Can We Offer You a Working Solution?
 
 
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1336  
 
 
In Today's Issue
   
Image of the Day
Personal Stories: Reborn
Torah: What do we really want?
Links: Relationship Attachment and Sex Addiction
Daily Dose of Dov: Don't Live in the Problem, Live in the Solution.
 
 
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Image of the Day
 

It's just like "naa'se v'nishma", isn't it?

 
Personal Stories
 

This historic exchange took place in the early days of GYE. Once Innocent has enjoyed recovery and has been a regular contributor to our website and forum.

At the bottom of this article, he refers to another article by Shabsi. If you missed the reprint of the latter in our previous issue, we included the link below ("What Do We Really Want?") 

 
Reborn
 
By Anonymous

A newby to GYE wrote to us:

When I first wrote my story on the GYE forum, I was crying, shocked and disgusted with myself. I felt I couldn't fall any further- rock bottom's the word! But fast forward no less than 3 weeks, and I fell again. And this time even further than I ever fell before!

I should feel so remorseful and guilty, but I don't. I should think, "Why did I fall and give in AFTER everything GYE has done for me?" I don't know why, but I feel numb. I don't even feel like saying sorry to Hashem this Rosh Hashana. Why should I fight a daily battle, when giving in is much easier? I really want (to want) to be able to crown Hashem as MY king. But I can't let go. Why don't I want it enough? I don't know why I'm just satisfied feeling sorry for myself and moping around.

We responded:

Your experience is typical of addiction. You can be clean for years - but once the door to the "drug" is opened, you can quickly fall back to square one.

Of course it felt good! Of course you enjoyed it. Of course you still crave it. You are an addict and this is your "drug of choice". Did you think that all would change because you found GYE?

This has little to do with "saying sorry to Hashem". You are not a bad person who needs to get good. You are ill and need to get better.
I want to leave you with some homework in preparation for Rosh Hashana. Read The Nine Principles for Addiction and paste into a file all of the sentences that strike you and make you see things in a new light. Send it to me before Rosh Hashana.

He Responds:

Thanks for your reply and my homework. This week has really been a change. At first, I was asking myself "Why should I even ask for life this Rosh Hashana?" but now it looks like I can probably get things sorted out. I couldn't have done it without your help! I'm gonna keep saying thanks, but I mean it each time!

The Homework

The following sentences (from the Nine Addiction Principles) helped me see things in a new light:

  • The definition of Teshuvah is behaving correctly right now, even though we have messed up badly in the past. It is not about fixing anything. (It's Hashem's business to fix us, not ours).
  • A therapist may be able to help us discover why we became addicted in the first place, but that alone is not enough.
  • Truly accepting that we have a problem may sound like a difficult step to take, but it is actually freeing to finally face the truth about ourselves and know what we are up against.
  • Even if we marry the most attractive person of our dreams, the insanity of lust will compel us to continue seeking more and more "stolen waters" to fill the bottomless cup of the addictive cravings.
  • Once we recognize that this is a progressive disease that will cause us not to be able to lead a normal marriage, hold down a steady job and progress in ruchniyus, and especially once we recognize the dangers of where this can lead, such as imprisonment and even death c"v, then we will have "hit bottom" just as surely as the ones who really hit bottom, and we will take our recovery very seriously.
  • Often we thought that if we would only feed the lust a little bit more and give it what it really wants, it would leave us alone. But it is exactly the opposite.
  • We must realize that the Yetzer Hara/addiction wants our soul, not the pleasure. Otherwise, why is a thousand times never enough? Keep this saying in mind: "Just once is too much; a thousand times is never enough."
  • We cannot bargain with the addiction. Half measures ultimately amount to nothing.
  • Sometimes "Fear of Failure" can actually lead us to falls. When we focus on the future, we can easily fall. It's like someone walking a tightrope; if he looks down, it becomes so much harder not to fall.
  • The Steipler writes regarding these tests, that some people need to daven 50 times a day to be protected.
  • Even animals don't abuse their desires and fall into addictions. In these areas, we have fallen even lower than animals.
  • While our peers were growing up and learning about life from the world around them, we were zoning out into our fantasy worlds of self-pleasure and escape.
  • Even though we may have been learning Torah and Mussar, we were wearing "broken eye glasses." And so, before we can turn once again to the Torah for guidance, we need to first learn what it means to be a human being.

Besides the homework, over Shabbos I read last week's chizuk e-mail called "What do we Really want?" by Shabsi, and I understood this whole issue I'm dealing with differently. A massive thanks to 'Shabsi' who wrote it, because I'm not going to forget the important message he conveys.

