

The ikkar of recovery is not "not acting out". It is about the rest of what we are doing. Why is it that some of us have had a year-or-so of relatively clean time while in yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael or wherever? We were living differently, so we were different. (Then we went back home and back to the same way of life, and the rest is history).

As "Kedusha" has posted many times, the "best way" to guarantee that I'll think about lust is to try and focus on not thinking about lust. But I'm going a step further than that, perhaps. In my life so far, the way it works is that I simply can't struggle with lust. I can't struggle with it even for Hashem's sake. As the Pasuk says, "Hashem ish milchama - G-d is the man of war". That means that I am not, at least in my case. In fact, the 12-steps don't even mention our drug/problem, besides in Step #1. So, the way I see it is, that if I want to guarantee that I'll keep struggling with it (and losing), I should just keep thinking about not struggling with it. "Counting the days I'm clean" is all the impetus I need to get back to work struggling (and losing). It happens so fast and so naturally, I don't even realize it's occurring. Then I wake up obsessed and fantasizing. For years though, the struggling and the counting were "lesheim shomayim", which doesn't make it right, of course. And it isn't "right" if it doesn't work.

I had/have to give the entire mess to Hashem. But how do we do that?

The answer is to learn how to continuously focus on living right - living for Hashem. And that takes work and is what the 4th-12th steps are all about: getting myself clean enough for Hashem to shine through me. Mainly by reducing ga'ava (haughtiness). The 3rd step - which is the program's condition for sanity and sobriety - is about one thing: deciding to live for G-d. Not about resisting temptation for G-d, and certainly not about "not acting out". (But these steps cannot be done successfully alone).

The Sfas Emes comments on the Pasuk: "v'hyisem kedoshim leylokeichem - and you should be holy for your G-d" that Hashem does not have any interest in his people being "Kedoshim". What He wants his people to be is: "Kedoshim leylokeichem" - holy for Him. Jews for Hashem!

If I am acting out, even occasionally, or even if I'm just "slipping", my real malady is that I have slipped back into living for myself. And this needs quick correction. "Struggling with lust" isn't the solution - it is a symptom of the problem. Even I, myself, am not the issue; in other words, "how good I am" is irrelevant. I've just got the wrong employer, that's all. And nothing will "work", because I am an addict. A regular yid can "make it". I can't. And today, I thank G-d that I can't, (because I have no choice but to learn not to live for myself). How lucky can a man be?

A well-known vort: "Ve'haboteyach baShem, chesed yisovevenhu - He who trusts in G-d, kindness will surround him". Even for one who is still a rasha; as long as he attaches himself to Hashem with trust, Hashem will connect with him with His love/chesed.

So, whether we lust a little or a lot, is not what the solution is about. It is about all the other things that we thought were not related to our acting out. Our motivation for living is what matters, not our motivations for acting out. Life gets good in a hurry when we are living for the right reasons, even if we are not doing it perfectly.

The 3rd step is about a decision, a start. But it has to be real. Chazal say that Hashem says, "pischu li pesach kechudo shel machat, v'ani eftach lochem pesach kepischo shel ulam - open for me a hole the size of a needle, and I'll open it as wide as the gate of the Ulam". Says the Kotzker, it may be small but it has to be like a needle: all the way through. Meaning: He doesn't ask for perfect, just for "real".

If you are content with "winning one for the Ribono shel Olam" (between losses for both of you), gezunterheit. That has not been my experience or understanding of the program - or of recovery, at all.

Don't worry, Hashem won't mind you engaging in some "enlightened self-interest" and leaving the glory of beating the Yetzer Hara to a pulp to others who are more qualified. (And there are some, it seems). Hashem really wants us to succeed at living a good Jewish life after all, no? Well the only way I could live, was by finally giving up the romanticized struggle, and getting to work for Hashem.

At some point, I had to admit that my whole struggle and torture (of about 20 years) was ultimately all about me deep inside, really. Even though it was cloaked in kedusha, Torah and Mitzvos, "for Hashem", etc., it was all about me, me me. Eventually, I saw that I was only fooling myself and that I'd be the star-crossed, tragic loser in the end. They'd be cheering for me at my grave. "What a fighter he was". Wow.

In Adon Olam we say: "Hashem li, velo iroh - Hashem is for me, I shall not fear". He is for me. And I'm for Him. That is how we approach the Yomin Nora'im: E-l-u-l (Ani ledodi, ve'dodi li). If He is my banner and my employer, then I have absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

So to recap: It's not about lusting a little bit or a lot, nor even all about staying off the stuff altogether. Long-term sobriety (and I assume that's what we're all interested in) is not born solely of abstinence.

And after falling, getting back up and saying, "Ok, I guess I can try it again" is not necessarily the answer either. If you want a different life, you will need to start living differently. The focus cannot be on "stopping the lust" while leaving the rest of your life essentially the same. If the way I eat, sleep, learn, daven, love my wife and kids, see myself in a mirror, and breathe, have not changed an iota, I believe the whole thing is B with an S after it.

Now, living differently may take some time, but that change had to be my focus. The sobriety comes almost as an after thought - with phone calls and lots of quiet "Hashem help me!"s all day long, and meetings - where I got honest and poured all my garbage and shame out of me and into the light.

So, instead of worrying about slipping and falling so much, how can we change the way we are living the rest of our life so that it's for Him (or at least for people other than me?)

I love you, and all addicts.
- Dov

Do you think you may have a porn addiction?
 

Do you have a problem with obsessive and compulsive porn use? Have you seriously tried the tools on GYE and feel that you are not getting better? Maybe it’s time to consider joining a 12-Step program.

Porn Anonymous (PA)
If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email help@pornanonymous.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit pornanonymous.org (Hebrew: p-a.org.il / Yiddish: pa-yid.org).

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
If your compulsive acting-out has progressed beyond the screen (with other people, paid sexual services, etc.) we suggest you explore joining Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). To figure out if SA is for you, call Dov at 917-414-8205, or email Dov at dov@guardyoureyes.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit www.sa.org.

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