Spouses of Addicts, Help is Here!
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1320  
In Today's Issue
Image of the Day
Editor’s Note
Q & A: Spouse of an Addict: A Balancing Act
Chizuk: Letting Go and Letting G-d
Daily Dose of Dov: The Powerlessness of an Addict
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Image of the Day
Editor’s Note

The creative thinker is flexible and adaptable and prepared to rearrange his thinking.
--A.J. Cropley


I'm in a crisis. I got myself into it -- there's no one else to blame. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it yet; I'm going back and forth over the alternatives. I can't think about anything else right now.


Your word "alternatives" is a helpful one. In most situations, we have more options to choose from than we can see at first. There usually is a "Plan B" if we're willing to open ourselves to it.

When I was active in my addiction - and for a period of time in recovery as well - I frequently found myself in the middle of a crisis. 

The sense of always being in crisis comes from a refusal to see that we have choices. 

For example, we may leave on time for an appointment but find ourselves in a traffic jam cause by an accident. 

If lateness is the inevitable result, we can choose to punish ourselves with whatever lateness represents to us, or we can say to ourselves, "I guess the schedule I had in mind for today has been changed; I may as well accept it."  

Without the additional burden of self-punishment, we can see things in perspective. 

Whatever happens, we don't pick up our addictive substance or behavior. We can turn to our Higher Power in prayer and meditation to help us regain a sense of balance.

Today, I'm open to choosing among alternatives as I substitute the word "situation" for the word "problem."






Q & A
Spouse of an Addict: A Balancing Act

Dear GYE,

My husband struggles with internet addiction.

Our computer has a good filter (TAG), and it will block a lot of sights that have questionable content. However, I noticed that Ebay has some quite bad pictures which don't get blocked. I wouldn't want my husband to stumble on them. What should I do? Should we have Ebay removed from allowed sights altogether? It would be uncomfortable for me to tell my husband why it has been removed...

How do I balance "lifnei Iver al titen michshol" and "I'm powerless over his addiction"?


Dear Balancing,

The balance between controlling and stepping back is a tough one for the spouse of an addict. You may want to discuss this more in depth with our spouse experts (see this page).

You could perhaps simply ask your husband straight out if he feels eBay is safe for him? As much as you don't want to try to control, would you have a lingerie shop in your house?

If your husband is using the TaPHSiC method (which involves a shvuah and doesn't rely only on filters) then he will probably be able to keep eBay. (Click here for a 40 minute shiur on the TaPHSiC method, or click here to read about it).

We push this method strongly on GYE because filters are almost NEVER a real solution. There will almost always be loopholes or unfiltered access somewhere, at some point.

But if your husband IS relying on the filter to protect him, then I would suggest that you ask TAG to block it, as hard as it may be for you. That is a sacrifice you may have to make for your husband's sobriety.

People have lived for thousands of years without the conveniences of eBay and Amazon, so if these sites are stumbling blocks - which they definitely can be, we should get rid of them.

Another option may be to use a smart filter like Nativ USA or www.vcf.co.il which can either block images completely on specific sites, or detect skin color and block parts of images (although I can't vouch for the reliability of this feature).


Letting Go and Letting G-d
By Steve

Imagine: you're caught in a whirlpool, doggy-paddling with both hands to stay afloat, but you're right in the middle of the vortex and are about to go under. You know you are powerless against these strong natural forces, but you are relying on the power of your two arms to keep your head above water for as long as possible. Then you look up, and you see ...

Read article
Daily Dose of Dov
The Powerlessness of an Addict
Part 6/6
By Dov

You asked if my recovery would have been different if I had had access to the GYE Torah concepts of recovery... Funny thing is, I actually did think that I had access to these concepts back then. In other words, I knew all these concepts in my mind, but here's the thing; it is not the Torah (nor - lehavdil - the 12 Step program) that changes an addict, but rather how the addict understands and uses it. I don't believe a human has the ability to get these ideas truly into someone else's head. An addict is just plain deaf, until he/she is ready to hear. All we can do is keep yacking away until someone who is ready to "hear" really listens! That's just my opinion.

You pointed out "all those Tzadikim on the forum who have done very well with the help of this wonderful website and forum, without considering themselves "losers against lust"...

I believe their success is purely because they were ready to hear. The question I have for you is: How do you define the "GYE Torah concepts"? Something an early addict in recovery has heard before and learned to mentally connect with tons and tons of guilt? (like "Hashem wants better from you", or "it's all sheker vechozov - the Yetzer Hara has nothing for you"). Even though these ideas are all 100% true, the addict may tell the guy: "hey, you're saying the same thing that my 12th grade rebbi told me! Why bother?"

In the 12-Step groups, they generally focus on telling their own story to the addicts who come to them. When the prospects see that this guy really understands, they open up. Only then, does the 12-stepper share his solution. This kind of sharing is hard to do with Torah concepts, no? We end up sometimes putting the cart before the horse, giving advice and "telling", rather than sharing. But Torah is the truth, period. And ultimate Truth just doesn't lend itself to "sharing", does it?

I believe it is possible to achieve sharing with Torah ideas too, but doing it that way would look very different from the way it is usually taught. And the truth is, it should probably stay the way it is now, because Torah is a responsibility, not only a tool. In the 12-Steps however, they try to offer these concepts primarily as tools, and that is rather new, I think.

I don't think we really disagree at all. I (and we all?) just have some problems that need attention, that's all.



Let me see if I can summarize some of the points (I hope I understood correctly) from Dov's reply:

1) The 12-Steps are for those who have struggled with lust for years and feel that they have lost, yet they are nevertheless desperate to get free of it (without suicide).

2) Such a person is truly ready for the brutal honesty and "ego-busting" that the 12-Steps are composed of. And only such a person is truly ready to put his life and care completely in Hashem's hands and finally get out of Hashem's way (to help him), and also to make a fearless moral inventory of his character defects.

3) The Torah concepts discussed on GYE can only really work when a person is truly ready to hear. Until then, an addict is just plain deaf. Because it is not the Torah knowledge (nor - lehavdil - the 12 Step program) that changes the addict, but rather how the addict understands and uses them.

4) One of the things about the 12-Step groups that make the program work so well for addicts is the sharing of personal experience by those who live with the program. This is harder to achieve in a Torah venue, since Torah is "absolute truth" - not experience, and also because the Torah is mainly a "responsibility" and not just a "tool".

I just want to point out, that perhaps if we would learn to use the Torah and Mitzvos as the Zohar calls them "613 eitzos", and as the Ba'al Hasulam explains - that the Mitzvos are all eitzos on how to put the ego aside and do "for" Hashem (he calls this "Hashpa'ah") so that we can be like Hashem ("ma hu rachum, af ata rachum"), then we would be able to achieve true d'veikus through Torah and Mitzvos, and hence true freedom from the addiction as well!

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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