I wish you a year full of mazal and Bracha, may Hashem continue to make you His important shaliach by inspiring and helping His people. You're helping making Am Yisroel a more Kadosh nation, and in that zechus it should be pure enough for Moshiach to come this year. Thank you for everything.

Torah
 
 
What do we really want?
 
Links
 

Sex addiction is a form of non-substance-based addiction (behavioral addiction) characterized by life-impairing involvement in sexual activities and/or a damaging preoccupation with sex-related fantasies or thinking. Researchers across the world are exploring the underlying factors that may help explain the development of this condition. In a study published in October 2014 in the journal Sex & Marital Therapy, researchers from Brigham Young University assessed the potential impact of problems with relationship attachment (the ability to develop strong, positive bonds with others) on the odds that any given man will develop a sex addiction.

Relationship Attachment and Sex Addiction

This link will take you to the Recovery Ranch website, where you can find more articles on addiction and recovery, find out about their recovery services, and take their sex addiction test.

Daily Dose of Dov
 
Don't Live in the Problem, Live in the Solution.
 
Part 1/3
 
By Dov

Today I want to share some big Yesodos that I learned from Dov. (If anyone has experience with what really works, it's Dov. Once a slave to an all-consuming lust addiction, Dov is now sober for over 18 years! See Dov's story here).

It often takes a lot of trying and failing before we are finally able to say in all honesty - as Chazal say, "If Hashem would not help him, there is no way he can beat him (the Yetzer Hara)". And this is the first step of the 12-Steps; admitting "powerlessness". The reason the struggle is so hard for us - and the reason we keep failing at it, is because we are struggling with something much more powerful than us. However, once we admit powerlessness, we basically come to the realization that we can no longer "struggle" with lust at all. We can't "work on this area" or try and "change the way we think". We can only "let go" of it completely and not even give lust the time of day. If lust comes into our head or if something comes into our field of vision, instead of struggling with it, we just tell ourselves: "I can't struggle with lust at all, I am an addict", and we just "let go of it" in our hearts completely.

How do we do that?

Well, if it's far too hard for us to focus on and struggle with "the problem", the only way to succeed is to live instead in the SOLUTION.

What does that mean?

Lust is all "me centered". It's all about me. The "solution" is to start living for others and for Hashem. We need to train our minds that when we feel lust, we just laugh and say "hey, what can you expect from an addict?" and then painlessly switch channels to a channel of "giving" and "gratitude" instead of being "Me focused". For example, if we feel lust for someone, we switch channels to thinking what we can do for that person instead of what we can take from them (after turning away of-course, otherwise we won't be able to let go of the "me mode"). We can daven for them to have everything good in life and a true connection to Hashem.

When we feel lust, we can switch modes in our mind and begin to think of all the blessings we have in life, to feel gratitude to Hashem etc, which brings us to think about what can we do for Hashem. And we can think also about what we can do for others, and how we can make ourselves more useful to others... We need to change our mode of thinking from the "me-centered-getting-mode" that breeds lust, to a mode of "giving and gratitude" outside of ourselves.

And the miracle is, that by changing the way we think and the things we do over time, we find that the problem goes away by itself!! In other words, we can't fix the problem; forget it, it's way too strong. But when we live in the SOLUTION and focus on living "outside" of ourselves, the PROBLEM automatically goes away...

All this "struggling" with the Yetzer Hara and "working on ourselves" - that's for OTHERS, NOT for addicts. We cannot deal with lust at all. That's the secret of the first step. We need to completely bypass it, let go of it, and give it up to Hashem. And it is only when we do this step - which is to recognize that we are addicts; that we are ill; that we cannot deal with lust AT ALL, only at that point we can begin our journey to recovery and learn how to surrender it to Hashem and GIVE IT UP COMPLETELY.

Ironically, it is only to admitting powerlessness that we are able to ultimately find true freedom!!

Our minds tell us that if we stop lusting and if we don't feed our lust, life will be much less fun... But our mind is LYING to us. It is the exact OPPOSITE! It is ONLY when we finally GIVE UP on struggling with lust and LET GO of it, that we will finally be able to find true freedom and happiness.

Another Yesod from Dov on this topic:

"Letting go of lust" should only be done "one day at a time". It's too hard for addicts to think in such terms as "letting go of lust" for life. We can however, decide that "today, I am completely letting go of my 'right' to lust. Today, I won't give lust the time of day".

To be continued...
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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